The Dust Settles after the First Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine 2013


We’re all still buzzing here since the Literary Festival of Food and Wine at Ballymaloe over the bank holiday weekend. The thrill of having some of the top food and wine writers and chefs from all over the world with us for the weekend was immense both for us and for the people who poured in to hear them speak, watch them cook, taste and learn about their wine, whiskey and fascinating craft beers.

It was such a joy for people to be able to meet and mingle with many of their food heroes as they wandered around Ballymaloe, the Big Shed and the Cookery School. For this weekend’s column, I have picked out just a few of the highlights from the guest chefs cookery demonstrations to share with you, there are so many that is was difficult to choose but more later.

From Madhur Jaffrey, Whole Roasted Masala Chicken, a perfect choice for Sunday lunch. Claudia Roden tantalised us with a delicious selection of dishes – you’ll love her chocolate and almond cake which has become her family’s favourite. Camilla Plum from Denmark whose name is not so well known to many, thrilled her large audience with her chic and simple dishes using an abundance of fresh herbs from the garden. Elderflowers are just coming into season so you might like to try this inspired combination of carrots, mint, lemon and elderflower.

David Thompson one of Asia’s most admired chefs and food writers make food that had people jotting down the details of his Nahm restaurant in Bangkok and if they couldn’t manage a trip at least dashing to buy his book Thai Food. Try the delicious recipe for scallops stir fried with spring onions; monkfish would also be good here.

Next week some gems from Skye Gyngel, Claire Ptak, Thomasina Miers, Stevie Parle and our own Rachel Allen.

A special thank you to all who attended the first ever Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine. For those who missed this year’s LitFest, don’t worry, we’ve already started to plan next year’s event.



David Thompson’s Scallops Stir-Fried with Spring Onions

hoi shenn pat dtom horm




1 tablespoon peeled garlic

pinch Sea salt


4 large scallops

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

cleaned spring onion, cut into 2cm (3/4 inch) lengths on a slight bias

a little chicken stock

3 – 4 tablespoons light soy sauce

pinch white sugar

pinch ground white pepper


Make a coarse paste with the peeled garlic and salt. Place to the side of the cleaned scallops.


Prepare and heat a well-seasoned wok. Add the oil then almost immediately the scallops and stir-fry for several moments before adding the garlic paste. Be careful not to let the garlic burn.


Add the spring onions (and perhaps a drizzle of additional oil) and continue to stir fry for a moment or two before moistening with the stock. Season with the soy, sugar and white pepper.


Camilla Plum’s Carrots with Mint, Lemon and Elderflower



Serves 4-6


1kg (2 1/4lb) new carrots, scraped

3 cloves garlic, peeled

50ml (2fl oz) olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

juice and zest from 1 lemon

150ml (5fl oz) elderflower cordial

generous bunch Moroccan mint

generous bunch flat leaved parsley

fresh elderflowers if available


Combine the carrots, garlic, oil, salt, freshly ground black pepper, zest and cordial in a skillet. Boil without a lid, until the carrots are cooked, but still a little crunchy. Remove, and reduce the sauce to a syrup. Pour over the carrots, and mix with coarsely chopped herbs, and elderflowers, when cooled a little. Adjust the seasoning, serve cooled, but not cold.


Madhur Jaffrey’s Whole Roasted Masala Chicken


Serves 4


For the Marinade


4 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger

2 tablespoon finely chopped or crushed garlic

3 fresh hot green chilies, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon garam masala


1 3/4kg (3 1/2lb) chicken, skinned whole


1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


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


Place all the marinade ingredients in a blender and grind to a paste.


Using a sharp knife make two deep, diagonal cuts into each breast, going all the way to the bone. Make two equally deep slashes in the thighs and two in the drumsticks as well. Place the chicken, breast side up, on a roasting tray lined with enough foil to completely cover the chicken. Pour the paste over the chicken, rubbing it well into all the cuts. Leave aside for 30 minutes.


Sprinkle the chili powder and black pepper over the chicken evenly. Wrap up the chicken so it is completely covered, with the tightly-closed seam at the top. Bake the chicken in the middle of the oven for 1 hour. Unwrap, without letting the juices run out, and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes, basting 2 or 3 times with the juices. Rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.



Claudia Roden’s Chocolate and Almond Cake

Pastel de Chocolate y Almendras


This is a moist cake that is good to serve as a dessert with cream.  The recipe comes from a little book that Carolina Zendrera, my Spanish publisher, gave me, entitled Recetas tradicionales: La ermitańa de la cocina, cocina burguesa del siglo XX (‘Traditional Recipes: The hermit in the kitchen – bourgeois cooking in the twentieth century’), published by Zendrera Zariquiey in 1999.  The recipes are those of Águeda Bienzobas, who cooked for Carolina Zendrera’s grandparents and family in Catalonia for fifty years.


Águeda was born in a village in Navarre in 1907 and went to work in the Martí-Codolars’ kitchen in Barcelona as a young girl.  The Martí-Codolars, Zendrera’s grandparents, were an illustrious family involved in shipping.  On their farm they kept rare animals, including an elephant that was later donated to Barcelona Zoo.  What Águeda learnt from the family cook, and what became her repertoire gathered over the years, which her husband wrote down, is a distinctive mix of Spanish and French haute cuisine.  A family friend of the Martí-Codolars called her ‘the hermit’ because she spent her time alone in the kitchen.


Serves 10

150g (5oz) dark bitter chocolate or baking chocolate such as the Menier Chocolat Patissier, broken into pieces

3 tablespoons water

150g (5oz) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

4 large eggs, separated

100g (3 1/2oz) caster sugar

100g (3 1/2oz) ground almonds

1 teaspoon baking powder

4 tablespoons rum




50g (2oz) dark bitter chocolate, broken into pieces

2 tablespoons water

50g (2oz) caster sugar

25g (1oz) unsalted butter


butter, to grease the cake tin

flour, to dust the cake tin


Heat the chocolate with the water in a Pyrex bowl or small pan that is sitting on top of a pan containing water over a low heat so that the top pan or bowl does not touch the boiling water (this is a double boiler), until almost melted.  Add the butter and let them both melt.


In a bowl mix the egg yolks, sugar, ground almonds, baking powder and rum very well.  Add the melted chocolate and butter and mix vigorously.  Beat the egg whites until stiff with an electric mixer and fold them into the mixture.


Grease a spring-form cake tin about 23cm (9 inch) (in diameter (preferably non-stick) with butter and dust it with flour.  Pour in the cake mixture and bake in an oven preheated to 160°C/310°F/Gas Mark 3 for about 35 minutes until firm.  Turn out when it is cool.


For the optional topping, melt the chocolate with the water in the small bowl or pan over boiling water, as above.  Add the sugar and the butter, let them melt and mix well.  Spread over the cake.


Hot Tips



Wexford Food Festival – Friday the 24th May to Sunday 26 May 2013 – is spread out over 3 locations across the town this year including Selskar/Trimmers Lane, The Bull Ring Market and South Main Street.


Rory O’Connell’s much anticipated cookery book ‘Master It – How to Cook Today’ is available at the Farm Shop at Ballymaloe Cookery School – if you call ahead you can get a personally signed copy – 021 4646785. Available in all good book shops by the end of May.


Hard Currency – unusual gift tokens from Brown Envelope Seeds, ‘Seed Bank Notes’ in denominations of €5.00 (valid for two packets of heritage seeds) and up to €50.00 (for 20 packets of seeds) Perfect gift for any keen gardener – order online at or phone 00353(0)2838184.


The Glebe Garden Club near Baltimore in West Cork meets on the last Thursday of every month. Get access to the best of the gardens and experts in the surrounding area and a variety of presentations, workshops, and garden tours, Meetings at The Glebe will be accompanied by refreshments (prepared from the Glebe garden produce) There is a €10 registration fee  and members are entitled to a 10% discount on all Club events and advanced notice of all meetings, workshops and Club events. A full summer program will be available at the next meeting on Thursday 30th May where Rosari Kingston will give a talk on growing and using herbs – booking is advisable for this event. or phone 02820232.


About the author

Darina Allen
By Darina Allen


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