Marian Finucane

    Saturday, Sunday, 11 - 1pm

    Food and drink

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    Summer Lunch for 4 for under €20

    1 large onion, with its skin, sliced

    2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm lengths

    2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

    1 sprig of thyme

    2 bay leaves

    stalks cut from 1 bunch of parsley

    Put the chicken into a large saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients and 2 litres of water. Cover, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.

    Turn of the heat and let the saucepan cool (if you have time). When its content are warm, but not scalding, remove the chicken and let it drain in a colander over a bowl. Put the chicken aside and pour the rest of the saucepan contents through the colander into a bowl. This liquid is no a superb chicken stock.

    Now, get the chicken gratin organised. You will need….

    PREPARING THE GRATIN:

    The chicken, skinned, meat removed from bones, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces.

    And the sauce, which goes like this.

    a knob of butter

    2 onions, finely chopped

    1 clove garlic, firmly squashed

    250g button mushrooms, sliced

    500ml double cream

    1 tsp – 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard (according to taste)

    salt

    pepper

    110g breadcrumbs

    50g Parmesan, grated

    Preheat the oven to 190ºC, gas mark 5.

    Melt the butter in the pan, add the onions and garlic; turn the heat down and cook gently until soft but not browning. Now add the mushrooms, turn up the heat and toss for 2 – 3 minutes.

    Add the cream and cook for 3 minutes or until the cream slightly thickens. Now add the mustard and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken, and allow to heat through. Season with salt and pepper, then pour into a shallow ovenproof dish. If the mixture is too thick or too dry, just add more cream or stock.

    Mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan together and sprinkle evenly over the top.

    When you’re ready, pop it into the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until browned and bubbling.

    MAKING THE WHOLE LEMON TART:

    Pastry:

    200g plain flour

    115g butter

    1 tbsp caster sugar

    Filling:

    1 egg

    2 unwaxed lemons

    300ml water

    2 eggs

    225g sugar

    Make the pastry. Put the flour into a mixing bowl and add the butter, cut into little cubes. With your fingers, mix the two together until it resembles sand. Stir in the caster sugar followed by the egg. Mix together and roll into a ball. If the mixture is too dry, add a teaspoon or two of water. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for an hour or, ideally, overnight.

    To make the filling, slice the lemons thinly, remove the pips and put into a saucepan with the water. Simmer, covered, for 30 – 40 minutes or until very tender. Uncover and when cool blitz in a food processor until quite smooth. Add the eggs and the sugar and pulse until thoroughly mixed.

    Take the pastry from the fridge, roll it out and line a 24 cm tart tin (ideally one with a removable bottom), cover with greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans or rice and bake for 10 minutes.

    Remove the greaseproof paper and the baking beans. Pour the filling into the case, reduce the oven temperature to 160ºC, gas mark 3.

    Bake the tart on the middle shelf for 30 – 40 minutes until the filling has risen and is just starting to colour.

    Remove from the oven and allow to cool. This tart is best served warm rather than hot or stone cold, with lightly whipped cream or some crème fraiche.

    MAKING THE SOUP:

    You will need: the stock from the chicken

    1 egg

    50g Serrano ham, cut into very fine ribbons

    leaves from the bunch of parsley

    salt

    pepper

    Hard-boil the egg. Boil the stock until reduced to about 1 litre. Meanwhile, shell and finely chop the egg. Chop the parsley finely (if you have a mezzaluna, use it). Now, add all of these ingredients to the stock, check the seasoning and divide between four bowls. Serve right away.

    Listen

    Tomás Clancy wine&Darina Allen chocolate cakes

    Tomás Clancy on Easter wines;

    Ksara Reserve du Couvent , Lebabon around €16.99 [ Beka Valley in Lebanon is the modern name for Cana (feast of same – water into wine ]

    Caves de Lugny AC Macon around €10.99 [Wine of St. Bernard and the Cistercians crucial to the evolution of modern wine]

    Mixing chocolate and wine:

    Sweeter Conventional ‘Irish’ milk chocolates

    Rancho Zabaco, Dancing Bull Zinfandel around €14.99 from Superquinn

    70- 85% Cocoa Artisan Chocolate

    Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port around €19.99

    Over 85% ‘European or Connoisseur Chocolates (Valrhona etc )

    Sweet Bordeaux or Botrytis wines (Sauternes of course but these are dear so try:) )

    Tesco Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux Blanc, 2006 around €8

    Papal wine:

    Pope Francis family are from Piedmont so Barolo and Asti Spumante are clear Papal wines, but obviously Mendoza Malbecs from Argentina will fit the bill too, but then there are crosses, wines like Masi Passo Doble and Altos Las Hormigas Malbec both joint ventures between Italy and Argentina using joint moneys and staff but above all the cultural and technical resources of each nation.

    TWO CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPES

    BALLYMALOE CHOCOLATE ALMOND GATEAU WITH CRYSTALLIZED VIOLETS

    One of several incredibly rich chocolate cakes, use the best chocolate you can buy, Valrhona, Menier, Suchard or Callebaut.

    Ingredients

    4 ozs (110g) best quality dark chocolate (We use Val Rhona chocolate)

    2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) Red Jamaica Rum

    4 ozs (110g/1 stick) butter, preferably unsalted

    4 ozs (110g/1/2 cup) castor sugar

    3 free-range eggs

    1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) castor sugar

    2 ozs (50g/scant 1/2 cup) plain white flour

    2 ozs (50g/scant 1/2 cup) whole almonds

    Chocolate Icing

    6 ozs (175g) best quality dark chocolate

    3 tablespoons (3 American tablespoons + 3 teaspoons) Red Jamaica Rum

    6 ozs (175g/1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

    Crystallized violets (see recipe further down), toasted almonds or praline

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4.

    Grease two 7 inch (18 cm) sandwich tins and line the base of each with greaseproof paper. Melt the chocolate with the rum on a very gentle heat, peel the almonds and grind in a liquidizer or food processor they should still be slightly gritty. Cream the butter, and then add the castor sugar, beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Add 1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) of castor sugar and continue to whisk until they reach the stiff peak stage. Add the melted chocolate to the butter and sugar mixture and then add the almonds. Stir in 1/4 of the egg white mixture followed by 1/4 of the sieved flour. Fold in the remaining eggs and flour alternatively until they have all been added.Divide between the two prepared tins and make a hollow in the centre of each cake.

    IMPORTANT: Cake should be slightly underdone in the centre. Sides should be cooked but the centre a little unset. Depending on oven it can take between 15 and 19 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes, then cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile make the chocolate butter icing.

    Chocolate Butter Icing

    Melt best quality chocolate with rum. Whisk in unsalted butter by the tablespoon. Beat occasionally until cool. (It may need to thicken again). When the cake is completely cold, fill and ice with the chocolate butter icing. Pipe the remaining icing around the top and decorate with crystallized violets or toasted flaked almonds.

    Crystallized Violets

    The art of crystallizing flowers simply takes patience and a meticulous nature - the sort of job that drives some people around the bend but others adore, if it appeals to you, the work will be well rewarded, they look and taste divine.

    What you will need

    freshly picked sweet smelling violets

    egg white

    castor sugar

    a child’s paint brush

    bakewell paper

    Method

    The castor ought to be absolutely dry, so for extra protection, sieve and dry out on a swiss roll tin in a low oven, 140°C/275°F/regulo 1 for approx. 30 minutes. Break the egg white slightly with a fork, it doesn’t need to be fluffy. Using a child’s paint brush, brush the egg white very carefully and sparingly over each petal and into every crevice. Then gently pour some castor sugar over the violet so that every part is coated with a thin sugary coating. Arrange the flower carefully on a bakewell paper lined tray, continue with the other violets. Allow to dry overnight in a warm dry place close to the aga or over a radiator. If properly crystallized these flowers will keep for months. We store them in a pottery jar or in a tin box interleaved with kitchen paper.

    AN EASTER CHOCOLATE CAKE

    This recipe given to me by my sister is my absolute favourite chocolate cake. It’s a bit of a mission to make but it so worth the effort.

    Serves 10 – 12

    Ingredients

    225g (8ozs) plain white flour

    pinch salt

    1/2 teaspoon bread soda

    2 level teaspoons baking power

    225ml (8fl ozs/1 cup) milk

    75g (3ozs) chocolate – we use 52% (Valrhona or Callebaut)

    150g (5ozs/1 1/4 sticks) butter

    275g (10ozs/1 1/4 cups) soft light brown sugar

    3 eggs, organic and free-range

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Filling

    200g (7ozs) plain chocolate - we use 52% (Valrhona or Callebaut)

    250g (9ozs/2 1/4 sticks) butter

    4 egg yolks

    150g (5ozs/generous 1 cup) icing sugar, sifted

    Chocolate Ganache

    150g (5ozs) plain chocolate, chopped – we use 52% (Valrhona or Callebaut)

    300ml (10fl ozs/1 1/4 cups) cream

    2 x 9 inch (23cm) tins

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

    Grease the tin with melted butter, dust with flour and line the base of each with a round of greaseproof paper.

    Put the milk and chopped chocolate into a saucepan, warm gently until the chocolate melts, allow to cool. Sieve the flour, salt, bread soda and baking power into a bowl. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, whisk the eggs with the vanilla extract, add to the creamed mixture bit by bit alternating with flour. Add the cool milk and chocolate and fold in the remaining flour. Divide between the two prepared tins. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes approximately. Allow to cool for a few minutes, turn out carefully and cool on a wire rack.

    Meanwhile make the filling.

    Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a Pyrex bowl over a saucepan of hot water. Allow to cool slightly

    In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter in a bowl for at least ten minutes at the highest setting until it is white and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and icing sugar. Beat vigorously for a further five minutes.

    When the butter mixture is thoroughly mixed, take 2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) of it and add slowly to the melted chocolate. Then slowly pour the melted chocolate down the side of the mixing bowl and fold in quickly and gently until fully combined and smooth.

    To make the chocolate ganache

    Put the chocolate in a large bowl. Bring the cream to the boil, pour over the chocolate and leave for 8-10 minutes or until cool. Then whisk the chocolate and cream gently until it reaches really soft peaks – careful not to overwhisk or it will be too stiff to spread and may turn into chocolate butter. (Use as soon as possible otherwise it will become too stiff to spread).

    To Assemble the Cake

    Split the cakes in half with a sharp serrated knife. Spread a little of the chocolate filling onto each cake and sandwich the base of the cakes together. Ice the cake with the chocolate ganache and decorate as desired. We use chocolate curls and dredge them with unsweetened cocoa and icing sugar.

     

     

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    Donal Skehan and Gerry Daly

    Chef Donal Skehan comes in to describe some delicious recipes that can be thrown together for one, with Gerry Daly giving us an update on making the best of your potato plants.

    Here's Donal's recipes:

    Donal Skehan – meals for one

    Flavour Bomb Salad

    Serves 2
    200g of halloumi cheese, cut into 1cm thick slices
    100g of chorizo, cut into chunky discs
    200g of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    1 tablespoon of olive oil
    1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
    1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
    1 baby gem lettuce
    1/2 red onion, finely sliced
    1 garlic clove, finely minced
    Juice of 1/2 lemon
    1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
    Sea salt and ground black pepper

    This really is a bit of a 'kitchen sink' salad to which you could add all sorts of extras into but there are some incredible flavours in there which work really well together. We actually had this with a poached egg this week, which was quite a nice extra!

    The Method

    Preheat the oven to 200°C.

    Toss the tomatoes in a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar and place on a roasting tray. Roast in the oven for about 35 minutes until they have reduced in size and become caramelised.

    Fry the chorizo in a dry frying pan over a high heat heat until sizzling and coloured.

    Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Save the oil the chorizo has produced in the pan.

    Squeeze in the lemon juice, add the cider vinegar, garlic, season with sea salt and ground black pepper and whisk to combine. Transfer to bowl and place the pan back over the heat.

    Add a drop of oil if required and then fry the halloumi slices on both sides until they have a nice golden colour.

    In a large bowl toss together the baby gem lettuce leaves with the dressing, chickpeas, chorizo and red onion and transfer to serving plates.

    Top with the halloumi slices and roasted cherry tomatoes and serve straight away.

    Donal, some people thing risotto is difficult to prepare – but not so, says you... and it’s adaptable?

    Risotto has to be one of the most adaptable little recipes to master and are a great way to use up vegetables.

    Wild Mushroom Risotto
    Friday, August 12, 2011

    Serves 4

    200g of Chanterelle mushrooms
    1 litre Chicken stock

    150g butter
    1 tablespoon of olive oil

    1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
    300g risotto rice
    75ml white wine
    150g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

    Extra virgin olive oil to serve

    This is my basic risotto recipe, which is essentially a blank canvas for any ingredients you want to add. Try mixing through roasted squash and crispy pancetta, or an Arrabiata sauce for a delicious alternative to mushrooms.

    The Method

    Fry the mushrooms in half the butter until slightly coloured. Allow any water from the mushrooms to fry off. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

    Pour the stock into a saucepan and simmer gently.

    Melt the remaining butter and the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and gently fry for about 10 minutes until softened. Add the rice and stir until it is coated.

    Pour in the white wine and let it bubble until nearly evaporated, then start adding the warm stock, about two ladlefuls at a time, allowing it to be absorbed before adding more. Continue to add the stock until the rice is tender and has a creamy coating. This should take about 15-20 minutes.

    Add the remaining butter, mushrooms and grated Parmesan cheese and gently stir though. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve immediately with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or truffle oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

    Pasta can be a staple if you’re cooking for one – but you’ve an alternative to the usual tomato sauce?

    One of the true skills of homecooking is using what you already have in the house. This dish uses up pasta and frozen peas and by buying a little smoked salmon you can really make a delicious meal.

    Creamy Salmon Tagliatelle with Garden Peas and Sundried Tomatoes
    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    Serves 4

    300g (11oz) tagliatelle
    2 tbsp olive oil

    2 handfuls of peas, fresh or frozen

    2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
    200g (7oz) low fat crème fraîche
    A good handful of fresh dill, chopped
    75g (3oz) sun-blushed tomatoes, roughly chopped
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    200g (7oz) sliced smoked salmon, cut into strips
    Juice of 1/2 lemon, to serve

    This is a great meal to throw together in just minutes and it’s really filling. You can pick up sun-blushed tomatoes in the supermarket. They are a much brighter colour than sun-dried tomatoes and a little less intense in flavour.

    Alternatively roast some halved cherry tomatoes with a little olive oil with sea salt and black pepper at about 200oC for about 40 minutes.

    The Method

    Cook the pasta in a large saucepan according to the instructions on the packet.

    In the last few minutes of the pasta cooking time, drop in the peas, then drain.

    Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the garlic and fry gently for 1 minute.

    Add the crème fraîche and heat through then add the dill, tomatoes and a good pinch of salt and black pepper and stir through.

    Finally add the salmon strips and hot tagliatelle and toss everything together until coated.

    Serve each portion with a generous squeeze of lemon juice.

    Donal, soup can be great for using up the vegetables that you didn’t finish during the week...

    Making soup doesn't get easier than this and best of all it uses up freezer ingredients and the leftovers themselves can then be frozen.

    Pea, Mint and Pancetta Soup
    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    Serves 4

    1 tablespoon of olive oil

    200g of pancetta pieces

    1 onion, roughly chopped

    1 clove of garlic

    2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

    1 litre of vegetable stock

    500g of frozen or fresh peas

    1 small bunch of mint, about a handful

    sea salt and ground black pepper to season

    Crème fraîche to serve

    A true classic, but it never fails to get me excited. The combination of mint and peas is unique and it’s a really fresh flavour for a soup in the summer. You can, of course, make this with frozen peas, and unless you can pick some from your own garden, the frozen pea route is actually the better option. I add pancetta to my soup for a salty kick. Serves four

    The Method

    Place a medium-sized pot over a high heat and fry the pancetta in a drop of olive oil for about 4 minutes until crispy. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

    You should be left with enough oil and pancetta fat in the pan, if not, add a little more olive oil and fry the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Then, add in the potato and vegetable stock. Bring to a steady simmer and cook until the potato is tender when pierced with a fork. It should take about 10 minutes.

    Add the peas and mint and simmer for a further 3-4 minutes. Then, blitz with a hand blender until smooth.

    Taste and season with sea salt and ground black pepper as required. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche and crispy pancetta pieces.

    See http://www.donalskehan.com/ for more.

     

    Listen

    Stylish and simple entertaining at home

    Neven Maguire joins us in studio with some delicious dinner ideas.

    Here's the recipes that he used;

     

     

    Stylish and simple entertaining at home

    STARTERS:

    SWEET POTATO, COCONUT AND GINGER SOUP

    Coconut milk is one of my favourite ingredients and it makes a fantastic creamy base for all the other robust flavours in this Asian-style soup. Choose firm sweet potatoes with orange flesh for their vibrant colour.

    Serves 4–6

    450g (1lb) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes

    2 tbsp rapeseed oil

    1 onion, finely chopped

    1 leek, trimmed and finely chopped

    1 lemon grass stalk, trimmed and halved

    1 red chilli, halved, seeded and thinly sliced

    1 tsp freshly grated root ginger

    1.25 litres (2 1/4 pints) vegetable stock or chicken stock

    4 tsp tomato purée

    400g can coconut milk(Thai Gold)

    1tbsp fresh basil

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

    Place the sweet potatoes in a baking tin, drizzle over 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil and roast for 20–30 minutes, until tender. Set aside.

    Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, leek, lemon grass, half the chilli and the ginger and sweat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the roasted sweet potato with the stock and tomato purée, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the liquid has slightly reduced and all the vegetables are completely tender.

    Pour the coconut milk into the pan, reserving about 3 tablespoons from the top of the can as a garnish, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Season to taste. Remove the lemon grass add the fresh basil and then blend with a hand blender until smooth.

    To serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls and swirl in the reserved coconut milk.

    COOK AHEAD

    This soup can be made up to 2–3 days in advance and kept covered in the fridge. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month but may need to be blitzed with a hand blender when reheating, as it may split.

    BALLYOAK SMOKED CHEESE IN KATAIFI PASTRY WITH SAUCE VIERGE

    The kataifi pastry is found in most Asian supermarkets in the frozen section. This recipe also works well with a good-quality Irish Brie cheese.

    Serves 4

    200g (7oz) frozen kataifi pastry

    2 tbsp plain flour

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    1 egg

    50ml (2fl oz) milk

    450g (1lb) smoked Ballyoak cheese

    groundnut oil, for deep-frying

    chilli jam , to serve

    Red pepper salsa, to serve

    lightly dressed mixed lettuce leaves, to serve

    Thaw the pastry while still in its plastic for a minimum of 2 hours before using. Once it’s thawed it will be soft and pliable and ready to use, but remember that you must keep it covered with a clean, damp tea towel when not in use.

    Place the flour in a shallow dish and season generously. Beat the egg with the milk and a pinch of salt in a separate shallow dish.

    Cut the cheese into 12 even-sized pieces, each one roughly the size of your thumb, then toss in the seasoned flour until lightly coated. Dip briefly in the egg wash. To wrap the cheese, lay about 10g (1/4oz) of the kataifi pastry in a rectangle on a board. Sit a cheese wedge across the width at the end closest to you, then roll it up away from you to completely enclose it. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper well spaced apart so that they don’t get tangled up and cover with clingfilm. Chill until ready to use.

    Just before serving, heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or a deep-sided pan to 160°C (325°F). Cook the coated cheese wedges in batches for about 3 minutes, turning halfway through, until crisp and golden brown and the cheese is warmed through. Drain on kitchen paper.

    To serve, place 3 pieces of crispy cheese on each plate. Spoon a little chilli jam to the other side with a little of the red pepper salsa alongside. On the third part of the plate, arrange a small pile of dressed lettuce leaves.

    COOK AHEAD

    The cheese can be wrapped in the pastry up to 24 hours in advance and kept in the fridge.

    Red pepper salsa

    Makes about 175ml (6fl oz)

    1 tbsp extra virgin lemon olive oil (shop bought)

    1 small red onion, finely diced

    1 small roasted red pepper, finely diced (from a jar is fine)

    5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    1 tbsp white wine vinegar

    finely grated rind of 1/2 lemon

    2 tsp caster sugar

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    2 tsp snipped fresh chives

    1 tsp chopped fresh basil

    lightly dressed mixed salad leaves, to serve

    Warm the lemon oil in a small pan. Gently fry the onion and roasted pepper for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the olive oil and vinegar, then add the lemon rind and sugar. Cook for another 2–3 minutes, until bubbling and warmed through. Season to taste and stir in the herbs. Keep warm and use as required.

    COOK AHEAD

    This will keep up to 1 week in the fridge in a rigid plastic container.

    MAINS:

    Beef Bourguignon

    The easiest way to peel shallots is to place them in a heatproof bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then drain-they now should then be much easier to peel.

    Serves 4-6

    2 tbsp rapeseed oil

    25g (1oz) butter

    25g (1oz) plain flour

    1kg (2 1/4lb)diced beef from your local craft butcher

    225g (8oz) baby shallots, peeled and halved (keeping roots intact)

    100g (4oz) rindless smoked bacon, finely chopped

    1 garlic clove, crushed

    1 tbsp tomato puree

    300ml (1/2 pint) red wine

    900ml (1 1/2 pints) beef stock

    1 bay leaf

    1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

    100g (4oz) carrots, diced

    75g 3oz) button mushrooms, wiped clean

    salt and freshly ground black pepper

    pomme puree, to serve

    chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

    Preheat the oven to 180C (350F), Gas mark 4. Heat the 1 tablespoon of oil and half the butter in a heavy based casserole with a lid. Season the flour and place in a shallow bowl. Use to lightly dust the beef, shaking off any excess, then add to the heated casserole in small batches and cook over a high heat for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate until all of the meat has been sealed, then set aside.

    Add the remaining oil and butter with the shallots to the casserole with the smoked bacon and cook for 2-3 minutes until the shallots are lightly browned and the bacon is golden, stirring and adding the garlic for the last 30 seconds. Pour the red wine in and allow to bubble down a little for 1-2 minutes, while scraping the sediment from the bottom, then stir in the beef stock and tomato puree. Return the meat and juices to the casserole and bring to the boil, then add the thyme and bay leaves. Season to taste, cover with the lid and transfer to the oven for 2 hours until the beef is almost tender and cooked through.

    Remove the casserole from the oven. Stir in the carrots and mushrooms and return to the oven to cook for another 30 minutes or until the beef and vegetables are completely tender. Season to taste.

    Spoon pomme puree into the centre of wide-rimmed bowls and spoon the beef Bourguignon on top. Garnish with the parsley and serve at once.

    Gratin of hake with prawns, spinach and pesto

    It might seem like there is an overload of basil in this dish, but it gives the perfect contrast to the fish. Like most recipes using hake, our can replace it with other round white fish such as cod or haddock.

    Serves 4

    4 x 175g (6oz) hake fillets, pin boned and scaled

    16 raw Dublin Bay Prawns, peeled and veins removed

    125g (4 1/2oz) Mozzarella cheese, grated

    4tsp chilli jam or sweet chilli sauce

    4 tbsp chopped fresh basil

    4 tbsp pesto

    FOR THE SPINACH

    225g (8oz) spinach, washed and stalks removed

    50g (2oz) 2oz butter

    1 pinch caster sugar

    Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Preheat the oven to 180C (350F), Gas 4. Place the hake on a baking sheet lined with non-stick parchment paper, season and carefully arrange the prawns on top. Sprinkle over the basil and then drizzle the chilli jam or sauce on top. Scatter over the mozzarella and season to taste. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

    To sauté the spinach, heat a pan 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.

    To serve, place a pile of the sautéed spinach in centre of each plate and using a fish slice, carefully arrange gratin of hake on top. Drizzle around the pesto.

    DESSERTS

    Chocolate brownie with fudge sauce and caramelised pecans

    These are intensely chocolaty brownies that get smothered in a rich fudge sauce that is flavoured with – you’ve guessed it more chocolate! If the brownies have gone cold and you want to heat them up in a hurry. Pour over some of the fudge sauce and flash under a hot grill until bubbling.

    Serves 8-10

    225g (8oz) butter

    275g (10oz) caster sugar

    100g (4oz) pecan nuts, roughly chopped

    275g (10oz) plain chocolate, finely chopped (at least 70% cocoa solids)

    4 eggs

    100g (4oz) self-raising flour

    75g (3oz) cocoa powder

    FOR THE FUDGE SAUCE

    150ml (1/4 pint) double cream

    25g (1oz) caster sugar

    25g (1oz) butter

    175g (6oz) plain chocolate, finely chopped (at least 70% cocoa solids)

    vanilla ice cream or softly whipped cream, to serve

    Preheat the oven to 170C (325F), Gas mark 3. Place 25g (1oz) of the butter and 25g (1oz) of the sugar in a small heavy-based pan with the pecan nuts. Cook over a low heat for 4-5 minutes until the pecan nuts are lightly toasted and caramelised. Spread out on to a baking sheet lined with non-stick parchment paper and leave to cool before breaking up a little.

    Place 100g (4oz) of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl with the remaining butter and set a pan of simmering water until melted, then stir to combine. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little.

    Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a bowl until stiff and holding their shape, then whisk in the remaining sugar until you have achieved a stiff sabayon that can hold a trail of the figure eight. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the sabayon and gently fold in. Add the melted cooled chocolate mixture with the remaining finely chopped chocolate and the caramelised pecan nuts and continue folding gently until all the ingredients are just combined.

    Pour the chocolate mixture into a deep-sided baking tin that is about 30cm (12in) x 23cm (9in) and at least 5cm (2in) deep and that has been lined non-stick parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes and then turn the tin around and bake for another 10 minutes until the top is crusty but the centre is still a little soft.

    If serving warm about 10 minutes before the end of the brownie cooking time make the fudge sauce. Place the cream in a pan with the sugar and butter and bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 4-5 minutes until thickened and beginning to become syrupy, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from catching. Remove from heat and leave to cool a little.

    Meanwhile, place the chocolate for the sauce in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until melted. Whisk into the sauce until smooth and well combined. This is ready to serve warm or transfer to a bowl and leave to cool completely, then cover with clingfilm and keep in the fridge until needed. It should keep happily for up to one week.

    Remove the brownies from the oven and leave to cool slightly before lifting out of the tin with the parchment paper. If serving warm cut into portions or leave to cool completely and serve cut into portions when cold. To reheat the fudge sauce transfer to a pan and gently heat through, or pierce the clingfilm and heat in the microwave. Arrange the warm or cold brownies on plates with the hot fudge sauce and scoops of the ice cream or whipped cream to serve.

    Darina Allen's marmalade

    Darina Allen from Ballymaloe comes on the line to tell us about her very special marmalade!

    Darina Allen’s Old Fashioned Seville Orange Marmalade

    Seville and Malaga oranges come into the shops after Christmas and are around for 4-5 weeks, these bitter oranges are traditionally used for marmalade.

    Makes approx. 7 lbs (3.2kg)

    2 lbs (900g) Seville Oranges

    4 pints (2.3L/10 cups) water

    1 lemon

    4 lbs (1.8kg/8 cups) granulated sugar

    Wash the fruit, cut in half and squeeze out the juice. Remove the membrane with a spoon, put with the pips and tie them in a piece of muslin. Slice the peel finely or coarsely, depending on how you like your marmalade. Put the peel, orange and lemon juice, bag of pips and water into a non-reactive bowl or saucepan overnight.

     

    Next day, bring everything to the boil and simmer gently for about 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 until all the sugar has been dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to a full rolling boil rapidly until setting point is reached 5-10 minutes approx. Test for a set, either with a sugar thermometer (it should register 220F), or with a saucer. Put a little marmalade on a cold saucer and cool for a few minutes. If it wrinkles when you push it with your finger, it's done.

    Allow marmalade to sit in the saucepan for 15 minutes before bottling to prevent the peel from floating. Pot into hot sterilized jars. Cover immediately and store in a cool dry dark place.

    N.B. The peel must be absolutely soft before the sugar is added, otherwise when the sugar is added it will become very hard and no amount of boiling will soften it.

    Whiskey Marmalade

    Add 6 tablespoons (8 American tablespoons) of whiskey to the cooking marmalade just before potting.

    11/1/2013 (CS/DA) (16063)

    The afternoon cookery demonstrations at the Ballymaloe Cookery School are open to the public daily Monay-Friday. Tel: 021 4646785 or www.cookingisfun.ie

    Chef Donal Skehan - How not to waste leaves and herbs...

    If you end up with leftover herbs, finely chop them and divide them in ice cube trays with a little olive oil. Add to soups or risottos to finish.

    My big tip on this front is to grow your own. It is incredibly easy to do even in small spaces. Salad leaves and herbs are at their freshest picked from the garden.

    Listen

    Chef Donal Skehan - How not to waste bread...

    Bread – be it stale or nearly stale – often ends up in people’s bins...

    My favourite ways of using up stale bread is for Bread and butter pudding, Ribollita (an Italian peasant soup which uses the stale bread to thicken it), also ideal for whizzing up in a blender to breadcrumbs, which can be frozen in resealable bags, for use in stuffing, crusts for meat and fish. Or best of all fried in a little olive oil with herbs and garlic to be sprinkled over freshly cooked pasta. (pangratatto).

    I also freeze bread I know I'm going to toast. You pop frozen slices in the toaster.

     

    Pangratto Recipe – for sprinkling over freshly cooked pasta

    Ingredients:
    2–3 chunky pieces of stale wholemeal bread
    1 garlic clove
    1 red chilli deseeded and finely chopped
    1 sprig of fresh rosemary
    a good glug of olive oil.

    Instructions:
    For the pangrattato, give the bread and garlic a quick whizz in a food processor so you have breadcrumbs with a bit of texture.

    In a large frying pan heat a generous glug of olive oil until hot. Add the whole rosemary sprig and the chilli, and fry for about 1–2 minutes.

    Add the breadcrumbs and continue to cook for a couple of minutes until they become crisp and golden. Set aside on a plate on a sheet of kitchen paper, which will soak up any excess oil and leave the savoury crumbs nice and crispy. Discard the rosemary sprig.

    Chef Donal Skehan - How not to waste fruit...

    Sometimes we buy too much fruit and by the time we get around to eating it we turn our noses up at it..because the bananas are over ripe, the apples too soft and the oranges have faded....what can we recreate with these fruits?

    Old, soft, chalky apples...you bought too many and the ones in the fruit bowl have been there for so long they no longer look too appetizing.
    Again baking is an ideal use for them, lots of recipes, apple and maple cake. Otherwise make a wonderful juice alongside ginger and carrots.

    Tip for lemons, oranges or limes that are not good enough to eat.

    You can freeze both the zest and juice and use them at a later date.

    Over Ripe Bananas
    Over ripe bananas are great for baking eg banana bread but if you are not ready to bake with straight away, can be mashed with a fork and placed in a freezer bag and stored in freezer.

    Old bananas are also perfect for smoothies - blitzed with apple juice and frozen berries.

    Sticky Toffee Banana Pudding with a salted caramel sauce

     

    Ingredients:
    175g stoned dates (chopped)
    160 g butter (plus extra for greasing)
    190 g soft light brown sugar
    2 large free-range eggs
    1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    200 g (7oz) self-raising flour
    2 bananas, mashed
    1 tsp vanilla extract

    For the caramel sauce:
    100 g (31⁄2 oz) butter
    150 g (5oz) soft dark brown sugar
    3 tblsp golden syrup
    150 ml (5fl oz) double cream
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    generous pinch of sea salt

    Instructions:

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Grease 10 small pudding moulds and divide them between two baking sheets.

    Put the dates and 300ml (101?2 fl oz) water in a saucepan and place over a medium–high heat. Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half and the dates have completely softened.

    Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer until light and pale. Add one egg at a time, mixing after each addition, until they are incorporated. (If you add the eggs all at once, the mixture can split.)

    Blitz the dates with a hand blender while still hot, until smooth, then stir through the bicarbonate of soda. Fold the date mixture, flour, bananas and vanilla extract into the pudding mixture until you have a smooth batter. Divide the mixture between the six moulds and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes.

    Meanwhile, make the salted caramel sauce. Place the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cream, vanilla extract and salt and whisk together. Bring to a steady simmer for 3 minutes until the sauce is sticky and thick.

    Insert a metal skewer into the centre of one of the puddings; if it comes out clean, the puddings are ready. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before inverting them onto serving plates.

    Serve covered in the hot salted caramel sauce.

    Baking Tip - Butter wrappers - Pop these straight in the freezer, you can use them straight out of the freezer to grease tins for baking.

    Chef Donal Skehan - How not to waste eggs...

    Sometimes we don’t get to finish all the eggs in the box....any tips on what to do with those nearing their use by date?

    Older eggs are good for turning into hard boiled eggs because older eggs are easier to peel than fresher ones. They are perfect for salads or sandwiches.

    Fresher eggs are perfect for poaching.

    Egg whites freeze brilliantly and are perfect for use in meringues. Again you can use ice cube trick. Just leave to come to room temperature and they are ready for use.

    Egg yolks can be used for sauces, dressings, carbonara, mayonaise.

    Mayonaise will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge but as with everything best eaten there and then.

    This mayo recipe makes enough for four people.

    Ingredients:
    1 egg yolk
    1/2 tsp dijon mustard
    2 tsp white wine vinegar
    a pinch of sea salt
    100ml (4fl oz) sunflower oil/ 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    Place the egg yolk, mustard, vinegar and salt in a clean bowl. Pour the oils into a measuring jug that is easy to pour from. Steady the bowl by placing on a damp tea towel as both hands will be occupied. With a large whisk in one hand and the jug of oil in the other, start to whisk the contents of the bowl, adding the oil drop by drop to start with. Be careful not to add too much oil too quickly as this may result in the mixture splitting. You can increase the oil to a thin stream once the mayonnaise starts to thicken. Be patient!

    Keep whisking until you have added all the oil and the mayonnaise is thick.

    Marian Finucane

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