Friday, 21 October 2011

Plum Pudding time of year......

I don't like bringing up the Christmas word too early, but now is the time to start thinking about getting your Christmas pudding made and put away. This is a old tradition that should be kept up in my opinion, it really is worth the effort. So my friends here i a recipe that was handed down from my Grandmother Bridie Ryan from the Comeragh Mountains. She was a true lady, a good cook and an inspiration to me in many ways......

Kilbrien Christmas Pudding.

This recipe makes five puddings of about two and a quarter pounds each.

2 1/2 lb. raisins
l lb. plain flour
1 1/2 lb. sultanas
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
1 1/2 lb. currants
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 large cooking apple
2 tbs. orange marmalade
1 lemon
3/4 lb. home made mixed peel
1 tsp. ground cloves
2 oz. sweet Almonds
1 tsp. salt
2..oz. bitter almonds
1 lb. Barbados sugar
1 lb. suet
6 large free range eggs
1/2 lb. breadcrumbs.
1 pint of stout.

Preparation and Cooking.

Stone the raisins (unless seeded ones are used); Wash and dry sultanas,
currants and raisins; Remove any sugar from the peel and shred peel finely;
Blanch and chop the almonds. Make the breadcrumbs. Grate the apple and lemon
rind. Sieve the flour, salt, and spices into a basin large enough to hold all the ingredients.
Put all the prepared ingredients and sugar into the basin and mix thoroughly.

Beat up the eggs; squeeze the lemon, measure the stout. Add these to the dry
ingredients and mix to a soft dropping consistency. Leave over night before mixing

Bring a pan or streamer to the boil. Grease bowls or basins as well as covering paper.
Fill each bowl or basin and cover with grease proof paper and brown paper. Ensure the
paper is tied securely. (If a plastic bowl is used place a saucer in the pan of boiling water.
Boil for five hours at a simmer, replacing water as required. Remove and allow to cool and
store in a cool place.

Steam for one hour before serving.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Friday, 14 October 2011

Tips on buying fish.......

Learning how to choose the best fish is probably the most valuable thing I can share with you. Great sea food is not about fancy technique and complicated cooking, it’s about keeping things SIMPLE. Shop well and relax about cooking, it’s meant to be fun.
Try to buy fish that looks fresh, bright and sparkling, the eyes should not be sunken in and dull, the gills should be bright red and not grey. The flesh should not look tired. Fresh fish does not smell of fish it should smell of the sea.
Get to know your fishmonger by name and build up a friendship with him, after a while he will understand what you want and the quality you expect. By doing this you are supporting local people and local business. Fish in supermarkets in my opinion is bad quality, expensive and often farmed and flown in from a foreign country. Cork airport is the biggest fish market in the country. (how sad is this?)
When you get your fish home, store it in the fridge, loosely cover it with a damp cloth, and eat it within 48 hours to enjoy it at its best.
A fish-rich diet will contribute to your well being. Those cultures that still eat large amounts of fish and shellfish, such as the Inuit’s and the Japanese, have consistently ranked high for good health, with far lower rates of cancer, heart disease and type -2 diabetes. So it is important to include as much fish in your diet as possible and of course be able to cook it.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Roast cod with leeks, runner beans, parmesan and gubeen bacon.......

Cod stocks are low, but over the past few years I have noticed an increase in the size of it coming through the back door of the restaurant. Hopefully the EU fishing regulations are beginning to work because this fish if beautiful and should be treated with total respect.
This dish will also work with Haddock, Whiting or Hake, the key to a good fish dish is FRESH FISH and keep thing simple. So get the freshest of leeks, runner beans and local bacon if you cannot get your hands on gubeen.
(Serves 4)
2 medium leeks
50g of runner beans
200ml of cream
60g of smoked gubeen bacon
1 tblsp of grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and white pepper
1tsp of English mustard
Snipped chives
4 x 75g of fresh Cod fillets
Remove the root and tops of the leeks and split in half. Slice as finely as possible, wash under cold running water. For the runner beans, remove the strings from the side and chop them into fine slices on a slant across the bean. Place the leeks and beans into a saucepan and cover. Place them over a gentle heat and stir every few minutes, the cooking liquid will come from the leeks. This will take 4 to 5 minutes after which strain the juice off and put them back into the sauce pan with the cream, parmesan, mustard, salt and pepper. Cook for a further few minutes. This can be made in advance and reheated at ease.
Slice the bacon into lardons and fry in a little oil until it becomes crisp and beautifully golden, set aside.
Preheat the oven to the max temperature. Add some oil to a hot frying pan. Season the fish with a little salt and pepper and fry flesh side down until golden, 4-6 minutes. Just before turning add a good knob of butter and turn off the heat. Put the pan into the preheated oven for a further 3 minutes.
Place a good spoonful of the leeks and beans in the centre of a plate, sprinkle the bacon around and place the fish on top of the vegetables. Serve at once and enjoy the fruits of your labour

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Autunmal fruit.......

All my life i have been blessed to be surrounded by good food and most important of all a Mother who knew how to cook it. This time of year brings out the best in me with memories of jam being made and potted, field mushrooms being cooked in butter and milk, being forced as a child to eat the first of the herring and the taste of crab apple jelly.
This taste above all others reminds me of my childhood and to this day I am possessive of how many pots of jelly I have in my cupboard for the winter months. (It is good to share the fruits of your labour but not this one I am afraid). So I will give you the time honoured recipe and you can make your own, but hurry the apples are disappearing fast...

Brigid Quinn's Crab Apple Jelly

4 lbs of Crab Apples
4 pints of water
6 whole cloves
juice of two lemons

Wash the apples and quarter them (do not remove the skin or pips) and put them in a stainless pot with the water, cloves and peel of the lemons. Cook until reduced to a pulp, about half a hour. Turn the pulp into a jelly bag and allow to drip until all the juice has been extracted. Overnight is ideal.
Measure the juice into a large pan and allow 1 lb of sugar to every pint of juice. Squeeze the lemons, strain the juice and add to the pot. Bring to the boil and add the sugar. Stir until it has dissolved. Boil rapidly without stirring for about 10 minutes. Skim off any scum that rises to the top. Test for setting and pot immediately.