Middle of The Table Mussels

Serves 6

2kg Mussels

50g Barley

4 rashers dry cured bacon

1 small onion diced

3 cloves garlic crushed

100ml Sweet Cider

1 Bay Leaf

Knob of butter

150ml Cream

Pinch black pepper

Crusty Bread for dipping


Soak the barley in cold water for 20 minutes. Drain off the water and simmer the barley in fresh water until barley is cooked approx 20 minutes.

Grill the bacon rashers until crispy and set aside. When cooled cut bacon into strips.

Wash the mussels in cold water and remove any open mussels.

In a large pot, place the mussels, garlic, bay leaf, onion & cider. Cover with a lid. Place on the stove for 8 minutes. Shake the pot a couple of time throughout the cooking. The mussels should have all opened.

Add the drained cooked barley, butter and cream, season with pepper and chopped parsley and cook for a further 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the strips of bacon top.

Place in the middle of the table in the pot they were cooked in.

Brians Tip: Serve with crusty bread to soak up the scrumptious sauce.


A Gathering Pot

serves: 6


1 Large Chicken

1 Onion peeled and diced

2 Litre Chicken Stock

3 Carrots peeled and sliced

1 Leek washed and sliced

3 Sticks od Celery Chopped

2 Bay Leaf

Drizzle of Rapeseed Oil

4 Garlic Cloves Sliced

Fresh Ground Pepper

Pinch of Salt

Handfull of Fresh Parsley

Splash of White Wine

500g Basmati Rice


In a casserole pot add the oil and sweat the onion, garlic and bayleaf for 3-4 minutes Then add the chopped carrots, leeks and celery and sweat for a further 5 minutes.

Season with pepper and pinch of salt. Add the wine and allow the wine to reduce by half then add the stock,

Place the whole chicken in and ensure the chicken is covered by the stock,

Bring liquid to the boil then reduce to simmer with a lid on for 1 hour 30 minutes. The chicken should be fully cooked at this stage.

Remove the chicken and leave to cool on a wire rack. Rapidly boil the liquid until it reduces by half.

While the liquid is reducing cook the rice in boiler water, ensuring you wash the starch from the rice by rinsing in cold water a couple of times then allow 2 litres of water to cook the rice.

When the liquid is reduced turn the heat to simmer and pull the freshly cookedpieces off the chicken removing all the meat. Place the chicken in the warm Add chopped parsley and serve with the rice.

Brians Tip: Replace the wine with Cider or apply juice.


Braised Beef Cheeks with Champ



4 beef cheeks from your butcher ( request in advance)

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

2 Sticke celery washed and diced

400ml red wine

400g Tomatoes chopped

fresh ground black pepper

1 bay leaf


Preheat oven to 160°C.

Heat rapeseed oil in an ovenproof pot Brown the beef chesks on all sides then add ion the onions, carrots. Bayleaf and celery. Cook for 10 minutes agitating the vegetables occassionally. Season with pepper.

Add the wine and tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes then place a tight fitting lid on top and cook for 3 hours in the oven.

The cheeks will fall apart when cooked.

Serve with champ recipe below

Brians Tip: Beef cheeks are tasty when cooked like this and they are great served with boiled pasta or even use the beef in between layers of lasagne


Serves: 6


1 Kg potatoes

100ml milk

75g cream

50g butter

pinch ground white

pinch nutmeg

6 Scallions washed and sliced


Wash and peel the potatoes. Cook the potatoes in boiling water until soft. When potatoes are cooked, drain the cooking water off and return potatoes to the heat for 1 minute to evapourate further moisture.

In a separate sauce pan melt the butter and scallions so they sweat and cook for 2 minutes then add the milk and cream and allow liquid to warm in tempreture

Season the potatoes with white ground pepper and nutmeg. Start to mash the potatoes and when mashed add in the liquid and return potatoes to the heat and continue to mash constantly untill you have no lumps.

Brian's Top Tip:

Turn any leftovers into potato cakes by shaping and pan frying in butter.


Brian’s Rustic Irish Apple Pie

Serves - Makes: One Apple Pie



250g Plain Flour

125g Butter Softened

60g Sugar

1 Egg

4 Cooking Apples

Sprinkle of Sugar

Sprinkle of Cinnamon

1 Egg to glaze

Icing Sugar to Dust

Cream whipped to serve


Sieve the flour into a bowl. Add the sugar and mix together. Rub in the softened Butter to a sandy like texture. Add 1 Whole Egg and combine to form a pastry. Knead and shape then chill for 20 minutes wrapped ion cling film.

While pastry is chilling peel and slice the apples.

Roll pastry out thinly and place on 8-inch tray or plate. Add 2 layer of sliced apples then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Roll out pastry lid and use an egg to seal lid to the edge of pastry base. Brush with egg and bake in preheated oven 170 ° C for 40 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with icing sugar.

Serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream if you wish

Brian’s Tip:

Add some blueberries or strawberries for an alterbative combination. Try baking in square tin and cut as little squares for afternnon tea or supper