ArchiveAugust 2013

London Food Scene

A couple of days in London is always fun, but this time I was actually commandeered by my publisher and “chained” to the desk by my long suffering editor in an attempt to finish my latest book, 30 Years of the Ballymaloe Cookery School. I’ve been trawling through write ups and notes and old photos to jog my memory – what a mission.

But despite the deadline the deal is, I must be allowed to eat so it’s an excuse to catch up on the humming London food scene.

I revisited some of my favourite haunts like Barafina, Fino and St John Bread and Wine off Brick Lane in Shoreditch. There I had a fantastic starter of rabbit offal on toast, not everyone’s idea of a good time but it was perfectly executed and completely delicious. The extra fun thing for me was when ex-student Jenny Swan popped out of the pastry kitchen with a pressie of some St John’s Bread and Wine signature dishes, featherlite madeleines, caraway seed cake and an Eccles cake. Same happened at Towpath at 42 De Beauvoir Crescent on Regents Canal where Abigail Baim-Lance who has just graduated from Ballymaloe Cookery School was starting her work experience. By the way if you haven’t been to Towpath, make time on your next trip. Lori Di Mori runs this totally charming café out of two stores on the edge of the canal. Much of the seating is outside, the food is simple and seasonal, walkers, joggers and cyclists are coming and going. Swans, dabchicks and house boats glide slowly by. All so chic and Zen like, definitely one of my favourites. There are several iconic dishes including olive oil cake which devotees traipse across town to enjoy with the stunningly good coffee.

Somehow, I managed to get an early table at the much talked about Restaurant Story on Tooley Street in Bermondsey. This is a ‘white hot’ new restaurant getting blistering reviews for Tom Sellers and his team’s edgy fun food. The hand dipped candles were made from beef fat which melted into a puddle into a holder to be dipped up with gorgeous crusty sour dough bread. You have a choice of 6 or 10 tiny delectable courses (and they were) plus a couple of playful amuse bouche and petit fours thrown in. Here Frank Guest another of my ‘babies’ popped out of the kitchen. Yet another, Dan Morgenthau was in Honey and Co a recently opened restaurant where Israeli husband and wife team Itamar and Sarit Packer have been causing a stir.

The Clove Club located in the refurbished Shoreditch Town Hall is another hot ticket. Isaac McHale’s no choice menu is worth making a detour for.

Other recent openings on the rapidly changing food scene as well as Restaurant Story – Grain Store, Koya Udon noodle restaurant and Bubbledogs in Charlotte Street which serves hot dogs and fizz. Hot dogs in every shape and form are definitely a trend.

The weekend I was over, virtually every restaurant reviewer was raving about Grain Store overlooking Granary Square. This is quite the departure for Bruno Loubet who was firmly on the Michelin star scene until he almost burnt out and headed to Oz for a few years. Grain Store is maybe the first new non vegetarian restaurant in London to bring vegetables, plants and grains into the dominant position on the plate. Vegetables are listed on the menu first in each dish with the meat or fish at the end.

The best food I ate was in Raw Duck on 5 Amhurst Road in Hackney, they serve the most delicious little plates.


Seared Carpaccio of Rabbit Loin


George Gossip, our game guru, introduced us to this recipe which he tells us he came across in Lindy Wildsmith’s book ‘Cured’. We all loved it.


Serves 4 as a starter


sunflower oil

1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

4 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed

4 rabbit loins, cut from 2 jointed rabbits


To Joint a Rabbit Loin


Use a filleting knife along the length of the spine, ease the loin away from the bone.  Slide the blade under the loin cutting it free from the bone.  Repeat on the other side and the other rabbit.


Mix the finely chopped parsley, salt and freshly crushed coriander seeds together.  Spread the seasoning out on a chopping board; roll the loins in it until completely and evenly coated.  Wrap individually in clingfilm and freeze for a couple of hours or overnight.


When ready to serve, heat a large frying pan over a high heat.  Add enough oil to cover the base of the pan and put the rabbit loins in the pan.   Cook on all sides until golden, but this will only take a minute or two, as they are very tender.


Cut the loins into 2cm (3/4 inch) thick slices and garnish with sprigs of chervil and wild garlic flowers or watercress and myrtle berries.


Rory O’Connell’s Beetroot with Raspberries, Honey and Mint


This salad can be served simply in its own as a light and refreshing starter or can have the addition of a few spoonfuls of thick natural yoghurt or ricotta


Serves 4


2 cooked beetroot, peeled and very thinly sliced by hand or on a mandolin

24 raspberries

16 small mint leaves

2 teaspoons of honey

Lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oi

Maldon salt

Cracked black pepper


Divide the sliced beetroot between 4 white plates or spread over a large flat serving plate.

Cut half of the raspberries in half lengthways and the rest in cross section slices, and scatter over the beets. Season with salt and pepper. Dress the salads with a drizzle of honey, a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle on the tiny mint leaves and serve immediately.


Addition of yoghurt, milk snow or labne

Addition of sorrel leaves



Eccles Cake


Makes 10


1/2 lb (225g) flaky pastry


4 ozs (110g) currants

4 ozs (110g) candied peel

1 teaspoon grated orange rind

1 1/2 ozs (45g) melted butter

2 ozs (50g) granulated sugar


extra granulated sugar for tops


Roll out the pastry to 3mm (1/8 inch) thickness and cut with 9cm (3 1/2 inch) round cutter.


Place 1 teaspoon of the filling in the centre of each round, pinch the sides into the centre and turn over and roll out until the fruit is just coming through.  Brush with cold water dip the top in granulated sugar and slit with a knife 2 or 3 times.


Bake at 220°C/425ºF/Gas Mark 7 for 15 minutes.


Olive Oil Cake


This is not the Tow Path version but we have been enjoying this olive cake at Ballymaloe Cookery School.


Serves 8 – 10


165g (6oz) all purpose white flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

3 large free range organic eggs

225g (8oz) sugar

175ml (6fl oz) plain full fat yoghurt

3 lemons, the finely grated zest

175ml (6 fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for greasing the dish


23cm (9 inch) springform tin


Pre-heat the oven 170°C/325°F/ Mark 3. Lightly oil the base and sides of the tin.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl.

Preferably in a food mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar on high speed for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is pale and voluminous.

Add the natural yoghurt and lemon zest, continue to whisk for a minute or two more. Add the extra virgin olive oil all at once and reduce speed to low. Gradually fold in the flour mixture mousse gently but thoroughly.

Pour the cake mixture into the oiled tin and put into the oven. Transfer to the centre of the preheated oven and cook until the cake is golden for about 40 minutes and a tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre. The edges should have shrunk away from the tin slightly.

Allow to cool in the tin for 5 – 10 minutes. Remove and transfer to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.

Serve with a cup of coffee or with a blob of crème fraiche and some summer berries.

Rich Seed Cake


This recipe for Rich Seed Cake comes from Cookery Notes, 1943. I adore seed cake and can’t resist trying any new recipe I come across. This version has a distinct lemony flavour – quite delicious.


225g (8oz) butter

225g (8oz) caster sugar

350g (12oz) flour

4 eggs

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

grated rind of one lemon

1 teaspoon baking powder


20cm (8 inch) round cake tin, lined with silicone paper
Cream the butter and sugar then add the flour and beaten egg alternately, a little at a time. Beat well and add the caraway seeds, lemon rind, and lastly the baking powder. Put in the tin and bake in a moderately hot oven, 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4, for about 2 hours.


Hot Tips


Courses at Sonairte Eco Center and Gardens in Laytown Co Meath.

Learn how to make Cider with David Llewellyn (Local grower – juice, cider, vinegar and wine maker) Take home 9 pints of cider.  Friday 20th Sept. 10am – 4pm €75 (with tea/coffee & scone)

Home Preserving – Traditional and Modern Methods with Hans Wieland of the Organic Centre, Co. Leitrim and TG4 ‘Garraí Glas’. Sat. 28th September 10am – 4pm €40 (with tea/coffee & scone) To book tel: 041 982 7572 Email:


The tenth Taste of West Cork Food Festival will be launched at the Church Restaurant in Skibbereen on Tuesday 3rd September at 7:30pm. The festival takes place from Friday 6th to Sunday 16th September. Over forty excellent West Cork artisan food producers (too numerous to list here) will participate this year. Don’t miss John Minihan’s exhibition of his portraits of West Cork food producers and artisan craft makers in Field’s coffee shop. This year the Belling Awards will be awarded nationally and are now known as the Belling West Cork National Artisan Food Awards. For a full list of events visit


Smorgasburg Brooklyn – New York

Last time I was in New York a friend told me about Smorgasburg. It’s a Food Flea Market that pops up in Brooklyn at weekends. – every Saturday it’s in Williamsburg and Sunday on DUMBO Waterfront.

Mario Batali chef owner of Babbo, Casamona, Esca, Lupa  et al,  described it as “the single greatest thing I’ve ever seen gastronomically in New York City. The Woodstock of Eating, a gluttons paradise.” Food entrepreneurs racking their brains for an idea could do worse than to pop on a plane to New York with a notebook and a smart phone, and to do a bit of reconnaissance at Smorgasburg. It’s easy to get there, just jump on the subway and hop off at Bedford Avenue Station.

The variety is mind blowing and I don’t use that word lightly, over 80 stalls each selling their own great food speciality. Talk about thinking outside the box. The passion and entrepreneurial spirit is palpable. Everyone was so proud of their product and eager to have feedback and thrilled by a compliment.  Just shows if we provide a platform for young food entrepreneurs they’ll come up with ideas. It also helps to roll back the red tape and regulations. Let them get started, trial their products, the general public will soon give the answer. Do they love it, if so they will buy it again, if not, go back to the drawing board…

When I visited Smorgasburg on Saturday there were almost 90 stalls – There’s simply not enough room in this piece to mention all the great ideas. The enthusiasm was infectious.

There were picnic tables in the centre so one could relax and enjoy one delicious snack after another, only limited by ones appetite. So frustrating sooooo many delicious things to try, I ate for Ireland but there were countless temptations that I couldn’t manage to taste.

I loved Smogasburg for a myriad of reasons, not least the yummy food but also the buzz and opportunities it gave so many people to trial their product and follow their dream. The standard was astoundingly high. There’s no fear of America if this is a taste of what one area can serve, given encouragement, support and minimum interference.

Adobo Shack sells great hotdogs – America’s favourite fast food with an Asian twist. Big Bao had steamed Chinese pork buns to die for. Bite Me Cheesecakes – tiny version of the cheesecake – small and beautiful. Bombay Sandwich Company. Cemita’s Mexican Sandwiches and Tacos, sandwiches in every shape and form a ten layer Mexican sandwich.  Brooklyn Cured sold baps filled with their own cured meat. There was also a queue for Brooklyn Bangers, great sausages in hotdog buns. Lots of home cured meats and charcuterie like King County Jerky,  Porchetta –  America’s love affair with the pig and pork products is still evident. Crazy Legs; a great name for a stall that sold drumsticks with different flavours. Home Frite : Just great chunky French fries made from organic russet potatoes fried to perfection served with duck confit, Bacon and vermont cheddar cheese sauce or Canadian Style with curds and gravy.

In the US there is a huge homesteading revival, every pickling and curing and jam making class is oversubscribed and Korean food is now hot. McClure’s Pickles. Mrs Kim’s Kimchi and Rick’s Picks all long queues. Kimchi is ubiquitous in Korea but Mrs Kim’s  another innovative entrepreneur is introducing New Yorkers to Kimchi a semi fermented and spicy cabbage.

Rick Field was an out of work TV producer when he started his pickle company Ricks Picks in 2004. Nine years later he offers a whole range of pickles produced in season from locally grown vegetables, hand packed all natural pickles. He is now selling in many markets including Union Square.

The variety reflects the ethnic cultural mix that is America. Choncho Tacos NYC,  Lumpia Shack, Landhaus,  Parantha Alley. Noodles and ramen are many peoples favourite comfort food, Noodle Lane and Sun Noodle Ramen were both doing great. Sunday Gravy, Takumi Taco, Taste of  Ethiopa, WTR Dosa Days, Solber Pupusas, Lots of handmade artisan chocolates, great coffee, craft beers homemade sodas and milk shakes and slushes. Great coffee from Blue Bottle and Teas at Thurslea Café stall. We’ve been testing recipes from Linda Ziedrich’s book on Pickling  published by The Harvard Common Press,  these ones we enjoyed a lot.

Recipes taken from ‘The Joy of Pickling’ by Linda Ziedrich

Linda Ziedrich’s Cherry Relish

Makes 2 x 7fl oz jam jars

Sour cherries are traditional and best in cherry relish. If you can’t get sour cherries, use sweet ones instead.

1 x 3inch piece of cinnamon stick

½ teaspoon whole cloves

10 whole green cardamom pods

700g (1 ½ lbs) cherries pitted, preferably sour cherries

100g (4oz) sugar

150g (6oz) golden raisins

150g (6oz) honey

350ml (12floz) cider vinegar

Tie the spices in a spice bag or cheesecloth. In a heavy saucepan, simmer the remaining ingredients with the spice bag for about 1 hour, until the syrup has thickened slightly. Squeeze and remove the spice bag into two half-pint kilner jars or one pint jar, leaving a ¼ inch head space.  Close the jars with two-piece caps and process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath.  Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry, dark place for at least 2 weeks before eating the relish.

Linda Ziedrich’s Hyderabadi Tomato Chutney

Makes 1 pint

Not really a pickle at all, since it contains no vinegar or citrus juice and should probably be frozen for long-term storage. But it is Linda’s favourite chutney, so I couldn’t leave it out. Traditionally served with Moghul dishes of lamb in yogurt sauce, the chutney is also delicious with roast potatoes.

12 garlic cloves

900g (2lb) peeled and chopped tomatoes

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

½ teaspoon ground dried hot pepper

2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds

1 teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds

4 small dried hot peppers, such as japonés or de árbol, caps removed

80ml (3floz and 1 teaspoon) vegetable oil

1 teaspoon diary salt

Mash 4 of the garlic cloves and combine them in a bowl with the tomatoes, ginger, and ground hot pepper. Set the bowl next to the stove. Measure the cumin, mustard seeds and fenugreek into a small bowl and put it and peppers next to the stove as well.

Heat the oil in a large wide stainless steel saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the remaining garlic cloves; Fry them, turning them once or twice, until they are golden brown. Add the cumin, mustard seeds, and fenugreek to the pan and let them sizzle for 2 seconds. Add the peppers and stir once, they will swell and darken. Add the tomato mixture carefully; it will splatter a bit at first. Cook the chutney, stirring almost constantly for 15 to 20 minutes, until it is quite thick. Stir in the salt. Spoon the chutney into small jars or plastic storage containers and close them tightly.

The chutney will keep well in the refrigerator for a week or more. For long term storage, freeze the containers.

Linda Ziedrich’s Rhubarb Chutney

Makes about 1.8 litres (3 pints)

Here’s chutney for those lucky enough to have an abundance of rhubarb.

450ml (16fl oz) cider vinegar

425 g (15oz) firmly packed light brown sugar

470g (1 ¾ lbs) rhubarb stems, sliced ½ inch thick

600g (1 1/4lb) chopped onions

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes

grated zest of 1 orange

1 x 4inch cinnamon stick

150g (5oz) golden raisins

½ teaspoon diary salt

In a nonreactive pot over a medium heat, heat the vinegar and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chutney thickens.

Remove the cinnamon stick. Pack the chutney into sterilized pint Kilner jars and cover immediately. Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry, dark place.


Moroccan Pickled Beets

900g (2lbs) cups diced (about ¼ inch) cooked and peeled beets

1 garlic clove, crushed

225ml (8fl oz) wine vinegar

75g (8oz) tablespoons sugar

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds, toasted and crushed in a mortar

2 tablespoons olive oil


Put the beets and garlic into a bowl. In a small nonreactive saucepan, bring the vinegar, sugar and cumin to a boil. Pour the hot liquid over the beets. Let the bowl stand at room temperature, turning the beets occasionally, for several hours. If you won’t be eating the beets the same day, store the bowl, covered in the refrigerator. The beets should keep well for at least 2 weeks.

Just before serving beets, toss them with the olive oil.


Hot Tips

Bunsen Burgers:- Tom Gleeson graduated from Ballymaloe Cookery School in 2009 he lived in New York for a year, trying all the street food and gathering ideas. He also gained valuable experience at La Bernadin restaurant in New York followed by a three month stage in Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck restaurant in Berkshire.  He opened The Bunsen Burger in Dublin just two months ago and by keeping the menu simple – hamburgers, cheese-burgers and fries – and the quality very high he aims to serve the best burgers in Dublin and from what I hear, he’s off to a flying start! They also serve milk shakes and craft beers; Dead Pony Club, Sierra Nevada, Brew Dog, and Punk IPA.  Find Bunsen Burger on 36 Wexford Street, Dublin 2 –

London List

If you are over for the weekend don’t miss Brockley Market, it’s in Lewisham College car park on Saturday from 10am – 2pm and is the London equivalent of Smorgasburg  but with some fresh produce also. Seek out Moonsgreen salami and cured meats ( and the Mark Hix boys do a crispy pollock fish finger in a hotdog bun with mushy peas and home-made tartare sauce – soo good. (

Guest Chef Antony Worrall Thompson

Three or five times a year we invite guest chefs to the Ballymaloe Cookery School to teach a course and give us a taste of their food.

Everyone has their own style and quirky personality to keep us entertained. This was certainly the case with our most recent guest chef, Antony Worrall Thompson. Antony first taught at the cookery school in 1994 and has returned several times in intervening years, always bringing new ideas and in fact, he met his wife Jay at the Cookery School and they’ve been married since.

This time he chose some of his favourite Asian dishes and as ever introduced us to some new ingredients including coconut aminos which we tracked down at Well and Good Healthfood Shop in Midleton – if you can’t find it for the delicious Limey Beef Salad use soy sauce instead.

Antony has been through a bit of a tough time in the recent past and is still trying to make sense of why he walked out of his local supermarket without paying for several items including a packet of coleslaw. Antony says “It’s hard to understand why a guy with three restaurants and a larder full of food at home would do this – I’m still trying to figure it out” it’s been a very difficult for him and all his family.

When the press got hold of it, the shoplifting story reverberated around the world adding to the feeling of desolation; he totally understands the problem from the supermarket’s perspective as do we all. The reality is, that few of us get through life without doing something that given the benefit of hindsight we certainly would not have done.

Antony was welcomed back to the Ballymaloe Cookery School by many who attended his earlier courses and many new faces. We had an inspirational day and despite the trials and tribulations Antony has not lost his vim and vigour and his self-deprecating wit. Antony’s food has always been multi ethnic, delicious and accessible. We particularly loved the Prawn Lollipops and you’ll love the fresh taste of the Crab and Red Grapefruit Salad. The Limey Beef Salad was also fresh and delicious, perfect for summer meals, a fun nibble to serve with drinks or as a first course – if you don’t have sumac or saffron just leave them out, they’ll still taste delicious.

The Lemon Clotted Cream Mousse with Fresh Strawberry and Champagne Jelly was a wow even though we didn’t make it with Champagne, Prosecco or cava also great. Since Antony wrote his first book The Small & Beautiful Cook Book in 1984 he has gone on to publish a further 29 cookery books. His latest book The Essential Low Fat Cookbook was published by Kyle Books April 2011.


Antony Worrall Thompson’s Crab and Red Grapefruit/Pomelo Salad


Serves 4


2 red grapefruits or 1 pomelo, peeled and segmented

300g (10oz) cooked white crabmeat

1 handful of dill, rough chopped

1 handful of mint leaves, rough chopped

1 handful coriander leaves, rough chopped, stems finely chopped

2 banana or 3Asian shallots

1 large red chilli finely sliced

1 bird’s eye chilli, finely diced

2 tablespoon chopped salted peanuts



3 tablespoons lime juice

3 tablespoons caster sugar

2 tablespoons fish sauce


To make the dressing.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved.


To assemble the salad. 

Combine all the ingredients, except the peanuts.   Pour over enough dressing to coat, spoon the salad into a bowl and sprinkle with peanuts.


Antony Worrall Thompson’s Prawn Lollipops with a Coriander Dip

Tiger Prawns with Popcorn and Sumac


Serves 4


3 teaspoons vegetable oil

85g (3 1/4oz) popcorn, savoury

1 tablespoon sumac

1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves

2 teaspoons snipped chives

1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon sea salt

24 large green tiger prawns, peeled and cleaned


limes to serve


Place popcorn in a food processor and blend to a coarse powder, combine with the sumac, herbs, garlic and 1 sea salt, process until just combined, transfer to a plate.


Pre-heat a griddle pan, thread each prawn lengthways onto a bamboo skewer, and then roll prawns in seasoned oil.   Grill prawns on their sticks for about 2 minutes or until cooked.


Roll hot prawns in garlic mayonnaise to coat generously then roll in popcorn mixture.   Serve immediately with the lime cheeks and Coriander Dip


For the Garlic Mayonnaise


2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 cloves garlic

pinch of saffron soaked in 1 tablespoon hot water

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

250ml (9fl oz) vegetable oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice


Process egg yolks, mustard, garlic, saffron and vinegar in a food processor then add the vegetable oil, drip by drip to start then in a slow steady stream until thick and emulsified.   Add lemon juice and season.


Coriander Dipping Sauce


3 cloves garlic

2 large green chillies, seeded and roughly chopped

1 tablespoon palm sugar or liquid honey

4 tablespoons lime juice

3 teaspoons fish sauce

110g (4oz) roughly chopped coriander


Place all the ingredients in a blender with 3 tablespoons water and blend until combined.  Pour into a small serving bowl.


Antony Worrall Thompson’s Limey Beef


Serves 4-6



juice and grated zest of 3 limes

2 tablespoons soft dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons fish sauce

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

stems from a small bunch coriander, rough chopped

2 teaspoons grated ginger

1 teaspoon soy sauce or coconut aminos

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper



1 small pointed cabbage, finely shredded

2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 mango (under-ripe) peeled, pitted and cut into matchsticks

1 tablespoon chopped mint

2 tablespoons Thai basil leaves

2 long red chillies, seeded and finely sliced



2 litres (3 1/2 pints) water

3 tablespoons soy sauce or coconut aminos

2 crushed garlic cloves

1 stem of lemongrass, bruised

4 spring onions

175g (6oz) beef fillet tail, cut in julienne



leaves from coriander bunch

1 tablespoon chopped peanuts


For the Dressing/Vinaigrette.

Blend all the ingredients in a liquidiser, cover and chill.


For the Salad.

Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl, cover and chill.


For the Beef.

Place all the ingredients, except the beef, into a saucepan, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Drop a few slices of beef at a time into the poaching broth, cook for 20 seconds.  Remove and place immediately in the vinaigrette, repeat.


To Serve.

Add the beef and vinaigrette to the salad, fold to combine, garnish with coriander and peanuts.


Antony Worrall Thompson’s Lemon Clotted Cream Mousse with Fresh Strawberry and Champagne Jelly


Serves 6


finely grated zest and juice of 3 unwaxed lemons

finely grated zest and juice of 1 naval orange

300g (10oz) full fat soft cream cheese

1 x 397g (14oz) can condensed milk

225g (8oz) clotted cream

150g (5oz) lemon curd


To start make sure you have 250ml (9fl oz) of the juice – this is important.


With an electric whisk, beat the cream cheese, condensed milk and clotted cream together until thick and very creamy, whisk until light and moussey, about 5 minutes.


Add the lemon curd, juices and zests and whip for a few seconds only as the mixture will seize very quickly.


Champagne Jelly with Strawberries


750ml (1 bottle) of your favourite Champagne

150g (5oz) caster sugar

240ml (8 3/4fl oz) water

1 tablespoon rose water

2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur (optional)

6 leaves gelatine

325g (12oz) strawberries, quartered


For Serving

Jersey double cream


Put 4 tablespoons of Champagne, the sugar and water into a saucepan, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. (The sugar will dissolve before boiling but to get a really sparkling jelly, follow my instructions.) Remove from the heat and fold in the rose water and liqueur if using.


Meanwhile, soften your gelatine leaves in plenty of cold water until the leaves swell (bloom), then drain and squeeze out as much excess liquid as you can.


Stir the gelatine into the hot liquid along with the remaining Champagne.  Set aside.


Place 6 strawberry quarters in to 6 cold glass tumblers.  Pour over 3cm (2 1/4 inch) of the Champagne Jelly to cover the strawberries and place in the fridge to set.


Once set, completely spoon over the Lemon Clotted Cream Mousse leaving a little gap at the top, then scatter with the remaining strawberries



Don’t forget to use vegetarian gelatine if you’re serving it to someone who is vegetarian!


Hot Tips


Midleton Farmers Market has several new stalls – you can now buy freshly roasted chicken from Annie’s Roasts. Local cake and cookie gurus Bite Size have also joined the other ace home-bakers. Woodside Farm pork products continue to grow but you have to be fast to snap up the new products. Check out the Ballymaloe Cookery School Organic Farm and Gardens stall for home-grown organic vegetables, including Violette, Slim Jim and Bianca aubergines, Oro and Atlas sweet peppers, lots of basil and free recipes to make pesto et al!

Rose Cottage fruit farmers now have several varieties of home-grown cherries, as well as loganberries, tayberries, several varieties of black currants, gooseberries – of-course the usual strawberries, raspberries. Ask for morello cherries to make a delicious cherry pie. Seek out Rose Cottage stall at Mahon Point Farmers Market every Thursday, and at Douglas and Midleton Markets every Saturday. and

Irish Blueberries are in season again as are fraughans or wild bilberries. Seeking out Irish grown fruit makes such a difference to Irish jobs.

Sweetcorn – Vincent and Catherine O’Donovan’s roadside stall on the main Cork to Inishannon road (N71 to west Cork) sell juicy sweetcorn. Look out for their little yellow stall. If you would like to order some for the freezer ring Vincent on 087 248 6031.

Mizen Farmers Market in Schull – the brainchild of Walter Ryan Purcell and Todd McCarthy – is tucked in between the bookshop and the courtyard on the Main Street. It sells all local artisan food produce and fresh vegetables every day from 9:30am.

The Youghal Mackerel Festival runs from 30th August to 1st September to celebrate all things fishy but mainly mackerel. Participating restaurants in the town will be offering free fish tasters for the evening. The main food events will be held on Saturday and Sunday afternoons with the chefs of the town cooking a wide range of Mackerel dishes open-air on Barry’s Lane and offering samples to the general public. The theme is “new ways to cook Mackerel”. Local produce will be showcased with everything from locally produced honey to cheeses being available. Contact

Beach barbecues, picnics, sandcastles, ice-creams…

Don’t we have to pinch ourselves now that weeks have passed and the sun is still shining, hope it is still beaming on all of us by the time you read this piece. It’s heaven to be able to eat outside every evening. Lily white bodies that haven’t been exposed to the Irish sun for over 10 years are beginning to glow and the local beaches resemble the Mediterranean, everyone having a jolly time, beach barbeques, picnics, sandcastles, ice-creams. There’s been a mass exodus from the kitchen and some Irish firms are reporting a 70% increase in absenteeism…the lure of the beach and the sun lounger is irresistible and it’s difficult to spend too much time over a hot stove. Having said that, seaside restaurants, cafés and pubs are doing a brilliant trade, a little compensation for the past few years of dismal weather. Spare a thought for the cooks and chefs who are still rustling the pots and pans over hot stoves, a special little word of thanks sent into the kitchen can help to compensate and maybe ease the envious thought of pals frolicking on the beach.

We’ve been having lots of fun making homemade ice-pops or popsicles as they are called in the US. We’re smack in the middle of the soft fruit season so we’ve been experimenting with different combinations, strawberry and blackcurrant, strawberry and lemon verbena, blackcurrant and rosemary, green gooseberry and elderflower…except these ones are not just flavour they are real fruit ice and everyone is blown away by the intensity of the flavour. We also love to add some fresh herbs, mint, lemon verbena, sweet geranium, peach and raspberry also make a super popsicle – experiment, have fun!

This week, a few recipes for Summer days and picnics in the countryside or on the beach.



Salmon or Sea Bass with Hoisin Sauce


Tuna would also be good in this recipe as well as chicken breasts or lamb chops.

This dish is also good cold, perfect for picnics.  Leftovers may be added to rice or couscous salads.  Hoisin Sauce is a sweet bean paste available in ethnic shops and many supermarkets.


Serves 4


4 x 4ozs (110g) salmon fillets, about 2.5cm (1 inch) thick

2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon pepper


Mix the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and pepper in a small bowl.   Pat fish (or chicken breasts) dry and coat with sauce.


Preheat the barbecue or pan-grill and cook fish for about 5 minutes each side.  You may also bake fish for 10-12 minutes in a preheated oven 220ºC/425°F/Gas Mark 7.

Serve with boiled potatoes and a good green salad.


Potato and Spring Onion Salad


The secret of a good potato salad is to use freshly cooked potatoes and then season and toss in French dressing while they are still warm. This simple trick makes a phenomenal difference to the flavour of the finished salad. I’ve had delicious results with both waxy (Pink Fir Apple or Sharpe’s Express) and floury (Golden Wonders) potatoes, though waxy are definitely easier to handle.


Serves 4–6


1.6kg (31⁄2lb) raw potatoes

salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons chopped chives or spring onions

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

150ml (1⁄4 pint) French Dressing

150ml (1⁄4 pint) homemade Mayonnaise, thinned with a little water


Boil the potatoes in their jackets in a large amount of well-salted water. Peel and dice the potatoes while they are still hot and put into a large, wide dish. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle immediately with the chives or spring onions and the parsley. Drizzle over the French dressing and mix well. Leave to cool and then add the mayonnaise. Taste and correct seasoning.


Spatchcock Chicken with Rosemary and Chilli Oil 


Serves 6 or more


1 organic chicken – weight 1.8 – 2.2kg (4-5lb)



1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Green Salad

Wedges of Avocado – (you will need 2-3 avocadoes)

Wedges of Cucumber


To spatchcock the chicken


First remove the wishbone from the neck end (keep for the stockpot).

Insert a heavy chopping knife into the cavity of the chicken from the back end to the neck. Press down sharply to cut through the backbone. Alternatively place the chicken breast side down on the chopping board, using poultry shears cut along the entire length of the backbone as close to the centre as possible.

Open the bird out as much as possible.


Mix the rosemary, garlic, pepper, chilli flakes, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.  Just before cooking, brush the chicken both inside and out with the marinade.  Put skin side up on the grill rack.  Sprinkle with Maldon sea salt.


Preheat the oven to 250C/475F/gas mark 9.

Lay the chicken, skin side up on a rack. Roast for 30-45 minutes over a roasting tin.

Spatchcocking enables the bird to cook much faster, there will be lots of crispy skin and its really easy to carve.  All poultry can be cooked in this way, vary the seasoning and spices to give Mexican, Moroccan or Asian flavours.


Alternatively barbeque until cooked through, 20cm (8-9 inches) from the coals, turning over half way through cooking – about 30 minutes.  Make sure the chicken is fully cooked through before serving.


Serve with a good green salad and wedges of avocado.


Raspberry Fool with Shortbread Biscuits


This is one of those recipes that somehow is much greater than the sum of its parts. Three simple ingredients produce a rich and luscious result.

When in season I use fresh raspberries, but this fool is also excellent made with frozen berries – I haven’t quite decided if it is actually better with the latter. Soft fruit becomes more bitter when frozen but the flavour of the berries seems to be accentuated when frozen ones are used. Any leftover fool can be frozen to make ice cream.


Serves 8-10


450g (1lb) raspberries, fresh or frozen

150–225g (6–8oz) caster sugar

600ml (1 pint) whipped cream

shortbread biscuits (see recipe)


Lay the raspberries in a single layer on a dish. Sprinkle on the sugar and allow to macerate for 1 hour. If you are using frozen berries this should be long enough for them to defrost.


Purée the fruit in a liquidiser or blender then pass through a nylon sieve to remove the seeds. Gently fold in the whipped cream – go lightly if you want to create a ‘swirly’ effect. The fool is now ready to be served or can be chilled for serving later. Serve with shortbread biscuits.


Shortbread Biscuits

Everyone should have this biscuit recipe written up inside a kitchen cupboard door, actually it’s really easy to remember – just 2,4,6…


Makes 25


6 ozs (175g) white flour or Spelt

4 ozs (110g) butter

2 ozs (50g) caster sugar


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


Serve with fruit fools, compotes and ice creams.


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

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


Blackcurrant Popsicles


We use all the summer fruits, raspberries, strawberries, blackcurrants with combinations like blackberry and sweet geranium, redcurrant and strawberry, peach and raspberry, raspberry and basil.   In Winter we make a variety of citrus pops including blood orange and tangerine.   They are loved not just by children but people of all ages, and I particularly enjoy serving them at the end of a dinner party.


Makes 2


450g (1lb) fresh blackcurrants

225-300ml (8-10flozs) stock syrup


Pour the syrup over the blackcurrants and bring to the boil, cook for 3-5 minutes until the blackcurrants burst.  Liquidise and sieve through a nylon sieve.  Allow to cool.  Add the syrup.  It needs to taste sweeter than you would like because the freezing dulls the sweetness.  Pour into popsicle moulds, cover, insert a stick and freeze until needed.  Best eaten within a few days.


Stock Syrup


Makes 825ml (28fl ozs)


450g (1lb) sugar

600ml (1 pint) water


To make the stock syrup: Dissolve the sugar in the water and bring to the boil.  Boil for 2 minutes then allow it to cool.  Store in the fridge until needed.


Rosemary Syrup


Add 1 – 2 sprigs of rosemary to the cold water and sugar and bring to the boil. Cool and use as above.



Homemade Lemonade


Serves 10-12


6 lemons

350ml (12fl oz) approx. syrup (see recipe for Stock Syrup)

1.4L (2 1/2 pint) approx. still water or better still sparkling water



sprigs of fresh mint or lemon balm


Juice the lemons and mix with the stock syrup, add water to taste.  Add ice, garnish with sprigs of fresh mint or lemon balm and serve.

Hot Tips

Knockdrinna Cheese Courses – Two one day cheese making courses Saturday 31st August and Saturday September 28th 11am to 3pm. Enjoy a day of learning how to make cheese using equipment that most people already have in their kitchen – no need to go out and spend a fortune on equipment.  €80 Euro includes tea/coffee and lunch and a tour of the Knockdrinna cheese factory in Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny – email to book –

On the Pigs Back -  around the back of St Patricks Woollen Mills in Douglas – has expanded its dining area, it’s a super food shop, Isabelle Sheridan chooses the produce with a keen eye for quality – try the salamis, varieties of sea salt and some French cheeses in superb condition alongside a well-chosen Irish farmhouse cheese selection. I bought a St Félicien from the Rhône-Alpes region of France –

Rory O’Connell’s new book Master It – How to Cook Today has garnered some rave reviews – he is teaching a two day practical cookery course based recipes from his book from Wednesday 4th to Friday 6th September at Ballymaloe Cookery School –

After the 12 Week Certificate Course – Some Ballymaloe Graduants

We’ve just said goodbye to our Summer batch of 12 Week Certificate Course students and I’ve just been paid perhaps the best compliment I’ve got when one chap told me ‘I have learned so much and had so much fun I feel I owe you money!’

There were lots of tears and hugging as students not only from Ireland but from all over the world (11 nationalities) said goodbye to each other before they wing their way home to all four corners of the globe.

Quite something because this course is unquestionably a big ask in terms of time and money but fortunately it is now looked on as an investment because at the end of 12 very intensive full-on weeks, students go straight into jobs in restaurant kitchens all over the world.

This group were aged between 18 and 60, some starting out on their careers others changing careers, had an exciting variety of plans.

Dan Morgenthau was off to Honey and Co in London. John Molony from Dublin was looking forward to working with Yannick Van Aeken and Louise Bannon at Nede the ‘hot’ new restaurant in Dublin.

Prue Campbell from NSW Australia will spend two months at Cappezzanna with Jean Charles and Rosalind Carrini in Tuscany. Jill Holmquist was off to work in the Rose Bakery in Paris. Michelle Rehme was going home to work in the Flagstone Pantry in Santa Barbara. Jessica Stewart-Fraser was heading to Portugal to open a boutique and B&B in the Algarve. Bernie ter Braak from Lithuania was heading home to Vilnius to his café, restaurant and tapas bar.

Not everyone wanted to go straight into a restaurant kitchen several had plans to get a stall in a Farmers Market so they could sell their pickles and preserves home baking or choccies.

Several others had plans to teach kids to cook or get involved in their local community and share their skills. A couple of semi-retired people had just taken time out to learn how to cook so they could at last enjoy experimenting in the kitchen and entertain their friends and business colleagues with ease and panache.

Having spent three months in the midst of a farm and gardens, they all have itchy green fingers and are determined to get a chicken coop and a few hens the moment it’s practical. Meanwhile they’ll be foraging for wild food to spice up their menus, fishing for summer mackerel and maybe even smoking them in a biscuit tin over the gas ring in the kitchen – a more elaborate smoker comes next – a cookery course can be life changing!


How to Smoke Mackerel, Chicken Breast or Duck Breast in a Simple Biscuit Tin Smoker


This is a simple Heath Robinson way to smoke small items of food. It may be frowned upon by serious smokers, but it is great for beginners because it gives such quick results. The fish, duck or chicken can be smoked without having been brined, but even a short salting or brining will improve flavour – 15–20 minutes should do it. Leave to dry for approximately 30 minutes before smoking.


mackerel or duck breast or organic chicken breast


1 shallow biscuit tin with tight-fitting lid

1 wire cake rack to fit inside

pure salt or 80 per cent brine


Place a sheet of tin foil in the base of the biscuit tin and sprinkle 3 or 4 tablespoons of sawdust over it. Lay the fish or meat on the wire rack skin-side upwards, and then cover the tin with the lid.


Place the tin on a gas jet or other heat source on a medium heat. The sawdust will start to smoulder and produce warm smoke that in turn both cooks and smokes the food. Reduce the heat to low. Mackerel will take about 8–10 minutes. Duck or chicken breast will take 20 –30 minutes, depending on the size. Leave to rest before eating warm or at room temperature.


Alternatively, you could buy a simple smoking box from a fishing store or hot-smoke in a tightly covered wok over a gas jet in your own kitchen.


Smoky Tomato Coulee


Pamela Nelson-Munson, a student from Ashland, Oregon gave me this recipe after one of our smoking demonstrations – it’s destined to become a must have sauce in our repertoire.


This is an all-round terrific sauce with endless possibilities, and totally vegan! Of course it has endless possibilities in its seasoning, but it’s surprising how much natural flavour comes out with just these simple ingredients.


As a starter, I love to serve this sparingly in a shallow bowl with 1 large or 2-3 small and very fresh butter-poached scallops. Enjoy!


5-6 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half, spoon out seeds

3-4 smashed cloves of garlic, unpeeled

1 fresh clove garlic

50ml (2fl oz) extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


Lay the halved Roma tomatoes (cut side down on rack) in a stove top smoker (medium heat as you see the smoke begin) for 20-30 minutes or until hot all the way through and soft but not mushy (This may take shorter or longer in your smoker).  Add smashed garlic (also on rack) for last 15 minutes.


Slip the tomato out of their skins and put in food processor or blender with peeled smoked garlic, a fresh garlic clove, and any accumulated juices.


When puréed, with processor still running, add olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Store in fridge.


Madhulika’s Grandmother’s Pork Masala


Madhulika Sundaram from Chennai cooked this pork masala while she was with us and sweetly shared the recipe. We’ve made it several times since and remember her as we enjoy it.


Serves 6


1kg (2 1/4lb) x 2.5cm (1 inch) pork cubes from shoulder of pork

100g (3 1/2oz) sunflower oil

25g (1oz) brown mustard seeds

1 rounded tablespoon cumin seeds

500g (18oz) onion, finely chopped

1 level teaspoon turmeric powder

100g (3 1/2oz) ginger, peeled and finely diced

100g (3 1/2oz) garlic, finely chopped

6-10 red chillies, sliced into rings

350 – 475ml (12-16fl oz) water


1 teaspoon soft brown sugar (optional)


Put the oil in a saucepan on a high heat, when it begins to bubble add the mustard seeds and cumin to it.  As soon as the mustard seeds pop, add the onions and cook until light brown.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the diced pork and the ginger, garlic, turmeric and chillies to the pan.  Stir well, cover and leave to cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes.


Add 350ml (12fl oz) water, season lightly with salt and stir.  Cover the pan and allow to cook gently for 40 minutes on a medium heat, stirring at regular intervals.  The water should be almost fully reduced at this stage.  Add half the sugar, stir well and add more if desired.


Serve in a warm bowl with rice and a fruit raita.



  • Reduce chillies if that amount is too terrifying.


Bernie ter Braak Lithuanian Honey Liqueur


Compiled and presented for your pleasure by Bernie Ter Braak.


Makes 4 – 6 pints.


2 tablespoon orange peel

1 tablespoon lemon peel

3 sticks cinnamon (break lightly)

4-5 pods of cardamom, lightly crushed

1 nutmeg, lightly crushed

3-5 cloves (leave whole)

1 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed

3-4 allspice, lightly crushed

1 teaspoon black pepper, lightly crushed

1 teaspoon white pepper, lightly crushed

3-4 thin slices white ginger

3-4 thin slices red ginger (if available)

1 tbsp or 3 sticks of vanilla

a pinch of saffron (for colour)

3lbs (1.3kgs) honey

1.2 litres (2 pints) water of water

750ml (1 ½ pints) vodka

Put the water into a large pot.  Simmer the dry spices until fragrant.  Add the moist spices.  When blended, add the honey, simmer but do not boil.  When the honey is dissolved, remove the spices (strainer).  Remove from any flame source and add the alcohol.  Allow to cool and bottle in sterilized containers.

Some people drink this right away, but it is highly recommended that you let it age in the bottle in a dark, cool place, for at least 6 months.  The longer it ages, the better it gets.

Hot Tips

The members of OOOBY (Out of Our Own Backyard) Shanagarry have some wonderful fresh produce from their gardens for sale on the wall outside the Shanagarry Design Centre from 10:30am to 12:30pm every Saturday. They also sell their home-baking, jams and pickles.

Silver Darlings – Irish Atlantic pickled and marinated herring products made by a Finnish native Kirsti O’Kelly. Kirsti learned to pickle herring from her mother and both of her grandmothers. It is not cooked but the process of preserving the fish dissolves all the nasty herring bones leaving the flesh meaty but soft and easy to eat. The family recipes were passed on the generations and now Kirsti with her husband Eoin continue the tradition on Corbally Road in Limerick.  Silver Darlings products are available at farmers markets at the Real Olive Company stalls, Toonsbridge Café, the English Market in Cork, Mortons in Ranelagh, Cake Café, Dublin and Kai Galway – 086-0661132



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