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Culinary 6 Nations

Friday, 5 February 2010

Derry Clarke Head chef at L'Ecrivain

Derry Clarke, has been Chef/Patron of l'Ecrivain for over 20 years. He started his career in The Man Friday in Kinsale under Peter Barry in 1972 and moved to Dublin in 1977. He then spent four years in le Coq Hardi and a further eight years in the Bon Appetit before opening his own restaurant in July 1989 with his wife Sallyanne.

Derry and l'Ecrivain have been awarded many accolades over the past twenty years, including a Michelin Star which was awarded in 2003.

Derry completed his time as Commissioner General at EuroToques, but remains actively involved with Eurotoque, and is also a member of the Restaurants Association of Ireland since 1989.

Derry promotes the use of Organic Food & Non Genetically Modified Foods.

Derry's food ethos is simple. He uses the finest of fresh local produce; he believes that a good dish can only be produced when each & every ingredient used for the dish is of the highest of quality. This is why he spends so much time sourcing his ingredients. He likes using smaller organic and artisan producers, and is very keen on the promotion of indigenous products. Derry believes in keeping food simple. He will not use more than four flavours on the one dish.

Derry and Sallyanne are constantly up-grading and changing everything at l'Ecrivain Restaurant to ensure they are offering the very best of Food, Wines and Service at all times.

Aldo Zilli

Aldo Zilli is the founder and chef-patron of some of London's most exciting and award-winning restaurants in London's Soho. After finishing catering college in Italy, Aldo came to England at the age of 19 to concentrate on his passion for Italian food. He started working in Italian restaurants introducing new cooking methods and eclectic menus, transforming them from little-known venues to celebrity haunts. However he soon outgrew the kitchen, becoming executive manager and training other chefs in his own inimitable style. As well as Twiggy and Rocco, his children to wife Nikki, Aldo also has daughter Laura, 24, from his first wife, Jan. He is the youngest of 9 children, all boys.

Aldo appears regularly on radio and TV both as a presenter and chef. Most recently he took part in The World's Best Diets on ITV1, in which he introduced former England cricketer Darren Gough to the Mediterranean diet - subsequently voted to be the world's best eating plan for health and taste.

Aldo Zilli will launch his new and innovative vegetarian restaurant, Zilli Green in Soho on the 14th February 2010 - the first ever Italian vegetarian chef with a fusion mind from across the world.

His former flagship restaurant, Signor Zilli will be entirely remodelled and re-branded to celebrate Aldo's commitment to healthy living. What's more, it will reinforce the message that vegetarian food doesn't have to be dull or tasteless - but exciting and delicious with quirky flavours and combinations. The menu will be an experience to share.

Aldo Zilli explains, "Before going on Celebrity Fit Club a few years ago I decided that I wanted a new lifestyle and a new way of looking at food. The programme inspired me to alter the focus of my cooking with new ingredients and different patterns of eating. This year marks my 30th anniversary as one of Soho's original restaurateurs. At the time, I brought a fresh new approach to eating Italian food to London and I want to mark this anniversary with an equally exciting new approach to a fresh and healthy way of life for everyone to enjoy."

Derry's Dish:

Fillet of Beef with Barley, Horseradish Crème Fraiche and Sauté Wild Mushrooms

4 x5oz beef fillet - season to taste


1. In a pan add a drop of vegetable oil, add fillets and cook on each side for 3/4 min. For well done cook more.

Horseradish Crème Fraiche


. 200 ml crème fraiche- hung overnight in a cloth to remove the excess water
. 30 g fresh grated horseradish


Mix the horseradish with the crème fraiche and season



. 400 g pearl barley- soaked in cold water overnight.
. 1 onion whole
. 1 carrot whole
. 1 celery stick whole
. 2 clove garlic whole
. 1 spring thyme
. 1 litre chicken stock


Drain the water from barley, add the rest of the ingredients cover with a lid & simmer for 40 min until soft


. 100 ml vegetable oil
. 1 spring parsley
. 500 ml demi-glaze
. 250 g mixed wild mushroom
. 100g diced smoked bacon


1. Sauté the bacon & mushrooms in vegetable oil then strain to remove any excess fat
2. Mix the barley, demi-glaze, mushrooms & bacon and bring to boil.
3. Finish with chopped parsley.

Serve on four plates, place the barley in the middle of the plate add the beef fillet and top up with a spoon of horseradish crème fraiche.


Aldo's Dish:

Monkfish wrapped in Smoked Pancetta

Serves 4-6


. 2 x 340g (12oz) monkfish fillets, trimmed and membrane removed 125g (41/2oz) smoked pancetta, thinly sliced
. 1 large sprig of fresh rosemary, separated into small sprigs 60ml (4 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil

For the sauce


. 2 garlic cloves, skin on, crushed
. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
. 200ml chicken stock
. 5 / 6 sage leaves
. 25g butter
. Juice of half lemon


Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

1. Lay the pancetta out flat on a work surface with each slice slightly overlapping, Place the monkfish fillets on top, and arrange half the rosemary sprigs on the fish. Tightly roll the ends of the pancetta around the monkfish, then pierce the pancetta with the remaining rosemary sprigs.

2. For the sauce: cook the garlic in the olive oil, for two minutes, remove the garlic and add the chicken stock, lemon juice sage and butter and cook for 5 minutes

3. Heat a large heavy-based ovenproof frying pan until hot, add the 60ml (4 tablespoons) of oil and heat until hot. Add the monkfish and seal for 5 minutes, turning the fish constantly. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 10 minutes, then turn off the oven and open the door slightly - this will keep the fish warm until you need to serve.

Avolo Nero with Garlic and Chilli

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes


. 1.2kg cavolo nero, washed and tough stalks removed 45ml olive oil
. 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
. 1 fresh red chilli, seeded and finely chopped Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Place the cavolo nero in a large heavy based saucepan (do not add any water). Cover the pan and cook gently for 6-7 minutes until it wilts, stir occasionally to keep from sticking. Drain well and allow to cool slightly, and then squeeze out excess water. Chop roughly.

2. Heat the oil in the same pan. Stir in the garlic and chilli and fry for two minutes. Add the cavolo nero, season to taste and cook until the spinach is heated through.

3. Serve immediately

Additional Information:

Today's rugby jersey's were provided by Elverys Sports