Avoca Cafe Cookbook

A
Recipes
  1. Scallops, pea puree and mint vinaigrette
  2. 1 dessertspoon finely chopped shallots 1 dessertspoon butter 2 tablespoons white wine 200g frozen peas, or better still petit pois 2 tablespoons double cream 2 lemons 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 4 tablespoons of olive oil, plus a little more for coating the scallops bunch of mint, finely chopped 8 large scallops juice of 1 lemon, plus lemon quarters to serve Gently soften the shallots in the butter for 5 minutes, add the wine and boil it away without allowing the shallots to colour. Add the peas and cream, and cook for barely 1 minute. Puree or push through a mouli-legume. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Combine the white wine vinegar, olive oil and mint, and season with salt and pepper. Preheat a frying pan or griddle pan until really hot. Gently toss the scallops in a little olive oil and then season with salt. Place on the hot surface of the pan and leave them alone. Cook for 2 minutes, turn and cook for 2 minutes on the other side. Gently reheat the pea puree and spoon on to 4 warmed plates. Place the scallops on top and spoon over some of the mint vinaigrette. Serve with a lemon quarter. Note: We don’t cook the scallop coral with the scallop as it over-cooks and goes hard by the time the scallop is done. Removing it is not difficult (you can cook it separately) and at the same time you need to remove the slightly gristly bit which is where the scallop is attached to its shell. Roast Parsnip Soup with Apple Crisps
  3. Gubbeen bacon, spinach and potato frittata
  4. Chicken, garlic, red wine and bay
  5. Mars Bar biscuits
In the introduction to the Avoca Café Cookbook Part 2, Simon Pratt expresses his fervent hope that this new book will become a dog-eared favourite in kitchens everywhere like its predecessor, the Avoca Café Cookbook. The original volume sold over 60,000 copies, it is still going strong – not
surprising, it’s a stylish, beautifully produced book, full of yummy ‘do able’ recipes, for the sort of delicious, honest, not overly-complicated food that Avoca have become famous for.Since the original cookbook was published two years ago the empire hasgro wn, there’s a café and Foodhall at the Suffolk Street shop, so now Leylie Hayes and her ace team run five restaurants. The secret as ever, is in the shopping. ‘More than ever we have a reinforced sense of the critical
importance of fresh good ingredients. Quality in, quality out. We have always strived to source the least processed, best raw materials. Perhaps above all, however, we insist on freshness. Organic is great, but if it has travelled half way around the world there is no point in that. So an emphasis on quality and local sourcing became a cornerstone of this second book’, according to Simon Pratt, Director with responsibility for food in the Avoca Group.
I’ve just managed to get a copy of the new book and I can tell its going to be a dog-eared favourite. Once again Leylie Hayes and Hugo Arnold  collaborated, so its double value.
For me, Hugo Arnold’s evocative and mouth-watering prose and Georgia Glynn Smith’s photos are worth the price of the book alone. But there’s also a gorgeous collection of recipes that makes you want to dash out to the nearest shop, farmer’s market or deli, to fill up your basket with spanking fresh ingredients so you can reproduce the food that Georgia has so evocatively photographed from Emer Rainsford, Fleur Campbell and Leylie
Hayes – Emer and Leylie are both past pupils of Ballymaloe Cookery School sowe are justifiably proud of them! We got delicious fresh scallops from O’Connells fish stall in the English Market last week and tried the Scallop with Pea Puree recipe – mouthwatering! Scallops are in season just now so do try this delicate shellfish for a real treat.
There’s also advice on menu planning, delimongering and suppliers.
Avoca Café Cookbook published by Avoca Handweavers, Kilmacanogue, Co
Wicklow. Price E24.99

Scallops, pea puree and mint vinaigrette

1 dessertspoon finely chopped shallots
1 dessertspoon butter
2 tablespoons white wine
200g frozen peas, or better still petit pois
2 tablespoons double cream
2 lemons
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons of olive oil, plus a little more for coating the scallops
bunch of mint, finely chopped
8 large scallops
juice of 1 lemon, plus lemon quarters to serve

Gently soften the shallots in the butter for 5 minutes, add the wine and boil it away without allowing the shallots to colour. Add the peas and cream, and cook for barely 1 minute. Puree or push through a mouli-legume.
Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Combine the white wine vinegar, olive oil and mint, and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat a frying pan or griddle pan until really hot. Gently toss the
scallops in a little olive oil and then season with salt. Place on the hot surface of the pan and leave them alone. Cook for 2 minutes, turn and cook for 2 minutes on the other side.
Gently reheat the pea puree and spoon on to 4 warmed plates. Place the scallops on top and spoon over some of the mint vinaigrette. Serve with a lemon quarter.
Note: We don’t cook the scallop coral with the scallop as it over-cooks and goes hard by the time the scallop is done.
Removing it is not difficult (you can cook it separately) and at the same time you need to remove the slightly gristly bit which is where the scallop is attached to its shell.

Roast Parsnip Soup with Apple Crisps

Perhaps the sweetest of all the root vegetables, parsnips are an integral part of winter eating, their nutty robust flavour making them as good with roast meats as they are on their own.
3 parsnips, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 potato, finely diced
50g butter
600 ml light chicken stock
4 teaspoons crème fraiche
4 teaspoons chestnut puree
1 tablespoon snipped chives

For the apple crisps
1 Granny Smith or similar

Make the apple crisps well ahead, preheat the oven to 140C/gas mark 1, core the apples and thinly slice. Lay the slices on a baking tray and place in the oven for 2 hours, or until dried and crisp.
Preheat the oven to200C/gas mark 6. Toss the diced parsnips in the olive oil, season well and roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until well coloured.
Gently sauté the onion and potato in the butter over a low heat for 10 inutes, stirring occasionally. Add the roasted parsnips and the stock and simmer for 20 minutes, or until all the vegetables are soft. Allow to cool slightly, liquidise, then reheat and check the seasoning.
Garnish each bowl with a teaspoon of crème fraiche, a teaspoon of chestnut puree and the apple crisps, along with a few snipped chives.

Gubbeen bacon, spinach and potato frittata

This frittata serves 6-8. You will need to use a good frying pan 28cm diameter – non-stick and weighty.
250g smoked Gubbeen streaky bacon, cut into lardons
2 potatoes, cubed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 handfuls of baby spinach
15 large eggs, lightly beaten and well seasoned

Saute the lardoons in a dry frying pan over a moderate heat until crispy.
Heat the oil, add the potato and shallow fry for 10 minutes, or until cooked. Add the eggs, bacon and spinach and stir gently until the bottom starts to set. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes and finish off in the oven, or under a moderate grill.

 

Chicken, garlic, red wine and bay

For such a short list of ingredients, this dish is decidedly full-flavoured.

The crucial item is the chicken – if it is good, then this dish is
sensational. The wine, too, is important, it should be something weighty like good Rioja.

Serves 6

2 free-range chickens, jointed into 8 and scored
8-10 tablespoons olive oil
12 bay leaves
3 whole heads of garlic, broken into cloves, skins left on
¾ bottle of red wine, such as Rioja

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed shallow pan, place the chicken in it, skin side down, and season well. Cook on a high heat for 10-15 minutes, turning once until golden brown on both sides. Add the bay leaves, garlic cloves and red wine, and cook for a further 20-25 minutes, uncovered, turning occasionally until the wine has reduced by a third. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the juices.

 

Pecan and maple streusel cheesecake

Serves 6-8
225g shortbread biscuits
35g unsalted butter (less if the shortbread biscuits are homemade), plus
more for greasing
625g cream cheese
225g light golden brown sugar
3 eggs
125ml whipping cream
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod (scraped)

For the streusel topping
25g butter
50g pecans, roughly chopped
75g shortbread biscuits, crumbled, but still with texture
25g light golden brown sugar

For the maple sauce
35g butter
50g caster sugar
75ml maple syrup
125ml cream

Preheat the oven to 140ºC/275ºF/gas mark 1. Butter a 23cm springform cake tin and line it with baking paper.
Crush the shortbread (the quickest way is between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper using a rolling pin). Melt the butter, mix the shortbread with it and sprinkle it over the base of the prepared tin. Beat the cream cheese and sugar together, then gradually beat in the eggs.
Stir in the cream and vanilla extract. Pour over the biscuit base and bake for 50 minutes to one hour. It should still have a slight wobble when cookedand it may have cracked, don’t worry, the streusel topping covers a lot.
To make the streusel topping: in a non- stick frying pan, melt the butter over a low heat. Add the pecans and cook gently for 1-2 minutes. Add the crumbled shortbread and sugar, and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Leave to cool slightly and then pour over the cake. Allow to cool to room temperature.
To make the maple sauce: put all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Cook until the mixture has become a light caramel colour, about 5 minutes. Serve with the cheesecake.

 

Mars Bar biscuits

Makes about 16
200g butter
6 x 65g Mars Bars
200g Rice Crispies
250g milk chocolate

Cut the butter and Mars Bars into small chunks and place in a saucepan. Place over a low heat and stir until melted, taking care not to let it burn.
Combine the Mars Bar mixture with the Rice Crispies in a bowl and mix well. Put into a lined 30x 20x5cm tin and press down with the palm of your hand until firm.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Pour over the contents of the tin, spread evenly with a palette knife and leave to set. When firm, turn out on to a board and cut into squares.

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Darina Allen
By Darina Allen

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