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    Nevens Recipes - Meatball pasta bake

    Meatball Pasta Bake with Spinach and Mozzarella

     Serves 4–6

    225g (8oz) lean minced beef

    225g (8oz) minced pork

    8 cream crackers, crushed into fine crumbs

    1 egg, lightly beaten

    1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    2 tbsp olive oil, extra for drizzling

    1 onion, finely chopped

    1 celery stick, finely chopped

    1 large garlic clove, crushed

    500ml (18fl oz) passata (Italian sieved tomatoes)

    2 tbsp tomato purée

    small handful of fresh basil leaves, extra to garnish

    350g (12oz) penne pasta

    knob of butter

    225g (8oz) baby spinach leaves

    100g (4oz) mozzarella, cut into cubes

    25g (1oz) freshly grated Parmesan

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    lightly dressed mixed salad, to serve


    Place the minced beef and pork in a bowl with the crushed cream crackers, egg and parsley.

    Season with salt and pepper and using your hands, give everything a good mix. Using slightly

    wetted hands, make about 20 even-sized balls. Arrange on a flat baking sheet, drizzle over a

    little olive oil to lightly coat and chill for 1 hour to firm up if time allows.

    Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat and sauté the onion and celery for about 5 minutes, until lightly golden. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more, stirring. Add the passata and tomato purée and season to taste. Simmer gently for 8–10 minutes, until the sauce has nicely reduced and thickened. Stir in the basil leaves and remove from the heat.


    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6). Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.Plunge the penne into the boiling salted water and simmer for 6–8 minutes, until almost tender but not quite cooked through. Drain the penne well and return to the pan.

    Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a deep-sided frying pan over a medium heat and sauté the meatballs for 6–8 minutes, until almost cooked through and nicely browned.


    Heat the butter in a separate pan. Add one fistful of spinach at a time, adding another as one

    wilts down. Cook for 1 minute, then tip into a colander to drain. Season to taste.

    Stir the tomato sauce into the drained penne to coat and then transfer to a 30cm x 20cm (12in

    x 8in) 5cm (2in) deep ovenproof baking dish. Nestle in small mounds of spinach and arrange

    the meatballs on top. Scatter over the mozzarella and Parmesan. Place in the oven and bake for 15–20 minutes, until bubbling.

    To serve, put the pasta bake straight on the table garnished with the basil leaves. Have a

    separate big bowl of salad and allow everyone to help themselves.


    Nevens' Recipes - Irish Stew

    Somthing for the weekend that's in it!

    Roast Leg of Spring Lamb with Boulangère Potatoes

    This dish is hassle free – perfect for a dinner party or Sunday lunch.

    Serves 6

    1 tbsp rapeseed oil

    knob of butter

    3 onions, thinly sliced

    1.5kg (3lb) potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

    4 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves stripped

    400ml (14fl oz) chicken stock

    1.75kg (4lb) leg of lamb

    3 garlic cloves, sliced

    2 fresh rosemary sprigs

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    wilted spinach , to serve

    Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).

    To make the boulangère potatoes, heat the oil in a frying pan with the butter and sauté the

    onions for 3–4 minutes over a medium heat, until softened but not coloured. Season to

    taste. Layer the potatoes, onions and thyme leaves in a large roasting tin large enough to fit

    the leg of lamb. Season each layer as you go and finish with an attractive overlapping layer

    of the potatoes. Pour over the stock and set to one side.

    Using a sharp knife, make small incisions all over the lamb and press a garlic slice and a tiny

    sprig of the rosemary into each one. Weigh the joint and allow 20 minutes per 450g (1lb)

    plus 20 minutes (add a further 20 minutes for well done), then place the lamb carefully on

    top of the potatoes in the roasting tin. Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature

    to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4) and roast for 1 hour 20 minutes for a leg of lamb this size

    (1.75kg (4lb)).

    Transfer the leg of lamb to a carving platter and cover loosely with foil, then leave to rest for

    15 minutes, keeping the boulangère potatoes warm.

    To serve, carve the lamb into slices and arrange on warmed serving plates with the boulangère

    potatoes and wilted spinach.


    Wilted Spinach

    Serves 6

    100g (4oz) butter

    550g (1lb 4oz) spinach, tough stalks removed

    pinch of caster sugar

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Heat a pan over a medium heat and add the

    butter. Once it has stopped foaming, quickly

    sauté the spinach with the sugar until soft and

    wilted. Season to taste and drain well on kitchen

    paper to remove the excess moisture. Return to

    the pan and keep warm. Use as required.


    Apple Tart with Custard

    Homemade apple tart – a winning combination of delicate sweet pastry filled with heavenly

    scented apples – simply can’t be beaten. To ring in the changes, mix the apples with blackberries

    or try a mixture of rhubarb and strawberry. To make your tart extra special, add a vanilla

    pod to your bag of sugar and leave for at least a week before using.

    Serves 6–8


    225g (8oz) plain flour, extra for dusting

    2 tbsp icing sugar

    100g (4oz) butter, diced and chilled

    2 large egg yolks

    2–3 tablespoons ice-cold water


    900g (2lb) Bramley cooking apples

    100g (4oz) caster sugar

    ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

    good pinch of ground cloves

    1 tbsp milk


    5 egg yolks

    3 tbsp caster sugar

    ½ vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out

    300ml (½ pint) milk

    100ml (3 ½fl oz) cream

    To make the pastry, sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Using a round-bladed knife or the

    tips of your fingers, work in the butter and then mix in the egg yolks with enough of the ice-cold

    water, until the dough just comes together. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5). Lightly dust the work surface with flour.

    Divide the pastry into 2 portions, one slightly larger than the other, then roll out the larger piece

    until it’s about 30cm (12in) in diameter. Use to line a 20cm (8in) pie dish or a 23cm (9in) flat

    plate, gently pressing into the corners. Trim the edges with a knife and reserve the excess for

    decorating. Place back in the fridge to chill while you prepare the apples.

    Peel, core and slice the apples. Place in a large bowl with all but 1 tablespoon of the caster

    sugar. Add the cinnamon and cloves and mix together. Brush the edge of the pastry with a little

    milk and then pile the apples into the lined pie dish. Roll out the second piece of pastry into a

    circle slightly larger than the pie dish and use to cover the apples. Press the edges together to

    seal, then use a sharp knife to cut away any excess.

    Crimp the edges of the tart with a round-bladed knife and using your fingers as a guide. Roll

    out the pastry scraps and cut into leaf shapes. Brush the shapes with milk and stick on top of the

    pie. Brush the entire top of the pastry with milk and sprinkle over the remaining 1 tablespoon of

    sugar. Bake for 25–30 minutes, then reduce the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4) and bake for

    another 20–25 minutes, until golden brown.

    Meanwhile, to make the custard, place the egg yolks in a large bowl with the sugar and vanilla

    seeds. Whisk with an electric mixer for a few minutes, until pale and thickened.

    Place the milk and cream in a medium pan and bring to the boil, then immediately remove from

    the heat. Gradually whisk the heated milk and cream into the egg yolk mixture until smooth,

    then pour back into the pan and place over a gentle heat. Cook gently for 6–8 minutes on a

    medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon. Keep

    To serve, cut the warm apple tart into slices and arrange on warmed serving plates with some of

    the custard. Put the remainder into a jug on the table.



    Neven's Recipes - Crispy Chicken Schnitzel

    Something for the Kids - Crispy Chicken Schnitzel Baps

    This recipe makes a little chicken go a long way and is the ultimate chicken burger for children.

    It doesn’t take long to prepare, especially if you have some breadcrumbs tucked away in the freezer. Serves 4

    25g (1oz) seasoned flour, 1 large egg

    1 tbsp milk, pinch of salt

    50g (2oz) fresh white breadcrumbs

    2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan

    2 large skinless chicken fillets

    2 tbsp olive oil

    knob of butter

    4 white bread rolls, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


    2 carrots, finely grated

    ¼ head of white cabbage, tough core removed and shredded

    4 tbsp mayonnaise.

    Put the seasoned flour on a flat plate. Beat the egg, milk and a pinch of salt in a shallow dish. Put the breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a separate shallow dish, then season with salt and pepper.

    Cut each chicken fillet in half so that it almost opens out like a butterfly, then cut all the way

    through – you’re looking to get 2 even-sized, thin pieces of chicken from each breast. Dust in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess, then dip in the beaten egg and then coat in the

    Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the oil and then add the butter. Once the butter stops sizzling, add in the coated chicken pieces and sauté for 2–3 minutes on each side, until cooked through and golden brown.

    Meanwhile, to make the coleslaw, put the carrots and cabbage in a bowl and fold in the mayonnaise, then season to taste. Split the bread rolls in half and lightly toast them.

    To serve, spread the bottom halves of the bread rolls with the coleslaw and put a crispy chicken schnitzel on top. Cover with the toasted bread roll tops.


    Neven' Recipes - Homemade Pizza

    Serves 4

    350g (12oz) strong white flour, extra for dusting

    7g sachet easy-blend yeast

    1 tsp salt, 225ml (8fl oz) warm water

    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, extra for greasing and drizzling, 2 tsp semolina or dried white breadcrumbs

    8 tbsp passata rustica (crushed tomatoes)

    a few fresh basil leaves, torn, extra to garnish

    150g (5oz) ball of mozzarella, drained and roughly chopped 25g (1oz) freshly grated Parmesan

    40g (1 ½oz) rocket sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    Place the flour, yeast and salt in a food processor fitted with a dough attachment (or use a bowl and a wooden spoon if you don’t have a processor). Mix the warm water and oil in a jug. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil mixture through the feeder tube (or stir by hand) and mix until you have achieved a soft, stretchy dough. Knead for 5 minutes in the machine or for 10 minutes by hand on a lightly floured work surface.

    Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Rub the top with a little more oil and then cover with a clean, damp tea towel. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 240°C (475°F/gas mark 9).

    Punch the dough down with a clenched fist. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for a couple of minutes until smooth, then cut in half and roll each half out on a lightly floured surface into a 25cm (10in) circle. Sprinkle the semolina or breadcrumbs onto 2 large, flat baking sheets and transfer the pizza bases on top.

    Season the passata to taste and then spread it over the pizza bases, leaving a 1cm (½in) border around the edges. Scatter over the basil, then drizzle over a little olive oil and scatter the mozzarella and Parmesan on top. Bake for 10–12 minutes, until the base is crisp and the cheeses are bubbling and lightly golden. Remove from the oven and drizzle over a little more olive oil, then scatter over the rocket and garnish with more basil. Season to taste.

    To serve, cut the pizzas into wedges and arrange on warmed serving plates.



    American Hot

    Prepare the bases with the passata, basil and olive oil and then scatter over 50g

    (2oz) thinly sliced pepperoni and 50g (2oz) drained, sliced jalapeño chillies (from a

    jar or can). Finish and serve as described above.


    Nevens Recipies - Fruity Bread and Butter Pudding.

    Back to basics:


    Fruity Bread and Butter Pudding


    An Irish country kitchen classic that should have a soft set texture with an exquisitely light spicing of nutmeg and vanilla, a few finely chopped prunes and sultanas and a wonderful buttery top.

    To make it even more delicious, try making it with day-old croissants or brioche.

    Serves 4–6

    4 eggs

    300ml (½ pint) milk

    150ml (¼ pint) cream

    finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

    1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out

    50g (2oz) caster sugar

    250g (9oz) sliced white bread (6 slices)

    75g (3oz) butter, softened, extra for greasing

    75g (3oz) ready-to-eat dried prunes, finely chopped

    75g (3oz) sultanas

    good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

    4 tbsp marmalade

    icing sugar, to dust pouring cream or vanilla ice cream, to serve

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4). Lightly butter an ovenproof dish that’s about 25cm x 16cm (10in x 6in) and 2.5cm (1in) deep.

    Beat the eggs, milk and cream together in a large jug. Mix together the lemon rind and juice, vanilla seeds and sugar in a small bowl and then add to the egg mixture, beating lightly to

    Spread the slices of bread with the softened butter and cut off the crusts, then cut into triangles.

    Scatter half of the prunes and sultanas into the bottom of the buttered dish and arrange a layer of the bread triangles on top. Pour over half of the egg mixture, pressing the bread down gently, then repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients and sprinkle the nutmeg on top.

    Place the dish into a roasting tin and fill with warm water until it comes three-quarters of the way up the dish. Bake for 30–35 minutes, until just set.

    Meanwhile, sieve the marmalade and then heat it in a small pan. Brush the top of the cooked pudding with the marmalade to form a nice glaze when it comes out of the oven. Dust lightly with icing sugar.

    To serve, cut into slices while still warm and arrange on warmed serving plates with pouring cream or ice cream.


    Nevens Recepies - 'Left overs' Turkey/Chicken Satay & Vegetable Noodles

    Left overs Turkey/ Chicken Satay Vegetable Noodles
    This recipe is great to use up any leftover turkey from Christmas Day.

    It packs a powerful flavour punch and is just the ticket after the excesses of the festive season. Stir-frying is a traditional Chinese cooking technique that's very easy to master.

    This recipe is great to use up any leftover turkey from Christmas Day. It packs a powerful flavour

    punch and is just the ticket after the excesses of the festive season. Stir-frying is a traditional

    Chinese cooking technique that’s very easy to master. To check if the vegetables are cooked,

    pierce them with the tip of a knife – they should feel as soft as butter.

    Serves 4–6


    275g (10oz) fine egg noodles

    1 tbsp sunflower oil

    1 large red pepper, halved, seeded and thinly sliced

    225g (8oz) fine green beans, trimmed and halved

    175g (6oz) baby corn, halved lengthways

    2 garlic cloves, crushed

    400g (14oz) can coconut milk

    350g (12oz) leftover cooked turkey meat, cut into bite-sized pieces

    100g (4oz) crunchy peanut butter

    2 tbsp dark soy sauce

    2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

    1 tsp light muscovado sugar

    juice of ½ lime

    50g (2oz) cashew nuts, toasted and finely chopped

    handful fresh coriander leaves, to garnish


    Place the fine egg noodles in a pan of boiling water and cook for 3–4 minutes, until tender, or

    according to the packet instructions.


    Heat a wok until very hot. Add the oil and swirl it around the edges, then tip in the red pepper,

    green beans, baby corn and garlic and stir-fry for 3–4 minutes, until the vegetables are tender,

    sprinkling over 1 tablespoon of water if the mixture is getting too dry.


    Drain the noodles and add to the wok with the coconut milk, turkey, peanut butter, soy sauce,

    chilli sauce, sugar and lime juice. Stir-fry for another 2–3 minutes, until all the ingredients are

    piping hot.


    To serve, divide among warmed serving bowls and scatter over the cashew nuts and coriander.



    Neven's Recipies - Maple Glazed Ham



    A traditional ham is the perfect choice if you’ve got hordes of visitors to feed, so it’s especially good to have over the festive period. A certain crowd pleaser, it tastes equally good served hot or cold. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between ham, bacon and gammon? Bacon is cured pork; gammon is a hind leg cut of bacon; and once gammon is cooked, it’s called ham. Any leftovers from this ham or a turkey can be used in countless other dishes, such as in a creamy filling for vol-au-vents, in risottos or just the ham is excellent for a spaghetti carbonara, so there’s no waste – even the bone will make a wonderful stock.


    Serves 10–12

    5.25kg (11lb) leg of gammon (on the bone and skin on)

    4 celery sticks, roughly chopped

    2 onions, sliced

    1 bunch of fresh thyme

    1 tbsp black peppercorns

    200ml (7fl oz) Irish whiskey

    200ml (7fl oz) maple syrup

    2 tbsp redcurrant jelly

    2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

    1 tbsp ground allspice

    1 tbsp whole cloves

    Pineapple salsa:

    1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm (½in) dice

    1 tbsp caster sugar

    1 small red onion, finely chopped

    finely grated rind and juice of 1 lime

    ½ large red chilli, seeded and finely chopped

    1 tbsp chopped fresh mint

    1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

    2 tsp freshly grated root ginger

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Although gammon is less salty nowadays, soaking is still a good idea. Place the gammon

    in a large pan and cover with cold water. Leave to soak for at least 6 hours or overnight is best, then drain.


    Weigh the gammon joint and calculate the cooking time, allowing 20 minutes per 450g

    (1lb) plus 20 minutes – a 5.25kg (11lb) joint should take about 4 hours. Place in a large pan, cover with water and bring to the boil, skimming off any scum. Add the celery, onions, thyme and peppercorns and return to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat and simmer until completely tender, occasionally skimming off any scum that rises to the top. If you aren’t sure the gammon is properly cooked, check the bone end – it should come away freely from the gammon joint. Drain and leave until it’s cool enough to handle.

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4).

    Carefully peel away the skin, leaving the layer of white fat intact. Using a sharp knife, score the fat diagonally to make a diamond pattern, being careful not to cut into the meat. Place the whiskey in a pan with the maple syrup, redcurrant jelly, balsamic vinegar and ground allspice. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Stud the ham with the cloves and place in a large roasting tin with a little water to prevent the bottom from catching and burning. Brush a layer of the syrup all over the ham, reserving the remainder. Cook for 1 hour, brushing over another layer of the glaze every 15 minutes, until it’s all gone. Remove the cooked ham from the oven, transfer to a serving platter and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

    Meanwhile, make the pineapple salsa. Mix the diced pineapple with the sugar. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a high heat, add the pineapple and cook quickly for about 2 minutes to lightly caramelise it. Tip into a bowl and add the onion, lime rind and juice, chilli, herbs and ginger. Season to taste and set aside to allow the flavours to develop.

    To serve, carve slices from one side of the ham, cutting diagonally to achieve an even thickness.

    When you reach the bone, insert the knife at a flatter angle and slice across the top of

    the bone. Turn over the leg to carve slices from the other sides. Arrange on serving plates with spoonfuls of the pineapple salsa.



    Neven's Recepies - Christmas Turkey

    If you want to be sure that your turkey is cooked, invest in a meat thermometer and push it into the thickest part of one of the thighs. This will then clearly show you when the turkey is cooked, leaving no doubt in your mind. Ask your butcher for the giblets with your turkey, as they make excellent stock. I always soak mine in cold water overnight to remove any impurities. Place them in a pan with a chopped carrot and onion, 6 whole peppercorns, 2 bay leaves and a sprig of thyme. Pour in 1.2 litres (2 pints) of water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer

    for 45 minutes. Strain and use as required.


    Serves 10–12

    6kg (13lb) oven-ready turkey, at room temperature(preferably free range)

    100g (4oz) butter, at room temperature

    1 tbsp plain flour

    3 tbsp ruby red port or red wine

    600ml (1 pint) turkey or chicken stock

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    small bunch of fresh herbs, to garnish (to include rosemary,sage and thyme)

    crispy roast potatoes to serve

    roasted root vegetables with sesame seeds ,to serve

    Brussels sprout crumble ,to serve

    Herb stuffing:

    75g (3oz) butter

    1 large onion, diced

    175g (6oz) fresh white breadcrumbs

    1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    1 tsp chopped fresh sage

    1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves

    Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5).

    To make the stuffing, melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, until softened but not coloured. Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and tip in the cooked onion and the parsley, sage and thyme. Mix well to combine and season to taste.

    To stuff the turkey, start at the neck end, where you’ll find a flap of loose skin. Gently loosen this away from the breast and you’ll be able to make a triangular pocket. Pack the stuffing inside as far as you can go and make a neat round shape on the outside, then tuck the neck flap under the turkey and secure it with a small skewer.

    Smear the skin of the turkey all over with most of the butter and season generously. Turn the turkey breast side up and tie the tops of the drumsticks with string. Weigh the turkey to calculate the required cooking time, allowing 20 minutes per 450g (1lb) plus 20 minutes extra – a 6kg (13lb) turkey should take about 4 hours 40 minutes to cook.

    Lay a large sheet of foil lengthways over a large roasting tin, leaving enough at each end to wrap over the turkey, then lightly butter the foil. Repeat this with another sheet of foil, this time across the tin. Lightly butter the foil once again. Place the stuffed turkey breast side up in the centre of the foil, then wrap loosely to enclose, allowing air to circulate around the turkey.

    Place in the oven and cook according to your calculated cooking time, carefully unwrapping and basting every 40 minutes. For the final hour, fold back the foil and use it to cover the ends of the drumsticks to prevent them from burning. Baste well and return to the oven. The turkey should be a rich, dark brown colour. To be sure it’s cooked, insert a fine skewer into the thickest part of the thigh: the juices should run clear, but if they are still pink, return the turkey to the oven and check again every 15 minutes until you are happy that the turkey is cooked right the way through. Remove from the oven and transfer to a warmed serving platter. Cover with foil and

    leave to rest in a warm place for at least 10 minutes, or up to 30 minutes is fine.

    Remove the foil from the roasting tin and pour any juices that collected in it into the tin. Place the tin directly on the hob over a gentle heat and skim off any excess fat from the cooking juices.

    Stir the flour into the tin’s residue. Cook on the hob for 1–2 minutes, stirring until golden. Pour in the port or red wine, stirring to combine, then gradually add the stock, stirring until smooth after each addition. Bring to the boil and let it bubble for about 10 minutes, until reduced and thickened to a gravy consistency, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.

    To serve, garnish the turkey with the bunch of herbs in the cavity and bring to the table. Carve into slices and arrange on warmed serving plates with some of the gravy, the roast potatoes, roasted root vegetables and Brussels sprout crumble.


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