ArchiveJune 2017

Barbeque Fare

Despite the crazy changeable weather, we’re having fun cooking on the barbeque. We fire up the grill at every opportunity, have to say that even though the flavour of food cooked over charcoal or wood is far more delicious, the gas Barbie is mighty tempting,  particularly when you want to snatch a moment between the showers.

Not the same magic of course as cooking over fire but one needs time and a deal of advance planning. This group of 12 Week students built a ring of fire on the gravel in the courtyard with some large rocks. They’ve had some super fun sitting around the camp fire cooking up big pots of stews or just grilling. It’s all the more exciting because they collect their own timber, (they walk around the farm with  a wheelbarrow to stock up with lots of wood and twigs that have fallen from the trees. They couldn’t raid the wood shed so instead they’re having a bit of gas practicing sustainability.  Double bonus, clearing up and free timber.

There’s something about cooking over fire that seems to connect with our inner ‘hunter gatherer’ and it particularly appeals to men, even wily chaps who can’t boil an egg for themselves, fancy their chances on the barbeque, the aroma of the good food sizzling on the grill certainly fuels the appetite. Steaks and chops, sausages and chicken breasts are still the favourites but don’t forget vegetables and of course fish. We’ve been catching some fresh mackerel and pollock in Ballycotton and cooking those on the barbeque – wow, how delicious….

Sauces, are super important for a barbeque. Some béarnaise with steak or a punchy mustard aioli add magic to a simple steak.  Romanesco sauce is addictive with grilled chicken thighs and of course a good barbeque sauce is always a favourite.

We also love our new seasons, onions split in half, tossed in a little extra virgin olive oil with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt and grilled. They char deliciously on the outside and become melting tender and sweet. A little zucchini either whole or thickly sliced are also great, sprinkle  them with chopped marjoram. Young beets can be wrapped and roasted and buried in the coals or just grilled. But best fun of all is barbequed pizza, you’ll need a Weber type barbeque with a lid to cook them properly but it’s a really easy way to feed lots of people deliciously in a short time. An accompanying salad and a glass of something delicious is all that’s needed.


Hot Tips

Give your teenager a gift for life – a Transition Year Cookery Course. In just five days beginning on Monday 24th July 2017,  students will learn a variety of skills in both demonstration and hands on cooking sessions. Homemade bread, jam, soups, yummy starters, main courses, desserts, biscuits and even a cake or two plus how to make butter and yoghurt from our own Jersey cow’s milk and cream. Students will also have a guided educational tour around our organic farm, gardens and greenhouse. They will also have the opportunity to learn about the hens, pigs, chickens and livestock and herb and wild food garden on the Organic farm. 021 4646785.  Limited Numbers.


Chicken Thighs or Drumsticks with Romesco Sauce


Romesco Sauce is a Spanish sauce, a mixture of peppers, garlic and nuts, sweetened and sharpened with tomatoes and lemon juice.


Serves 4 as a main


4 x 150g (5oz) chicken drumsticks

4 x 160g (5 1/2oz) chicken thighs

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) olive oil

Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 recipe quantity of romesco sauce (see recipe)


20g (3/4oz) toasted flaked almonds


Light the barbeque or preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.


Put the chicken in a roasting tray.  Drizzle it with olive oil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook either on the grill or in the oven for 30-40 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.


Gently warm the romesco sauce in a small pan and serve with the chicken, with the toasted almonds sprinkled over the top.


Romesco Sauce


Serves 12


1 head of garlic

4 – 6 tablespoons (5 – 7 1/2 American tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil

2 slices slightly stale country bread

75g (3oz) almonds, preferably Marcona

3 large very ripe tomatoes or 15 ripe cherry tomatoes

1 large or 2 small red peppers

flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper

lemon juice to taste

7 tablespoons cold water


Preheat the oven to 200ËšC/400ËšF/Gas Mark 6.


Trim the top off the head of garlic to expose the bulbs. Wrap in a little tin foil parcel but allow space to pour in about a dessertspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Pinch in the top to close. Cook on the barbeque or in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the garlic cloves are soft and squishy.


Cut the crusts off the bread and fry in extra virgin olive oil until golden brown. Remove and drain on kitchen paper and put into the food processor.


Fry the almonds in the remainder of the oil until golden (add a little more oil if needed), add to the bread.

Half (or quarter) and deseed the pepper, put into a bowl.

Half the tomatoes around the equator, add to the peppers in the bowl, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, season with flaky salt and freshly ground pepper, spread in a single layer in a baking tray and roast in the preheated oven until the tomatoes are soft and peppers are catching at the edges, 30 – 40 minutes. Allow to cool.

Add the tomatoes and peppers to the bread and almonds in the food processor. When the garlic is soft remove the skins and add to the mix. Whizz, taste, correct the seasoning and add lemon juice to taste. Add enough water to thin to a soft consistency. Delicious.



Mustard Aioli

 Makes 300 ml (½ pint)


2 egg yolks, preferably free range

1-4 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 dessertspoon white wine vinegar

8 fl ozs (225ml/1 cup) oil (sunflower, or olive oil or a mixture) – We use 6 fl ozs (175ml/3/4 cup) sunflower oil and 2 fl ozs (50ml/1/4 cup) olive oil, alternatively use 7/1

2 teaspoons of freshly chopped parsley (optional)

1 tablespoon of whole grain mustard


Serve with cold cooked meats, fowl, fish, eggs and vegetables.

Put the egg yolks into a bowl with the crushed garlic salt and the white wine vinegar (keep the whites to make meringues). Put the oil into a measure. Take a whisk in one hand and the oil in the other and drip the oil onto the egg yolks, drop by drop whisking at the same time. Within a minute you will notice that the mixture is beginning to thicken. When this happens you can add the oil a little faster, but don’t get too cheeky or it will suddenly curdle because the egg yolks can only absorb the oil at a certain pace. Add the chopped parsley and mustard.  Taste and add a little more seasoning and vinegar if necessary.


If the aioli curdles it will suddenly become quite thin, and if left sitting the oil will start to float to the top of the sauce. If this happens you can quite easily rectify the situation by putting another egg yolk or 1-2 tablespoons  of boiling water into a clean bowl, then whisk in the curdled aioli, a half teaspoon at a time until it emulsifies again.


Chargrilled T-Bone Steak with Chimi Churri Sauce or Bernaise Sauce


Serves 6

2 x 750g (1 1/2lb) t-bone steaks, a good 2.5cm (1 inch) thick

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper



Chimi Churri Sauce

 Chimi Churri sauce is a hot perky sauce from Argentina.


Serves 6-8

Makes 225-255ml (8-9floz/1 cup) Chimi Churri Sauce


50g (2oz) flat parsley leaves

4 large cloves garlic peeled and crushed

2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) water

100ml (4floz/1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil

50ml (2floz/1/4 cup) red wine vinegar

1 red onion, finely chopped

1/2 chilli seeded and chopped or 1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes



Or Bernaise Sauce, see recipe


First make the chimi churri sauce.

Chop the parsley finely with the garlic and water. (Alternatively, whizz in a food processor, scraping down the sides of the bowl until well pulsed) Transfer to a bowl. Whisk in the oil and vinegar gradually. Add the red onion, chilli and salt. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.


Drizzle the steaks with olive oil.  Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.


Grill over hot coals for about 6 minutes each side for rare, 8 minutes each side for medium rare or 12 minutes each side for well-done.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes.


To serve, remove the bone to release the meat.  Cut the meat across the into 5mm (1/4 inch) slices.  Serve hot drizzled with chimi churri sauce or with a dollop of Bernaise.


Bernaise Sauce


The consistency of Béarnaise sauce should be considerably thicker than that of Hollandaise or beurre blanc, both of which ought to be a light coating consistency. If you do not have tarragon vinegar to hand, use a wine vinegar and add some extra chopped fresh French tarragon.


Serves 8–10


4 tablespoons (5 American tablespoons) tarragon vinegar

4 tablespoons (5 American tablespoons) dry white wine

2 teaspoons finely chopped shallots

pinch of freshly ground pepper

2 organic egg yolks

110g (4oz/1 stick) butter

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) freshly chopped French tarragon leaves


Boil the first 4 ingredients together in a low, heavy-bottomed, stainless-steel saucepan until completely reduced and the pan is almost dry but not browned. Add 1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) of cold water immediately. Pull the pan off the heat and leave to cool for 1 or 2 minutes.


Using a coil whisk, whisk in the egg yolks and add the butter bit by bit over a very low heat, whisking all the time. As soon as one piece melts, add the next piece; it will gradually thicken. If it shows signs of becoming too thick or slightly scrambling, remove from the heat immediately and add a little cold water. Do not leave the pan or stop whisking until the sauce is made. Finally, add 1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) of freshly chopped French tarragon and taste for seasoning.


If the sauce is slow to thicken, it may be because you are excessively cautious and the heat is too low. Increase the heat slightly and continue to whisk until all the butter is added and the sauce is a thick coating consistency. It is important to remember, however, that if you are making Béarnaise sauce in a saucepan directly over the heat, it should be possible to put your hand on the side of the saucepan at any stage. If the saucepan feels too hot for your hand it is also too hot for the sauce!


Another good tip if you are making Béarnaise sauce for the first time is to keep a bowl of cold water close by so that you can plunge the bottom of the saucepan into it if it becomes too hot.


Keep the sauce warm in a bowl over hot but not simmering water or in a Thermos flask until you want to serve it.


Serve Béarnaise Sauce separately.

Pan-grilled Spring Onions


I’m absolutely not a gadget person so I tend to keep kitchen equipment to essential to avoid clutter, however one good buy in my book is what we call a pan-grill. This is a black ridged cast iron pan which I find gives a super result for vegetables, fish meat and polenta. For me its one of the few bits of indispensable kitchen equipment.


Serves 6


18 Spring onions or scallions

3 tablespoons  olive oil

sea salt


Wash the spring onions, trim the root ends and cut into 6 inch (15cm) lengths approx. Drizzle with oil, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and toss on a preheated pan-grill.  Cook on a medium heat until golden on one side, turn and allow to cook on the other side. Serve hot as part of a vegetable plate with grilled fish or meat.

Note:- if the onions are large split in half lengthways and cook until well charred on each side, they become delicious sweet and tender.


Chargrilled Pizza Margherita


Possibly the most traditional and universally popular pizza in Italy. As this pizza is basically cheese and tomato it is crucial your tomato sauce has a really supper flavour.


Makes 1


150g (5oz) pizza dough (see recipe)

175g (6 oz) mozzarella cheese

3 tablespoons (3 American tablespoons + 3 teaspoons) olive oil

4 tablespoons (5 American tablespoons) tomato fondue (see recipe)

1 dessertspoon (2 American teaspoons) freshly chopped annual marjoram

1 tablespoon Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano is best), freshly grated


Slice mozzarella and sprinkle with the olive oil.


Roll out pizza dough to 30cm (12 inch) rectangle or circle, about 5mm (1/4 inch) thick.  Brush both sides with olive oil.


Gently place dough on the grid in centre of the barbecue, directly over the heat for 2-4 minutes, until the bottom if the crust is well marked and browned.  Turn upside down.

Arrange the grated Mozzarella over the cooked side of the crust, within 2.5cm (1 inch) of the edge. Spread the tomato fondue over the top. Sprinkle with the freshly grated Parmesan.   Season very well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.


Return pizza to the centre of the cooking grate and cook with the lid closed until bottom is well browned, toppings are warm and cheese is bubbly, about 5-10 minutes.

Sprinkle the freshly chopped marjoram on top serve immediately.


 Chargrilled Broad Beans

One of the simplest most delicious ways to enjoy broad beans – I also cool on the cold plate of my ancient Aga.

6-10 freshly picked broad beans, per person

flaky sea salt

extra virgin olive oil


Pecorino Romano, optional

Heat a pan grill over a high heat. Lay the pods directly onto the pan in a single layer – allow to colour on one side, 2-3 minutes, flip over and cook on the other side. Serve on a hot plate with a little bowl of extra virgin olive oil, some flaky sea salt for dipping.  A few crumbs of Pecorino Romano are a delicious accompaniment.


New Season’s Summer Food

It’s been a busy week, just doing the final corrections for my next book, Grow, Cook, Nourish…. Every time I think we’re there, another list of queries come winging their way by email. This book has been over two years in the making and may just be the most important book I ever write because I’m encouraging people to think about growing even a little of our own food. Once you experience the magic of harvesting something you grew yourself and then prepare and enjoy it, you’ll be hooked, not to speak of the joy and health giving properties of freshly picked food.

This really hits home at the moment when I’m picking new season’s broad beans and peas, it’s a Zen like experience and then we sit around the kitchen table shelling the peas and unzipping the broad beans to retrieve the little treasures from the velvet lined pods. Every supper or dinner party starts with a preparty get together with the guests. I pour a glass of wine or cordial and then we all sit around shelling, podding and gossiping in a blur of nostalgia, recalling childhood memories. For some it’s the first time they have ever podded a broad bean or shelled a pea, an American visitor to the school recently asked me what the fresh peas were and when I showed him how to open the pods he tasted a fresh pea for the very first time in his life – his eyes were as big as saucers and he suddenly said, maybe if I grew these I could get my kids to eat some vegetables at least – what a revelation.

This is not the first time I’ve been asked how to shell peas. Peas are so worth growing for the home gardener because one can eat them at every stage, the pea shoots, flowers, ‘wizard whiskers’, as the tendrils are called. The peas can be eaten at mange tout stage and then of course the peas and the pea pods can be used for a soup.

In Rome, the arrival of the first broad beans are considered to be the harbinger of Spring. Both at home and in local trattorias people sit around the table in little groups podding broad beans and flecking out little chunks of pecorina romana, a sharp salty sheep’s milk cheese that contrasts deliciously with the sweet tender broad beans. The season starts earlier than ours, so Fave e pecorino are often enjoyed for Easter Sunday breakfast with crusty bread and a special pork fat studded salami called corallina, a delicious ritual that has endured.

We also love to dip each bean in a little extra virgin olive oil and a little flaky sea salt.  As the season progresses the skin thickens and the sugars turns to starch, so at that stage the broad beans are best double peeled. It’s very easy to over cook them, they just need to be cooked  in boiling salted water for a minute, then drained and refreshed in cold water, then popped out of their shells and continue with the recipe. Gorge on both peas and broad beans while the season lasts.

In last week’s column I mentioned a pea mousse but it didn’t make it into the text because of space restriction so here it is. It is a delicious summery little starter. Hope you’ll also find time to make and enjoy this green gooseberry and elderflower tart and elderflower fritters from the fluffy blossoms that are adorning the hedgerows all over the country at present –


Hot Tips

A Farmers Market near you

Killavullen Farmers Indoor Market is located on the grounds of the Nano Nagle Centre. Raw Milk and Yoghurt, Hegarty’s Farmhouse Cheese, Free Range Rare Breed Pork, Jams, Chutneys, Cordials, Arbutus Bread, Seasonal Fruit and Vegetables, Home Baking, Gluten Free Baking, Crafts, Flowers……on Saturday 17th June and every fortnight,  just 10 minutes from Mallow on the N72, 10.30am to 1pm.


New on the scene:-  The Cottage Market at the CreameryYard in Kildorrery, Cork has a great selection of vegetables, free range rare breed, smoothies, preserves, cordials and flowers. Fortnightly Saturday market from 11am to 2pm, ten minutes from Fermoy and Mitchelstown, next market 24th June, 8thJuly…..Phone Ciaran Cotter on 086 376 1816 for details.

Pilgrims Restaurant

Swing off the main road in Rosscarbery up to the charming villagesque Pilgrims restaurant – lots of small plates and some foraged ingredients and lots of imagination combine to create a memorable experience. Tel: 023 8831796 or

East Cork Slow Food Summer Pop Up Dinner.  Our 12 Week Certificate students at the Ballymaloe Cookery School on Saturday June 24th cook up a feast from the organic farm, gardens and glasshouses, fish from nearby Ballycotton and meat from our local butcher. Tickets €40.00 for Slow Food members and €45 for non Slow Food members. Booking Essential on 021 4646785 or


No Dig Gardening Workshop with Charles Dowding

Another opportunity to learn the principles of ‘No Dig’ gardening. Charles Dowding has been advocating the ‘No Dig’ technique since 1983 when he started a market garden. His original methods give superb results.  In our experience here at the Ballymaloe Cookery School, we have healthier crops, higher yields and about 80% less weeds – so what’s not to like about ‘No Dig’. We were deeply sceptical at first but have become big converts.  His recent course was oversubscribed and got a brilliant response. Charles will teach another one day course on Monday June 19th. He has written nine books and appears on radio and TV including Gardeners World. He teaches extensively both at home and abroad.  Monday June 19th 10.00am to 4.30pm Tel: 021 4646785

Taste of Dublin in the Iveagh Gardens is on this weekend, June 17th and 18th. Plenty of cookery demonstrations, tastings, market stalls, food and wine pairings, whiskey and craft beer tastings.


Risi e Bisi


Comfort food at its very best, a heavenly way to enjoy some of your precious fresh peas.  Young shelled broad beans can also be added.

Serves 6 -9


2kg fresh young peas (podded weight approx.2 lbs)

1 kg broad beans (podded 500 g approx.)

Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

125g butter, softened

3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1.75 litres homemade chicken stock (see recipe)

200g onion, finely chopped, we use our new season’s spring onions

300g risotto rice

110g Parmesan, freshly grated


Pod the peas and save the pods.  Bring a large saucepan of water (4.8L) to the boil, and add 2 tablespoons of salt.  Add the pea pods and cook for 5 minutes.  Then scoop them out.  Put through a mouli, with a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water.  Blanch the peas in the boiling pea pod water, drain and add to the pea-pod pulp.  Next bring the water back to the boil, add the broad beans and cook for one to 2 – 3. Drain, refresh and shell.

Season with lots of freshly ground pepper and add 45g of the butter

Put half into a food processor and pulse.  Return to the whole peas.


Heat the stock. Taste and check for seasoning.

Melt half the remaining butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Gently fry the onion until soft and just beginning to colour.  Add the rice, stir to coat each grain with butter and cook for 2-3 minutes.  When the rice is opaque, increase the heat to medium and start to add the hot stock ladle by ladle, adding the next only when the last of the stock  has been absorbed.  Stir continuously.  After 10 minutes add the peas and parsley, continue to cook until the rice is al dente – about 10 minutes.

Finally, stir in the remaining butter, and most of the Parmesan.  Taste and correct seasoning.  Serve immediately in deep wide soup bowls, with a little more Parmesan sprinkled over the top.


Pea Mousse with Pea Shoots, Radishes and Shrimps

This is my interpretation of a delicious starter dish that I ate recently at a restaurant in London. It is exquisite made with fresh peas but I have to admit, I have also made it with frozen peas and the result has been pretty delicious.   We use the beautiful little shrimps (palaemon serratus) from Ballycotton but it’s also good without them.

Serves 6


500g fresh peas

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon sugar

1 gelatine leaf

150ml water

Salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar

100ml of softly whipped cream

1 tablespoon chopped mint



50g fresh peas, blanched and refreshed

A mixture of French Breakfast and Cherry Belle radishes

Tender fresh pea shoots

75 – 100g small pink shrimps (palaemon serratus), cooked

Extra virgin olive oil

Flaky sea salt


Bring 150ml fresh cold water to a fast rolling boil, add salt. sugar and peas, return to the boil for 2-3 minutes, drain, save the cooking water, and refresh the peas under cold water.

When cold, whizz to a smooth puree with 100ml cooking water. Push through a nylon sieve into a bowl, chill.

Soak the gelatine in cold water, allow to soften for 4-5 minutes, drain, then dissolve the softened leaf in a tablespoon of hot water. Add the pea puree gradually then cover and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until just beginning to set. Fold in the softly whipped cream. Divide between 6 wide soup bowls, cover and allow to set.

Meanwhile, trim and slice the radishes lengthwise and put into iced water.

To Serve:

Put the peas into a bowl, add the peeled shrimps and the pea shoots. Drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil, a few flakes of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss.

Top each mousse with a generous portion, scatter 5 or 6 slices of radish over the top, add a couple of drops of extra virgin olive oil and a few flakes of sea salt and serve.


 Chargrilled Peas


Serves 4-6


Peas cooked in this way are super delicious and totally addictive


450 g (1 lb) fresh peas, about 88 pods

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Flaky sea salt


Pop a pan grill on a high flame. Toss the pea pods in a very little extra virgin olive oil and some flaky sea salt. When the pan is very hot, lay the pods in the pan in a single layer, allow to colour from the grill, 3-4 minutes,  flick over and char on the other side.


Taste, add a little more salt if necessary.

Put the pod between your teeth and enjoy the peas as they pop out…..


Ballymaloe Green Gooseberry Tartlets


Makes 36 tartlets approximately


1 quantity cold cream pastry (see recipe)

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

caster sugar


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


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


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


These tartlets are best served warm.


Cream Pastry

Sounds scary but this pastry is really delicious and flaky


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


110g (4oz/1 stick) cold salted butter

110g (4oz/1 cup) plain flour

150ml (5fl oz/generous 1/2 cup) cold cream
Sieve the flour into the bowl of an electric food mixer. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub into the flour using the paddle attachment until the mixture forms a coarse texture (slow speed and then a little faster).  (DO NOT over mix, if you do the mixture will form a shortbread like ball! Pour the cold cream into the coarse mixture and mix on a low speed until a smooth pastry forms. Wrap the pastry in parchment paper and chill overnight.

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


Elderflower Fritters


These are very easy to make, very crispy and once you’ve tasted one, you won’t be able to stop! Serve them with the Gooseberry and Elderflower Compote, below. Serves 4


110g (4oz/1 cup) plain flour

pinch of salt

1 organic egg

150ml (5fl oz/generous 1/2 cup) lukewarm water

8–12 elderflower heads

caster sugar

sunflower oil for frying


Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and drop in the egg. Using a whisk, bring in the flour gradually from the edges, slowly adding in the water at the same time. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 180°C/350°F. Hold the flowers by the stalks and dip into the batter (add a little more water or milk if the batter is too thick). Fry until golden brown in the hot oil. Drain on kitchen paper, toss in caster sugar and serve immediately with gooseberry and elderflower compote.




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