Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I don't think Santa was booked - he was a bit freaky as I don't think anyone knew him. He was very funny though with bart simpson slippers on which said d'oh d'oh on them - apparently the closest he could get to Ho Ho! oh dear here comes christmas!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I gave the recipe for in a past post.
I had a fantastic time in London the week before last, working on Gordon Ramsay's Taste of Christmas. It was organised by Brand Events and held in Excel in East London. I organised and managed Gordon's dems in the main theatre where we got through 14 dems over four days. I was helped by four fantastic crew - three of whom came from the cookery school Gordon is involved with, Tante Marie.
Sarge (Mark Sargent) from Claridges also cooked and performed with Gordon in a hilarious Christmas themed production. Sarge was even unfortunate enough to end up dressing as a fairy and flying over the audience sprinkling fairy dust, need I say more. Each show, eight lucky people got the chance to come up on stage and be wined, gin'd (!) and dined while the chefs cooked. They had three yummy courses: roast chestnut, parsnip and apple soup (see recipe below), duck breast with braised chicory and almond sprouts and finally pear frangipane tart with ice cream.
Now, pour me a Gin!
ROAST CHESTNUT, PARSNIP & APPLE SOUP
This soup is very quick and simple to make and is seriously delicious. I'm hooked on it! If you watched Cookalong on Friday night, this was the starter you would have seen Gordon cooking. It is adapted slightly from the recipe in his new book, Cooking for Friends.
- 50g butter
- 2 medium parsnips, peeled and grated
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 apple, cored and chopped
- 1 tsp curry powder
- Small bunch sage
- 250g roasted chestnuts, shelled, skinned and roughly chopped (vac packed are perfect for this)
- 800ml – 1 litre hot vegetable or chicken stock
- 100ml single cream
- Olive oil to drizzle
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Melt the butter in a wide pan and add the parsnips. Allow to cook out briefly before adding the celery followed by the apples.
2. Add the curry powder and tear in a couple of sage leaves.
3. Season with salt and pepper and allow to soften before adding the chestnuts.
4. Pour in the stock. Cover and allow to simmer for 4–5 minutes.
5. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the cream.
6. Use a hand-held stick blender or a regular blender to liquidise the soup to a smooth and creamy purée (you may need to do this in batches if using a jug blender).
7. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Food wise, I was treated to 'Flour Power City Bakery's' yummy bread every day in work. On my escape home I came across the all organic grocery store 'Planet Organic' near Goodge St. station, which also sells gorgeous healthy lunches to take away. I opted for an american style cupcake around the corner in 'Peyton & Byrne' instead on this occasion though!
On the foodie people front I bumped into my lovely friend Zarina (darn, caught buying that cupcake for lunch!) who I worked with on 'Rosemary's School for Cooks.' Zarina also works as Ainsley Harriett's agent and she told me he was off in Dubai working at the moment, nice for some! Back at work I met up with my gorgeous friend Angela Boggiano who is food editor of Delicious Magazine (who were one of the sponsors of the event I was working at). We had a good giggle of a catch up. I also finally got to meet fellow Irish man Matthew Drennan (Editor of the mag) who I had never met before, but had always wanted to - he was lovely and made me laugh when his Cork accent came out within a few minutes chatting to me, after all his years in London.
I also caught up with some friends for dinner one evening and we dined in 'The Salt Yard' on Charlotte St. It turns out they also own the amazing 'Blackfoot Butchers & Charcuterie Shop' nearby where a friend, Tom now works. Both highly recommended! Before dinner we had drinks round the corner in 'Shochu Lounge' where I had a delicious rhubarb cocktail made with Japanese Shochu (like vodka) - must try and recreate it! My friend Jo didn't have a drink as she announced she is pregnant again, congrats Jo! Watch Jo's bump growing on ITV's Daily Cooks Challenge! Also catch Jo's recipes in her regular Grazia feature and now also in the Daily Mail at the weekend.
Claire Popplewell (she directs the Queen on the BBC you know), Lisa Harrison (watch out for her name flying along at the end of Gordon Ramsay's programmes!), Jo (as mentioned above), myself and finally Tom, from the Blackfoot Butchers.
Also, on the drinks front, I sampled a yummy spiced berry drink from 'Bottlegreen' which was served warm. Nice non-alcoholic idea for Christmas.
Finally, check out the new Jamie Magazine. Yes, as in Jamie Oliver - the mag is exclusive to WHSmith for the first three issues so not sure if it will make it to Ireland just yet but check out the mags website for a sneak preview. Jamie has certainly given Donna Hay & Martha Stewart a run for their money in his own special way!
Pret a Manger Victoria Plum Yoghurt with Cinnamon Granola!
Monday, December 1, 2008
The photo on the front is of the seafood chowder from The Lobster Pot in Carne. (My parents place, funnily enough!). I would just like to say I had nothing to do with the recipe even going in the book, never mind the shot ending up on the front cover!! We are all very pleased though!
Anyhow, you can buy the book in all good bookshops or here or here
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I'm off to London with work this week so have been busy planning my route to work every day. Yes, I had forgotten how hard core it was to travel there and will indeed be taking all of these modes of transport! Might have to find the logo for taxi's too! Come back next week to find out what I've been up to there....
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Pat on the back to the gang on the shoot...photographer Cliona O'Flaherty, assisted by Aoife Herrity and then myself of course, assisted by Barbara Nealon. And of course to Helen Wright at Blackstaff Press for publishing such a gorgeous book. Must get some shots on my website...
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Around the table from left to right: Joshua St. John (photographer), Aoife Herrity (photographers assistant), Cliona O'Flaherty (photographer), Chris Judge (Cliona's boyfriend & Illustrator), Ciara (Sorcha's sister), Sorcha Meaghan (food stylist assistant), Barbara Nealon (food stylist assistant), me!, Angela (Joshua's mother in law), Diego (Harry's boyfriend), Harry Weir (photographer)
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
My friend Orla (who worked on the book) and I were invited and were treated to an overnight room also so we kicked back and enjoyed the luxury. For starters, lots of pink champagne (there were gorgeous looking homemade fruit juices on offer also but I declined on this occasion) and a selection of canapes including duck wontons, mushroom risotto cakes and mini goats cheese tartlets. We then sat down to be greeted by jam packed goodie bags with lots of delicious 'Thai Gold' products, a 'Belleek' Christmas tree decoration, a fancy pen from McNeans and Neven's new book also. The evening was compered by Marty Whelan with speeches from Neven himself, Tom Doorley and the minister for agriculture. Then onto dinner...where do i start? We feasted on a banquette of 11 courses so it's easier to show you the menu.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Another way to keep the kids occupied during the holidays is to get them involved in making a Croque en Bouche. Make (or buy!) lots of profiteroles. Fill with cream and dip in homemade caramel to coat (caramel should be left to the adults to make and handle as it gets dangerously hot). Once set, allow the kids to pile them high in a pyramid. Decorate with physalis and / or gold sugared almonds.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The school's parents committee, (including my friend Orla Broderick) did a fantastic job organising the event and made sure everyone had a tipple of wine, a taster of Neven's food to nibble on and a jam packed goody bag to take home.
Neven performed a fantastic dem, really informative and hugely entertaining. He is hilarious, and being his 'glamorous assistant', I took a bit of flack (and gave back a little too of course!).
He cooked three courses; some bruschettas first (see recipes below), then a grilled rib eye steak with smoked paprika & red pepper butter and a garlic mash, followed by pear belle helene. All the recipes are from his new book 'Neven's Food From the Sun' (which Orla also worked on), due to hit the shops soon.
12 thick slices country bread, preferably sourdough
1 garlic clove, halved
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the grill or a griddle pan and use to toast the bread on both sides. Remove from the heat and immediately rub one side with a piece of garlic. Drizzle over the olive oil and cut the slices of bread in half if they are very large. Use immediately with a selection of the delicious toppings listed below. Arrange on large serving platters or trays to serve.
GOAT’S CHEESE AND ONION MARMALADE
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and sauté three thinly sliced red onions until softened. Stir in 225g (8oz) of finely chopped ready-to-eat dried figs, two crushed garlic cloves, a glass of red wine and two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Simmer for about 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated, then stir in a teaspoon of caster sugar and a good pinch of chopped fresh thyme. Season to taste and leave to cool completely, then spread on to the bruschetta and arrange 450g (1lb) of thinly sliced goat’s cheese on top. Flash under the grill until the goat’s cheese has melted.
ARTICHOKE & PARMESAN PUREE
Place the contents of a 300g (11oz) drained jar of artichoke hearts in a food processor with a handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, 50g (2oz) of freshly grated Parmesan and a squeeze of lemon juice. Blitz to form a smooth paste and then with the motor running, slowly add three tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil until well combined. Season to taste and spread thickly over the bruschetta.
To make a rough textured tapenade, simply mix 250g (9 oz) of chopped pitted black olives in a bowl with the juice of a lemon, three tablespoons of chopped capers, six chopped anchovy fillets, one crushed garlic clove and two tablespoons of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley. Season to taste and add enough extra-virgin olive oil to form a thickish paste. Spread 12 slices of
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I really thought a couple of weeks ago saw the last of Christmas for me (for a couple of months at least) but somehow I got sucked in again. More edible gifts, this time for an RTE magazine. Here is a recipe I contributed and a snap of work in progress...
Spiced Star-Cluster Cookies
Makes about 75 biscuits
150g plain flour + extra for dusting
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
75g unsalted butter, diced
3 tbsp clear honey
icing sugar to decorate
Sift the flour, ginger, cinnamon and mixed spice into a bowl and rub the butter in to resemble fine crumbs. Add the honey, mixing to form a soft dough. Alternatively, blend the ingredients in a processor. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F / Gas Mark 4). Roll the dough out on a floured surface to about 2-3mm in thickness. Using a star shaped cutter measuring about 4 ½ cm from tip to tip, stamp out the dough, re-rolling if necessary.
Arrange the stars on two non stick baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes until just golden. The stars will still be soft to the touch so leave on the tray to harden for a few minutes before transfering to a cooling rack.
Spoon some icing sugar into a fine sieve and lightly dust the star clusters before packaging up as a gift.
TIP The star clusters would make fantastic hanging decorations also. Before cooking, use a cocktail stick to make a hole in each star, big enough to thread a ribbon through.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Here are a couple of yummy recipes to tempt you:
100g chorizo sausage, peeled and diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 tbsp semi-sun dried (sunblush) tomatoes
300ml white wine
300g pasta, eg linguine
50g fresh rocket leaves
75g parmesan shavings
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 Dry fry the chorizo in a heavy-based frying pan for 5 minutes, until just becoming crisp (do not allow to burn). Remove to a sheet of absorbant kitchen paper with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
3 Drain and roughly chop the semi-sun dried tomatoes before adding them to the onion along with the wine and season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat and simmer for a few minutes. Remove from the heat.
4 Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until al dente and while still hot, return it to the saucepan over a medium heat. Drizzle with a slick of olive oil.
5 Stir in the sauce mixture, the crispy chorizo and lastly the rocket (if rocket leaves are very large, roughly chop them).
6 Serve in pasta bowls, season with cracked black pepper and garnish with parmesan shavings.
PEAR FRANGIPANE TART
225g pre-rolled all butter short crust pastry
100g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 egg yolk
100g ground almonds
400g can pear halves, drained
3 tbsp apricot jam
1 tbsp lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4.
1 Grease a 20cm loose-bottomed flan tin. Place the shortcrust pastry in the bottom to cover it.
2 Using an electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and yolk slowly to prevent the mixture from curdling, then mix in the ground almonds until you have a thick paste. Spoon into the flan case and spread out evenly. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to harden up slightly.
3 Without cutting through the top, slice each pear half lengthways and splay out to give a fan effect. Carefully arrange the fans over the top of the filing. Place the tart on a hot baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes (check after 15 minutes and if the top is browning, turn the oven down to 170C / 325F /Gas Mark 3). Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
4 Heat the apricot jam in a small pan with the lemon juice. Pass through a sieve (and loosen with a little warm water if necessary). Brush the warm glaze over the top of the tart and serve either warm or cold.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Slightly sore heads the next day, but the dems went really well. Emma-louise Johnson presented with enthusiasm and the chefs managed to draw a huge crowd, which is great for the market no doubt. They first of all cooked their own recipes, two of which are below. The second part of the dem was an 'against the clock, cook-off' using ingredients a punter had bought in the market, which was a lot of fun. As usual they blew everyone away with the dishes they came up with on the spur of the moment.
here are a couple of the recipes from the event:
PAUL’S SEARED SQUID WITH CHILLI GREMOLATA AND BLACK PASTA
450 g (1 lb) squid, about 10-12.5 cm (4-5 in) long
250 g (9 oz) black tagliatelle (or other black pasta)
2 tbsp light olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
175 g (6 oz) yellow and red cherry tomatoes, halved
CHILLI GREMOLATA OIL
2 large red chillies, finely chopped
4 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
Grated zest of ½ lemon
1 tbsp lemon juice
120 ml (4 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
To prepare the squid, separate the head and tentacles from the body and discard the stiff cartilage quill. Cut the head free from the tentacles and discard. Remove the purplish skin. Clean and rinse the squid, then cut the large tentacles in half and the body into 1 cm (½ in) ringlets.
To make the gremolata oil, simply stir all the ingredients together. Heat very gently, set aside and keep warm.
Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente. Meanwhile, heat the light olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add the squid and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1½-2 minutes, until the squid turns from opaque to white. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
To serve, toss the drained pasta in 2-3 tbsp of the gremolata oil. Divide the pasta between the warmed plates, then spoon over the squid and tomatoes. Drizzle with more gremolata oil and serve.
595 cals per portion
34 g fat per portion
Nick's Hot Blairgowrie Raspberry Souffle
1 tbsp lemon juice
100g caster sugar
2 tsp crème de framboise
1 tsp cornflour
180g egg whites (about 6)
pinch of cream of tartar
Icing sugar, to serve
Press the raspberries through a fine sieve to produce 180g of purée. Put this into a thick-bottomed pan, add the lemon juice and reduce down to a thick jam, stirring from time to time and being careful not let it catch and burn.
Put 70g of the sugar in a separate pan. Melt it, then boil until it becomes a thick syrup (121°C on a sugar thermometer). To test without a thermometer, dip a teaspoon into the syrup and then quickly into cold water. You should be able to roll the cooling syrup into a ball between your fingers. But be careful as the syrup is exceedingly hot! When it has reached the right point, stir the hot syrup into the raspberry jam.
Mix the framboise and cornflour together and stir into the jam over the heat. This will help the jam to thicken. Turn the jam into a small bowl, sprinkle the surface with icing sugar and cover closely with cling film. This can all be done the day before and kept in the fridge. Return the jam to room temperature before using.
When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Slowly whisk the egg whites with the cream of tarter until you can form soft peaks, then fold in the remaining caster sugar, taking care not to overwhisk. Lightly fold the whites into the jam, leaving thin traces of white visible in the mixture. Spoon into four buttered and sugared large ramekins, place these on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.
Transfer the ramekins to plates. Dust the hot soufflés lightly with icing sugar. Serve immediately.