Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Wishes

(c) Cliona O'Flaherty

A bit of fun in Food & Wine Magazine last Christmas. Have a good one!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Slightly sore head today after partying hard at the South Studios Christmas party last night. The guys from the studio had the place looking amazing with artwork on sale around the room with proceeds going to charity, a gorgeous christmas tree decorated with the same baubles as the Shelbourne Hotel (I say!), wicked trifles to nibble on, a DJ who brought the house down (& the cops in!) and a bouncer on the door, how posh!

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!

Santa and his little helpers, me, photographer cliona and assistant aoife

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Restaurant Magazine

I recently picked up RTE's 'The Restaurant' Magazine which has some of my work in. Here are some piccies of the edible gifts feature shot by Cliona O'Flaherty.

These are the spiced star cluster cookies
I gave the recipe for in a past post.

Gordon Ramsay's Taste of Christmas...DONE!

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.

Me, Lisa, Sarge, Bianca, The Big G, Helouise
& Liam with two of Gordon's girls in the front.

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.

Sarge making Christmas wishes come through!

Once we got over two very hectic rehearsals on the first day, I am very relieved to say that everything went really well. The big G didn't come after me waving any 'Kitchen Nightmare' tokens at least, phew!

Gordon Ramsay's Taste of Christmas, happy to say....DONE!
Now, pour me a Gin!


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.

Serves 4

  • 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 Glorious Food

I'm just back from my trip to London and have lots to share with you about all things foodie that I absorbed (all in the name of research!) while there.

Firstly, in work I was supplied with amazing knives from Kin Knives. They were fantastic to use (even if they were so ultra sharp that I now have lots of war wounds!) ,if not a little pricey but well worth the investment. Magimix, as always, came up trumps with kitting my kitchen out with all their electrical delights - I noticed they didn't supply me with the processor with 24 carot gold plated buttons though! Their nifty and easy to use coffee machine made gorgeous coffee in seconds and almost converted me to drinking it. I'm also in love with their mini processors which come in baby pink and baby blue, cutesys!

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!

Coconut & raspberry cupcake from Peyton & Byrne, yum yum

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!

Breakfast at the airport...Jamie's mag topped off with a
Pret a Manger Victoria Plum Yoghurt with Cinnamon Granola!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Something Fishy

It must be nearing Christmas with all these cookbooks being published recently! I worked on this seafood bible way back in January so it is great to see it at last. It is published by Georgina Campbell with BIM. Paul Sherwood was photographer and I was assisted by Karen Convery. Orla Broderick was the recipe editor. It only feels like yesterday since we all worked together on it.

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

On the Move...

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

Move over Martha Stewart...

(C) Cliona O'Flaherty

Oh heck, on the subject of Christmas in the previous post, here is the feature I wrote for Savour magazine on how to get yourself organised for Christmas. The mag is still available in Superquinn if you want to read my ideas for being a Domestic Goddess in this festive period. My whitterings range from ideas when gift shopping, cleaning and dressing the house, a stocking up checklist and also guidelines for serving up the perfectly timed Christmas lunch, bubbly in hand.

Setting the Christmas table in November

As I've said in previous posts, Christmas just won't go away this year. At least I've had a bit of a break from it, not having cooked a turkey in about 3 weeks! We had a heavy shoot this week for the Farmers Journal Magazine as we had to get through Christmas and right into January with copy. I was helped by fantastic assistant Denise while photographer Jack had brushed up on his table setting skills so it all came together well.

Jack & Denise hard at work

Friday, November 28, 2008

cocktail sausages at the ready...

(c) Jack Caffery

...that Irish institution, the 'The Late Late Toy Show' is just about to start!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Party People

I attended a great party last weekend to celebrate the launch of The Yellow Door Cookbook. Cliona, the photographer and I headed up to the metropolis of Portadown to the launch at the deli itself. We were treated to gorgeous champagne moitos and canapes, the most memorable being the egg shells filled with white chocolate mousse (the white) and mango coulis (the yolk) - very fab & very clever!

We were then invited onto the second half of the party at chef Simon's house (well, more of a stunning wine bar than a house!) where we soaked up some alcohol by dipping into a huge paella pan on its own stove, filled with gorgeous sticky baby potatoes, caramelised onions and delicious chorizo (this was so good it even converted cliona from vegetarianism for one night only!!). Thanks to all at Blackstaff Press & The Yellow Door for a fantastic night!

Me, photographer Cliona, Simon from The Yellow Door,
Helen from Blackstaff Press & Kevin the designer from Tonic

Friday, November 14, 2008

All Packed Up

Another packaging shoot this week, this time for Roma products who are doing a whole packaging overhaul. I had a fun few days with hilarious photographer, Joshua St. John. The guys from Originate were in and out to see us and added to the giggles also, Ronan the account manager and Stephen the designer. We shot in an amazing house in Dun Laoghaire which was way too pristine and lavish to have me there with my usual boxes of clutter and food everywhere, but I managed not to damage anything, phew.

Josh looking on in amazement at how I can call
poking some rice around a real job!

rice identity parade

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Tale of The Yellow Door

I had a lovely surprise in the post today of the new Yellow Door Cookbook which I worked on during the summer. (See previous post for more info on the Yellow Door). I love it - it's a beautiful hardback, lined with fun wallpaper inside and is printed on gorgeous paper, all of which give it a really lovely nostalgic feel. The cover deign is beautiful also - I should have realised from the hint on the book launch invite I posted earlier in the week.

Me on the shoot, trying to look busy brushing a strawberry!

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

Drum Roll Please...

Hugely excited today as my website has finally gone live. Big thanks to Neil at Fuel for putting up with me on what was to be his longest drawn out project ever. I love it, I hope you like it too. Check it out at... www.blueberrypie.ie

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Yellow Door comes knocking

I just had another lovely invite through my door today. This time for the launch of the Yellow Door Cookbook which I worked on during the summer (see photographer Cliona O'flaherty's blog for some piccies of us hard at work on it). The Yellow Door is a fantastic deli & patisserie in Belfast and Portadown...I haven't been there yet myself but if the recipes for the shoot were anything to go by it will be a real treat. I have to say it was the most consistently gorgeous food I have ever cooked for a shoot (and I piled on the pounds to prove it!). All credit to chef and owner Simon Dougan, amazing man!

Will be there with bells on!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Something to Savour

(c) Trevor Hart

I was really excited when the new Superquinn magazine 'Savour' finally came through my letterbox today. A large chunk of my life was taken over working on it a few months back,but looking at it makes the memory of blood sweat and tears (and yes, there was all of it!) fade away. It's fantastic, and all credit to Hugo Arnold at Prism Publishing for holding it together against all the odds! Thanks for the lovely credits also Hugo! Must get my website live as it is referenced in my biog.....

Bit of a Boozeup

Last night saw the second annual industry drinks - otherwise known as a food photographer and food stylist booze up. We definitely built on numbers this year which is very encouraging and everyone agreed it was nice to get together and gas about working life. Of course we moved off the subject of work also and just relaxed and had a giggle, something that was helped by family and friends being there also. Nice for a bit of freelancer's community spirit and all that. Anyhow, here's the family photo...

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)

Packaging Shoot

The other day I worked on a packaging shoot for Dunnes Stores 'Simply Better' range. Eugene Langan was the photographer, assisted by John Scully. Some people make celebrities look good....I prefer to work on Prawns....

Eugene & John hard at it making those prawns look like goddesses!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cook Book and Programme Launch

I am just acclimatising back to earth after an out of this world experience at the launch of Neven Maguire's new cookbook. The celebration was held at his restaurant in Blacklion, Co. Cavan, MacNeans and the book is called 'Neven's Food from the Sun'. It was also the unveiling of his new TV series (which yours truely worked on!) of the same name.

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.

Now you can see why I died and went to heaven! Anyhow, back to business. Watch out for Neven's programme on RTE on February 11th next year but in the meantime buy his book now in all good bookstores.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Country Pumpkins

The current Farmer's Journal magazine / Neven Maguire food feature I food styled.
Pumpkin & Roast Chicken Risotto (c) Jack Caffery

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Halloween

(c) Cliona O'Flaherty

This spread is part of a feature I styled for Food & Wine Magazine last Halloween and shows two fun ideas for desserts for kids. Get them to make an ice bowl by sitting one bowl inside a slightly bigger one. Fill the gap between them with water and pop some physalis in there also. Wrap the whole thing in cling film to keep the bowls in place and then freeze overnight. Sit the bowl in hot water to loosen the ice bowl from the centre. Use as a fun table centre bowl to serve ice cream in.

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

Another day, another truck full

I seriously need a transit! The typical pot and pan paraphenalia ready to be loaded back into the car...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Foodie Fund Raiser

Last night saw another hugely successful fund raising event for The Burrow National School in Sutton. Howth golf club was packed to the gills with (mostly) women dying to get a slice of Neven Maguire and his cooking.

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.


Serves 4-6

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.


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.


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 Parma ham with some of the tapenade and then use to wrap 12 blanched asparagus spears. Spread the rest of the tapenade over the bruschetta and top with the Parma ham wrapped asparagus rolls.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Christmas just won't go away!

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

Cooking the Books

It's certainly a week for cook books. Another one came through my door today, this time 'Rosemary Shrager's school for cooks'. This is to go with Rosemary's series (see earlier blog) which I worked with her on. I didn't work on the book (except testing the odd recipe during filming) but we cooked many of the dishes on the programme. I'm looking forward to the series which is on ITV and starts on October 27th at 4pm and runs every week day for eight weeks. Watch out for me in weeks 7 & 8 (unless I made it all the way to the cutting room floor)! Here are a couple of recipes to tantalise your taste buds! (double click to make them bigger)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cooks Academy

I had a lovely surprise today as the 'Cooks Academy' cook book came in the post. It's always nice to see the fruits of your labour, even if I had totally forgotten about it. I prop and food styled the book last summer so it was a distant memory! It all come flooding back when flicking through though. I can remember eating (as well as styling of course!) most things; the smells, tastes and textures. I'm looking forward to trying out some of the recipes again.

Congrats to Vanessa and Tim the owners (Vanessa is the author also), Sarah at Gill & McMillan, Karen who cooked her way through each recipe for the shoot and Hugh McEleveen the photographer.

Here are a couple of yummy recipes to tempt you:

Serves 4
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.
2. Gently fry the onion in the olive oil for 10 minutes, adding in the garlic towards the end.
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.


Serves 6

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

I Heart Belfast

I had a fantastic time in Belfast at the weekend. I was there with work but definitely managed to fit in a bit of play! I was working with a really lovely team at Belfast City Council who were hosting a great food festival there. I organised demonstrations in Georges Market on Saturday afternoon for celebrity chefs Paul Rankin and Nick Nairn. I hadn't seen the guys for ages (having not worked on 'Ready, Steady, Cook' for over a year now) so we had a great catch up.

I was put up in a very swanky hotel, The Merchant, which I totally loved every minute of (mood lit baths, chocolate truffles brought with the turn down service and gorgeous cocktails in the bar before hitting the town). Then, I met the team for a delicious dinner in Paul's restaurant, Cayenne, before heading out clubbing.

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.

The boys working the crowd & Emma Louise doing her thang

So all in all, a fantastic gig to work on....just the small issue of all those boxes of equipment that still need to be unpacked, yawn!

here are a couple of the recipes from the event:



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


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

400g raspberries

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.