Tuesday, June 30, 2009

BBQ Halloumi

(c) Hugh McElveen

Well, it looks like we might actually be having the summer weather we dreamed of (don't speak too soon though eh?!). We're definitely planning on getting the barbie out and as I totally love Halloumi we will have to include some amongst all that meat. This is a recipe from the Cooks Academy Cookbook, which I food & prop styled two summers ago. I remember it as being totally yummy so am looking forward to making and eating it again...

Halloumi Cheese Skewers

Serves 4

You can prepare these in advance indoors; fry them in a very hot pan until golden on the outside and then quickly reheat over the BBQ for that gorgeous smoky flavour.

250g halloumi cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
10 mint leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 lime, zest and juice
1 tbsp capers
2 small pickled gherkins, sliced finely into discs
salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1. Mix the dressing ingredients together, season to taste and add more oil if necessary. Set aside.
2. Slice the halloumi into 2cm thick slices. Brush both sides with oil.
3. Heat the BBQ until it's very hot and grill the halloumi slices for 1 minute on each side (remove them the halloumi starts to melt). Once grilled, allow to cool slightly before cutting (or tearing) the halloumi into large bite sized pieces and tossing in the dressing.
4. Just before serving, thread pieces of the halloumi onto skewers. Place on a platter and garnish with chopped mint.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Congratulations to Belleek

This week I trekked up to the beautiful village of Belleek in Co. Fermanagh for Belleek Pottery's Visitor's Centre 20th year celebrations. I had a fantastic time being shown around the factory to watch the amazing craftsmen at work and I even got to make a little shamrock myself - which was a little bit like cake decorating with icing actually (but very much doubt they'll be using it on any product they plan to sell though!). To top it all off we were all treated to an amazing lunch by chef Neven Maguire.
your flogging a dead horse there love!

awh, i didn't do too badly I guess!

Neven loves to use Belleek dinnerware for his food in photography and on tv so we were lucky enough to have a preview of a soon to be launched range which designer Maria has described as their 'Vera Wang' range of dinnerware! It certainly is, so I'm quite excited to use it shortly too.
Neven with Beleeks design team, Majella, Claire, Catherine & Marie

Neven & I with 'Vera Wang'!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

who's for cheese on toast?

Here's the finished art work from this shoot with photographer Trevor Hart as promised (thanks Trevor for sending it on!). I think it looks great and have popped it on my website now too. Off to make some cheese on toast, my favourite!...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

(c) Jack Caffrey

Go on, make him Bangers & Mash!

The Big Noodle

Oh I'm coming over all asian recently so here's a noodle recipe written by Hugo Arnold for Food & Wine mag, shot by Cliona O'Flaherty and styled by your's truely...

Chicken fried noodles

400g boned chicken thighs, roughly chopped
1 dessertspoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornflour
450g noodles
sesame oil
vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
3cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
8 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
250g beansprouts
1 cucumber, deseeded and thinly sliced
bunch coriander, roughly chopped
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 fresh red chillies, thinly sliced

Combine the meat with the sherry, soy and cornflour. Mix well and set aside for 30 minutes. Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet, drain , plunge into cold water and drain. Toss in a tablespoon of sesame oil and set aside.

Heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan or wok and add the garlic, ginger and mushrooms, stir-fry for 30 seconds and then add the meat mixture. Stir fry for two minutes and then add the noodles and a tablespoon or two of chicken stock or water. Stir-fry for a further two minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. Add the beansprouts and cucumber, heat through and serve on four plates with a sprinkling of coriander, scallions and chilli.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A really big Taste of Dublin

Marty & I had a really fantastic time at Taste of Dublin in Iveagh Gardens this weekend. The weather was fab, the atmosphere was infectious and the food (and drink!) was to die for.

If you have never been before, as well as food and drink producer and supplier stands, lots of top Dublin restaurants are there too. Each restaurant has a simple menu of three dishes usually one starter, main and dessert. The portions are small sample sizes rather than full courses and each is individually priced between €5-8. The stands don't accept cash so you buy currency called florins (like monopoly money) from stands around the event and basically 1 florin is worth €1.

looking a bit happy on pink bubbly!

We sampled lots and lots but it's unanimous that a dish from Indian restaurant Jaipur was our top favourite...tandoori chicken with potato chatt, chutney & minted yoghurt...sounds simple but the flavours were amazing (and the racket from the Indian guys brought us back to our mad travels in India). Everyone seemed to be going crazy for the soft centre chocolate pudding with vanilla ice cream from Roly's Bistro..it did look absolutely amazing but we just couldnt fit it in by the time we got there. By that time we had stocked up on lots of gorgeous Parisian macaroons from Laduree (who by the way are soon to open up a fab tea shop in Brown Thomas following their successful few weeks with a stand there). Here's a snap from their display...

take me to your leader..

I bumped into lots of people I know while there also...Rory O'Connell & Pam from Ballymaloe cookery school where beavering away teaching lots of punters, Avril & Mary from Brand Events (the organisers) were lapping their success, Kevin Dundon from Dunbrody House was about to start yet another dem in the Miele kitchen and then old school friend Paul Lambert, Mixologist for Bacardi & Saba was setting up for a dem too.

I also tried lots of drinks, including Bulmers Pear which I hadn't yet tried (and have to say much prefer the apple!) and a chilli beer which was pretty nice (considering I don't like beer!). Oh and for all you 80's chics out there - word on the street is that West Coast Cooler are launching a rose version of the drink to be served in tall glasses with a strawberry - I can see hen parties all over the country going crazy on this!

Anyhow, altogether a very fun and filling foodie event!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

skinny sushi

Well we're definitely seeing some sushi weather (def: that which makes you think of getting into the yellow polka dot bikini) going on here this summer which is great! Here is a shot from a disc I got in the post this week from the lovely Paul Sherwood. We worked on BIM's cookbook 'From Tide to Table' early last year (more about it on a previous post here) so I am finally getting some images from it up on my website today now too. Here's the recipe to go with it if you're dreaming about that bikini...


This sushi is actually very easy to make and is far simpler to assemble than it sounds. Most large supermarkets now stock all the ingredients you'll need.

350g sushi rice
50ml mirin (japanese rice wine)
6 nori sushi sheets (seaweed)
4 tsp wasabi paste
400g smoked salmon, cut into long thin strips
6 spring onions, trimmed
1 cucumber, cut into 6 long pieces
1 small ripe avocado, peeled, stoned and cut into long strips
light soy sauce, wasabi and japanese pickled ginger, to serve

Place the rice in a sieve and rinse very well under cold running water. Drain thoroughly and put into a large pan that has a lid. Pour over 600ml of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 25 minutes or until all the water has been nearly absorbed. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid and leave to stand for 10 minutes.

Tip the rice onto a large flat clean tray, preferably metallic, as it will help the rice to cool down more quickly. Dress the rice with the mirin, turning frequently as this helps the rice to cool, and then wave with a fan or magazine until the rice is at room temperature (this is not essential but quite authentic).

To make the sushi, take a japanese bamboo sushi mat and place a sheet of seaweed on top. Have a small bowl of water to hand. Dipping your fingers in the water before you touch the rice, spread it over half of the seaweed, taking a little rice at a time and pushing it to the edges leaving a layer about 1cm thick.

Next, smear a little wasabi in a line a little off centre on the side nearest to you. Follow with a layer of smoked salmon, some spring onion trimmed down to fit, a piece of cucumber and some of the avocado. Roll up the bamboo mat slowly, tucking in the closer end of the sushi to start a roll and press lightly with both hands. Remove the roll from the mat and leave to sit with the joining edges downwards. You can wrap in clingfilm and keep in a cook place for up to 1 hour until you are ready to serve. Dont place in the fridge as this dried out the rice. Repeat until all of the ingredients have been used up.

To serve, use a sharp lightly moistened knife to trim the ends, and then cut each roll into 4 pieces - you should ahve 24 pieces in total. Arrange on plates and serve with tiny mounds of the pickled ginger and wasabi with dipping bowls of the soy sauce.

You can use a wide variety of fillings in the sushi. Try smoked tuna or mackerel, for example, or fresh crab meat; cooked peeled prawns with avocado and rocket or chives also work well.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Jo is in The Mood for Entertaining

Congratulations to my friend Jo Pratt on her new cookbook, In the Mood for Entertaining, which is being published today. It's a follow on from her other fabulous book, In the Mood for Food. Both books show off Jo's effortless, gorgeous style and taste, both herself and her food! You can buy them from her publishers, Penguin, here. Also Jo, even bigger wishes for the soon to be born bump! xx

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

top secret mission accomplished

The girly gang was back together after way too long apart - photographer Cliona, her assistant (& fabulous stylist!) Aoife and I had lots of catching up to do, ehem, I mean work, on a recent shoot. The shoot was very exciting as it was a bit of a test of ideas for a new concept and for a new client (all top secret at the moment, sorry!). It was all pretty relaxed, just lots of thinking creatively and having fun with it which was great. Everyone was happy with the results so lets hope the idea gets the go ahead! Watch this space..

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

new studio

Here are some snaps from photographer Harry Weir's new studio. I told you about the opening party a couple of posts ago but today was my first day of work there so Harry & I worked really hard (of course) but managed to have some time to poop around taking some fun shots (Well, I only took the one of Harry pretending to be busy!)...

Click on the image to make it a bit bigger!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rachel's Home Cooking

I was having a browse on Amazon, as you do, when I was shocked to come across Rachel Allen's next new cookbook (which I worked on here)...I only saw the first proofs of it last week, so was a little confused. Harper Collins are well ahead of themselves in that you can pre-order the book now...very speedy as the front cover was only shot a few weeks ago, so well done! A few different titles were bounding around so looks like they settled on 'Home Cooking', sounds lovely. The rough print looked fab so I really can't wait to see the finished book (but will have to until the 1st Oct)...