Tiffany Goodall’s Ultimate Student Cookbook

September was all about school books, bags and uniforms and trying to find digs. Children were apprehensive and excited, parents usually relieved and comfortable to be back into a routine. For many it’s the most expensive time of the year, the following weeks feel a bit like January where everyone tightens the belt for a while to recover from the extra expense. As soon as the younger ones have settled in, it’s time to concentrate on getting the older ones off to college, scramble for places, and scramble for digs – how will they survive on their students’ budget? Will they feed themselves properly or will it all go on beer – worse still have they any idea how to shop or to knock a meal together with a few inexpensive ingredients. It would be worth buying a copy book to start a survival kit to record recipes and a few basic shopping tips. Teach the kids how to judge when food is safe to eat by using their eyes, nose and sense of taste, rather than relying merely on use-by dates. Add a list of what’s in season – it’ll be better and cheaper then and far more wholesome and nutritious. Teach them how to make a big bowl of porridge, and maybe a scrambled egg, basic muesli and a smoothie to kick start the day.
In the UK many students and others have also got very clever about collecting out of date – but still perfectly good – supermarket produce, before it is dumped. There is even a name ‘freegans’ very enterprising and at least it reduces waste and benefits those in need. Students about to embark on the new adventure of housekeeping and cooking for themselves need a basic kit, so family presents could include a grater, whisk, chopping board, a wok, a decent saucepan or two, a non-stick frying pan, vegetable peeler, a few knives, Bamix and a simple reliable cookbook. There are several but I have just come across a new publication – From Pasta to Pancakes – The Ultimate Student Cookbook. Coincidentally it’s been written by a vivacious past student, Tiffany Goodall, but proud as I am my of ‘babies’ that is not reason enough for me to wax lyrical about something unless I reckon it’s really worthwhile.
Even when Tiffany was in her early teens, she knew she wanted to cook, she landed a job at her local fish and chip shop ‘Fishers’ in Fulham. Life at university was fast and furious and she soon discovered that being able to cook was one the easiest ways to win friends and influence people. Breakfast with Tiffany and Tiff’s Tuesday and Tiff’s weekends became legendary.
The latter began in her second year at Newcastle University where she was studying business after she had a few people round for supper one Tuesday. Her friends asked if they all chipped in a fiver for ingredients could they continue this on a regular basis and it was a done deal.
Since graduating from the Ballymaloe Cookery School Tiffany has combined writing with guest appearances on BBC Market Kitchen and demonstrations for Marks and Spencers, the Home and Garden Show and Chanel 4’s Taste Festival in London and Bath. Plus her first cookbook written by a student who is realistic about what it’s like to be leaving home and facing up to the prospect of cooking for yourself for the first time. No need to panic, this book really will show you how to cook the basics and prove that you don’t have to resort to a diet of expensive takeaways or anything on toast. It’s very cleverly designed so not only does it tell you how to cook but there are witty step by step processes for every recipe. There are loads of tips for storing or using up left overs and giving meals a funky twist – ideal for those who have limited cash and equipment. Start off by learning a few basic skills, how to cook pasta, bake a potato then move on to stir fries, soups, salads, roasts and even curries. Here are a few recipes to whet your appetite; the book – published by Quadrille – has been in the shops since mid September.

Tiffany Goodall’s Beef Noodle Stir-fry

Serves 2–4

If you go to a Chinese restaurant you’ll doubtless find a selection of chow mein dishes on the menu. It is the generic term used for a Chinese dish of stir-fried noodles. You could use chicken, vegetables or even small prawns instead of the beef in this recipe.

225g/8oz rice noodles or egg noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped finely
3 sirloin or rump steaks, sliced
juice of 2 limes
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey

Cook the rice noodles

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan, and then add the chillies, ginger, garlic and green pepper. Stir-fry for 4 minutes. Add the beef, lime juice and soy sauce.
Fry for a couple of minutes. Add the cooked rice noodles. Mix well and add the honey. Have a taste and add some more soy sauce if you think it needs it.

Tiffany Goodall’s Hot hot Lamb Curry

Serves 4

How brave are you? This curry is punchy and spicy, perfect for a lads’ night in with a few beers. It is very spicy, so if you want to tone it down leave out the chilli flakes and use a couple of fresh green chillies instead.

1kg/21/4 lb lamb, diced
4 tablespoons plain yoghurt, plus extra to serve
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped finely
2cm/1inch piece of root ginger, peeled and chopped finely
6 small green chillies, such as bird’s eye chillies
1–2 teaspoons chilli flakes
400ml/14fl oz boiling water
2 chicken stock cubes
large handful of spinach leaves
4 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped

Mix the lamb, yogurt, turmeric and cumin together in a bowl. Put in the fridge for an hour to marinate. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion, garlic and ginger. Add the chillies and chilli flakes and mix around.

Add the yoghurt-marinated lamb, stir well and season with salt and pepper.

Mix up the boiling water and stock cubes, and then pour over the lamb. Cook over a low heat for 35 minutes until the lamb is tender. Add the spinach and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve hot, hot, hot with a dollop of yoghurt to cool the flames!

Optional Extras: Feel free to use coconut milk instead of stock here. Red chillies would also be great and give the dish some extra colour.
Serving Suggestions: Serve with some buttered basmati rice with coriander, some naan bread and good mango chutney.

Tiffany Goodall’s Chilli con Carne

Serves 8

A hot and warming chilli con carne is quite simply an ultimate favourite and perfect for a house party when feeding the masses. I love a good bit of spice, so chillies and chilli flakes are brilliant in this.

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 red onions, chopped finely
4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped finely
2 teaspoons chilli flakes
1.5kg/3lb lean beef mince
3 x 400g/14oz cans chopped tomatoes
2 glasses of red wine (optional)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
800g/11/2lb red kidney beans
150ml/5fl oz soured cream

Finely chop the onions, garlic and chillies.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the red onions, garlic and fresh chillies.

Add the chilli flakes. Cook gently for 3–4 minutes

You should be hit with the smells of the garlic and spice – all great.
Turn the heat right up and add the beef mince. Season well and cook until brown. Reduce the heat to medium and add the tomatoes, red wine, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce. Stir well and then add the kidney beans.
Simmer for as long as time allows. I like this to simmer for at least an hour, as all the flavours really intensify. Taste it after an hour and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

Serve hot with a dollop of soured cream.

Don’t add the Tabasco sauce if you don’t like it too hot, but it does give it a real kick. Chopped parsley or coriander would be brilliant at the end, sprinkled over.
I like this with rice and some soured cream, Guacamole and maybe a side salad. It’s so easy to do for large numbers.

Fool Proof Food

Tiffany Goodall’s Ma’s Carbonara Sauce

Serves 1

This is a tasty carbonara sauce – creamy, garlicky and delicious! The ingredients are basic: eggs, cream and milk – items I often find lying around in my fridge.

15ml/1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
100g/31/2oz un-smoked bacon lardons or normal bacon, chopped roughly
1 medium egg, whisked
2 tablespoons grated Cheddar cheese
125ml/4fl oz double cream
15ml/1 tablespoon milk

Cook your pasta

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, and add the garlic and bacon.
Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes until the bacon is brown, stirring regularly.
Tip the bacon onto a piece of kitchen paper to drain. Set your dirty frying pan aside for later. Mix up the egg, bacon, cheese, cream and milk, and season with salt and pepper. Stir well. Check your pasta and when it’s ready, drain it and tip it into the large frying pan you used earlier. Add the egg mixture and gently heat it for 1 minute over a low-medium heat. This is very important because if the heat is too high you will end up with scrambled eggs! Taste to check the seasoning and then serve.

Countdown to Christmas

To continue our count down to Christmas – only 11 weeks to go – how about getting the Christmas puddings made… This week I will use Myrtle Allen’s recipe, next week my mother’s plum pudding so you will have a choice. Last week I gave instructions on how to prepare your own suet, this week I include a tip for making homemade breadcrumbs from left over stale bread. Store the puddings in a cool dry cupboard so they will gradually ripen and mature in time for Christmas.

Myrtle Allen’s Plum Pudding with Brandy Butter

Serves 8-10

Making the Christmas Puddings (from The Ballymaloe Cook Book by Myrtle Allen)

The tradition that every member of the household could have a wish which was likely (note, never a firm promise) to come true was, of course, a ruse to get all the children to help with heavy work of stirring the pudding.  I only discovered this after I was married and had to do the job myself.  This recipe, multiplied many times, was made all at once.  In a machineless age, mixing all those expensive ingredients properly was a formidable task.  Our puddings were mixed in an enormous china crock which held the bread for the house hold for the rest of the year.  My mother, nanny and the cook took it in turns to stir, falling back with much panting and laughing after a few minutes’ work.  I don’t think I was really much help to them.
Christmas puddings should be given at least 6 weeks to mature.  They will keep for a year.  They become richer and firmer with age, but one loses the lightness of the fruit flavour.  We always eat our last plum pudding at Easter.
If possible, prepare your own fresh beef suet – it is better than the pre-packed product.

6ozs (175g) shredded beef suet
6 ozs (175g) sugar
7ozs (200g) soft breadcrumbs
8ozs (225g) currants
8 ozs (225g) raisins
4 ozs (110g) candied peel
1-2 teaspoons mixed spice
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons flour
2 fl ozs (50ml) flesh of a baked apple
3 eggs
2 fl ozs (50ml) Irish whiskey

1 x 3 pints (1.75 L) capacity pudding bowl

Mix the ingredients thoroughly.  Whisk the eggs and add them, with the apple and whiskey.  Stir very well indeed.  Fill into the greased pudding bowl.  Cover with a round of greaseproof paper or a butter-wrapped pressed down on top of the pudding.  Put a large round of greaseproof or brown paper over the top of the bowl, tying it firmly under the rim.

Place in a saucepan one-third full of boiling water and simmer for 10 hours.  Do not allow the after to boil over the top and do not let it boil dry either.  Store in a cool place until Christmas.

Thrifty Tip

How to Make Bread Crumbs

I’ve just been to the shops and seen breadcrumbs for sale for more than the price of a loaf of bread for a 250g (9oz) bag, so let me share the secret of how to make your own.

There are two options. First save all left over white bread, for white bread crumbs, cut off the crusts. Tear each slice into 3 or 4 pieces, drop into a liquidiser or food processor, whizz for 30 seconds to a minute, hey presto – bread crumbs.  Use immediately or freeze in convenient size bags to use another time.

Secondly, ff you include the crusts, the breadcrumbs will be flecked with lots of crust but these are fine for stuffings and any other dish where the crumbs do not need to be white. Uses for bread crumbs, stuffings, coating fish, meat, croquettes etc. Use for bread sauce and buttered crumbs for gratins.

Hot Tips

Coeliac UK Gluten-free Chef of the Year Competition is being judged by Michelin starred chef Raymond Blanc this year. Submit recipes for a three course gluten-free menu to by 6th November 2009. Get more details about the competition including the prizes at

Keith Floyd

I always had a great fondness for Keith Floyd, the flamboyant TV chef who tore up the script and did it his way. What a breath of fresh air he brought to cookery programs adlibbing instructions to his long suffering TV crew. I first met him in the mid 80s when he bounced into the cookery school, bow tie askew with his long standing producer David Prichard, apologising for being three or four hours late. He wanted to film me teaching him how to make Irish stew but arranged to be reading the racing page at the back of the class; I’d never seen a TV camera in my life before that day and was terrified and hugely embarrassed in front of my students. We got off to reasonable start but when I told him to put down the paper and pay attention (as I’d been instructed) he had forgotten my name so we had to start all over again. After several abortive attempts, he suggested we have a glass of wine so after that everything went swimmingly, so much so that after we’d filmed the piece he same out and said to the others ‘she should do TV you know, she’s a natural’. We were all very amused, it hadn’t even occurred to me; in fact it was several years before RTE approached me to do the Simply Delicious Series.

Keith had a wonderful raffish charm and an infectious enthusiasm which was contagious. Our paths crossed occasionally during the years, he was always genial and larger than life but strangely sad and shy when one caught a glimpse of the real Floyd underneath.
Sadly he was less successful in business and one restaurant after the other, though hugely popular was not financially successful. A life long bon-viveur he struggled with a love of wine. Recently he had been suffering from cancer but at the time of his death – he lived in Provence with his life long friend Celia Martin – he had just been given an encouraging report from his doctor. The news provided him with a reason to celebrate Celia’s birthday and his good fortune. We are told that he dined on oysters with potted shrimps, red legged partridge with bread sauce and Perry jelly – a pear cider made into jelly with champagne and good wine. A fitting finale for a larger than life character. Many of us owe him a debt. Thank you Floyd for your contribution to the food world and for all your inspiration.

Ballymaloe Potted Shrimps

Serves 4 as a first course

1/2 clove garlic
salt and freshly ground pepper
2-3 ozs (50-75g) clarified butter
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
4ozs (110g) shelled shrimps
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Crush the garlic to a paste with a little salt. Bring clarified butter to the boil with thyme leaves and garlic. Add shrimps and toss for about 30 seconds, leave to rest.  Season carefully with 1 or 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Pack into pots and run a little more melted butter over the top, put into the fridge and allow to set. Serve at room temperature with melba toast or crusty bread.

Potted shrimps will keep in the fridge for 3 or 4 days.

Keith Floyd’s Partridge with Morels

Taken from ‘Floyd on France’ published by BBC books.

1 partridge per person, plucked gutted, giblets reserved
1lb (500g) fresh morels
5 oz (150g) smoked bacon, diced
1 small onion per partridge
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons nut oil
5ox (150g) butter
1 lump sugar
10fl oz (300ml) double cream

Marinate the partridge giblets overnight in Armagnac. Stuff each bird with 1 morel, 2 pieces of bacon, half an onion, pinch of thyme, salt and pepper and sew up the opening.
Brown the partridges in the oil and butter in a large flameproof casserole. Then add the rest of the bacon and the onions. When the onions have started to colour, flame with Armagnac. Throw in 10fl oz until the sauce is well reduced, then stir in the sugar and cream and allow to thicken. Check the seasoning and serve.

Keith Floyd’s Pear and Raisin Tarts

Taken from ‘Floyd on France’ published by BBC books.

For the filling:

1lb (500g) pears, peeled, cored and quartered
4oz (125g) sugar
4 cubes dark chocolate
5 oz (150g) raisins
finely grated rind of 1 orange

For the pastry:
7oz (200g) flour sifted
4oz (125g) butter cut into small pieces
3 egg yolks, beaten
pinch of salt
Cook the pears in 10fl oz (300ml) water with the sugar, chocolate, raisins and orange rind, until you have a thick compote.
Meanwhile, make the pastry Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the butter and 4 tablespoons water, 2 of the egg yolks and salt. Mix together and knead until you have a firm, elastic dough – add more water if necessary. Allow to rest for 30 minutes. Roll out the pastry into a rough square, approximately ¼ inch (6mm) thick. Cut rounds in the pastry with a cutter or glass and put a small dollop of compote on each. Fold in two and seal the edges with water. Paint with the remaining egg yolk and place on a buttered sheet. Pop into a hot oven, gas mark 6 400ºF (200°C) for about 20 minutes.

Keith Floyd’s Alsatian Plum Tart

Taken from ‘Floyd on France’ published by BBC books.

Bilberries can also be used, in which case omit the cinnamon.

For the pastry
10oz (300g) wheat flour, sifted
5oz (150g) butter cut into small pieces
¼ – ½ oz (7 – 15g) fine salt
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
For the filling
2fl oz (50ml) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 oz (125g) caster sugar
2lb (1kg) firm plums, stoned and halved lengthways
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Put the flour into a large bowl, make a well in the centre, and add the butter, salt, sugar and egg. Mix with your fingertips until well amalgamated and roll into a ball. Knead on a floured board until smooth, Wrap in a floured cloth and refrigerate for a couple of hours. When the pastry is well rested, roll it out on a floured board to an approximate thickness of ¼ inch. (6mm). liberally butter a flan dish (best to use one with a removable base) and line it with pastry. Prick the bottom all over with a fork and bake blind in the oven at gas mark 5, 375ºF (190°C) for 20 minutes.
While the pastry is cooking beat the eggs, milk, vanilla, and 1 oz (25g) of the sugar together. Pour into the pastry shell and return to the oven at, gas mark 5, 375ºF (190°C), allow the custard to set but not to discolour.
Remove the tart from the oven and arrange the plums in concentric circles on the custard, some skin side up, some down. Return to a hot oven, gas mark 7, 425ºF (220°C) for 20 minutes.
Remove and sprinkle with the remaining 3oz (75g) sugar. Pop back in the oven for a final 5 minutes.

Count Down to Christmas

Someone has just reminded me that it’s only twelve weeks to Christmas, how incredible is that… Well this year I am determined to start well ahead so we have no last minute scramble. We’ll do a countdown to Christmas every week between now and Christmas in the Examiner.
So how about having a Yule box to save any loose change for little treats…
Both the mincemeat and plum pudding can be made very soon. This week I include my favourite mincemeat recipe – this one keeps for ages. For extra deliciousness why not make your own candied peel from left over citrus peels. Go along to your local butcher and ask for fresh suet, if you are a good customer it may even be free, otherwise buy a packet ready prepared but this year it’s all about saving the pennies and enjoying the experience of making your own Christmas feast.

Ballymaloe Mincemeat

Makes 3.2 kilos approx. Makes 8-9 pots.

2 cooking apples, e.g. Bramley Seedling
2 organic lemons
450g (1lb) beef suet
pinch of salt
110g (4oz) mixed peel (preferably homemade)
2 tablespoons Séville orange marmelade
225g (8oz) currants
450g (1lb) sultanas
900g (2lbs) Barbados sugar (moist, soft, dark-brown)
62ml (2 1/2fl oz) Irish whiskey

Core and bake the whole apples in a moderate oven, 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4, for 30 minutes approx. Allow to cool.  When they are soft, remove the skin and mash the flesh into pulp.  Grate the rind from the lemons on the finest part of a stainless steel grater and squeeze out the juice and stir into the pulp.  Add the other ingredients one by one, and as they are added, mix everything thoroughly.  Put into sterilized jars, cover and leave to mature for 2 weeks before using.  This mincemeat will keep for a year in a cool, airy place.

Homemade Candied Peel

Fruit should be organic if possible, otherwise scrub the peel well.

5 organic unwaxed oranges
5 organic unwaxed lemons
5 organic unwaxed grapefruit   (or all of one fruit)
1 teaspoon salt
3 lbs (1.35kg) sugar

Cut the fruit in half and squeeze out the juice. Reserve the juice for another use, perhaps homemade lemonade. Put the peel into a large bowl (not aluminium), add salt and cover with cold water. Leave to soak for 24 hours. Next day throw away the soaking water, put the peel in a saucepan and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to the boil cover and simmer very gently until the peel is soft, 3 hours approx. Remove the peel and discard the water. Scrape out any remaining flesh and membranes from inside the cut fruit, leaving the white pith and rind intact. (You could do the next step next day if that was more convenient).
Slice the peel into nice long strips.

Dissolve the sugar in 1 1/4 pints (750ml) water, bring it to the boil, add the peel and simmer gently until it looks translucent, 30 – 60 minutes and the syrup forms a thread when the last drop falls off a metal spoon. Remove the peel with a slotted spoon, fill the candied peel into sterilised glass jars and pour the syrup over, cover and store in a cold place or in a fridge. It should keep for 6-8 weeks or longer under refrigeration.

Alternatively spread on a baking tray or trays and allow to sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour to cool. Toss in castor sugar and store in covered glass jars until needed.

Fool Proof Food

How to Prepare Suet

To prepare suet start by asking your butcher for the fat that surrounds beef kidneys. Remove and discard the papery membrane and any red veins or fragments of meat. If you’re not meticulous about this, these bits will deteriorate and the suet won’t keep properly. The fat will separate into natural divisions. Chop it coarsely and either mince or whizz it in a food-processor for a minute or two or until it’s evenly grainy (years ago people used to grate suet on a simple box grater.) Refrigerate and use within a couple of days but if it has been properly trimmed it will keep for weeks in a fridge.

Thrifty Tip

Prepare your own suet for plum pudding and mincemeat, see above…


The Autumn series of night classes begin at Ballymaloe Cookery School on the 7th October every Wednesday evening at 7:00pm – 9:30pm until 25th November, 2009. Learn how to cook delicious affordable food for family and friends. Sign up for all eight classes for €350.00 or pay by class €50.00. For further information and on the different menus and to book phone (021) 4646 785 or visit

New Farmers Market
There is a brand new Farmers’ Market at East Douglas Village with twenty four exciting stalls every Friday from 10am to 3pm. Contact Roseanne Kidney on 086 8283310, email or visit

Campbell’s Tea recently won two gold stars in the Great Taste Awards 2009 in London for their tea that is still sold in an attractive yellow and gold tin with a taste that brings back memories of granny’s kitchen or of the little old shops that used to stock it.

Old Fashioned Threshing Day – SlowFood

We were fortunate to have one of the most beautiful days of the entire summer for the Old Fashioned Threshing Event at Ballymaloe Cookery School. The event was held to raise money for the East Cork Slow Food Educational Project, which links up with the local schools to teach the children how to cook, grow vegetables and fresh herbs. They visit the farm and gardens and learn about the chickens and free range pigs and cattle and the importance of rich and fertile soil.
They see the Jersey cows and learn where milk comes from and how butter is made, how to sow a seed, pick a tomato, dry onions… The children are wonderfully curious and enthusiastic and eager to learn.
The class divides in two – the little chefs and little farmers – the latter don their wellies and head off around the farm and vegetable gardens. The chefs tie on their aprons and learn how to cook a variety of dishes and then make lunch for the entire group and their teachers. They lay the table put a little vase of flowers in the centre and then all sit down to enjoy lunch together. After the meal they take the food scraps out to feed the hens and learn that the hens will reward them with eggs the next day. On their return visit the cooks become farmers and vice versa.
East Cork Slow Food also supplies several local schools with a chicken coop plus two hens so children can learn about how food is produced – you can’t imagine how excited both the children and the teachers are when the hen lays an egg. Shanagarry National School is one of a growing number of schools to have a vegetable and herb garden to teach children life skills. The first egg that ‘Ester and Polly’ laid was raffled to raise funds for the school as a result several children have encouraged their parents to grow vegetables and keep hens at home.
On the Old Fashioned Threshing Day, the Mogeely Vintage Club supplied the threshing machine and binder, they worked hard to thresh the wheat while The Bride Valley band played music and local producers, Jane Murphy of Ardsallagh gave people a taste of her goat’s cheese, Noreen Conroy of Woodside Farm, near Midleton had her pork bacon and juicy sausages for sale. Olive Kapil of Green Saffron ladled out steaming bowls of curry made from the fresh spices she and Arun import directly from Kerela in South India. People also queued in the hot sun for Baldwin’s ice cream and Mark Kingston of Golden Bean espressos and creamy cappuccino.
Philip Denhardt spit-roasted one of the free range pigs from the farm and served it in a bap from Cuthbert’s Bakery with homemade apple sauce, mayonnaise and cucumber pickle. Several stalls came from further afield; Peter Gibson from the Pie Man in Galway served delicious little quiches and pies and so did Lily Riley from Lily Riley’s Pantry. Michael and Mary Phelan of Rose Cottage Fruit Farm travelled all the way from Co Laois with their freshly picked strawberries, raspberries, damsons and blueberries.
Inside in the cookery school people could enjoy a threshing dinner with bacon, cabbage, parsley sauce and champ, followed by a big wedge of new season’s apple tart. There were a variety of games for the children, ‘Guess the Veg’, pancake race, ‘aubergine’ shy and a vegetable colouring competition.  Roy Daly gave rides on his pony and trap, all this contributed to the East Cork Slow Food Education Fund.
Darina Allen gave two cookery demonstrations – ‘How to Make Homemade Sausages and How to Make Soda Bread and Scones and a lecture on How to keep a few Hens in your Garden – to encourage people to enjoy a degree of self sufficiency.

If you would like to learn more about Slow Food Ireland visit

Ardsallagh Goats Cheese, Tomato and Spinach Tart

Serves 4

8-10 ozs/225-285 g puff pastry
8 tablespoons Tomato Fondue (see recipe in Irish Examiner January 3rd 2009)
8 ozs/225 g spinach, string, blanched and refreshed
4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
4 ozs/110 g of mature Ardsallagh Goats cheese
4 teaspoons of Tapenade
Black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
A few Tunisian olives and basil leaves for garnish

Pre heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Mark 4

Roll out the pastry very thinly. (i.e. the thickness of a coin).  Cut out into 7-8 inch rounds and perforate the surface all over with a fork.  Spread each tart base with 2 tablespoons of Tomato Fondue and 1 teaspoon of tapenade.  Then divide the spinach between the tarts.  Place thin slices of goats cheese overlapping on top of the tarts. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Cook in a moderate hot oven for 10-15 minutes.  Serve immediately with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a few olives and a couple of basil leaves.

Brown Soda Bread and Scones

Makes 1 loaf

10ozs (300g) brown wholemeal flour (preferably stone-ground)
10ozs (300g) plain white flour
1 teaspoon dairy salt
1 teaspoon bread soda (Bicarbonate of Soda/Baking Soda) sieved
3/4 – 1 pint sour milk or buttermilk

First preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/regulo 8

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large wide bowl, make a well in the centre and pour all of the sour milk or buttermilk. Using one hand, stir in a full circle starting in the centre of the bowl working towards the outside of the bowl until all the flour is incorporated. The dough should be soft but not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, a matter of seconds, turn it out onto a well floured board. WASH AND DRY YOUR HANDS. Roll around gently with floury hands for a second, just enough to tidy it up. Flip over and flatten slightly to about 2 inches (5cm) approx. Sprinkle a little flour onto a baking sheet and place the loaf on top of the flour. Make with a deep cross and bake in a hot oven 230°C/450°F/regulo 8 for 15-20 minutes, reduce the heat to 200°C/400°F/regulo 6 for approx. 15-20 minutes or until the bread is cooked (In some ovens it is necessary to turn the bread upside down on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before the end of baking) It will sound hollow when tapped.  Cool on a wire rack.
One could add 12g (1/2oz) fine oatmeal, 1 egg and 12g (1/2 oz) butter to the above to make richer soda bread dough.

Brown Soda Scones

Make the dough as above. Form it into a round and flatten to 4cm/1 1/2 inch thick approx.  Stamp out into scones with a cutter, or cut with a knife.  Bake for about 30 minutes in a hot oven (see above).

Note:  Bread should always be cooked in a fully pre-heated oven, but ovens vary enormously so it is necessary to adjust the temperature accordingly.
If lighter bread is preferred, use 450g (1 lb) white flour and 150g (5ozs) brown wholemeal flour.

Homemade Pork & Herb Sausages with Brambley Apple & Sweet Geranium Sauce

Makes 16 approx. – Serves 8

1 lb (450g) good fat streaky pork
2-4 teaspoons mixed fresh herbs e.g. parsley, thyme, chives, marjoram, rosemary or sage
1 large clove garlic
1 egg, preferably free range
2½ ozs (70g) soft white breadcrumbs (made from good bread)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
A little oil

Natural casings (sheep) optional

Brambley Apple and Sweet Geranium Sauce (see Fool Proof Food)

Mince the pork. Chop the herbs finely and mix through the crumbs. Crush the garlic to a paste with a little salt. Whisk the egg then mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Fry off a little knob of the mixture to check the seasoning correct if necessary.   Fill into sausage casings and tie. Alternatively divide into 16 pieces and roll into lengths. Fry gently on a barely oiled pan until golden on all sides. They are particularly delicious served with Brambley Apple Sauce and Potato Cakes.

Bombay Aloo (mild)

This is Arun Kapil of Green Saffron’s delicious recipe. He sells all the spices mentioned at his fragrant stall at Mahon Point Farmers Market on a Thursday and at Kinsale Farmers Market on a Tuesday.

Serves 4-6 people


1kg (2lbs) potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled and cut into good sized chunks
125g (4ozs) clarified butter or 8 good tablespoons sunflower oil
175g (6ozs) onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons onion seeds
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
3 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
small fist full of curry leaves
1 teaspoon salt
a good handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

How to make your Bombay Aloo

Turn your oven on to medium / low. About 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 is fine.
In a sturdy roasting dish, mix the first five above ingredients; your prepared potatoes, ghee (or clarified butter or sunflower oil), onion slices and all of the spices and salt.
You can use a spatula or wooden spoon or get stuck in and use your hands! Whichever is your preference, just make sure all ingredients are well combined.

Pop the dish onto the middle shelf of your oven, shut the door and wait for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the potatoes are a delicious golden colour.

Once or twice during cooking, carefully, with a wooden spoon or heat resistant spatula check on the potatoes and give them a gentle, but thorough little stir.
Turn off the oven, sprinkle with the fresh coriander, stir around to combine all the flavours and serve….simple.

Damson and Apple Jam

Makes 7 x 375g (13oz) jars

900g (2lb) wild damsons
900g (2lb) Bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1.3kg (3lb) sugar
300ml (10fl oz/1/2 pint) water

Put the damsons, chopped apples and water into a greased stainless steel saucepan. Cook over a medium heat until damsons are soft and the apples have broken down into a fluff, approximately 25-30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the sugar in a low oven. Add to the damsons and apples. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved, increase the heat and boil until setting point (220ºC/425ºF) is reached. Skim off and remove as many stones as possible.
Pour in sterilized jars. Seal and store in a cool dry place.

Stall Holders’ Contact Numbers

Ardsallagh Goats Cheese 021 488 2336
Woodside Farm Mobile 087 2767206
Green Saffron Spices 086 833 1030
Baldwin’s Ice-Cream 086 3220932
The Golden Bean (Coffee)  086 8366325
Wildside Catering 086 68681863
The Pie Man 087 9821300
Lily Riley’s Pantry 086 0874157
Rose Cottage Fruit Farm 087 2700121

Fool Proof Food

Brambley Apple and Sweet Geranium Sauce

The trick with apple sauce is to cook it on a very low heat with only a tiny drop of water so it is nice and thick and not too watery, always worth having in the freezer in little tubs in case you feel like a juicy pork chop for supper.

1 lb (450g) cooking apples (Brambley Seedling or Grenadier)
1-2 dessertspoons water
2 ozs (55g) approx. sugar (depending on how tart the apples are)
4 rose geranium leaves

Peel, quarter and core the apples; cut the pieces in two and put them in a stainless or cast-iron saucepan with the leaves, sugar and water. Cover and cook on a very low heat until the apples break down in a fluff. Stir and taste for sweetness.

Thrifty Tip

Negotiate with your shopkeeper to take overripe bananas off his hands and make banana bread, makes nutritious lunch box snacks and also freezes well.

Hot Tips

Blas an Fhomhair – Nenagh’s Community Harvest Festival and Lunch is on Sunday, 27 September, at Kenyon Street, Nenagh at 3:00pm.  This year’s guest chef is well known writer and journalist, Hugo Arnold of the Irish Times. The Blas an Fhomhair is organised by Tipperary Slow Food, Shannon Development and friends and is a showcase of local organic foods for National Organic Week.  Tickets are available at Country Choice, The Pantry Cafe, Nadur and O’Riann Vegetables. Phone 067 32596 for further information.

Wildside Pig in a Day Course at Ballymaloe Cookery School

Philip Denhardt and Ted Berner teach this exciting one day course on Saturday 3rd October 2009 9:30am to 5:00pm. Learn how to turn raw pork into sausages, bacon, salami, guanciale and pancetta. Even if you don’t rear your own pig, buying one and transforming it into the plentiful cache of cured pork products can be an economical, fun, healthy and delicious activity. Please contact Ted Berner 0868681863 to book.

Cloyne Autumn Harvest Festival
Cloyne Community District Council have organised their Autumn Harvest Festival for Saturday 26th September 2009 from 2pm to 6:00pm at St Colman’s National School.

Electric Picnic

For years the ‘inner hippy’ in me has longed to go to a rock festival but I’ve always chickened out at the last minute for a variety of reasons – those huge crowds seemed scary and would I not look and feel completely ridiculous in the midst of all those be-bopping young people.

JC Collery the mover and shaker behind the Slow Food Youth Movement is a Ballymaloe Cookery School graduate who also holds a Masters degree in Development Studies from Manchester University. He has a passion for food and last year after Terra Madre in Italy he hatched a plan to build a wood burning oven to cook great pizzas using local ingredients at the Electric Picnic in Stradbally. He was so fired up with enthusiasm about this amazing music festival where the organisers also have a real green mission to look after environmental issues and to provide a variety of good food for the 33,000 punters who flock to the 400 acre estate in Co Laois.

When he mooted the idea to the organisers they were totally up for it so Philip Denhardt, Glenny Cameron and Johan Van der Merwe headed for Stradbally, in Co Laoise. They borrowed an old tractor trailer from a local farmer, Joe Lawlor and built three wood burning ovens on top.
Philip made dough for 1,500 pizzas, buckets of tomato sauce from organic tomatoes and lots of basil from the green houses. They bought 12.5 kgs of Gubeen chorizo from artisan producer Fingal Ferguson. Lots of their friends, including Ted Burner and Ivan Whelan of Wildside Catering set up their spit and roasted a couple of Saddleback pigs from Noreen Conroy’s Woodside Farm. Paddy O’Connell was slicing strawberries and putting dollops of delicious natural yoghurt on his ‘ogranola’ to keep up with the growing queues.

I simply had to go, my daughter stole my wellies, but I found a paid of distressed Uggs and some colourful gear and headed off. The Electric Picnic blew my mind; forget the variety of music from opera and chamber music to soul and jazz, which was amazing. There were a myriad of fun installation art works, made of old pallets, bicycle wheels and a beautiful willow sculpture of a figure playing a huge violin.
There was a Farmers’ market, a Global green space, Body and Spirit area…. every creative vision was catered for. There were hot tubs, hammocks, massages, weaving classes, belly dancing, drumming classes, fairies breakfast, permaculture gardens, chai stalls and a million things for children to do.

But back to food, the organisers Pod Concerts and Aitken Promotions decided in 2007 that the quality of the food should match the rest of the event, so they hired a variety of great food stalls from all over the country and even the UK, to come and feed the hungry hordes of music lovers. This was enough to make John and Sally McKenna of Bridgestone Guides prick up their ears. In 2008 they launched their Bridgestone Guide Electric Picnic awards. This year a total of five awards were presented to the leading food vendors and much to delight of the Slow Food Ireland Youth Movement Pizza Stall they were awarded the ‘On Your Doorstep Award’

“Not only did the Slow Food crew cook superb local foods, they also built a wood fired pizza oven on site, on the back of an agricultural trailer. And the pizzas were to die for!” said John McKenna.
Joining Slow food Ireland in the winner’s enclosure were Natasha’s Living Food, winner of the Healthy Buzz Award.
“Natasha’s raw foods are packed with goodness, as well as deliciousness. This is the beginning of the raw food movement in Ireland”, said the judges.

The award for eco-friendly food sourcing and production went to Donegal’s Rathmullan House. “We were most impressed by Rathmullan’s determination to use only local fish, landed from day boats, because the marine environment is the most stressed of all our food resources. This is real food sustainability.”

Judges John and Sally McKenna and Caroline Byrne, of the Bridgestone Guides, added a special Judges Award this year. The Judges Award went to Helen Finnegan, maker of Knockdrinna Farmhouse cheese and pork in Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny.
“Helen rears the cows, makes cheese from the milk, feeds her pigs on the whey from the cheese and then turns the pork into the most superb artisan meat, and she then takes it to the market and sells it to you. You can’t get closer to regional, local food production than this”, the judges commented.
The fifth award, for the Best Dressed vendors whose stall showed the most creativity and imagination, was awarded to The Mad Hatter’s Tea party who has now made it two awards in a row at Electric Picnic.

“The food at Electric Picnic is as wonderfully diverse and eclectic as every other element of this inspired festival”, said John McKenna, “the fact that the winners were Irish festival vendors shows how the relationship between great festivals and great local food is of pivotal importance’.

Some delicious food…

Irish Country Soup

This is another very substantial soup – it has ‘eating and drinking’ in it and would certainly be a meal in itself particularly if some grated Cheddar cheese was scattered over the top.

Serves 6

6 ozs (175g) un-smoked streaky Irish bacon (in the piece)
olive or sunflower oil
5 ozs (150g) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch (5mm) dice
2 ozs (50g) onions, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic (optional)
1 lb (450g) very ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced or 1 x 14 oz (400g) tin of tomatoes and their juice
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2-1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 pints (750ml) homemade chicken stock or vegetable stock
2 ozs (50g) cabbage (Savoy is best), finely chopped

Chopped parsley

Remove the rind from the bacon if necessary. Prepare the vegetables and cut the bacon into 1/4 inch (5mm) dice approx. Blanch the bacon cubes in cold water to remove some of the salt, drain and dry on kitchen paper, sauté in a little olive or sunflower oil until the fat runs and the bacon is crisp and golden. Add potatoes, onions and crushed garlic, sweat for 10 minutes and then add diced tomatoes and any juice. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Cover with stock and cook for 5 minutes. Add the finely chopped cabbage and continue to simmer just until the cabbage is cooked. Taste and adjust seasoning.  Sprinkle with lots of chopped parsley and serve.

Frittata with Roast Tomatoes, Chorizo and Ardsallagh Goat’s Cheese

Frittata is great for a picnic or for a rock concert, easy to transport and can be eaten cold in wedges or inside a bap.

Serves 6-8

450g (1lb) ripe or sun-blushed tomatoes, preferably cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 large eggs, preferably free range and organic
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
4 teaspoons thyme leaves
2 tablespoons basil, mint or marjoram
110-175g (4-6oz) chorizo, thickly sliced, cut into four
40g (1 1/2ozs) Parmesan cheese, grated
25g (1oz) butter
110g (4oz) soft goat’s cheese (We use Ardsallagh goat cheese)
Extra virgin olive oil

Non-stick pan 10cm (7 1/2in) bottom, 23cm (9in) top rim

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Cut the tomatoes in half around the equator season with salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Arrange in a single layer in a non-stick roasting tin.  Roast for 10-15 or until almost soft and slightly crinkly.  Remove from the heat and cool. Alternatively use sun-blushed tomatoes.

Whisk the eggs in a bowl; add the salt, freshly ground pepper, fresh herbs, chorizo and grated cheese into the eggs. Add the tomatoes, stir gently.  Melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan. When the butter starts to foam, tip in the eggs.  Turn down the heat, as low as it will go. Divide the cheese into walnut sized pieces and drop gently into the frittata at regular intervals. Leave the eggs to cook gently for 15 minutes on a heat diffuser mat, or until the underneath is set. The top should still be slightly runny.
Preheat a grill. Pop the pan under the grill for 1 minute to set and barely brown the surface.

Slide the frittata onto a warm plate.

Serve cut in wedges with a good green salad and perhaps a few olives.
Alternatively put the pan into a preheated oven 170°C/325°F/gas 3. Alternatively cook mini frittata in muffin tins (for approximately 15 minutes). Serve with a good green salad.

Variation: For a yummy vegetarian alternative omit the chorizo and add 110g (4oz) grated Gruyère cheese to add extra zizz.

Top Tip
The size of the pan is very important; the frittata should be at least 3 cm (1 1/4 inches) thick. It the only pan available is larger, adjust the number of eggs, etc.

Smoked Mackerel Pâte

This would be easy to transport and is great slathered onto crusty bread or baps with a few slices of tomato and cucumber pickle.

4 ozs (110g) un-dyed smoked mackerel or herring, free of skin and bone
2-3 ozs (55-85g) softened butter
1/4 teaspoon finely snipped fennel
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2-1 clove garlic, crushed to a paste
salt and freshly ground pepper
crusty bread

Sprigs of fennel

Whizz all the ingredients in a food processor. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, taste, add more lemon juice and garlic if necessary, it should be well seasoned. Put into little bowl or individual pots.

Serve with cucumber pickle and crusty bread.

Rum and Raisin Cake

A favourite picnic cake with lots of cutting, keep it in the tin for ease of transporting.

175g (6oz) raisins
6 tablespoons Jamaica rum
275g (10oz) butter
175g (6oz) golden castor sugar
4 eggs, preferably free-range and organic
50ml (2fl oz) milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
275g (10oz) white flour
1 tablespoon) baking powder
50g (2oz) walnuts, hazelnuts or pecans

23cm (9inch) round tin with a pop-up base, buttered and floured

1 1/2 tablespoons soft brown sugar

Soak the raisins in the rum for 30 minutes. Drain and save the rum.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4.

Cream the butter, add the castor sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Separate the eggs, save the whites, add the egg yolks, one by one. Beat well between each addition, add the rum, milk and vanilla extract.

Mix the flour and baking powder together and fold in to the base mixture bit by bit. Whisk the egg white in a spotlessly clean bowl until stiff and fluffy.

Fold into the cake mixture one-third at a time, add the fruit and chopped nuts with the last addition of egg white.

Pour into the prepared tin, sprinkled with soft brown sugar and cook in the preheated oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour or until the top is golden and the centre set and firm. Allow the cake to cool in the tin, invert, remove from the tin, invert again and cool on a wire rack.

Fool Proof Food

Rosemary Lemonade

Makes 4-6 glasses

Delicious thirst quenching lemonade with a grown up flavour!

Freshly squeezed juice of 3 lemons
225ml (8fl oz) rosemary syrup (see recipe)
670ml (24fl oz) water

Mix the freshly squeezed lemon juice with the rosemary syrup and the water. Taste and add more syrup if necessary.

Rosemary Syrup

Makes 770ml (1 pint 7fl oz)

Use as the basis of lemonades or fruit compotes.

450g (1lb) sugar
600ml (1pint) water
2 sprigs rosemary

Put the sugar and cold water into a saucepan, add the sprigs of rosemary. Bring slowly to the boil, allow to cool, strain and store in a fridge. It will keep for weeks.

Thrifty Tip

Defrost your deep freeze; it’s more economical to run when it’s defrosted, this also gives you the opportunity to use up what is in your deep freeze.

Hot Tips

Apple Day

Irish Seed Savers Association’s annual Apple Day is on Sunday September 27th 2009
12pm to 5pm at Capparoe, Scarriff, Co Clare. Purchase some apple trees and learn how to create an orchard. Demonstrations include, bee keeping, vegetarian cooking and seed saving. Lots of fun kids activities too. For booking Tel 061 921866 or online at

Duck Eggs
For those who are looking out for duck eggs, Glenfin produce free range eggs that are brilliant not only for baking but for frying and poaching Telephone Brian 086 1714240.

Three 2009 Bridgestone Guide Electric Picnic Award winners.

Rathmullan House. Telephone 074 91 58188
Natasha’s Living Food. Telephone 0879743455
Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese. Telephone 056 7728446

Food Fairs

People are flocking to food fairs around the country. They have become a magnet for those who like to source local and artisan foods. Coupled with the growing number of farm shops and markets, it creates an opportunity for food producers to add value to their produce so they can continue to live on the land that they love or the area they have settled in rather then enduring the long daily commute to the nearest large town or city.


In this challenging economic climate, local Environmental Health Officers and dairy inspectors are anxious to support and encourage these enterprises. I recently visited the Four Rivers Slow Food event at Goatsbridge Trout Farm near Thomastown Co. Kilkenny. Generations of the Kirwan family have produced trout beside the mill stream which was originally dug by the monks of nearby Jerpoint Abbey. The trout ponds are fed by gravity feed from three springs of ice cold water.


Still with a twinkle in his eye, Padraic Kirwan, at 82 years of age, is the patriarch of the family. He started the business with his wife Rita in 1962. Padraic explained the life cycle of the trout from green ova to alevin fry to fingerlings and market size fish. His son Gerard scooped them up in a fishing net so that we could see them as we moved from pond to pond. Success, Padraic told me, depends on both God and nature. We’d already tasted fresh tout and smoked trout pate in four or five different ways cooked by Alan Cullen of Jerpoint Catering.


Several local farmers and food producers have come to display their wares. Joy Moore from Oldtown Hill Bakehouse in Tullaroan has been in business for ten years. For GAA fans Tullaroan is famous for the Lowry Maher centre housed in an 18th Century thatched cottage which one person mentioned to me was more important then visiting the Vatican for Irish hurling fans. Joy had a terrific selection of breads, cakes, buns and biscuits which she bakes from flour milled in Mosses of Bennelsbridge from local wheat. The milk comes from her dairy farm. For information on Slow Food events around the country see


The Brambley cooking apples for the tarts and crumble come from Phillip Little’s orchard in Pilltown, Co. Waterford which gives Oldtown Hill Bakehouse products a low carbon foot- print. Oldtown Hill Bake House employ fifteen people and sell all its cakes locally – an inspirational example of rural enterprise. (056) 7769263.


Bronagh Boyd who also loves to bake recently started Little Cakes of Happiness. One bite of her confections certainly produced a flow of compliments. Pecan, lemon drizzle and oatmeal squares were all absolutely delicious and sang of butter and fine ingredients. Bronagh sells in local farmers markets, 087 2841928


I also met Willy Dolan who rears mountain sheep near Leamlara in the Comeragh Mountains. Those who, like me, have a hankering for the occasional mutton or haggot as well as sliced lamb should contact Willy directly on 086-8583605.


Local cheese maker Helen Finnegan, whose cheese Knockdrinna many of you will know, was there with her range of cow, goat and sheep milk cheese. Helen also makes Lavistown Cheese originally made by Roger and Olivia Goodville.

Helen’s newest venture is a farm shop and café right in the centre of Stoneyford, Co.Kilkenny. A perfect stop on the road from Kilkenny to Waterford. Not only can one have a delicious slice quiche or a piece of orange drizzle cake they can also stock up on Helen’s home cured bacon, local fruit, preserves, fresh herbs and of course Knockdrinna Farmhouse cheese. Helen’s farm shop and Goatsbridge Farm will all be part of the Good Food Ireland food tourism trail in that area





Smoked Trout with Cucumber Salad and Horseradish Sauce

Serves 8

8 fillets of smoked trout (either smoked sea trout or rainbow trout)

2 Irish cucumbers

salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar

1 teasp. chopped fresh fennel or 2 teasp. chopped fresh dill

a sprinkle of wine vinegar

horseradish sauce


lemon segments

fresh dill or fennel

First make the horseradish sauce. Thinly slice the cucumber (with peel on). Sprinkle with a few drops of vinegar, season with salt, sugar and a little freshly ground pepper and stir in some finely chopped fennel of dill.

To assemble the salad: Place a fillet of smoked trout on each individual serving plate. Arrange the cucumber salad along the side and pipe some fresh horseradish sauce on top of the trout. Garnish with a segment of lemon and some fresh herbs.

Horseradish Sauce

This makes a mild horseradish sauce, if you would like something that will really clear the sinuses, just increase the quantity of grated horseradish.

8 fl ozs (250ml) softly whipped cream

2 teasp. wine vinegar

1 teasp. lemon juice

3 teasp. mustard

3 teasp. salt

a pinch of freshly ground pepper

1 teasp. sugar

½ tablesp. grated horseradish

Scrub the horseradish root well, peel and grate. Put the grated horseradish into a bowl with the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar. Fold in the softly whipped cream, do not over mix or the sauce will curdle.

This sauce keeps for 2-3 days and may also be served with roast beef; cover so that it doesn’t pick up flavours in the fridge.



Pear and Almond Tart


This is certainly one of the most impressive of the French tarts, it is wonderful served warm but is also very good cold and it keeps for several days. Old Town Hill Bake house made a similar one which was absolutely delish


Serves 8-10


4-5 ripe pears, poached


Shortcrust Pastry

200g (7oz) flour

110g (4oz) cold butter

1 egg yolk, preferably free range and organic

pinch of salt

3-4 tablespoons cold water



100g (31/2oz) butter

100g (31/2oz) castor sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 egg yolk, preferably free range

2 tablespoons kirsch

110g (4oz) whole blanched almonds, ground or 1/2 ground almonds and 1/2 blanched and ground

25g (1oz) flour


To Finish

150ml (1/4pint) approx. apricot glaze


23cm (9inch) diameter flan ring or tart tin with a removable base


First make the shortcrust pastry,

Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl, cut the butter into cubes and rub into the flour with the fingertips. Keep everything as cool as possible; if the fat is allowed to melt the finished pastry may be tough. When the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs, stop. Whisk the egg yolk and add the water.


Take a fork or knife (whichever you feel most comfortable with) and add just enough liquid to bring the pastry together, then discard the fork and collect the pastry into a ball with your hands. This way you can judge more accurately if you need a few more drops of liquid. Although slightly damp pastry is easier to handle and roll out, the resulting crust can be tough and may well shrink out of shape as the water evaporates in the oven. The drier and more difficult-to-handle pastry will give a crisper shorter crust.


Cover the pastry with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for a minimum of 15 minutes or better still 30 minutes. This will make the pastry much less elastic and easier to roll.


Next poach the pears and allow to get cold. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Roll out the pastry, line the tart tin with it, prick lightly with a fork, flute the edges and chill again until firm. Bake blind for 15-20 minutes.


Next make the frangipane. Cream the butter gradually beat in the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and soft. Gradually add the egg and egg yolk, beating well after each addition. Stir in the ground almonds and flour and then add the kirsch or calvados. Pour the frangipane into the pastry case spreading it evenly. Drain the pears well and when they are cold cut them crosswise into very thin slices, then lift the sliced pears intact and arrange them around the tart on the frangipane pointed ends towards the centre. Arrange a final half pear in the centre.


Turn the oven up to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Bake the tart for 10-15 minutes until the pastry is beginning to brown. Turn down the oven heat to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and continue cooking for 15-20 minutes or until the fruit is tender and the frangipane is set in the centre and nicely golden.


When the tart is fully cooked, paint generously with apricot glaze, remove from the tin and serve warm or cold with a bowl of softly whipped cream.



Coffee and Walnut Biscuits

Makes 8 full biscuits

Biscuit Mixture

175g (6oz) flour

75g (3oz) butter

50g (2oz) castor sugar

1 egg

Coffee Filling

25g (1oz) butter

50g (2oz) icing sugar (sieved)

1 teaspoon Irel Coffee essence

Coffee Icing

110g (4oz) icing sugar (sieved)

scant ½ tablespoon. Irel Coffee essence

1 tablespoon boiling water approx.

Fresh walnut halves to decorate

Sieve the flour into a bowl. Rub in the butter, add sugar, and mix well. Beat egg. Mix dry ingredients to a stiff dough with beaten egg. Turn out onto a floured board and roll out to 3mm (1/8in) thickness. Cut into 9cm (31/2in) rounds.

Bake in a moderate oven 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4 until golden brown, 8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Allow to get cold. Meanwhile, make the coffee filling.

Cream the butter and add the sieved icing sugar and the coffee essence. Continue to beat until light and fluffy. To make the icing – sieve the icing sugar and put into a bowl. Add coffee essence and enough boiling water to make it the consistency of a very thick cream. Beat until smooth and glossy. Sandwich the biscuits together with coffee filling and spread a little thick coffee icing on top, decorate each biscuit with ½ a walnut.

Irish Apple Cake



This is something mummy used to make with new seasons apples, try it, it will bring back memories.


Serves 6 approx.


8 ozs (225g) white flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

4 ozs (110g) butter

4 1/2 ozs (125g) castor sugar

1 egg, preferably organic and free-range

2 – 4 fl. ozs (50-125ml) milk, approx.

1-2 cooking apples – we use Bramley Seedling or Grenadier

2-3 cloves (optional)

egg wash

Ovenproof Plate (10 inch/25 1/2 cm)

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

Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it resembles the texture of breadcrumbs, add 3 ozs (75g) castor sugar, make a well in the centre and mix to a soft dough with the beaten egg and enough milk to form a soft dough. Divide in two. Put one half onto a greased ovenproof plate and pat out with floured fingers to cover the base. Peel, core and chop up the apples, place them on the dough and add 1 1/2 ozs (45g) sugar, depending on the sweetness of the apples. Roll out the remaining pastry and fit on top, this is easier said than done as this ‘pastry’ is more like scone dough and as a result is very soft. Press the sides together, cut a slit through the lid, egg wash and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes approximately or until cooked through and nicely browned. Dredge with castor sugar and serve warm with Barbados sugar and softly whipped cream.


Fool Proof Food


Trout with Cream and Dill

Serves 4

In season:

Little rainbow trout are available in virtually every fish shop. This combination is surprisingly delicious and very fast to cook. If dill is difficult to find use a mixture of fresh herbs.

4 fresh trout

salt and freshly ground pepper

8g (3 oz) butter

175ml (6fl oz) cream

2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped

Gut the trout, fillet carefully, wash and dry well. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Melt the butter in a frying pan, fry the trout fillets flesh side down until golden brown. Turn over on to the skin side, add cream and freshly chopped dill. Simmer gently for 3 or 4 minutes or until the trout is cooked. Taste the sauce to check the seasoning and serve immediately.


Hot Tips


Chef Mickael Viljanen’s food is really making waves at Gregan’s Castle at the edge of the Burren in Co Clare – he recently won an award in the Irish Food and Wine Magazine awards. It’s well worth making the detour to taste his food and while you are there stay the night in the lovely country house hotel telephone 065 7077005

Slow Food Limerick celebrates free range pork at Curragchase, Limerick on Sunday 27th September 12pm to 5pm with a Tamworth pig on the spit. Entry fee includes demonstrations on bee keeping, bread making and pig keeping. Contact Caroline Rigney on 087 2834754 for more details

Details of this years National Organic Week from 14th to 20th September can be found on the Bord Bia website

Grow it Yourself

Everywhere I go, every dinner party, every pub, every chance meeting, the topic of conversation is always the same, recessionary chit-chat and endless whinging about the hopeless ineffectual politicians. Yet if one poses the question – “Well what would you do if you were Taoiseach or Minister of Finance?” No one seems to have a coherent answer and let’s face it, there are few amongst us would like to be in their shoes at present.

So while the politicians et al are trying to find a solution, let’s just get on with it and help ourselves. Ordinary people like you and I can make a difference. One of the most exciting recession busting initiatives I’ve heard about is the Grow it Yourself (GIY) movement, a new not-for-profit organisation which was started by young Dublin journalist Michael Kelly, who moved to Waterford with his family five years ago. They dreamed of the good life, growing their own vegetables, having a few hens, maybe even a couple of pigs. Despite their enthusiasm and know-how starting their own vegetable plot proved daunting. It was difficult to find advice, even beginners’ guides to growing-your-own are full of gardening jargon and botanical terms, which confounds the inexperienced gardener – cultivars, hybrids, tilth, chitting, broad casting, pricking out…

Michael was madly keen and for some time he searched around for micro producers or organisations of likeminded people or other to swap ideas and experiences and to improve his skills. To his surprise none seemed to exist, so in his indomitable way, he decided to start something himself.

An exploratory press release to a local newspaper attracted an astonishing response, instead of the 10 maybe 20 people he expected to show up, 100 people arrived for an initial meeting in the room he booked at the local library.

Michael’s plan was to have a monthly meeting where amateurs, enthusiasts and seasoned growers could get together to share ideas, learn from each other, swap seeds and seedlings and chat with people who were keen to do the same thing.

It took off; within a couple of months there were six GIY groups within a 50 mile radius of Waterford. It’s got quite a different profile of members to the gardening clubs, more men than women and lots of cool young people who have been fired with enthusiasm about self sufficiency by Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver. Many are also spurred on by the realisation that the academic skills they have concentrated on to date are woefully inadequate in these changing times when basic life skills like being able to cook, garden and maybe keep a few hens are more beneficial for day to day survival and quality of life.

GIY meetings are free and open to anyone who is interested in growing food at all levels, from those who plant a few herbs on the balcony to complete self sufficiency. Everyone from beginners to old hands are welcome. Michael says there is a terrific spread of ages from a 12 year old who keeps his own hens to a seasoned 83 year old who grows vegetables in his garden in Waterford city.

Expert speakers share their knowledge at the meetings. There are practical demonstrations, garden visits, seed and plant swaps, produce bartering, mentor panels and growers meitheals. The latter draws on the old Irish tradition, where neighbours helped each other out during the hay making and threshing and at other busy times of the year. A group of GIY members now come together in the time honoured way to help someone who may get s overwhelmed by the prospect of tackling a briar or weed infested patch. There is tremendous camaraderie, neighbourliness and community spirit. It is so much more fun and develops social interaction while they dig or construct a raised bed together.

Michael wants to see a GIY branch in every town in Ireland. On Saturday 12th September. The first national GIY conference will be held in the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) from 9am – as part of the Waterford Harvest Festival – and will be opened by the Minister for Food and Horticulture Trevor Sargent. Other speakers include Joy Larkom, Will Sutherland, Clodagh McKenna, Michael Kelly…

Tickets which include a seasonal dinner are available from

Roast Red and Yellow Beetroot Salad with Rocket Leaves


Serves 8


500g (1lb) red beetroots

500g (1lb) golden beetroots

(60g) 2 ½ oz hazelnuts

90ml (3 1/2 fl oz) honey or maple syrup

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 cloves of garlic crushed

75g (3oz) rocket leaves or baby spinach

lots of chervil

Maldon sea salt and freshly ground salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Mark 6 wash the beetroot gently don’t trim the root and leave 1 inch of stalk on top. Put into a roasting tin, cover and roast for 1 – 1 ½ hours or until tender when pierced with a skewer. Meanwhile toast the sunflower seeds for about 8 minutes and the hazelnuts for 10 or more. Rub off the skins and cut in half. Mix all the ingredients for dressing together, when the beets are cooked rub off the peel cut into chunks, season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Put into a serving bowl, add the leaves, toasted seeds and nuts and scatter with chervil.



Cucumber Neapolitana


This is a super recipe to use up a glut of cucumbers or courgettes and tomatoes. It is a

terrifically versatile vegetable dish which may be made ahead and reheats well. It is also delicious served with rice or pasta. It makes a great stuffing for tomatoes and is particularly good with Roast lamb.


Serves 6 approx.


1 Irish cucumber

½ oz (15g) butter

1 medium onion – 4 oz (110g) approx., sliced

4 very ripe Irish tomatoes

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2½ fl oz (63ml) cream

1 dessertspoon freshly chopped mint

roux (optional)


Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan, when it foams add the onion. Cover and sweat for 5 minutes approx. until soft but not coloured.

Meanwhile, peel the cucumber cut into ½ inch (1cm) cubes; add to the onions, toss well and continue to cook while you scald the tomatoes with water for 10 seconds. Peel the tomatoes and slice into the casserole, season with salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of sugar. Cover the casserole and cook for a few minutes until the cucumbers are tender and the tomatoes have softened, add the cream and bring back to the boil. Add the freshly chopped mint. If the liquid is very thin, thicken it by carefully whisking in a little roux. Cucumber Neapolitana keeps for several days and may be reheated



Every guest cook who comes to the school introduces us to a few treasures which we incorporate into our repertoire. Madhur Jaffrey whose recipe this is has contributed more than most; I would recommend her books to anyone who would like to add a little spice to their lives.

Serves 4

1 lb (450g) fresh green French beans

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon whole black mustard seeds

4 cloves garlic, peeled and very finely chopped

1/2 – 1 hot, dried red chilli, coarsely crushed in a mortar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

freshly ground pepper

Trim the beans and cut them into 1 inch (2.5cm) lengths. Blanch the beans by dropping them into a pot of well-salted boiling water, boil rapidly for 3-4 minutes or until they are just tender. Drain immediately in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium flame. When hot, put in the mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop, put in the garlic. Stir the garlic pieces around until they turn light brown, (be careful not to burn or it will spoil the flavour). Put in the crushed red chilli and stir for a few seconds, add the green beans, salt and sugar. Stir to mix. Turn the heat to medium-low. Stir and cook the beans for 3-4 minutes or until they have absorbed the flavour of the spices. Season with freshly ground black pepper, mix well and serve.


Almond Tart or Tartlets with Raspberries or Grapes

Serves 12

110 g (4 oz) butter

110 g (4 oz) castor sugar

110 g (4 oz) ground almonds


poached rhubarb or sliced fresh peaches or nectarines

fresh raspberries or loganberries, peeled and pipped grapes or kiwi fruit

1/2 pint (300 ml) whipped cream

Makes 24 tartlets or 2 x 7 inch (5 x 17.5 cm) tarts or 1 tart and 12 tartlets

Cream the butter well and then just stir in the sugar and ground almonds. (Don’t over beat or the oil will come out of the ground almonds as it cooks.) Put a teaspoon of the mixture into 24 small patty tins or divide between 2 x 7 inch sandwich tins. Bake at 1801C/3501F/regulo 4 for 20-30 minutes approx. or until golden brown, 10-12 minutes for tartlets or until golden brown. The tarts or tartlets are too soft to turn out immediately so cool in tins for about 5 minutes before turning out. Do not allow to set hard before removing to a wire rack or the butter will solidify and they will stick to the tins. If this happens pop the tins back into the oven for a few minutes so the butter melts and then they will come out easily. Just before serving, arrange segments of peach or nectarine, or whole raspberries, or peeled and pipped grapes on the base. Glaze with redcurrant jelly (red fruit) or apricot glaze (green or yellow fruit). Decorate with rosettes of cream.

Peach or Nectarine and Sweet Geranium Jam

Makes 4 x 200ml (7fl oz) jars900g (2lb) sliced nectarines or peeled peaches

4 tablespoons water

350g (12oz) sugar, warmed freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon3 sweet geranium leavesPut the fruit and water into a stainless-steel saucepan. Add the lemon juice and the sweet geranium leaves. Simmer over a medium heat. Cook until the fruit is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the warm sugar (see page 000). Bring to the boil, cook for 5 minutes until set. Pour in sterilised jars, cover and store in a cool, dry place. Eat soon but keeps for 4-5 months.


Fool Proof Food


Rose Petal Syrup

Pour a little of this rose petal syrup into a champagne glass and top up with Cava or Prosecco to make a gorgeous perfumed aperitif. Stir and float a rose petal on top. Makes 800ml (1 1/2 pints)

225g (8oz) fragrant rose petals from an old variety of unsprayed roses

500ml (18fl oz) water

700g (11/2lb) white sugar, warmed

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juicePut the petals into a stainless-steel saucepan with the cold water. Bring to the boil over a medium heat and simmer gently for 20–30 minutes. Strain the petals through a sieve, pressing to get out as much of the liquid as possible. Add the warmed sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice, bring back to the boil and simmer, uncovered, until thick and syrupy. Pour into bottles and seal.

Thrifty Tip.

Take advantage of the free blackberry crop in the hedgerows at present, they freeze perfectly; use them for tarts, pies, sorbets…


Apart from the GIY launch at the Waterford Harvest Festival, other events include a Harvest Feast in the city centre on Sunday 13th September. Waterford and the sunny south east are celebrating its local food and artisan producers and are fast presenting a challenge to the Cork food culture.



Ballymaloe Cookery School

is holding the annual East Cork Slow Food Old Fashioned Threshing Event on Sunday 13th September 12pm to 5 pm. Forgotten Skills Demonstrations; How to make Homemade Sausages, How to make Irish Soda bread & Scones and How to keep a few Hens. Tickets are available on the day. For more information contact: 021 4646785 or email Organic Rape Seed Oil Ben and Charlotte Colchester have been farming organically for over 30 years on their farm near Urlingford in Co Kilkenny. Their daughter Kitty has now joined them to produce organic rapeseed oil which is a highly nutritious and versatile with a delicious nutty flavour. It is available in the Ballymaloe Cookery School Farm Shop and at most of the farmers markets, Naas, Wicklow, Cork, Clonmel, Kilkenny… Telephone 056 88 31411 or find them on the Organic Trust website Midleton Food and Drink Festival now in its fifth year is on Saturday 12th September. For more information visit

A Few Days in Bordeaux

We had a lovely invitation to spend a few days in the Bordeaux area with some French friends whose family have been making wine in the Pessac-Leognan, St Emilion, Margaux and Entre-deux-mers area since 1880.
We flew to Paris and then took a relaxing three hour train journey to Libourne. It’s been at least 20 years since my last visit to Bordeaux where everyone ‘lives, breathes and sleeps’ wine. The landscape is covered with row after row of meticulously pruned vines sometimes with a red rose bush planted at the end. Originally this was used as an early indication of mildew which tended to attack the roses before the vines.
There are many charming wine villages and chateaux names that are familiar from restaurant wine lists. Many of the grandest date back to the 18th Century, others are less resplendent and some just simple farmhouses, but in Bordeaux it’s the terroir that really matters. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Semilion are the principal grape varieties for dry wines yet produce utterly different wines depending of whether the soil is gravelly, chalky, heavy clay or a mixture.
Every vineyard owner knows every inch of their soil minutely, this is the foundation. After that there is the skill of viticulture and vinification .One chateau we visited, Cheval Blanc, buys barrels from eight different coopers, each adds a different attribute to the wine and then there’s the skill of aging and blending. Christine Lurton at Chateau Dauzac tells us they choose the barrels from five different coopers.
We also met the iconic wine maker Andre Lurton owner of six properties in the Et Emilion. He oversees the making of over four millions bottles of wine a year and knows each vintage intimately. He has devoted his whole life to enhancing the quality of Bordeaux wines and now his family is following in his footsteps. Unlike Burgundy, Bordeaux does not have a particularly distinguished food culture; really renowned restaurants are few and far between, apart from Entrecote Bordelaise, Lamprey eels, cannelés and macaroons, it’s difficult to track down local specialities.
However we didn’t need to worry, we were staying with Jean Pierre Moullé and his family so every meal was a simple and beautiful feast. Jean Pierre – married to Denise, one of the Lurton wine family girls – is head chef for six months of the year at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California.
His food totally reflects what’s in season in his garden. It was so wonderful to lie in a hammock under the Mirelle plum tree, enjoying the sounds and the delicious smells emanating from the kitchen just across the garden – such a precious moment.
A visit to the local butcher to buy meat for dinner was like going back in time in Ireland. Convivial conversation between the customers as they waited their turn to be served, the butcher produced a few glasses and poured us a measure of pineau des Charentes, a mixture of Cognac and fresh grape juice and proudly dispenses samples of his boudin noir for us to taste. One of the most delicious and bizarre taste combinations I’ve encountered at 11:30 in the morning. There are still local markets every day in different towns and villages. I was intrigued in particular by the variety of cured meats, every scrap of meat and poultry is used. Fromage de Tête, rilettes, salami, saussicons… Chickens still come with their heads and feet attached, some ducks also. The tradition of curing and preserving food for the winter is waning since the widespread use of the freezer. However a 5 day power cut last winter which resulted in many people losing their entire supply has kindled a renewed interest in more traditional methods of preserving, like confit, pickling, jam making and curing. One spirited youngster I met squirmed when she talked of the bizarre but delicious things her 86 year old grandmother cooked Sanguette (Chicken’s blood with shallots, parsley) but nonetheless realised the urgency of learning these skills before it was too late.

Here are some of the delicious things we enjoyed for picnics and meals both in the garden and indoors.

Pizza with Salmon Crème Fraicĥe and Chives

Jean Pierre had recently built a pizza oven in his garden so we made a batch of dough and experimented with his new toy. French flour is quite different to Irish flour but nonetheless the results were delicious. We brought some of Bill Casey’s Shanagarry organic smoked salmon as a present and Jean Pierre used that to make this delicious pizza.

1 pizza base (9 to 10 inch)
extra virgin olive oil
thinly sliced onion
2 tablespoons or more crème fraicĥe
2 to 3 slices of Irish smoked salmon
teaspoon finely chopped chives
freshly cracked pepper

Pre heat the oven to 500º 260F Gas10 or more. Heat a heavy baking tray if possible. Stretch or roll the dough into a 10 inch round. Sprinkle a pizza paddle with flour or cornmeal; transfer the pizza to the paddle. Brush the top with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with paper thin onion rings, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes in the oven or until the pizza is bubbly around the edges and fully cooked. Remove from the oven and then spread with crème fraiche, cover the surface with thin slices of smoked salmon and sprinkle with chopped chives, season with freshly cracked pepper and enjoy immediately.

Pizza Ladierè

This is a French version of pizza not to be confused with its Italian cousin and makes a perfect summer lunch or a delicious starter.

Serves 6

Yeast Base

450g (14oz) white baker’s flour
150ml (¼ pint) luke warm water
15g (½ oz) fresh yeast
2 organic eggs
1 scant teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 – 5 onions sliced
3 teaspoons or more of thyme, basil and finely chopped rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Small can anchovies 60g (2oz)
60g (2oz) Kalamata or Nice olives

35cm flan ring or low-sided tart tin or baking tray

First make the dough. Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl, I use a heavy old fashioned cream mixing bowl, so it’s an advantage to warm it first. Mix the yeast in a small bowl with the warm water, stir to dissolve, pour into the four, allow to stand for 4 or 5 minutes, it will start to bubble slightly, then add the beaten eggs and salt. Mix to a softish dough. Turn out onto a floured board; cover and leave for 3 or 4 minutes, then knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and springy. Rub a little oil over the surface. Pop into a bowl, cover the top with cling film and allow to rise in a warm spot until doubled size – about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan, add the sliced onion and chopped herbs, season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss cover and cook on a gentle heat until the onions are really soft and melting.

Drain the anchovies and cut in half lengthwise. Half and stone the olives.

When the dough has doubled in bulk, ‘knock back’ by kneading for a minute or two. Roll the dough into a round and ft into a flan ring or simply lay on a baking sheet 35 cm round approx. Spread the melted mixture over the base. Grind a little freshly ground pepper on top. Arrange the anchovy strips in a lattice over the onions. Pop a half olive into each diamond. Allow to rise in your warm kitchen for 10 to 15 minutes while the oven is preheating to 200c bake for 10 minutes, reduce to 180 – 350 – 4 and continue to cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Or until nicely browned around the edges, serve hot or at room temperature.

Anne Willan’s Entrecôte a la Bordelaise

Entrecôte Steak with Beef Marrow (taken from ‘French Regional Cooking’ by Anne Willan)

Charente supplies Bordeaux not only with butter but with beef. There are two ways of serving this dish; in country districts books don’t bother with the sauce bordelaise but simply top the steak with bone marrow and pour the pan juices dissolved in a little red wine over it. Any good cut of steak, cut 5cm/2in thick can be used. If possible ask the butcher to extract marrow from marrow bones, otherwise use a sharp knife to remove it yourself.

Serves 5

1kg (2lb) entrecôte steak
2 tablespoons oil
125g (4oz) beef marrow sliced
bunch of watercress

Sauce Bordelaise

80g (2 ½ oz) butter
5 shallots finely chopped
250ml (9fl oz) red wine, preferably Bordeaux
salt and coarsely ground black pepper
pinch of thyme
pinch of grated nutmeg
250ml (9fl oz) broth

Begin the sauce bordelaise: melt a tablespoon of the butter in a heavy saucepan, add the shallots and cook over a low fire for 3 – 4 minutes to soften. Add the wine, a pinch of salt and coarsely ground black pepper, the thyme and nutmeg. Boil until reduced by about half. Add the broth and boil again to reduce by about half.
Brush the steak with oil and sprinkle it with pepper. Leave to marinate for a few minutes while heating the grill/broiler to very hot. Put the marrow in a pot of simmering water and poach for 2 – 3 minutes or until just tender. Drain and dice the marrow, cover and keep warm.
Grill/broil the entrecôte for 8 minutes. Turn it over, sprinkle with salt and grill the other side for about 7 more minutes (for rare meat). While the steak is cooking, finish the sauce: reheat the sauce to boiling. Take it from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, a piece at a time. Stir in the diced marrow and taste the sauce for seasoning.
To serve, cut the steak in diagonal slices, arrange it on a platter and spoon over a little sauce. Decorate the platter with watercress and serve the remaining sauce separately.

Fool Proof Food

Fresh Blueberry Slices

Irish blueberries are in season once again they are full of antioxidants which help to build up our resistance to winter colds and flu. They are enormously versatile and delicious. Throw a fistful into your muffin mixture, scones or even soda bread, add them to salads or sprinkle them over your morning muesli. Look out for them in shops and farmers markets and gorge yourself on as many as you can in the next few weeks. Most importantly check that they are Irish before you pop them into your shopping basket.

Makes 24

6 ozs (175g) soft butter
6 ozs (175g) castor sugar
2 eggs, preferably free range
6 ozs (175g) self-raising flour

½ to ¾ lb fresh Irish blueberries
1oz or more caster sugar

10 x 7 inch (25.5 x 18 cm) Swiss roll tin, well greased

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

Put the butter, castor sugar, eggs and self-raising flour into a food processor. Whizz for a few seconds to amalgamate. Spread evenly in the well buttered tin. Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the top of the cake mixture and spread about 1 oz of caster sugar over the berries. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes approx. or until golden brown and well risen. As soon as the cake mixture is cooked, sprinkle a little caster sugar over the top cut into squares and serve warm with Crème Fraiche or thick Glen Ilen Farm Cream.

Remove the biscuits from the tin if keeping for a few days unless the tin is coated with Teflon.

Thrifty Tip

First Grenadier early cooker apples are out now and make delicious tarts and fluffy apple sauce, freeze the surplus.


Declan Ryan of Arbutus Breads sells ready made dough for pizza bases at the Farmers Market in Midleton on Tuesday and Saturday and Mahon Point on Thursdays. All you need to do is roll it out and add the topping. Telephone 021 4501061 or email 021 4501061

Britain is to have its first degree course in artisan food. It is being offered from September 2009 by the University of Derby. The Bachelor of Science course at the Wellbeck Estate in North Nottinghamshire is the UK’s first degree course to teach practical artisan skills. Students will learn how to make cheese, bread, pickles, beer and other artisan skills.
There is also a growing interest and demand for the now well established Diploma in Speciality Food Production at University College Cork. Please contact Dr Angela Sheehan, Tel. 021-4901423 / 4903178 Email: for further information.

Waterford Harvest Food Festival celebrates local food, heritage and culture from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th September, for more information visit

Green Dream – Swiss Chard

Last week I brought a beautiful basket of new seasons Swiss chard into the Midleton Farmers market. Juicy white stalks and lots of green leaf. Two beautiful vegetables in one. A couple of customers’ faces lit up when they saw it but overall there was little interest. I wanted to tell anyone who would listen to me that it is virtually my favourite green vegetable. Kale just pips it at the post in Winter. When I was little green vegetables were definitely not my favourite. Now I love them with a passion, it’s almost like a craving. I would quite happily sit down to a plate of chard for supper with nothing more than a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil and a few flakes of sea salt and a little pepper. Sadly chard is often forgotten or passed over partly because many are unsure what to do with it. The sweet earthy flavour of this versatile vegetable marries well with lots of other vegetables, meat, fish and shellfish. The leafy green tops can be stripped off the juicy stalks and they can be served separately or together.
Swiss chard with its thick, creamy coloured stalks is possibly best known, but we also grow Ruby chard which has vibrant red stalks and a variety called rainbow chard which is so beautiful in either an herbaceous border or vegetable plot. If you only have a little space n your garden it’s worth considering. It’s quite hardy and will keep you well supplied throughout the winter. Meanwhile look out for it in Farmers’ Markets and farm shops and here are several delicious ways to enjoy it.

Chick pea and Chard and Chorizo Soup

Serves 4

More a meal than a soup, this is all I need to eat to pep me up at lunchtime during the week.  Finished with a good splash of grassy, peppery, extra virgin olive oil, it is unctuous and truly lovely.

200g (7oz) dried chick peas, soaked overnight
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
Juice of ½ lemon
2 dried chillies
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with the back of a knife
110g (4oz) chorizo, chopped
3 teaspoons of finely chopped rosemary
2 x 340g (12oz) jars (or tinned) good quality peeled plum tomatoes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 litre good chicken stock (or water if you prefer)
300g (10oz) Swiss chard
2 slices of day-old chewy peasant style bread, crusts removed
75-90g (3-4oz) Parmesan, freshly grated

Drain the chick peas, rinse and place in a large heavy-based pan.  Cover generously with cold water, but do not season.  Bring to the boil over a medium heat, and then turn the heat down.  Simmer gently for 1 ½ hours or until the chick peas are soft, skimming away any scum from the surface every now and then.  Drain and dress with 1 tbsp extra virgin oil and the lemon juice.

In the meantime, warm 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a separate pan over medium heat.  Crumble in the chillies and add the garlic, chorizo and chopped rosemary.  Cook for a minute or so to release the flavours, then add the tomatoes and stir well to break them up, adding a good pinch of salt.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes, then pour in the chicken stock and cook for a further 10 minutes.  Finally add the cooked chick peas and simmer gently for 40 minutes.

Towards the end of the cooking time, prepare the chard.  Wash and pat dry, then strip the leaves from the pale central stalk, using a small sharp knife; set aside.  Trim the stalks and cut into 1cm chunks.  Add these to a pan of well-salted boiling water and cook for 2 minutes, then add the soft green outer leaves and cook for a further minute.  Drain.

Break the bread into small pieces and stir into the soup along with the parmesan, turning the heat to low.  Add the chard and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  The soup should be deeply flavoured and thick.  Add a little more Parmesan and/or olive oil if needed.  Ladle into warm soup plates and serve.

Jean Pierre Moullé’s Chard Frittata

Jean Pierre is head chef at Chez Panisse in Berkley, California for six  months of the year. During the summer months he lives in Bordeaux and teaches cooking classes. This was one of the many delicious things I ate when I spent a few days with him and his family.

Serves 8

6 free range organic eggs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive
25g (1oz) butter
2 medium onions finely chopped
125 – 150g (4 ½ – 5oz) Parmesan grated
6 – 8 Chard Stems
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 x tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
10 g (½ oz) butter
25.5cm – 10in non stick or cast iron frying pan

Heat a pan, add the extra virgin olive oil and butter add onion, toss and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook over a gentle heat, add garlic and cook for a few minutes more. Strip the green from the stalks of the chard. Chop the stalks into roughly 1 inch pieces. Bring 2 pints of water to the boil; add salt (3 teaspoons – 2 pints)
Toss in stalks cook for 4 – 5 minutes; add half or more of the chopped greens and cook for a further 2 – 3 minutes. Drain really well, add to the onion and garlic and cook for 8 – 10 minutes.
Whisk the eggs, season well with salt, and freshly ground pepper add grated parmesan, and the cooled chard and onions. Heat a non-stick or cast iron frying pan on a low heat. Add a half ounce of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil. Pour in the mixture, cook for a further 7 – 8 minutes until the edges are well coloured; transfer to a pre heated moderate oven for 10 – 12 minutes. Allow to settle, un-mould. Serve at room temperature with a good green salad.

Madhur Jaffrey’s Salmon Poached with Tomatoes and Swiss Chard

Serves 5-6

1 1/2lbs (675g) salmon fillet (get the thick centre section of a large salmon and ask the fishmonger to remove the skin)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4lb (350g) Swiss chard
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion (4oz/110g), peeled and cut in half, lengthways, and then cut crossways into fine half rings
1 1/2 inch (4cms) cube of fresh ginger, peeled and first cut into very thin slices and then into very fine slivers
8 canned plum tomatoes, chopped
4fl oz (110ml) thick coconut milk (straight from a well-stirred can)

Cut the salmon fillet, crossways, into 5-6 portions (as many as there are people).  Pull out bones, if any, with a pair of tweezers.  Put some salt and pepper on both sides of the fish pieces and set aside for 20 minutes or longer.

Swiss chard leaves have a hard, central vein that also becomes the stalk.  Using a sharp, pointed knife, cut this out from all the leaves.  Cut the green, leafy section, crossways, into 1/4 inch (5mm) wide strips.  Set aside.  Collect a few stems-veins at a time and cut them, crossways, into 18 inch (3mm) wide strips.

Heat the oil in a very large frying-pan or a very wide sauté pan over a medium-high flame.  When hot, put in the onion, ginger and chard stems.  Sauté for about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes.  Continue to sauté for another 4-5 minutes.  Add the coconut milk and 3/4 pint (450ml) water, 1 teaspoons of salt and some black pepper.  Stir to mix and bring to a simmer.  Simmer on a low heat for a minute.  This much of the recipe can be done ahead of time.

Just before you sit down to eat, bring the sauce to a simmer again.  Put in the cut up chard leaves and stir them in.  Lay the fish pieces in a single layer over the top of the sauce.  Spoon some of the thinner, more watery parts of the sauce over the fish.  Cover.  Simmer for 5 minutes or until the fish has just cooked through.

To serve: Using a good sized spatula, lift a piece of fish with some of the greens and solids in the sauce and put it in the centre of a plate.  Spoon some of the thinner part of the sauce over the top of the fish.  The sauce will flow to the edge of the plate as it should.  Make up all the plates this way and serve immediately.  Serve with rice or potatoes.

Slow Cooked Shoulder of Lamb with Chickpeas, Chard, Peppers and Paprika.

Serves 8

1 shoulder of lamb
extra virgin olive oil
3 onions
3 peppers
6 cloves garlic
1kg (2lbs) ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons smoked or sweet paprika
2 – 3 chillies
sprig of thyme and 2 bay leaves
300ml (10 floz) dry white wine
300ml (10 floz) chicken or lamb stock
450g (1 lb) chickpeas
1 bunch of chard
salt and freshly ground pepper

1 wide sauté pan

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in the sauté pan over a medium heat. Score the skin of the lamb with salt and freshly ground pepper. Brown on the fat side for 4 – 5 minutes then turn over and continue for a few minutes more. Remove from the pan, add the quartered onions, peeled garlic cloves, continue to cook on a low heat for 5 – 6 minutes, add the chillies, peppers, chopped tomatoes, thyme bay leaves and paprika. Stir and cook for 3 o 4 minutes, add the wine and stock, add the lamb and cook for 2 – 2 ½ hours with on a very low heat or in the oven at 170°C, 325°F, mark 3.
Meanwhile drain off the soaking water from the chick peas, Cover with fresh water bring to the boil and continue to cook until plump and tender, 45 minutes to one hour.
When the meat is almost falling off the bones, remove the thyme and bay leaves, add the drained chick peas, and toss well in the tomato and pepper mixture.
Just before serving, prepare the chard, just before serving, chop the chard into 1 inch pieces, cook in well salted water for 3 to 4 minutes, and add the chopped leaves. Drain and Allow to bubble for 4 or 5 minutes. Taste, correct seasoning, it may need salt, freshly ground pepper and paprika. Carve the lamb in chunks. Transfer to a large serving plate and serve surrounded with chard and chickpeas.

Fool Proof Food

Melted Chard Stalks with Bacon and Hazelnuts

Here is a way to cook the green parts of chard as you would spinach.

Serves 4–6

900g (2lb) white or ruby chard stalks
10g (1/2oz) butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
50g (2oz) streaky bacon, cut into very fine lardons
110g (4oz) onion finely diced
salt and freshly ground pepper
50g (2oz) hazelnuts
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram or 1/2 tablespoon sage

String the chard stalks with a swivel top vegetable peeler and chop into 7.5cm (3in) lengths. Melt the butter and olive oil in an oval casserole. Add the bacon and cook for 1–2 minutes. Add the diced onion and sweat for a further 2–3 minutes. Add the chard stalks, toss, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper, cover the casserole and cook on a low heat for 20–25 minutes.
Meanwhile roast the hazelnuts in a moderate oven for 5–8 minutes, until the skins loosen. Rub off the skins, chop, add the marjoram or sage to the chard and cook for a minute or two. Add the toasted hazelnuts, toss and serve.

Thrifty Tip

Place sprigs of thyme into the pockets of clothes to protect them from moths.


Euro-toques, National Food Forum and Fairs theme this year is ‘The Whole Hog’ focusing on how we rear, kill and eat pigs in Ireland. Sunday 6th September, at Brooklodge, Macreddin Village, Co Wicklow. To book a stall or to participate in Forum and Tastings contact Ruth 01-6779995 or

Richard Bertinet – from the famous Bertinet Kitchen Cookery School in Bath, Somerset – an award winning baker, is coming to Ballymaloe Cookery School to teach a practical one and half day course on the art of bread making from Tuesday 15th to Wednesday 16th September. For further details telephone 021 4646 785 or email

Those of you who have a concern about Sustainable Seafood and would like to learn more, you might want to join the Marine Conservation Society. First check out the website it’s a mine of useful information.

Arto der Haroutunian – Taste of Africa

Arto der Haroutunian’s name may not be familiar to many but for those with a penchant for North African food, it’s a name worth noting. Arto was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1940 and grew up in the Levant but came to the UK with his parents as a child and remained there for most of his life.

He studied architecture, painted, composed music and established a career designing restaurants, clubs and hotels. He opened the first Armenian restaurant in Manchester in 1970. He combined his love of food with his interest in culture and food history. He died in 1987 at the untimely age of 47.

Given his passion for food it was a natural progression that he should begin to write cookbooks that combined his love of food with his great interest in the history and culture of the Middle East.

It was his belief that the rich culinary tradition of that area is the main source of many of our Western Cuisines and his books were intended as an introduction to that tradition. Second hand copies of those early cooks now fetch hundreds of pounds and are hard to come by. So I was doubly delighted when Grub Street Press in the UK decided to re-publish North African Cookery – a gorgeous collection from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, over 300 recipes from traditional dishes, such as tagines, stews, soups and salads using classic ingredients, fiery spices, jewel like dried fruits, pickled lemons and armfuls of fresh herbs. Simplicity if at the heart of the Medina kitchen.

Indonesian cuisine is perhaps the hottest of the region – they love that fiery harissa which I also relish. Tunisian food has strong French influences and pasta is also a passion.

Morocco’s great forte is its exotic tajines of fish, meat and vegetables. Libya, although less gastronomically subtle, excels in soups and patisserie. Here are a few gems to whet your appetite for the book.


Arto der Haroutunian’s Tajine Lham Bil Djelbana

Meat and Pea Tajine

‘Don’t say I have beans until they are in the measure’

Moroccan proverb

Serves 6


You can prepare this classic tajine in two ways – Moroccan or, as with the recipe below, Algerian. Moroccans would use saffron (of course!) – 1 whole teaspoonful at that – and also 1 teaspoon ginger, zest of a pickled lemon and a few preserved olives. Algerians on the other hand use tomato purée – a French-Italian habit, but nice!

900g (2lb) shoulder or leg of lamb cut into 5cm (2in) pieces

4–5 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoon smen or 15g (1/2oz) butter

2 medium onions, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 large tomato, blanched, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon tomato purée diluted in 4–5 tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

11/2 teaspoons salt

1 level tablespoon sugar

900g (2lb) peas

Place all the ingredients except the sugar and peas in a large saucepan and fry over a gentle heat, stirring frequently. Add enough water to cover by about 2.5cm (1in) and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Add the sugar and peas, stir well, recover and simmer for a further 15–20 minutes or until the meat and peas are cooked. If necessary uncover the pan and simmer for a few minutes or until the sauce thickens.

The traditional way of serving this tajine is to serve it in a large dish accompanied by flat bread such as pita or chappati. You break the bread into pieces, shape it like a spoon and scoop the meat and peas into it.


You could also reduce the pea content to 450g (1lb) and add 450g (1lb) peeled and thinly sliced carrots.

Another attractive variation, Lham bil Djelbana wel Bayd – from Tizi Ouzou in Algeria, or so I was given to believe by a native of that town, now happily married with 4 children and a buxom wife and living in Oldham – is to transfer the cooked dish to a large tajine or casserole, to break 6 eggs separately over the top and to place in an oven pre-heated to 400f, 200c, Gas Mark 6 for 5–7 minutes or until set. Serve in the tajine or casserole garnished with a little chopped parsley or mint.

Arto der Haroutunian’s Tbikha Selg Bi Roz

Spinach with Rice and Almonds


Serves 6


Rice is not widely used in North Africa – the exceptions being Libya and Egypt where the Arab grain, rice, predominates over couscous. This simple and filling dish from Algeria can be eaten on its own or as an accompaniment to meat or fish-based dishes.


900g (2lb) fresh spinach

1 clove garlic

1 dried chilli pepper, soaked in 5 tablespoons cold water

1 teaspoon salt

150ml (1/4 pint) oil

1 teaspoon paprika



/2 teaspoon black pepper

4 tablespoons long-grain rice, rinsed thoroughly under cold water

300ml (1/2 pint) water

2 tablespoons blanched almonds, toasted until golden under a hot grill

Discard thick stems and discoloured leaves of spinach and rinse remainder thoroughly under cold running water. Drain and chop coarsely. Bring a large saucepan half filled with lightly salted water to the boil. Add the spinach and cook for 5 minutes. Drain into a colander.

Meanwhile in a mortar or blender crush the garlic, chilli pepper with its water, and the salt. Transfer this mixture to a large saucepan, add the oil, paprika and black pepper and fry gently for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

When cool enough to handle squeeze as much water as possible from the spinach and add to the pan. Stir in the rice and water and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender and the water absorbed. Transfer the spinach mixture to a large serving dish and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.


Arto der Haroutunian’s Batata Maglia Bil Dersa

Spicy Fried Potatoes

Fried potatoes North African-style with a hot sauce. They are an excellent accompaniment to grilled meats and Mergues.

Serves 6

1.5 kg (about 3lb) potatoes, peeled and washed

Oil for frying

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon harissa (see Darina Allen’s Food File Irish Examiner Saturday 8th August)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground caraway

to serve

2 tablespoons vinegar

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cut the potatoes into 1/2–1cm (1/4–1/2in) thick rounds and then into 1/2–1cm (1/4–1/2in) sticks. Soak in cold water for 20 minutes and then pat dry.

Meanwhile add sufficient oil to cover the base of a large saucepan by 1cm (1/2in) and heat. When hot add some of the potato sticks and fry until cooked and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Cook the remaining potato sticks in the same way. (You can deep fry them in a chip pan if you wish.)

When all the potatoes are cooked pour off most of the oil leaving only about 3–4 tablespoons in the pan. Add the garlic, harissa, salt and caraway and fry for 1 minute. Stir in 60ml (2fl oz) water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 3–4 minutes. Add the fried potatoes and stir well to coat with the sauce. Simmer for a few minutes to evaporate excess liquid. Pile the potatoes into a dish, sprinkle with the vinegar and black pepper and serve.

Arto der Haroutunian’s Mergues

Spicy sausage

These are hot, spicy sausages popular throughout North Africa, but are best in Tunisia. They are very versatile, and can be grilled, baked, cooked in omelettes etc. In recent years they have appeared in France, brought when the pieds-noirs (French North Africans) returned from Algeria en masse. Although they are now sold by French butchers, the best are still to be found in the small Tunisian café-restaurants that have sprung up all over French cities.

Another sausage, saucisse de foie, is made with liver – usually calf but sometimes chicken. It is grey in colour and is less spicy than the classic Mergues.

900g (2lb) lean lamb or beef

175g (6oz) beef fat

4 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon chilli pepper

2 teaspoons harissa (see Darina Allen’s Food File Irish Examiner Saturday 8th August)

1 tablespoon powdered fennel seeds

150ml (1/4 pint) oil

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

About 1m (40in) sheep or beef intestines, cleaned

Mince the meat, fat and garlic together and transfer to a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients (except the intestines) and knead for several minutes until smooth and well blended.

Meanwhile soak the intestines in cold water for 3 hours, which makes them easier to handle. To put the mixture into the intestines you need a plastic funnel with a nozzle width of about 2.5cm (1in).

Fit one end of the intestine over the nozzle and gently work the whole of the intestine onto the nozzle. Force the meat down through the funnel into the intestine. As the intestine fills up it will slip off the nozzle. When the whole intestine is full run it lightly through one hand to distribute the meat evenly. Set aside. Continue until you have used up all the meat.

To make into sausages, fold one intestine in half and then tie or knot at 15cm (6in) intervals. Leave to hang over the sink for 4–5 hours before using. Store in the refrigerator for a few days or freeze until required.



Arto der Haroutunian’s Kab-El-Ghazel

Gazelle Horns

Makes 16

Continuing on the theme of almonds this recipe, another classic of Berber origin popular in Morocco an Algeria, is dedicated to the horns of the favourite Arab animal – the gazelle, a symbol of grace, beauty and gentleness. It is also one of the few pastries that can be found in most pâtisseries.

225g (8oz) plain flour

2 tablespoons melted butter

3 tablespoons orange blossom water


225g (8oz) ground almonds

175g (6oz) icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2-4 tablespoons orange blossom water

First prepare the filling by mixing the almonds, icing sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Add enough of the orange blossom water to bind the mixture together. Knead until smooth. Divide into 16 balls. Roll each ball into a sausage about 5cm (2in) long which is thicker in the middle and tapers at both ends. Set aside.

Sift the flour for the pastry into a mixing bowl, make a well in the centre and add the melted butter and orange blossom water. Gradually fold the flour in and then, little by little, add just enough cold water to form a dough. Place on a work surface and knead for at least 20 minutes until the dough is very smooth and elastic. Divide into 2 balls. Take one ball of dough and roll it out into a strip about 10cm (4in) wide and at least 75cm (30in) long. You will find that you will be able to stretch the pastry by wrapping first one end of the pastry and then the other over the rolling pin and pulling gently.

Arrange 8 of the almond sausages on the pastry in a line about 3.5cm (11/2in) in from the long edge nearest you, leaving about 5cm (2in) between each sausage. Fold the pastry over the sausages to enclose them completely. Cut down between each sausage. Taking 1 pastry at a time press the edges together to seal in the filling. Trim the pastry edge to a semi-circle, but do not cut too close to the filling or the edges will be forced open during cooking and the filling will ooze out. Crimp the edges with the prongs of a fork. Now pinch the pastry up to form a steep ridge and gently curve the ends around to form a crescent-shape. Repeat with the remaining pastries. Repeat with remaining ball of dough and almond filling.

Place on greased baking sheets and cook in an oven preheated to 350f, 180c, Gas Mark 4 for 20-30 minutes or until a pale golden colour. Cool on wire racks and store in an airtight tin when cold.


kab-el-ghazel mfenned


Prepare the pastries as above and when they are cooked soak them in orange blossom water and then roll in icing sugar until they are completely coated and are snow-white in colour.




Sweet corn

Catherine and Vincent O’Donovan’s bright yellow roadside stall on the main Cork to Innishannon Road sells juicy sweet corn. They are open every day and hope to have sweet corn for the next two months. Order sweet corn to freeze…telephone Vincent 087-2486031.The Slow Food West Cork

Annual Summer Picnic is on Sunday August 30th. A revival of the Somerville and Ross tradition of climbing up the hill overlooking Lough Hyne and enjoying a scrumptious picnic while gazing at the spectacular view! The packed picnics this year are being prepared by Susan Fehily of the River Lane Cafe in Ballineen (023) 47173. Full details and order form can be found at t  of the SlowFoodIreland website. Orders MUST be in by Wednesday August 26th.

Castlefarm Allotment

Our Ladies Hospital in Crumlin and St Brigid’s Hospice on the Curragh will benefit from the bountiful harvest of the Castlefarm organic allotments on 28th-30th of August.  Allotment holders at Kildare’s Castlefarm will run a festival to celebrate the first year of the Castlefarm allotments, to give over 30 green fingered allotment holders a chance to show off their achievements. Information and tickets available from Jenny at Castlefarm Shop on 059-8636948 or


Oh my goodness, the weather would drive you to the drink. I am often at a loss to know what to cook for supper, one minute there is thunder and lightning and flash floods, within half an hour one could be searching for a deck chair to enjoy the scorching sun.

This evening I had planned to have a gorgeous salad of summer vegetables for supper with some soused mackerel but the weather changed again, there’s a howling gale and pelting rain and no one will thank me for a cold supper. So I think I’ll cook a neck of lamb moussaka that we tested recently, which we all loved. Neck of lamb is deliciously sweet and terrifically good value for money.

I also love a little streaky bacon glazed – that’s a good plan because I can serve that hot or cold so I can be ready for ‘figaries’ of the Irish Summer. Served hot it would be delicious with a fondue of ripe tomatoes, some beans and a few floury potatoes. If the sun is perchance splitting the stones, I’ll serve it with a few salads. Our heirloom tomatoes have just come on stream, a variety of beautiful juicy fruit in odd shapes and colours with bizarre names. They make the most beautiful salads. Simply sprinkle the thick slices of fruit with salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar. Halve a lemon and squeeze it over, add lots of fresh mint or basil and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Taste and tweak until the balance is right. Irish cucumbers are also in season at present, try this salad with radishes and Irish cucumber.

Hard-Boiled Eggs with Anchovy, Pepper and Flat Parsley

I also love this salad, a lovely little supper dish on its own.
Serves 4-8

8 organic eggs
115ml (4fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, sliced thinly on a microplane
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into 5mm (1/4in) dice
8 – 12 anchovies, either salted or in vinegar
flat parsley leaves
Maldon sea salt and freshly ground pepper
lots of crusty bread and rocket leaves

Hard-boil the eggs. Cool, peel, wash and split in half lengthways. Arrange in a single layer, cut side up, on a serving dish. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the garlic slices. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes until pale golden (careful not to burn or the garlic will turn bitter and acrid). Reduce the temperature, add the pepper and toss for no more than a minute. Turn off the heat, cool, and add the chopped anchovy. Spoon over the hard-boiled eggs and top with snipped flat parsley. Season with freshly cracked pepper and a little sea salt. Serve with crusty bread and rocket leaves.

Cucumber, Radish, Feta, Flat Parsley and Nigella Seeds

Serves 6-8

1 cucumber

2 bunches radishes

225g (8oz) feta, cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) dice

salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

lots of flat parsley sprigs and mint leaves

1 – 2 tablespoons nigella seeds

Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and then in half again. Cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) dice. Trim the radishes and cut into similar size pieces. Mix the cucumber and feta in a bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Toss gently, add lots of flat parsley and fresh mint leaves. Taste and correct seasoning. Sprinkle with nigella seeds.


Heirloom Tomato Salad with Basil, Olive Oil and Irish Honey

The Ballymaloe Cookery School stall has a unique selection of heirloom tomatoes of all shapes and sizes. Red, yellow, black, striped, round, pear shaped, oval. They make a divine tomato salad with fresh buffalo mozzarella and lots of fresh basil.

Serves 4


8 very ripe heirloom tomatoes

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 dessertspoon pure Irish honey

3 tablespoons Mani extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh basil leaves


Cut the tomatoes into ¼ inch (5mm) thick slices, sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix the oil and honey together and add ‘torn’ basil leaves, pour over the tomatoes and toss gently. Taste, correct seasoning if necessary. A little freshly squeezed lemon juice enhances the flavour in a very delicious way.


Cooked Baby Carrots

1 lb (450g) carrots, Early Nantes and Autumn King have particularly good flavour

4 fl ozs (100ml) cold water

Pinch of salt

A good pinch of sugar


Cut off the tops and tips, scrub and peel thinly if necessary. Leave very young carrots whole. Put them in a saucepan with water, salt and sugar. Bring to the boil, cover and cook over a gentle heat until tender, by which time the liquid should have all been absorbed into the carrots, but if not remove the lid and increase the heat until all the water has evaporated. Taste and correct the seasoning.



Emer Fitzgerald’s Braised Lamb Neck Moussaka

Serves 8

2 x lamb necks (approximately 1.6kgs / 3 ½ lbs in total)

450g (1 lb) onions

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 x 400g / 14oz cans of chopped tomatoes

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon fresh marjoram leaves chopped

800ml lamb stock

salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar

2 aubergines (500g /18oz) in total

500g (18oz) potatoes, scrubbed well

50g (2oz) raisins

Cheese Sauce:

45g (1 ½ oz) butter

45g (1 ½ oz) flour

600ml (1 pint) milk

1 bay leaf

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon of cream

4oz grated Gruyere cheese


1 earthenware dish 25.5 x 21.5cm (10 x 8 1/2 inch)

1 large casserole

Preheat oven to 150º/ 300°F/ Mark 2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large casserole dish. Season the lamb necks with salt and freshly ground pepper. Brown the meat on all sides in the oil. Remove and place on a plate. Add the onions and garlic to the casserole, cook over medium heat for 3 – 4 minutes until soft and beginning to brown. Add the chopped tomatoes, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg and chopped marjoram. Season with salt and pepper and sugar. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the lamb stock and bring to the boil. Add back in the lamb necks. Cover the casserole and place in a preheated oven for 2 – 2 ½ hours or until tender. The meat should be falling off the bone.

Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling salted until two thirds cooked. Peel and slice into 5mm (1/4 inch) slices.

Slice the aubergine into ½ inch slices. Sprinkle with salt and allow to de-gorge in a colander for half an hour. Preheat a grill pan. Pat the aubergines dry, toss in olive oil. Cook in a preheated grill pan until golden on both sides. When the lamb is cooked, remove from the braising liquid. Coarsely shred the lamb, removing any bones or sinew. Strain the vegetables from the liquid and add to the lamb. Moisten this mixture with some of the braising liquid (3 – 4 tablespoons) Season to taste and add the raisins.

Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Harissa and Chickpea Salad

This is one of our new favourites, if the weather is hot; this is perfect for the barbeque

Serves 8

1 butterflied leg of lamb (1.5kg/3lb 5oz approximately)

100g (3 1/2oz) harissa (see Fool Proof Food)

zest and freshly squeezed juice of 2 lemons

Chickpea Salad

700g (1 1/2lb) dried chickpeas

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4onions, sliced

4 cloves of garlic, chopped


175ml (6fl oz) extra virgin olive oil

50ml (2fl oz) freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 clove of garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons ground cumin

salt and freshly ground pepper

To Serve

3 tablespoons coriander, chopped

3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped

150mls (5 1/2fl oz/scant) natural yoghurt

Barbeque or preheated oven to 180°C/350ºF/Gas Mark 4.

Night Before

Mix the harissa with the zest and freshly squeezed juice of the lemon. Place the lamb in a large bowl. Pierce some holes in the lamb with the tip of a sharp knife – this will allow the marinade to penetrate into the meat. Pour the marinade over the lamb and rub in well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Cover the dried chickpeas in plenty of cold water. Allow to soak overnight.

Next Day

Drain the chickpeas, put into a saucepan. Cover with fresh cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer until tender. Heat the oil in a saucepan; sweat the onion and garlic until soft. Then allow to become golden and caramelised.

Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together in a bowl.

Remove the meat from the marinade, place on the barbecue near the coals to seal in the juices on each side. Raise the grill and cook for 20 minutes on each side, occasionally basting with the remaining marinade. Alternatively put on a roasting tray and roast in a moderate oven for 1 – 1 1/2 hours depending on how well you like it cooked.

When the chickpeas are cooked, drain and toss immediately with the caramelised onions, garlic and dressing. Allow to come to room temperature.

When the lamb is cooked, remove from the grill and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Toss the freshly chopped herbs through the chickpea salad. Slice the meat thinly; serve with chickpea salad and a blob of yoghurt.

Darina’s Birthday Cake

Duck eggs are renowned for making a lighter, yellower sponge cake than hen’s eggs, and are, as such, much sought after. This sponge is interesting because the whites, rather than the yolks, are beaten with the sugar, which is opposite to the way most whisked-up sponges are made.

Serves 8

3 duck eggs

75g (3oz) caster sugar

75g (3oz) and an extra dessertspoon flour

2 x 18cm (7 inch) round cake tins



4 ozs (225g) home-made strawberry jam

10 fl ozs (285g) whipped cream



A selection of Summer berries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, redcurrants, blackberries…

4 fl oz whipped cream

icing sugar to dust

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Line the base of the tins with a round of silicone paper. Brush the base and sides with melted butter and dust with white flour.

Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Put the whites and sugar into a bowl and whisk until stiff, preferably in an electric mixer. Whisk in the yolks one by one and then fold in the sieved flour, making sure not to deflate the mixture. Divide the mixture between 2 prepared tins.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes. Turn out carefully and cool on a wire rack. Sandwich together with a layer of homemade strawberry jam, a layer of freshly whipped cream. Sprinkle with sieved icing sugar over the top. Serve on an old fashioned plate with a doyley. Pipe rosettes of the remaining cream and arrange the berries on top.

Fool Proof Food


Makes 100g (3 1/2oz)

10 dried red chillies, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes

5 fresh red chillies

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Deseed and roughly chop the dried and fresh chillies. Put in a food processor with the garlic, cumin, coriander, salt and olive oil. Whizz until smooth.

Store in a jar with a layer of olive oil over the top. It will keep for 3 months.

Thrifty Tip

If you have left over potatoes from a meal, peel and cube them while they are still warm, toss them in French dressing, add chopped scallions, parsley and a few dollops of mayonnaise for a delish potato salad.



The Merrion Hotel

. If you feel like a little treat to cheer yourself up the Merrion Hotel in Dublin has some attractive offers at present. Telephone 01 603 0600 to enquire about The Merrion Gourmet Experience or visit their website Good Food Ireland

launched their exciting new website on 29th July 2009. One can now book good food holidays directly.

Visit to avail of all the latest special offers.

The award winning Lemon Tree Café

in Dunmore East is worth knowing about for their fresh ‘catch of the day’. We loved their open crab sandwich on their homemade brown bread and the freshly baked cakes and chocolate chip brownies. or telephone 051 383164.


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