Guest Chef Antony Worrall Thompson

G

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

 

Dressing

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

 

Dressing

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

 

Salad

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

 

Beef

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

 

Garnish

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

 

Note

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! www.midletonfarmersmarket.com

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. www.mahonpointfarmersmarket.com and www.douglasfarmersmarket.com

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

About the author

Darina Allen
By Darina Allen

Letters

Back to List
Latest Letter
All Recipes
Back to Website
All Darinas Letters are published each week in The Examiner

Past Letters

  • Recipes