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Tag Archives: chicken

Making a Pig’s Ear of it on Nassau Street

13 Nov

I recently turned 25. I have come to the conclusion that life is practically over. I am sure within weeks, maybe even days, I will start to look haggard, forget things and refer to simpler times, “When I was your age…”

But before all that happens, I decided to celebrate with a few friends over the weekend in The Pig’s Ear on Nassau Street. I could only get a 9.30 booking but as we all had commitments earlier in the day it suited us to eat later.

Ham hock terrine

For starter I had a ham hock terrine which I very much enjoyed. It was served with a chopped hen’s egg and a nice piece of toast. It was a very pleasant dish, perhaps the terrine could have had a stronger flavour but it was a very clean plate returning to the kitchen. Another starter highlight was the cured salmon. It was served sliced slightly thicker than I have seen elsewhere and was delicious. Despite the cure you could still taste the salmon. It’s owner, a confirmed foodie, was very satisfied. Another hit was the Jerusalem Artichoke soup, which I also tried and while it isn’t something I would ordinarily order, it was very pleasant.

 

For mains I had the halibut, served with cauliflower and some potato in some sort of delicious citrusy dressing. There were also glazed sultanas on the plate and nuts. I really loved this dish, the fish was cooked nicely, there were wonderful contrasts on the plate, textures, sweet and sour notes. A real winner. The confirmed foodie had the venison and was very impressed with the celeriac it was served with. Others had the chicken, which looked very pretty. Reports suggest it was a little on the bland side for their tastes.

 

Desert was death by chocolate. I went for the warm chocolate tart. Myself and the confirmed foodie differed on the need for popping candy on it (I liked it-blame the fast disappearing child in me.) The tart had a rich, smooth filling on a good crust. Delicious.  Others opted for ice cream which was well received.

 

Unfortunately after a very pleasant meal, the evening took a bit of a turn. Only an hour and a half after ordering, the staff started a clear up in earnest. As we had our coffees, tables were moved around us, any wine glasses drained were whipped from the table seconds after putting them down, no fear of being asked would you like another drop. An unfinished water bottle was also removed from the table. While I appreciate people have homes to go to, if you take a 9.30 booking on a Saturday night- you should give them the time to enjoy their meal without feeling like an imposition. When kitchen staff came out and started chatting and joking with the waiters behind us, as coat stands and tables whirled by (literally), we called it a day and asked for the bill. The total (for 5) with wine came to €276, was the food worth it? Absolutely. Would I go back- not anytime soon.
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Chicken, chorizo and chickpea stew

26 Jun

Tonight was one of those nights where I was tasked with putting together a dinner and there was no chance to shop- it was a ‘use up what’s in the house’ type dinner. Luckily there were some nice bits and piece lying around.

Ingredients (for 4 people):

olive oil

4 chicken breasts (chopped)

150g chorizo

400g tin of chickpeas

2 glugs (technical term) of dry sherry

5 cloves of garlic. Crushed.

2 tins of chopped tomato

1 tablespoon tomato purée

I started off by heating some olive oil in a pot. Peel the chorizo and chop it into whatever size you like, you’re the one who is going to be eating it. I prefer a smaller dice for dishes like this one. Fry it in the oil until it is crisp. Remove the chorizo, keeping as much of the oil in the pot as possible. Throw the chicken in and fry until it is sealed. Set aside the chicken with the chorizo.

Into the pan add the garlic, fry until slightly coloured. Then add the tin of drained chickpeas. When they have started to sizzle- add glug 1 of the dry sherry into the pan. After frying for a short while- add the chicken and chorizo back in. At this stage add the two tins of tomato.

At this stage add glug 2 of the sherry, the tomato purée, and season with salt and pepper. I also added a little pinch of sugar. I gently simmered the whole lot for about half an hour. I also happened to have a few stray green beans in the fridge so they were chopped and thrown in. I served it with some brown rice which soaked up the juices very nicely.

Enjoy.

A new (neon) gem on Camden Street

15 May

In recent weeks, I have been on a quest to try Dublin’s newest eateries. I had grown tired of the usual suspects in town, and I took to twitter to seek tips from you nice people. It was very promptly suggested by a friend that I give one such newcomer a try.

I was meeting another friend for lunch in town and so we headed to Neon (He wanted to get a mention if I wrote about this- Hi Mark.) Upon entering Neon, you are greeted with a very sleek restaurant, with bench seating and counters at one end, behind which is an open kitchen (something I always enjoy seeing.)

We took a table while perusing the menus, on the advise of the very friendly staff.  I opted for a Red Curry with prawns and Mark opted for Chicken, chilli and cashew nuts.  The lunch deal is great value: a main and soft-drink for €9.95, and comes with a free DIY ice-cream cone (They have a mini 99-stlye machine in the corner!)

The dishes were served in takeaway containers, and for those of you who like eating from more refined receptacles there are dishes on every table. Sitting on top of my very generous portion of curry were a number of prawns. I wondered for a moment whether there would be any more lurking in the sauce beneath. I am delighted to say that my scepticism was misplaced, it was truly crustacean-filled, delivering a nice amount of heat. Mark was similarly pleased with his dish.

After just about finishing our lunches, we toddled over to the ice-cream machine to round off what was an excellent meal. Neon’s food, staff and surrounds are all likely to impress you- oh and the ice-cream probably will too.

 

Is there anywhere else in Dublin you think I should try?

 

 

Chicken Pasta Bake

23 Sep

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

350 g pasta (Penne, shells or similar)

380 g chicken (cooked or raw)

200 g  mushrooms (cut into quarters)

4 blocks (technical term) of frozen spinach/ half a bag of fresh

250 ml of cream

60 g cream cheese

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

3 cloves of garlic (crushed)

cheddar

 

This recipe was the product of a few factors last weekend. Leftover cooked chicken, a very cold evening and a desire to cook something incredibly straightforward. Bonus about this recipe is that it doesn’t create mountains of washing up.

 

Firstly heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

 

In a large pot, bring salted water to the boil.  Add the pasta and cook until very al dente. If you are using frozen spinach, start thawing this out in a small pot with a tiny drop of water. When the spinach is cooked- drain all liquid from the pot.

 

I had to supplement the cooked chicken I had, so heat some olive oil in a pan and add the raw chicken, cut into small cubes/strips. After the chicken has sealed, add in the mushrooms and fry until the chicken is golden and cooked.

 

To the same pan add the cream, cream cheese, thawed/fresh spinach, garlic and mustard along with the leftover cooked chicken if you have any. Heat until it bubbles and is well combined. When the pasta is cooked sufficiently, drain it and return it to the pot. Add the sauce mixture to it and stir well until all is combined.

Spread into an oven dish and cover with a generous grating of cheddar. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.

 

Enjoy.

 

On a side note- thanks to all who have subscribed. If you haven’t please do! I would really appreciate people sharing these recipes, tweeting  or telling friends and family- share the silver chicken word!

 

Mushroom, Asparagus and Spinach Risotto

9 Sep

Ingredients: Serves 2:

1 tablespoon of olive oil

25g butter

1 small onion (finely chopped)

2 cloves of garlic (minced)

150 g of Arborio rice

150ml white wine

500ml stock

4 x asparagus stalks (chopped)

8-10 x button mushrooms (chopped)

1/2 bag of washed spinach

Parmesan to serve.

Risotto is one of my favourite comfort foods, and can be adapted for any season by varying the ingredients. The basic recipe is the same no matter what you put in, so if you wanted to change it, you would substitute your preferences in for the vegetables I have listed.

I would like to deal with the hype about how risotto is insanely difficult to make or it can go wrong easily.  It is an easy dish to make, but I feel there are three success factors.  First, have all your ingredients, stock etc, measured and ready to go, so that you can concentrate on the cooking. As many of my friends will testify, this is not my normal style of cooking- but I feel it pays dividends here.

Of course by cooking I meant stirring. You need to constantly stir the risotto. Do this gently, but make sure you are scraping the bottom of the pan and mixing thoroughly. Thirdly, have the risotto at a constant low heat so that when the liquid is added it is just bubbling gently.

 

First heat the olive oil and the butter in a deep pan. After they have heated add the onion and sweat it off, until it softens a little. At this stage add the garlic and fry for another while. Before the garlic gets too coloured, throw in the chopped mushrooms and asparagus and toss in the mixture. I recommend chopping these into bite-size pieces. Fry for a minute and then add the rice. Make sure everything is well mixed. Continue to cook for another minute while the rice lightly toasts, but make sure that you stir constantly so that it doesn’t stick.

Next add the white wine. I would advise buying a whole bottle- not a small one- this way you get to pour yourself a glass while cooking and have one with your meal.

Stir until the wine has been absorbed by the rice. If it smells a little acrid, don’t worry, the alcohol will burn off leaving a great flavour in the rice.

At this point add in the first third of the stock- I would recommend vegetable or chicken. Keep the risotto barely bubbling and stir until all the stock has been absorbed and the mixture is thick and slightly heavy to stir.

Add in another third of the stock and repeat the process until the stock is absorbed. Add in the final remainder of the stock and repeat.

As the final third of the stock is close to being absorbed- add in the spinach and stir in. Once the mixture has thickened sufficiently, turn off the heat and serve into heated bowls immediately. Serve with some grated parmesan and that glass of wine.

For the carnivores amongst us, you can serve this risotto alongside some grilled meat. I recently enjoyed it with some steak. Another option is to shred some cooked chicken in at the spinach stage- and just heat the chicken through.

Enjoy.

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