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Rachel Allen

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Rachel Allen is cooking for us today!

Rachel was brought up in Dublin and left home at eighteen to study at the world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School. Rachel is now a busy TV chef, author, journalist and mother, and still teaches at Ballymaloe.

Rachel is the author of six bestselling cookery books, and has sold in excess of 1 million worldwide. Her most recent book selling 1/4 of a million in the first 6 months. Her extremely popular television series for RTE and the BBC have been broadcast internationally in 33 different countries and she frequently appears on BBC's Saturday Kitchen.

Attracting viewers of 2 million on BBC, her TV series is also the highest ever rated show on The Good Food Channel. Rachel is also a main presenter of the BBC's Good Food Channel flagship programme Market Kitchen.

Her charming manner and effortless style make her a delight to watch.

Rachel writes a weekly column in The Mail On Sunday Magazine, and is a regular contributor to Olive, Delicious, BBC Good Food Magazine and Food and Wine among others. Rachel's style of cooking is above all practical - simple but delicious food, ideal for family and friends. Her influences are both regional and global.
Rachel has also designed a hugely successful range of homeware products.

The BBC describes her as an "Irish cooking queen" and Good Food Magazine believe she "has put Irish cooking on the map in recent years". Rachel has a devoted fan base both in the UK and Ireland, and the popularity of her television programmes continues to rise.

Rachel lives in her seaside home on the farm in Ballymaloe in County Cork with her husband Isaac, sons Lucca and Joshua, daughter Scarlett and their dog Buddy.

Update on Rachel's cooking shows

Homecooking is airing on BBC1 on 11.35 Saturday mornings. Good Food Channel airs most of her old TV shows.

Other than that, Bake and Home Cooking are being aired in 33 different territories around the world. Her first American publishing deal is coming through at the moment, with her first American book being published on St Patrick's Day this year.

Easy Soda Focaccia

. 450g (1lb) plain flour
. 1 tsp salt
. 1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
. 350ml - 400ml (12 - 14fl oz) buttermilk or sour milk
. 2 red onions
. 20 olives, pitted
. 3 sprigs of rosemary, cut into 2cm lengths
. about 60-75ml (2-2½ fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
. sea salt

23 x 33cm swiss roll tin

1. Preheat the oven to 220'C/425'F/Gas Mark 7. Brush the inside of the tin generously with olive oil.
2. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour most of the buttermilk in at once and, using one hand with your fingers outstretched like a claw, mix in the flour from the sides of bowl, adding more buttermilk if necessary.
3. The dough should be softish, but not too wet and sticky.
4. When it all comes together, turn it out onto a floured board and roll it out so that it will fit into the swiss roll tin.
5. Make dimples all over with your fingertips, on the top of the dough.
6. Next peel the onions and cut first into 6 wedges lengthways, then half crossways. Place these chunks on the raw dough, 6 across and 8 down, next to the half of the onion wedges place a pitted olive and a small sprig of rosemary.
7. Then drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
8. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the bread is nice and golden on the top and bottom.
9. If the bread is a good golden colour and you don't want it to darken any more during cooking, reduce the oven temperature to 200'C/400'F/Gas mark 6 and continue to bake for the specified time.
10. When the focaccia is cooked but still hot, drizzle just a little more olive oil over the top and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Dressed Crab

. 450g (15oz) brown and white meat from 2-3 cooked fresh crabs, reserving the crab shells
. 100g (3½oz) soft white breadcrumbs
. 150ml (5fl oz) white sauce
. 2 tbsp tomato chutney or tomato relish
. 2 tsp white wine vinegar
. 1 tsp Dijon mustard or a generous pinch of dry mustard powder
. 75g (3oz) butter, melted
. salt and pepper
. 100g (3 ½ oz) white breadcrumbs

For the tomato and basil salad
. 8 vine-ripened tomatoes (using one variety or a mixture)
. Pinch of caster sugar
. Good squeeze of lemon juice
. 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
. small handful of basil leaves, larger leaves torn

How to dress a crab
Preheat the oven to 180'C (350'F), Gas Mark 4.
2. If using the crab shells, scrub them clean, dry well and arrange upside down on a baking tray.
3. Alternatively, place the ramekins or small dishes on the tray.
4. In a large bowl, mix together the crab meat, breadcrumbs, white sauce, chutney or relish, vinegar, mustard and 25g (1 oz) of the melted butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Spoon the mixture into the crab shells or ramekins.
6. In a separate bowl, toss together the breadcrumbs with the remaining butter and sprinkle over the crab mixture.
7. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until heated through and browned on top. Briefly place under a preheated grill if necessary, to crisp up the crumbs.
8. In the meantime, prepare the salad.
9. Cut the tomatoes into quarters or 1cm (1/2 in) slices.
10. Spread out in a single layer on a large flat plate and season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar.
11. Add the lemon juice, drizzle over the olive oil and scatter with the basil leaves and toss gently together.
12. Serve the baked crab with the tomato salad and some fresh crusty bread on the side.

Additional / Misc' Info:

Tipperary Crystal launches fine bone china collection By Rachel Allen

Rachel Allen has launched a new fine bone china collection for Tipperary Crystal.
The range includes a 16pc dinner set, 11pc tea set, set of 4 bowls, and set of 4 mugs and is available from Brown Thomas Dublin, Cork and Limerick, Arnotts, House of Fraser, Kilkenny Shops, Tipperary Crystal shops at Carrick and Lyons Estate, and other outlets nationwide.

Prices start at €30 to €140

Rachel says: "The concepts emanate firstly from practicalities that I look for in the kitchen. Only then do I begin to perfect the design and look of the product."

Other items in the Rachel Allen collection for Tipperary Crystal include a range of everyday kitchenware, from salad bowls to serving dishes, chopping boards, scented candles and stemware.

Rachel Allen is a highly popular and very successful TV chef, best-selling cookery writer and journalist as well as a designer for everything required in the kitchen. She teaches at the world-renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School. Rachel's acclaimed cookery programmes have been shown around the world. During her successful career, Rachel has strived to create simple and functional items for the kitchen that has inspired her to create the Rachel Allen range of kitchen products.

Declan Fearon, Managing Director of Tipperary Crystal said: "Rachel Allen is renowned for both her cooking and style internationally and we are thrilled to have such another dynamic creative force on the Tipperary team. This is the latest initiative 'in our pioneering tradition of successful collaboration with well-known Irish designers such as Sybil Connolly, Louise Kennedy, Patrick Guilbaud and Helen Fitzpatrick and reinforces our commitment to working with talented Irish designers to develop new design concepts."

Tipperary Crystal, which was established in 1988, is the first Irish crystal company to introduce a range of high design casual dinning range that reflect the company's highly successful strategy of 'innovation through design'. Their continued success is underpinned by the extension of their product range into porcelain, jewellery and kitchenware and, as a result, the customer base has doubled, giving the company unprecedented growth for all ranges.

Rachel Allen