Some easy, light, summery suggestions for food and drink from Darina Allen of the Ballymaloe Cookery School and Tomas Clancy, Wine Correspondent for the Sunday Business Post.
Locally Smoked Fish with Horseradish Sauce and Sweet Dill Mayonnaise
A selection of smoked fish - smoked salmon, smoked mussels, smoked mackerel, smoked trout, smoked eel, smoked tuna, smoked hake and smoked sprats.
First make the horseradish cream and sweet dill mayonnaise.
Slice the smoked salmon into thin slices down onto the skin, allow 1 slice per person. Cut the mackerel into diamond shaped pieces, divide the trout into large flakes. Skin and slice the eel. Thinly slice the tuna and hake.
Choose four large white plates, drizzle each plate with sweet dill mayonnaise, divide the smoked fish between the plates. Arrange appetizingly, put a blob of horseradish sauce and cucumber pickle on each plate. Garnish with a lemon wedge and sprigs of watercress or rocket leaves.
Occasionally we serve just three different types of smoked fish, for example salmon, mussels and trout on tiny rounds of Ballymaloe Brown Yeast Bread topped with a little frill of fresh Lollo Rosso. A little blob of cucumber pickle goes with the smoked salmon, while a blob of homemade mayonnaise is delicious with marinated smoked mussels and a blob of horseradish cream and a sprig of watercress complements the pink smoked trout. These three delicious morsels make a perfect light starter.
This is a fairly mild sauce. If you want to really clear the sinuses, increase the amount of horseradish! Serve with roast beef, smoked venison or smoked mackerel.
Serves 8 - 10
3 - 6 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
225ml (8fl oz) softly whipped cream
Put the grated horseradish into a bowl with the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard powder, salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar. Fold in the softly whipped cream but do not over mix or it will curdle. The sauce keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days, covered, so that it doesn’t pick up other flavours.
Sweet Dill Mayonnaise
1 large egg yolk, preferably free range
2 tablespoons French mustard
1 tablespoon white sugar
150ml (5fl oz) ground nut or sunflower
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
Whisk the egg yolk with the mustard and sugar, drip in the oil drop by drop whisking all the time, then add the vinegar and fresh dill.
1kg (2lb 4 oz) thinly sliced unpeeled cucumber
3 small onions thinly sliced
225g (8oz) sugar
2 level tablespoons salt
225ml (8fl oz) cider vinegar
Combine the cucumber and onion sliced in a large bowl. Mix the sugar, salt and vinegar together and pour over cucumbers. Place in a tightly covered container in refrigerator and leave for at least 4-5 hours or overnight before using.
Keeps well for up to a week in the refrigerator.
Frittata with Oven Roasted Tomatoes, Chorizo and Ardsallagh Goat's Cheese
Frittata is an Italian omelette. Kuku and Spanish tortilla all sounds much more exciting than a flat omelette although that is basically what they are. Unlike their soft and creamy French cousin, these omelettes are cooked slowly over a very low heat during which time you can be whipping up a delicious salad to accompany it! A frittata is cooked gently on both sides and cut into wedges like a piece of cake. Omit the tomato and you have a basic recipe, flavoured with grated cheese and a generous sprinkling of herbs. Like the omelette, though, you’ll occasionally want to add some tasty morsels however, to ring the changes perhaps some spinach, ruby chard, Calabreze, asparagus, smoked mackerel, etc. The list is endless but be careful don’t use it as a dustbin - think about the combination of flavours before you empty your fridge!
450g (1lb) ripe or sun-blushed tomatoes, preferably cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 large eggs, preferably free range and organic
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
4 teaspoons thyme leaves
2 tablespoons basil, mint or marjoram
110-175g (4-6oz) chorizo, thickly sliced, cut into four
40g (1 1/2ozs) Parmesan cheese, grated
25g (1oz/1/4 stick) butter
110g (4oz) soft goat’s cheese (We use Ardsallagh goat cheese)
extra virgin olive oil
Non-stick pan 10cm (7 1/2in) bottom, 23cm (9in) top rim
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
Cut the tomatoes in half around the equator season with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Arrange in a single layer in a non-stick roasting tin. Roast for 10-15 or until almost soft and slightly crinkly. Remove from the heat and cool. Alternatively use sun-blushed tomatoes.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl, add the salt, freshly ground pepper, fresh herbs, chorizo and grated cheese into the eggs. Add the tomatoes, stir gently. Melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan. When the butter starts to foam, tip in the eggs. Turn down the heat, as low as it will go. Divide the cheese into walnut sized pieces and drop gently into the frittata at regular intervals. Leave the eggs to cook gently for 15 minutes on a heat diffuser mat, or until the underneath is set. The top should still be slightly runny.
Preheat a grill. Pop the pan under the grill for 1 minute to set and barely brown the surface.
Slide the frittata onto a warm plate. Serve cut in wedges with a good green salad and perhaps a few olives. Alternatively put the pan into a preheated oven 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3. Alternatively cook mini frittata in muffin tins (for approximately 15 minutes). Serve with a good green salad.
Variation: For a yummy vegetarian alternative omit the chorizo and add 110g (4oz) grated Gruyère cheese to add extra zizz.
Top Tip: The size of the pan is very important, the frittata should be at least 3 cm (1 1/4 inches) thick. If the only pan available is larger, adjust the number of eggs, etc.
1/2 x recipe makes 1 x 20.5cm (8 inch) frittata in a non-stick pan.
Ballymaloe Cheese Biscuits
We serve these biscuits with our Irish farmhouse cheese trolley in the restaurant. They keep for several weeks in an airtight tin and also freeze well.
Makes 25-30 biscuits
110g (4oz) brown wholemeal flour
110g (4oz) white flour, preferably unbleached
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
25g (1oz) butter
1 tablespoon cream
Water as needed, 5 tablespoons approximately
Mix the brown and white flour together and add the salt and baking powder. Rub in the butter and moisten with cream and enough water to make a firm dough.
Roll out very thinly to one-sixteenth inch thick approx. Prick with a fork. Cut with 6.5-7.5cm (2 1/2-3 inches) round cutter. Bake at 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2 for 45 minutes approx. or until lightly browned and quite crisp. Cool on a wire rack.
Tomas has been going through the lighter drinks choices for us.....
Homemade Elderflower Lemonade
225ml (8fl oz) elderflower syrup (see recipe)
750ml (1 1/4 pints) water
Juice the lemons. Add the syrup and water. Mix and taste. Add ice and elderflowers to garnish.
Makes 400ml (14fl oz)
225g (8oz) sugar
300ml (10fl oz) water
20 elderflower heads
To make the stock syrup: Put the sugar, water and elderflowers into a saucepan. Bring to the boil. Boil for 2 minutes then allow it to cool. Store in the fridge until needed.
Tomas Clancy, the Wine Correspondent of the Sunday Business Post gives the following recommendations for summer drinks
Light Sparkling Treats
Coconova Carnival Sparkling Moscato, Brazil, NV - €14.99 (Marks & Spencer, nationwide)
Lidl, Cremant D’Alsace Brut NV - €12.99 (Lidl, nationwide)
Brancott Estate Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand - around €21.99 (but on sale at €19.99 during June in Tesco Supermarkets nationwide )
Wayward & Light
Portico Da Ria, Albarino, DO Rias Baixas 2011 - €13.99 (SuperValu nationwide )
Itsas Mendi, 100% Hondarrabi Zuri, Bizkaiko Txakolina 2012 (Celtic Whiskey Shop, Dawson Street & selected Independent Off Licences nationwide)
Tangy, Zesty & Light
Brancott Estate, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2013 - €10 ( Dunnes Stores nationwide )
Domaine Jacky Marteau, Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, AC Touraine 2013 - €13.99 (Marks & Spencer nationwide)
L’Ostal Cazes, Rose Blend, Grenache Syrah, Languedoc 2013 - €14.49 ( O’Briens Wines nationwide & they are on a buy one get a second one, half price in June )
Langlois-Chateau, Langlois Rose, AC Cabernet d' Anjou 2013 - €14.49 ( O’Briens Wines nationwide)
Artisan Irish Cider
(Widely available in all good Off Licences and Supermarkets Nationwide )
Cragies Ballyhook Irish Cider
Double LL Real Cider, Bone Dry
Orpens Original handcrafted Irish Cider
Longueville House Cider
All around €4.50 to €6 a bottle, but bottles vary in size quite a bit in cider sales, with even some in Champagne style bottles complete with wired in cork. These larger, 75cl bottle will be commensurately dearer.
Artisan Irish Beer
(Widely available in all good Off Licences and Supermarkets Nationwide )
O’Hara’s Irish Pale Ale around €2.99
8 Degrees Sunburnt Irish Red around €3.25
Galway Hooker Pale Ale around €3.25
A Quick Cocktail
The Hennessey Ginger - Mint, Ginger Ale and Hennessey Fine de Cognac
Quick, refreshing and delicious BBQ & Summer’s day Cocktail
It is an instant stand by cocktail because it requires the least well packed fridge or kitchen and is almost foolproof in its construction.
First, get hold of the Cognac, I like the floral, mildly toffee and caramel tones of Hennessey Fine DE Cognac, but any Cognac you have about the house will do. I have also tried this with the new Teeling Single Grain Irish Whiskey and Redbreast 12 Year Old Irish Whiskey and it works very well with both, being slightly sweeter and smoother iterations of Irish whiskey.
So, with the spirit got, you need, fresh mint leaves, every supermarket, green grocer and many local supermarkets will have the small inexpensive plant in their store next to the leaf and salad section, during the summer. Thirdly you need a bottle of Ginger Beer or Ginger Ale. Then you need some limes and lastly a bag of ice from your fridge or don’t forget that most Off Licences and supermarkets are selling ice for a couple of euros a bag these days.
Cut two or three limes into slices, then half them. Squeeze the other limes.
Pull a few mint leaves and tear them in to fingertip sized pieces, you are looking to get the fragrance.
Put a few of the pulled mint leaves into a squat tumbler style glass, crush ice and put in a large serving spoon full, pour in a thimble full of the lime juice, muddle or mix the contents, pour in a measure of the Cognac, stir and fill up the glass with the ginger beer.
Take the halved lime and a full mint leaf and pop those on top as a garnish, add straw and sun. Simply gorgeous
Hennessey Fine de Cognac (or perhaps try it with any smoother Irish whiskey too )