Strawberry Custard Cream Pots

Makes 3, size depending (3 x 180 ml jars)

For the custard pots

200ml double cream 

100ml milk 

2 egg yolks

3 tbsp caster sugar 

1 vanilla pod, seeds extracted

100g white chocolate, melted

For the strawberry compote

170g strawberries, hulled & quartered 

50g caster sugar 

Juice and zest of ½ lemon

1star anise

3 tbsp cold water 

To serve:

Lemon whipped cream, to pipe on top

100ml double cream

¼ lemon, zest 

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tbsp icing sugar 

Strawberries, to decorate 

1 tsp hazelnuts, roughly chopped & toasted hazelnuts 

Mint or sweet geranium leaves, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan 150°C / gas 3.

To make the custard pots, pour the cream and milk into a saucepan and heat gently.

Add the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla seeds into a bowl and whisk well until light and fluffy.

Pour the hot cream over the egg yolks, whisking very well, a little at a time so that the yolks will cook.  Fold in the melted chocolate.

Transfer the mixture into pretty cups, ramekins or glass jars and place them into a bain marie (This is an oven tray. Half fill the tray with boiling water once in the oven) 

Bake for 30 minutes or until just set. Take them out of the bain marie and leave to cool before placing in the fridge. 

To prepare the strawberry compote, place the berries, sugar, star anise, lemon zest and juice and water a saucepan and bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer for 6 to 8 minutes until a syrupy compote forms. 

Leave to cool completely. Remove the star anise

For the lemon whipped cream, whip together the double cream, lemon zest and juice and icing sugar.  Taste and adjust to your liking.

When ready to serve, spoon the berry compote over the cream custards and pipe a swirl of the lemon cream on top. Scatter over the toasted hazelnuts and finish with some mint or sweet geranium leaves.

 

Grilled Dublin Bay Prawns with Roasted Asparagus 

Serves 2 

For the asparagus

6 asparagus spears, 

½ red pepper, sliced 

1 tbsp olive oil 

½ tsp sesame oil 

½ lime, zest only 

For the prawns 

1 garlic clove, peeled 

1 small shallot 

½ red pepper 

½ red chilli, deseeded

4cm chopped lemongrass

½ medium lemon, zest only

1 tbsp lemon juice

40ml rapeseed oil 

A small bunch coriander leaves and the stalks, 

Small sprig of parsley 

2 mint leaves 

Salt and pepper

300g shelled Dublin Bay Prawns

Zest of lime, to serve

Basmati & wild rice, to serve

Fresh coriander, micro greens or baby watercress, to garnish 

For the asparagus and red pepper, preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4.  Place the oils, lime zest and seasoning in a bowl and add the asparagus and red pepper.  Mix well and then tip out on to a baking tray. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, turning the spears over from time to time. 

For the prawns, place the garlic, shallot, red pepper, chilli, lemongrass, lemon zest and juice, oil, coriander leaves and stalks, parsley and the mint leaves into a food processor and blend, keeping a little texture in the peppers. Season with salt. Pour this over the prawns and leave for 10 minutes.

Preheat a chargrill pan, place the marinaded prawns (leaving the marinade in the bowl) onto the grill pan at a high heat and cook for 1 minute depending on the size before turning over. The prawns will be pink when cooked. Set aside, then add the marinade to the pan, bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes.

Place the rice on serving plates, top with the roasted asparagus and red pepper, grate the zest of some lime over and then add the chargrilled prawns on top. Spoon over the cooked marinade.  Garnish with fresh coriander or micro greens or baby watercress. Serve immediately. 

 

Beetroot and Goats Cheese Ravioli with Lemon Cream Sauce and Walnuts

Serves 2 

For the beetroot pasta

150g strong white flour

Pinch of salt

1 egg

1 tsp olive oil 

2 tbsp cooked beetroot puree and well strained (leave in a sieve for the liquid to drain out)

 

For the filling

60g goat’s cheese

50g ricotta cheese

2 tbsp grated parmesan

1 tsp marjoram (or thyme), chopped

¼ roasted red pepper, finely chopped

½ lemon, zest only 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

For the lemon cream sauce

100ml cream

½ lemon, lemon juice and zest 

1 tbsp chopped chives

Salt and white pepper

Walnuts, roughly chopped, to garnish

Lemon zest, to garnish 

Chives, to garnish

Grated parmesan, to serve (optional)

To make pasta the traditional way, sift the strong flour and salt onto a clean work surface and make a well in the centre. whisk the egg, oil and beetroot puree together with a fork and gently pour into the well.

Gradually mix the liquid ingredients into the flour, using the fingers of one hand.  Knead the pasta until smooth.  Wrap up in parchment and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes before rolling out. 

To use the food processor, sift the flour and salt into the bowl.  Pour in the beaten egg, oil and beetroot puree and process until the dough begins to come together.  Turn out and knead until smooth.  Wrap and rest for at least 30 minutes. 

To roll out, using a pasta machine, feed the dough through the widest setting several times.  Feed the pasta through the machine, narrowing the setting by one notch each time, until the required the finest setting for ravioli. 

When ready to assemble, mix all the ingredients for the filling together.  

Bring 2 litres of water to the boil and add ¾ tsp salt.  

Find the halfway point in the length of pasta, and spoon the filling at intervals on one half.  Lightly egg wash around and lay the remaining pasta half over, pressing firmly down and ensuring no air is trapped.

To make the sauce, add the cream, lemon zest, juice, chives and seasoning to a saucepan and heat through. Cook until slightly thickened

Once the water is at rolling boil, carefully lower the ravioli in and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. To check that they are cooked, slice a little pasta and taste. It should be al dente. 

To serve, arrange 3-5 ravioli (depending on the size made) on a plate. Spoon over the lemon cream sauce, add the lemon zest and sprinkle over a few walnuts and chives to garnish.  

Serve immediately, adding grated parmesan as desired. 

 

Raspberry Lemon Cocktail 

Makes 2 

6 raspberries

90ml Limoncello

100ml ginger flavoured stock syrup 

Moinéir Raspberry Wine (Wicklow Way Wines) 

To decorate the glasses

Lemon & caster sugar

Ice, optional

Raspberries & swizzle sticks, to decorate

2 x flute glasses

Place the raspberries and limoncello in a jug or glass to infuse for 5 minutes.

To decorate the flute glasses, rub half a cut lemon over the rim of the glass and then dip the rim in caster sugar.  Set aside to dry.

Add ice to the glasses to chill, then discard the ice.

Muddle the raspberries lightly and sieve the mix well, dividing the liquid between each of the two glasses. 

Pour the stock syrup into the glasses and top up with Moinéir Raspberry Wine and give a stir.

Finish each glass with a swizzle stick and ice (optional) and serve

catherine cocktail

Raspberry Lime Mocktail 

Makes 2 -3 

For the raspberry lime syrup 

130g raspberries, hulled and chopped in quarters

120g sugar 

150ml water

Sparkling or tonic water, to top up (about 500ml or to taste)

½ lime, chopped into wedges

Some fresh raspberries to decorate

2 slices of lime, to decorate

Mint ice cubes

2 x flute glasses

For the mint ice cubes, lay fresh mint leaves in an ice cube tray, top with water and freeze.

To prepare the syrup, place the raspberries, sugar and water into a saucepan over a high heat, bring to the boil and then turn the heat on low and leave to simmer for 8 minutes. Stirring from time to time. 

Leave to cool completely, then sieve the syrup into a serving carafe or jug. (The raspberry pulp can be set aside and used for baking later).  Add the chopped lime, fresh raspberries and mint ice cubes followed by the sparkling or tonic water.

Serve in flute glasses, decorated with lime slices

Eggnog Panna Cotta with Crystalised Cranberries

I do love panna cotta and by adding the eggnog flavours to this recipe, it elevates to a whole new Yuletide tasting experience!

Makes 4

 

For the panna cotta

3 egg yolks

120g caster sugar

250ml milk

300ml double cream

3 tbsp white rum

Small pinch nutmeg

3 gelatine leaves

 

For the crystalised cranberries

60g fresh cranberries

1 egg white

100g caster sugar

 

Pinch nutmeg, to decorate

Small bay leaves, to decorate 

You will need 4 x 150ml glasses

To prepare the panna cotta, place the caster sugar into the egg yolks and whisk until smooth, light in colour and fluffy.

Soak the gelatine leaves in 100ml cold water until they are soft.

Heat the milk and double cream, rum and nutmeg in a saucepan over a medium heat until just hot.

Remove the gelatine from the water, squeeze out the excess liquid.  Then whisk into the hot cream mix.

Then while continuously whisking, pour the hot cream mix into the eggs and sugar mix.   

Pour or ladle the mixture into a jug and carefully transfer into the glasses filling them up to 1cm from the rim.

Leave to set in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

To prepare the cranberries, place them in a bowl.  Whisk the egg whites.  Spoon in 2 tablespoons of egg white and toss cranberries. Pour the sugar onto a plate and then roll the cranberries in until covered. Leave at room temperature to dry – this will take a couple of hours. 

To assemble, take the panna cotta out the fridge about 30 minutes before serving. Arrange the crystalised cranberries around the top and add the small bay leaves.

Beef Wellington with Mushrooms & Red Onion Gravy

Traditionally this recipe includes pate too but I love the mushrooms exclusively and I feel its sufficiently rich as is.

Serves 4

800g beef fillet, trimmed

 

25g butter

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

3 small shallots, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

2 tbsp chopped thyme

350g mixed mushrooms, chopped (I used portobello, king oyster and brown and white beech)

4 slices of parma ham

500g puff pastry

 

For the Red Onion Gravy

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

3 red onions, thinly sliced

1 bay leaf

2 sprigs thyme

200ml red wine

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

400ml chicken or beef stock

2 tsp arrowroot (or cornflour), slaked in 1 tbsp water (optional)

 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Egg wash (one egg and 2 tbsp cold water, beaten with a fork)

 

Wrap the piece of beef up tightly in a double layer of cling film to set its shape and chill overnight.

 

Melt the butter and oil in the frying pan and add the shallots, sauté for 2 minutes on low without browning them and then add the garlic and thyme and sauté for a further 2 minutes.

Increase the heat, add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, ensuring they are fully cooked and all of the excess moisture from the mushrooms has evaporated. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Leave to cool completely.

 

When ready to assemble. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 8. 

Remove the beef from the fridge, unwrap the cling wrap. Wrap the beef in the parma ham and set aside.

Roll about 400g of the pastry out to 25cm x 35cm – sufficient to cover the beef and the mushroom mix.

Spread two thirds of the mushroom mixture down the middle of the pastry leaving 8cm border on each side. Place the beef in the centre of the mushrooms and spread the other third of the mushrooms on top of the meat.

To wrap the beef in the pastry, brush the pastry border with egg wash. Fold in the short sides of the pastry over the beef. Fold over the long ends and set on the roasting tray, turning over so that the seam is on the base.  Brush with egg wash.

Then, take a strip of pastry and using a lattice roller, cut out a lattice shape.  (or cut stars, leaves or hearts! Whatever you choose to decorate). Lay the lattice over the wellington, trim the ends of the pastry, forming a neat conical shape.  Brush with egg wash again and roast for 45 minutes approximately for medium rare – about 55-57C reading on a meat thermometer.  For medium, the temperature should read 60-62C.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

To prepare the gravy, melt the butter and oil in a saucepan, add the onions and sauté for 6 to 7 minutes until softened but not browned.

Add the bay leaf, thyme and red wine, bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 10 minutes before adding the balsamic vinegar and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

If you feel the gravy needs thickening, stir in the arrowroot (or cornflour) paste and stir well. Cook for 2 minutes.

 

 

Roasted Ballymakenny Heritage Potatoes with Tenderstem Broccoli and Creamy Tarragon Dressing

This is a marriage made in heaven – heirloom potatoes, roasted with fresh broccoli and the most delicious of dipping sauces!

Serves 4

 

800g Ballymakenny heritage potatoes, scrubbed and roughly chopped

2 tbsp Irish rapeseed oil

1 large stalk rosemary

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

400g tenderstem broccoli

Large knob butter

2 tablespoons water

 

For the tarragon dressing

100ml crème fraiche

½ lemon, juice only

½ tsp sugar

1 tsp Irish wholegrain mustard

60ml Irish rapeseed oil

1 spring onion, finely chopped

2 tsp tarragon, finely chopped

Salt and white pepper

 

For the potatoes, preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Place the potatoes, oil, rosemary leaves, salt and freshly ground black pepper in a bowl and toss well.

Transfer to a roasting pan and roast for 50 minutes until golden and cooked, shaking the pan from time to time.

To prepare the broccoli, heat a large frying pan that has a lid, add the butter and let it melt, then add the broccoli and sauté on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes.  Then add a few tablespoons of water, reduce the heat, cover and let the broccoli steam-fry – this will take about 3-4 minutes (it may take longer depending on the thickness of the broccoli stems). As soon as its ready remove from the heat.

To prepare the dressing, place the crème fraiche, lemon juice, sugar, wholegrain mustard and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper in a bowl.

Slowly pour in the oil while whisking until smooth.

Stir in the spring onion and tarragon.  Store in the fridge for up to 2 days if you are not going to use it immediately.   

To serve, place the roasted potatoes in the centre of a platter and arrange the roasted broccoli on the outside. Spoon over some tarragon dressing.

   

Christmas Negroni with Marmalade Citrus Bitters

This classic Italian Campari cocktail packs a punch. For sweeter a note to this cocktail, replace the Vermouth Rosso with Sweet Vermouth or add a few drops of simple syrup.

Makes 1 cocktail

For the cranberry orange ice cubes

20 cranberries

1 orange, zest only

300ml cold water

 

For the cocktail

30ml vermouth rosso

30ml Campari

30ml gin

7 drops Off the Cuffe Marmalade Citrus Bitters

Ice

 

For the ice, arrange the ingredients into the segments of an ice cube tray and pour in the water. Freeze until ready to use.

To make the cocktail, firstly chill the serving glass.  Then add all the ingredients to a long glass and stir gently with a stirrer or a long spoon – for no more than 15 seconds.  Then strain the contents into the chilled cocktail glass.  Add three or four cranberry orange ice cubes and serve immediately.

 

Christmas Negroni Mocktail with Marmalade Citrus Bitters

Influenced by the Negroni, this mocktail showcases the botanicals of gin and the citrus bitters bringing the Campari style element. If your taste is for a more bitter cocktail, I would suggest adding some of the Italian Sanbitter which will also give that glorious pale pink shade.

Makes 1 cocktail

For the ice cubes

20 cranberries

1 orange, zest only

300ml cold water

 

120ml white grape juice (or non-alcoholic white wine)

1 tsp pink peppercorns

1 tsp juniper berries, gently crushed

½ lime, zest only

Sprig of lemon balm

10 drops Off the Cuffe Marmalade Citrus Bitters

Ice

 

To decorate

Long rosemary sprig, to decorate

For the ice cubes, arrange the ingredients into the segments of an ice cube container and pour in the water. Freeze overnight.

For the cocktail, firstly chill the serving glass.  Then pour the grape juice into a saucepan, add the pink peppercorns, juniper berries, lime zest and a sprig of lemon balm. Bring to a bare simmer, then remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

Pour all the juice mix into a tall glass, add the Marmalade Citrus Bitters and ice and stir gently with a stirrer or a long spoon – for no more than 15 seconds.  Then, using a fine sieve, strain the contents into the chilled cocktail glass.  Add three or four cranberry orange ice cubes, finish with a rosemary sprig and serve immediately.

oysters

Duo of Carlingford Oysters – Mignonette Oysters and Catherine’s Smokey Oysters

I love the combination of the raw and cooked oysters.  And for those of us who are nervous of raw oysters and / or shucking them, the baked oysters will introduce you to a whole new (and easy) way of enjoying the wonderful Irish oysters

Serves 4

12 Carlingford oysters on ice

 

Mignonette Oysters

For the mignonette sauce

4 shallots, very finely chopped

50ml white wine vinegar

50ml rice vinegar

¼ tsp white pepper

Pinch sugar, to taste

 

To prepare the mignonette sauce, combine the shallots, white wine vinegar and rice vinegar together – stir in the pepper and a pinch of sugar to taste. Mix well and leave for at least 4 hours or overnight for the flavours to infuse.

 

Catherine’s Smokey Oysters

For the flavoured butter

50g butter

2 tsp lemon juice

½ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp finely chopped parsley

 

Flat leaf parsley, to garnish

Lemon slices, to garnish

 

 

To prepare the grilled oysters, heat the oven to 220C/ 200C fan/ gas 7

Scrub the oyster to remove any dirt and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

Place the oyster flat side up on the roasting tray and bake for 12 minutes, just until the oyster juices begin to seep out from the shells. Remove from the oven.  And to open, use an oyster shucker – run the shucker back to the hinge of the oyster and then twist. If the oyster is still attached to the muscle on the shell, run the shucker between the oyster and muscle.

 

Meantime, melt the butter along with the lemon juice, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and parsley in a saucepan and heat for 1 minutes. Set aside.

To serve, arrange the oysters, 3 grilled and 3 raw on each plate and spoon over one teaspoon of the butter onto the grilled oyster and spoon a little of mignonette sauce over each of the raw oysters.

Sprinkle over some flat leaf parsley and garnish with lemon slices

Gastronomic Society – San Sebastian

Gastronomic societies are a very important part of the social fabric of San Sebastian. Originally conceived as informal gentlemans clubs, they have evolved into meeting places where members can prepare food, reconnect and enjoy each others company. They also serve an important cultural purpose as many of the traditional festival activities are organised over a meal at these societies.

Gabriella of Tenedor Tours brought Catherine to one of these societies and prepared a beautiful lunch of local dishes, a real treat and a priviliged glimpse of local life in San Sebastian.

Coriander & Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Serves 4 

Ingredients

For the Sauce

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

400g canned tomatoes

1 tbsp. tomato paste

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 tsp caster sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 large or 12 small corn or flour tortillas

220g cheddar cheese grated (keep some for the topping)

220g cheddar cheese grated (keep some for the topping)

1 onion, finely chopped

1 chilli, finely sliced

350g cooked chicken, shredded

250ml sour cream

1 lime, zest only

1 bunch of chopped coriander

For the Salsa

2 avocado, diced

1 bunch of coriander, chopped

1 lime, juice and zest

Pinch of salt

Method:

To prepare the tomato sauce, heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion until softened, this will take about 5 minutes and then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste and the chilli. Add the sugar and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Simmer slowly for about 15 to 18 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C / gas mark 5. Brush an ovenproof dish with melted butter. Place each tortilla, flat on a surface, sprinkle with some cheese, chopped onion, shredded chicken, chilli, 2 tbsp. of tomato sauce, a spoon of sour cream and lime zest.

Retain some cheese and sauce and sour cream for the top. Roll up all the tortilla and place them seam-side down in the baking dish next to each other. Pour over the remaining tomato sauce, sour cream and sprinkle the rest of the grated cheese on top.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes until heated through and just lightly golden on top.

To make the salsa, combine the avocado, coriander leaves, salt and lime juice and zest into a small serving bowl to serve with the enchiladas.