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A Food Lovers Weekend in Paris

The Paris restaurant scene has sprung back into life. That may sound like a bizarre observation considering its reputation as the gastronomic capital of the world. However, throughout the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s Paris sat haughtily on its laurels, ignoring the food revolution that was taking place from Sydney to LA. The Michelin starred establishments continued to hike up their prices serving predictable food with lots of foams, gels and ‘skid marks’ on the plates, plus liquid pearls, powders, swirls and fronds unaware or un-phased by the change in millennial eating habits and taste.

Then Daniel Rose opened Spring in 2006 and Greg Marchand followed in 2009 with Frenchie on Rue-de-Nel –  a breath of fresh air, simple fresh contemporary food made with superb ingredients. The media and customers flocked eager for change and the revolution was born and so it continues.

As criticism grows about the astronomical prices and poor value for money offered by many of the Michelin starred restaurants, a whole plethora of tiny restaurants, bistros, cafés and coffee bars have sprung up all over the city, serving small plates and sharing platters of simple delicious food. I squashed into as many as possible over a busy weekend in Paris recently – most don’t take reservations so you’ll need to be prepared to queue but all of the following are worth the wait.

Here are my top picks:

La Buvette on Rue Saint-Maur, not to be confused with another of my favourites, Buvette in Manhattan. This tiny restaurant chalks up the menus on a mirror on the wall – close to the tiny open kitchen. I loved the huge meltingly tender white haricot beans with cedre zest and extra virgin olive oil and a few flakes of sea salt. This was followed by a tiny burrata rolled in mandarin dust and a super coarse terrine with pickled pears and some sourdough bread. I still had room for the pickled egg with black sesame and bonita flakes. I love this kind of food, edgy and delicious but possible to recreate at home.

Sometimes you only need to be famous for just one thing….In the case of tiny Comme à Libonne on Rue du Roi de Sicile in Le Marais it’s their Portuguese custard tart. There will be a queue all along the sidewalk. They bake just 24 tarts at a time…they are snapped up like the proverbial hotcakes. If you are lucky there may be space along a tiny shelf in the shop to enjoy with a cup of espresso with your little treat.

Fed up and disheartened by ‘no shows’, many of the chicest places no longer take bookings. There was an hour and a half wait for Clamato, a seafood restaurant on Rue de Charonne. So we had a little plate of some saucisson and a couple of glasses of natural wine  from their superb list at Septime, a tiny wine bar across the road.

Eventually we gave up on Clamato and had dinner at Semilla, a much talked about and now super busy restaurant serving modern French food.

Veal sweetbreads with salsify confit was the stand out dish rather better than some of the more bizarre combinations e.g. sea urchins with coffee mousse.

Watch Parisians shop, there are numerous markets around Paris, check out the nearest Farmers Markets to where you are staying by searching for Farmers Markets on Google Maps. On Sunday, the organic market on Rue Raspail is worth an amble although, quality didn’t seem as good as hitherto.

There are many coffee bars serving superb brews. Try Télescope on 5 Rue Villedo but it’s closed on Sunday. Farine & O on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoin  and Ten Belles on Rue de la Grange aux Belles are also worth a detour. As is Boot Café, a hole in the wall on Rue du Pont aux Choux.

Mokonuts, on Rue Saint-Bernard is a definite favourite, can’t wait to go back for breakfast, brunch or dinner. It’s a tiny café run by Moko Hirayama and Omar Koreitem. Loved the labneh on toast with olives and the flatbread with sumac and melted scarmosa on top. They also make what is perhaps the best chocolate chip and oatmeal cookie I have ever eaten, plus superb coffee.

E Dehillerin on Rue Coquillière is like Hamleys or Smyths Toys for cook and chefs. Every time I visit, I feel like a kid in a candy shop surrounded by tempting cookware and gadgets in this ‘no frills’ store which has remained pretty much the same  since it first opened in 1820, narrow aisles, wooden shelves and  metal  canisters full of superb quality utensils. Just around the corner on Rue Montmartre, you’ll find M.O.R.A., another iconic cook and bakeware store, that also sells a huge range of cake decorations and baubles for pastry chefs  Both shops are geared towards culinary professionals but also welcome keen cooks.

Paris is full of exciting patisserie; swing by Yann Couvreur Pâtisserie, Courou in the Marais and La Pâtisserie du Meurice par Cédric Grolet on Rue de Castiglione

L’As du Fallafel on rue des Roses is justly famous for its falafel.

Sunday brunch was at Racines, a bistro in the charming Passage des Panoramas Arcade

A whole series of little plates of real food from the chalk board, the least ‘cheffie’ but elegantly earthy comfort food. Loved his winter tomato salad with extra virgin olive oil or the pan grilled scallops on mashed potato and dill. No swirls, pearls, powder or fronds here, just real food and a suberb natural wine list.

Breizh Café on Rue Vieille du Temple, is another good spot for breakfast or lunch….

A long weekend is nowhere long enough and I haven’t even mentioned chocolatiers, cheese shops or cocktail bars. Daily flights to Paris from Cork, Dublin, Shannon….

 

 

Yemeni Style Falafel 

Sarit and Itamar shared this recipe with us at a recent visit to Ballymaloe Cookery School. They are returning this summer, see hot tips below for details…

Itamar is a quarter Yemeni on his grandfather’s side.  This falafel is a tribute to that heritage, and it is great – the traditional Yemeni combo of coriander, cardamom and garlic makes it super-vibrant in colour and flavour.

Makes 20 approximately (25g/1oz weight)

1/2 onion (approx. 60g/2 1/4oz)

1 clove of garlic (peeled)

250g (9oz) soaked chickpeas (125g (4 1/2oz) dried)

1 green chilli, seeds and all

3 springs of parsley, picked

1 small bunch of coriander (about 15-20g/1/2 – 3/4oz), leaves and top part of stems only

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom pods

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons garam flour (use plain if needs be)

1 teaspoon baking powder

 

To make the falafel

If using a meat grinder.

Use the coarse grinder blade if you have one we find it gives the best texture.  Cut the onion and garlic into dice so that you can easily feed them through the grinder.  Mince the chickpeas, onions, garlic, chilli and herbs into a bowl.

Add all the spices, salt, flour and baking powder and mix well to a very thick mass.

 

If using a food processor.

Start with the onion, garlic, chilli and herbs and pulse them to chop roughly, then add the chickpeas and blitz until everything becomes a thick paste with small, even-sized bits.   You may need to scrape the sides down and blitz for another pulse or two to make sure that everything is evenly chopped, but do not overwork.  The best way to check whether it is done enough is to scoop up a small amount and squeeze it together in your palm – it should hold its shape.  If it falls apart, return it to the processor for another spin.  Tip the mixture into a large bowl, add the spices, salt, flour and baking powder and mix until all is combined well.

Preheat the deep fry 170C/325F.

Test the oil temperature by placing a small piece of bread or falafel mix in the hot oil – as soon as it starts to bubble up and float, you are ready to go.

You can shape the falafel mix in a few different ways:

Use damp hands and make little balls or torpedo shapes or you can simply drop in spoonfuls of the mixture for free-form falafel.  You want to be making them about the size of a walnut, no bigger, so that they cook through and crisp up at the same time.

Carefully place the falafel in the oil – don’t overcrowd the pan and fry until the exterior is browned and crisped (about 2-3 minutes).  Remove to a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil and repeat the process until you have fried them all.

Serve immediately with tahini (see recipe).

Tahini 

The quality of your tahini depends hugely on the type of tahini paste you use.

We use Al-Yaman from Lebanon which is delicious, but if you are lucky enough to find any of the Palestinian varieties, especially the Prince and Dove brands, you are in for a treat.  As a rule, you are looking for something from Lebanon, Palestine or Turkey.

We make our tahini in a food processor, as it gives a smooth, airy, mousse-like texture, but you can achieve good results with a bowl, a spoon and some wrist action.

Makes about 240g (8 3/4oz)

 

125g (4 1/2oz) tahini paste

1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced

a pinch of salt, plus more to taste

juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste

about 120ml (4 1/3fl oz/generous 1/2 cup) water

Place the tahini, minced garlic, salt and lemon juice in a bowl or food processor, add half the water and mix. It will go thick and pasty but don’t fear – just continue adding water while mixing until it loosens up to a creamy texture. Don’t be tempted to add too much water as the mixture will go runny, but if this happens, you can always bring it back with a little extra tahini paste. Taste and adjust salt and lemon to suit your taste buds.

Note

You can keep tahini in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days, but it will thicken and the flavour may need adjusting with a little more salt and/or lemon.  As a result we think it’s best to make it and eat it the same day – fresh is best.

Recipe courtesy of ‘Honey & Co – Food from the Middle-East’.

 

Scallops with Dill Mash and Beurre Blanc

A delectable combination, scallops are really good at the moment.

 

Serves 4

10 scallops

Clarified butter

900g (2 lbs) unpeeled potatoes, preferably Golden Wonders or Kerr’s Pinks

300ml (10fl oz) creamy milk approx.

25-50g (1-2oz) butter or extra virgin olive oil

4 – 6 tablespoons freshly chopped dill

Beurre Blanc see recipe below.

Garnish

Sprigs of fresh dill and dill flowers.

Slice the scallops in half and keep the corals aside, cover and chill.

First make the dill mash. Scrub the potatoes well. Put them into a saucepan of cold water, add a good pinch of salt and bring to the boil. When the potatoes are about half cooked, 15 minutes approx. for ‘old’ potatoes, strain off two-thirds of the water, replace the lid on the saucepan, put on to a gentle heat and allow the potatoes to steam until they are fully cooked. Peel immediately by just pulling off the skins, so you have as little waste as possible, mash while hot (see below). (If you have a large quantity, put the potatoes into the bowl of a food mixer and beat with the spade).

While the potatoes are being peeled, bring about 300ml (10fl oz/1 1/4 cups) of milk to the boil. Add enough boiling creamy milk into the hot mashed potato to mix to a soft light consistency suitable for piping, add the freshly chopped dill and then beat in the butter or olive oil, the amount depending on how rich you like your potatoes. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Keep hot. Next make the beurre blanc.

Note: If the potatoes are not peeled and mashed while hot and if the boiling milk is not added immediately, the potato will be lumpy and gluey.

To Serve:

Heat a non stick pan. Sprinkle the scallops with a little flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook the scallops for 1 minute on each side, until they are barely coloured.

Spoon a dollop of hot dill mash on each plate. Scatter 5 – 6 pieces of scallop and 2 pieces of coral on top of the mash.

Drizzle some Beurre Blanc over the top and around the edge, add a few sprigs of dill and dill flowers if you have them and serve.

Beurre Blanc Sauce

Makes about 250ml (8fl oz)

Beurre blanc is super rich, however a little served with freshly poached fish is exquisite.

3 tablespoons dry white wine

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots

pinch of ground white pepper

1 tablespoon cream

175g (6oz) unsalted butter, diced

salt, freshly ground pepper

freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

Put the first four ingredients into a heavy stainless steel saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and reduce down to about a tablespoon.  Add 1 generous tablespoon of cream and reduce again until the cream begins to thicken. Whisk in the chilled butter a couple of piece at a time, keeping the sauce just warm enough to absorb the butter.  Season with salt, taste and add a little lemon juice if necessary.  Strain through a fine sieve.  Transfer to a pyrex bowl over a saucepan of hot but not boiling water. Keep warm until needed.

Useful Tip

Keep warm in a flask until needed. Beurre Blanc can curdle if the pan gets too hot.  If this should happen put 1-2 tablespoons of cream into a clean saucepan, reduce to about half, then vigorously whisk in the curdled mixture, little by little.  Serve as quickly as possible.  The flavour will be a little ‘softer’ so a little more lemon juice may be needed to sharpen it up and cut the richness.

 

Labneh on Sourdough Toast with Za’atar and Olives

This is my interpretation of the delicious Labneh Toast at Mokonuts in Paris.

Serves 2

 

2 slices of sourdough bread

1 large clove of garlic

4 tablespoons of Labneh (dripped natural yoghurt) (see recipe below)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons za’atar

4 black Kalamata olives, halved and stoned

Pinch of Aleppo pepper

1 generous teaspoon chopped pistachio nuts

 

First mix the za’atar, with the oil, chopped pistachio nuts, a pinch of Aleppo pepper and a little flaky sea salt.

Toast or pan grill the sourdough bread, rub with a cut clove of garlic. Spread with a generous layer of labneh, drizzle with the za’atar oil, add 4 black olive halves. Serve immediately.

 

Labneh (dripped natural yoghurt)

Use whole-milk yogurt for a creamier cheese – this can be made from cow’s, sheep’s or goat’s milk. You can also use commercial yogurt.

 

Makes 500g (18oz) labneh approx.

 

1kg (2 1/4lb) natural yoghurt

 

To make the labneh, line a strainer with a double thickness of sterilised cheesecloth. Place it over a bowl. Pour in the yogurt. Tie the four corners of the cheesecloth to make a loose bundle and suspend the bag of yogurt over a bowl.

Leave it in a cool place to drip into the bowl for 8 hours. Jersey milk yogurt is thicker and needs only 2–3 hours to drip. Then remove the cheesecloth and put the labneh in a bowl. Refrigerate overnight, and store until needed in a covered glass or plastic container. The liquid whey that has drained off can be fed to pigs or hens or used for fermented dishes and in whey lemonade.

 

Portuguese Custard Tarts

Makes 24

 

1 large egg

2 egg yolks

115g golden caster sugar

2 tablespoons cornflour

400ml whole milk

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

900g (2lb) puff pastry

 

Lightly grease 2 x 12 muffin tins.

Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8.

 

Put the egg, yolk, sugar and cornflour in a saucepan and whisk, gradually add the milk and whisk until smooth.

Cook on a medium heat and stirring constantly with a whisk until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil, continue to cook for 2 minutes.  Remove the saucepan from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract.

Transfer to a Pyrex bowl, allow to cool.  Cover with cling film to prevent a skin from forming – prick here and there to allow steam to escape.

Roll the chilled puff pastry into a 3mm (1/8 inch) thick sheet, stamp out 7.5cm (3 inch) discs.  Press into the muffin tins.

Spoon a generous dessertspoon of the cool custard into each pastry case. Bake in the preheated oven for 16-20 minutes or golden on top.  Allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack.  Eat warm or at room temperature.

 

Mokonuts’ Cookies

Dorie Greenspan managed to discover the secret of these cookies and shared it in the New York Times so here you go.

Makes approx. 20 cookies

Once the dough is made and formed into balls, it should be refrigerated overnight before baking. Fresh from the oven, the cookies are fragile; they firm as they cool. They’ll keep for about three days at room temperature or they can be frozen for up to two months; in either case, they should be wrapped well.

130g medium rye flour

85 all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon sea salt (grind in a pestle)

½ teaspoon baking soda

140g butter

100g sugar

100g light brown sugar

1 large egg

50g poppy seeds

80g moist, plump dried cranberries (plump in hot water)

110g bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks (62%)

flaky sea salt

 

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.

 

Mix the rye flour, plain white flour, baking powder, fine sea salt and baking soda in a bowl.

Cream the soft butter and both sugars together in a food mixer.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg, and beat well for a minute or two. Reduce the speed, add the dry ingredients, then mix until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.  Then add the poppy seeds, cranberries and chocolate.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 15 – 20 pieces, roll each piece into a ball (40g approx.) and arrange on the baking sheet leaving space for expansion, about 5cm (2 inch).

Note: Cover, and refrigerate the dough for an hour or better still overnight or for up to 3 days. (If you’d like, you can wrap the balls airtight and freeze them for up to 1 month. Defrost them overnight in the fridge before baking.)

Sprinkle each cookie with a little flaky salt.

Bake for 10 minutes, pull the baking sheet from the oven and, using a metal spatula, a pancake turner or the bottom of a glass, tap each cookie lightly. Let the cookies rest on the sheet for 3 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining dough, always using cold dough and a cool baking sheet.

Serve after the cookies have cooled for about 10 minutes, or wait until they reach room temperature.

Irish Food Writers Guild Awards

How fortunate are we here in Ireland to have such an abundance of artisan products and more emerging virtually every week.  This sector is incredibly creative and has helped to enhance the diversity and image of Irish food hugely, both at home and abroad.  Visitors to Ireland are thrilled to taste the farm house cheese, charcuterie, preserves, pickles, ferments, smoked fish and increasing real bread from the growing number of artisan bakeries who are making real natural sourdough bread free of the almost 20 additives, enzymes, improvers and processing aids, which can be legally included without being on the label.  No wonder so many people are finding they have a gluten intolerance.

In their 25 years, several awards recognise the efforts and creativity of this sector, Eurotoque, Dingle and The Food Writers Guild…..

The latter awards were held recently at Glovers Alley restaurant in Dublin.  The selection process is meticulously conducted. Nominations are in confidence, received from Guild members, shortlisted, tasted and chosen individually to a carefully agreed list of criteria.

An Irish Food Writers Guild award is much coveted by the recipients.

This year three of the eight biggest awards went to Cork – just saying! One of the awards went to Hegarty’s Cheese for their new Teampall Gael cheese.  The Hegarty family are fifth generation dairy farmers in Whitechurch in North Cork. To add value to the milk of their large Friesian herd,  they experimented first with yogurt and cheese and eventually launched a traditional cloth bound truckle of Cheddar in 2001.  Jean-Baptiste Enjelvin from Bordeaux in France joined them in 2015 and a Comté style cheese, Teampall Gael is the result of this collaboration.  This sweet, delicate, nutty, alpine style cheese is made only from the raw milk of pasture fed cows (no silage).  The huge 40kg wheels are matured for at least nine months-a really exciting addition to the Irish farmhouse cheese family.

Mike Thompson’s beautiful Young Buck Cheese from Co Down also won an award. This raw milk, Stilton type blue cheese, comes from a single herd and was the first artisan cheese to be made in Northern Ireland.

The Irish Drink Award also went to Cork’s Killahora Orchards near Carrigtwohill for their Rare Apple Ice Wine. A really exciting ice wine, delicious to serve with desserts or made into a granita. Andy McFadden and his team at Glovers Alley served it with a sheep’s yoghurt mousse, honey and lime.

David Watson and Barry Walsh grow over 130 varieties of apple used to make craft cider, and 40 pear varieties to make Perry. Look out for their apple port also…. It tastes like the best white port, delicious to sip on its own or with a good tonic water http://www.killahoraorchards.ie/#contact

The Community Food Award went to Cork Penny Dinners which was founded during the famine in the 1840’s. This much loved Cork charity provides up to 2000 nourishing hot meals every day of the year in a safe and nurturing environment for all those in need. Catherine Twomey and her team also run five classes a week, the Cork Music Dojo, High Hopes homeless choir, the Food for Thought mental health initiative for students, mindfulness classes and French classes. They are about to expand their facilities to include other educational opportunities, plus a clinic run by GP’s who donate their expertise for one day a year. A third accolade for Cork and

a hugely deserving winner of the Community Food Award. If you would like to donate your time or money go to http://corkpennydinners.ie/untitled-2/untitled-copy

The Outstanding Organisation Award went to 3fe Coffee in Dublin. What most impressed the Irish Food Writers Guild about 3fe is not only the fact that the 3fe brand has become synonymous with the best quality coffee in Ireland, but also the company’s commitment to sustainability in the areas of waste and energy use, purchasing principles, staff welfare and community. Colin Harmon and his team have recently opened an all-day restaurant, Gertrude to add to their cafes, add it to your Dublin list…..

The Environmental Award went to Charlie and Becky Cole of Broughgammon Farm in Ballycastle, Co Antrim. The Irish Food Writers Guild recognises them for their exceptional commitment to the environment and for rescuing male kid goats who would normally have been put down at birth. They now rear free range rose veal and seasonal wild game as well and make an exceptionally good rose veal salami. There’s also an eco-farmhouse, on-site butchery facility and farm shop that use solar thermal heating, low-flow appliances and photovoltaic solar panels.

The inspirational Workman family of Dunany Farm in Co Louth have been growing heirloom wheat varieties and milling their own organic flour for four generations. Recently they recognised a gap in the market for spelt, a challenging crop to grow and harvest but nutrient dense and low in gluten, high in fibre and B vitamins and rich in essential fatty acids and amino acids. Dunany organic spelt grains are my new best find and here I share the recipe for the spelt risotto that we enjoyed for lunch at Glovers Alley in the Fitzwilliam Hotel. I can’t wait to experiment more.

Last but certainly not least the Lifetime Achievement Award went to Peter Hannan of Hannon Meats near Moira in Co Down in recognition of his continued work as one of Ireland’s most dedicated food champions. Peter has dedicated his life to producing superb quality beef and is 50% stakeholder in the renowned Glenarm Southern Beef Scheme.  Hannon Meats are dry aged in four Himalayan salt chambers for an average of 35 – 45 days but they provide an extra aged product for special clients who want 80 – 100 days. Peter too was a worthy recipient of this award, one of numerous awards he has deservedly won over the years.

Dunany Organic Spelt Risotto

Serves 4

200g Dunany Organic Spelt Berries

25g dried porcini mushrooms

1½ tsp olive oil

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

100ml white wine

1 litre hot vegetable stock

1 tbsp crème fraîche

handful of grated Parmesan cheese

finely snipped fresh chives

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

parsley oil or fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, to serve

 

Cover the spelt with cold water. Put the dried mushrooms in a separate heatproof bowl and soak in 100ml of just-boiled water. Allow the spelt and mushrooms to soak for 20 minutes.

 

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the spelt and add to the pan along with the wine. Simmer until almost all the wine has evaporated, stirring often.

 

Drain the porcini mushrooms over a bowl so that you can reserve the soaking liquid, then discard the mushrooms. Add the soaking liquid to the vegetable stock. Stir the stock into the spelt berries a ladleful at a time and simmer, stirring often, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the spelt is tender. This will take about 20 minutes in total.

 

Stir in the crème fraîche, Parmesan and chives, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the risotto between warmed bowls and drizzle over the parsley oil or scatter over some chopped fresh parsley. Serve straight away.

Recipe created for the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards 2019 by executive chef Andy McFadden of Glovers Alley, 128 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.

 

Peter Hannan’s Salt-Aged Glenarm Beef Sirloin with Salt-Baked Celeriac, Hazelnuts and Truffle

Serves 4

 

1kg thick slice of Peter Hannan’s Salt-Aged Glenarm Beef Sirloin

plenty of sea salt

soft butter, for cooking

100g hazelnuts, toasted and halved, to serve

Périgord black truffle, for slicing

 

For the salt-baked celeriac:

1 large celeriac

700g table salt

110g free-range egg whites

5 sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped

 

Take the beef out of the fridge and put it on a tray without any covering or cling film. Allow it to sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before you intend to start working with it so that it has a dry surface and is not too cold when cooked.

Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Place the celeriac in a roasting tray. Mix the table salt, egg whites and rosemary together in a large bowl until the mixture forms a paste. Cover the celeriac in a 2cm-thick layer of the salt paste, ensuring there are no gaps. Bake in the oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven, chip away the salt crust and scoop out the baked celeriac. Portion into nicely sized wedges and reserve until ready to plate.

A little while before you’re ready to start cooking, season the beef with plenty of salt. As it is a very big piece you will need more salt than you think. You will find that if you let the salt dissolve a little, the meat will brown more easily and uniformly.

 

Melt a large spoon of butter in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. When the butter has lightly browned, add the beef and cook until the first side is perfectly caramelised. The meat and the pan need to be kept moving at all times so that no part of the pan warms up too much, causing the fat in that part to burn, and so that no part gets too cold and stops the meat from browning.

When the first side is perfect, repeat the process with the second side, adding a little more butter as you turn it. Let the meat rest somewhere warm but not hot, brush with some butter and leave it to rest.

While the meat is resting, pour the butter and fat that have rendered out of the beef through a fine mesh sieve into a container and clean the pan. When the meat is no longer hot to touch, fry it once more in the clean pan, brush it with butter and leave it to rest again. Repeat this process until the meat is cooked to your liking.

To finish the meat, reheat the frying pan and put back the fat strained from the pan earlier. Fry the beef on both sides once more and add some more butter. Let the new butter brown, then immediately lift the meat out and place on a preheated chopping board. Cut it into four strips straight away using a very sharp knife and serve with the salt-baked celeriac, toasted hazelnuts and some shaved truffle.

Recipe created for the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards 2019 by executive chef Andy McFadden of Glovers Alley, 128 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.

 

Killahora Orchards Rare Apple Ice Wine Granita, Sheep’s Yogurt Mousse, Honey and Lime

Serves 4

For the granita:

200g caster sugar

100ml lemon juice

100ml water

800g Killahora Orchards Rare Apple Ice Wine

 

For the sheep’s yogurt mousse:

6 gelatine leaves

500g sheep’s yogurt

130g caster sugar

500g cream

 

To serve:

Irish honey

zest of 1 lime

 

To make the yogurt mousse, bloom the gelatine in a bowl of cold water. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt and sugar. Lightly whip 400g of the cream and boil the remaining 100g of cream (weigh the cream instead of measuring it by volume). Dissolve the gelatine in the boiled cream, then pour onto the yogurt. Fold in the whipped cream and allow to set in the fridge.

To make the granita, place the sugar, lemon juice and water in a pan and heat just until the sugar dissolves. Add the apple ice wine and warm until the mix comes together. Pour into a baking tray or large plastic container. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes, until it’s becoming icy around the edges. Stir with a fork and place back in the freezer for another 90 minutes, stirring it every 20 or 30 minutes with a fork to scrape the granita into icy crystals, until the granita is completely frozen. This can be made a day ahead and kept tightly covered in the freezer.

To serve, pipe the yogurt mousse into the centre of a serving bowl. Drizzle the honey over the top. Spoon the granita on top and finish with freshly grated lime zest.

 

Recipe created for the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards 2019 by executive chef Andy McFadden of Glovers Alley, 128 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.

 

Teampall Gael and Young Buck Cheese with Rhubarb and Apple Chutney

 

10 cloves

4 star anise

3 bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick

250g rhubarb, chopped

250g Bramley apple, peeled, cored and chopped

100g Demerara sugar

100ml balsamic vinegar

100ml water

zest of 1 orange

Teampall Gael cheese, to serve

Young Buck cheese, to serve

 

To make the chutney, wrap the cloves, star anise, bay leaves and cinnamon stick in a piece of muslin. Put the rhubarb, apple, sugar, balsamic vinegar, water and the muslin of spices in a pan on a medium heat. Cook until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and cook until thick and syrupy and the rhubarb and apple have softened. Stir in the orange zest and allow to cool.

Serve the Teampall Gael and Young Buck cheese on a cheeseboard with the rhubarb and apple chutney alongside.

 

Recipe created for the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards 2019 by executive chef Andy McFadden of Glovers Alley, 128 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.

A Recent Trip To India

To celebrate Holi, the festival of colour and love-  a piece on India. Recently I spent a couple of weeks in India in Ahilya Fort, a small heritage hotel overlooking the Narmada, one of the most sacred rivers in India. From dawn to dark, there’s endless activity below the fort on the ghats, along the river bank. Local devotees and pilgrims worshipping and offering prayers to the holy river which nourishes and waters their crops. They perform a variety of puja and aarti and bathe in the river to wash away their sins. Women wash their clothes along the waters edge, children feed the fish and dive into the chilly waters giggling with delight. It’s a riot of colour, women bath in their saris and then hold them up in the gentle breeze to dry. Little wooden boats with gaily painted canopies ferry people across the river to the Shalivan Temple in Naodatodi, a village of a few hundred friendly people who earn their living from basic farming, growing bananas, corn and cotton. There’s a brick works close to the village where it’s intriguing to watch the handmade bricks being individually made by both men and women then dried in the sun and baked in a hand built kiln.

The village is tranquil, with a wonderfully welcoming friendly atmosphere, children run out of their houses to meet us…..another household invited us in to share a cup of chai. ..

The little town is still deliciously rural, all the needs of the local community are catered for by the numerous small shops and stalls. But Maheshwari is most famous for its hand weaving industry both silk and cotton which employs over 5,000 people.

Women come from all over India to choose a Maheswari silk saree from Rehwra. Buyers from posh shops from all over the world order superb handwoven cotton scarves and fabric from Women Weave.

There’s a tiny shoe makers shop at the bottom of the hill below the fort, close by the miller, where local farmers bring their corn and wheat to be ground, a Pan maker, several little flower shops where chrysanthemum flowers, roses and other blossoms are threaded onto cotton to make garlands to embellish the temple gods or to welcome visitors. Several potters made utilitarian earthenware vessels both for the household and temple ceremonies. Many jewellers sell gold and silver, drapers sitting cross legged sell wildly colourful sarees and bolts of materiel side by side with tailors peddling away on old treadle sewing machines. Half way down the main street a man chats to passers-by while he presses clothes ‘en plain air’ with a heavy iron filled with hot coals – all the shop fronts are fully open and customers remove their shoes before they enter.

Barbers lather up their customers chins and snip their hair in full view of passers-by…It’s all very colourful and convivial. Hardware shops are packed from floor to ceiling with kitchen utensils, farm implements, rat traps, kari (metal woks), water coolers. Now more and more brightly coloured plastic is replacing tin, metal and earthenware.

Not a supermarket in sight, lots of little grocery shops also selling snacks, sev, namkin and lottery tickets.

The Fish Market is down by the river but the huge bustling produce market takes place on Friday. Fresh fruit, vegetables and roast water chestnuts are sold from street carts by women sitting cross legged on the ground surrounded by the freshest produce. Sadly, many of the older houses with their delightful timber shutters and balconies are being demolished to make way for soul-less cement structures all in the way of progress, none the less Mahesware is still utterly enthralling in a charming, chaotic sort of way. An enchanting mix of medieval and 21st century plus – There are even lots of satellite dishes and five ATM machines which occasionally deliver money.

But the focus of this column is on the variety of street food one finds. In the morning, stalls sell poha, a mixture of soaked flattened rice and spices sold on little squares of newspaper, nourishing wholesome food for a couple of Rupees, I love street food and eat it where ever I go, with street food you taste the real flavours of a country….

Poha

Poha is served for breakfast all over India, there are many versions, some also include diced, cooked potato and red and yellow pepper.

(Serve 8)

500g (18oz) Poha (Beaten Rice)

100g (3.5oz) Green Peas, unless really fresh use frozen

200g (7oz) Sev (Indian chick pea vermicelli)

1 tbsp Fennel seeds

1 tbsp Mustard seed

1 ½ tbsp Salt

1tsp Cumin Seeds

1 tsp Turmeric Powder

1 tbsp Sugar

3 tbsp Oil

3 tsp Fresh green coriander

Seeds of 1 large pomegranate

110g (4oz) finely chopped onion

110g (4oz) water chestnuts

3 Green Chilies Chopped

5 or 6 curry leaves (murraya koenigii)

Wash poha two to three times in cold water and strain, press out much of the water as possible.

Heat the oil in a wok or kadhai until hot. Add the mustard, cumin and fennel seeds,  turmeric powder, curry leaves and chopped green chilies and immediately add the chopped onions. Stir until the onions are tender and slightly golden, add the diced water chestnuts and continue to stir for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the poha with the green peas and fresh coriander, stir for about 5 Minutes. The dish is served warm, add the pomegranate seeds and garnish it with sev and lots of fresh coriander.

 

Spiced Chickpea Stew with Coconut and Tumeric

Serves 4 – 6

50mls (2floz) of olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

225g (8oz) onion

1 (2 inch) piece ginger, finely chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric, plus more for serving

1 tsp chilli flakes, plus more for serving

2 400g tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 400g tins of full fat coconut milk

500mls (18floz) vegetable or chicken stock

350g (12ozs) of Swiss chard, kale or collard greens torn into bite-size pieces, stalks chopped and added

handful of fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Yoghurt (for serving, optional)

Toasted pitta bread, lavash or other flatbread for serving (optional)

Heat the oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add garlic and onion. Season with salt and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent and starts to brown a little around the edges, 3 – 5 minutes. Add ginger and cook for a further 2 – 3 minutes.

Add turmeric, chilli flakes and chickpeas, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, so the chickpeas sizzle and fry a bit in the spices and oil, until they’ve started to break down and get a little browned and crisp, 8 – 10 minutes,.

Using a potato masher or spatula, further crush the remaining chickpeas slightly to release the starchy insides (this will help to thicken the stew).

Add coconut milk and stock to the pot, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any bits that have formed on the bottom of the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until stew has thickened and flavours have started to come together, 30 – 35 minutes. (Taste a chickpea or two, not just the liquid, to make sure they have simmered long enough to taste as delicious as possible).

If after 30 – 35 minutes you want the stew a bit thicker, keep simmering until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Determining perfect stew thickness is a personal journey!

Add green stalks and cook until nearly tender, then add the leaves and stir, making sure they’re submerged in the liquid. Cook a few minutes so they wilt and soften, 3 – 7 minutes, depending on what you’re using. (Swiss chard and spinach will wilt and soften much faster than kale or collard greens). Season again with salt and pepper.

To serve divide among bowls and top with mint, a sprinkle of chilli flakes and a good drizzle of olive oil. Serve alongside yoghurt and toasted pitta if using; dust the yoghurt with turmeric if you wish.

 

Indian Spiced Vegetable Pakoras with Mango Relish

 

Mangoes are a great source of betacarotene and Vitamin C. They aid digestion, reduce acidity in the system and help cleanse the blood.

Serves 4-6

Vegetables

1 thin aubergine cut into 1/4 inch (5mm) slices

1 teaspoon salt

2 medium courgettes, cut into 1 inch (2.5cm) slices, if they are very large cut into quarters

12 cauliflower florets

6 large mushrooms, cut in half

 

Batter

6oz (175g) chick pea or all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander

1 scant teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 tablespoon  olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

6-8fl oz (175-250m) iced water

vegetable oil for deep frying

Garnish

lemon wedges and coriander or parsley.

Put the aubergine slices into a colander, sprinkle with the salt, and let drain while preparing the other vegetables.

Blanch the courgettes and cauliflower florets separately in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain, refresh under cold water, and dry well. Rinse the aubergine slices and pat dry.

Put the flour, coriander, salt and curry powder into a large bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil, lemon juice and water until the batter is the consistency of thick cream.

Heat good quality oil to 180°C/350°F in a deep fry. Lightly whisk the batter and dip the vegetables in batches of 5 or 6, slip them carefully into the hot oil.  Fry the pakoras for 2-3 minutes on each side, turning them with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in a moderate oven (uncovered) while you cook the remainder. Allow the oil to come back to 180°C/350°F between batches. When all the vegetable fritters are ready, garnish with lemon wedges and fresh or deep fried coriander or parsley. Serve at once with mango relish.

Mango Relish

2fl oz (50ml) medium sherry

2fl oz (50ml) water

2fl oz (50ml) white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

1/2 teaspoon salt

pinch of ground mace

1 mango, peeled and diced

1 small red pepper, seeded and diced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Put the sherry, water, vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, star anise, salt and mace into a small, heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the mango, pepper, and lemon juice, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Spoon into a screw top jar and refrigerate until required.

 .

Chai

Everyone needs a recipe for this spiced tea – beware it becomes addictive.

250ml (9fl oz/generous 1 cup) full fat milk

2-3 cardamom pods

2.5cm (1inch) piece of cinnamon

3 peppercorns

3 teaspoons loose tea leaves

500ml (18fl oz/2 1/4 cups) boiling water

sugar

Put all the ingredients except the tea leaves and the sugar into a saucepan, bring slowly to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes.  Bring back to the boil, add the tea leaves, cover and reduce the heat to a simmer for 1-2 minutes.  Turn off the heat and allow the leaves to settle.  Serve in tea cups.

Tumeric Latte

One serving

350mls (12floz) whole milk or almond milk

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

sugar or honey to taste

a grind of black pepper

Put all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan and whisk constantly over a gentle heat until it comes to the boil. When hot, pour the frothy latte into a heavy glass and enjoy.

St Patrick’s Day

Happy St Patricks Day! While you read this column I’ll be in New York celebrating….How fortunate are we in Ireland that our National Feast Day is celebrated all over the world, often even more flamboyantly than we do in Ireland.

I’ve been promoting my latest book, Darina Allen’s Simply Delicious The Classic Collection which has so many nostalgic memories for lots of people and the recipes have really stood the test of time. I’ve also been promoting Ireland, enthusiastically spreading the news of the food revolution and boasting about the Cork food scene and the award winning restaurants and artisan and speciality food producers. I’m also happy to remind everyone I meet that we have a brilliantly friendly and super efficient airport right here in Cork with flights direct from Boston with Norwegian Air and a warm Irish welcome on arrival.

On Thursday, Ballymaloe Cookery School alumni Clare de Boer and Jess Shadbolt and their team at King in Manhattan cooked a lunch with dishes from my Simply Delicious Classic Collection, they incorporated Lydia’s Traditional Irish Salad, Dingle Pie, Irish Bacon and Cabbage with Parsley Sauce and Country Rhubarb Cake, all went down a storm…

For the past few weeks I have taken lots of calls from food writers and journalists from all over the world who are honing their own copy for their St Patricks Day columns. The word is out about the exciting contemporary Irish food that so many of our Michelin starred restaurants are serving their guests…They are all loving that but also want some simple recipes for home cooked dishes that their readers can reproduce easily in their own kitchen to share a taste of Ireland on St Patricks Day.

My Irish Traditional Cooking first published in 1995 and republished in 2012 with 100 extra recipes from the hand written manuscripts and cookbooks of many of Ireland’s great houses, is packed with traditional recipes.

High on the list of requests from food writers are our Irish soda breads, spotted dog, porter cakes and scones, as are comforting potato dishes like, champ, colcannon, boxty, and Fleurrie Knox’s potato cakes dripping in good Irish butter.

Irish apple or rhubarb cake, served with a good dollop of cream is also irresistible and of course the classic Ballymaloe Irish Stew, the quintessential ‘one pot feeds all’ dish that everyone around the table will not only enjoy but also want second or third helpings.

Meanwhile, embrace the spirit, dress up in your green ‘glad rags’, have a competition in the office for the best St Patricks Day rigout, illuminate your building in green. Both Ballymaloe House and Ballymaloe Cookery School participated in the ‘greening’ in 2018, joining an illustrious list of buildings worldwide – the Colosseum, the Empire State Building, the Chicago River, the Great Wall of China….

 

Traditional White Soda Bread

 Soda bread only takes 2 or 3 minutes to make and 30 – 40 minutes to bake. It is certainly another of my ‘great convertibles’. We have had the greatest fun experimenting with different variations and uses.  It’s also great with olives, sun dried tomatoes or caramelized onions added, so the possibilities are endless for the hitherto humble soda bread.

1lb (450g) white flour, preferably unbleached

1 level teaspoon salt

1 level teaspoon breadsoda

sour milk or buttermilk to mix – 12-14fl oz (350-400ml) approx.

First fully preheat your oven to 230ºC/450ºF/Gas Mark 8.

 

Sieve the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre.  Pour most of the milk in at once. Using one hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary. The dough should be softish, not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, turn it out onto a well floured worked surface.  WASH AND DRY YOUR HANDS.  Tidy it up and flip over gently.  Pat the dough into a round about 1 1/2 inches (4cm) deep and cut a cross on it to let the fairies out! Let the cuts go over the sides of the bread to make sure of this. Bake in a hot oven, 230ºC/450ºF/Gas Mark 8 for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6 for 30 minutes or until cooked. If you are in doubt, tap the bottom of the bread: if it is cooked it will sound hollow.

 

Lydia’s Traditional Irish Salad

We serve this delightful traditional salad as a starter at Ballymaloe House, with this delicious time-honoured dressing, popular before the days of mayonnaise. The original recipe for salad dressing, came from Lydia Strangman, the last occupant of our house.

Serves 4

 

2 organic free-range eggs

1 butterhead lettuce (the ordinary lettuce that one can buy everywhere)

4 tiny scallions or spring onions

watercress sprigs

2–4 ripe tomatoes, quartered

16 slices of crisp cucumber

4 tablespoons  Pickled Beetroot and Onion

4 sliced radishes

Coarsely chopped parsley

 

Lydia Strangman’s Cream Dressing

2 eggs, free-range if possible

1 tablespoon dark soft brown sugar

pinch of salt

1 level teaspoon dry mustard

1 tablespoon brown malt vinegar

50–125ml (2–4fl oz) cream

 

Hard-boil the eggs for the salad and the dressing (4 in total). Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, gently slide in the eggs and boil for 10 minutes (12 if they are very fresh). Strain off the hot water and cover with cold water. Peel when cold.

 

Wash and dry the lettuce, scallions and watercress.

 

Next make the cream dressing. Cut 2 of the eggs in half and sieve the yolks into a bowl. Add the sugar, a pinch of salt and the mustard. Blend in the vinegar and cream. Chop the egg whites and add some to the sauce. Keep the rest to scatter over the salad. Cover the dressing until needed.

 

To assemble the salads, first arrange a few lettuce leaves on each of 4 plates. Scatter with a few tomato quarters and 2 hard-boiled egg quarters, a few slices of cucumber and a radish on each plate, and (preferably just before serving) add a slice of beetroot to each. Garnish with scallions and watercress. Scatter the remaining egg white (from the dressing) and some chopped parsley over the salad.

 

Put a tiny bowl of cream dressing in the centre of each plate and serve immediately, while the salad is crisp and before the beetroot starts to run.

 

Alternatively, serve the dressing from one large bowl.

 

 Dingle Pie

Mutton and lamb pies were and still are traditional in many parts of Co Kerry, including Dingle and Listowel.  Cumin was not part of the original recipe but was an addition by Myrtle Allen, which Ballymaloe House guests loved. The original pastry was made with lamb suet but Myrtle substituted butter with delicious results.

 

Serves 6

 

450g (1lb) boneless lamb or mutton (from the shoulder or leg; keep bones for stock)

250g (9oz) chopped onions

250g (9oz) chopped carrots

2 good teaspoons cumin seed

300ml (10fl oz) mutton or lamb stock

2 tablespoons  flour

salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Stock

lamb bones from the meat

1 carrot

1 onion

outside stalk of celery

a bouquet garni made up of a sprig of thyme, parsley stalks

a small bay leaf

 

Pastry

350g (12oz) plain white flour

175g (6oz) butter

110ml (4fl oz) water

a pinch of salt

 

Egg Wash

1 egg

a pinch of salt

 

2 tins x 15cm (6 inch) in diameter, 4cm (1 1/2 inch) high or 1 x 17.5cm (7 inch) tart tin.

If no stock is available, put the bones, carrots, onions, celery and bouquet garni into a saucepan.  Cover with cold water and simmer for 3-4 hours to make a stock.  Trim all the surplus fat from the meat, dice the meat into small, neat pieces about the size of a small sugar lump.  Render down the scraps of fat in a hot, wide saucepan until the fat runs.  Discard the pieces.  Cut the vegetables into slightly smaller dice and toss them in the fat, leaving them to cook for 3-4 minutes.  Remove the vegetables and toss the meat in the remaining fat over a high heat until the colour changes.

Dry roast the cumin seed in a hot frying pan for a few minutes and crush lightly.  Stir the flour and cumin seed into the meat.  Cook gently for 2 minutes and blend the stock in gradually.  Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.  Add back the vegetables, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and leave to simmer in a covered pot.  If using young lamb, 30 minutes will be sufficient; an older animal may take up to 1 hour.

 

Meanwhile, make the pastry.  Sieve the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.  Dice the butter, put it into a saucepan with water and bring to the boil.  Pour the liquid all at once into the flour and mix together quickly; beat until smooth.  At first the pastry will be too soft to handle but as soon as it cools it may be rolled out 2 1/2 – 5mm (1/3 – 1/4 inch) thick, to fit the two tins.  The pastry may be made into individual pies or one large pie.  Keep back one-third of the pastry for lids.

Fill the pastry- lined tins with the meat mixture which should be just cooked and cooled a little.  Brush the edges of the pastry with the water and put on the pastry lids, pinching them tightly together.  Roll out the trimmings to make pastry leaves or twirls to decorate the top of the pies; make a hole in the centre. Egg-wash the lid and then egg-wash the decoration also.

Bake the pies for 40 minutes approx. at 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7.  Serve with a salad of seasonal leaves.

Variation

Puff Pastry (see recipe) can be substituted for the hot water crust pastry, proceed as is in master recipe.

 

 Traditional Irish Bacon, Cabbage and Parsley Sauce

Ireland’s national dish of bacon and cabbage can be a sorry disappointment nowadays, partly because it is so difficult to get good-quality bacon with a decent bit of fat on it. Traditionally, the cabbage was always cooked in the bacon water. People could only hang one pot over the fire at a time, so when the bacon was almost cooked, they added the cabbage for the last half hour or 45 minutes of cooking. The bacon water gives a salty, unforgettable flavour, which many people, including me, still hanker for. You will need to order the loin well in advance, especially with rind on.

 

Serves 12–15

 

about 2.25kg (5lb) loin, collar or streaky bacon, either smoked or unsmoked with the rind on and a nice covering of fat

1 Savoy or 2 spring cabbages

50g (2oz) butter

freshly ground pepper

Parsley Sauce (see recipe)

 

Cover the bacon in cold water in a large pot and bring slowly to the boil. If the bacon is very salty there will be a white froth on top of the water, in which case it is preferable to discard the water and start again. Cover with hot water and the lid of the pot and simmer until almost cooked, allowing 20 minutes for every 2.2kg (1lb).

Meanwhile, trim the outer leaves of the cabbage and cut it into quarters, removing the core. Discard the core and outer leaves. Slice the cabbage across the grain into thin shreds. If necessary, wash it quickly in cold water. About 20 minutes before the end of cooking the bacon, add the shredded cabbage to the water in which the bacon is boiling. Stir, cover and continue to boil gently until both the cabbage and bacon are cooked – about 13⁄4 hours.

          Lift the bacon onto a plate and remove the rind if you like. When the bacon is fully cooked it will peel off easily. Strain the cabbage and discard the water (or, if it’s not too salty, save it for soup). Add a generous lump of butter to the cabbage. Season with lots of ground pepper; it’s unlikely to need more salt, but add some if necessary. Serve the bacon with the cabbage, parsley sauce and floury potatoes.

 

Parsley Sauce

You may want to double this recipe if you love parsley sauce as much as I do.

600ml (1 pint) full-cream milk

a few parsley stalks

sprig of thyme

a few slices of carrot (optional)

a few slices of onion (optional)

salt and freshly ground pepper

50g (2oz) roux

about 50g (2oz) curly parsley, freshly chopped

 

Put the cold milk into a saucepan and add the herbs and vegetables (if using). Bring the mixture to simmering point, season and simmer for 4–5 minutes. Strain the milk, bring it back to the boil and whisk in the roux until the sauce is a light coating consistency. Season again with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the chopped parsley and simmer on a very low heat for 4–5 minutes. Taste and correct the seasoning.

 

Country Rhubarb Cake 

 

This traditional rhubarb cake, based on an enriched bread dough, was made all over Ireland and is a treasured memory from my childhood. It would have originally been baked in the bastible or ‘baker’ over the open fire. My mother, who taught me this recipe, varied the filling with the seasons – first rhubarb, then gooseberries, later in the autumn, apples and plums.

 

Serves 8

 

340g (12oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting

pinch of salt

½ teaspoon bread soda (bicarbonate of soda)

55g (2oz) caster sugar

85g (3oz) butter

1 egg, free-range if possible

165ml (5½fl oz) milk, buttermilk or sour milk

680g (1½lb) rhubarb, finely chopped

170–225g (6–8oz) granulated sugar

beaten egg, to glaze

caster sugar, for sprinkling

 

TO SERVE

softly whipped cream

soft brown sugar

 

25cm (10in) enamel or Pyrex pie plate

 

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4

Sieve the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and caster sugar into a bowl and rub in the butter. Whisk the egg and mix with the milk, buttermilk or sour milk. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Pour in most of the liquid and mix to a soft dough; add the remainder of the liquid if necessary.

Sprinkle a little flour on the work surface. Turn out the soft dough and pat gently into a round. Divide into two pieces: one should be slightly larger than the other; keep the larger one for the lid.

Dip your fingers in flour. Roll out the smaller piece of pastry to fit the pie plate. Scatter the finely chopped rhubarb all over the base and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg. Roll out the other piece of dough until it is exactly the size to cover the plate, lift it on and press the edges gently to seal them. Make a hole in the centre for the steam to escape. Brush again with beaten egg and sprinkle with a very small amount of caster sugar.

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the rhubarb is soft and the crust is golden. Leave it to sit for 15–20 minutes before serving so that the juice can soak into the crust. Sprinkle with caster sugar. Serve still warm, with a bowl of softly whipped cream and some moist, brown sugar.

World Restaurant Awards 2019

The original idea was simple: Try to do something different, something that celebrates the restaurant world in a new, more relevant and entertaining way…  Awards from the ground up but it took a whole decade to become a reality. These ground breaking awards celebrate the excellence, integrity and rich culture of the restaurant world.

So with much pomp and ceremony, the inaugural World Restaurant Awards were held at the Palais Brongniart in Paris on 18th February 2019. – 10 countries and 4 continents were represented. A glitzy, super chic event that celebrated not just the chefs that work their magic with foams, gels, skid marks on plates and liquid nitrogen, instead these awards celebrated many other aspects of the restaurant experience.

Over 100 judges from 37 countries made up a cosmopolitan, multicultural, globetrotting, gender balanced, panel of experts … chefs, restauranteurs, influential figures in old and new media, film makers, book publishers, food scientists, activists, campaigners. They chose from 18 different categories including ……

No reservations required – for places where it is possible to turn up without a booking. This award went to Mocoto,  Sao Paulo Brazil

House special , restaurants defined by one particular dish was won by Lido 84 on the edge of Lake Garda in Italy for their simple but iconic pasta dish, Cacio e Pepe en Vessie (cooked in a pigs bladder).

Multi starred Alain Ducasse won the Tattoo-free chef of the Year.

The Tweezer- free kitchen went to Bo.Lan in Bangkok.

The Pop Up Event of the Year was awarded to the Refugee Food Festivals.

New arrival of the Year went to Inua – in Tokyo.

Ethical Thinking, rewarding environmental and social responsibility to Refettorio – various locations. Food for Soul, an Italian not-for-profit organisation that addresses food waste, loneliness, and social isolation through community meals.

Instagram Account of the Year was won by another 3 star Michelin chef, Alain Passard of Arpege in Paris.

Off map destination was won by Wolfgart, a 20 seat restaurant in a 130 year old white washed fisherman’s cottage on the edge of the ocean in Paternoster on the Western Cape.

Wolfgart also won Restaurant of the Year. Chef owner Kobus Van der Merve said ‘by keeping it small, we keep it sustainable’.

Red-Wine serving Restaurant – for those who shun current fashion by championing the red grape. This category was won by a cult London wine bar called Noble Rot.

Ireland was nominated in two categories and won both….

Collaboration of the Year went to Cork’s own Denis Cotter of Café Paradiso and farmer Ultan Walsh from Gortnanain Farm in Nohoval who has been growing beautiful produce for Café Paradiso for over 18 years. Denis accepted his award in beautiful, fluent gaelic.

Much to our excitement, The Trolley of the Year Award went to Ballymaloe House.  JR Ryle, who is the passionate young pastry chef and I proudly accepted the award on behalf of Ballymaloe and dedicated it to the memory of Myrtle Allen whose idea it was to have a trolley groaning with delicious desserts for her guests to choose from. She and her husband Ivan opened their home as a restaurant in 1964.

Everything about the ‘Oscars of Food Awards’ was super exciting. Chefs from all over the world flew in to give us a taste of their special little dish. The finest pata negra was carved off the bone into paper thin wisps, hundreds of oysters were shucked, tender abalone, black pepper soft shelled crabs, tantilizing tacos, chilli crab beignets and delicious coconut madelines, warm from the oven made by Cheryl Koh from Singapore, who promised me the recipe.

But perhaps what impressed me most was the short film by perennialfarm.org shown at the beginning of the evening which reminded us cooks and chefs, what restaurants can do to combat climate change.

Chefs can help by sourcing from climate friendly farms and ranches.

Going carbon neutral with zero ‘foot print’.

Composting

By conserving energy and reducing consumption and waste.

Spreading the message that food can be a solution…. www.perennialfarm.com

It’s sooo worth thinking about how we can all do our bit….

Meanwhile here are some perennial favourites from the world famous Ballymaloe House sweet trolley.

Orange Mousse with Dark Chocolate Wafers

This mousse sounds slightly ‘retro’ now, but everyone loves it when we serve it on the sweet trolley at Ballymaloe.

Serves 6-8

2 organic oranges (1 1/2 if very large)

4 eggs (preferably free-range)

21/2 ozs (70g) castor sugar

2 teaspoons gelatine

2 tablespoons water

1 organic lemon

8 fl ozs (225ml) whipped cream

 

Chocolate Wafers

2 ozs (50g) best quality dark chocolate

 

Decoration

2 oranges

8 fl ozs (225ml) whipped cream

a pinch of castor sugar

 

Wash and dry the oranges; grate the rind on the finest part of a stainless steel grater.  Put into a bowl with 2 eggs, 2 egg yolks and the castor sugar.  Whisk to a thick mousse, preferably with an electric mixer.  Put 3 tablespoons (3 American tablespoons + 3 teaspoons) of water in a little bowl, measure the gelatine carefully and sprinkle over the water.  Leave to “sponge” for a few minutes until the gelatine has soaked up the water and feels spongy to the touch.  Put the bowl into a saucepan of simmering water and allow the gelatine to dissolve completely.  All the granules should be dissolved and it should look perfectly clear.

Meanwhile, squeeze the juice from the 2 oranges and 1 lemon, measure and if necessary bring up to 1/2 pint (300ml/1 cups) with water.  Stir a little of the juice into the gelatine and then mix well the remainder of the juice.  Gently stir this into the mousse; cool in the fridge, stirring regularly.  When the mousse is just beginning to set around the edges, fold in the softly whipped cream.  Whisk the 2 egg whites stiffly and fold in gently.   Pour into a glass bowl or into individual bowls.  Cover and allow to set for 3-4 hours in the fridge, or better still overnight.

Meanwhile make the chocolate wafers.  Melt the chocolate in a bowl over barely simmering water.  Stir until quite smooth.  Spread on a Silpat mat or a heavy baking tray.  Put into a cold place until stiff enough to cut in square or diamond shapes.

 

While the chocolate is setting, make the orange-flavoured cream.  Grate the rind from half an orange, add into the whipped cream and add a pinch of castor sugar to taste.  Peel and segment the oranges.  Decorate the top of the mousse with orange segments and pope on some rosettes of orange-flavoured cream.  Peel the chocolate wafers off the card and use them to decorate the edges of the mousse.

 

Toasted Almond Meringue with Chocolate and Rum Cream

This mixture can of course be halved but you’ll need to use a hand held electric whisk rather than a food mixer to create the volume.

Serves 12

 

75g (3oz) almonds

4 egg whites

225g (8oz) icing sugar

 

Filling

50g (2oz) good quality dark chocolate (62%)

25g (1oz) unsweetened chocolate (85%)

2 tablespoons rum

2 tablespoons single cream

600ml (1 pint) softly whipped cream

Decoration

5 toasted almonds or chocolate curls

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

Check that the bowl is dry, spotlessly clean and free of grease. Blanch and skin the almonds. Grind or chop them coarsely – they should not be ground to a fine powder but should be left slightly coarse and gritty. Toast in the preheated oven for 4-5 minutes until golden.

Reduce the temperature to 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2.

Mark four 7 1/2 inch (19cm) circles or heart shapes on silicone paper or a prepared baking sheet. Mix all the sugar with the egg whites at once and beat until the mixture forms stiff dry peaks, 5 – 8 minutes. Fold in the almonds. Divide the mixture between the 2 circles or heart shapes and spread evenly with a palette knife. Bake immediately in the preheat oven for 45 minutes or until crisp, they should peel off the paper easily.  Turn off the oven and allow to cool.

To make the filling

Melt the chocolate with the rum and single cream very gently in a very cool oven, or over hot water. Cool and then fold the mixture into the softly whipped cream.

To Assemble

Sandwich the meringues together with most of the filling. Decorate with rosettes of the remaining chocolate and rum cream stuck with halved toasted almonds or chocolate curls.

 

Toasted Almond Meringue with Raspberries

Substitute 10fl oz (300ml) softly whipped cream and 12oz (350g) fresh Autumn raspberries for chocolate and rum cream in the recipe above and use to fill the meringue as above.

 

Ballymaloe Praline Ice-Cream with Praline Brittle

The praline can be made from almonds, hazelnuts, pecans or even salted peanuts. If this is too expensive in these credit-crunch times, make the brown bread ice cream below, which gives a similar texture for a much lower price.

Serves 6 – 8

 

110g (4oz) sugar

225ml (8fl oz) water

4 egg yolks

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1.2 litres (2 pints) softly whipped cream

 

Praline

110g (4oz) unskinned almonds

110g (4oz) sugar

 

Put the egg yolks into a bowl and whisk until light and fluffy (keep the whites for meringues).  Combine the sugar and water in a small heavy bottomed saucepan, stir over heat until the sugar is completely dissolved, then remove the spoon and boil the syrup until it reaches the ‘thread’ stage, 106-113°C (223-236°F). It will look thick and syrupy; when a metal spoon is dipped in, the last drops of syrup will form thin threads.  Pour this boiling syrup in a steady stream onto the egg yolks, whisking all the time. Add vanilla extract and continue to whisk until it becomes a thick creamy white mousse. Fold the softly whipped cream into the mousse, pour into a bowl, cover and freeze. Meanwhile make the praline.  Put the unskinned almonds with the sugar into a heavy saucepan over a low heat until the sugar gradually melts and turn a caramel colour, DO NOT STIR, when this stage is reached and not before, carefully rotate the pan until the nuts are all covered with caramel.  When the nuts go ‘pop’, pour this mixture onto a lightly oiled Swiss roll tin or marble slab. Allow to get quite cold, when the praline is quite hard, crush in a food processor or with a rolling pin, the texture should be quite coarse and gritty.

 

After about 1 1/2 hours when the ice cream is just beginning to set, fold in the 4 tablespoons of praline powder and freeze again. If you fold in the praline too early it will sink to the bottom of the ice cream. To serve, scoop out into balls with an ice cream scoop. Serve in an ice bowl, sprinkle with the remainder of the praline powder.

 

Hazelnut Praline Ice-Cream

Substitute skinned hazelnuts for almonds in the above recipe and proceed as above.

 

Ballymaloe Ice Bowl

The ice bowl was Myrtle Allen’s brilliant solution to keeping the ice-cream cold during the evening  on the sweet trolley in the restaurant.   I quote from “The Ballymaloe Cookbook”.

 

“It took me twelve years to find the solution to keeping ice cream cold on the sweet trolley in my restaurant.   At first we used to unmould and decorate our ices on to a plate.  This was alright on a busy night when they got eaten before melting.  On quieter occasions the waitresses performed relay races from the dining-room to the deep freeze.  I dreamed about 19th Century ice boxes filled from ice houses, to my husband’s increasing scorn, and then I thought I had a solution.   A young Irish glass blower produced beautiful hand-blown glass cylinders which I filled with ice-cream and fitted into beautiful tulip shaped glass bowls.  These I filled with ice cubes.  Six months later, however, due to either the stress of the ice or the stress of the waitresses, my bowls were gone and so was my money.

In desperation I produced an ice bowl.  It turned out to be a stunning and practical presentation for a restaurant trolley or a party buffet”

 

To make a Ballymaloe Ice Bowl

Take two bowls, one about double the capacity of the other.   Half fill the big bowl with cold water.   Float the second bowl inside the first.   Weight it down with water or ice cubes until the rims are level.  Place a square of fabric on top and secure it with a strong rubber band or string under the rim of the lower bowl, as one would tie on a jam pot cover.   Adjust the small bowl to a central position.   The cloth holds it in place.   Put the bowls on a Swiss roll tin and place in a deep freeze, if necessary re-adjusting the position of the small bowl as you put it in.   After 24 hours or more take it out of the deep freeze.

Remove the cloth and leaves for 15-20 minutes, by which time the small bowl should lift out easily.   Then try to lift out the ice-bowl.  It should be starting to melt slightly from the outside bowl, in which case it will slip out easily.  If it isn’t, then just leave for 5 or 10 minutes more, don’t attempt to run it under the hot or even cold tap, or it may crack.  If you are in a great rush, the best solution is to wring out a tea-towel in hot water and wrap that around the large bowl for a few minutes.   Altogether the best course of action is to perform this operation early in the day and then fill the ice bowl with scoops of ice-cream, so that all you have to do when it comes to serving the ice-cream is to pick up the ice bowl from the freezer and place it on the serving dish.   Put a folded serviette under the ice bowl on the serving dish to catch any drips.

At Ballymaloe, Myrtle Allen surrounds the ice bowl with vine leaves in Summer, scarlet Virginia creeper in Autumn and red-berried holly at Christmas.  However, as you can see I’m a bit less restrained and I can’t resist surrounding it with flowers!

However you present it, ice-cream served in a bowl of ice like this usually draws gasps of admiration when you bring it to the table.

In the restaurant we make a new ice-bowl every night, but at home when the dessert would be on the table for barely half an hour, it should be possible to use the ice bowl several times.  As soon as you have finished serving, give the bowl a quick wash under the cold tap and get it back into the freezer again.  This way you can often get 2 or 3 turns from a single ice bowl.

Note

Don’t leave a serving spoon resting against the side of the bowl or it will melt a notch in the rim.

 

Alison’s Chocolate Tart

This tart is best made the night before if possible.

 

Sweet Pastry (line 1 x 9 1/2 tin)

175g (6ozs) plain flour

75g (3ozs) butter, cold and cubed

25g (1oz) castor sugar

15g (1/2 oz) icing sugar

2 – 3 tablespoons egg, beaten

 

In a food processor, pulse together the butter, sugar and flour to give coarse, ‘flat’ breadcrumb texture.   Add egg and pulse again until the pastry comes together.  Tip onto a sheet of cling film, form into a roll and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

 

To line tin

Roll the pastry between 2 sheets of clingfilm.  Invert into the tin and mould into ring.  Cover with cling film and let rest in fridge for 30 minutes or freeze until needed.

 

To blind bake, preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4, remove cling film, line the pastry case with baking parchment and beans and bake for 20-25 mins approx. Remove from the oven and brush with egg wash. Return to the oven for 2-3 minutes further to dry off. The tart base should be fully cooked.  Let case cool, patch any cracks.

 

Filling

200g (7ozs) dark chocolate (we use Callebaut, 52%)

150g (5ozs) butter

3 organic, free-range egg yolks

2 organic, free-range eggs

40g (1 1/2 ozs) castor sugar

 

Melt chocolate and butter together – either over a bain marie or carefully in a heat proof bowl in the oven.  With electric beaters, beat the eggs, yolks and sugar until pale and thick – about 5 minutes.  Fold in chocolate and beat briefly to amalgamate.  Pour into blind baked case and bake at 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5 for 6 minutes. It should still be slightly molten.  Cool completely and serve.

 

Rhubarb Fool

Serves 6 approximately

 

450g (1lb) red rhubarb, cut into chunks

175g (6oz) sugar

2 tablespoons water

225 – 300ml softly whipped cream

 

Put the rhubarb into a stainless saucepan with the sugar and water, stir, cover, bring to the boil and simmer until soft, 20 minutes approx.  Stir with a wooden spoon until the rhubarb dissolves into a mush. Allow to get quite cold. Fold in the softly whipped cream to taste. Serve chilled with shortbread biscuits.

 

 Jane’s Biscuits – Shortbread Biscuits

Makes 25

 

6oz (175g) white flour or Spelt

4oz (110g) butter

1 1/2oz (40g) castor sugar

 

Put the flour and sugar into a bowl, rub in the butter as for shortcrust pastry. Gather the mixture together and knead lightly. Roll out to 1/4 inch (7mm) thick.  Cut into rounds with a 2 1/2 inch (6cm) cutter or into heart shapes.  Bake in a moderate oven 180°C/350ºF/Gas Mark 4 to pale brown, 8-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the biscuits. Remove and cool on a rack.

 

Serve with fruit fools, compotes and ice creams.

Note: Watch these biscuits really carefully in the oven. Because of the high sugar content they burn easily. They should be a pale golden – darker will be more bitter.

However if they are too pale they will be undercooked and doughy.  Cool on a wire rack.

 

 

 

Ballymaloe Alumni

The Ballymaloe Cookery School was founded in September 1983 and since then thousands of students from all over the world have ‘kick started’ their careers by doing a 12 Week Certificate Course, a full-on immersive experience, of hands-on cooking classes, breadmaking, preserving, pickling, butchery, sausage and charcuterie making,  fermenting, foraging, cheese making, sowing and growing..…

By now they are scattered all over the world, using the skills they learned in a myriad of ways….in restaurants, catering businesses, cooking schools, private cooking classes, food writers, magazine editors, food businesses, personal chefs, grand prix catering, TV cooking shows, ski chalets, on yachts and liners, in multinational food companies, upmarket supermarkets, independent delis, artisan bakeries, gastro pubs, on and on it goes.

I’m always intrigued by the extraordinary variety of ways they use their knowledge and cooking skills around the globe. So when I’m travelling I often shoot off an email to past students with my itinerary and invite them to contact me for a convivial catch up if they are in the area, could be London, Amsterdam, Shanghai, Paris, Romania, Mumbai or any one of the 78 countries our students have come from.

It’s so fun to catch up and hear about their adventures…On a recent trip to London, we heard from several students, ate a delicious lunch at Clipstone where Daniel Morganthau and his partner Will Lander and their team do some of the best food in London.

Thomasina Miers started Wahaca serving Mexican street food in 2007 and now there are over 25 all over the UK, plus she writes a weekly column for the Saturday Guardian magazine and to cap it all off was recently honoured with an OBE for services to business – now there you are!

Stevie Parle’s first restaurant, Dock Kitchen was launched in 2009 now he’s added Rotorino, Craft London, Palatino and Pastaio to his list.

James Ramsden was awarded a Michelin Star at Pidgin in 2017.

Clare de Boer and Jess Shadbolt’s restaurant King in Manhattan is the toast of the town and recently praised by the New York Times. In Delhi, Rachel Goenka’s restaurant The Sassy Spoon has kept the flag flying in India as has Zhang Li at the Flying Fox in Shanghai.

In Dublin and Cork, readers will be familiar with Bunsen, Tom Gleeson’s much loved burger joints, Garrett Fitzgerald and James Boland who run Brother Hubbard North and South both did a 12 Week Course here at the school.

Reg White at PI on South Great George’s Street in Dublin is turning out pizzas that have punters queuing around the corner while Eoin Cluskey at Bread 41 on Pearse Street has caused a sensation for his artisan breads.

Down in Tramore, Co Waterford, Sarah Richardson has changed people’s perceptions of bread at her Seagull Bakery. Carol-Anne Rushe’s Sweet Beet in Sligo is well ahead of the curve with vegetarian and vegan food and David Dunne’s Knox is doing brilliantly on the main street.

Food Game in Dublin, run by Ross Staunton, is turning out breakfast and brunch to die for and on and on it goes…..

We are super proud of our Ballymaloe Cookery School cooks and chefs who continue to spread their wings. If you can cook you can get a job anywhere in the world, so the way to everyone’s heart is still through their tummy. The next 12 Week Course starts on April 29th and runs until July 20th 2019.

CLIPSTONE’S GRILLED CABBAGES, APPLE & CHESTNUTS

Serves 4 people

2 heads of hispi, pointed or sweetheart cabbage

4 Cox apples

1 tabelspoon of demerera sugar

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

5 fresh chestnuts

250ml good quality apple juice

1 tablespoon of double cream

180g cold, cubed unsalted butter

Fresh horseradish

 

Cut the cabbages in half. Lightly cover the base of a frying pan with vegetable oil and heat until the oil has just started smoking. Sear the cut side of each cabbage in the oil one after another until they are nice and golden brown, veering on burnt. Set the cabbages aside.
Peel and core the apples. Pop them in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water, the sugar and cinnamon. Cook them down until the apples are soft and then blitz them in a food processor with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Take a knife and pierce the brown skin of the raw chestnuts all the way the around their circumference. Either blow torch or put them under the grill or in a very hot oven until the shells crack and they are easy to peel. Peel the shells and the underlying skin off the chestnuts and then set aside.
Then reduce the apple juice in a saucepan to 1/5 of its original volume. Add the double cream and then whisk in the cubed butter, keeping it over a low heat, not letting the liquid bubble or boil. Then add a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
Line your serving dish with the warm, spiced apple puree. Finely chop the grilled cabbage, warm it in the oven and then dress it with olive oil, a pinch of salt and some lemon juice and arrange it on top of the apple puree. Dress the cabbage with the apple and butter sauce and then grate the chestnuts and some fresh horseradish over the top.

 

CLIPSTONE’S BAKEWELL TART RECIPE

For the sweet pastry

250g plain flour

138g butter, softened

120g caster sugar

1 egg

Pinch of salt

For the frangipan

250g butter, softened

250g caster sugar

3 eggs

25g plain flour

250g ground almonds

A splash of Disaronno almond liqueur (optional)

1 jar raspberry jam (we make our own, but a good shop bought jam will work perfectly)

25g (1oz) flaked almonds for sprinkling

 

To make the sweet pastry

Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until well combined. Fold in the flour and salt, and mix gently to form a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

To make the frangipan

Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the flour, ground almonds and the Disaronno (if using) and mix gently to combine. Refrigerate until needed.

To make the tart

Set the oven to 170 degrees C

You will need to lightly grease a loose bottomed 28 cm tart case.

Roll the sweet pastry to the thickness of a €1 coin, and then ease it into the tin, making sure to push it into all the sides. Trim off any excess with a knife, then prick the base of the case all over with a fork ‘blind bake’ the tart case until it is uniformly golden brown

Remove from the oven and spread a generous layer of raspberry jam around the base of the tart shell.  Cover this with a thick layer of frangipan.  It should come almost to the top of the tin, but leave a little room as it will expand when you cook it, sprinkle evenly with flaked almonds.

Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, until the frangipan has lost its wobble, cool on a wire rack.

Once cooled, sprinkle lightly with icing sugar before serving and serve with good ice cream, cream or crème fraiche.

 

Pidgin’s ‘Brown Butter Butter’
125g unsalted butter, room temperature

125g unsalted butter

2.5g milk powder

pinch of salt

handful of fresh yeast

 

Put the room temperature butter in a bowl and bring to room temperature.

Heat the remaining butter over a medium heat until it browns – you’re aiming for 170°C.

Meanwhile, once the butter is melted, add the milk powder

Cook to 170°C, whisking regularly.

When it has reached 170°C remove from heat.

ALLOW TO COOL TO 45°C

Pass through muslin and hold in a warm place.

Place the room temperature butter in the kitchen aid with the salt and the paddle and splatter guard.

Paddle at low-medium speed and slowly emulsify in the brown butter. Wrap and store in a cool place.
For the yeast crumble, put a small handful of fresh yeast onto a baking tray and bake in a hot oven until the kitchen smells like a bakery. Pulse in a blender until it forms a rough powder.
Serve the brown butter with the crumbled roasted yeast on top. Slather on warm sourdough. Repeat.

 

Sweet Beat’s Smoky Beans

A staple on the Sweet Beat menu, in the beginning this was only a breakfast option but it became so popular that we had to start serving it all day. I love to make it at home at the weekends for a big family brunch. So delicious with crusty sourdough and avocado. Double it and make a big batch to freeze.

3 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 medium white onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 tablespoons maple syrup

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tins of cannellini beans

1 tin of crushed tomatoes

Heat a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat, add in the sunflower oil, once the oil is hot, add in the onion and garlic and sweat until soft. Season with salt and pepper.

Add in the tomato paste, smoked paprika, thyme and cook for 3 minutes.

Once the spices have cooked out, add in the maple syrup and vinegar, cook for 5 minutes. Add in 100ml water and the crushed tomatoes.

Cook until rich and the sauce has thickened, about 15-20 minutes and blend until smooth.

Taste and check for seasoning, add the 2 tins of cannellini beans.

Cook for 5 minutes until beans are coated in sauce.

Serve over toasted and buttered sourdough with lashings of kale pesto, toasted seeds and organic greens.

Marmalade Season

The last few weeks have been a frenzy of marmalade making, Julia, and her team in the Farmers Market kitchen here at the Ballymaloe Cookery School, have been slicing and juicing surrounded by preserving pans of bubbling citrus peel.

The Seville and Malaga orange season is a short one – running from mid-December to the end of February so there’s still time to whizz off to the shops or Farmers Market to stock up with the bitter sweet, vitamin packed citrus before they disappear off the shelves until next year.

If your budget will stretch to it, buy more than you can – they will freeze perfectly. All you need to do is throw them into the freezer in a bag or box in the quantity you need for a batch of your favourite marmalade.

Seville Orange Marmalade is the real deal, bitter sweet, the ‘classic’, made famous by Paddington Bear. It’s stronger, sourer and tangier than preserves made from other citrus. Having said that, grapefruit, both ruby and tart, lemons, limes, clementines, tangerines, mandarins, bergamots, kumquats, alone or in combination make delicious marmalades.

How do you like yours? Marmalade is an intensely personal taste. Some, like me, enjoy it dark and bitter, others prefer it fresh and fruity, some love lots of peel, others prefer less chewy bits and more wobbly jelly.

Seville and Malaga oranges are so called, because they are indigenous to Southern Spain and grow in towns and villages along the roadside. On my first trip to Spain I was intrigued by how law-abiding the Spaniards appeared to be. They didn’t seem to pull the ripe oranges off the trees…but I soon realised that these were bitter oranges so were less appealing to eat fresh and you may be surprised to learn that Spaniards consider our passion for marmalade a bit bizarre!

Seville oranges tend to be unwaxed, so the skin will be softer and not as smooth as other citrus. Discard any that show signs of decay and seek out organic fruit. Make your marmalade in small batches – say 2- 3 kilos of fruit at a time. Make yourself a cup of coffee, find a high stool, grab a sharp knife, turn on the radio and hand slice the peel. It will be altogether better than the sludgy result one gets from the food processor or mincer, I find it therapeutic, but not everyone does. A batch a day is certainly manageable – even better if you can entice someone else to get involved in the slicing – Maybe for a ‘bit of gas’ organise a Marmalade Party with a few friends and give them a present of a pot for their input.

There’s magic in Marmalade making, not sure what it is but there’s a terrific ‘feel good’ factor when you can admire a line of glistening jars like ‘good deeds’ on your kitchen shelf. A stocked pantry to see you  through the year….

Apart from marmalade recipes there’s many good things that benefit from a few spoons of marmalade or a little bitter orange zest e.g. panna cotta, muffins or scones. Slather it over a loin of boiled bacon (remove the rind first) and pop it under the grill to make a super quick and delicious glaze.

Massage it over a chicken breast or wings with some grated ginger and a little orange juice and then there’s Marmalade steamed pudding, my father-in-law, Ivan’s favourite steamed pudding.

 

 

Old Fashioned Seville Orange Marmalade

 

Seville and Malaga oranges come into the shops after Christmas and are around for 4-5 weeks.

Makes approx. 7 lbs (3.2kg)

2lbs (900g) of Seville oranges, organic if possible

4 pints (2.3L/10 cups) water

1 organic lemon

3 1/4lbs (1.45kg/6 1/2 cups) granulated sugar (warmed)

(Note on warming sugar: The faster jam/marmalade is made the better. If you add cold sugar it will take longer to return to the boil and will taste less fresh. Heat your sugar in a stainless steel bowl in a moderate oven for about 15 minutes. Do not leave it in too long or it will start to melt).

Wash the fruit, cut in half and squeeze out the juice. Remove the membrane with a spoon, put with the pips and tie them in a piece of muslin. Slice the peel finely or coarsely, depending on how you like your marmalade. Put the peel, orange and lemon juice, bag of pips and water into a non-reactive bowl or saucepan overnight.

Next day, bring everything to the boil and simmer gently for about 2 hours until the peel is really soft and the liquid is reduced by half. Squeeze all the liquid from the bag of pips and remove it.

Add the warmed sugar and stir until all the sugar has been dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to a full rolling boil rapidly until setting point is reached 5-10 minutes approx. Test for a set, either with a sugar thermometer (it should register 220F), or with a saucer. Put a little marmalade on a cold saucer and cool for a few minutes. If it wrinkles when you push it with your finger, it’s done.

 

Allow marmalade to sit in the saucepan for 15 minutes before bottling to prevent the peel from floating.  Pot into hot sterilized jars. Cover immediately and store in a cool dry dark place.

N.B. The peel must be absolutely soft before the sugar is added, otherwise when the sugar is added it will become very hard and no amount of boiling will soften it.

 

 Kumquat Marmalade

Kumquats are expensive and fiddly to slice, but this is so worth making. I was given this recipe by an Australian friend called Kate Engel.

Kumquats can vary in sweetness so you may want to increase the sugar slightly depending on the tartness of the fruit.

 

Makes 3 x 370g (13oz) pots

 

1kg (2 1⁄4lb) kumquats

1.3kg (3lbs) sugar, warmed

Water

 

Slice the kumquats thinly crossways. Put the seeds into a small bowl with 225ml (8fl oz/1 cup) of water and leave overnight. Put the kumquats in a larger bowl with 1.5 litres (2.5 pints/6 1/4 cups) of water, cover and also leave overnight. Next day, strain the seeds and reserve the liquid (this now contains the precious pectin, which contributes to the setting of the jam). Discard the seeds. Put the kumquat mixture into a large saucepan with the reserved liquid from the seeds. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until the kumquats are very tender.  Remove the lid and reduce to between a 1/3 and 1/2 of the original volume.

Add the warmed sugar and stir until it is fully dissolved. Bring the mixture back to the boil and cook rapidly with the lid off for about 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat while testing for a set by putting a teaspoon of the mixture on a cold saucer (it should barely wrinkle when pressed with a finger).

Pour into sterilized jars. Cover, seal and store in a cool, dry place.

 

Ruby Grapefruit Marmalade

Yield 10-10 1/2 lbs (4.5 kg)

 

3 – 4 ruby grapefruit, weighing 3 lbs (1.35 kg) altogether

4 lemons

6 pints (3.4 L) water

3 1/2lbs (1.6kg) sugar, warmed

 

Wash the fruit, cut in half and squeeze out the juice.  Remove the membrane with a sharp spoon, keep aside. Cut the peel in quarters and slice the rind across rather than lengthways.  Put the juice, sliced rind and water in a bowl.

Put the pips and membrane in a muslin bag and add to the bowl.  Leave overnight.  The following day, simmer in a stainless steel saucepan with the bag of pips for 1 1/2-2 hours until the peel is really soft.  (Cover for the first hour).  The liquid should be reduced to about 1/3 of the original volume.

Then remove the muslin bag and discard. Add the warmed sugar to the soft peel, stir until the sugar has dissolved: boil until it reaches setting point, about 8-10 minutes.  Pour into sterilized jars and cover while hot.

Note: If the sugar is added before the rind is really soft, the rind will harden and no amount of boiling will soften it.

 

Rory O’Connell’s Marmalade Tart

Serves 10-12

 Pastry

 

6oz (175g) flour

4oz (110g) unsalted butter

1oz (25g/) castor sugar

2 egg yolks

 

Almond Filling

9oz (250g) soft butter, unsalted

8oz (225g) castor sugar

9oz (250g) whole almonds (If you are feeling lazy use ground almonds but it won’t taste so good.)

3 eggs

1 dessertspoon Grand Marnier

1/2 – 3/4 pot (8-12fl ozs) of homemade Seville Orange Marmalade (see recipe)

Plus 3 – 4 tablespoons marmalade

1 x 12 inch (30.5cm) tart tin with ‘pop up’ base.

Crème fraiche

 

First make the pastry.

Put the flour and butter into the food processor.  Whizz for a few seconds then add sugar and egg yolks, turn off the machine just as the pastry starts to form a ball.    Chill for 1/2-1 hour.  Line the flan ring with pastry, fill with paper and baking beans, chill for 15 minutes in a refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Bake blind for 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile make the almond filling.   Blanch the almonds in boiling water, remove the skins and grind in a liquidiser or food processor.

Whisk the butter with the sugar until soft and fluffy, add the ground almonds, eggs and Grand Marnier if available.   Spread the marmalade over the base of the tart.  Spread the almond filling over the top.

Reduce the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3, and bake for approx. 40 minutes.   Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Glaze the top of the tart with 3 or 4 tablespoons of Seville orange marmalade.

Serve with a blob of crème fraiche.

Clodagh McKenna

Clodagh McKenna and I go back a very long way. In, 2000, Clodagh enrolled in a 12 Week Certificate Course here at the Ballymaloe Cookery School, she was always bubbling with excitement and threw herself enthusiastically into learning how to cook delicious food. I remember how she was always ready to try out new ideas and delighted to get involved in any new project. After the course she went to Ballymaloe House and loved to work side by side with Mrs Allen, as we all called Myrtle.

The pioneering generation of artisan producers, particularly Giana and Tom Ferguson, Sally Barnes and of course with late Veronica Steele were also sources of inspiration. Clodagh’s enthusiasm was, and still is infectious.

The Midleton Farmers Market, started in June 2000 and was quickly oversubscribed. Even at that stage Clodagh was a budding entrepreneur, so when she couldn’t get a stall of her own I made a space on the side of the Ballymaloe Cookery School stall so she could sell her delicious homemade chicken liver pâté. From those beginnings she went on to do a TV program on The Farmers Markets with RTE and published her first book to accompany the series, The Irish Farmers Market Cookbook in 2009, and ‘the rest they say is history’…

She’s gone on with boundless energy to open several restaurants, do innumerable TV appearances both here and in the US and the UK including Rachel Ray, The Today Show and Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch.

Her latest book Clodagh’s Suppers exudes the essence of Clodagh, who loves laying a beautiful table almost as much as cooking delicious food – lots of super tips. Here she concentrates on menus for informal suppers rather than dinner and there is much to whet our appetites. Flowers, lighting and music are all part of the ambience.

Clodagh’s handwritten menus are built primarily around the seasons and there’s a page of supper suggestions for every new season but of course she encourages us to mix and match as we fancy, how about a Spring Gathering Supper, a Wild Garden Forest Supper, a West Cork Foraged Supper, a Summer Garden Supper or maybe an Edible Flower Supper…….?

Clodagh continues to create and test recipes every week for her U Tube channel and for her Evening Standard column.

Clodagh’s Suppers published by Kyle Books has already become a favourite….

 

 

Salmon Fishcakes with Horseradish Cream

 

SERVES 4

 

FOR THE SALMON FISHCAKES

400g floury potatoes, boiled and mashed

400g skinless salmon fillet, poached and flaked

2 spring onions, finely chopped

2 teaspoons capers

1 tablespoon finely chopped dill

grated zest and juice of ½ lemon

50g butter

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

FOR THE FRESH HORSERADISH CREAM

100ml crème fraîche

1 tablespoon peeled and grated

fresh horseradish root

grated zest and juice of ½ lemon

2 teaspoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 lemon, cut into wedges, plus a

bunch of watercress (optional), to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.

 

Place all the ingredients for the fishcakes except the butter in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mix until all the ingredients are well combined.

Divide the fishcake mixture into four balls and shape each into a patty.

Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the fishcakes and brown on both sides. Transfer the fishcakes to a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.

 

While the fishcakes are baking, mix all the ingredients for the horseradish cream together in a small bowl, and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, place each fishcake on a warmed plate with a spoonful of the horseradish cream and a wedge of lemon, plus a handful of watercress, if you wish.

From Clodagh’s Suppers by Clodagh McKenna. Published by Kyle Books

 

Chicken Liver Pâté

 

Clodagh started making this pâté about 16 years ago when she first had her stall at the Midleton Farmers Market. It is one of her classic recipes.

 

SERVES 10

 

450g butter, softened

675g chicken livers, cleaned

3 tablespoons brandy

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

sea salt and freshly ground black

pepper

TO SERVE

Cucumber pickle

thinly sliced sourdough

 

Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add a knob of the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the chicken livers and cook for about 15 minutes or until thoroughly cooked with no trace of red remaining, stirring occasionally and breaking up the livers with a wooden spoon. Transfer the cooked livers to a blender or food-processor.

Add the brandy, garlic and thyme to the frying pan and deglaze the pan by scraping up all the tiny pieces of meat and juices from the livers with a whisk – the base of the pan is where the real flavour is! Add the brandy mixture to the blender or food-processor and process until well blended. Leave to cool.

Gradually add the remaining butter to the cooled chicken liver mixture and blend until all the butter has been incorporated and you have a silky, smooth consistency.

Transfer the chicken liver pâté to a large dish, cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours until set.

Serve the pâté with pickles and thinly sliced sourdough toast.

From Clodagh’s Suppers by Clodagh McKenna. Published by Kyle Books

 

Butternut Squash & Harissa Hummus

Clodagh has created a delicious twist on the traditional hummus.

 

SERVES 6

400g butternut squash, peeled,

deseeded and cut into chunks

3 garlic cloves, unpeeled

100ml water

3 tablespoons tahini paste

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus

extra for drizzling

1 tablespoon harissa, plus extra for drizzling

400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

sea salt and freshly ground black

pepper

TO SERVE

2 wedges of lemon

1 teaspoon pumpkin seeds

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.

 

Place the butternut squash chunks and whole garlic cloves in a roasting tray, season well with salt and pepper and add the water. Cover the tray with foil and bake for about 45 minutes until the squash is tender. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Squeeze the roasted garlic from their skins into a blender or food-processor along with the squash and any juices from the roasting tray. Add all the remaining ingredients, season with salt and blend to a paste.

Scrape the hummus into a bowl. Drizzle with extra harissa, olive oil and pumpkin seeds. Serve with a couple of lemon wedges on the side.

From Clodagh’s Suppers by Clodagh McKenna. Published by Kyle Books

 

Coconut & Lemon Cloud Cake

MAKES 1 CAKE

 

A beautifully light, fluffy cake scented with the exotic flavour of coconut and fresh, citrusy lemon, this is the perfect finale for a pungent wild garlic supper to cleanse the palate, although it works equally well as an afternoon or celebration cake. You can use coconut butter instead of dairy butter and/or coconut flour in place of the plain wheat flour. And for convenience, you can make and bake the cake layers a couple of days ahead and then prepare the frosting and assemble the cake on the day you are planning to serve it.

 

FOR THE CAKE

300g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

300g caster sugar

300g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing

250ml coconut milk

2 eggs

juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR THE FROSTING

200g unsalted butter, softened

250g icing sugar, sifted

grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon coconut oil

200g raw coconut flakes, to decorate

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4, and lightly grease two 20cm loose-based sandwich tins.

For the cake, sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix in the sugar. In a separate bowl, combine the melted butter, coconut milk, eggs, lemon juice, coconut oil and vanilla extract and whisk together thoroughly. Then add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and beat together until well combined.

Divide the cake batter evenly between the prepared tins and level the surface with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for about 25 minutes or until well risen and golden.

Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for about 15 minutes. Then remove them from the tins and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, place all the ingredients in a bowl or the bowl of the stand mixer and use an electric hand mixer or the paddle attachment on the stand mixer to beat on a high speed until light and fluffy.

To assemble, place one of the cakes, top facing downwards, on a cake plate or stand and spread with about one-third of the frosting to cover it. Add the other cake, top facing upwards, and cover the entire cake with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle raw coconut flakes all over the cake to decorate.

From Clodagh’s Suppers by Clodagh McKenna. Published by Kyle Books

Happy Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year! Are you ready for yet another celebration? These festivities go on for almost a month and red is the magic colour.

This is the ‘Year of the Pig’ which symbolises wealth. In China, every year has a zodiac animal, the cycle repeats every 12 years, making it easy to figure out whether it’s your year or not. Just check your age in multiples of 12.

For the Chinese, the Spring Festival is the most important celebration of the entire year, similar to Christmas for us westerners. It marks the coming of Spring and all the excitement and joy of new beginnings. Unlike Christmas in this part of the world, Chinese New Year is a movable feast, predicated by the Lunar rather than the Gregorian calendar. Technically it’s the longest Chinese holiday, celebrated by over 20% of the world’s population – how amazing is that!

The most significant element of the holiday is the family reunion which triggers the largest human migration in the entire world. Millions of diligent hard working people, young and old, who now live in cities, travel home to rural areas to get together with their elderly parents.

Apparently, desperate singles often resort to hiring a fake boy or girlfriend to take home to allay their parents’ concerns – continuing the family name is one of the most important elements of Chinese culture, a reason why the Chinese have such a huge population…

Lively music and dance plus copious quantities of delicious food are important elements of the festivities. There are spectacular parades in Chinatowns all over the world – traditional lion and unicorn dances, dragon parades, bell ringing and lots of fun and fireworks. Children receive gifts of red envelopes stuffed with lucky money.

The feasting and excitement will continue until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the Chinese New Year – the first new moon of the Lunar year so you’ll see lots of red lanterns in all shapes and sizes, widely available in Asian shops, if you want to have fun and enter into the spirit….

A myriad of superstitions are attached to the New Year…People ‘spring clean’ the house on the day before Chinese New Year to sweep away bad luck and make way for good vibes.

Showering is taboo on New Year’s Day, as is throwing out rubbish. Hair cutting too is out, so hair salons are closed…

There will be celebrations in Dublin, Cork, and Belfast so check it out. Cork which has been twinned with Shanghai since 2005, hosted its first Chinese New Year Festival on February 4th. Many iconic buildings around the world, including the Mansion House in Dublin and City Hall in Cork will be illuminated in red to mark the beginning of Chinese New Year.

Lots of foods are associated with Chinese New Year, particularly dumplings. Spring rolls are universally loved, easy to make and when fried resemble gold bars. Each food is symbolic in some way, long noodles symbolise longevity…Citrus are also considered to be lucky.

Several festive desserts are also much loved, Tangyuan a type of rice ball, sounds like reunion in Chinese so they are favourites. As is Nian Gao, a type of rice cake which symbolises success. Fa gao – is a hybrid of a muffin and a sponge cake, the name means ‘get rich’ so everyone wants some of those too. Some of these desserts can be an acquired taste for non-Chinese but if you get an opportunity, do taste them.

I’ve been to China several times, so I’m even more excited about Chinese New Year and am planning a little Chinese feast to celebrate.

Those who are born in the Year of the Pig, may want to check out the Chinese zodiac. Your lucky numbers are 2, 5 and 8, Lucky colours are yellow, grey, brown and gold and lucky directions are southeast and northeast…how about that….

Seek out your local Chinese restaurant, better still invite a few friends around to enjoy a home cooked Chinese meal, and don’t forget to wish our Chinese friends ‘In Nian Kuai le’ – ‘Happy New Year’.

Enjoy and Happy New Year of the – Pig the symbol of wealth.

Chinese Dumplings

Deh-ta Hsiung, one of my heroes, was the first Chinese chef to teach at the Ballymaloe Cookery School. This is one of his many dumpling recipes, they can be served poached in broth or transformed into pot stickers.

Makes 80-90 dumplings

For the dough:

450g (1lb) plain white flour

About 425ml (3/4 pint) water

Flour for dusting

For the filling:

675g (1 1/2 lbs) Chinese leaf

450g (1lb) minced heritage pork

2 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice wine

1 tablespoon sesame oil

Sieve the flour into a bowl, slowly pour in the water and mix to a firm dough. Knead until soft and smooth. Cover with a damp cloth and let stand for 25-30 minutes.

Separate the Chinese leaves and blanch in a pan of boiling salted water for 2 – 3 minutes or until soft. Drain well, finely chop, cool and mix with the rest of the ingredients to make the filling.

Lightly dust a work surface with dry flour. Knead the dough, roll into a long sausage about 2.5cm (1in) in diameter. Cut into 80 -90 small pieces. Flatten each piece with the palm of your hand, then use a rolling pin to roll each piece into a thin circle about 6cm(2 ½ in) in diameter.

Put about 1 ½ tablespoons of the filling in the centre of each circle. Fold into a semi-circle, and pinch the edges firmly so that the dumpling is tightly sealed. Place the dumplings on a floured tray and cover with a damp cloth until ready for cooking. (Any uncooked dumplings should be frozen immediately rather than refrigerated).

Bring 1 litre (1 ¾ pints) water to a fast rolling boil. Drop about 20 dumplings, one by one into the water. Stir gently with chopsticks or a wooden spoon to prevent them sticking together. Cover and bring back to the boil. Uncover and add about 50ml  (2 floz) cold water, then bring back to the boil once more (uncovered). Repeat this process twice more. Remove and drain the dumplings, and serve hot with a dipping sauce. Any leftovers should be re-heated, not by poaching, but by shallow frying them, then they become pot stickers..

Chinese Chive Omelette

Super tasty and easy to make, scatter with garlic chive flowers which are just coming into season.

Serves 2

5 organic eggs

40-50g Chinese or garlic chives or wild garlic

¼ teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon fish sauce

½ – 1 teaspoon oyster sauce

Generous tablespoon peanut oil

 

Accompaniment

Soy sauce, optional

Slice the chives into 5mm pieces. Whisk the eggs together in a bowl with the other ingredients. Add the chopped chives and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Heat a wok or a 25cm frying pan over a high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the base. Drop in a teaspoon full of the mixture to test the seasoning. Taste and tweak if necessary.

Pour the egg mixture into the hot wok or pan, swirl to coat the base evenly.

Cook for a couple of minutes to brown the base lightly. Flip over to cook the other side. When almost set, – 2-3 minutes slide out onto a hot serving plate. Divide into quarters sprinkle with garlic chive flowers and serve with soy sauce.

Alternatively make 2 smaller omelettes.

 

Chinese Noodle Salad

Serves 6-8

8 ozs (225g) Chinese egg noodles

6 ozs (170g) sugar peas (mangetout)

4 spring onions

3 ozs (85g) roasted peanuts, skinned and coarsely chopped

1-2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh coriander

8-12 ozs (225-340g) cooked peeled shrimps

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Spicy Dressing

Generous teaspoon freshly grated ginger

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 green chillies, seeded and finely diced

2 teaspoons sugar

4 fl ozs (100ml) soy sauce

3 tablespoons  rice wine vinegar

3 tablespoons sunflower oil

12 tablespoons sesame seed oil

 

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil.

Meanwhile make the dressing, put all the ingredients into a bowl, mix well.

Add salt to the fast boiling water, pop in the noodles. Stir to separate and cook until al dente – 4-6 minutes approx.

Drain, rinse with hot water and drain well again.

Transfer the noodles to a large bowl, add the dressing and toss well. Leave aside to marinade for an hour or more.

Meanwhile prepare the other ingredients. String the sugar peas and cook in boiling salted water until al dente, 2-3 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water, spread out on a baking tray in a single layer. Cut each mangetout into 2 or 3 pieces.

To assemble

Add the sugar peas, shrimps, spring onions, half the coriander and most of the peanuts to the marinated noodles, toss well. Taste and correct seasoning.

Turn into a shallow serving bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining peanuts and freshly chopped coriander and serve.

 

Sticky Chinese Chicken Thighs

Serves 4

 

8 chicken thighs, skin on and bone in

4 tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

thumb-sized knob of ginger, grated

2 garlic cloves, grated

bunch spring onions, chopped

50g (2oz) cashew nuts, toasted

 

To Serve

plain boiled rice (to serve)

 

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

Arrange the chicken thighs in a large roasting tin and slash the skin 2-3 times on each thigh.

Mix together the hoisin sauce, sesame oil, honey, five-spice powder, ginger, garlic and some salt and pepper.  Pour over the chicken and toss to coat – allow to marinate for 2 hours, or overnight if you have time.

Roast in the preheated oven, skin-side up for 35 minutes, basting as least once during cooking.  Sprinkle with toasted cashew nuts and spring onions.  Serve with rice.

 

Chinese Pork sausages

2 lb (900g) streaky pork, minced

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon 5 spice powder

12 tabespoon soy sauce

5 fl ozs (150ml) red wine or brandy

10 ft sausage strings (if using)

 

Marinate the minced pork with the salt, sugar, spice, soy sauce and wine for at least eight hours or overnight. Mix well, fry off a little knob to taste, correct seasoning if necessary.

Feed into sausage skins or roll into skinless sausages.  Fry immediately until golden on all sides or hang up the sausages to dry for three to four days.  When dry – store the sausages in a fridge, they will keep for several weeks, or in a freezer for four months.

The Future of Irish Meat….response to the EAT Lancet Report

I love a good steak from time to time, not a huge one, but a juicy piece of thick sirloin with crisp yellow fat, cooked medium rare for perfection….I love it when each mouthful tastes really beefy and memorable so I feel like repeating over and over again “this is such a delicious steak”…

Irish farmers and family butchers have been reeling for the past few weeks from a ‘triple whammy’ of challenges.  The continuing uncertainty around Brexit, the increasingly vocal and visible vegan movement and last but certainly not least, the dramatic findings and recommendations of the EAT Lancet Report.

We’re in the midst of a climate change crisis…… Business as usual is no longer an option….

The landmark Lancet Report concludes that “a great food transformation” is urgently needed by 2050 when the world’s population is expected to have grown to 10 billion…..

Professor Tim Lang of the City University in London, one of the 36 researchers involved, stressed that without radical change in our eating habits, current trends will lead to further loss of biodiversity, increased pollution, deforestation and irreversible climate change….

Professor Johan Rockstrom from Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany who co-led the commission said “nothing less than a new global agricultural revolution is needed to deliver healthy diets for a growing and wealthier world population”

Our current diet is causing an epidemic of obesity, heart disease and diabetes….

So to save the planet for future generations, production and consumption of red meat, dairy, eggs and sugar must half over the next three decades. Instead, we are encouraged to eat twice as many vegetables, grains, pulses, fruit and nuts…..

Sometimes nothing quite hits the spot like a really good piece of beef and really good it needs to be….and certainly can be, but sadly not always is…

Ireland, favoured by nature, can grow grass like virtually nowhere else in the world so the quality of our beef, lamb and dairy products is exceptional.

We boast about our ‘grass fed’, pasture raised beef but what exactly is the definition of grass fed….?

A growing number of sceptics are quick to point out that much of our beef is finished indoors on genetically modified grain imported from South America. Even more surprising are the increasing number of intensive units where animals are confined indoors for virtually all their lives in situations similar to the American feed lots.  Critics emphasise that intensive food production systems contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution and significant animal welfare issues.

There would appear to be an urgent need for clarity around the term ‘grass fed’.

Farmers who produce exceptional beef cattle on small family farms ought to be identified and paid more for their produce.

Beleaguered farmers may be reluctant to accept that for a variety of health and environmental reasons, significant numbers are already choosing to eat less meat.

When they do decide to treat themselves, they are searching for the ‘wow’ factor.  Meat from heritage breeds, humanely reared, well hung and nutrient dense.  It’s a fast growing movement that’s not going away any time soon.  Neither is the rise and intensity of veganism and concerned though I am on health grounds, at a time when so much of our mass produced food is nutritionally deficient, its difficult to argue with some of the reasoning in terms of animal welfare and climate change.

Now that there has been time to mull over the EAT Lancet Report, a number of imminent scientists are urging caution before making widespread dietary recommendations. Remember the scientific advice we were given on low fat and eggs which four decades later turned out to be completely erroneous….

Meat and dairy products are an important source of nutrients and animals are a very important part of many farming systems.

Less is fine but “let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater” or bash Leo Varadkar for “admitting” that he is a flexitarian.  We are all flexitarians now and in my book it’s a brilliantly healthy way to eat, provided it’s REAL FOOD – not the ultra-processed edible food like substances that 46.9% of Irish people are eating at present according to a study in the Journal of Public Health Nutrition.

Politicians too, realise that public opinion is shifting rapidly, a grassroots revolution is underway, we want to see change – more sustainable food production systems where humans can co-exist with nature without causing potentially catastrophic damage to our planet.

The farming community too realise that the advice they’ve been given to maximise yields at all costs no longer stands up to scrutiny and is ‘costing the earth’ They are eager to play their part but need sage guidance and financial support to transition to climate friendly farming.

So this week, some of my favourite beef recipes to enjoy occasionally.

 

Kheema …..Indian Mince

This is a riff on Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe in An Introduction to Indian Cooking. According to Madhur this is the first Indian dish all Indian students abroad learn to make. It can be cooked plain or with potatoes, peas or mushrooms and is super tasty.

Seves 6

 

1lb onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 stick cinnamon, about 2 inches long

4 whole cloves

6 black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

1-2 hot red peppers to taste (optional)

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1x 14oz tin of chopped tomatoes or 4-5 fresh ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped

2lbs finely minced lamb or minced beef

¼ pint plus 4 tablespoons beef stock

2 teaspoons salt

Lemon juice

 

Place chopped onions, garlic, and ginger in blender with 3 tbsps water and blend to a really smooth paste (this will take about a minute). Set aside.

Heat oil in a 10-12 inch frying-pan over medium heat. When hot, add the cinnamon stick, cloves, black peppercorns, bay leaf, and then the chilli peppers.

In about 10 seconds, when the peppers turn dark, add the paste from the blender, careful it may splutter. Fry for about 10 minutes, adding a sprinkling of beef stock or water (3-4 tablespoons) if it begins to stick.

Add the dry roasted and ground coriander, cumin, and turmeric, and fry another 2-3 minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes, increase the heat and fry for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add in the minced meat and the salt. Fry on high heat about 5 minutes. Breaking up any lumps in the mince, and brown it as much as you can. Add ¼ pint beef stock and a squeeze of lemon juice to taste. Bring to the boil and let it simmer gently for approximately an hour.

To serve: Degrease if necessary. Serve the Kheema with rice or Indian flat bread like chapatis, or parathas, and any vegetables you fancy.

 

Pan Grilled Steak with Chipotle Butter

Sirloin is more textural than fillet, with lots of flavour, but you can use either here.

We find a heavy-ridged cast-iron grill pan best for cooking steaks when you don’t need to make a sauce in the pan. If the weight of these steaks sounds small by your standards, the portion size can be increased and the cooking times adjusted accordingly.

Serves 8

8 Sirloin or fillet steaks

1 clove of garlic

freshly ground black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

salt

Chipotle Butter

75g (3ozs) butter

2 tablespoons chipotle chilli in adobo

8 x 8oz (225g) sirloin or fillet steaks

1 clove of garlic

a little olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

fresh watercress or rocket leaves

 

Garnish

Chopped parsley

First make the Chipotle Butter. Cream the butter in a bowl, beat in the chipotle and chopped parsley, roll into a ball in greaseproof paper, twist the ends like a Christmas cracker and refrigerate.

Prepare the steaks about 1 hour before cooking.  Cut a clove of garlic in half, rub both sides of each steak with the cut clove, grind some black pepper over the steaks and sprinkle on a few drops of olive oil. Turn the steaks in the oil and leave aside.  If using sirloin steaks, score the fat at 2.5cm (1 inch) intervals.

Heat the grill pan, season the steaks with a little salt and put them down onto the pan.

The approximate cooking times for each side of the steaks are:

 

Sirloin                  Fillet

Rare                                                  2 minutes            5 minutes

Medium rare                                   3 minutes            6 minutes

Medium                                           4 minutes            7 minutes

Well done                                        5 minutes            8-9 minutes

If using sirloin steak turn it over onto the fat and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the fat becomes crisp.  Put the steaks onto a plate and leave them rest for a few minutes in a warm place. Serve the steaks on individual serving plates with a slice of Chipotle butter melting on top and some rocket leaves on the side. Sprinkle over some chopped parsley.

French Fried Onions

A delicious accompaniment to your pan grilled steak.

1 egg white

300ml (10fl oz) milk

2 large onions, peeled

225g (8oz) seasoned flour

good-quality oil or beef dripping for deep-frying

 

Whisk the egg white lightly and add it to the milk. Slice the onion into 5mm (1/4 inch) rings around the middle.

Separate the rings and cover with the milk mixture until needed. (The leftover milk may be boiled up, thickened with roux and used for a white or parsley sauce).

 

Just before serving, heat the oil or beef dripping to 180°C (350°F).

Toss the rings a few at a time in well-seasoned flour. Deep-fry for 2–3 minutes or until golden in the hot oil.

Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot with your pan grilled steak.

 

Roast Fillet of Beef with Three Sauces

A fillet of beef is always a special treat.  It can be served hot or cold, but either way it’s easy to carve and serve.  Don’t refrigerate or you will spoil the texture and flavour of the meat.

Serves 8 – 10

 

1 whole fillet of well hung dried aged beef 2.6kg (6lb) approximately

a few cloves garlic

sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

Thyme leaves

Béarnaise Sauce (see recipe)

Horseradish Sauce (see recipe)

Aoili (see recipe)

Trim away the chain if it is still attached, use the meat for Beef Stroganoff.  Double over the meat at the tapered end and tie the fillet securely with fine butcher’s cotton twine.  Alternatively ask your butcher to do the ‘butchering’ for you.

Rub the fillet all over with a cut clove of garlic, season well with lots of freshly cracked pepper.  Season well with sea salt.

Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. This will baste the meat while cooking.

Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/gas mark 8.

Heat a cast iron pan grill to very hot.  Sear the beef until nicely browned on all sides.  Transfer it to a roasting tin and tuck a couple of sprigs of thyme underneath.

Roast for 20-25 minutes.  If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should read 118°C/235°F. The meat should feel springy to the touch and   the juice should be a pale pink when the meat is pierced with a skewer.  Remove from the oven to a carving dish.  Cover and allow to rest in a plate warming oven for 15-20 minutes by which time the juices will have redistributed themselves and the beef will be uniformly medium rare.

Serve cut into 5mm (1/4 inch) slices and serve with Béarnaise sauce, Horseradish Sauce and Aoili.

 

Béarnaise Sauce

The consistency of Béarnaise sauce should be considerably thicker than that of Hollandaise or Beurre Blanc, both of which ought to be a light coating consistency.

4 tablespoons tarragon vinegar

4 tablespoons dry white wine

2 teaspoons finely chopped shallots

A pinch of freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon freshly chopped French tarragon leaves

2 egg yolks (preferably free-range)

115-175g (4-6 oz) butter approx., salted or unsalted depending on what it is being served with

 

If you do not have tarragon vinegar to hand, use a wine vinegar and add some extra chopped tarragon.

Boil the first four ingredients together in a low heavy bottomed stainless steel saucepan until completely reduced and the pan is almost dry but not browned.  Add 1 tablespoon of cold water immediately.  Pull the pan off the heat and allow to cool for 1 or 2 minutes.

Whisk in the egg yolks and add the butter bit by bit over a very low heat, whisking all the time.  As soon as one piece melts, add the next piece; it will gradually thicken. If it shows signs of becoming too thick or slightly ‘scrambling’, remove from the heat immediately and add a little cold water.  Do not leave the pan or stop whisking until the sauce is made.  Finally add 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped French tarragon and taste for seasoning.

 

If the sauce is slow to thicken it may be because you are excessively cautious and the heat is too low.  Increase the heat slightly and continue to whisk until all the butter is added and the sauce is a thick coating consistency.  It is important to remember, however, that if you are making Béarnaise Sauce in a saucepan directly over the heat, it should be possible to put your hand on the side of the saucepan at any stage.  If the saucepan feels too hot for your hand it is also too hot for the sauce!

Another good tip if you are making Béarnaise Sauce for the first time is to keep a bowl of cold water close by so that you can plunge the bottom of the saucepan into it if it becomes too hot.

Keep the sauce warm in a Pyrex bowl over hot but not simmering water or in a Thermos flask until you want to serve it.

 

Horseradish Sauce

This is a fairly mild sauce.  If you want to really clear the sinuses, increase the amount of horseradish!  Serve with roast beef, smoked venison or smoked mackerel.

 

Serves 8 – 10

 

3 – 6 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

lots of freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

225ml (8 fl ozs) softly whipped cream

 

Put the grated horseradish into a bowl with the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard powder, salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar.  Fold in the softly whipped cream but do not over mix or it will curdle.  The sauce keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days, covered, so that it doesn’t pick up other flavours.

 

Aioli (Garlic Mayonnaise)

 

2 egg yolks, preferably free range

1-4 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 teaspoon salt

pinch of English mustard or 1/4 teaspoon French mustard

1 dessertspoon white wine vinegar

225ml (8fl.oz) oil (sunflower, arachide or olive oil or a mixture) – We use 175ml (6fl.oz) arachide oil and 50ml (2fl.oz) olive oil, alternatively use 7/1

2 teaspoons of freshly chopped parsley (optional)

 

Serve with cold cooked meats, fowl, fish, eggs and vegetables.

 

Put the egg yolks into a bowl with the mustard, garlic salt and the white wine vinegar (keep the whites to make meringues). Put the oil into a measure. Take a whisk in one hand and the oil in the other and drip the oil onto the egg yolks, drop by drop whisking at the same time. Within a minute you will notice that the mixture is beginning to thicken. When this happens you can add the oil a little faster, but don’t get too cheeky or it will suddenly curdle because the egg yolks can only absorb the oil at a certain pace. Add the chopped parsley. Taste and add a little more seasoning and vinegar if necessary.

 

If the aioli curdles it will suddenly become quite thin, and if left sitting the oil will start to float to the top of the sauce. If this happens you can quite easily rectify the situation by putting another egg yolk or 1-2 tablespoons  of boiling water into a clean bowl, then whisk in the curdled aioli, a half teaspoon at a time until it emulsifies.

 

David Tanis’s Vietnamese Pot Roast Beef Stew (Bo kho)

Bo kho is a delicious Vietnamese pot-roasted beef stew. It is not so different from a traditional French pot-au-feu, but it is spiced in a traditional Vietnamese manner, fragrant with lemongrass, star anise and cinnamon. When the meat is fork tender, carrots are added to complete the dish. If you wish, include turnips or daikon radish or potatoes. Serve it with rice, rice noodles or a freshly baked baguette.

 

Marinade

2 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce, such as Red Boat

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

2 teaspoons Chinese 5-spice powder

½ teaspoon black pepper

For the braise

1.4Kg (3lbs) beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

6 large shallots or 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

130g (4.5oz) chopped tomato, fresh or canned

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (from a 2-inch piece)

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass, tender centre only

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon annatto powder (optional)

4 star anise pods

1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick, or substitute cassia bark

1 or 2 Serrano or Thai chillies, stem on, split lengthwise

680g (1.5lbs) pounds medium carrots, peeled, cut into 2-inch chunks

4-6 thinly sliced scallions

coriander sprigs, for garnish

mint leaves, for garnish

basil leaves, preferably Thai, for garnish

 

First make the marinade. Stir together fish sauce, sugar, ginger, 5-spice powder and pepper.

Place the beef in a large bowl, add the marinade and massage into the meat. Let the meat sit in the marinade for at least 15 minutes, or longer if time permits (may be wrapped and refrigerated overnight if desired).

Put the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough, fry the beef cubes in small batches, taking care not to crowd them, until nicely browned. When all the beef is browned, return it all to the pot.

Add the shallots, stir to combine and continue cooking for 4 to 5 minutes, or until softened.

Add the tomato, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, salt and annatto, if using, and stir well to coat, then add the star anise, cinnamon and chilli. Cover with 4 cups water and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer, cover with lid ajar and cook for about 1 hour 15 minutes, or until fork-tender.

Add carrots to the pot and cook 15 minutes more. Skim any fat from surface of broth as necessary (or refrigerate overnight and remove congealed fat before reheating).

To serve, ladle into individual bowls. Garnish with scallions, coriander, mint and basil.

 

Thai Crumbled Beef in Lettuce Wraps

Serves 6

 

If you want to perk the lettuce leaves up a little, making sure they curve into appropriate repositories for later, leave them in a sinkful of very cold water while you cook the minced beef, then make sure you drain them well before piling them up on their plate.

 

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

2 red bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped

375g (12ozs) beef mince

scant tablespoon Thai fish sauce

4 spring onions, dark green bits removed, finely chopped

zest and juice of 1 lime

3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

1-2 iceberg lettuces

Put the oil in a non-stick frying pan on medium heat and when warm add the finely chopped chillies and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally.   It’s wiser not to leave the pan, as you don’t want them to burn.   Add the beef, turn up the heat and, breaking up the mince with wooden spoon or fork, cook for 3 or 4 minutes till no trace of pink remains.   Add the fish sauce and, still stirring, cook till the liquid’s evaporated.   Take the pan off the heat, stir in the spring onions, zest and juice of the lime and most of the coriander.  Turn into a bowl, and sprinkle over the remaining coriander just before serving.

Arrange the iceberg lettuce leaves on another plate – they should sit one on top of another easily enough- and let people indulge in a little DIY at the table, filling cold crisp leaves with spoonfuls of sharp, spicy, hot, crumbled meat.

Taken from Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson published by Chatto & Windus

 

Carpaccio of Beef with Horseradish, Lambs Tongue Sorrel

Serves 6

450g (1lb) well hung fillet of beef, chilled

6 tablespoons of Caesar dressing

Lambs Tongue Sorrel

horseradish, freshly grated

flaky sea salt

organic lemon

 

Caesar Dressing

2 egg yolks, preferably free-range

2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

50g (1x2oz) tin anchovies

1 clove garlic, crushed

a generous pinch of English mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2-1 tablespoon Worcester sauce

1/2-1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

175mls (6flozs) sunflower oil

50mls (2flozs) extra virgin olive oil

50mils (2flozs) cold water

 

To make the dressing.

I make it in a food processor but it can also be made very quickly by hand. Drain the anchovies and crush lightly with a fork. Put into a bowl with the egg yolks, add the garlic, lemon juice, mustard powder, salt, Worcester and Tabasco sauce. Whisk all the ingredients together.  As you whisk, add the oils slowly at first, then a little faster as the emulsion forms. Finally whisk in the water to make a spreadable consistency. Taste and correct the seasoning: this dressing should be highly flavoured.

Chill the plates. Just before serving, spread a slick of thin Caesar dressing over the base of each plate.

With a very sharp knife, slice the beef really thinly and lay some paper thin pieces of the raw beef over the sauce.  Season with a little flaky sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Put 5 or 6 Lamb’s tongue sorrel leaves on top, add a generous grating of fresh horseradish, a little freshly grated lemon zest and a few more flakes of sea salt.

 

Marmalade Suet Pudding 

For almost a week during the cold January days the whole house smells of marmalade. My father-in-law always looked forward to the final day when the last of the oranges had been turned into marmalade, because by tradition on that day there is marmalade pudding for lunch. This recipe makes use of beef suet, the fat that protects the beef kidney. Your butcher will probably give you the suet for free because there is so little demand.

 

Makes 2 puddings

 

450g (1lb) plain white flour

450g (1lb) minced beef suet

450g (1lb) breadcrumbs

450g (1lb) sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

4 eggs, free-range if possible

8 tablespoons homemade marmalade

milk, if needed

 

Sauce

 

4 tablespoons water

450g (1lb) marmalade

juice of 1 lemon

sugar, to taste

 

2 lightly greased 18cm (7in) pudding bowls

 

Mix the flour, suet, breadcrumbs, sugar and baking powder together. Add the beaten eggs, marmalade and a little milk to moisten if necessary (the mixture should have the consistency of plum pudding). Spoon into your greased pudding bowls and cover with a double sheet of greaseproof paper with a pleat in the centre. Tie the paper firmly with string under the lip of the bowl. Place each bowl in a saucepan of boiling water. Cover and cook for 2–3 hours, topping up the water in the pan from time to time to make sure that it does not boil dry.

To make the sauce, put the water and marmalade into a saucepan. Warm them together for 15 minutes and then bring slowly to the boil. Continue to boil for 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and sweeten with a little sugar to taste. When the pudding is cooked, turn it out on to a warm serving dish and pour the sauce around it.

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