Archive2013

Dragon’s Blood and Vampire Butter!

Halloween creates almost as much excitement as Christmas nowadays, for weeks shop windows have been packed with witches, broomsticks, pumpkins and scary masks to tantalise the kids. Our grandchildren and their friends can’t wait to dress up in witches attire and ghoulish rig outs to frighten the life out of their neighbours and extract a ‘trick or treat’.

Even though it’s all becoming very commercial, kids still love the old fashioned games as well as apple bobbing and pumpkin carving.

When I was child Halloween was a very spooky time. We heard all about the banshee, a ghostly old woman who sat on a gate pier, keening and combing her long grey hair. People told scary ghost stories and we ate colcannon and barmbrack. It was all about fortune telling and divination. A favourite game was to arrange five saucers on the table, put some clay in one, water in another, a wedding ring in another, a rag in the fourth and a coin in the fifth. One after another we were blindfolded, and the plates were switched about before we reached out tentatively, to inevitable giggles – the water meant that you were going “on a journey”, the coin meant untold riches were coming your way, the rag signified hard times ahead, the soil was also bad news, it meant you’d be six feet under before long but the ring meant that wedding bells would soon ring, even if you were only six!

The contents of the barmbrack also held similar clues to one’s fortunes good or otherwise. All good innocent fun and apart from the barmbrack pretty uncommercial. Almost every culture marks Halloween, the Day of the Dead or All Souls Day. In Mexico many visit graveyards and bring the favourite food of their loved ones to picnic and reminisce on the graves. Increasingly Halloween is about witches and pumpkins in the American tradition. Shops and Farmers Market stalls are piled high with pumpkins. Kids have pumpkin carving parties and I’ve even seen a spectacular totem pole made from a variety of pumpkins and squash at an organic farm in the UK.

You can always lure the little witches and goblins into the kitchen to cook. They love to make spooky sounding soup like ‘Dragons blood’ (aka beetroot soup) or spicy bones (spare ribs) can keep them interested and nibbling. Spooky Meringue Pucás are also a great favourite.

Buy a couple of pumpkins and you’ll have several hours of peace, but keep an eye out while they carve and make sure to save the pulp to make a pumpkin soup.

 

Dragon’s Blood

 

This soup is a scary colour but brave children love the sweetness of the beets. The cream can be drizzled on top in a spider web or dragon.

 

Serves 8-10

 

 

900g (2 lb) young beetroot

25g (1oz) butter

225g (1/2lb) onions

salt and freshly ground pepper

1.2L (2 pints) homemade chicken or vegetable stock approx.

125ml (4fl oz) creamy milk

 

 

Chive Cream

125ml (4 fl oz) sour cream or crème fraiche

 

Finely chopped chives

 

Wash the beetroot carefully under a cold tap. Don’t scrub, simply rub off the clay with your fingers. You won’t want to damage the skin or cut off the top or tails because it will ‘bleed’ in the cooking.  Put the beetroot into cold water, and simmer covered for anything from 20 minutes to 2 hours depending on the size and age.

 

Meanwhile chop the onions, sweat carefully and gently in the butter until they are cooked.   The beetroot are cooked when the skins will rub off easily.

 

Chop the beetroot and add to the onions. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. * Put into a liquidiser with the hot chicken stock. Liquidise until quite smooth.  Reheat, add some creamy milk, taste and adjust the seasoning, it may be necessary to add a little more stock or creamy milk. Serve garnished with little swirls of sour cream and a sprinkling of finely chopped chives. Watchpoint: careful not to damage the beetroot during preparation or they will bleed

 

Spicy Bones

Serves 8

1.8kg (4lbs) meaty preferably organic pork spare ribs

2 tablespoons sunflower

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

3 teaspoons of ginger, grated

175g (6ozs) finely chopped onion

125ml (4floz) pineapple juice

2 tablespoons fish sauce, Nam Pla

3 tablespoons tomato purée

4 tablespoons lime or lemon juice

2 tablespoons honey

6 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce

Ask the butcher to cut the ribs across horizontally into two strips. Divide each piece into individual short ribs.

Put the ribs into a deep saucepan and cover with cold water, add salt and bring to the boil. Skim and then simmer for 30-40 minutes or until tender. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again, allow to cool.

 

Adapted from “Barbeque, Where There’s Smoke, There’s Flavour” by Eric Treuille & Birgit Erath”

 

Heat the sunflower oil in a saucepan and add the crushed garlic, grated ginger and chopped onion, cover and cook on a gentle heat until soft but not coloured. Add the pineapple juice, fish sauce, tomato purée, lime or lemon juice, honey and 2 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce. Simmer for a couple of minutes until the mixture thickens, then put into a large bowl and allow to cool. Add in the ribs and toss until completely coated (hands are best for this).

Place under a hot grill for 10 – 15 minutes, basting and turning frequently until golden, transfer to a serving dish. Drizzle with a little more sweet chilli sauce and serve the sweet and sticky ribs. You’ll need lots of paper napkins!

 

 

Irish Tea Barmbrack

This is a more modern version of barmbrack, now commonly called a ‘tea brack’ because the dried fruit is soaked in tea overnight to plump it up (rather than boiled as in the recipes above). Everyone in Ireland loves a barmbrack, perhaps because it brings back lots of memories of excitement and games at Halloween. When the barmbrack was cut, everyone waited in anticipation to see what they’d find in their slice – a stick, a pea, a ring – and what it meant for their future. Now they’re available in every Irish bakery, but here’s a great recipe you can use to make one at home. It keeps in a tin for up to a week.  Even though it is a very rich bread, in Ireland it is traditionally served sliced and buttered.

 

Yields about 12 slices (eat the crusts, too!)

 

110g (4oz) sultanas

110g (4oz) raisins

110g (4oz) currants

50g (2oz) natural glace cherries, halved or quartered

300ml (10fl oz) hot tea

1 organic egg, whisked

200g (7oz) soft brown sugar

225g (8oz) self-raising flour

1 level teaspoon mixed spice

50g (2oz) homemade candied peel

 

450g (1lb) loaf tin – 12.5 x 20cm (5 x 8in) OR 3 small loaf tins 15 x 7.5cm (6 x 3in)

ring, stick, pea, and a piece of cloth, all wrapped in greaseproof paper

 

Put the dried fruit and cherries into a bowl. Cover with hot tea and leave to plump up overnight.

 

Next day, line the loaf tin with silicone paper.

 

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

 

Add the whisked egg, soft brown sugar, flour and mixed spice to the fruit and tea mixture. Stir well. Add the ring, stick, pea and piece of cloth, tucking them in well and ensuring they are hidden by the dough. Cook in preheated oven for about 1 1/2hours or until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool on a wire rack.  Keeps very well in an airtight tin.

 

Spooky Shepherd’s Pie with Vampire Butter

Vampires are scared of garlic!

 

Serves 6

 

1 oz (25g) butter

4 ozs (110g) chopped onion

1 oz (30g) flour

3/4 pint (450ml) stock and left over gravy

1 teaspoon tomato puree

1 dessertspoons Worcestershire Sauce

1 dessertspoon chopped parsley

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 lb (450g) minced cooked lamb

 

1 lb (450g) cooked mashed potatoes

2 peas

chives

 

Vampire Butter

 

2 ozs (50g) butter

4 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped

2-3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2-3 cloves garlic, crushed

 

Cream the butter, stir in the parsley and a few drops of lemon juice at a time.  Add the crushed garlic.  Roll into butter pats or form into a roll and wrap in greaseproof paper or tinfoil, screwing each end so that it looks like a cracker.  Refrigerate to harden.

 

Melt the butter, add the onion, and cover with a round of greased paper and cook over a slow heat for 5 minutes.  Add the flour and cook until brown.  Add the stock, bring to the boil, skim.  Add the tomato puree, Worcestershire Sauce, chopped parsley, thyme leaves, salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.

 

Add the meat to the sauce and bring to the boil.  Put in a pie dish. Cover with the mashed potatoes and score with a fork and form into a spooky shape using a couple of peas for eyes and chives for a screaming open mouth.  Reheat in a moderate oven 180ºC/350ºF/regulo 4 for about 30 minutes.  Garnish with parsley and serve with Garlic butter.

 

Spooky Meringue Pucás

Serves 4-6

 

2 egg whites

4 ozs (110g) castor sugar

 

éclair pipe no. 9 and piping bag

 

Beat whites until stiff but not yet dry.  Fold in half the sugar.  Beat again until the mixture will stand in a firm dry peak.  Fold remaining sugar in carefully. Fill into a piping bag. Cover a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper; pipe a small blob onto the paper, pulling the piping bag upwards quickly to create a point.  Bake in a very low oven, 100ºC/200ºF/regulo 1/4 for 4 hours approx.  Meanwhile melt some chocolate put into a paper piping bag and decorate by piping little dots for eyes and little oval for a scary mouth.  Serve with a bowl of softly whipped cream.

 

Hot Tips

Savour Kilkenny Festival of Food  – 24th – 28th October, 2013. Lots of excellent cookery demonstrations including Sunil Ghai, Arun Kapil, Rory O’Connell, Fiona Uyema, Alan Foley, Cormac Crowe, Kevin Dundon…Pop up dinner by Yannick and Louise, Town of Food Long Table Dinner, Kiddies-Cook-Along, Food Markets, Cheese Making, French wine masterclass…and much more see www.savourkilkenny.com

 

How to Cure a Pig in a Day and Use Every Morsel with Philip Dennhardt–  Saturday 9th November 9:30am to 5:00pm at Ballymaloe Cookery School.

Philip will start by showing you how to butcher a side of pork like a professional. He will then show you how it can be transformed into a full range of yummy hams, succulent sausages and perfect charcuterie.

Full instructions will be given for the making of air dried ham, brine cured hams, brawn, bacon, sausages, chorizos, salamis as well as some recipes for country pâtes and terrines to ensure everything is put to good use. 021 4646785 – www.cookingisfun.ie

 

If you are a lover of whiskey then you might consider booking your staff Christmas lunch at the Jameson Distillery in the Malt House restaurant in Midleton – 0214613594

Wild, Wonderful and Free!

“Season of mist and yellow fruit fullness” and despite the warm misty weather there are a few mushrooms about. I found a little scattering of field mushrooms on the grass under the windows of the garden café earlier this week – just enough to make a tiny feast for one when I cooked them directly on the cool plate of the Aga with no embellishment, except for a few grains of sea salt and a knob of butter.

Driving across from Cahir over the Knockmealdon Mountains last week I collected lots of rowanberries from the mountain ash, the trees were dripping with plump berries, we added them to crab apples to make delicious rowanberry jelly. It’s a terrific year for crab apples (wild apples) too but if you don’t find any in your area use Bramley windfalls or a mixture of tart apples. Elderberries too are dropping off the bushes. You can substitute elderberries for rowan berries in the apple jelly or even mix both and if you have them. Throw in a handful of sloes and blackberries as well and then change the name to Hedgerow Jelly. Elderberries are also good pickled and I’ve tried an elderberry liqueur for the first time this year – can’t imagine why I didn’t think of it before now, it’s made exactly the same way as sloe or damson gin.

There’s also a fantastic crop of blackberries this year, pick them now without delay – they don’t necessarily improve late in the season. Of course they make great tarts, pies, wine and liqueurs. They also freeze perfectly also and pickle well. They tend to be very low in pectin so it’s difficult to set blackberry jam on its own, unless you use jam sugar which tends to produce a more solid set reminiscent of commercial jam. Apples particularly tart apples have tons of pectin hence the time honoured combination of Blackberry and Apple. If you own a sweet geranium plant (pelargonium graveolens) add a few of those leaves chopped up and it will imbue the jam with an irresistible haunting lemony flavour. Blackberries can also be dried and added to fruit cakes or you may enjoy them in this Blackberry and Rose Geranium Slice.

There are lots of hazelnuts in the woods and hillsides – they won’t be fully ripe for another week or two but do organise an expedition and collect enough to dry for the winter. Cob nuts and filberts will also be ripe around now, they should slip easily out of the husks otherwise you’ll find that the nuts are empty. Apart from nuts and berries, there are many plants – chick weed (Stellaria media), meadow sweet (Filipendula ulmaria), sedum (Hylotelephium telephium), sweet cicely(Myrrhis odorata), orach (Atriplex hortensis) Bishops Weed (Aegopodium podagraria) We’ve been enjoying lots of wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) the little three leaf version that grows in abundance in the woods but also in our greenhouse underneath the plants. Wild sorrel and lambs tongue sorrel (Rumex acetosella) grow in the grass and are recognisable by its pointy ears and sharp fresh lemony taste. Of course it’s delicious in salads but it is also intriguing in this sorrel pie which the late Charles Haughey traced for me in Inishvickillane, one of the Blasket Islands of Co Kerry.  It would originally have been baked in a bastible over the open fire but can be successfully make in a covered casserole in the oven. All food for free and delicious.

 

Sloe or Damson Gin

 

It’s great fun to organise a few pals to pick sloes and have a sloe-gin-making party. Sloes make a terrific beverage for Christmas presents. Either enjoy it neat or put a measure of damson or sloe gin in a glass, add ice, a slice of lemon and top it up with tonic.

 

700g (11⁄2lb) sloes or damsons

350g (12oz) granulated sugar

1.2 litres (2 pints) gin

 

Wash and dry the fruit and prick it in several places (we use a sterilised darning needle). Put the fruit into a sterilised glass Kilner jar and cover with the sugar and gin. Seal tightly.

Shake the jar every couple of days to start with and then every now and then for 3–4 months, by which time it will be ready to strain and bottle. It will improve on keeping so try to resist drinking it for another few months.

 

Sloe or Damson Vodka

This slips down easily but has quite a kick! Simply substitute vodka for the gin in the recipe above.

 

Ballyvolane House Hedgerow Martinis

Justin Green from Ballyvolane House shared this recipe with us “A couple of Hedgerow Martinis before dinner promises lively and spirited conversation throughout dinner. They are incredibly easy to make and totally delicious.”

 

Serves 2

 

2 shots gin

3 shots sloe gin

1 shot fresh lime juice

3/4 shot of elderflower cordial

2 fresh blackberries

2 frozen blackberries (for the garnish)

3 lumps of ice

 

1 cocktail shaker

2 martini glasses

 

When using a cocktail shaker, always avoid trying to make too much in one go as overfilling the cocktail shaker means it doesn’t mix well. Mixing two martinis per cocktail shaker works best. Put all the ingredients (except for the frozen blackberries) into the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Hold the shaker in both hands (a bit like a hooker throwing a rugby ball into the line-out) and shake it over your shoulder. Chill the martini glasses by putting them in the freezer or leave a few lumps of ice in them for a few minutes. Pour the Hedgrerow Martini through a cocktail strainer into the glasses. Garnish with one frozen blackberry per martini glass. Enjoy!

 

Crab Apple and Rowanberry Jelly

Rowanberries (Sorbus aucuparia) come from the rowan tree (also known as mountain ash) and are in season during the autumn. They grow on acid soil in hills, and their brilliant orangey-red berries were historically much eaten, although few people eat rowanberries any more. We gather them from the Knockmealdown mountains in West Waterford for our rowanberry jelly.

Crab or Bramley apples

Rowanberries

450g (1lb) sugar to every pint of juice

Chop the apples (windfalls are fine) into chunks, barely cover with water, bring to the boil and cook until the apples are soft and pulpy. Strain the juice through a jelly bag.

Crush the rowanberries, add a very little water, cook them in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until they are soft, and strain through a nylon sieve.

 

Combine all the juices and measure. Allow 450g (1lb) of sugar for every pint of juice Heat the sugar and add to the boiling juice. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved and boil rapidly until the jelly reaches setting point. Jelly should wrinkle when pressed with a finger. Pot into sterilized jars, seal and store in a cool place. Serve with game or a fine leg of mutton if you can find it.

 

Sorrel Pie from Inis Mhic Uibhleáin

 

I first learned about the existence of this recipe from Jane Grigson. Charles J Haughey tracked it down for me in the book Bean an Oileain by Márie Ni Ghuithin (1986) and had it translated from Irish.

Serves 6 – 8

 

1 lb (450g) all-purpose flour

1 level teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

½ oz butter

1 ¼ – 1 ½ cups buttermilk

4-6 ozs (110-170g) sorrel leaves

2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar

 

Baking dish, 9 inch x 2 inch (23cm x 5cm) with a lid

 

Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/mark 8.

Place the flour in a bowl with the baking soda and salt. Rub in the butter and wet with buttermilk to form a soft pliable dough.  Knead lightly on a lightly floured work surface and cut in half.  Flatten dough with your hand to form a circle the same size as your pot.  Place the sorrel leaves on one half of the flattened dough and sprinkle with brown sugar (we put some underneath and on top of the sorrel).  Flatten second piece of dough to the same size and use to cover the sorrel mixture, pressing the edges to seal.

Butter and flour your cooking pot and place the pie inside. Put on the lid and transfer to a hot oven.

Our pie took 1 hour to bake and cooked to a pale golden colour in the covered pot.  It had a bitter sweet flavour and was quite delicious.

 

Blackberry and Rose Geranium Squares

 

Makes 24

 

6 ozs (175g) soft butter

6 ozs (175g) castor sugar

2 eggs, preferably free range

6 ozs (175g) self-raising flour

2 tablespoons freshly chopped rose geranium leaves

8 ozs (225g) blackberries

 

2 ozs (50g) castor sugar

1 tablespoon of freshly chopped rose geranium leaves

 

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

 

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

 

Put the butter, castor sugar, eggs and self-raising flour and chopped rose geranium leaves into a food processor. Whizz for a few seconds to amalgamate. Spread evenly in the well-buttered tin.  Sprinkle the blackberries as evenly as possible over the top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes approx. or until golden brown and well risen.

Allow to cool slightly, sprinkle with caster sugar whizzed with leaves of rose geranium. Serve in squares.

 

Hot Tips

If you’d like to polish up on your foraging skills here are two dates for your diary

Longueville House Mushroom Hunt Sunday 20th October 9:30am – lunch included (€80 Per Person) – www.longuevillehouse.ie

Wild in Wicklow at Brooklodge Hotel in Macreddin Village on Saturday 16th November– Irelands largest wild food dinner – apart from the potatoes the menu is made up of exclusively wild foods – for more information and to book the dinner wildandslow@macreddin.ie – 040236444

The Women in Agriculture Conference is a truly inspirational event. It will be held on 24th October at the Europe Hotel in Killarney – 0646671340 hotelsales@liebherr.com

East Cork Slow Food event – Shana Wilkie from Wilkie Chocolates is the only chocolatier I know in Ireland who conches the cocoa beans from scratch, so join us to hear her talk about the whole process from bean to bar, her chocolate bars are sensational. Ballymaloe Cookery School – Tuesday 15th October 7pm- Slow Proceeds raised for the East Cork Slow Food Mobile Kitchen Project.

Halloween Demonstration at Ballymaloe Cookery School – Friday 18th October 2:00pm to 5:00pm –  lots of delicious pumpkin recipes, including a hearty pumpkin soup. Learn how to bake the perfect traditional Irish barmbrack too – rich yeasted bread, packed with dried fruit and a dash of spice. Phone 021 4646785 to book or www.cookingisfun.ie

Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen – Simple, Delicious Family Food

Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen – Simple, Delicious Family Food has just been published by Harper Collins. For me this is Rachel’s best so far, her eleventh book in ten years so you can imagine how hectic Rachel’s schedule is, trying to balance family life, teaching, writing, plus TV commitments. I really marvel at how she does it.

During the years, she has tried and tested hundreds of family friendly hassle free recipes on her children who are just as able to say ‘yuk’ if they don’t like something as anyone else’s brood. Feeding children is always a challenge but Rachel feels as I know we all do that cooking for yourself and your family is such an important thing to be able to do. Eating good food has a profound impact on your health, energy and outlook. It may take a little longer than heating up a ready-meal or ordering a take-away, but it is the only way of ensuring you know where all the ingredients come from. Cooking ensures your family’s meals are nutritious and delicious but can also be creative and fun.

This time, Rachel is focusing on clever everyday cooking: simple short cuts, advice on weekly planning and shopping, wasting less, freezing more, preparing ahead and using leftovers, recipes that can serve more and those that can be adjusted to a tasty meal for one or two. With a bit of forward thinking, you can turn one meal into several different dishes, keeping waste to a minimum, If you’re going to buy the best ingredients you can afford, then it’s vital than nothing is wasted. Cooked potatoes left over from lunch could be made into a delicious and comforting tartiflette for supper on another day, for instance, while roasted butternut squash enjoyed hot at the table could be transformed into a tasty salad for a packed lunch.

Buying fresh ingredients in season will ensure that you get maximum value and flavour from what you eat. Cooking in bulk can save both time and money as well. In Everyday Kitchen, Rachel has lots of recipes that are just as easy to make in a slightly larger quantity and then freeze the extra portion. Stews, soups, pies, along with many other recipes, can be doubled up and frozen for another day. So rather than resorting to a ready meal, you can defrost something homemade instead – guaranteed to be more nutritious and much tastier.

Nowadays most people seem to be crazily busy particularly when children are younger, dashing in all directions, school runs, extra curricula activities, sleep overs, but one could see how with just a few small adjustments to the weekly routine one could reap big rewards for yourself and your family and even have more time for the most precious of all family activities, sitting down around the kitchen table.

 

Rachel Allen’s Lamb and Pearl Barley Broth

 

A simple yet soothing soup that I find hugely restorative on cold and rainy evenings, this is a delicious way to make roast lamb go that little bit further. It uses pearl barley, which has long been added to soups and stews to bulk them up when meat was scarce. Pearl barley provides more than just bulk; however, it’s soft, yielding texture as welcome here as it’s delightfully nutty taste.

 

Serves 6

 

25g (1oz) butter

2 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely grated

2 sticks of celery, trimmed and finely chopped

1 bay leaf

1 sprig of rosemary

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

200g (7oz) cooked lamb sliced or shredded into roughly bite-sized pieces

1 parsnip, peeled and finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

100g (3½ oz) pearl barley or pearled spell 1.25litres (2 pints) chicken stock

2 tbsp chopped parsley

 

Place the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Once the butter is melted and foaming, add the onions, garlic, celery, bay leaf and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper, then turn the heat to low, cover with a lid and sweat gently for 5-8 minutes or until the onions are softened but not browned.

Add the lamb, parsnip, carrots, pearl barley or pearled spelt and the stock. Turn the heat up and simmer, with the lid on, for about 25 minutes or until the vegetables and barley are tender. Remove the bay leaf and rosemary and stir in the chopped parsley, then season with more salt and pepper to taste and serve.

  • The soup can be made up to two days in advance, covered and stored in the fridge; reheat on the hob to serve. It can also be frozen for up to three months.
  • The quantities in this recipe can be halved or multiplied.

 

Rachel Allen’s Thai Butternut Squash Soup

 

The squash gives real body to this soup, making it a meal in a bowl.  It’s sweet taste provides the perfect foil for the dish’s strong Southeast Asian flavours. This recipe can be made in advance, but don’t add the basil until just before serving.

 

Serves 6

 

500ml (18 fl oz) chicken stock

1 stick of Iemongrass, crushed with a rolling pin 50ml (2 fl oz) sunflower oil

1 large onion, peeled and diced

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely grated

1 fresh red chilli pepper, deseeded (optional) and diced

5cm (2in) piece of root ginger, peeled and grated

1 large butternut squash (about 1kg/2lb 3oz), peeled, deseeded and cut into roughly 3cm (1¼in) chunks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1x 400ml tin of coconut milk

1-2 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)

Small bunch of basil, shredded (about 2 tbsp), to serve

 

Pour the chicken stock into a saucepan and add the Iemongrass. Place on a medium heat and bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat and allow to infuse for at least 10 minutes.

Place a large saucepan on a high heat and add the sunflower oil. Add the onion, garlic, chilli, ginger and raw squash (if using), and season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to low, then cover with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes or until the squash is tender. Pour in the coconut milk and the hot chicken stock, including the lemongrass. Bring to the boil and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

If using roasted butternut squash, add this with the coconut milk and stock and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat, then transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the finished soup to the pan to heat through gently, then season with fish sauce to taste and serve sprinkled with the basil.

The soup will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to three days; simply reheat to serve. It can also be frozen for up to three months.

 

Rachel Allen’s Roasted Butternut Squash

 

Leftover roast vegetables can be equally good served at room temperature, and squash is no exception. With just a few more ingredients, it makes a handsome meal. Packed full of nutrition, it also makes a great lunchbox meal.

Serves 4-6

 

1 large butternut squash (about 1kg/2lb 3oz), peeled, deseeded and cut into 3cm (1¼in) pieces

3 red onions, peeled and each cut lengthways into about 8 wedges

3 tbsp olive oil

10 small sprigs of thyme (if using raw squash) Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1tbsp balsamic vinegar or sherry vinegar

200g (7oz) mozzarella, torn into bite-sized chunks

50g (2oz) rocket leaves

25g (1oz) Parmesan cheese, grated

 

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas mark 6.

Place the raw squash (if using) and onion wedges in a roasting tin with the thyme sprigs and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until completely tender and slightly caramelised around the edges.

Drizzle the vinegar over the warm vegetables and set aside to cool to room temperature. If using previously roasted squash, add it to the onions once they have cooled down.

When the vegetables have cooled, add the mozzarella and rocket and toss gently together. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan, then taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary, and serve.

 

  • Leftover roasted butternut squash salad makes a great packed lunch or picnic dish (just remember to leave out the rocket leaves if making it in advance, adding them just before serving).

 

Rachel Allen’s Cheesy Kale Bake

 

I find a dish like this a good opportunity to use up any ends of cheese lurking in the fridge. Within reason, of course: the better the cheese, the better the dish will be, but a few different types of hard cheese mixed together are perfect. I prefer not to use blue cheese, however.

 

Serves 4

 

400g (14oz) curly kale (stalks removed), thickly shredded

25g (1oz) butter

25g (1oz) plain flour

400ml (14fl oz) milk

250g (9oz) Cheddar or Gruyere cheese (or mixed leftover hard cheese), grated

1tsp Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Equipment

 

20 x 25cm (8 x 10in) ovenproof dish

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas mark 6.

Place a large pan of water on a high heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to the boil. Tip in the kale and cook for just a couple of minutes or until almost tender, then drain, squeezing the leaves to remove all the excess water, and place in the ovenproof dish.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, add the flour and cook for 1 minute or until bubbling. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking it into the flour and butter, and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat, then add half the cheese and the mustard and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour the cheese sauce over the kale and sprinkle over the remaining cheese, then bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling and golden on top.

 

  • This can be prepared in advance right up until assembling in the dish and kept in the fridge for 24 hours, or it can be frozen for up to three months. Defrost fully before halting as above. This dish will keep in the fridge for a couple of days once cooked. It’s best served warm, reheated in the oven (preheated to 180°C/350°F/ Gas mark 4) for about 20 minutes to allow the cheese sauce to melt again.

 

Rachel Allen’s Butterscotch Apple Pudding

 

Serves 4-6

 

2 large cooking apples (about 45og/ 1lb total weight), peeled, cored and cut into roughly 2cm (¾ in) dice

125g (4½ oz) self-raising flour

¼ tsp salt

200g (7oz) brown sugar, plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling

100g (3½ oz) butter, melted

1tsp vanilla extract

1egg

200ml (7fl oz) milk

2 tbsp golden syrup

150ml (5fl oz) boiling water

 

Equipment

 

20 x 30cm (8 x 12in) ovenproof dish

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4. Place the apple pieces in the bottom of the ovenproof dish, spreading them out to form an even layer.

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and mix in half the sugar. In another bowl, mix together the melted butter, vanilla extract, egg and milk.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones, then whisk briefly to bring everything together. Pour the mixture into the dish, distributing it evenly over the apples.

Next, place the golden syrup in a saucepan with the boiling water and remaining sugar. Bring to the boil, stilling to dissolve the sugar, then pour this evenly over the mixture in the dish. Most of it will sink through the pudding mixture to the bottom of the dish, but don’t be alarmed

-this creates a beautiful butterscotch sauce underneath the sponge when baked.

To finish, sprinkle over the 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, then place in the oven and bake for about go minutes or until the top of the pudding has a very light spring when you press it with your finger. This is best served warm with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

 

  • Any leftover pudding will keep well in the fridge for up to three days; simply reheat in a moderate oven (preheated to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4) for just a few minutes to warm through

 

Crab Apple and Rowanberry Jelly

Rowanberries (Sorbus aucuparia) come from the rowan tree (also known as mountain ash) and are in season during the autumn. They grow on acid soil in hills, and their brilliant orangey-red berries were historically much eaten, although few people eat rowanberries any more. We gather ones from the Knockmealdown mountains in West Waterford for our rowanberry jelly.

 

Crab or Bramley apples

Rowanberries

450g (1lb) sugar to every pint of juice

 

Chop the apples (windfalls are fine) into chunks, barely cover with water, bring to the boil and cook until the apples are soft and pulpy. Strain the juice through a jelly bag.

Crush the rowanberries, add a very little water, cook them in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until they are soft, and strain through a nylon sieve.

 

Combine all the juices and measure. Allow 450g (1lb) of sugar for every pint of juice Heat the sugar and add to the boiling juice. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved and boil rapidly until the jelly reaches setting point. Jelly should wrinkle when pressed with a finger. Pot into sterilized jars, seal and store in a cool place. Serve with game or a fine leg of mutton if you can find it.

 

Hot Tips

 

Look out for Irish Craft Ciders there are now almost 20. I tasted several delicious examples at Applefest the Slow Food Apple and Craft Cider Festival at the Apple Farm in Moorstown, Cahir, Co Tipperary. Kilmegan, Orpens, Craigies, MacIvors, Highbank Proper Cider and Cockagee Pure Irish Keeved Cider, Llewellyns – Longueville House and Stonewell are even closer to home. http://www.slowfoodireland.com/applefest/craft-cider

 

The 12th edition of Georgina Campbell’s Ireland Guide – The Best of Irish  Food and Hospitality has just been published and is a must have to keep in the car so you can swing by the best hotels, restaurants, cafes, pubs, country houses, guest houses and farmhouses both north and south. The entries are concise and there are also county maps and lots more detailed information on Ireland – www.ireland-guide.com A perfect small gift for a treasured friend.

 

It’s a fantastic year for apples as well as blackberries, I came across a Crispy Apple Crumble Mix from the Cookie Jar Company based at Poulmucka Clonmel Co. Tipperary – use it to make a delicious bubbly crumble with home-grown apples.

 

Lots of mountain ash or rowan berries on hillsides at present, added them to some crab apples or windfall cookers, they make a fantastic rowan and crab apple jelly, delicious to serve with game or lamb. See cookingisfun.ie and follow link to Darina’s Saturday letter for the recipe.

 

30 Year Celebrations at Ballymaloe Cookery School

We recently celebrated 30 Years of the Ballymaloe Cookery School. The last three decades since we first opened our doors in 1983, seemed to have whizzed by in a blur. My brother Rory O’Connell and I started the cookery school together and welcomed the first Certificate Course students in September of that year. Since then students from over 40 countries have joined us and many of those returned from far and wide to celebrate the Ballymaloe Cookery School Gathering with us.

We started with one employee in 1983 and now thirty years later the enterprise in the midst of our organic farm and gardens now employs more than fifty people.

It was a joy to welcome so many past students from all over the world some of whom hadn’t been back to the school for over 25 years. They were gobsmacked by the changes not just in the school which moved into the old Apple Barn in 1989 from the initial farm building in the courtyard but also the farm and gardens – now organic, they loved the heritage pigs, chickens and our little herd of six Jersey cows. The dairy too was new as was the Shell House and Petal Folly in the maze. We did things very gradually but for those who haven’t had the opportunity to revisit there’s much to see and explore. It was a wonderful day with much hugging and reminiscing and catching up on the fascinating stories of how each student has used their cooking skills since they graduated.

There were literally hundreds of extraordinary tales, Siv Svolsbru from Norway told us about the bakery she has established in Porsgrunn where people queue around the corner for her breads, she brought one of her delicious Nordic loaves for us to taste.

Susan Leigh from Chicago told us about the impact of her project Fox Valley Food for Health which teaches troubled and disadvantaged teenagers how to cook delicious nourishing food which is then delivered to cancer patients in the area.

We set up seven stalls on the lawn between the Palais des Poulets and the vegetable garden. Many of our past students and teachers who do Farmers Markets or food trucks catered the event. Jack Crotty aka Rocket Man produced several beautiful salads and Arun and Olive Kapil of Green Saffron with their beautiful curries were also there. Friend and gardener Laurent Catinot’s stand Boeuf a Lolo did his legendary steak sandwich with béarnaise sauce.

Mark Kingston of Golden Bean coffee also had a constant queue for his freshly roasted coffee.

Debbie Shaw, Robert Cullinane and Seamus McGrath manned the wine, craft beer and homemade lemonade stall – there was also lots of chilled elderflower cordial.

Tracy Daly, Finola Roche and Niamh Switzer were in charge of the puddings, homemade praline ice cream, meringues, yogurt and cardamom creams, poached plums, fresh fruit popsicles and blackcurrant fool with shortbread hearts and stars.

Philip Dennhardt’s delicious strawberry, chocolate and vanilla cupcakes were piled high on a three tier cake stand.

Florrie Cullinane, Pam Black and Sue Cullinane tempted guests to freshly smoked mackerel still warm from our smoker, smoked salmon from Bill Casey, fresh shrimps from Ballycotton with homemade mayonnaise and fresh salads from the produce of our garden and greenhouses.

Emer Fitzgerald, served our slow roasted heritage pulled pork, with Bramley apple sauce and cucumber pickle, on freshly baked Arbutus ciabatta rolls. Annette Roche and Sorcha Moynihan grilled thick slices of sour dough bread on a barbecue, drizzled them with extra virgin olive oil and served them with delicious toppings.

Rupert Hugh-Jones and brothers, Sean and Col Kelleher sat on straw bales under the sycamore tree and played wonderful traditional and hip hop music – it was all magical.

The local GAA lent us their huge marquee to shelter the tables from the wind and rain that was forecast but somehow managed to avoid Shanagarry all afternoon. The long tables were decorated by Rory O’Connell and his team with apple branches, rosehips, pots of lavender and grapes.

The uralies were filled with huge organic cabbages which have since been made into sauerkraut and meanwhile graffiti artist Adam O’Connor painted a huge cockerel onto the door of the chicken shed.

Many past students stayed over for the week end. The Blackbird Pub in Ballycotton arranged a welcome back party for the students and we all joined up for a farewell breakfast on Sunday morning.  A week-end full of happy memories to cherish and lots more hugging.

 

Grilled Sourdough Bread with Garlic, Tomato and Basil

 

Grilled bread can be a revelation.  Sourdough Bread, olive oil, garlic and sea salt are all that are needed for the simplest version of this dish. However, the quality of each of these four ingredients must be beyond reproach if you are to have one of “those”, food moments. Add fresh ripe tomatoes and basil and it’s delicious.

 

Serves 4

 

4 slices of best quality sour dough bread

extra virgin olive oil, best quality

1 clove of peeled garlic, cut in half

sea salt

1 tomato, cut in half

2 ripe tomatoes chopped

a little lemon juice

freshly cracked black pepper

fresh basil leaves

 

 

Choose a heavy cast iron grill-pan to cook the bread on. Heat the grill-pan until very hot and grill the bread on both sides, allowing lots of richly toasted colour to develop.

Remove the bread from the pan and rub one side with the garlic, no more than a couple of gentle swipes. Season with a little Maldon sea salt. Rub the halved tomato onto the bread, squeezing gently to release the tomato juice to be soaked into the bread. Chop the remaining two tomatoes and add extra virgin olive oil, Maldon sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, sugar, a squeeze of lemon juice and torn pieces of fresh basil. Taste and correct seasoning, spoon the tomato mixture onto each slice of grilled bread. Drizzle generously with olive oil and cut the bread into manageable sized pieces, making sure each piece of bread has a generous piece of the crust attached. Serve immediately.

 

The Rocket Man’s Beetroot and Farro Salad with Caramelised Onion

Past student Jack Crotty shared this recipe with us.

 

Serves 6-8

 

1kg (2 ½ lbs) fresh raw beetroot

 

For the caramelised red onion;

 

2 red onions – peeled and sliced into .5mm Rings

100mls (3fl oz) balsamic vinegar

40g (1 ½ oz) sugar

50mls (2floz) olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

500g (18oz) farro (pearled spelt) preferably Irish. We use Dunany Farro.

 

Dressing

 

3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp sherry vinegar (optional)

1 tbsp of chopped preserved lemon

1 tsp of Dijon mustard

sea salt and pepper

 

2 large handfuls of red veined sorrel or any other salad leaves with punch, like rocket or mizuna.

 

Tabasco and Lime Yoghurt

(Optional)

 

500mls (18fl oz) natural Greek style yoghurt

2 limes – zest and juice

2 splashes of tabasco to taste

a dash of extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

 

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/ Mark 4. Roast onions with balsamic vinegar, sugar and generous pinch of sea salt and pepper for 40 minutes or until they taste sweet and glisten.

 

Wash and roast beets in tin foil until they fall off a skewer. Peel by rubbing skins. Wear gloves to avoid stained hands.  Chop and while warm add to roasted onions.

 

Wash farro well and bring to the boil in plenty of cold water. Cook for 30-40 minutes until the grain swells and retains a bite. Strain.

 

Combine dressing ingredients and pulse to emulsify. Add to warm farro. Once beets and farro are cool, combine and add dressed greens to garnish.

 

Drizzle the tabasco and lime yoghurt over the salad and serve,

 

Pulled Pork Sandwiches in Baps with Rocket Leaves and Cucumber Pickle

 

2.2-2.6kg (5-6lbs) shoulder of free-range range

Sea salt

a little fennel seeds, lightly crushed

 

To Serve

fresh baps

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Rocket leaves

Cucumber Pickle

Bramley Apple Sauce (see recipe)

 

Score the skin of a shoulder of free range, preferably heritage pork, Rub lots of salt and a little crushed fennel seed into the cuts. Roast for 18 hours at 90°C/194°F, the meat should be almost falling off the bones and the skin crackly. Remove the crackling, preheat the oven to 250°C/500°F, put the crackling on a tray and cook for a few minutes until bubbly and crisp.
To Serve

Split the fresh baps, pull the warm meat off the bone, season with Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, add any meat juices, maybe a few chilli flakes, taste. Fill the warm baps with a few rocket leaves or a mixture of salad leaves, some pulled pork, and a few pieces of crunchy crackling, cucumber pickle, and a dollop of Bramley sauce.

 

Serve immediately.

Bramley Apple Sauce

The secret of really good apple sauce is to use a heavy-based saucepan and very little water. The apples should break down into a fluff during the cooking.

 

450g (1lb) bramley cooking apples

2 teaspoons water

50g (2oz) sugar, or more depending on tartness of the apples

 

Peel, quarter and core the apples, then cut the quarters in two and put in a small stainless steel or cast iron saucepan. Add the sugar and water, cover and cook over a low heat. As soon as the apple has broken down, stir so it’s a uniform texture and

taste for sweetness. Serve warm.

 

Yoghurt and Cardamon Cream with Poached Plums

 

Serves 8-10

 

425ml (15 fl ozs) natural yoghurt

230ml (8 fl ozs) milk

200ml (7 fl ozs) cream

175g (6 ozs) castor sugar (could be reduced to 5oz)

1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds, freshly ground – you’ll need about 8-10 green cardamom pods depending on size

3 rounded teaspoons powdered gelatin

 

Poached Plums (see recipe)

 

Garnish

Sweet geranium or mint leaves

 

Ring mould or 8-10 individual bowls.

 

Remove the seeds from 8-10 green cardamom pods, crush in a pestle and mortar.

 

Put the milk, sugar and cream into a stainless steel saucepan with the ground cardamom, stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch.  Remove from the heat and leave to infuse while you dissolve the gelatin.

 

Put 3 tablespoons of cold water into a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water, allow to ‘sponge’ for a few minutes.  Put the bowl into a saucepan of simmering water until the gelatin has melted and is completely clear.  Add a little of the cardamom infused milk mixture, stir well and then mix this into the rest.  Whisk the yoghurt lightly until smooth and creamy, stir into the cardamom mixture.

 

Pour into a wide serving dish or a lightly oiled ring mould, or individual bowls or glasses and allow to set for several hours, preferably overnight.

 

Serve with chilled poached plums.

 

Compote of Plums – Poached Plums

 

Poach the plums whole, they’ll taste better but quite apart from that you’ll have the fun of playing – He loves me – he loves me not!  You could just fix it by making sure you take an uneven number!  Greengages are delicious cooked in this way also.

 

Serves 4

 

400g (14ozs) sugar

450ml (16 fl ozs) cold water

900g (2 lbs) fresh Plums, Victoria, Opal or those dark Italian plums that come into the shops in Autumn

 

Put the sugar and water into a saucepan, bring slowly to the boil. Tip in the plums and poach, cover the saucepan and simmer until they begin to burst.  Turn into a bowl, serve warm with a blob of softly whipped cream.  Divine!

 

*The poached plums keep very well in the fridge and are delicious for breakfast without the cream!

 

Note: If plums are sweet use less sugar in syrup

Hot Tips

Urru Culinary Store in Bandon, West Cork celebrates its 10th Anniversary with their Irish Food Producers’ Limited Edition Food Hamper. A celebration of 10 years of food collaboration between Urru and Irish food producers, emerging and award winning producers including Patisserie Regale Crackers (Clonakilty), Seymour’s Fine Foods Cookies (Bandon), Big Red Kitchen Preserves & Chutneys (Meath), Lorge Chocolates (Kenmare), Green Saffron Spices (Midleton), Ballyhoura Apple Farm (Ballyhoura), Filligans (Donegal), Peppermint Farm Tea (Bantry), Mc Cabes Coffee (Wicklow), Ummera Smoked West Cork Garlic (Timoleague/ Dunmanway) and more. The anniversary hamper is beautifully presented and shows off the creative skills of our Irish food producers.

Available to order from 1st October and for collection/ delivery between 21st October and 30th December 2013 www.urru.ie

Highbank Orchard Harvest Picnic and Artisan Food Market is on tomorrow, pack a picnic lunch or graze your way through the artisan food stalls, enjoy a butter and jam making demonstration and witness the first ever National Onion Hanking Competition – Sunday 29th September -10am to 6pm at Highbank Organic Farm, Cuffesgrange, Kilkenny – 056 7729918

Coinciding with the UK Fungus Day 2013 the International Mushroom Festival 2013 will bring together mushroom experts and mushroom lovers from all over the world to the beautiful, centuries-old, Killegar Estate in County Leitrim to exchange scientific knowledge and celebrate our natural environment. Phone

Extreme Greens – Sally McKenna

Sally McKenna has just published a book that really needed to be written, it’s called Extreme Greens and it’s all about seaweed and sea vegetables, how to find them, how to identify, how to harvest sustainably, how to cook, how to preserve, it’s great…

Now that the changed economic climate has, among other things, prompted us to reflect on the wild and free foods around us, both in the countryside and along the seashore, there is a hunger for knowledge and urge to relearn the forgotten skill of how to identify food in the wild, so Sally’s book is certainly timely. Seaweed has been a part of the Irish diet right back to prehistoric times, nowadays we are discovering through research what our ancestors knew through experience. “Seaweed is a superfood that can regulate our metabolism and with it our energy levels; it cleanses the blood, and stimulates our immune system.

Seaweed has both prebiotics and probiotics and helps calm the digestive tract. It protects against bacterial and viral infection and brings with it a punch of natural antibiotics. It maintains a healthy cellular function both within the body and on the skin, where it also protects and soothes. Even just taking a bath in seaweed brings all these benefits. Eating it even more so.”

So why are we not eating more seaweed and how can we get our children excited about it?

Our own children and many of the grandchildren have been weaned on to Carrageen moss pudding but Sally has made a brilliant discovery “Seaweed in a powdered form can take on the flavour of anything you put it with, so a tablespoon of dilisk in a casserole, or even a cake, will not be taste detected by a fussy child. The benefits of seaweed are long term and that’s how they should be considered. The secret is to take small amounts, regularly.”

The first 30 pages give details and instructions on how to recognise and harvest the many edible sea weeds around the coast so now I’m off down to Shanagarry Strand to see what I can find.

Extreme Greens, Understanding Seaweeds is published by Estragon Press.

 

Sally McKenna’s Gubbeen and Wild Sea Beet Pizza with Sea Grass

 

This recipe is directly inspired by the pizza cooked in Good Things Café, in Durrus, in West Cork. Sally McKenna has done some seaweed demonstrations at Carmel Somers’ cookery school at the café, and it was during one of these that they discovered how delicious sea grass is as a topping for pizza and cheese.

 

pizza dough

500g strong white flour

10g dried yeast

1 teaspoon salt

350ml water

2 tablespoons olive oil

 

Topping

Olive oil, sea beet leaves, Gubbeen cheese (you can also use Durrus, or any of the other semi-soft cheeses), nutmeg and sea grass.

Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl. Mix in the water, and bring together to make a dough. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. This kneading can be done in various mixers, processors or in a bread machine.

Allow the dough to rise for about 2 hours, then shape into 6 balls of dough.

Preheat the oven to its hottest temperature.

Take each ball at a time and first press into a circle, then roll out thinly. Using a pizza peel, or your fingers, place on a hot oven tray. Rub the surface quickly with a little olive oil and scatter over the raw sea beet leaves (you can substitute spinach if unable to gather sea beet). Top with slices of cheese, and then sprinkle over the sea grass, and a generous grating of nutmeg.

Cook in a hot oven (as hot as it will go) for approximately 5-7 minutes. Serve straight from the oven.

 

Sally McKenna’s Channelled Wrack and Ginger Miso Slaw

 

1 head red cabbage, shredded

2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips

¼ red onion, peeled and grated

salt and pepper

handful channelled wrack

tablespoon sesame seeds

 

Dressing

 

¼ cup white miso

3 tablespoons rice syrup (or other natural sweetener)

¼ cup mirin

3 tablespoons sesame oil

juice of half a lemon

knob of grated ginger

 

Mix together the cabbage, carrot and onion in a large bowl. Season. Toss well to evenly distribute the onion.

Blend the dressing ingredients together until smooth. Season the dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Put a saucepan of water on to boil and simmer the channelled wrack for approximately five minutes. Chop the seaweed into bite-size lengths.

Toss the cabbage mixture in approximately half of the dressing (save the remainder in the fridge for another salad).

Stir in the seaweed, and scatter over the sesame seeds.

 

Sally McKenna’s Seaweed Crackers

 

230g plain/spelt flour

20g rye flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

40g butter

150ml milk

1 cup finely ground seaweed

sesame seeds / fennel seeds (optional)

 

Measure out the flour, salt, sugar and butter into a bowl. Rub in the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

 

Measure out the milk, put it into the bowl and gather the mixture together with your hands.

 

Knead and put it in the fridge to rest for 2 hours. Lightly grease a tray and set the oven to 180ºC.

Flour a large workspace.

 

Cut the dough into 6 equal-sized pieces.

Press lightly on the piece of dough. Sprinkle on the seaweed and seeds and press again. Examples of combinations might be sea grass and fennel, or dried seaweed salad with sesame seeds.

 

Put through a pasta machine on the widest setting.

 

Lightly press in some more seeds or seaweed and roll again. Continue until the second last setting on the machine.

 

Cut into approximate squares, and place onto a tray, using a spatula to lift the delicate pieces.

 

Bake in the oven for approximately 10 minutes, until light brown. Cool on a wire tray.

 

 

Sally McKenna’s Dilisk and Rosemary Lemonade

 

1 litre water

handful of dilisk

3 sprigs rosemary

500g sugar

 

lemons

sparkling water or boiling water

 

Make a dilisk dashi by bringing the water and dilisk slowly to the boil. Remove the seaweed the moment the water comes to the boil (consign the boiled dilisk to the compost heap).

Add the rosemary and sugar to the seaweed water and once again bring very slowly to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Take off the heat once it comes to the boil, and leave to go cold and then strain. This syrup forms the base of your drink. You can store it for a few days in the fridge and add the lemon juice and water as needed.

To make the lemonade, pour a little of the syrup into a glass. Add approximately half a lemon per glass and fill up with chilled sparkling water, or boiling water to taste. The proportions are approximately five to one water to syrup, or to taste.

 

 

Hot Tips

The 59th Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival is on 26th – 29th September 2013 –  seafood trails, oyster hot spots, oyster opening (shucking) championships including the Oyster ‘Olympics’ or World Oyster Opening Championship, foodie talks and tasting events, food producer tours, an intimate Food village at The Festival Marquee, a Mardi Gras style Gala Event through the streets of Galway…for full program visit www.galwayoysterfestival.com

Macroom’s inaugural Food festival will take place from Friday 27th to Sunday 29th of September, 2013 – see www.macroomfoodfestival.com for program.

An Afternoon of Knife Skills at Ballymaloe Cookery School – Knife skills are essential, not just for professionals but for anyone who wishes to learn how to cook really well.  Use your newfound skills to cook under the guidance of the teachers and then sit down to enjoy a light supper at the end of the afternoon – Friday 27th September 2 – 5:30pm – www.cookingisfun.ie to book.

East Cork Slow Food  Event – Want to know more about the GM issue – Josef Finke from Ballybrado Organic Farm will talk on GM technology and the implications for the food sector. Tuesday September 24th at 7pm at Ballymaloe Cookery School. Proceeds to raise funds for the East Cork Slow Food Educational Project Field Kitchen. €6.00 Slow Food members €8.00 non-members – tea/coffee and a homemade biscuit from 6:30pm – phone 021 4646785

GUTS at the MAD Symposium 2013 – Copenhagen

The theme of this year’s MAD Symposium held in a red circus tent in Copenhagen, was GUTS – this was interpreted in a variety of ways from intestines to raw courage by the speakers.

The symposium was launched on a stage that represented a Danish forest  woodland scene – trees and logs and a carpet of grass and wild plants. A whole carcass of a Gloucester Old Spot pig, dangled by the back legs from a chain in the centre of the stage, which gave us a hint that this year’s MAD Symposium was going to be a visceral two days of raw emotions and painful honesty.

I was almost the only white haired woman there that is apart from Diana Kennedy, the feisty 90 year old, cookbook author and noted environmentalist who gave a spirited talk about her life collecting and documenting recipes around remote villages in Mexico for 60 years. Virtually everyone else were young, brilliantly crazy people, chefs, farmers, journalists, politicians, scientists, food writers, some of the brightest minds all united by a love and passion for food and food issues.

David Chang from Momofuko in New York who co-curated the event with René Redzepi and his team, launched the event by telling us about his gutsy decision to open Momofuko in 2004. He introduced Dario Cecchini, the legendary Tuscan butcher famous for being able to recite Dante spontaneously as he butchers his carcass like poetry. He strode onto the stage dressed in red, green and white, knife in hand, with his wife Kim and told us the story of his family who have been butchers for over 250 years. He started to learn his trade at the age of 18 and didn’t get a taste of beef a la fiorentina until he was 18, butcher’s families and children traditionally ate the offal and less expensive cuts. He spoke dreamily of the peasant dishes his mother and grandmother used to make and as he did so, he gently slit the stomach of the pig and the guts tumbled out in a neat bundle.  He transferred them to the butchers block then removed the liver, the heart and the kidneys, all the while talking about the noble craft, the importance of rearing, feeding and treating the animal humanely and being grateful for the gift. All of this in front of an audience of over 600 people. It may sound macabre but it was really beautiful, one felt that the pig was having an honourable end and was being treated with respect.

MAD translates to food in Danish, there were many other dramatic moments; all were meant to promote conscious carnivorism and respect for animals.

Over two riveting days different speakers (more than two dozen in all) explored the meaning of GUTS.  Margot Henderson from Rochelle Canteen in London and Barbara Lynch chef-owner of eight successful restaurants in Boston spoke of the guts and courage it took to establish themselves as female chefs in a largely male dominated culinary climate, that Fergus Henderson (Margot’s husband  and beloved chef owner of St John Restaurant) refers to as ‘blokedom.’ They both got a standing ovation as did Indian activist Vandana Shiva who has for many years been a stalwart champion of biodiversity, conservation and of small farmers around the world. As ever, she spoke eloquently and passionately about the myth of the ‘green revolution’ and “the dangers of a world where five companies control all life on earth.” She reminded us that the meaning of seed in virtually every language is to renew so in that sense GM (Genetically Modified) seeds are not seeds at all because they are manufactured to deconstruct at the end of every growing season to prevent seed saving, so that the companies can sell the seeds to the farmers and create a system of dependence. She spoke of the re-colonisation that’s happening in Africa at the hands of the biotech companies and the 250,000 farmer suicides in India that have been the result of these policies.

When ten year old Martha Payne, walked on stage the audience went wild, so much so that she was almost overwhelmed. She started writing her blog ‘NeverSeconds’ when she was just nine years old and gained instant notoriety and started a school lunch revolution. Her Dad, a sheep farmer from Scotland delivered her presentation as she stood shyly by his side, beautiful powerful stuff. When her head mistress banned her from blogging, her farewell post got over 11,000 emails of support in response. Her chosen charity Mary’s Meals has raised over €74,000 for kids in African villages.

And there was so much more…

 

Noreen Conroy’s Homemade Sausages

 

Noreen Conroy is a local pig farmer who, along with her husband, Martin, rears rare-breed pigs. They grow their own grain, turnips and kale to feed the pigs, and the meat is wonderful. Noreen and Martin came to the Cookery School to demonstrate how to make sausages.

 

Makes about 32 sausages

 

2kg (4lb 8oz) freshly minced organic pork from the belly and shoulder

100g (31⁄2oz) dry breadcrumbs

4 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

good pinch of cayenne

oil, for frying

200g (7oz) natural sheep casings

 

Put the meat into a large bowl, sprinkle the other ingredients evenly on top and mix very thoroughly with clean hands. Fry off a little morsel in a frying pan to taste the seasoning.

Load the casing onto the nozzle of a sausage fille and fill the length of the casing, twisting it every 71⁄2–10cm (3–4in), depending on the size you want. Store in a fridge and eat within two days.

If you don’t have a filler, roll into skinless sausages using about 25g (1oz) of the mixture per sausage. Store in a fridge and use within a day or two.

Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan on a moderate heat and cook the sausages until golden on all sides and cooked through to the centre.

 

Noma’s Sweet Shrimp from Smögen, Frozen Red Currant Juice

Taken from NOMA Cookbook by Rene Redzepi published by Phaidon Press.

These beautiful shrimps are all around the Irish coast and we get ours directly off the fishing boats in Ballycotton.

 

20 raw shrimp

200g red currant juice

240g dill

180g grapeseed oil

45g cream

25g milk

70g dill oil

40g white bread

butter for frying

1 small bunch dill

salt

 

Shrimp

Shell the shrimp carefully, starting at the tail end and working towards the head. Line up the shelled shrimp on a plate and refrigerate.

Red Currant Granita

Add water to the red currant juice until the sugar content reaches 12˚ on a refractometer. Freeze in containers, and when frozen scrape to a powder with a fork.

Dill Oil

Pick the dill leaves off the stems and blanch for 5 minutes in salted water. Cool in ice water and dry completely on paper. Add the oil and process in a Thermomix at 80ºC -180ºF. If you don’t have a Thermomix just use a blender.

Cream and Dill Oil

Mix all the ingredients and keep in the refrigerator until five minutes before serving.

Garnish

Reduce the bread to small crumbs, fry in butter and cool. Pick the herbs into ice water, tehn dry.

Serving

Take the cold plate of shrimp out of the refrigerator as late as possible. Sprinkle the herbs and fried breadcrumbs on top, then add the cream and dill oil and the granita. Finally sprinkle salt over the granita and prawns.

 

Camilla Plum’s Preserved Tomatoes

Makes 2 Kilner jars

 

675g (1lb 8ozs) approximately very ripe tomatoes

5-6 basil leaves

3-4 tablespoons (4-5 American tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon of Maldon sea salt

2-3 cloves of garlic

 

2 x 2 pint sterilised Kilner glass jars with lids.

 

Cut the big tomatoes – leave small ones whole. Stuff them in the Kilner jars and press tight. Add the extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon herb or Maldon sea salt, cloves of garlic and a sprig of basil. Close and seal the jars and bake at 110ºC/225°F/Gas Mark 1/4 until tomatoes are soft (3-4 hours) or until the tomatoes have softened and are cooked.

Keeps forever!

 

Camilla Plum’s Verbena, Chilli, Ginger and Lemon Thyme Sugar

 

1 handful Moroccan mint

3 big handfuls fresh lemon verbena, leaves stripped off the stalks

1 inch knob of ginger chopped

2 tablespoons lemon thyme

2-3 Kaffir lime leaves if available

1/2 chilli

1 fistful of lemon basil

250-450g (9oz) sugar

 

Put the leaves into the food processor; add ginger and lemon thyme leaves plus a couple of kaffir lime leaves if you have them. Add 110g (4oz) of sugar, whizz until blended, add rest of sugar and whizz another second, one can add less or more sugar.

 

Spread out on a tray or platter.  Leave to dry for 5-6 days even a week or use immediately.

 

For a hot drink

Pour boiling water over about a tablespoon of the Verbena Sugar in a glass, add lemon juice to taste.

 

For a cold drink.

Add flat or sparkling water and lemon juice, add some rum if you fancy.

 

Hottips

Slow Food Apple and Craft Cider Festival 2013 Friday to Sunday 22nd September 2013.

This year there will be twelve Irish producers making more than twenty craft ciders. Apple-pressing and cider-making demonstrations, juice bar and family barbecues, spit-roasts and tapíní (that’s tapas Irish style!)… Children can catch The Orchard Special a train around the Apple Farm At the Apple Farm, Moorstown, Cahir, Co Tipperary – info@slowfoodireland.com

 

Catch the last two days of the Waterford Harvest Festival today and tomorrow. The local Slow food movement will operate an indoor producers market at 44 Merchants Quay with lots of interesting exhibits e.g. milking goats, traditional cream separator, farmhouse butter churn. Visitors can look forward to great bargains, wonderful tastes and interesting demonstrations like soap making or how to make your own chocolate truffles. Each day there are Slow food guided tours to local artisan food producers where you can learn their story and the provenance of these very special foods. Book your seat early as seats are limited. Information and booking on www.waterfordharvestfestival.ie

 

The 2013 GIY Gathering takes place during the Waterford Harvest Festival today at 10am to 5pm and tomorrow from 10:30am to 3:30pm at the Tower Hotel in Waterford and brings together some of the world’s leading food growing advocates, experts and writers for two days of inspiring and practical debate, discussion, talks and workshops. Speakers include Foodopoly author Wenonah Hauter, ‘no-dig’ guru Charles Dowding, River Cottagers Mark Diacono and Steve Lamb, BBC presenter Alys Fowler, Guardian food writer Tom Maggoch, author Joy Larkcom, Darina Allen, RTE TV growing gurus Ella McSweeney, Fiann O’Nuallain and Kitty Scully, and John and Sally McKenna. The theme of this year’s GIY Gathering is “Food Empathy”, that is, the deeper understanding of food, where it comes from, how it is produced, and the time and effort required, that arises when people grow some of their own food.

National Potato Day 2013

National Potato Day was on 23rd August and even though I missed it this year I really want to dedicate my column this week to the sometimes glorious spud. It’s all about the variety and how they are grown.

For the past few weeks we’ve been eating the most beautiful floury British Queens and Sharpes Express. Soon we’ll have Ratte and Pink Fir Apple. The latter are a delicious fingerling potato but definitely susceptible to blight which hasn’t been much of a problem this year but was a nightmare last season. We all know that the potato is a wonderfully nourishing food yet most Irish families now reach for bag of pasta rather than boil a few new potatoes which take a very similar length of time to cook.

There are few things so thrilling as digging potatoes you planted a few months earlier. Where you planted a single potato you’ll find anything from 5 to 10 potatoes hidden in the soil. Doesn’t matter whether you are a farmer or a scientist or a hedge fund manager, you can’t help being touched by the miracle of nature. I’m delighted to see that so many more people, plus schools are planting potatoes again. I can’t tell you how many people have said how wildly excited they were to be growing a few potatoes, for the first time, suddenly they realise how delicious simply boiled potatoes can be with a few flakes of sea salt and a nice little chunk of butter melting over the top. Freshness really matters.

I’m a big fan of the old varieties and have very little ‘meas’ on Roosters, the all-purpose variety developed a number of years ago, for me it doesn’t hold a candle to the Golden Wonders or Kerrs Pink. Fortunately, potatoes are set to follow the heirloom tomato route – the more tasteless the generic varieties become the greater the demand for a potato with real flavour. So far country markets, farmers markets and independent shops are probably the best source of local potatoes, note the variety and the grower.

The Teagasc research station in Oakpark in Co Carlow has been conducting trails on GM (genetically modified) resistant potatoes since 2010. At first the trials were in the lab but last year permission was granted to plant the potato in the open close to the research station in Co Carlow. The duration for the consent is for four years, from 2012 to 2016 (inclusive) with post-trial monitoring continuing until 2020. Planting will not exceed two hectares in area.

This is of particular concern to those who feel strongly that Ireland should remain GM free and safeguard our clean green image so vital for the marketing of Irish food in the future. As organic farmers we grow blight resistant varieties with considerable success. In 1998 when protein scientist Professor Arpad Pusztai fed GM potatoes to rats in a study at the Rowett Institute. Twelve feeding experiments were conducted, ten short-term (10 days) and two long-term (110 days). Rats fed raw or cooked potato modified with the GNA gene showed statistically significant thickening of the stomach mucosa compared to rats fed the unmodified potato. As these effects were not observed in rats fed control potatoes injected with GNA protein, Pusztai concluded that the differences were a result of the transformation procedure. He found that he incurred the full wrath of the pro GM lobby and his research was discredited  – interestingly several other research projects have come up with similar conclusions since then…

The Keogh family who instigated National Potato Day in 2011 have started a national campaign to designate the potato as our national vegetable – a splendid idea but will a GM potato have the same appeal who exactly will be clamouring to buy Genetically Modified potatoes.

 

Madhur Jaffrey’s Cauliflower with Potatoes (Aloo Gobi)

From Gurbax Kaur in Bradford

 

Serves 6

 

600g (1lb 5oz) cauliflower, cut into florets 5x5cm (2 x 2 inches), plus 1 handful of medium diced stalk and leaves

450g (1lb) potato, peeled and cut into fat chips, 5cm x 2cm (2 x 3/4 inches)

oil for deep frying

2 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon freshly grated or mashed garlic

1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger

1 medium tomato, finely diced

3-4 green chilies, chopped

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves

3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped

 

Pour the oil for deep-frying into a wok or Indian karhai and set on a medium-high heat. Wait for it to get very hot. Fry the cauliflower in two batches, about 2 minutes a batch, or until light brown all over. Remove and drain on kitchen towels. Ensure the oil has time to reheat between batches. Add all the potatoes to the oil and fry for 5- 6 minutes or till golden all over. Remove and drain on kitchen towels. (Strain the oil and save it for future use.)

 

Set a clean wok or heavy based pan, about 20cm (8 inches) in diameter, on a medium heat. Pour in the oil and when hot, add the onions. Sauté them for 2 minutes. Add the cumin seeds. Stir and fry for 3 – 5 minutes or until the onions are light brown. Spoon in the garlic and ginger. Continue to stir for 2 minutes, adding a splash of hot water if the mixture starts to stick. Add the tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes or until they have completely integrated. Sprinkle in the chilies and salt and stir for 1 minute. Add the fenugreek leaves, stirring again for 1 minute. Spoon in the turmeric powder and mix well. Add another splash of water if necessary and then tip in the cauliflower stems and cook, stirring, for 6 minutes or until soft. Add a little water if the wok seems to dry out. Now put in the cauliflower, potatoes and coriander, mix gently and cook for 2 more minutes.

 

Mallika’s Punjabi Potato Cakes

 

Serves 6

6 potatoes (boiled, peeled and mashed)
110g (4oz) green peas (boiled and mashed coarsely)
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 small or 1 medium carrot (grated from the thicker side of the grater and squeezed to get rid of excess water)
1 green chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
2 heaped tablespoon coriander chopped
50g (2oz) bread crumbs (to bind)
salt and pepper (as per taste)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

sunflower oil (to fry)

To Serve
Tamarind Chutney
Banana and Yoghurt Raita
In a mixing bowl mix together all the ingredients except the oil and knead and bind it all to form a ball.  If there is some trouble in bringing it all together then you can add more breadcrumbs.
Let the mixture stand for ten minutes.

Meanwhile heat some oil in a deep fryer at 180°C/350°F.

Now form small balls of equal size from the potato mixture and flatten it between your palms to form cakes.
Deep fry them until crispy and golden on the outside. Alternatively you can also shallow fry them on a griddle or a non-stick pan.  Serve with accompanying chutneys.

Buttermilk Smashed Potatoes

 

Serves 8

 

1.8kg (4lb) potatoes (Golden Wonders or Kerr Pinks)

425-600ml (15-20fl oz) buttermilk, if low fat use 25-50ml (1-2fl oz) cream

salt and freshly ground pepper

25-50g (1-2 oz) butter

4 scallions, optional

 

Scrub the potatoes really well, put into a saucepan.  Cover with cold water, add salt, bring to the boil, cover and cook until almost tender.  Pour off most of the water.  Cover the saucepan and steam until fully cooked.  Drain off any remaining water.  Mash the potatoes coarsely with a potato masher; add some buttermilk, a large lump of butter, lots of salt and freshly ground pepper.  Add the finely sliced scallions, if using.  Taste and correct the seasoning if necessary.

 

Camilla Plum’s Gravad Fish with Dill Creamed Potatoes

This classic Scandinavian dish works perfectly with all kinds of fatty fish, including salmon, herrings, mackerel, whitefish and Greenland halibut. If possible, use whole fish with just the head and bones removed; the skin must be left on. It is of course, as with sushi, absolutely essential to use very fresh fish.

1.25kg (3lb) fatty fish fillets of your choice (skin on)

For the Spice Rub

4 tablespoons coarse Sea salt

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper or even better, Garins of Paradise.

1 teaspoon roasted caraway seeds

handful sweet cicely leaves,

40ml (1 1/2fl oz) Schnapps

 

Smother the skin side of the fish in the spice rub, cover with cling film and put something heavy on top, to press it slightly. Put the fish in the fridge for 24 hours, turning the fish a couple of times.

 

Take it out, but leave the spices on, slice very thinly, serve with dill creamed potatoes.

 

 

Dill Creamed Potatoes

 

1kg (2 1/4lb) waxy potatoes, boiled for 8 minutes in salted water

400ml (14fl oz) full cream

salt and coarsely ground black pepper

big bunch dill, chopped, with stalks

 

Cut potatoes in quarters, and put in a sauté pan with the cream, salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Simmer uncovered until potatoes are tender, and the cream reduced to a negligee covering the potatoes, adjust seasoning and add dill at the last moment of the heat.

 

Patatas Bravas (Potatoes in Tomato Sauce)

 

Serves 4

 

3 tbsp olive oil

1¼lb (600g) potatoes cut into 2cm cubes

1 small onion, grated

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tbsp fino sherry

4½ozs (125g) canned chopped tomatoes

½ tsp dried chilli flakes, well crushed

½ tsp freshly grated orange zest

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp freshly chopped flat leaf parsley

1 fresh bay leaf

 

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan, add the potatoes and mix well.  Cook for 15 minutes until golden brown.

 

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in another frying pan, add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and sherry, and then simmer for 1 minute to burn off the alcohol.  Reduce the heat and add the tomatoes, chilli, orange zest, sugar, parsley and bay leaf.  Cook for 10 minutes – add the water to stop the mixture thickening too much.

 

Transfer the cooked potatoes to a serving bowl, pour over the tomato sauce and mix well.  This can be made a day in advance and reheated before serving.

 

Hot Tips

 

A feast in the East! The tenth Midleton Food and Drink Festival – Saturday 14th September with over 60 stalls this year in the open air food and drink market. Enjoy the carnival atmosphere with street performance artists, craft exhibitions, whiskey and wine tastings and a full programme of food and cookery demonstrations. Little ones will love The Decorate a Cupcake Challenge! www.midletonfoodfestival.ie/

 

Highbank Orchard is celebrating the harvest with a gathering of all Kilkenny Trails for a Harvest Picnic, Food and Craft Fair on Sunday 29th September. They are inviting genuine Irish Food and Craft Producers to take part. There is a limited space for stalls so if you are interested please contact Highbank Organic Farm +353 (0)56 7729918

 

Rachel Allen has a delicious range of ready baked cakes in a box, dark chocolate brownie cake, toffee apple and ginger cake, orange and almond drizzle cake. They make a nice change to giving a bottle of wine at a dinner party and only take a minute to heat up and serve with a little softly whipped cream www.rachelallen.com

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) www.llewellynsorchard.ie 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: info@sonairte.iewww.sonairte.ie

 

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 www.atasteofwestcork.com

 

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 – www.bunsenburger.ie

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 (moonsgreen.co.uk) 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. (Fishdogs.com)

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

 

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

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