Marian Finucane

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

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

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

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

     

    Pangratto Recipe – for sprinkling over freshly cooked pasta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sticky Toffee Banana Pudding with a salted caramel sauce

     

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

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

    Instructions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Serve covered in the hot salted caramel sauce.

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

    Marian Finucane

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