ArchiveJuly 2013

Come Home for your Cake Competition winners 2013

The revival of interest in baking has enticed people into the kitchens who might never have been seduced by a pot of stew or even a tagine. The Great British Bake Off had the whole country in a frenzy, apparently 14 million people watched one of the episodes, the biggest viewing figures after the royal wedding. Rachel’s Bake and Cake TV series too had very impressive viewing numbers and the accompanying books have been reprinted many times.  Farmers markets too have provided an outlet for home bakers to sell their creations and create some extra income and employment.

This coincides with a greater appreciation of homemade cakes rather than the perfect professional looking confections that look stunning but rarely deliver on flavour. Somehow, people now feel more confident if something doesn’t look too slick.

Recently, Rachel and I had a fun afternoon at the Kinsale Arts Festival. We were invited to judge the Come Home for your Cake competition. We had the enviable task of tasting the 30 entries that Maggie Hogan and Ruth MacDonald had laid out in a square on four tables. It was a real ‘wow’ moment. Some cakes were simple, others elaborately iced and decorated like the two crinoline doll cakes embellished with fondant icing and glitter.

There were several versions of lemon drizzle cake in a variety of shapes and sizes, one delicious version included blueberries and had been cooked in a Swiss roll tin with lemon icing drizzled over the top.

There was also a variety of cheese cakes, several gluten free cakes and a Tarte Tatin. It was a tough chore to judge; the standard was fantastically good overall. After the judging, there was a question and answer session on baking and then we announced the prize winners. We decided the winner was an orange chiffon cake, Karen Ferguson from Bandon, who was anxious that we should know that the recipe was given to her by Lily Perrot, made the delicious, feather-like cake with a light orange icing.

She and the other winners kindly agreed that I could share their winning recipes with Irish Examiner readers.

Rachel and I decided to give another prize of lunch and afternoon demonstration at the Ballymaloe Cookery School for two people in the coeliac section. There were three delicious cakes, Chocolate and raspberry, Carrot cake and a Lemon drizzle. When we announced the winners, we discovered that the first two cakes were made by two sisters Grace (aged 10) and Cathy Hynes (aged 11). The rise in the number of coeliacs and those with wheat intolerance is extraordinary so people are always on the lookout for delicious recipes. My book on Healthy Gluten Free Food written in conjunction with Rosemary Kearney is published by Kyle Books and is now in its eighth printing. All the recipes are of course gluten free and also suitable for those with a wheat allergy.

Congratulations to all the bakers and special thanks for sharing. Such generosity of spirit is so important and it’s always a delight to hear stories of people who not only share their recipes but also pass on their skills.


Gluten Free Chocolate and Raspberry Cake


10 year old Grace Hynes made this cake based on the original recipe for Chocolate Fudge Cake in Rachel Allen’s book ‘Cake’. She substituted ground almonds for flour and used 5 instead of 6 eggs and 200g instead of 250g of chocolate. The result was a moist and memorable gluten free chocolate cake. She decorated the top with fresh raspberries.


Serves 10 – 12


200g (7oz) dark chocolate in drops or broken into pieces

225g (8oz) butter, plus extra for greasing

325g (11 ½ oz) caster sugar

5 eggs separated

275g (10 oz) ground almonds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt


225g (8oz) fresh raspberries


For the Icing

275g (10oz) icing sugar

100g (3 1/2 oz) cocoa powder

125g (4 ½ oz) butter

175g (6oz) caster sugar


25cm (10in) diameter spring-form or loose bottomed cake tin with 6cm (2 ½ in) sides.


Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF, Gas 3, then butter the sides of the cake tin and line the base with a disc of baking parchment. If you’re using a spring-form tin, make sure the base is upside down, so there’s no lip and the cake can slide off easily when cooked. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Leave until just melted, stirring occasionally, then set aside.

Either in a large bowl using a wooden spoon or in the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle beater, cream the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well between each addition. Mix in the ground almonds and the melted chocolate, followed by the baking powder and vanilla extract.

Tip the egg whites into a separate bowl, add a pinch of salt and beat until stiff but still smooth in appearance – do not over beat. Fold the egg whites into the cake mixture and then pour the mixture into the prepared tin.

Bake for about 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean but moist. Leave in the tin for 20 minutes, then loosen the edges of the cake using a small, sharp knife and remove the sides of the tin before carefully transferring to a serving plate to cool down fully.

While the cake is cooling, make the icing. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder into a mixing bowl. Place the butter, caster sugar and 100ml (3 ½fl oz) water in a saucepan and set over a medium heat. Stir all the ingredients together until the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved, then pour into the dry ingredients and mix together well.

When the cake has cooled, pour over the icing, allowing it to drizzle down the sides.

Decorate with fresh raspberries.


Karen Ferguson’s Orange Chiffon Cake

Lilly Perrott shared this American favourite with Karen.


225g (8oz) white flour

350g (12oz) caster sugar

3 level teaspoons baking powder

1 level teaspoon salt

grated zest of 2 oranges

125ml (4fl oz) vegetable oil

7 egg yolks

50ml (2fl oz) orange juice, freshly squeezed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

225g (8oz) egg whites

½ teaspoon cream of tartar (Bextartar)

Orange Glaze

450 g (1lb) icing sugar

Grated zest of 2 oranges

Freshly squeezed orange juice

2 x 9inch Bundt tin (a circle with a hold in the centre)

Preheat oven to 325 F or 160 C or Gas 3. Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add in the oil, egg yolks, orange zest, orange juice and vanilla extract. Beat vigorously with a spoon or in a food mixer at medium speed until smooth.

Measure egg whites and cream of tartar into spotlessly clean and dry large mixing bowl. Beat until very stiff. Pour egg yolk mixture over the beaten egg whites, and whisk, use a wire whisk and fold together very carefully, take your time!

Pour into the UNGREASED  9 inch Bundt tins and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. When fully cooked invert over bottle until cold. When cold, loosen sides of cake with a knife or very small spatula and release clip or if it does not have a clip bang cake tin on edge of worktop until it frees itself keep hand under tin when banging as it can fall out suddenly!

To make the icing, put the sieved icing sugar into a bowl, add the orange zest and enough juice to make a softish icing. Careful not to make it too runny or it will run straight off the cake.

Put the cakes on cake rack and allow icing to drip onto plate underneath, then scrape up the icing and cover the gaps. Move to the serving plate before icing is set.


Gluten Free Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting


Serves 10


350 g (12 ozs) carrots, peeled and grated

55 g (2 oz) pecan nuts finely chopped

5 large eggs

220 g (7 ozs) pale brown sugar

250 g (9 ozs) ground almonds

1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground ginger


Cream Cheese Frosting

250 g (9 ozs) cream cheese, at room temperature

50 g (2 oz) butter

100 g (3½ ozs) icing sugar

zest and juice of half a lemon, or to taste


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


Grease two 20 cm (8 inch) cake tins or spring form pans


Put the grated carrot in a bowl, add the chopped pecan nuts. Whisk the eggs and add to the bowl with the brown sugar, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Mix well.

Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool completely in the tin before removing.

To make the frosting.

Cream the butter and cheese in a bowl. Add the sieved icing sugar, zest, freshly squeezed lemon juice and continue to beat for another few minutes, until pale and fluffy.

When the cakes are cool – sandwich together and ice with frosting. Decorate with pecans or tiny marzipan carrots.



Jacques and Eithne Barry have extended the much loved Jacques Restaurant out onto Oliver Plunkett Street with a Tapas Bar serving delicious bites – (021) 427 7387 –

The Carlingford Oyster Festival Thursday 8th to Monday 12th August Carlingford, County Louth –

The first Ballymaloe Garden Festival is from 31st Aug to 1st Sep 2013 – some well-known speakers including Joy Larcom, Helen Dillon, Susan Turner, Alys Fowler, Brian Cross…will talk about garden design, seaside and urban gardening, restoration, composting, seed saving, unusual edibles, foraging and much more. Plant and food stalls and children’s education area. for a program of events.


Summer’s Bounty

For vegetable gardeners this time of the year can be immensely frustrating as well as rewarding. At last the seeds and seedlings planted in Spring and early Summer have sprung forth and are ready to harvest and enjoy. Sometimes everything seems to come together and now it seems like there are almost not enough meal times to enjoy the fruits of all that weeding, digging and watering.

The gardens and greenhouses at the Ballymaloe Cookery School are a real joy at present, a tribute to the gardeners’ hard work; I want to freeze the images in my mind’s eye so I can conjure them up once again in the drearier months of the year.

Every meal at the moment is a celebration of nature’s bounty, when the vegetables and fruit are fresh it’s so easy to create the ‘wow’ factor, ‘faits simple’ as the French say, no need for bells and whistles and twiddles and bows.

Picking, harvesting and preparing the produce yourself really adds to the enjoyment of the meal. It takes time which may not always be possible but when you grow something yourself, it adds a whole other dimension to the food. It’s quite a different experience than just slitting the top of a packet. You handle it with so much more care and respect and certainly won’t boil ‘the hell out of it’ in the kitchen.

It’s been an amazing year for elderflower blossom and there are still some elderflowers around, so make elderflower syrup to lay down for poaching fruit – pears or apricots or drizzling over carrageen moss or panna cotta.

We planted a couple of apricot and peach trees in the greenhouse a couple of years ago, no fruit at first but this year there’s an abundant crop, I can hardly bear to cook them but I love to make at least one apricot tart in the Summer.

Enjoy this menu for this weekend.


Zucchini Fritters with Tsatziki

These little zucchini fritters are simply grated zucchini bound with a little egg and flour. They taste quintessentially Italian, especially if you add Parmigiano. Mature Coolea cheese is also packed with flavour. They make delicious picnic food and are perfect for a lunch box.


1.3 kgs (3lbs) small zucchini a mixture of green and yellow looks great

2 teaspoons salt

2 fresh eggs


½ teaspoon pepper

1 bunch scallions, finely chopped

2 heaped tablespoons flour

½ cup finely grated Parmigiano or Mature Coolea

extra virgin olive oil for frying



Tsatziki (see recipe below)


Grate the zucchini on a box grater. Sprinkle with salt; allow to drain in colander for about 20 minutes. Squeeze out all the moisture in a clean tea towel. Whisk the eggs in a bowl, add the scallions, flour and pepper then add the grated zucchini and cheese. Mix well.

Pour about ¼ in of extra virgin olive oil into a frying pan over a medium heat. Drop tablespoonfuls of the zucchini mixture into the pan and flatten them into approximately 2 inch rounds. Make three or four at a time, don’t overcrowd the pan. When golden on one side – 3 to 4 minutes – flip over and continue to cook on the other side. Watch them carefully, so they don’t overcook, drain on kitchen paper and serve with a bowl of tzatziki.



Serves 8 – 10 depending on how it is served.


This Greek speciality is a delicious cucumber and yoghurt mixture and can be served as an accompanying salad or as a sauce to serve with grilled fish or meat.  Greek yoghurt is often made with sheep’s milk and is wonderfully thick and creamy.


1 crisp Irish cucumber, peeled and diced into 1/4-1/2 inch (1/2 – 1cm) dice approx.

salt and freshly ground pepper

1-2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 heaped tablespoon of freshly chopped mint

3/4 pint (450ml) Greek yoghurt or best quality natural yoghurt

4 tablespoons cream


Put the cucumber dice into a sieve and sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for about 30 minutes.  Dry the cucumber on kitchen paper, put into a bowl and mix with garlic, a dash of wine vinegar or lemon juice and the yoghurt and cream.  Stir in the mint and taste, it may need a little salt and freshly ground pepper, or even a pinch of sugar.


Roast Wild Salmon with Vietnamese Cucumbers


We’ve been so fortunate to get a few beautiful wild salmon from the Blackwater River, hurry the season is almost over.


Serves 6


a side of organic salmon (1.8kg/4lbs approximately)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

extra virgin olive oil


To Serve

mint, coriander and basil sprigs

lime wedges

Vietnamese Cucumbers (see recipe)


Bring the salmon to room temperature.


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


Put the fish on a baking sheet, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the salmon and rub it into the flesh.


Bake in the preheated oven for 5-8 minutes, just until juices appear on the surface.  When probed with a fork at the thickest part, the salmon should be moist – cooked through, but barley.  Transfer the fish to a warmed platter, and let it rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.


To Serve

Arrange the mint, coriander, basil sprigs and lemon wedges around the salmon.  At the table, break the salmon into rough portions.  Pass the cucumbers around so each individual can spoon over the fish.


Vietnamese Cucumbers


This is also great with pan grilled mackerel should be lucky enough to catch or be given a present of some lovely fresh fish.


Serves 8-10


4 large cucumbers

salt and freshly ground black pepper

fish sauce (Nam pla)

2.5cm (1 inch) piece of ginger, peeled and cut into fine julienne

2 tablespoons palm sugar

Serrano or Jalapeno or fresh Thai chillies

2 or 3 limes

mint sprigs

basil sprigs

thinly sliced scallions or onion


Peel the cucumbers, cut them lengthwise in half, and remove the seeds with a spoon if they are large.  Slice the cucumbers into thickish half-moons and put them in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle lightly with fish sauce, then add the ginger and palm sugar.  Toss well, and let the cucumbers sit for 5 minutes or so.


Add a good spoonful of the chopped Serrano or Jalapeno chillies (seeds removed, if desired) or finely slivered Thai chillies.  Squeeze over the juice of 2 limes and toss again, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serving.


Just before serving add a fistful of roughly chopped mint and basil leaves.  Taste and adjust the seasoning with lime juice as well as salt and pepper.  Garnish with thinly sliced scallions cut at an angle.


Honey and Lavender Ice-Cream


Honey and lavender is a particularly delicious marriage of flavours. We make this richly scented ice cream when the lavender flowers are in bloom in early Summer.  Lavender is at its most aromatic just before the flowers burst open.  Serve it totally alone on chilled plates and savour every mouthful.


Serves 8-10


250ml (9floz) milk

450ml (16floz) cream

40 sprigs of fresh lavender or less of dried (use the blossom end only)

6 organic egg yolks

175ml (6floz/3/4 cup) pure Irish honey, we use our own apple blossom honey, although Provencal lavender honey would also be wonderful



sprigs of lavender


Put the milk and cream into a heavy bottomed saucepan with the lavender sprigs, bring slowly to the boil and leave to infuse for 15-20 minutes. This will both flavour and perfume the cream deliciously.  Whisk the egg yolks, add a little of the lavender flavoured liquid and then mix the two together.  Cook over a low heat until the mixture barely thickens and lightly coats the back of a spoon (careful it doesn’t curdle).  Melt the honey gently, just to liquefy, whisk into the custard.  Strain out lavender heads.


Chill thoroughly and freeze, preferably in an ice-cream maker.


Serve garnished with sprigs of fresh or frozen lavender.


Rustic Apricot Tart


Serves 6-8



8 ozs (225g) plain white flour

1 tablespoon castor sugar

4 ozs (110 g) butter, cut into 1/2 inch (1cm) dice

cold water or cream to mix



3-4 ozs (75-110g) sugar

1 tablespoon corn flour

1lb (450g) ripe apricots, stoned and cut into quarters


apricot glaze


caster sugar for sprinkling, about 1 tablespoon



1 x 9 inch (23cm) pie plate or tart tin.


First make the pastry, put the flour and sugar into a bowl, rub in the cold butter.  When the mixture looks like breadcrumbs, add just enough water or cream to bind.  Knead lightly to get the mixture to come together.  Cover with wax or silicone paper and rest in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.


Roll the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 14 inch (35cm) round approximately. Sprinkle a little cornflour over the base leaving a 2 inch border around the edge. Transfer to a 23cm (9 inch) greased plate or baking sheet.


Just before filling the tart.


Arrange the apricot quarters skin side down in concentric circles until the entire centre is covered. Sprinkle with sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Fold the overhanging edge to cover the outer portion of the filling, leaving a 6 inch opening of exposed fruit in the centre of the tart.  Brush the pastry with cream, sprinkle with a little sugar.


Bake the tart in a preheated oven 220°C/427°F/Gas Mark 7 for 8-10 minutes, lower the temperature to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and bake for 30 to35 minutes longer or until the edges of the apricots are slightly caramelized. While still warm brush with a little apricot glaze.  Serve warm or at room temperature with softly whipped cream.


Peaches in Moscato di Asti

Serves 6 – 8

In Italy fresh fruit is usually served after dinner in some form or another. A favourite ritual is to slice a perfect peach into your glass of white wine, leave it to macerate for a few minutes, eat the peach slices with your fingers and then drink the wine.

6 perfect ripe peaches

300ml (10fl oz/1/2 pint) sweet Italian Moscato di Asti.


Put the peaches into a deep bowl, pour boiling water over them, leave for 20-30 seconds, drain and drop into iced water.  Pull off the peel, cut into 3 inch (5mm) slices. Cover with the Moscato di Asti. Chill in the refrigerator and allow to macerate for an hour.

Alternatively slice a ripe peach into a wine glass, cover with chilled Moscato di Asti and enjoy.


Hot Tips


Janey Mac’s is housed in one of Kinsale’s beautiful Georgian buildings on Main Street. They serve really good coffee, homemade lemonade and delicious sausage and black pudding rolls. Cakes and biscuits are baked every day – they bake little and often to ensure freshness. In the early evening there is a tapas and wine menu –


The Stuffed Olive in Bantry has recently reopened in their new premises in Bridge Street. Favourites like Stuffed Olive brown soda bread, savoury scones, sausage rolls, just like they used to serve in the previous shop. Owner, Trish’s daughter Sarah Messom spent 6 weeks at the Akademie Deutsches Bäckerhandwerk in Weinheim in Germany learning all about German breads, sourdoughs and desserts. They aim to use ingredients with a West Cork focus. The meat is from butcher Paddy O’Donoghue’s farm, fresh eggs from John O’Connor, vegetables from Michael Moore, savoury scones made with Durrus and Gubbeen cheeses, honey and jams from local Bantry suppliers. Heavenly Cakes of Bandon and River Lane of Ballineen will also supply cakes… 02755883 –the


Guest Chef Antony Worrall Thompson will be back at the Ballymaloe Cookery School on Monday 29th July 2013 to teach a one day cookery course. We love his food and fun way of teaching. 9:30am to 5:00pm – €265.00 – phone 021 4646785 or

Rooftop Farming and Backyard Chickens

In the US something very interesting is happening, it’s virtually a grass roots revolution. However, it’s not just in the US, in cities all over the world people seem to feel a deep need to produce food locally once again. It would seem to be an international phenomenon – an eerie almost primeval reaction as if deep down people sense that there may be a shortage of food before too long.

In fact, rooftop farming including backyard chickens and rooftop apiaries are now a major international urban trend. From Detroit to Tokyo, Rotterdam to Hong Kong, Montreal to Brooklyn, there are urban farming projects.

I first noticed the guerrilla garden movement on a visit to San Francisco about five years ago. Virtually every patch of waste ground or disused parking lot had been commandeered by eager gardeners who planted vegetables, herbs and salad leaves. Some shared their surplus with local shelters and sold the remainder from farm stands on the edge of the plot.

Since then I have visited numerous projects particularly in the US. From the Edible Schoolyard in Berkley and the City Slicker Community Farms in Oakland California, to a two acre farm in the centre of Austin, Texas. Some projects are one man bands, others community based.

Recently, I went to New York to check out the urban farming movement. For the first time I began to get idea of the sheer scale, there are over 700 urban farms and gardens across New York City alone.

Last year, I visited Brooklyn Grange a two acre rooftop farm on top of a five story building on Northern Boulevard, New York, established in May 2010.

On a recent trip, I looked at a couple of other models, a branch of Brooklyn Grange at the Navy Yard, 65,000 square feet of vegetable beds on the top of an eleven story building. This project provides a livelihood for four people, employment for a further ten people and 30 apprentices plus a refugee training program. They sell their fresh produce from a farm stand outside the building and also have a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and make lots of jams, pickles, hot sauces and herb teas from the surpluses and gluts from the farm.

Anastasia Cole Plakias showed me around and explained how nowadays there is growing support at government level for initiatives that are helping to change the food system plus deliver environmental benefits.

Hurricane Sandy really spooked New Yorkers particularly those in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, some of whom were without power and water for over a week. So any initiative that contributes to storm water management (a buzz word) is welcomed and generously supported. Anastasia explained that the Navy Yard got a generous SARE (Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education) grant from Mayor Bloomberg and Department of the Environmental Protection who see it as more efficient to invest in green roofs and infrastructure which creates jobs and has several extra benefits. Roof top farms and green roofs not only utilise space that would otherwise be empty and unused but they absorb rain and storm water run-off that would eventually end up polluting the East River.

They also absorb heat during the day and release it into the atmosphere at night plus decrease the heating and cooling needs of a building.

The Nave Yard Project also links up with GrowNYC on a composting program. Local residents collect their organic waste which when composted enriches the fertility of the soil, which is the biggest challenge for rooftop farms.

The Edible Schoolyard started by Alice Waters in Berkeley in California now has a branch in Brooklyn which partners with schools to build gardens and kitchen classrooms where children can engage in hands-on learning. They aim to provide students with the knowledge and skills and environment required to healthier choices and change the way they eat for life.

Top chefs are also frantically growing their own produce and linking in with local projects but there is a whole other article in that of which more anon. Meanwhile, those of you who have been growing will be enjoying the fruits of your labours. Here are a few ways I have been enjoying the bounty of our gardens and greenhouse and hedgerows over the past few weeks.


Elderflower Champagne


This magical recipe transforms perfectly ordinary ingredients into a delicious sparkling drink. The children make it religiously every year and then share the bubbly with their friends.


2 heads of elderflowers

560g (11/4lb) sugar

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

4.5L (8pints) water

1 lemon


Remove the peel from the lemon with a swivel top peeler.  Pick the elderflowers in full bloom.  Put into a bowl with the lemon peel, lemon juice, sugar, vinegar and cold water.  Leave for 24 hours, then strain into strong screw top bottles.  Lay them on their sides in a cool place.  After 2 weeks it should be sparkling and ready to drink.  Despite the sparkle this drink is non-alcoholic.

Top Tip:

The bottles need to be strong and well-sealed; otherwise the Elderflower champagne will pop its cork.

Radish, Broad Bean and Preserved Lemon Salad


This Ottolenghi inspired recipe makes a delicious little starter salad on its own or with some buffalo mozzarella and pitta bread as an accompaniment.


Serves 4


500g (1lb 2oz) shelled broad beans fresh or frozen

450g (16oz) large radishes

1/2 red onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander

30g (1 1/4oz) preserved lemon, finely chopped (optional)

freshly squeezed juice of 2 lemons plus zest of 1 lemon if preserved lemons are unavailable

2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon freshly ground roast cumin


salt and black pepper

2 fresh Toonsbridge buffalo mozzarella (optional)


4 fresh pitta breads


First cook the broad beans in boiling salted water (one teaspoon salt to a pint of water.) Simmer for 1 – 2 minutes, depending on size. Drain through a large colander and refresh in plenty of cold water. Slip the beans out of their skins by gently squeezing each one with your fingertips.


Cut each radish into 4 to 6 wedges depending on size. Mix with the broad beans, onion, fresh coriander leaves, diced preserved lemon or lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, extra virgin olive oil and cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and correct seasoning.


Serve soon on its own or with some buffalo mozzarella and some pitta bread as an accompaniment.



Double Lamb Chops with Sumac, Broad Beans, Melted Cherry Tomatoes and Coriander Flowers


Great with a green salad and some freekah.


Serves 8


8 double lamb chops with cutlet bones attached

2-3 tablespoons sumac

Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

extra virgin olive oil


225g (8oz) Broad Beans (see recipes)

Melted Cherry Tomatoes (see recipe)



fresh coriander flowers if available

a pinch of sumac

extra virgin olive oil


Preheat the oven to 230°C/450ºF/Gas Mark 8,


Score the fat of the chops.  Sprinkle each one with sumac rubbing it well into the fat and flesh.  Season with Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Transfer to a roasting tin.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.  Roast for 15 minutes, turn off the heat and allow to rest.


Meanwhile cook the broad beans (see recipe). Just before serving make the melted cherry tomatoes (see recipe).


To Serve

Pop a double lamb chop on each hot plate.  Spoon some warm cherry tomatoes around the edge.  Sprinkle with broad beans and coriander flowers if available.  Alternatively use some shredded mint leaves. Sprinkle with a pinch of sumac and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Broad Beans

Freshness is vitally important with broad beans, both flavour and texture change within hours of picking. A little summer savoury added to the cooking water enormously enhances the flavour.


Serves 6


675g (1 1/2lbs) young broad beans, out of the pods

2-3 sprigs of summer savoury (optional)

15g (1/2oz) butter

salt and freshly ground pepper


Bring 600ml (1 pint) of water to the boil in a medium saucepan and add 1 teaspoon salt and the summer savoury if using. Add the broad beans, bring back to the boil and cook for 2 -5 minutes depending on size and freshness.  When cooked, taste and drain quickly tossing in a little melted butter and lots of freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.
Note: If the broad beans are larger cook as above then drain and refresh under the cold tap until cool enough to handle.  Pop each bean out of its shell then toss in hot melted butter or extra virgin olive oil. Season and serve immediately.



Melted Cherry Tomatoes with Mint


Serves 8 people


40 ripe red firm sweet cherry tomatoes

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or more of butter

3-4 tablespoons fresh mint

1-2 tablespoons freshly chopped rosemary

salt, pepper and sugar


Scald the tomatoes for 10 seconds and peel carefully. Just before serving, heat the butter until it bubbles in a frying pan large enough to take all the tomatoes in a single layer. Toss in the tomatoes and roll gently over a medium heat until just warmed through. Sprinkle with the herbs and salt, pepper and sugar. Turn into a hot vegetable dish and serve at once.


Note: Great care must be taken when cooking the tomatoes; otherwise they will disintegrate into a mush.


Green Gooseberry Tartlets


JR Ryall who is head pastry chef at Ballymaloe House recently showed us how to make these delicious green gooseberry tarts. His pastry recipe is also amazing but you could use puff pastry instead.


Makes 36 tartlets approximately


1 quantity cold cream pastry (see recipe)

450g (1lb) green gooseberries (topped and tailed)

caster sugar


Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.


Using plenty of flour roll the cold pastry to a thickness of 2mm (1/8 inch). Cut the pastry with a 7.5cm (3 inch) round cutter and use the disks of pastry to line a standard flat based bun tray.


Cut the gooseberries in half and arrange 6-7 halves on each disk of pastry. Place a rounded teaspoon of caster sugar on top of the fruit in each tartlet. Bake the tartlets for 15-20 minutes or until the sugar begins to caramelise and the pastry is a golden brown colour. Remove the tartlets from the bun tray while still hot – use a palette knife for this – and place on parchment paper which has been sprinkled with caster sugar.


These tartlets are best served warm.



Open Apple Tartlets: Replace the gooseberries with thinly sliced eating apple.

Open Rhubarb Tartlets: Replace the gooseberries with thinly sliced pink rhubarb.


Cream Pastry


This pastry keeps in the fridge for up to 6 days.


110g (4oz) cold salted butter

110g (4oz) plain flour

150ml (5fl oz) cold cream
Sieve the flour into the bowl of an electric food mixer. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub into the flour using the paddle attachment until the mixture forms a coarse texture (slow speed and then a little faster).  (DO NOT over mix, if you do the mixture will form a shortbread like ball! Pour the cold cream into the coarse mixture and mix on a low speed until a smooth pastry forms. Wrap the pastry in parchment paper and chill overnight.

Always roll cream pastry straight from the fridge. If the pastry comes to room temperature it will be too soft to handle!



Rory O’Connell’s Strawberries with Lemon Basil


Serve these little flavour bombs at the end of a meal and watch the reaction – a gem of a recipe.


fresh strawberries

fresh lemon basil leaves


Just before serving, insert one lemon basil leaf carefully into the slit on the top side of a beautiful fresh strawberry.  Repeat with the others.  Serve immediately – a sensational combination of flavours.



Artisan Cider – In 2005, Daniel Emerson was busy in Marketing and Communications when his father-in-law a viticulturist from the Loire Valley gave him an apple press, he hasn’t looked back since! Daniel and his wife Géraldine produce Stonewell Cider in Nohoval, Kinsale with apples sourced from orchards in Carlow, Kilkenny and Waterford. They use traditional handmade methods and only use fresh apple juice – no concentrate here – to make their cider, devotees can really taste the difference. Telephone: +353 (0)86 869 1148 – for stockists visit –

A Long Table Dinner at Ballymaloe Cookery School  – Tickets have just gone on sale for this year’s Long Table Dinner hosted by Darina Allen in the greenhouse in the midst of the tomatoes and scarlet runner beans on Tuesday, 30th July 2013 (it’s been a sell out for the past 2 years).  Rory O’Connell will create the menu – a celebration of the produce of the organic farm and gardens and local area with fish and shellfish from nearby Ballycotton. Dinner is €120 per person Advanced booking essential – proceeds go to East Cork Slow Food Educational Project. Telephone: (021) 4646 785/ 

Darina and Rachel Allen cook together at the Grainstore, Ballymaloe House. A sell out when they performed their magic earlier this year, Darina and Rachel return with their entertaining cookery demonstration on Thursday 25th July at 8:00pm Tickets €25.00 – to book phone 021 4652531 or

Everybody loves a good barbeque, learn how to make really delicious sauces and marinades and a whole range of unusual recipes which demonstrate the unexpected thrills of the charcoal grill, including chicken paillarde with tomato and basil salsa, butterflied leg of lamb with fresh spices, barbecued salmon with hoisin sauce, Indonesian chicken satay and souvalakia kebabs – Barbeque Course – Saturday 20th July 9:30am to 5:00pm at the Ballymaloe Cookery School – phone 021 4646785 or to book.

Cronut Frenzy in New York

I can’t believe I’m queuing in the rain with another hundred plus people to buy a ‘cronut’ at Dominique Ansel bakery in Spring Street in New York. This cronut which has been sending New Yorkers into a frenzy is a hybrid of a deep-fried croissant and doughnut.

It is 7. 35am and its pelting rain. Beside me there is a Japanese lady from Boston and a chap from UBS who has just come off a night shift, the line now stretches all along Sullivan Street, and it’s made up of mostly young people, hipster types – “They’ll be onto something new next week – that’s New York for you, everyone’s looking out for the next big thing,” says the cool lycra clad girl in a baseball hat beside me. She ‘in wine’ and has run from the other side of Central Park but her work doesn’t start till 11.30.  At the edge of the side walk a white van from the Avon Foundation for Women, emblazoned with “God’s Love We Deliver” is collecting food parcels to deliver to the needy. The irony is not lost on us, here are we standing in line for extra calories we don’t need!

The sleepy guy beside me tells me he’s a student doing an MBA in business and he’s only doing this because he’s in the ‘dog house’ with his girlfriend, he’s hoping to get two cronuts as a surprise for her, I don’t like to ask why. Some people are playing on their phones others are swapping “how crazy am I” stories. Some enterprising dudes have been queuing in line since 6am to buy the allocated two ‘cronuts’ per person, then they plan to sell them for 20 dollars each to supplement their welfare, it’s mad.

Dominique Ansel has trademarked the cronut, the demand is insane and so the challenge of copying it and coming up with a new name is exercising bakers all over New York and beyond. There are already some knock offs called ‘doissants’ and ‘croughnuts.’

A TV camera has just passed along and there’s a second, they are wanting to try to understand what the heck all the fuss is about, obviously a grey haired lady stands out from all the cool young things so they want to know why I’m there, when they hear I come from Ireland they are even more incredulous and want to know what flavour I’m queuing for, I didn’t even know there were different flavours!
At 8am the line starts to move around the corner, the door of the bakery on Spring Street has obviously opened, and then it moves ever so slowly. It’s still pouring rain and everyone in the queue has bonded and are having convivial chats. It’s now 8.15am and we are around the corner on to Spring Street. By now, passers-by going to work are bemused as they survey the long line. It’s after 8:30am we’re up to the door, they let in about 15 people at a time and then we queue along the counter. There are lots of other options, little boxes of madeleine’s are cooked to order, burnished canelles are being turned out of their copper moulds, a woman baker is dipping long slim éclairs in coffee fondant icing, six or seven people are serving behind the counter and they haven’t taken a breath since 8am. At 9.20am the queue outside finishes but people are still coming in in dribs and drabs so the queue at the counter never ends, it’s now quarter to 11 and there are still people in line, and of course disappointed because the ‘cronuts’ have been sold out since just before 9am but there are still lots of other beautiful patisserie to choose from.

I’ve been sitting at a little table by the window watching the action for several hours now; I ate my precious ‘cronut’ with a cup of coffee, it turned out to be a deep fried doughnut shaped ring tender yet light and crunchy, with a circle of lemon maple icing. It was definitely good but certainly on the sweet side, the DKA (Dominique’s Kouign Amann) is also delicious.

When I met Dominique he was so kind and gracious despite the queue of food writers and TV crews wanting a piece of him. The baker who has suddenly found himself the hottest thing on the Big Apple food scene seems shy and slightly shell shocked by all the attention. When he was 18 he landed a job at Fauchon in Paris, where he spent eight years and then went on to open all the bakeries for Fauchon around the world.

He caught the attention of Daniel Boulud who invited him to New York. While he was pastry chef at Daniel they were awarded three Michelin stars and four stars in the New York Times.

Just a year and half ago he started his own bakery on a small budget, in a tiny premises on Spring Street, and even painted the walls himself. When I enquired how the cronut came about, it was almost accidental – apparently he had been experimenting with various versions and when they got an A from their Health Inspector, he made this confection and celebrated with his staff. They loved it and thought it should be the new fun summer item. Someone posted a photo online, and it had 140,000 ‘likes’ within 24 hours – whoaaa!

It’s all happening for Dominique Ansel at present, he was recently presented with a James Beard award, well deserved.


Zucchini with Capers, Crumbled Pecorino, Toasted Almonds and Mint


Serves 4


young zucchini, 2 green and 2 gold 2 x 2 (if available) slice one type lengthwise 5mm (1/4 inch) thick and the other into rounds of a similar thickness

35 – 50g (1 1/2 – 2oz) crumbled Pecorino

1 dessertspoon of tiny capers

1 tablespoon almonds, unpeeled, sliced lengthwise and toasted

fresh mint sprigs

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

salt and freshly ground black pepper


Slice the zucchini lengthwise and into rounds. Put into a wide bowl, add a few tiny capers, some fresh mint sprigs and crumbled Pecorino.  Whisk the extra virgin olive oil with the freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle over the salad, toss and taste, correct seasoning and serve.


Razor Clams with Pickled Cucumber and Mustard Seeds


Serves 6


18 razor clams or less if they are very large


Cucumber and Mustard Seed Pickle (see recipe)


chervil sprigs or micro greens and wild garlic flowers



Cucumber and Mustard Seed Pickle


For this recipe I like to dice the cucumber very fine and put it into the pickle.


Serves 18


3 1/2 lbs (1.6kg) cucumbers, thinly sliced

1lb (450g) onions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon salt



10oz (285g) sugar

1 1/2 oz (45g) mustard seed

1 teaspoon turmeric

a pinch mace

1 pint (600ml) white wine vinegar


First make the pickle.


Put the thinly sliced onion and the cucumbers into a bowl, add the salt, and mix well.  Put all the ingredients for the pickle into a saucepan.  Bring to the boil for 2 minutes.  Pour over the cucumbers and onions.  Stir well, allow to get cold.  Fill into sterilized jars.  Cover and seal.


Heat the grill pan. Wash the razor clams, put onto the hot grill cook for 3 – 4 minutes, depending on size, as soon as they open and change from transparent to opaque – remove and cool.  Fill a small pasta bowl with crushed ice – lay 3 razor clam shells on top, slice the razor clams into thin slices across the grain. Toss in some of the pickle juice.


Fill onto each shell with a little pickle on top and some tiny micro greens or sprigs of chervil and wild garlic flowers.


Franny’s Fava Beans and Pecorino


This is a classic take on the Ligurian salsa maro, which is made of crushed fava beans, mint, Pecorino and a little bit of garlic and a squeeze of lemon to brighten to the whole thing up. A mortar and pestle works beautifully here – you get a nice variation of texture, with some bigger pieces and smaller bits as well.


Serves 4


1 fat garlic clove, thinly sliced

¼ teaspoon of pure salt, plus a large pinch

900g (2lb) peeled fava beans (see Andrew’s note below)

12 mint leaves, torn

4 teaspoons coarsely grated Pecorino Romano

2 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

freshly cracked black pepper

1/8 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

8 x 1cm (½ inch) thick slices Italian long bread


In a mortar, combine the garlic and a pinch of salt and pound together briefly with the pestle to break up the garlic. Add the fava beans and mint and pound until the mixture has a spreadable consistency. Stir in the Pecorino Romano and olive oil. Season with the ¼ teaspoon salt, pepper to taste and the lemon juice.


Preheat the grill. Drizzle one side of the break slices with olive oil. Toast, oiled side up, until golden and crisp, 1 – 2 minutes. Spread the hot toasts with the fava mixture. Drizzle with more olive oil and serve.


Top tip:  If you want to use the food processor for this, go ahead but be careful to pulse the favas to get different sizes.


Andrew’s Note: To prepare fava beans, shell about 1 pound of them in the pod. Cook in 1.8l (3 pints) boiling water seasoned with ¼ cup kosher salt until tender, 1 – 2 minutes, depending on size. Drain and immediately plunge the favas into 850ml (1½ pints 2floz) of ice water seasoned with 2 tablespoons salt. Drain the beans; they should now slip easily from their skins.


Franny’s Melon in Lovage Syrup


Lovage is one of our favourite herbs. It’s fresh and a little grassy, but with a pronounced sweetness. Fleshy, fragrant melons at the peak of their season need very little help – it’s hard to improve upon their ambrosial qualities. But a dash of lovage syrup does just that, adding a layer on wild celery flavour. If you can find them, buy an assortment of different melons and let them ripen on the counter until they are intensely aromatic. Sliced, tossed with the syrup and chilled, then arranged on a platter, they make a gorgeous, unusual dessert that comes together in minutes.


Serves 4


About 445g (1 ¼lb) ripe summer melon (preferably a mix of varieties and colours) rind removed, seeded and sliced ¼ inch thick.

225ml (8floz) lovage syrup (see recipe)

2 tablespoons thinly sliced mint leaves

In a large bowl, toss the melon with the lovage syrup. Marinate, refrigerated for at least 3 hours, and up to 36 hours.

Toss the marinated melon with the mint leaves. Divide among four plates and serve immediately.


Franny’s Lovage Syrup


Makes 300ml (10fl oz)


225ml (8fl oz) sugar

225ml (8fl oz) water

25g (1oz) lovage leaves


In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.  Turn off the heat, add the lovage leaves, and allow to infuse for 3 hours.

Strain the syrup; discard the lovage.  Store in the fridge, in a tightly sealed jar, for up to 3 months.



Budding bakers everywhere are invited to submit entries for the Come Home for your Cake competition on Sunday 7th July at the Kinsale Arts Festival. The cakes will be judged by Darina and Rachel Allen. Join them both for afternoon tea at The Mill at 4pm. Email with the subject ‘Cake’ to register your interest. Visit for competition criteria.


Cookery Book of the Week

Franny’s in Brooklyn, New York is one of my favourite restaurants in the world, delicious food so beautiful in its simplicity, incredible pizzas, pasta, nothing eccentric or exotic here just lovely spanking fresh ingredients carefully and thoughtfully cooked and now at last there’s the book, Franny’s – Simple Seasonal – Italian was recently published by Artisan Books by Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens and Melissa Clark


The four day Carlingford Oyster Festival is on 8th to 11th August in
Carlingford, County Louth –


Date for your diary

The Irish Craft Beer Festival returns to RDS, Dublin from 7-9th September 2012. A celebration of Irish craft brewing, live music and artisan food stalls.




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