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Irish Soda Bread Benedictine with Oliver Dunne

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

All over Ireland you'll fine small scale, artisan food producers who take infinite care over their products. From the finest cheeses to great bakeries, smokeries and meat producers, Ireland nurtures some of the best. We should try and eat our local produce more and support the economy, especially the way things are at the minute.

The reason behind people beginning to eat locally more and more could also have come from the slow food movement which originated in the 1980's.

Oliver Dunne - Head chef at Bon Appetit
About The Chef
Born in 1977 and raised on Dublin's Northside, Oliver Dunne has spent his career surrounded by award winning chefs - Conrad Gallagher, Gary Rhodes and Gordon Ramsay to name but a few. After taking over the helm of Bon Appetit in 2006, Oliver was awarded his own Michelin Star in January 2008.

Reasons to Eat Local Food:
Buying local food keeps us in touch with the seasons. By eating with the seasons, we are eating foods when they are at their best, are the most abundant, and the least expensive.
Locally grown produce is fresher. While produce that is purchased in the supermarket or a big-box store has been in transit or cold-stored for days or weeks, produce that you purchase at your local farmer's market has often been picked within 24 hours of your purchase. This freshness not only affects the taste of your food, but the nutritional value which declines with time.
Local food just plain tastes better.
Locally grown fruits and vegetables have longer to ripen. Because the produce will be handled less, locally grown fruit does not have to be "rugged" or to stand up to the rigors of shipping. This means that you are going to be getting peaches so ripe that they fall apart as you eat them, figs that would have been smashed to bits if they were sold using traditional methods, and melons that were allowed to ripen until the last possible minute on the vine.
Eating local is better for air quality and pollution : the miles that organic food often travels to our plate creates environmental damage
Eating local protects us from bio-terrorism. Food with less distance to travel from farm to plate has less susceptibility to harmful contamination.
Eating local means more for the local economy. a euro spent locally generates much more income for the local economy. When businesses are not owned locally, money leaves the community at every transaction.


. 320g Whole meal flour
. 90g Self raising flour
. Tablespoon of honey
. 7g salt
. 400g butter milk
. 8g melted butter


1. Get a 2 lb bread tin, lightly butter the tin, and with a thin cover of flour on top (shake off excess). Mix all your dry ingredients together, add your butter milk and melted butter and slowly fold all the ingredients in together.
2. Pour your mixture in the oiled bread tin, smooth out with a palette knife around the sides.
3. Cook in the oven at 1800C for 45mins, place a tray filled with water in the bottom of the oven to create steam.

1 Poach eggs
1. Boil a large pan of water, add a good splash of cider vinegar. Crack eggs into cups. Whisk the water, add eggs into the water whirl and cook until soft. 3 mins. Plunge into iced water and reserve.
2. 4 eggs required altogether

1. Reduce 2 tblsp of cider vinegar with 2 tblsp of cream.
2. When a thick consistency, add in your butter, which is chilled and diced up, whisking over a low heat, do not boil and keep in a warm place until needed.

The bread
1. Cut slices of bread, about 1cm each and cut out with a large round cutter. Have a large frying pan hot, add butter, and when bubbling, add bread and fry until golden brown on both sides.

2. Drop eggs into boiling water for about half a minute to reheat. Place the bread on warm plates, place slices of salmon on top of the bread, egg on top of salmon and dress with sauce, spooning some on the plate.

Ardsallagh goats cheese with Beetroot Compote and Rocket Salad

. 200g Ardsallagh cheese
. 2 Large Beetroots
. 1 apple
. 200g Rocket
. 10ml Cider vinegar
. 30ml oil

1. Compote
Grate 2 large beetroots and 1 large apple. Place in pan with 4 tbsp of cider vinegar, 1 tbsp of boyne valley honey, lid on and cook until tender, adjust sugar at the end if required.

2. Cheese
Cut into 4 even slices

3. Assembly
Dress pocket leaves with a splash of cider and repressed oil. Place a spoon of compote on warm plates, place cheese on top and put under grill until cheese melts and then add the dressed rocket salad

Stockists of produce:

Beetroot: Dennis Harford (Lusk)
Rocket:Philip Jones (Rush)
Apple: Keelings Orchard (St Maragarets)
Ardsallagh Goats Cheese (Co. Cork)
Honey: Boyne Valley
Smoked Salmon: Clare Island Salmon (Smoked by T. Molloy Howth)
Cream/Buttermilk: Kilbeg Diarys (Kells)
Butter: Connaught Gold
Eggs: Mary Gittins (Carlow)
Wholemeal flour: Ballybrado (Cork)
Chives: Philip Jones (Rush)