Thursday, 19 September 2013

Red Biddy

I have a good friend who grows the most amazing vegetables in County Wexford and each year around this time I ring him with one request. I need some of the 'white stuff' I will say down the phone, this is our code name for poitin. Of course this is totally illegal, hence the code name. He gives me a delivery date and I set out to my favourite spot to collect slows and blackberries in order to have everything ready for my red biddy making. When the White Stuff arrives I add sugar, blackberries and the slows, give it a good shake and taste it for sweetness. This is a personal thing so you will have to figure that our for yourselves.
If you do not know where to get Poitin use good quality vodka instead, its good but not as good as the real stuff
Red Biddy

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Home made tagliatelle with turf smoked salmon and basil

Home made tagliatelle with turf smoked salmon and basil
Serves 4
A few days ago I got a special delivery in the post of some smoked salmon all the way from Donegal. Heaven Smokehouse has started smoking organic salmon with turf and as they say themselves people are going ‘mad’ for it. I knew to give this product justice I would have to do something special with it and so I took out the pasta machine and set to work.
The best thing to do is make the pasta dough first and let it settle in a fridge for at least one hour. In the meantime you can get the base of the sauce together. You have to move fast at the end to put it all together and get it to the table but it is worth every bit of effort, I would go so far to say it is one of the best pasta dishes I have ever cooked / eaten.

For the pasta dough:

400g strong white flour
4 large free-range egg yolks
1 tsp. salt

Put the flour in a bowl with the salt and whisk the eggs together. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour the egg yolks into it. Mix into a dough by hand, the pasta should come together and be quite dry. It is very important to knead it until the dough becomes nice and smooth. Now rest for at least one hour.

For the sauce:

1 onion very finely chopped
1 large clove of garlic crushed
50g butter
200ml white wine
65ml of cream
150g turf-smoked salmon
10g fresh basil
25g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Put the chopped onion in a saucepan with the butter and garlic and sweat over a low heat until the onions are nice and translucent. Pour in the wine and reduce by half, now add the cream and bring to the boil for two minutes. Set aside until you are finish cooking the pasta.
To roll out the pasta, first cut the dough into three pieces. Using the first piece while the others are covered set the pasta machine at its highest setting and grind the dough through the machine. Repeat this process at least twice and on the third time drop the setting by one and repeat all over again until you get to the second last setting. Lay out the pasta sheets on a table, using the tagliatelle cutter, grind each sheet through it. Put the strands of pasta over a sweeping brush, which is supported at each end by chairs, and leave to dry for 40 minutes.
Once the pasta is dried cook in boiling salted water for two minutes and drain. Put it back into the large pot with your sauce base; now add the turf-smoked salmon, basil and season with black pepper and a little salt.
Serve at once with Parmesan shavings…

Pasta drying on a sweeping brush
Heaven Smokehouse turf smoked salmon

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Brazed Rabbit, wild mushrooms, root vegetables, sea beet, tarragon and fennel pollen

In my opinion rabbit is a forgotten food, it is not so long ago that it was eaten more often than chicken. So now is the time to introduce this fantastic meat back into our diet. (You can always tell the kids it is chicken). And to be honest a good rabbit is far superior to cheap chicken.

Serves 4

1 large rabbit approx. 1.5 kg cut into 6 pieces (ask the butcher to do this for you)
2 tbsp. of rapeseed oil
2 onions finely chopped
1 large carrot diced finely
½ fennel bulb diced finely
50g Irish butter
200ml white wine
500ml good chicken stock
75g wild mushrooms (chanterelles are perfect for this dish but not to worry if you cant get any use ceps, oyster or field mushrooms instead)
1 tbsp. chopped tarragon
1 hand full of sea beet (if you can not forage sea beet use spinach instead)
½ tsp. Fennel flowers
175ml cream

Brown off the rabbit pieces in a large pan in the hot olive oil and set aside. In an oven proof dish sweat off the onion in the butter and once soft add the carrot and fennel bulb, cook this over a low heat for five minutes. Now add in the white wine and reduced by half. Add in the rabbit pieces and season with salt and pepper, add the stock and bring to the boil. Put the lid on the dish and place it into a hot oven, 190 degrees celisus for 1 hour.
Take the dish out of the oven and add the cream, sautéed mushrooms, tarragon, sea beet and cook for a further 10 minutes. Garnish with the fennel pollen and serve..