Marian Finucane

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sticky Toffee Banana Pudding with a salted caramel sauce


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

    Serve covered in the hot salted caramel sauce.

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

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

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

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

    Fresher eggs are perfect for poaching.

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

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

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

    This mayo recipe makes enough for four people.

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

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

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

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