Eoin Flaherty comes from a professional cookery background having worked as a professional chef for many years. Hope you enjoy his recipes below.
Cream of celery and apple soup
There is an abundance of celery in the tunnel at the moment and a celery and apple soup is a tasty way of using up the some of the celery. You can also blanch and freeze some to use in soups and sauces at a later date.
2 diced onions
2 heads of celery peeled and chopped and the leaves
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 apples peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 pints chicken stock
2 potatoes peeled and diced
1/4 pint of cream
Take a large saucepan and put on a medium heat add a couple of glugs of olive oil. Add the onions and celery and cook for 5 minutes stirring regularly.
Add the coriander to a mortar and pestle and grind to a powder. Add the coriander, garlic, ginger and potatoes to the pot and cover with a lid and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add the heated chicken stock and cook for a further 20 minutes and season to taste. blend your soup in a food processor or you can use a handheld blender, which I would recommend it is a safer option when using hot liquid.
Place the pot back on a low heat and add the cream and check for seasoning and consistency and serve hot.
The Irish have a love affair with mashed potato and I am no different. So this month I am going to give a few recipes to jazz up your favourite dishes with some simple variations, to make a good mash a great mash.
3 lb of boiling potatoes, (desiree, rooster, kerr pink)
1 tbsp of salt
Wash your potatoes, peel them and wash again. Cut into similar sized pieces so they will be ready at the same time. Cover with cool water add the salt and boil until tender. Check with a knife, if it passes through easily the potatoes are cooked. When cooked drain off excess water.
The most important thing when making mash is to dry out the potatoes until the water moisture is steamed off. You can add the cooked potatoes into a colander and allow to sit for 4 minutes or strain with a lid, cover with a clean tea towel and leave on a low heat for 4 minutes. You can mash your potatoes with a hand masher but I would recommend a mouli because it will leave your mash with no lumps.
Creamed mash Potatoes
Add 3 oz of butter and 6 fl oz of cream along with a handful of chopped parsley to the mashed potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and mix until smooth and creamy.
Leek and Onion Mash
Dice one onion, add to a small saucepan with a dollop of butter and cook for 2 minutes then add 1 diced leek and cook for a further minute. Add 6 fl ounces of cream, bring to the boil and add to the mash, season with salt and pepper and mix until smooth and creamy.
Red Onion and Black Olive Mash
Dice 2 red onions, add to a small saucepan with a dollop of butter and cook until softened. Add 100 g of finely chopped olives and cook for a further minute and add 6 fl oz of cream and bring to the boil and add to the mash. Season with salt and pepper and mix until smooth and creamy.
When preparing a basil pesto (Check out September's recipe) the remainder of the pesto left in the conical strainer can be added to your mashed potato along with 6 fl oz of cream. Season with salt and pepper and mix until smooth and creamy.
Basil mash is a great coloured mash for Paddys Day served with a grilled darne of salmon and a tomato sauce.
Chicken and Mushroom Pie
1 tbsp Rapeseed oil
8 skinless boneless chicken thighs
6 rashers smoked streaky bacon , cut into large pieces
1 onion, halved and sliced
250g pack baby button mushrooms
Handful thyme sprigs
2 tbsp plain flour
400ml chicken stock
500g frozen and defrosted
1 egg, beaten
Heat the oil in a large thick bottomed frying pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and fry for 6-7 minutes until golden brown on both sides. add the bacon into the pan. Fry for five minutes until crispy. Add the onion, mushrooms and thyme and then fry on a high heat for another three minutes .
Add the flour into the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 min. Take the pan off the heat and gradually whisk in the stock then return the chicken to the pan. Bring to the boil, and then simmer for 30 mins. Add the filling into a large pie or Baking dish and allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 180°C or gas mark 6. On a floured surface, roll the pastry. Cut a long strip as wide as the rim of the pie dish and, using a little of the egg, fix to the edge of the pie dish. Brush with egg and then lift the rest of the pastry over the pie, using the rolling pin to help. Press the edges with a fork and trim with a knife put a little hole in the pastry to allow for the steam to escape. Brush lightly with the beaten egg and bake in the oven for 30 mins or until the pastry is cooked and golden brown.
Chicken and Pasta Stir-Fry with Toasted Sesame Seed Oil
4 chicken fillets
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp white pepper
Juice of half lemon
2 peppers 1 red 1 yellow
240 g penne pasta
25mls Sesame seed oil
10mls Soy Sauce
Slice the chicken fillets into thin strips and place in a bowl. Add a glug of rapeseed oil and juice of half a lemon and marinate with the spices and leave to stand for a minimum of two hours.
On a separate chopping board, prepare your onions, peppers, courgette and slice into thin strips. Keep your vegetables separate as they all have different cooking times. Peel and cut your carrots in half and slice at an angle and boil in a separate saucepan. Add your pasta to a pot of boiling water and cook for 10 to 11 minutes and strain. Keep warm by putting a lid on.
Heat a large wok and fry the chicken. Next add the onions. After one minute add in the peppers, After another minute add in the courgettes and the cooked carrots.
Add in the pasta to the wok.
Before serving add the toasted sesame oil and soy sauce. Mix thoroughly and serve.
When cooking with scented oils, be sure to add in at the last minute, otherwise you will lose the flavour of the oil.
Roast Turkey Sage and onion Stuffing
1 tablespoon of mustard
1 diced onion
1lb sausage meat
1oz fresh white breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
2 tablespoons of sage
6kg oven-ready turkey
1 tablespoon of english mustard
1lt chicken stock
1/4 pint of port
1 tablespoon of redcurrant jelly
Salt and pepper
Add the butter into a heated saucepan, add the diced onion and soften, then add the herbs and sausage meat, cook for two minutes then add the breadcrumbs, season and leave to cool.
Heat the oven to 220°c/ Gas 7
To prepare the turkey slip your fingers under the skin at the neck and create a cavity over the breast. Stuff the neck end with the stuffing, tuck the loose skin underneath and fix with a metal skewer.
Take the butter and soften. Smear the turkey breast and legs evenly with the butter and mustard and lay the thin slices of bacon up along the breast. This is called Barding and will keep the turkey meat tender whilst cooking.
Lay out two large sheets of tin foil on a large baking tray and place the turkey on the tin foil and leave an opening at the top about the size of a letter opening this will allow for the steam to escape.
Roast in a preheated oven for 40 minutes and fold down the tin foil, turn the oven down to 160°c/Gas 3 and cook for a further 3 to 3 1/2 hours, basting regularly. Basting means you use a large spoon to cover the turkey with the cooking liquid. This will keep the turkey moist and give the turkey a crispy skin.
After about 3 hours take a two pronged fork and score the turkey at the thickest part of the thigh and if the liquid runs clear the turkey is cooked. If you are not sure invest in a meat probe. Insert the probe into the thigh. If the meat is 170°c for two minutes the turkey is cooked.
Leave the turkey to rest for half an hour wrapped in the tin foil.
Place all the cooking liquid in a bowl and leave to one side. Take the roasting tin and swill out the cooking tray with the port. Add the chicken stock, place in a pot and simmer. Add the redcurrant jelly to the chicken stock and thicken the liquid with a roux (see March recipe). Strain the jus into a serving jug or gravy boat and serve with the turkey meat.
This is a beautiful dish that can be ready in minutes and will taste to impress.
Smoked Salmon with Penne Pasta, White Wine Sauce
300g Smoked Salmon
300g Penne Pasta/Tagliatelle
1 tablespoon of Butter
3 large diced shallots or 1 diced onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of white wine
75g grated parmesan cheese
ground black pepper
1/2 cup cream at room temperature
salt to taste
Add the pasta to a large saucepan of boiling salted water with a glug of Olive oil, cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
Meanwhile add the butter to a thick bottomed pan. Add the diced shallots /onion and garlic and cook until softened. Add the white wine and cracked black pepper and reduce until the wine is fully reduced and the pan is nearly dry. This is the most important part of making a cream wine sauce. If the wine is not fully reduced the sauce will taste of wine. Chop the smoked salmon into one inch strips and add to the pan along with the cherry tomatoes. Cook for one minute and add the cream. Lower the heat and simmer. Reduce and season to taste. If you reduce the cream too much add a little water to thin out the sauce.
Drain the pasta fully in a colander and return to the saucepan. Add the sauce to the pasta and stir the sauce in well. Serve in pasta bowls with grated parmesan and a little chopped parsley.
Seared Tuna Steak with Roast Vegetables and Winter Salad leaves
4 Tuna Steaks
1 Red Pepper
1 Yellow Pepper
2 red onions
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary (optional)
1 tablespoon castor sugar
2 handfuls of Winter salad mix
1/2 a lime
Chop the vegetables into similar sized chunks, not too big. To add a little extra flavour fry the vegetables with some chopped rosemary in a thick bottomed frying pan and transfer onto a baking tray that is lined with parchment paper and bake at 180 degree celsius/Gas mark 4 for 30 to 40 minutes until cooked. Make sure to turn the vegetables after ten minutes to cook evenly. When cooked sprinkle the vegetables with the sugar and a little drizzle of olive oil. This will give your vegetables a nice sheen and add to the flavour.
Tuna is one of those meats that should never be cooked through as overcooking destroys the meat.
Prior to cooking pat dry the tuna steak with a paper towel. If there is water on the surface the Tuna Steak will not sear properly. Sear the meat for 60 seconds on a hot skillet or on a hot non stick frying pan. Remember that different thickness cuts require different cooking times.
Grab a few handfuls of winter greens place in a bowl and add some cracked black pepper and a tablespoon of olive oil and a few drops of balsamic vinegar. Toss in a bowl and give it a mix , dress with the roast vegetables and place the tuna on top and squeeze half a lime over the tuna and serve immediately.
Preservingis an important component in growing, if you want to get the most of your harvest. In the last week we had an abundance of beetroot and the best way to store your beetroot is to preserve it and it will hold for at least 6 months in a dark ,cool cupboard or pantry and remember to refrigerate after opening. Beetroot is best harvested when it is roughly the size of a tennis ball.
2 kg beetroot (washed and scrubbed)
1pt white wine vinegar
1pt cider vinegar
10 oz castor sugar
1 tbsp of chopped ginger
½ pt of water
Be careful not cut the skin of the beetroot when washing or trimming the ends as it will bleed.
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius (400 f /Gas mark 6) put the beetroots in a roasting tin and roast in the oven for 1½ hours, or until they are soft when you test them with a knife.
Meanwhile add all the other ingredients into a pot and bring to a simmer.
When cool enough to handle , peel away the skin and slice them add them and add to the simmering liquid for 5 to 6 minutes, remove from the heat and pack them into warm sterilized jars with non metallic lids and cover with the vinegar solution. Give the jars a little shake so that the ingredients mix well together , and store in a cool, dark place for about one month before opening and refrigerate after opening.
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 good handfuls of fresh basil, leaves picked and chopped
- handful of pine nuts, very lightly toasted
- a good handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- virgin olive oil
- clove of garlic
- small squeeze of lemon juice
Toast the pine nuts until they are lightly coloured to give them a nutty taste. Add the basil, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil into a food processor and blitz to a pouring consistency. Add the lemon juice and season to taste.
Salt bring out the flavours in the pesto, but be careful not to over season.
Pass through a conical strainer and store in the fridge.
Beef Guinness and Mushroom stew/pie
1 1/2 lb Diced stewing beef
2 large carrots (peeled and roughly chopped)
5 sticks of celery (peeled and roughly chopped)
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 pint of guinness
1/4 pint of beef stock
salt and pepper
Season the beef with salt and pepper. Preheat a thick bottomed saucepan with oil and add the beef. Fry the meat in stages to have the meat a golden brown color put the meat in a colander and allow the excess fat and blood to drain off. Add the onion and fry for one minute then add the carrots, celery and mushroom and fry for a further 4 minutes. Add the meat and tomato puree and fry for another minute. Add the guinness and stock and bring to the boil. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 2 hours until the meat is tender. The sauce should be nice and thick and tasty. The stew can be eaten with a nice mash or it can be cooled and stored in the fridge (where the flavour will intensify).
To make the pies, preheat the oven 190 degrees C, Gas mark 5. Put the meat filling into a baking dish or you can make individual pies which I like to make. Any high sided round ovenproof dishes are fine. Brush the rims of your dish with beaten egg. Place the pastry circles on top of the dish and press the excess pastry onto the dish, lightly score the top of the pastry and brush with the beaten egg and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
Linguini with Prawns, Garlic and Herbs
A simple Italian dish. Most of the trawlers around Ireland would be bringing home fresh prawn at this time of year. Use spaghetti if you don't have linguini.
12 oz Peeled prawn
19 oz Butter
3 oz Onion (diced)
4 oz White wine
2 fl oz Cream
4 fl oz 4 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed 2 tbsp chopped chives, parsley and dill
Method: Fill a large saucepan with water, add some salt and olive oil. Bring to the boil and add the pasta and cook for approx. 10 to 12 min. Meanwhile,melt the butter in a thick bottomed frying pan.Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are softened. Add the prawns cook for a minute then add the wine and reduce by half, then add in the herbs and cream and reduce until it thickens slightly. Drain the now cooked linguini and add the prawn mixture to the pasta, stir and serve immediately.
Quick option: If you don't have time to make a cream sauce , a favourite of mine was to cook and peel the prawns, and dice some onion. Fry the onion in a good dollop of butter, add the prawns and cook for 3 to 4 minutes and enjoy with some fresh brown bread.