Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Venison en croute...........

This one takes a little time to do, there are a few bits and bobs to get right, but i tell you one thing, this recipe has to be tried. It is utterely delicious. Dave Larkin my right hand man or sous chef at the Castle came up with this to go on a venison dish we were putting on the menu. And boy is it a success.
Serves 4

400g of puff pastry (or one sheet of bought puff pastry)
4 loin or rump venison steaks
140g of finely chopped mushrooms
1 large onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic
100g of good Irish Butter
1 tsp of chopped tarragon
1/2 tsp of chopped fresh thyme
1 egg yolk
salt and pepper

First make the mushroom duxelle (fancy word for mushroom stuffing), melt the butter in a pot and throw in the onions and garlic, sweat until soft. Turn up the heat and add the chopped mushrooms, cook through for a few minutes and then add the chopped herbs, salt and pepper. This should taste of more, if you know what i mean.
Now roll out the pastry and cut into four oblong pieces large enough to enclose the steaks. Sear the venison for a few minutes in a very hot pan. Now put a spoon of the duxelle in the centre of the pastry and place the meat on top, add more stuffing to the top of meat. Brush the pastry edges with egg yolk and bring them together to form turnovers, brush the top with egg yolk and bake in a hot oven 190 for 10 minutes.
Q. Tip; while they are cooking pour yourself a large glass of red, you deserve it. By the way this goes fantastic with spinach, parsnip puree and some roasted beetroot...

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Irish Stew, comfort food at its best, at least the suits in the EU cannot take this one off us

Irish Stew, you might say that the whole world knows how to make a good old Irish Stew, well here is a simple recipe for one, but remember it tasts so much better the next day after the flaviours get a chance to mature and come out in the sauce. This is major comfort food, and as we are in Winter now is the time to cook a stew
Serves 4-6

1.3kg of diced lamb shoulder 1inch cubed
3 onions sliced
6 carrots
8-12 potatoes (golden wonders or kerr’s pinks)
850ml of lamb stock or water
1 large sprig of fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 180 C

Heat some olive oil and a tablespoon of butter in a heavy based pot. Peal the onions and slice thinly. Peal the carrots and dice in large pieces. Put the meat in the pot and cook until it takes a nice brown colour. Do this in batches is necessary. Set aside. Now put the onions and carrots in the pot and coat them in the fat left from the meat. Add in the lamb and the stock or water and season with salt and pepper.
Peel the potatoes and lay them on top lamb, so they will steam while the stew cooks. Add the thyme and bring the pot to the boil, cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1-2 hours depending on the meat.
When the stew is cooked, pour off the cooking liquid, transfer the meat and vegetables to a clean pan. Reduce the liquid by a 1/3 and pour over the stew. Serve with plenty of brown bread.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Mushrooms made easy............


Serves 6
6 large flat mushrooms
3 cloves of garlic
Fresh thyme
2 shallots
6 tblsp of olive oil
2 oz of butter
Parmesan cheese
White truffle oil
Salt and pepper
This is a dead easy starter or lunch dish, the mushrooms can be prepared ahead of time and warmed up at the last minute, don’t be put off by the use of truffle oil or pancetta, if you don’t have them not to worry good olive oil will be just as nice and bacon will do instead of pancetta.
First take the stem out of the centre of the mushroom and chop finely mix it with the garlic and thyme leaves and the finely chopped shallots, put this mixture back into the mushrooms and sprinkle with olive oil. Season with the salt and pepper and divide the butter between the mushrooms, place the mushrooms onto a baking tray and cover with tin foil and bake in a medium oven (120 c) for 10 to 15 minutes. Grill the pancetta until it is nice and crisp.
All that is left to do now is put the hot mushroom onto a plate and arrange the rocket on top and the crisp pancetta, use a potato peeler to peal nice strips of Parmesan cheese which go around the plate along with a teaspoon of the truffle oil. As simple as that.........

Saturday, 20 November 2010

The most important person in any Kitchen

Yang, our hardworking, honest, funny and reliable kitchen Porter is a star, no job is to big or to small and without these people no kitchen would work.....

Friday, 19 November 2010

Give me Goose only Goose

I know it is a little bit early to be talking about Christmas but unless you get your skates on and order a goose you might be left with the bland meat of a Turkey. Here is a little history of why people eat goose.
The traditional main dish at Christmas was once goose. That was because, like other migratory fowl, geese appeared and disappeared at crucial times in the yearly cycle, so eating them accompanied ceremonial events in the solar and agricultural year. People have linked geese to the changing seasons since antiquity, when different cultures around the world would sacrifice the goose to the gods in thanks for the harvest, then feast on its flesh afterwards. Goose was served at the Celtic Samhain, or Halloween, the Norse Yule and the Christian Michaelmas. In the Middle Ages there was even a festival known as Wayzgoose, a traditional printers' fete. held at around Michaelmas (the autumn equinox) to mark the end of summer and the beginning of working by candlelight. The master printer would hold a feast for the apprentices and journeymen, with roast goose as the main dish.
Interesting, by the way if you are looking for a fantastic free range Goose go no further than Mrs Mary Walsh of Kilkenny. (send me a post if you are looking for her number) but hurry her geese fly out the door..... MARYS NUMBER IS 087 6439979

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

A Winter Soup that is full of gooooooddnessss

Winter Vegetable Soup with spinach pesto and crisp gubeen bacon

Tom Cleary has being supplying me with seasonal vegetables for the past sixteen years. He is a chef’s dream, coming in the back door of the kitchen with his hand grown produce is a pleasure to see and when the seasons change so does his fantastic vegetables.
Serves 8 people

• 200g of smoked Gubeen bacon cut into lardons
• 2 tblsp of olive oil
• 50g of good Irish butter
• 225g of finely diced onion
• 275g of finely diced carrot
• 225g of finely diced potato
• 200g finely diced celery
• 200g finely diced leek
• 200g finely diced turnip
• Salt and pepper
• 1.8 litre of chicken stock
For the spinach pesto you will need:
• 50g of cooked and drained spinach
• 15g of pine nuts
• 1 crushed clove of garlic
• 150ml of olive oil
• Pinch of salt and white pepper
First fry off the gubeen bacon in a dry frying pan until it is nice and crisp, set aside.
In a large pot sweat off the onions in the butter and olive oil, add in the potato, carrot, celery, turnip and cook out for five minutes over a low heat. Now add in the chicken stock and the leeks, bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
This soup is more of a broth so there is no need to liquidize it. Tom’s veg are full of flavour so let them speak for themselves.
To make the pesto, put the spinach in a bowl with the pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and blend together finely using a hand blender.
Pour the soup out into hot bowls, sprinkle the bacon on top and a dollop of pesto and there you have it, Tom’s soup full of goodness…..

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Sally Barnes Smoked Haddock Croquette yummmmmmm

What can I say about Sally Barnes that has not been said already; she is a true artisan food producer and runs the best smoke house in the country. I use her smoked haddock because you cannot get better anywhere else on the planet.
This dish is a simple one and well worth making, if you do not have a deep fat fryer doesn’t panic just make haddock cakes instead and pan fry them.

Makes 4 portions:

• 200g of mashed potato
• 100g of Sally Barnes smoked un-dyed haddock
• 1 tsp of chopped parsley
• 1 tsp of chopped tarragon
• 1 tsp of chopped chives
• 1 tsp of chopped shallot
• 1 tsp of chopped baby capers
• Juice and zest of one lemon
• 20g of grated horseradish
• 4 tblsp of mayonnaise
• 1 free range egg yolk
• 150g of bread crumbs
• 100g flour
• 2 whole free range eggs

In a stainless steel bowl mix the mash potato, with the chopped herbs, juice and zest of the lemon, shallot, capers and egg yolk. Steam the haddock for two minutes and flake the flesh off the skin. Add this to the potato mixture. Form 4-6 balls or cakes depending on how you want to cook them. Flour, egg and bread crumb them. Let this rest for half an hour. Mean while make the mayo by whisking the 2 egg yolks with ½ tsp of mustard, splash of vinegar and 100ml of olive oil. Add in the grated horseradish.
Cook the croquettes until nice and golden and place on a warm plate with a dollop of the mayo, eat at once and let the flavour of Sally’s fish fill your mouth……

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Skeaghanore Duck, look out for this one its got some quack

Roast Skeaghanore Duck breast, rillettes, potato, apple and thyme stuffing and burnt orange sauce

Eugene and Helena Hickey’s Skeaghanore duck is such a wonderful product and a real gem to cook with. I tasted this duck in a restaurant last year and I had to have it on my own menu. The texture and flavour is second to none. This recipe uses all the bird, the breasts for roasting, legs for confit and the carcase for stock.
1 Skeaghanore Duck
500g of duck fat
1 tblsp of chopped flat parsley
1 tsp of chopped capers
1tsp of chopped tarragon
Bay leaf
1 bulb of garlic
Rind of one orange
Few sprigs of thyme

For the stuffing you will need:
250g mashed potato
1 onion finely chopped
1 cooking apple, peeled and cored
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1 tsp of chopped thyme
150g good Irish Butter
Salt and white pepper

For the burnt orange sauce you will need:
100 ml of grand mariner
100 ml of cointreau
100g brown sugar
1 star anise
250ml of orange juice
250ml of duck stock
• First confit the duck legs by melting the duck fat in a small roasting tray, add a bulb of garlic, bay leaf, thyme and orange rind. Cook this in a slow oven 150 c for 1 ½ hours or until the meat comes off the bone without any resistance. Keep the duck fat it is fantastic for roasting potatoes.

• To make the stuffing by sweating off the onion in the butter, add the thyme, apple, zest and juice of the orange, let this reduce a little and fold in the mash potato. The stuffing should have a nice tang to it. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

• For the sauce put the cointerau and grand mariner in a stainless steel saucepan over a high heat and flame to burn off the alcohol, now add the sugar and caramelise. Now add the orange juice, duck stock and star anise, reduce quickly until it becomes a nice coating consistency.

• Heat a frying pan and season the duck breasts. Place skin side down and cook slowly until the skin is nice and golden, turn them over and place in an oven for twelve minutes.

• Now for the rillettes, shred the cooked meat of the duck leg with two forks, you want to break up the meat into stringy pieces, add the chopped parsley, chopped capers and tarragon, season and bind with a little bit of duck fat. This should taste rich but the capers will give a bit of bite to it.

• Now all you have to do is put the whole thing together, put the rillettes into small ramekins and place them on your warm main course plate, add a dollop of the stuffing. Carve the breasts and put the slices beside the stuffing and pour the sauce around the plate. Serve at once…

Friday, 5 November 2010

An Artist Pallet

Friday night @ Waterford Castle, the sauce section full of colour, or as the photo was described by one of the chefs as an artist pallet......

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Porkey Pies eh......

Every Year around his time i end up with allot of pork and bacon on my hands. I suppose that's what happens when you dispatch of your own pigs. Hams for Christmas presents, pork chops for the neighbours, sausages for my breakfast, boiled bacon for my folks and various other cuts handed out to family and friends. Even the head is used to make brawn, which is eaten in the local pub with a few pints of Guinness while the reds struggle to another win.
So this is one of my favourite cuts of the cute pig, Belly of Pork, slow roasted with garlic, rosemary, thyme, ginger, salt and Chinese five spice. This is so good it has to be shared, so invite a few around for dinner and feed them belly of pork, i bet they wont forget it for a long time and a few will be ringing you for the recipe...

If you are not lucky enough to have your own pigs then ask your butcher to leave on the skin of the belly, scored with a sharp knife or Stanley blade. Rub the salt, pepper, Chinese five spice, garlic, grated ginger, chopped thyme and rosemary into the skin and cover with cling film for a few hours. Overnight would be fantastic, this gives the flavours time to get into the meat.
Now put the meat onto a rack over a roasting tray and place into a medium oven 140c for two hours. Just before serving if the crackling is not crisp enough turn up the oven to 180c for a few minutes.
Q. tip; serve with apple sauce and a few roasted root vegetables, fantastic.....