Tuesday, 31 January 2012

When is a sausage not a sausage.....

As a nation we love a good sausage, they are eaten first thing in the morning, for lunch and even for dinner. People like Jane Russell, Crowe brothers and the Rudd's make some of the best sausages in the Country using the best pork they can get their hands on. DO NOT EAT ANYTHING THAT HAS LESS THAN 80% PORK MEAT. The day of big companies using fillers to make it cheaper to produce sausages are over. And its up to us not to support these bad boys, as I always say, look after the small producer they have food ethics and wont disappoint with the lack of flavour.
So here is a simple recipe to make your own sausages, try it they are delicious..

Makes 12-16 sausages
These are very easy to make and can be used for all sorts of things, little bites before dinner with a glass of wine or two, served as a starter with a dipping sauce or as suggested here as a main course with creamy mashed spuds.
450g of free range pork belly
4 tablespoons of finely chopped mixed herbs, thyme, parsley, tarragon, sage and rosemary
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 egg
6 prunes chopped finely
60g breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper

Mince the pork using a course grinder, or get your butcher to do the job for you. Chop the herbs finely, crush the garlic and whisk the egg, now mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and season well.
Divide the mixture into sixteen pieces and roll out into sausages. Fry them in a little oil until golden on all sides; serve with apple sauce and a bowl of creamy buttery champ potato.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Cassoulet without the drama.....

Last Saturday morning I stood on a alter watched by a full congregation of healthy food lovers and I enjoyed it. Yes an alter in a church. I was asked to do a healthy food cooking demonstration for the Row Practice in the old Presentation Convent in Waterford. The surprising thing is that I think it was the best demo I have done to date, Devinne inspiration eh.....
Anyway, back to the real world, this is a simple recipe for the famous Cassoulet make easy, give it a go it is beautiful....

This is one of those dishes you eat while on holidays and love the simplicity of it but might be afraid to make it once you return home. Yes there is a bit of work in it but once it goes in the oven you can forget about it. It’s done; all you have to do is serve it with some crunchy bread and a nice green salad. Cooking at its best…

Serves 10
1 kg of haricot beans
1 carrot
1 onion
Bouquet garni
300g streaky bacon
55g duck fat
3 onions thinly sliced
8 cloves of garlic finely chopped
8 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1.2 litres of chicken stock
4 duck legs
450g shoulder of lamb cut into thick cubes
4 Toulouse sausages
50g bread crumbs
Salt and pepper

Soak the haricot beans overnight in plenty of cold water, next day drain off the water and put the beans in a sauce pan with the chopped carrot, onion and bouquet garni and cover with water. Cook for ½ hour or until the beans are ¾ cooked, drain and discard the vegetables, set aside.
Cut the bacon into 1 inch squares, heat the duck fat and fry until beginning to turn brown, add the onions and the garlic, tomatoes, salt, pepper and a bouquet garni, now add the stock and simmer for ten minutes.
Add the duck legs, lamb and sausage; finally put the beans on top. Bring the Cassoulet to the boil, spread the breadcrumbs over the top and place the lid on the pot, put into a slow oven (150 degrees or gas 2) for 1 ½ hours or until all the meat is nice and tender.
A crust should have formed on top of the stew, serve at once.

Thursday, 19 January 2012


The cook as alchemist
"A pinch of this, a pinch of that - the creative process is bewitching. A flame licks up from the pan containing the bubbling, steaming potion, illuminating the sagacious face of the saucerer. He inhales the fumes laden with the first aromas. His imagination is fired as he conjures up the magic of his sauce" Michel Roux