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Monday, 31 January 2011

John Dory the King of Kings......

This Fish is one of the best in the sea, the meat is white and rich to eat and if you get the chance to buy it fresh, dont hesitate. Believe me you wont regret it.....
So, to do this King of Kings justice cook it simply, no messing around with fancy sauces, just fry it in good Irish butter, a few graefruit segments, some grapes and a little sweet white onion puree, what could be better than that?

You will need:
2 pink grapefruit or oranges
four 6 ounce fillets of John Dory
salt and pepper
good knob of butter
1 tea cup of halved seedless red grapes
2 tblsp of chopped chives
3 large white onions
1 cup of cream

First peel and slice the onions, put in a heavy bottomed pot with a good knob of butter and cook over a very low heat for 40 minutes. Be careful not to colour the onions, stir every few minutes and use a lid on the pot. Now add in the cream and season, puree with a hand blender and set aside.
Use a sharp knife to peel the grapefruit and gently tease out the segments, cut the grapes in half. Now heat a frying pan with a litte olive oil until it starts to smoke, quickly season the fish and place it flesh side down into the oil. Add the butter and once the fish takes on a lovely golden colour turn over at once. John Dory cooks very quickly so you have to work fast once the fish hits the pan.
Now decorate the plates with the grapefruit segments, sweet onion puree and grapes, place the fish in the middle and eat at once.....

Q Tip: When pan frying any fish, make sure the pan is very hot before the fish goes in...

Monday, 24 January 2011

Monday night @ the Castle........








A creative night at Waterford Castle with Sous Chef Dave Larken and myself......

Friday, 21 January 2011

Seaweed on the sea shore......


This morning was bright, cold and clear and I was lucky enough to be on the Copper Coast with my daughter Katie and Paddy Ryan, a chef at the Castle. We rocked up with wellies, woolie hats and little else but our purpose was to gain some knowledge from Grace O'Sullivan about seaweed. And boy did I come away with a greater understanding of whats under the sea and how good it is for you.

The tide was fully out as we clambered over the rocks to the waters edge where Grace pointed out Blue ray limpets, soft shell crabs and baby sea urchins. She picked Peppered Dillisk, Kelp and Sea Spaghetti for us to eat and the funny thing was once she pointed it out I could see this natural food everywhere.

The Japanese know the value of this iron rich food and I think our perception of it is changing. The old people knew how to cook with it, the chewed dillisk and made puddings out of carageen moss. We need to embrace it and bring seaweed into our own diets and i guarantee we will feel much better for it.



Thursday, 20 January 2011

Spread a little Marmalade......

What is better than opening a jar of home made marmalade and spreading it on hot buttered toast, the taste, the smell and the joy you get knowing that you have made it yourself. Well here is a recipe for Seville orange marmalade, which are in season at the moment. My mum has used this same one for as long as i can remember.

Don't be fazed by it, roll up your sleeves and act quickly as the Seville orange will not be on the shelves for long.....

900g of Seville Oranges
2.3 litres of water
1 lemon
1.8 kg of granulated sugar

Wash the fruit and cut it in half, squeeze out the juice and put aside. Remove membrane with a spoon, put with the pips and tie them in a piece of muslin and soak for 1/2 hour in cold water. Slice the pity coarsely or finely depending on the way you like it. Put the peel, orange and lemon juice, bag of pips and water into a plastic bowl overnight.
Next day, bring everything to the boil and simmer gently for 2 hours until the peel is really soft and the liquid is reduced by half. Squeeze all the liquid from the bag of pips and remove it.
Add the warmed sugar and stir well until the sugar has been dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to a full rolling boil until setting point is reached. Testing to see if the marmalade is set by putting a bit of the hot liquid onto a cold saucer and let it cool for a few minutes, if it wrinkles when you push it with your fingers its done. Stir well and immediately pot into hot sterilized jars. Cover at once and store in a cool dry place.

Q. tip; this is worth making in bulk, just be careful not to over boil the sugar....

Friday, 14 January 2011

Passion wins out in the end

A week on the roads of the west of Ireland has thought me one thing; this country has some amazing passionate people. Martin who runs global village restaurant in Dingle, spoke to me about his produce, the fish that comes straight from the boats on the pier to the farmer who supplies him with his beef and in a throw away comment mentions that he bought two acres of land to grow vegetables for his restaurant. And not only that, he got a gardener in to show him how to do it properly. This is what we all should be doing, this is passion, this is real, this is food.

And on the other side of the Connor Pass i came across this young farmer, Thomas O'Connor, who has bought thirteen acres of land and grows all his produce organically for his organic shop in Tralee, ducks are for eating the slugs, pigs to plough the land and chickens to eat the grubs. Everything he grows is done bio dynamically, using the cycles of the moon. This man has a vision, this man has a passion or as someone called him a revolutionary.

These people should be treasured and supported by us, we need them more than they need us. So get out there and find your local treasures, buy their food, cook it with care, enjoy eating it and please tell other people about them.....

Monday, 3 January 2011

Woodcock the king of game

This is not a bird that you will come across much but if you do jump at the chance to prepair, cook and eat it. A neighbour of mine was out shooting in a local wood yesterday and shot a woodcock, i happened to be on the road when he passed, we exchanged seasonal greetings and i ended up with a woodcock. Not bad for saying hello eh..

It was plucked and cleaned out in minutes, I dressed it with Crows streaky rashers, roasted it for 15 minutes in a very hot oven and had it with cep risotto, roasted baby shallots and salad leaves. Fantastic is all i can say, the taste and texture were unbelievable. I would even go so far to say it is one of the best game bird i have ever eaten....
These little birds fly to Ireland from Russia to escape the icy winters and are well worth seeking out.......