Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ribeye Steaks with Smoked Garlic Butter & Pancetta Shallot Sautéed Potatoes

I've known about Ballyshonog Farm for quite some time - they supply superb Wicklow meat to restaurants like The Loft in Arklow and their produce is simply wonderful.  They also have a farm shop in Tinahely where you can buy local produce and the star of the show, their own meat.  I called in on my way home from work to get something for dinner as the cupboards were bare (i.e. I hadn't taken anything out of the freezer the night before).  I had a good look around the meat counter before deciding on two lovely ribeye steaks.  At just €17.50 per kilo, they were remarkable value too.

The perfect Friday Night dinner

So, the steaks were sorted but what to serve with them?  After a long week in work, we usually have something really nice as a treat on Friday night so I decided to use up some cold cooked new potatoes left over from the previous night's meal, but add lots of flavour by using some great Italian pancetta and shallots.  I will also admit freely that I love garlic - even raw, once you slice it very very thinly, but if you prefer it to be a bit more discreet, mince or grate the garlic into the butter and mix well.  Chill for a few minutes before placing onto your cooked steak

Friday, April 20, 2012

Salt Caramel Chocolate Pots

If this dessert was a movie star, it would be George Clooney : dark, decadent and smooth, with a hint of salt stopping it from becoming too sweet.  You may disagree, but you're wrong...  This is a great dessert for entertaining because you can make it hours, even the day before and stick it in the fridge while you spend your time stressing about something else.  To make it more grown up, feel free to add a dash of booze along with the cream - I had a hankering for some dark rum in this or a splash of good cognac.  Oh, and this is the perfect way to use up those Easter Eggs still lurking in the house.

These quantities serve two people but as it's very rich, feel free to either halve the ingredients or make it serve 4 people in smaller glasses.  Either way, impress everybody with this hit of chocolate gorgeousness

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lemon Vanilla Buttermilk Pound Cake

So, last week I made a batch of Buttermilk Pancakes for lazy brunch which were absolutely delicious.  I thought I'd have leftover batter for the following day but being greedy savages, we scoffed the lot.  It also left me with half a carton of Buttermilk in the fridge needing a home so I started thinking.  I could have made scones but I wanted a little teatime treat for Sunday afternoon and I decided to make a cake.

The lovely Fiona from Hunters Lodge gave me a lovely basket of her eggs and I could think of nothing better than this simple cake, fragranced with lemon zest and vanilla, to do them justice.  When I cut the trial slice for the photo, I was delighted to see little threads of lemon zest poking out.  I served this with some lovely creme fraiche and mixed berries but it would be equally good with some poached apples and a little pot of homemade Calvados cream.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Waterford Festival of Food starts tomorrow

Just one more day until the fifth Waterford Festival of Food begins in Dungarvan from Thursday April 12th to Sunday April 15th. It's going to be packed full of famous chefs including Angela Hartnett, Richard Corrigan, Dylan McGrath, Martin Shanahan & Nick Munier and is expected to attract thousands of food lovers from across the country to the region.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Poached Salmon & Spring Vegetable Tart

It was Good Friday and I was looking for an Easter Egg for The Hubs.  I had headed to Dundrum after work for a bit of shopping and to stock up on food for the holiday weekend.  As usual, when I have money in my pocket and need to buy something, I can't find a thing, but I did spy a bag of poached salmon fillets in M&S reduced to clear.  Sure it would be a sin not to, right?  And you have to eat fish on Good Friday...

Those who know me also know that eating fish on Friday in our house is a complete rarity but I couldn't resist a chance to use these in a tart packed full of spring vegetables.  It takes minutes to assemble and just 45 minutes to bake, serving 4 for tea (with lots of salad) or 6 for a light lunch.  It would be equally delicious using some Goatsbridge smoked trout fillets or some hot smoked salmon instead

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Breakfast Club : Buttermilk Pancakes with Maple Syrup

We tend to be very lazy creatures at the weekend - if we've nothing special to do, then we tend to try to have a lie on, have a late breakfast and skip lunch.  When I say "we", I mean that yours truly makes the breakfast as The Hubs can't cook. This morning I woke up with a longing for pancakes, which means I probably fell asleep watching The Food Channel last night...  They're my favourite of all brunch dishes, especially with pancetta and maple syrup because I absolutely love the combination of sweet and salty together.  Pancetta strips are preferable, but today all we had was cubetti which tasted just as delicious.  We also have some wonderful real Canadian maple syrup thanks to lovely relatives who visit us laden with cans regularly - thanks Valerie & Charlie!

Don't be afraid of making pancakes - let the batter sit for 5 minutes before you start to cook it : the thicker it is, the fluffier the pancake will be.  Don't stack them in the oven because they'll get soggy - lay them flat on a baking sheet instead to keep warm, and eat them as soon as you possibly can.  Don't forget to be generous with the syrup...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day TODAY!

Yes, you read that correctly.  Today is Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day so today, Tuesday 3rd April, you can get yourself a scoop of delicious icecream at a Scoop Shack for zero euro.  Free scoops are available from 18.00-21.00 today at the following locations across the country*

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Eastertime Rhubarb & Mascarpone Sponge

So the clocks have gone forward, which means that Spring has officially sprung. We had a near heatwave last week but if anybody else tells me that was our summer, I shall beat them with a metal spatula.  It's time to embrace the longer days and look forward to our next Bank Holiday which happens to be Easter Monday.  Springtime also heralds the arrival of vibrant pink stems of rhubarb in the shops which makes my heart happy.   It works beautifully as a compote, as a crumble filling and most especially as a tart, sweet, creamy filling for a homemade Victoria Sponge - the perfect teatime treat for Easter Sunday (if you've any room left after the millions of Easter eggs you will have eaten that morning...)