- 1lb/450g firmly packed plain white flour, preferably unbleached
- 1 level tsp of salt
- 1 level tsp bread soda (bicarbonate of soda)
- 3 oz/75g of raisins
- 2 tbsp of fresh rosemary, chopped
- 14 fl oz/400ml of sour milk or buttermilk to mix
- Pre-heat a very hot oven to 230c or gas mark 8.
- Sieve the flour , salt and bread soda into a large bowl, then add the raisins and rosemary.
- Make a well in the centre. Pour all of the milk in at once. Using one hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary. The dough should be soft and not too wet and sticky.
- When it all comes together, turn it out onto a well floured work surface. Tidy up the shape and flip over gently.
- Pat the dough into a circle about 1.5 inch/4cm deep. It is traditional in Ireland to cut a cross on the top, to help the loaf to cook evenly.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 200c/gas mark 6 and continue baking for a further 20-30 minutes, or until done. To test, tap the bottom of the bread, if it is fully cooked it will sound hollow.
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
- 3-4 eating apples
- 4 thin round puff pastry, approx 6 inch/15 cm in diameter
- 1oz/25g of unsalted butter, melted
- a little icing sugar
For the frangipane:
- 3oz/75g unsalted butter, very soft
- 3oz/75g caster sugar
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 4oz/110g ground almonds
- 1oz/25g plain flour
- 0.5 fl oz/15ml of milk
- a dash of calvados
For the caramel sauce:
- 14oz/400g caster sugar
- 16fl oz/500ml cold water
- 16fl oz/500ml cream
- A little creme fraiche
- fresh mint leaves
Preheat oven to 180c/gas mark 4.
- Frangipane: Beat the butter and sugar till light and fluffy, then fold in the egg, ground almonds, flour, milk and finally the calvados. Chill in the fridge until required.
- Pastry bases: Place the puff pastry discs onto a floured baking tray and prick with a fork. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and slightly rising.
- While still warm, and to keep the disc quite flat, place another baking sheet on top and push down slightly to expel the air from the pastry.
- Caramel sauce: In a heavy-based pan, heat the sugar and water gently until it forms a rich golden coloured syrup.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, then heat the cream and carefully add to the syrup. Return to the heat for a few seconds, strain through a fine sieve if necessary.
- To complete: Arrange the cooled pastry discs on a baking sheet and spread a layer of the frangipane on each one, leaving a narrow margin around the edge. Peel, core and thinly slice the apples and arrange neatly on top of the tarts. Brush with melted butter and bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Finally, dust the tart with icing sugar and place under the grill until the sugar starts to caramelise.
- To serve: Place the tartlets on warmed dessert plates and drizzle the caramel sauce around them. Garnish with a little creme fraiche and a sprig of mint, and finally dust with icing sugar.
Ingredients: (Serves 6)
- 6.5 lb/3kg mussels
- olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 green & 1 red chilli finely chopped
- 1 tin of plum tomatoes (14oz/400g)
- 1/2 pint/300ml lager
- 2 scallions (spring onions), cut into strips
- Wash the mussels in cold water, scrub well and remove the beards. Use only mussels which are tightly closed, discarding any that are open.
- In a large pan, heat some olive oil and saute the garlic in it to soften a little without browning.
- Add the mussels and cook for 5 minutes (or just until the shells are opening)
- Add the chopped chillis and tomatoes.
- Cook for a further 3 minutes to heat through, then finally add the lager and cook for a further 2 minutes or until the broth reaches boiling point.
- Serve in large bowls topped with sliced scallions and accompany with home made brown bread.
Ingredients: (Serves 6-8)
For the cured salmon:
For the cured salmon:
- 2lb/900g tail end fillet of wild salmon, scaled, with the skin on
- 3tbsp sugar
- 1.5 tbsp coarse sea salt
- 1tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- a sprinkling of crushed white peppercorns
- 5 fl oz/150ml of wholegrain mustard
- 2 tbsp honey
- 4.5 oz/ 125g tub of natural yoghurt
- half measure of Irish whiskey
- Garnish: salad leaves of your choice
- Salmon: Mix the curing ingredients - sugar, salt, chopped dill and crushed peppercorns and sprinkle over the flesh side of the salmon
- Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 12 hours (farmed salmon takes 24 hours as it has more fat)
- Dressing: Mix mustard and honey together, mix yoghurt and whiskey together.
- Assembly: Arrange some salad leaves on serving plates. Slice the salmon thinly and arrange on top. Drizzle some mustard dressing around the edge of the plate, and serve with the whiskey yoghurt.
Ingredients: Makes two loaves
- 8fl oz / 225ml Murphy's Irish Stout
- 8fl oz / 225ml warm water
- 1 tbsp treacle
- 1.5 oz / 40g fresh yeast
- 1.75 lb / 800g (firmly packed) wholemeal flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp walnuts, chopped
- In a saucepan, warm the stout and water to about blood temperature. (If overheated it will kill the yeast in the stout.)
- Remove from the heat, whisk in the treacle and then the yeast making sure it dissolves into the stout completely.
- Mix the flour, salt and walnuts together. Make a well in the centre, and add the wet ingredients. Mix well to make a fairly soft, pliable dough; adjust with a little extra water or flour if it seems too dry or wet.
- Divide the mixture in two, and place in two buttered loaf tins, 8inch/20cm x 4inch/10cm. Leave in a warm place for about 1 hour, to rise.
- Preheat the oven to 170c / Gas Mark 3.
- Bake the loaves in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, then remove them from the tins and turn upside-down on oven rack, continue baking for a further 15 minutes or until the loaves sound hollow when rapped on the base with your knuckles.
- Cool on a wire rack.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
- 1.5lb / 700g turbot fillet (8 x 3oz/75g portions, approx.)
- 20 Galway Bay prawns (langoustines)
- 1 bulb of fennel
- a little olive oil
- 8 asparagus spears
- salt & freshly milled pepper
- Scant 4fl oz / 100ml fish stock
- juice of two oranges
- juice of half a lemon
- 3.5 oz / 100g butter
- quarter pint / 150ml cream
- 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 courgette
- 2 small tomatoes, concasse
- 4 sprigs of fennel
- To prepare fish & vegetables: Wash the turbot; cut into 8 pieces, if necessary; place in the refrigerator until ready to cook. Boil the prawns for 3 minutes, turn into a colander to drain and remove from their shells. Wash the fennel bulb and slice into rounds; wash the asparagus and trim off the coarse base of the stems.
- To make the sauce: Put the fish stock, orange and lemon juice in a saucepan and boil, uncovered, until reduced by one quarter. Add the cream, remove from the heat and gradually incorporate the butter to make a smooth sauce. Set aside.
- To prepare the garnish: Simmer the balsamic vinegar in a saucepan until reduced by at least a quarter, and set aside. Wash the courgette and use a small knife to turn it into barrell shapes. Scald and peel the tomatoes, remove core and dice the flesh to make tomato concasse.
- To cook: Fry the fennel in a little olive oil for 3 minutes; boil the asparagus for 3 minutes; boil the courgettes in salted water for 2 minutes. Brush the turbot lightly with olive oil; heat a dry pan and, when very hot, place the turbot skin side down and sear for 2 minutes. Turn over and sear the other side then lower the heat and cook for about a further 2 minutes. Add the prawns for a few moments to reheat.
- To serve: Place the fennel in the centre of four heated plates, then place two spears of asparagus on top, then a piece of turbot, five prawns and finally the second portion of turbot. Place the turned courgettes and tomato concasse around the fish and spoon the citrus sauce around the place. Flash under the grill, and finish with a sprig of fennel and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.
Braised shank of Wicklow lamb with crushed rosemary potatoes, tomatoes and olives, Rathsallagh House, Co. Wicklow.
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
- 4 lamb shanks, medium sized
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 leek, roughly chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- half bottle of red wine
- 18 fl oz / 500ml beef or chicken stock
- 1 tbsp butter
- 4 x 8 fl oz/225ml cups baby potatoes, boiled
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 scallion (spring onion), finely chopped
- 1 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
- 16 sundried tomatoes
- 16 kalamata olives
- Preheat a moderate oven 170c / gas mark 3
- To cook the lamb: Season the lamb shanks with salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat a flameproof casserole, add a tablespoon of the olive oil and sear the shanks in it until golden brown on all sides.
- Remove the meat from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, saute the onion, carrot and leek , with the bay leaf, until wilted. Stir in the wine and stock.
- Return the shanks to the casserole, cover and cook in the preheated oven for 1 hour, then turn them over carefully and cook for a further 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. Place the shanks on a baking tray.
- To make the sauce: Strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan and simmer, uncovered, until reduced by about half. Check the flavour as you do this as it may become too salty if reduced to much.
- Potatoes: Melt the butter with the remaining olive oil in large frying pan. Saute the potatoes, onion, scallion and rosemary over a medium heat until the potatoes are heated through and crispy.
- Add the tomatoes and olives and heat through. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- To assemble the dish: Re-heat the lamb shanks in the preheated oven (170c / gas mark 3) for about 15 minutes, or until hot and sizzling. Reheat the sauce. Divide the hot potatoes between four heated plates, place the shanks against them, pour the sauce over shank and serve at once.
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
- 9 oz / 250g wild salmon fillet
- juice of one lemon
- 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- a dash of Tabasco
- a little salt
- a little cayenne pepper
- Skin the salmon and check that there are no bones in it, then chop finely.
- Mix all of the other indredients with the salmon, seasoning to taste with a little salt and some cayenne pepper.
- Serve immediately, with toasted brown bread.
Ingredients: (Serves 6-8)
- 2.25 lb / 1kg of stewing beef, e.g. shin, flank or rib, trimmed & cut into 1" / 2.5 cm cubes
- 1oz / 25g flour
- oil & butter, as required
- 1 onion peeled and sliced
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced
- 2 carrots, sliced thickly, about 1cm
- half celeriac or 3-4 stalks celery, trimmed and cubed
- 1 large or 2 small parsnips, peeled & cubed
- Boquet garni or mixed herbs & seasoning, as required
- 1 pint/ 600ml Guinness, or beef stock
- quarter bottle / 225ml prune juice or to taste (optional)
- half an orange, left whole (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 150c / gas mark 2
- Season the beef and toss in the flour to coat. Heat a little oil and butter in a heavy pan and brown the meat in batches, then transfer to a casserole.
- Add the onions and other vegetables and sweat gently for a few minutes in the same pan. Transfer to the casserole.
- Add any remaining flour to the pan, stir to absorb whatever fat is left, then cook for a minute before stirring in the Guinness or stock, and prune juice if using; add liquids to the casserole (enough to cover the main ingredients), also the bouquet garni or mixed herbs and the orange; season, stir to mix well, cover and cook in the oven for about 2 hours, until the beef is tender.
- Remove the orange and bouquet garni, check seasoning and serve with mashed potatoes, 2 prunes soaked in Guinness (optional) and chopped parsley.
Happy cooking and La Fheile Padraig Shona from all at Irelands Blue Book.