I am sure most of you know this but it’s not been long since my husband and I moved to Boston, Massachusetts. It’s a beautiful city in an equally stunning region, surrounded by lush farmland, coastal havens of shellfish and deep blue Atlantic fishing grounds. It is probably the most Irish city in the world outside of Ireland. Yesterday I was driving through Cambridge (home of Harvard University) and cycling in the opposite direction was a guy wearing a Kerry jersey. I am no longer surprised when I hear Irish accents on public transport and half of the kids working in pubs and restaurants over the summer are here on J1 visa’s from Ireland. Continue reading
We all know at this stage about my obsession with corn and all the sweetness it can bring to a meal. It is the height of corn season in New England and those beautiful cobs are overflowing from baskets at every market. Last weekend, in the search for a new way to use it up, I gave this corn risotto a go. It was delicious as it was but when we had visitors planned for this week, I decided to up the ante. Enter scallops! Continue reading
I cant begin to count the number of times I have heard the phrase “I don’t like tuna” and I totally understand! When most people grow up on soggy tuna sandwiches made with that tinned stuff in brine, I can see why people have a negative view of this majestic fish – what a shame! Fresh tuna steaks are something special, beautiful meaty flesh that can be a great carrier for strong flavour. Continue reading
Fish is one of the big reasons I wanted to do the course here at Ballymaloe. My background is in fisheries management and marine science. It is strange but I have not often cooked with fish much at home. I will nearly always order seafood in a restaurant and I truly love eating nearly every fish type. I am so aware of how valuable fish is and fisheries has been a part of my livelihood for a relatively long time. My hesitance in cooking it is probably due in part to my lack of confidence in preparation as well as over exposure to fish! Continue reading
Cork loves an auld festival! There is rarely a weekend that goes by that there isnt some form of pop up event in or around the city and county. From the Irish Redhead Convention hosted in Crosshaven every year to the International Jazz Festival, Glow Cork Christmas Celebration and every little food festival in between. Continue reading
There are so many reasons I love being home in Cork. We all know that I extoll the virtues of Irish food ad nauseum, but a significant role is played by the stunning countryside and coastline on which my daily life plays out. I think, growing up in a place makes you almost immune, or at least complacent, to the positive attributes a place can have. It wasn’t until I left here that I began to see what so many people across the world appreciate and long for. We really are blessed with our lot here in Ireland (despite the rain!) The Wild Atlantic Way is a relatively new initiative that sims to encourage and increase in tourism along Irelands west coast and to help showcase everything that it has to offer. Continue reading
Ok, so I know it hardly seems like Summer is on its way, but whatever the weather, colourful dishes full of flavour make me feel like it is finally Summer time! When we visited Barcelona, flavour and colour were in abundance in everything we ate and no more so than in the wonderful dish that is Paella. We hunted down a restaurant in a little backstreet of the El Ravel neighbourhood which is touted as having some of the best paella in the city. I have to admit it was pretty amazing, even if we couldnt finish it! The name of the restaurant is Pollo Rico and it is on Calle San Pau, just off the Ramblas.
I hope you have all had a lovely weekend, especially all those mammies and paddy’s out there! Ill be honest with you all and admit that I did not celebrate St Patricks day one bit! I spent the morning practising my cupcake decoration and the afternoon batch cooking for the week! The disasterous rugby did nothing to enhance my party mood! Oh well!
On the plus side, I have some yummy recipes on the way for you guys this week! I went to the local fishmonger on Saturday to see what they might have in stock. In general, fishmongers in London are either very pricy or not great. Sometimes the supermarkets are ok, especially for salmon or other commonly eaten fish but anything that takes effort to acquire is usually a bit steep. I was hoping for some good tuna steaks recently and per steak in M&S was about £6.
The fishmongers in East Finchley was not too bad though, I got about 150g Salmon and 300g Pollack for about £5. I was going to make a chowder but for some reason, fish pie ended up on the menu. And so here it is for all of you!
Creamy Fish Pie
Serves 4, 8pp per serving
- Approx 450g fish (I like a mix of salmon and white fish but a little smoked haddock can be nice too!)
- 2 Carrots, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic peeled
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 5-6 Florets Brocolli, cut into smaller pieces
- 500g Potato
- 600ml milk
- 2 tbsp low fat spread
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- half teaspoon strong english or wholegrain mustard
- Place the fish in asaute pan and cover with the milk. Add the whole clove of garlic.
- Poach for 5-8 mins until the fish is cook through. Remove the fish to an oven dish and flake off into small chunks, removing all skin and bone. Reserve the milk for later. Discard the garlic.
- Boil the potato in salted water until soft.
- Meanwhile fry the onion until soft and translucent, not crispy! Stir in the carrot pieces and broccoli and cook until softened.
- In another pan, melt the butter and when melted, stir in the flour. Cook this for about 2 minutes and then gradually start to whick in the milk from the fish.
- Once it is all added, turn up the heat and begin to reduce the liquid until you have a creamy looking sauce. Whisk in the mustard and season well.
- Transfer vegetables to the oven dish and mix well with the fish. Its nice to chop in some parsley here. Cover completely with the creamy sauce.
- Once the potato is cooked, mash well with a little milk and seasoning. Top the pie with the potato either by spooning it on or piping.
- Serve with a side of cabbage or any green veg.
This one disappeared before I could even get a picture! Happy Wednesday!!
Seafood chowder is possibly one of my favourite foods. Its warm and comforting but still reminds me of summer. It was something I always associate with West Cork summers. It comes in a huge variety of guises but I am a bit of a traditionalist and love a creamy white fish based chowder. It is never particularly healthy but I have made an attempt to cut at least some of the fat so that this yummy dish can be enjoyed regularly rather than just a treat. It is chunky and fulfilling. Teamed with some home-made brown bread it can be eaten as a yummy midweek supper.
Serves 4, Estimated PP: 9
- 200g Salmon, cut into chunks
- 200g Haddock, cut into chunks
- 400g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 large leeks, thinly sliced
- 500ml Fish stock
- 250ml White wine
- 250ml water
- 300ml skim milk
- 1 tbspn Creme Fraiche
- Can Sweetcorn
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Salt, pepper and parsley
- Heat a large soup pan and spray with flylight
- Add the leeks to the pan and fry until softened but not browned.
- Add the potato and fry for a further minute
- Pour in stock, wine and water. Cook for approx 12 minutes until potatoes are cooked through.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove half of the potato and leek mixture and place in a bowl.
- Using a hand blender, blitz the remaining potato. Slowly stir in milk and some creme fraiche or cream if desired.
- Add the fish, sweetcorn and seasoning as well as the removed leek and potato. Warm through until fish is thoroughly cooked.
- Serve with crusty bread or brown soda
At the moment, I am on holiday in France, sailing along the Brittany coast with family and friends. The weather is fabulous, the company equally so and the food mainly indulgent. Cooking on a boat is a unique challenge, especially when the boat is at sea. A friend of ours came up with the following dish when he had limited ingredients and many hungry mouths to feed and named it after his boat! He usually cooks it with lashings of cream but I have tweaked and lightened it a little so make it a little healthier. It is tasty served with green beans, asparagus or even just a side salad. Ive also included some pictures of the stunning Breton coast. Enjoy folks!
Serves 4, Estimated WW ProPoints: 10 per serving
- Approx 800g potatoes, sliced thinly
- 400g Smoked Salmon
- 2 large leeks, sliced thinly
- 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed and finely sliced
- 1 pint skimmed milk
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp flour
- Salt and Pepper
- Spray a frying pan with low fat spray and soften the leeks.
- Place a layer of leeks in the bottom of the oven dish.
- On top of this place a thin layer of potato and season well. Top with a layer of smoked salmon.
- In each layer, sprinkle some chopped garlic.
- Continue layering until you have used all potato, salmon and leeks, ensuring the top layer is potato.
- To make the sauce, melt butter in saucepan, stir in flour to make a roux and gradually whisk in the milk.
- Thicken this slightly but not too thick as the potato will need to cook in the sauce.
- Pour this mixture over your oven dish, ensuring there is enough liquid to cover the potatoes. Add more milk if necessary. Cover with tin foil.
- Place in the oven at 180 degrees C for approx. 45 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.
A Bientot….until next time,