Marian Finucane

Marian Finucane

Saturday, Sunday, 11 - 1pm

Food and drink

Saturday 2nd January

Healthy Eating and Asian Cooking

With the start of the New Year, minds naturally turn to dieting and detoxing...

With that in mind Sarah Keogh from Dublin’s EatWell Clinic and Jordan Bourke, Chef and ‘Food Stylist’ based in London, are in studio with advice and tips. Jordan specialises in Korean/Asian cookery and some of his recipes are listed below. You can read a full rundown of all the main Korean ingredients on:


400g short-grain white rice

Marinated beef

300g beef sirloin, very thinly sliced

2½ tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp roast sesame seed oil

3 garlic cloves, crushed

3 spring onions, very finely chopped

½ tsp ground black pepper


150g carrots, cut into very thin strips

300g courgette, quartered lengthways and thinly sliced

150g cucumber, halved lengthways, deseeded and thinly sliced

150g daikon radish, peeled cut into thin strips

150g bean sprouts

200g shitake mushrooms, sliced

300g spinach

4 eggs

sunflower or vegetable oil, to fry

soy sauce, to season

roasted sesame seed oil, to season

toasted sesame seeds, to serve

few leaves of salad cress, to serve

Gochujang sauce

3 tbsp gochujang chilli paste

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp roasted sesame seed oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbsp sugar or maple syrup

Serves 4

In a bowl combine together all the sauce ingredients and set to one side. In another bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the beef marinade, add the sliced beef, cover and set aside for 30–60 minutes. Cook the rice according to the packet instructions. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, fill a large pan with water and bring it to a rolling boil. One by one, blanch the carrots, courgette, cucumber and radish for 1 minute and the beansprouts for 2½ minutes. Use a slotted spoon or sieve to remove them from the water, drain fully. Season each vegetable with ½ teaspoon roasted sesame seed oil and soy sauce, keeping the vegetables separate at all times.

Heat 1 tablespoon sunflower oil in a pan. Add in the mushrooms and stir-fry over a high heat for 4–5 minutes until softened. Remove from the pan and season with ½ teaspoon roasted sesame seed oil and soy sauce. In the same pan, add in the spinach and sprinkle over 2 teaspoons water. Fry over a high heat for a few minutes, stirring all the time, until the spinach has wilted. Remove the spinach from the pan, squeeze out any excess water and season as before with the ½ teaspoon roasted sesame seed oil and soy sauce. In Korea, these vegetables are served at room temperature so don’t worry about keeping them warm. In the same pan, add the marinated beef. Stir-fry over a very high heat for 3–5 minutes, until the sauce has reduced a little and the meat is cooked through.

In a clean frying pan, fry the eggs to your liking.

Serve the hot rice in four individual bowls; place one egg onto the centre of the rice, then arrange the vegetables and meat around it. Sprinkle over some sesame seeds and salad cress and serve immediately with the gochujang sauce. Start with a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce and mix everything together well. Add more gochujang sauce to taste.

Chicken, Vegetable & Noodle Hotpot

The Korean sweet potato glass noodles are the absolute making of this dish. They have a rather unique springy texture that soak up all the wonderful flavours in the hotpot, and so for this reason we wouldn’t recommend substituting them for another kind of noodle. They are easy to find in Asian supermarkets or online, and they have a very long shelf life so you can buy a few packets to have on hand for when you need them. They are also used to make the jap chae noodle dish on page xx.

120g sweet potato glass noodles (dang myeon)

2 tbsp vegetable oil

800g chicken, cut of your choice – thighs, wings, drumsticks

2 medium potatoes, cut into bite-size chunks

1 large carrot, cut into bite-size chunks

1 large onion, cut into bite-size chunks

2 whole dried chillies (optional)

6 garlic cloves, crushed

4cm piece of ginger, very finely grated

½ red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced

½ green chilli, deseeded and finely sliced

2 spring onions, sliced thinly or sliced into very thin 5cm lengths and soaked in cold water until they curl up


5 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp mirin

1 tbsp honey

1½ tbsp roasted sesame seed oil

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

700ml chicken stock or water

Serves 4–6

Put the noodles into a bowl and cover with water. Leave to soak.

Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy-based pan with a lid over a high heat. Add the chicken and fry for 3–4 minutes on all sides, or until golden brown. Remove from the pan, then add the potatoes, carrot, onion and, if using, dried chillies and cook for 4 minutes, stirring now and again. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute. Return the chicken to the pan together with all of the sauce ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the temperature a little and simmer for 15 minutes.

Drain the noodles from their soaking water and add them to the pan with the chicken. Put the lid on and simmer for another 5 minutes until the chicken, vegetables and noodles are cooked through.

Serve up in bowls with the sliced chillies and drained spring onions scattered over.

Pan-fried King Prawns

You can fling this together in minutes, and it can be served on its own as a starter, or as a side dish. We have used shelled prawns here for speed, but you could also cook them with the shell on if you prefer to serve them whole. Tiger prawns and langoustines also work well and make for a more elegant affair.

1 garlic clove, crushed

½cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated

2 tsp soy sauce

2 tsp roasted sesame seed oil

1 tsp honey

1 tsp vegetable oil

150g king prawns, shelled

1 spring onion, thinly sliced

2 tsp roasted pine nuts, roughly chopped

Serves 2

In a bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame seed oil and honey. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over a high heat. When very hot, add in the prawns and cook for 1minute, then turn over, add in the sauce and fry for another minute until cooked through.

Remove to a plate, sprinkle over the sliced spring onion and chopped pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Beef & Vegetables with Sesame Glass Noodles

Easily one of the most popular noodle dishes in Korea, it is quick to make, healthy and packed full of flavour from the soy sauce and sesame soaked noodles. Traditionally, this is eaten on holidays and special occasions, but you will find it in practically every Korean restaurant these days. The Korean glass noodles used here are made from sweet potato starch, and have a delicious chewiness to them, but you could also use any glass noodle available in your local supermarket.

4 tbsp soy sauce, plus extra for drizzling

1 tbsp roasted sesame seed oil, plus extra for drizzling

1 tbsp honey or maple syrup

large pinch of black pepper

3 garlic cloves, crushed

150g beef, very thinly sliced

1 egg, beaten and seasoned with a pinch of sea salt

200g spinach

10 shitake mushrooms, sliced thinly

200g carrots, sliced into thin julienne strips

½ onion, sliced thinly

240g sweet potato glass noodles (dang-myeon, page xx) or glass noodles

1 tsp black or toasted white sesame seeds

1 red chilli, thinly sliced to garnish (optional)

sunflower oil, for frying

Serves 4–6

In a bowl mix together the soy sauce, sesame seed oil, honey, pepper and garlic. Place 2 tablespoons of the mixture with the sliced beef in a separate bowl, combine and leave to marinate for at least 15 minutes. Set aside the remaining mixed sauce. In the meantime, add a drizzle of sunflower oil to a frying pan and place over a medium heat. Add the beaten egg and fry gently for a couple of minutes on each side, until set, taking care not to colour too much. Remove from the pan and cool, then slice into three equal lengths, lay each one on top of the other and cut into julienne strips. Set aside.

Rinse the spinach, then put straight into a large empty pan on a high heat. Turn the spinach as it wilts down, this will only take a couple of minutes. Transfer the spinach to a sieve and gently press the remaining water out of it, then place on a plate while still warm and season with ½ tsp each of sesame seed oil and soy sauce. Set aside.

In the same pan, add in 1 tablespoon sunflower oil and stir-fry the mushrooms, carrots and onions over a high heat for 3–4 minutes, until slightly softened but not coloured. Remove from the heat and season with 1 teaspoon each of soy sauce and sesame seed oil. Finally add in the beef and fry over a high heat for 2–3 minutes until cooked.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the noodles and cook for 7–8 minutes until tender. Drain the noodles fully and then return to the pan with the remaining mixed sauce from earlier. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until the noodles have soaked up all the sauce. Turn off the heat and add all of the cooked vegetables and the beef, and half of the sliced egg. Gently combine everything together then plate up into bowls with the remaining sliced egg on top. Sprinkle over some sesame seeds and, if using, chilli. Serve immediately.

Seafood Salad with Wasabi Dressing

This light and fresh seafood salad is brought to life by the wasabi dressing, without being at all overpowering. It is very quick to make and is perfect as starter or side dish.

8 king prawns, shelled and deveined

100g squid, cleaned, flesh and tentacles cut into 5cm pieces

60g crabmeat

½ Asian or 1 regular pear

80g cucumber, halved and sliced into thin julienne strips

80g carrot, halved and sliced into thin julienne strips

1 baby gem lettuce, base cut off, leaves washed and roughly chopped

2 spring onions, sliced into very thin 5cm lengths and covered in ice-cold water until they curl up

Wasabi dressing

1½ tsp wasabi paste (add more to taste)

1 garlic clove, crushed

3 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2½ tbsp honey

1 tsp sea salt

Serves 2

In a bowl, combine all the wasabi dressing ingredients with 2 teaspoons water. Set aside.

Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the prawns and squid and simmer for 2–3 minutes until cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate. Pick over the crabmeat to ensure no shell is present.

Peel and core the pear, then slice into thin julienne strips. Drain the spring onions.

In a bowl, combine the pear, cucumber, carrot, baby gem lettuce and most of the spring onions. Arrange in two bowls with the prawns, crabmeat and squid and top with the remaining spring onions. Pour over the dressing and mix together at the table. If you like, you can add more wasabi.

Almost-instant Cucumber Kimchi

This is for those days when you open the fridge and realise that you are out of kimchi! All is not lost however, as this instant cucumber kimchi can be made in no time, omitting the fermentation process. The shorter, squatter Persian cucumber – sometimes labelled as pickling or baby cucumber – is ideal for this recipe, being less watery with a more pronounced flavour. Persian cucumbers are easily available in good supermarkets and fruit and veg markets. If you can’t find it, you can still use normal cucumber, but it will be a little more watery.

Serves 4–6 as a side dish

3 Persian cucumbers or 1 large regular cucumber

1 tsp fine sea salt

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 tsp gochugaru red pepper powder (or a little less if you prefer)

2 tsp unrefined sugar or coconut palm sugar

2½ tsp rice wine vinegar

2 tsp roasted sesame seed oil

2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Wash the cucumbers and pat dry. Halve lengthways and then slice them into very thin half-moon shapes. Put in a bowl with the salt and combine together. Set aside for 30 minutes.

combine the remaining ingredients, apart from the sesame seeds, in a bowl. Drain the cucumbers of any liquid then add to the bowl. Gently, but thoroughly, combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour or until chilled.

Serve sprinkled with the sesame seeds. It will keep for up to a week in the fridge if stored in an airtight container.

For more information see:

Saturday 21st November

Kevin Dundon - Christmas Recipes

Chef Kevin Dundon joins Marian in studio to talk about preparing and freezing food for Christmas.

Sausage Rolls with Fiery Cranberry & Mango Chutney

Sometimes simple is best and with these sausage rolls that is certainly true, you could sprinkle the pastry with sesame or poppy seeds before placing in the oven for additional crunch.

Yields approx 20 small rolls

450g/1lb  Pork Cocktail Sausages

2 Sheets Puff Pastry

1 egg, beaten

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

Roll out one sheet of puff pastry and cut in half.  Take one cocktail sausage approximately 1cm from the edge of the pastry.  Brush the pastry edges with some egg, fold over the pastry and seal.   Repeat with the remaining pastry and sausages.  Place the sausage rolls on a parchment lined tray.  Brush the tops with the remaining egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.    Place in a preheated oven and bake for 30 – 35minutes until the pastry is golden and sausages are  cooked.

Fiery Cranberry & Mango Chutney

4 - 5 slightly under-ripe mango, peeled and diced

2 Red chillies

2 red onions, chopped

225g/8 oz cranberries (fresh or frozen)

125g/4 ½ oz brown sugar

100ml/ 3 ½ fl oz apple cider vinegar

4 tsp freshly grated ginger

½ teaspoon ground allspice

1 tablespoon mustard seed

¼ teaspoon salt

Combine ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pot on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil stirring frequently. Once boiling, reduce heat. Simmer until mango softens and the mixture begins to thicken and become syrupy. Pour into sterilized jars, cover, and refrigerate.

To preserve, do not cool chutney. Spoon hot chutney into sterilized half-pint or smaller jars, wipe rims clean, and top with a new canning lid. Process jars in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes. Remove from water, check that each lid has sealed. Store on the shelf for up to one year. Store any jars that did not seal in the refrigerator and serve within a month.

Boozy Mince Pies

Yields 24 small pies 

Serve with some Brandy or Baileys Cream

250g Plain Flour

75g icing sugar

125g butter

1 egg beaten

1 jar luxury mincemeat

70ml Brandy/Whiskey

In a large bowl, with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer, beat together the butter and icing sugar until creamy, combine with the egg.

Sieve in the flour and start to combine the flour with the mixture to form a dough. Shape in a rectangular shape and wrap in Clingfilm, allow to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Roll on a well floured surface, and with ½ of the pastry line a mincepie baking tray with the pastry. Cut fitting top of pastry or with a small cutter create different shape. Place the tops on a small tray and set the bases and tops in the fridge.

In a separate bowl, spoon the mincemeat into a bowl and add the brandy, stir once or twice but not vigoursly, set aside until required.

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

Then, add the mincemeat into the base of the lined pastry and add the tops. Brush with egg wash and bake in the oven 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown.

serve with some freshly whipped cream flavoured with a few drops of Irish whiskey.


Roasted Butternut Squash & Chorizo Soup

Serves 4 -6

There’s nothing nicer than a bowl of comforting soup and the hint of chorizo in this recipe adds a warm spicy flavour that’s delicious!  If you prefer a vegetarian option just omit the chorizo.

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped in chunks

150g/5 ½ oz Chorizo Sausage, diced in large chunks

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

5 sprig of thyme

2 medium onions, chopped

2 ltr/3 ½ pints vegetable stock, warmed

60ml/2 fl oz white wine

3 tbsp Olive oil

30g/1 oz butter

cream to taste

1 tbsp crème fraiche

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

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

Place the butternut squash, chorizo sausage, garlic, thyme on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the butternut squash soften and browned.

Meanwhile in a saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter and add the onions. Cook until caramelized for 10 -15 minutes. Add the white wine and 2/3 of the stock. Bring to simmer and continue for 3 -4 minutes until the onions soften. Remove from the heat until the butternut squash is ready.

When the squash is cooked, remove the pulp from the skin using a spoon and add it to the liquid,  bring to the boil for 2 minutes.

Using a hand blender, blitz until smooth.   Add the remaining stock and enough cream until the right consistency for you has been achieved (if you prefer a thick soup you might not need any further stock).

serve immediately with a tablespoon of crème fraîche on the top.

Smoked Fish Pie

Serves 4 – 6

Fish was traditionally eaten on Friday’s at homes throughout Ireland, served with a topping of creamy mashed potatoes what could be more comforting?  Try buying naturally smoked fish instead of dyed fish.

250g Smoked Coley

250g Smoked Haddock

300ml milk

60g butter

1 onion, finely diced

150g button mushrooms, sliced

25g/1 oz Plain Flour

1 tsp Mustard

1 tbsp lemon juice

Salt & Pepper to Season

900g/2 lb potatoes, cut into chunks.

30g/1 oz Butter

60g/2 oz Cheese

Snipped Chives

Place the fish in the milk in a saucepan and poach over a moderate heat for 6 – 8 minutes until softened.   Flake the fish ensuring all the bones are removed, keep warm.   Strain the milk liquor into a jug.   In a separate pan melt the butter then add the onion and mushrooms, cook until softened then remove from the heat and sprinkle with the flour.   Gradually add the milk stirring continuously until the sauce is thickened.   Add the mustard, parsley and lemon juice and season with some salt and pepper, stir to combine.  

Add the flaked fish to the sauce and pile into an ovenproof dish.   

In the meantime, place the potatoes into a saucepan and cover with water, bring to the boil and cook for about 20 – 25 minutes until softened.   Strain the potatoes and add the cream and butter and mash ensuring all lumps are removed.   Season with some salt and pepper.   Spoon the potato mixture onto the fish and top with some cheddar cheese.   Pop into a preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes until piping hot.    Serve immediately.

Salmon Fishcakes with

Ginger and Coriander Dip

Serves 4 -6

4 potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes

250g salmon leftover, poached or baked

3 eggs + 1 egg yolk

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 lemon, zest

Salt & Pepper

2 tbsp plain white flour

100g fresh white breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tbsp crème Fraîche

1inch of ginger, grated

2 tbsp coriander, chopped

Begin by placing the potatoes in a large saucepan of water and bringing them to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Strain the potatoes off the water, mash and season with salt and pepper.

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

Heat a little oil over a medium heat and gently sweat the onion and garlic until just softened and then allow to cool.

In a bowl combine the mashed potatoes, lemon zest, onion mixture, and egg yolk and mix well. Break in the cooked salmon into the mixture and carefully mix together. Check for seasoning. Divide the mixture into 4 – 6 pieces, sprinkle with a little plain flour and shapes them. Transfer to the fridge and allow to rest to set the fish cakes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and place the breadcrumbs in a third bowl.

Place the flour-coated fishcakes, one at a time, into the egg mixture, ensuring it is fully coated in eggs mixture before transferring it to the breadcrumbs.

Heat a large frying pan, over a medium low heat with olive oil and butter and pan fry the fish cakes for approximately 2 minutes on each side until they are golden brown.

Place on a flat baking tray, transfer to the preheated oven and continue cooking for 10-12 minutes to ensure warmed through.


Meanwhile, prepare the dip, in a small bowl, combine the crème Fraîche and mayonnaise with the grated ginger and chopped coriander. Check the seasoning and add a squeeze of lime juice if needed.


Shepherds Pies with Sweet Potato Mash

I could never tire of a plate of Shepherds pie and in my mind it is one of the world’s great classics. This is a version that I have developed over the years but the main ingredients are still the same. You could also use the leftovers from the Sunday roast leg of lamb instead of the mince with excellent results.

Serves 6

2 tsp butter

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

6 Mushrooms, thinly sliced

600g  minced lamb

1 glass of red wine

500 - 600ml beef stock

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp tomato purée

Salt & Pepper


6 – 8 Lg Sweet Potatoes

125g Butter

Melt  the butter in a non-stick pan then add the onion, carrots and mushrooms  and cook for 3-4 minutes. Increase the heat and add the mince and fry for a further 3-4 mins until the lamb has browned. Stir in the stock, Worcestershire sauce, wine,  tomato purée and some seasoning. Gently bubble for 15-20 minutes until the mince is completely browned and the sauce has thickened.   Pour into the base of a pie dish and set aside.

In the meantime, peel the potatoes and cut into chunks.  Place in a pan of water and cook for 25 – 30 minutes until softened, then drain. Mash the butter into the potatoes and season with a little salt and pepper.  Spoon the mash onto the mince and place in a preheated oven for approx 30 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown.

Serve immediately

Ideal for freezing, you can freeze in portion sizes or alternatively as a whole pie.  To defrost, remove from the freezer and leave in the fridge overnight.  It can be cooked from frozen if you are short of time, simply place in a preheated oven at 160C, cover with foil and bake for at least 1.15  hr before removing the foil, then increase the heat and cook for a further 20 minutes to get the top golden.  The dish should be soft and piping hot before serving.

Mums Meatloaf

Serves 4

Sometimes I double the mixture and make meatballs which I serve with a delicious spicy tomato sauce, just add a tin of plum tomatoes, some onion and garlic and torn basil leaves.

500g/1 lb Lean Minced beef

10 slices of bacon

150g White Breadcrumbs

1Onion, finely diced

1 Carrot, finely diced

½ Stick Celery, finely diced

2 tbsp Tomato Puree

1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp mixed herbs (Parsley, oregano)

1 egg, beaten

50g Butter

1 Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5.

Prepare a 10 x 9cm loaf tin by greasing with a little butter and then with the streaky bacon.

Fry the onion, carrot and celery in a little oil until softened. Remove from the heat and leave to cool down for several minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the minced beef, onion, garlic, carrots, breadcrumbs, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce and egg.   Add the mixture to the tin,  smooth the surface and fold back the streak bacon on to it surface.  

Cover with foil and place in the preheated oven for 1hr – 1hr 15minutes, remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Remove from the oven and allow to sit in the tin for 10 minutes before removing. Serve hot or cold, cut into slices.

Why not accompany this dish with some :

Garlic Mash

900g Rooster Potatoes

1 Bulb Garlic, roasted

50g butter

Salt & Pepper

Peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks.  Place in a large saucepan and barely cover with water, cook for 25 minutes until very tender but not falling apart.

Drain the potatoes and return to the saucepan over a low heat.   Using a potato masher roughly mash the potatoes.

Add butter and beat with a wooden spoon until fluffy.  Season with salt and pepper.

Baked Alaska

120g butter

200g caster sugar

200g egg whites

140g of plain flour

Italian Meringue

80ml cold water

360g caster sugar

6 egg whites


100ml of water

150g of caster sugar

1 vanilla pod scrapped

2 shots of grand marnier or malibu (optional)


Preheat the oven to 160°C/325F/Gas Mark 4.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy.

Add the egg whites and plain flour and beat together to achieve a smooth batter.  Pour the batter into a greased pudding mould and bake in the oven for 15 – 18 minutes.

To Make the Italian Meringue:

Place the water and sugar into a medium saucepan and place onto a moderate heat.

If you have a sugar thermometer put it into the pan also.

In a large clean mixing bowl start beating the egg whites until they are stiffly beaten.

When the syrup reaches 121C (hard ball stage) reduce the speed of the egg whites to very a very low speed and then gently pour the boiled  on top.

Continue to whisk very slowly  until the mixture is cool.  At this stage it should be smooth and glossy.

When the cake is cooled prepare the syrup.  

Pour all the ingredients into a pan a and bring to the boil, once the sugar has dissolved remove the syrup from the heat. Pour the warm syrup over the cake.

Place your favorite homemade ice cream  on top and cover with itlian meringue.

Place the baked alaska into the freezer for a short while until required.

Blow torch the meringue at the last minutes, or drizzle over some flamed alchool.

Dark Chocolate Marquise

550ml cream

75g icing sugar

400g melted butter

150g cocoa powder

8 egg yolks

225g caster sugar

150g good quality dark chocolate-melted

Mascarpone & fresh mint sprigs to decorate.

Line a 2lb loaf tin with a double layer of cling film

Gently whip the cream with the icing sugar and place in the fridge until required

Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar with an electric whisk until the mixture holds the figure of eight. The mixture should have more than doubled in size and volume.

Put the butter in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water on a low heat until melted. Stir the cocoa powder into the melted butter, then fold the melted butter mixture into the egg mixture. Add the melted chocolate and gently fold in.  At this stage, the mixture will begin to thicken slightly.

Remove the cream from the refrigerator and incorporate it gently into the mixture.  Transfer to mixture into the line loaf tin and allow to set in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours or preferably overnight.

Turn it out of the loaf tin and serve in slices.  Decorate with a little mascarpone cream cheese and fresh mint and dust with icing sugar.

Once prepared in the loaf tin this can be frozen until required.

Saturday 14th November

Paul Flynn - Christmas Preperation

Chef Paul Flynn joins Marian in studio with some handy time saving Christmas preperation recipes.


Makes 25 cookies


150g butter

80g caster sugar

75g crushed hazelnuts

300g flour

Pinch baking soda

225g small chocolate pieces good quality plain chocolate


Beat together the butter and sugar

Add the hazelnuts, flour and baking soda

Beat until the mixture comes together.

Add the chocolate chip

Divide in two halves and roll in cling film into sausage shape to refrigerate for one hour.

Cut in 1/2 centimeter slices and place on a greased baking tray.

Bake in a preheated oven 170 c for 20 - 25 min until golden brown.

Once rolled the mix can also be frozen.



500 ml double cream

100g icing sugar

350g butter

200g caster sugar

175g cocoa powder

9 egg yolks

175g dark chocolate.

I vanilla pod


Whip yolks and caster sugar until light and fluffy

Whisk cream, vanilla and icing sugar till at soft whipped stage.

Melt butter, chocolate and cocoa powder in a bowl over simmering water.

Add chocolate and butter mix to the eggs and sugar mix by folding in the chocolate mix.

Fold in the cream mix

Pour into a greased ring mold or into a loaf tin that has been greased and lined with cling film. Coverin cling film and freeze.


This will make enough stuffing for 2 ducks.


Small handful of raisins

Small handful of almonds

100g butter

1 small onion finely chopped

Splash of olive oil

150g chorizo finely diced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Finely grated rind of one orange.

225g fresh white bread crumbs

Salt and ground pepper.


To make the stuffing soak the raisins in a bowl of boiling water for 20min then drain.

Toast the almonds in a frying pan for a few minutes tossing occasionally so they color evenly.

Melt the butter in a pan and gently sauté the onion for 3 or 4 minutes until soft but not colored, tip into a large bowl

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the chorizo for 2 minutes until the chorizo color starts to bleed

Add onion, soaked raisins, toasted almonds, parsley, orange rind and bread crumbs

Season to taste and mix lightly.



260 ml plain yoghurt

200ml cream

140g sugar

3 heaped tbsp. of cranberry sauce


Mix the yoghurt, cranberry sauce and cream and sugar together

Pour into the ice cream maker cylinder and it will be ready in 30 min.



300g dark brown sugar

10 large figs

150ml cider vinegar

150ml white wine vinegar

300g chopped onions

320g dried cranberries

1tsp allspice

1 star anise

1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp juniper berries.


Combine the sugar and vinegar and bring to the boil

Chop the figs and remove the stems, its fine to leave the skin on.

Add the figs, cranberries, onion and spices to the saucepan and bring to the boil.

Lower the heat and simmer gently until the onions and figs have softened, usually 35 minutes.

Blitz and store in sterilized jars whilst still hot and store in your fridge.



150g self raising flour

1/2 tsp ground ginger

70g demerara sugar

70g butter

60g treacle

120g golden syrup

1 egg

2 ripe bananas


Grease and flour a loaf tin

Melt butter, golden syrup and treacle in a pot on a gentle heat.

Sieve flour and ginger together.

Mix the egg with mashed up bananas

Fold everything gently into a mixing bowl

Pour into the tin and bake at 170c for 40-50 min 



225g flour

60g icing sugar

150g butter at room temp

1egg yolk, 1 tbsp. ice cold water, 1/2 lemon juice - mixed together in a cup.


Sieve flour and icing sugar together.

Whiz half the flour/sugar in a food processor, add butter and egg mixture.

Pulse to bring mixture together, add remaining flour, pulse again until a soft dough is formed.

Wrap in cling film and chill for one hour.

Have ready 1 twelve-hole mince pie tray, roll out 2/3 pastry thinly on a lightly floured table.

Cut pastry into rounds with a fluted cutter which is larger than the holes in the tin.

Line the tin with the rounds, place one heaped teaspoon of mincemeat in each, roll out remaining pastry and cut out slightly smaller rounds so that they will fit the tops.

Brush the edges of the tartlets with water and place smaller rounds on top, sealing them with your fingers.

Prick each tartlet with a fork.

Lightly beat your left over egg and brush each tartlet with egg white and sprinkle with caster sugar.

Bake at 180C for 20 min. When cooked cool on wire rack.



8 almost ripe pears peeled carefully to keep their shape

1 bottle red wine

2 tbsp. redcurrant jelly

2 cinnamon sticks

4 cloves

2 bay leaf

300mls water

Juice and peel of 1 orange

100g demerara sugar

Pinch black peppercorns


Place all the ingredients in a deep saucepan

Cover with a layer of greaseproof paper and poach gently for around 25min until soft but not mushy.

Leave to cool and refrigerate in the liquid.

The liquid can be reduced to form a syrup for ice cream or add red wine vinegar and olive oil as a dressing for a salad or if you’re feeling adventurousyou could turn it into a sorbet. Whatever you do don’t waste it. You could always freeze it and use it at a later date to do more pears. 



Grated zest and juice of 7 clementine’s

3 lemons

400g caster sugar

4 eggs beaten 

3 egg yolk

A good pinch of cinnamon 

1 star anise

130g cold butter diced.


Combine the zest and juice of the fruits with the sugar.

Add eggs, yolks and butter and spices and cook out over a medium heat until it coats the back of a spoon.

Store in a sterilized jar.


This curd is unbelievably versatile and moreish.

Wonderful on toast or with croissants for breakfast.

Or paired with ice cream or the chocolate marquise for your Christmas day dessert.

Make early December.


Serves 4


1 onion finely diced

2 cloves of garlic chopped

1 knob of ginger peeled and grated

3 tbsp. sunflower oil

1 stock cube

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tin chickpeas rinsed

1 sweet potato peeled and cut into small chunks

1 small cauliflower cut into florets

1 packet of green saffron mix or 1 tbsp. curry paste

150mls cream or natural yoghurt.


Sweat the onions, ginger and garlic in the oil for 10 minutes

Add the spices and cookout a little.

Add all the vegetables, tomatoes, stock cube and cream, if you think it’s a little dry add 1/2 cup of water to the pot.

Cook gently for 20min until all the veg are soft but not mushy.

Season and serve garnished with basil or coriander.


This lovely dish serves a number of purposes, it changes the flavors of Christmas for the family.  It will keep any vegetarians happy and you can also fold any leftoverturkey through



3 large potatoes peeled and thinly sliced

1 sweet potato peeled and thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic peeled and crushed

350ml cream

200mls milk

Salt and pepper

Pinch of fresh thyme leaves (optional)


Put the cream, milk and garlic in a pot and bring to the boil.

Add all of the sliced potatoes to the pot and season.

Cook on a gentle heat until the potatoes are nearly cooked

Taste the mixture to make sure you are happy with the seasoning

Transfer into a casserole dish and flatten down to make sure you have a nice creamy topping

Now you can put it in the fridge for the next day or cook it straight away.

Bake at 180c for 15-20 minutes until fully cooked and golden.



2 granny smiths peeled cored and diced into 1cm cubes

1 handful of pecans spilt lengthways

2 slightly firm bananas, diced the same as the apple

1 pinch of raisins

1 knob of butter

1tbsp demerara sugar

Zest and juice of 1 orange

Splash of dark rum

1 pinch cinnamon


Melt the butter in a pan

Add the sugar and caramelize slightly

Add the zest, juice, fruit, and cinnamon and cook the mixture for 5 min on a medium heat until everything softens slightly

Add the rum and bring to the boil

Remove from heat immediately.


What makes this special is the use of banana and rum in this recipe... so it’s possible to persuadeeven mincemeat haters to love this version. If you add a little apple juice you can thin it down and use it as a hot sauce over ice cream if you didn’t want to make your own mince pies.

Make in late November early December and keepin the fridge.


Serves 6


1 turnip peeled and diced

2 onions peeled and diced

A small piece of ginger peeled and chopped (40g)

A splash of veg oil

A knob of butter

A pinch of cinnamon 

1 chicken stock cube crumbled.

1 1/2 liters of water

1 tbsp. flour

A sprig of thyme

1/2 tbsp. of English mustard

1 can of dry cider (440mls)

1/3 of a black pudding finely chopped.


Put the onion, thyme, ginger, veg oil and butter into a pot and cook slowly, the longer you take the better as your onions will get really sweet.

Add the turnip, cinnamon and flour and mix together well

Add the cider, stock cube and water and bring to a simmer

Preheat your grill and put a splash of oil on a tray, add your black pudding and turn in oil and grill for a few minutes until just a little crispy.

After 40 min or so or when your turnips are soft , pick out your thyme, add mustard and blend the soup, season and serve with the black pudding scattered on top and some picked fresh thyme leaves.


Saturday 21st June

Summer Food and Drink

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.

To Serve

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.

Horseradish Sauce

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.



Cucumber Pickle

Serves 10-12

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

Serves 6-8


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

Elderflower Lemonade

3 lemons

225ml (8fl oz) elderflower syrup (see recipe)

750ml (1 1/4 pints) water


Elderflower heads

Juice the lemons. Add the syrup and water. Mix and taste. Add ice and elderflowers to garnish.

Stock Syrup

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)

Rose Tinted

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


Crushed ice

Ginger Beer

Hennessey Fine de Cognac (or perhaps try it with any smoother Irish whiskey too )





Saturday 14th June

Neven Maguire

Neven Maguire is proprietor/Head Chef of MacNean House & Restaurant and the ‘Neven Maguire Cookery School’ in Blacklion, Co. Cavan.


Salmon and Asparagus Wraps with Rocket Pesto

Farmed salmon has become much better quality over the years and in my opinion some of the best available comes from Ireland, where the sea is always freezing cold and for the most part is unpolluted, with strong tidal flows. Make sure your salmon fillets are all even-sized and about 2.5cm (1in) thick to ensure even cooking. They also work well on the barbecue and can be made up to 12 hours in advance, covered with clingfilm and chilled until needed – just don’t add the squeeze of lemon juice until you’re ready to cook them. Serves 4


  •          12 asparagus spears, trimmed
  •          4 x 175g (6oz) skinless organic salmon
  •          fillets
  •          4 fresh dill sprigs
  •          4 slices Parma ham
  •          juice of ½ lemon
  •          1 tbsp olive oil
  •          25g (1oz) butter
  •          lightly dressed mixed salad, to serve
  •          Biarritz poatoes (page 151), to serve
  •          lemon wedges, to garnish
  •          Rocket pesto:
  •          25g (1oz) pine nuts
  •          50g (2oz) rocket leaves
  •          25g (1oz) freshly grated Parmesan
  •          100ml (3 ½fl oz) rapeseed oil
  •          sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


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

To make the rocket pesto, place the pine nuts in a baking tin and roast for a few minutes, until golden brown, keeping a close eye on them to make sure they don’t burn. Leave to cool. Place the rocket in a food processor with the toasted pine nuts, Parmesan and oil. Season with salt and pepper and blitz to a smooth purée. Place in a smal bowl, cover with clingfilm and chill until ready to use (this can be made up to 4 days in advance).

Blanch the asparagus spears in a pan of boiling salted water for 1 minute. Drain and quickly refresh under cold running water, then tip into a bowl of ice-cold water to cool completely.

Drain well and pat dry on kitchen paper.

Season each salmon fillet with pepper and arrange 3 asparagus spears, trimming them down as necessary, and a dill sprig on top of each fillet. Lightly wrap a slice of Parma ham around each bundle and place in a shallow non-metallic dish, then add a squeeze of lemon juice.

Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the butter.

Once it stops foaming, add the salmon wraps presentation-side down and cook for 4–5 minutes all over to seal. Transfer to the oven and roast for another 8 minutes, until the salmon wraps are cooked through.

To serve, arrange the salmon wraps on warmed serving plates and spoon some of the rocket pesto to one side. Add some mixed salad to each plate and place the rest of the rocket pesto on the table. Have a separate dish of Biarritz potatoes and lemon wedges.

Lamb Cutlets with Garlic, Lemon and Paprika

This marinade is wonderful with lamb and would also work well with any type of lamb leg steaks or sideloin chops, depending on what is available. Lamb cutlets are that bit more expensive, but they take no time to cook. The longer you can marinade this, the better the flavour, so it’s well worth preparing in advance. Serves 4


  •          2 garlic cloves, crushed
  •          finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  •          2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  •          2 tsp smoked paprika
  •          2 tsp chopped fresh oregano or thyme
  •          1 tsp clear honey
  •          12 lamb cutlets, well trimmed
  •          sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •          peach, feta cheese and rocket salad, to serve
  •          steamed baby new potatoes, to serve


Place the garlic, lemon rind and juice, oil, paprika, herbs, honey and some salt and pepper in a shallow non-metallic dish. Stir until well combined. Add the lamb, turning to coat, then set aside for at least 10 minutes, or up to 24 hours, covered with clingfilm in the fridge if time allows.

When you’re ready to cook, light the barbecue, preheat a grill to medium or heat a griddle pan.

Shake the excess marinade from the lamb. Put the lamb on the barbecue on medium-hot coals or arrange on a grill rack or a griddle pan. Cook for 6–8 minutes, until cooked through, turning once. Remove from the heat and leave the lamb cutlets to rest for a couple of minutes.

To serve, arrange the lamb cutlets on warmed serving plates with the peach, feta and rocket salad and some steamed baby new potatoes.

Spiced Yoghurt Grilled Chicken Skewers

These spiced chicken skewers are completely delicious in a lunchbox served hot or cold.

They would also be fantastic as part of a portable picnic spread or to cook on a disposable barbecue at the beach. Serves 4


  •          250g Greek yoghurt
  •          1 garlic clove, crushed
  •          2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  •          2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  •          1 tsp paprika
  •          1 tsp ground cumin
  •          1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  •          good pinch of cayenne pepper
  •          6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and quartered
  •          rapeseed oil, for brushing
  •          sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •          flatbreads, to serve
  •          lamb’s lettuce, to serve
  •          shop-bought hummus or roasted red pepper hummus (page 169), to serve
  •          tomato and mint salad, to serve


Place the yoghurt, garlic, coriander, parsley, paprika, cumin, lemon rind and cayenne pepper in a bowl and mix to combine. Add the chicken pieces and stir until coated. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside for at least 10 minutes, or up to 24 hours covered with clingfilm in the fridge is perfect.

Heat a griddle pan. Thread 3 pieces of chicken onto a 10cm (4in) wooden bamboo skewer – you’ll make 8 in total. Brush the griddle pan with the oil and cook the chicken skewers for 5–6 minutes on each side, until cooked through and lightly charred.

Wrap the chicken skewers in tin foil and put in lunchboxes with separately wrapped flatbreads.

Put in small pots of lettuce, hummus and a tomato and mint salad, if liked.

To serve, arrange the flatbread on a plate with the chicken skewers and lettuce. Place the tomato and mint salad to the side with the pot of hummus.

Grilled Rib-eye Steak with Smoky Red Pepper Butter

Serves 4


  •          4 x 225g (8oz) dry-aged rib-eye steaks
  •          100ml (3 ½fl oz) olive oil
  •          2 garlic cloves, crushed
  •          1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  •          sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •          baked potatoes, to serve
  •          steamed purple sprouting broccoli, to serve

Smoky red pepper butter:

  •          1 small red pepper
  •          100g (4oz) butter, softened
  •          1 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  •          1 tsp smoked paprika
  •          ½ tsp chopped fresh thyme
  •          1 tbsp cream


To make the flavoured butter, preheat the grill. Place the pepper on the grill rack and cook for 20–25 minutes, until the skin is blackened and blistered. Transfer to a bowl and cover with clingfilm, then leave to cool completely.

Remove the skin, core and seeds from the pepper and roughly chop the flesh, then place in a food processor. Add the butter, parsley, paprika and thyme and purée until smooth. Beat in the cream and then scrape the butter out onto a square of parchment paper. Roll into a cylinder about 2.5cm (1in) thick, twisting the ends to secure. Chill for at least 2 hours to harden.

Trim the rib-eye steaks of any excess fat. Place in a non-metallic dish and add the olive oil, garlic and thyme. Cover with clingfilm and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight is best.

Remove the steaks from the fridge at least 30 minutes before you want to cook them, then shake off any excess marinade and season to taste. Grill, barbecue or pan-fry the steaks over a fierce heat for 6–7 minutes for medium rare, or to your liking. Allow to rest for 5 minutes on warmed serving plates.

To serve, remove the flavoured butter from the fridge and remove the paper, then cut the butter into slices. Place butter slices on top of the grilled steaks and add a baked potato and some purple sprouting broccoli to each plate to serve.

Mango and Lime Cheesecake

This cheesecake combines a luscious tropical fruit topping with a creamy filling and a spiced biscuit base. I think gelatine leaves are much easier to use than powdered gelatine. They are available now from most supermarkets, but if you can’t find them, use 2 teaspoons of powdered gelatine for the filling and dissolve in 2 tablespoons of very hot water and use 1 teaspoon for the topping and dissolve in 1 tablespoon of very hot water. Serves 8


  •          200g (7oz) ginger nut biscuits
  •          100g (4oz) butter, melted
  •          vegetable oil, for greasing


  •          4 gelatine leaves
  •          175ml (6fl oz) milk
  •          1 vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out
  •          175g (6oz) caster sugar
  •          500g (18 oz) Greek yoghurt
  •          finely grated rind and juice of 2 limes
  •          150ml (¼ pint) cream


  •          2 gelatine leaves
  •          400g (14oz) can mango slices in syrup, drained
  •          fresh mint sprigs, to decorate
  •          lightly whipped cream, to serve


To make the base, place the biscuits in a food processor or liquidiser and blend to fine crumbs.

With the motor still running, pour in the melted butter through the feeder tube and mix until well combined. Tip into a lightly oiled 23cm (9in) loose-bottomed cake tin and press firmly and evenly to form a base for the cheesecake. Chill for at least 10 minutes, until firmly set, or up to 24 hours is fine.

Meanwhile, to make the filling, soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes.

Place the milk in a pan and add the vanilla seeds, whisking to combine. Cook until it just reaches boiling point, but do not allow to boil. Gently squeeze the gelatine dry and add to the pan with the sugar, whisking until the gelatine and sugar are both dissolved. Pour into a large bowl and leave to cool a little.

Stir the Greek yoghurt into the cooled milk mixture with the lime rind and juice. Whip the cream in a separate bowl until it’s just holding its shape, then fold into the filling mixture. Pour into the set biscuit base and chill for at least 1 hour, until set, or up to 24 hours is fine.

To make the topping, soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes. Place the mango slices in a mini processor or liquidiser and blend until smooth. Heat 1 tablespoon of water in a small pan or in the microwave. Gently squeeze the gelatine dry and stir into the hot water, until dissolved. Add to the mango purée and pour over the set cheesecake filling, spreading evenly with the back of a spoon. Chill for another 2–3 hours, until completely set, or up to 24 hours is fine.

To serve, remove the cheesecake from the tin and transfer to a serving plate, then decorate with the mint sprigs. Cut into slices and arrange on serving plates with a dollop of whipped cream.


Saturday 27th July

Budget Weekend Cooking

Eamon O'Cathain joins Áine to talk about cooking on a budget.




Not alone is this dish cheap to prepare, it’s a quick, colourful and tasty dish . Many of the ingredients can be bought in bulk and used for the other recipes, which keeps cost down.

You will need:


Chicken thighs

Salt, pepper



Lemon juice

Cheap vegetables such as: mushrooms, peppers, onions, red onions: if the budget stretches -courgettes too. 1 courgette will go a long way.






Salt, pepper, chilli flakes (optional)

To prepare

Place all the chicken thighs in a bowl; remove any excess fat, if skinned. Marinate in crushed garlic, a little oil, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Mix well.

Chop up the various vegetables into rounds, quarter, halves. Place in an oven dish, splash with oil, season with sea-salt and black pepper and grill for about 10 minutes, turning half-way through and checking that they don't burn.

In a good non-stick pan, dry-fry the chicken over a high heat on both sides, cooking it at least half-way.

Now assemble the brochettes: begin with something large such as a mushroom or courgette round to hold in place then variously add the chicken and the other vegetables until each skewer is full.

Prepare the Portuguese rice. Chop the onion and gently fry in a little olive oil. When transparent, add the garlic and fry for another two minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes (at least four) followed by the rice as for a risotto or paella and add water continually to this, stirring and watching until all the rice is cooked and fluffy. Leave in the pan but remove from the heat. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and chilli flakes, if desired.

While the rice is cooking, place your skewers under the grill and turn frequently, cooking on all sides. When ready, pour the resulting liquid in the oven dish into your Portuguese rice and serve immediately.



Here’s a very different pasta dish from the ones we usually see on the menus of Italian restaurants – but no less delicious for that. You can put it together in no time, and you may already have many of the ingredients to hand, with the exception of the basil. (At a push, you could use parsley instead.)

You will need:

Packet of spaghetti or spaghettini - Choose the best brand you can afford, avoid generic supermarket el cheapo brands

Bunch of fresh basil

4 lemons

Salt and black pepper

Olive oil Parmesan cheese

Juice all the lemons and whisk the juice with around 150ml of olive oil. Then add the grated Parmesan – enough to make the emulsion thick. Now season it.

Then cook the spaghetti. Drain and return to the saucepan with a little of the cooking water.

Add the sauce to the pasta in the saucepan and mix it in well; at the last minute, stir in all the chopped basil.


This is a wonderful recipe for what is originally just termed as ‘street food’ in Morocco. It is supremely simple to prepare and full of wonderful flavours. The chick peas can be made in advance and will keep for around a week in the fridge in tupperware, and can be eaten whenever required. If you can get a hold of some saffron, do use it, as it will bring a sublime and authentic flavour to the mix.

You will need:

2 tins of chickpeas

A little olive oil

1 onion

1 red onion

1 red pepper

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

1 bunch of coriander

Black pepper, salt

Pinch of saffron (optional)

To prepare:

Drain the chick peas but keep a little of their liquid back (you can use dried chick peas if preferred in which case, do retain a little of the cooking water).

Finely chop both the onion and the red pepper: heat a little of the olive oil in a saucepan and cook both these for a few minutes. Then add the cumin, stir in well and allow to cook before adding the chickpeas and their liquid. Season and then allow to simmer. Add saffron if desired. Leave to simmer for 30 mins. When ready, cut the red onion in half and then slice into very thin half-circles. Stir these into the chick peas and allow to ‘cook’ by the heat of the chick peas only.

When this has cooled, it will improve the flavour by chilling in the fridge for at least an hour. When ready to serve, just gently reheat.

It can be eaten with grilled pita bread or preferably Moroccan flat


Leeks vinaigrette

Celeriac remoulade

Basque Piperade with eggs

Sardine rillettes

Tomatoes stuffed with rice



You will need

4 leeks

Sea salt

Oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, mustard

To prepare

Trim the upper green part of the leeks (keep it for soup).

Cut each leek two-thirds of the way down and wash thoroughly.

Tie all the leeks together and cook them quickly in boiling salted water: about 6-7 minutes should do, depending on their thickness (keep this water to make soup).

During this time make a classic vinaigrette of three parts oil to one part vinegar -heavy on the mustard. Season.

Allow to drain, arrange decoratively on a plate and spoon the thick vinaigrette over the warm leeks.


You will need

1 celeriac

1 tub fromage blanc

Lemon juice, mustard, sea salt

To prepare

Grate the celeriac or use a food processor. Plunge into boiling salted water for three minutes and then drain and refresh under running cold water.

Prepare the dressing with three parts fromage blanc to two parts Dijon mustard and two parts lemon juice. Season.

When the celeriac is thoroughly drained mix it in this sauce and adjust seasoning if necessary. Keep in fridge until ready to serve.


You will need

2 tins of sardines in oil

2 knobs of butter

Chopped parsley

Lemon juice, splash

30g each of black and green olives

Yesterday's baguette

To prepare

Mix a tin and a half of the sardines with the butter in a blender until it becomes like soft butter.

Chop up roughly the remaining sardines and mix in with the buttery mixture. Add the lemon juice, the oil from the tins and mix thoroughly. Chop the olives finely and add them too.

Soak the stale baguette in a little olive oil before grilling or toasting: then spread the rillettes onto each slice and sprinkle with parsley.


You will need

Firm tomatoes -leftover rice - four knobs of butter- salt, pepper

To prepare

Slice the top of the tomatoes and keep. Remove the insides with a teaspoon, discard the seeds and keep this pulp. Salt the inside of the tomatoes and turn them upside down to let their water run out.

Mix yesterday's rice with the tomato pulp, season thoroughly, then fill each tomato with this mixture. Place a knob of butter on top of each one, then replace the "lid" of the tomato.

Place in the oven for about 40 mins or longer at 180°


You can leave the eggs out of this recipe if you so desire

You will need

1 or 2 onions
2 cloves of garlic

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

4 tomatoes

Olive oil

6 eggs
Pinch of piment d’espelette or paprika

Salt and black pepper

Fresh parsley


To prepare

Begin by cooking the sliced onions and the crushed garlic in the oil for around five minutes. Peel the peppers roughly with a potato peeler and then slice the peppers lengthwise into thin strips and cook for a further five minutes.

Now skin the tomatoes by plunging them into boiling water, then peel, chop and deseed them. Add these to the onion-and-pepper mixture.

Beat the eggs as for an omelette and season with salt, pepper, paprika and chopped basil. Add to the tomato mixture or piperade and stir in slowly, as for scrambled eggs. Alternatively, you can break the eggs in whole, covering the whites in piperade, which will cook them, and allowing the yolks to peep through. When almost set, sprinkle with chopped parsley and a little piment d’espelette or paprika if desired.


“ THE HARD TIMES COOK BOOK: Good Food on a Budget”

By Éamonn Ó Catháin

Published by Liberties Press


Saturday 20th July

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….


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)



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.



200g plain flour

115g butter

1 tbsp caster sugar


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.


You will need: the stock from the chicken

1 egg

50g Serrano ham, cut into very fine ribbons

leaves from the bunch of parsley



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.

Saturday 30th March

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.



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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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.



Saturday 16th March

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 for more.


Saturday 16th February

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



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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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


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.



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Text: 51551

Presenter: Marian Finucane


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