Today With Sean O Rourke Friday 29 November 2013

Today with Sean O'Rourke

Today with Sean O'Rourke

The mid-morning current affairs magazine with the stories of the day, sharp analysis, sports coverage, in-depth features and consumer interest. Presented by Keelin Shanley



Revelations yesterday that five senior members of the Central Remedial Clinic are still receiving top-up payments to their salaries, including money raised through charitable donations has added further fuel to the controversy of salaries above and beyond agreed levels of state salaries.

Donal Toolan is a rights activist with a long history of work to highlight disability issues and he joined Keelin in studio and on the line was Joe Watson, parent of a child who uses the facilities of the Central Remedial Clinic.

ESB Threat of Industrial Action

ESB Threat of Industrial Action

Ingrid Miley, industry and employment correspondent, discusses the latest in the dispute at the ESB as unions serve notice of strike action on the company

Cattle Marts

Cattle Marts

Paddy O'Gorman has been to the cattle mart at Kilcullen in Co Kildare and joined Keeling in studio this morning to tell her about it.

Nigella Lawson/ Saatchi Fraud Trial

Nigella Lawson/ Saatchi Fraud Trial

Keelin was joined by from Isleworth Crown Court by Enda Brady of Sky News with the latest of the trial of two sisters accused of spending £685,000 of Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi’s money.

French Film Festival

French Film Festival

In the 1970s the documentary film maker, Claude Lanzmann undertook a monumental task – he wanted to make a film about the Holocaust – but not a drama documentary of the years of terror, but a sober look back by the survivors and witnesses of the genocide of the Jewish People.  The result was the epic which took more than 10 years to make.  The film was Shoah, a film that does not use any archival  footage but relies on the story telling of those who were there. 

Lanzmann’s research began with a man named Benjamin Mur-mel-stein – his first interview, but an interview he decided not to include in Shoah, this interview is now the subject of Lanzmann’s new film The Last of the Unjust which will be screened at the Carte Noire IFI French Film Festival on Sunday and Keelin was joined by UCD philosophy lecturer Joseph Cohen to talk about the film he will introduce on Sunday.

Spiced Beef

Spiced Beef

Pat Whelan is a fifth generation butcher who has been immersed in the world of meat since he was a child. His family business in Clonmel and now with two branches in Dublin (Avoca Monkstown and Avoca Rathcoole) James Whelan Butcher’s has been running since the 1960s and they supply much of the meat directly from the family farm at Garrentemple.

He was with us today to talk us through their festive spiced beef recipe which they have been making since they opened their first shop in Clonmel in the 1960s and also to give us a few tips on how to cook this truly unique dish and to suggest some simple one pot beef dishes from his new cookbook written with Katy McGuinness, The Irish Beef Book, that will feed the influx of extra family members over the busy days of Christmas.

James Whelan’s traditional Spiced Beef

Serves 10

2.5–3 kg eye of the round, topside or

silverside of beef

75 g brown sugar

25 g black peppercorns

12 g allspice berries

25 g juniper berries

12 g ground cloves

12 g sea salt

12 g saltpetre

Trim the beef, then rub it all over with the sugar. Leave it in a bowl in the fridge for two days. Crush the peppercorns, allspice and juniper berries together in a pestle and mortar. Mix with the cloves, salt and saltpetre. Rub the beef thoroughly with the spices. Cover and keep in the fridge for 6–7 days. Turn the beef in the mixture daily.


Preheat the oven to 140° C/fan 120° C/gas mark 1.Place the beef in a deep casserole dish as near to its size as possible. Add 250 ml water and cover tightly. Cook the beef in the oven for 5 hours. Leave it to cool in the liquid for 2–3 hours, then remove and wrap it in tin foil. Store in the fridge.

Boeuf Bourguignon

This is our version, but feel free to play around with it and make it your own. As with all slow-cooked beef dishes, it will be even better on the second day. Allow it to cool

before refrigerating it overnight and reheat it the next day.


Serves 4–6


a few tablespoons plain flour

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 kg chuck or shin beef, in large pieces

about 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or

Irish rapeseed oil

knob of butter

around 20 shallots or small onions, peeled

300 g button mushrooms

2 medium onions, chopped small

200 g streaky bacon, cut into short strips

4 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed

2 bay leaves

1 large sprig of thyme

1 bottle red wine

200 ml stock


Put a few tablespoons of flour in a bowl and season generously with sea salt and black pepper. Toss the meat in the seasoned flour. Put a couple of tablespoons of oil and a knob of butter in a heavy casserole dish over a medium heat.

Add the pieces of meat in batches, leaving plenty of space between the pieces. Don’t move the meat around much; just turn it occasionally until it is all browned on all sides. Browning the meat is key to the flavour of the final dish, so it’s important that the meat is not crowded — if it is, it will steam rather than brown. Add a little more oil and butter as necessary.

As each batch of meat browns, remove and place to one side. When all the meat is browned, add the shallots to the casserole and brown lightly, then add the mushrooms and cook until golden. Remove the shallots and mushrooms and set to one side. Add the chopped onion and streaky bacon to the casserole and cook until the onions are softand the bacon lightly golden.

Return the beef to the pan with the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, wine and stock. Season.

Simmer, uncovered, over a low heat for at least an hour and a half, then return the shallots and the mushrooms to the casserole and cook for another 30 minutes.

Multi-tasking Rich Beef Cheek Ragù

You could use this sauce with pasta, on top of a baked potato or simply with mashed potatoes and green vegetables. It is rich, unctuous and entirely wonderful.

Serves 8

1.8 kg beef cheeks, trimmed

sea salt

black pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or Irish

rapeseed oil

120 g smoked bacon, chopped into cubes

4 carrots, chopped

4 onions, chopped

4 sticks celery, chopped

3 x 400 g tins chopped tomatoes

375 ml red wine

1 litre chicken stock

a few sprigs of thyme

2 tablespoons aged balsamic or saba vinegar,

or vino cotto

Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas mark 3½.

Cut the beef cheeks in half and season with sea salt and black pepper. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a heavy frying pan and fry the beef cheeks in batches, allowing them to brown and caramelise. Do not overcrowd the pan, or the meat will steam rather than brown.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy-bottomed casserole dish, fry the bacon until golden, add the chopped vegetables and fry until softened. Add the tomatoes and then the beef cheeks. Pour the red wine into the frying pan and scrape away any crispy bits, then add to the casserole dish. Add the chicken stock, cover and cook in the oven for about 3 hours, by which time the beef cheeks should be falling apart.

Remove the lid and cook for about a further 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until some of the liquid has evaporated and you have a rich, thick sauce. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon. When the sauce has cooled slightly, add the balsamic or saba vinegar or vino cotto, which adds richness, and check the seasoning.

This will be even better if you allow it to cool, refrigerate it overnight and use it the following day.

Taken from The Irish Beef Book by Pat Whelan and Katy McGuinness, published by Gill & Macmillan and priced at €22.99.

Friday Gathering

Friday Gathering

In the news this week the unfolding story of three women allegedly held as slaves for 30 years in London; a breakthrough deal for an Irish borrower in debt; details of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson’s high life emerge in court and the threat to turn out the lights at Christmas in a row over ESB pensions.

Taking a look back at the stories of the week were Columnist, Brenda Power; Irish Times Parliamentary Correspondent, Michael O'Regan; Irish Independent Columnist, Martina Devlin and PR Consultant, Paddy Duffy.

Consumer Affairs - Car Insurance

Conor Brophy, RTE Business Desk

Shuttleknit Designer Knitwear

Valerie Cox met a group of Traveller Women in Co. Wicklow who run 'Shuttleknit'



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Presenter: Sean O'Rourke


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