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Tag Archives: dinner

Mussels with garlic and chorizo

13 Jan
Mussels after a nice relaxing bath

Mussels after a nice relaxing bath

Some of you know this. I used to be a fishmonger. Long summers smelling like last week’s haddock, a car interior smelling like last week’s cod baked in the summer sun all day, fish scales in the most random places you can imagine (or maybe  best not to.) There was an upside to this, access to the very best of fresh fish. I still have a man on the inside and he never steers me wrong. So on a recent spin out to Howth I picked up some mussels. This is a recipe I love- 4 ingredients, sheer simplicity. I find the smokey flavour of the chorizo works really well with the sweetness of the mussels. Plus it’s nice to go for a tomato based sauce sometimes, mussels tend to be constantly subjected to wine, cream etc. Apologies about the photo not representing these delicious morsels as best it could. Manic dinner time, hungry people to feed- this food blogger chose survival over food-gawker.

Ingredients:

about 3 inches of chorizo. skin removed and cut into discs, then quarters.

1 tin chopped tomatoes

3 large cloves of garlic. Crushed.

1 kg mussels, cleaned.

Method:

Take the chorizo, peel the skin off, cut into smaller pieces so that after a brief fry they will crisp up and give off their delicious chorizo flavour! You don’t even have to add any oil as the chorizo will render down all by itself.

Once they have crisped up, add the tin of tomatoes and the crushed cloves of garlic. Don’t be afraid to give this a good bit of hob time so that it reduces down. The juices/water in the mussels will thin out the sauce. As this bubbles away, clean your mussels. Take off their beards, and give the shells a good rub with your thumb to make sure anything loosely attached will come off. I do this under running cold water as it makes it a little easier. Any mussels that do not close after a good tap, bin them. Any ones that don’t open after cooking- bin them also. It’s just not worth it.

Add the cleaned mussels to the sauce and put a lid on the pot. Turn up the heat and let them bath in the sauce until they open up wide. I stir them around once or twice as they open to make sure the sauce gets everywhere.

Enjoy.

P.S. Fiftieth blog post, time flies eh?

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Blogger evening at The Library at Dandelion

14 Nov

I recently had the opportunity to head along to a bloggers dinner in The Library restaurant in Dandelion on Stephen’s Green. Although I have been blogging for over a year at this stage, I very seldom get to meet other bloggers, in fact the first time I did, was at the recent ‘Goodall’s Modern Irish‘ launch. So when I was invited to toddle along to The Library I jumped at the chance. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I was a guest of the restaurant, as a result I did not pay for anything that evening.)

 

I was dining with David, Emily, Stefano and Jason (filling in for Edith).

 

We started by having a quick chat with Ewan McDonald, the owner, before getting to see the kitchen and meet Head Chef Robert Sabongi. We were seated and after perusing the new menu (which had only swung into operation that day) we ordered a selection of dishes. To begin with, we received a pre-starter of a scallop on celeriac purée- the scallop was cooked nicely, the only slight niggle was that the purée was a little too rich for my taste.

 

I started with the seared tuna, which was nicely cooked and served with a beautiful fragrant salad. There were bold, punchy flavours of ginger, sesame, pomegranate. I really enjoyed this, it was light and delicate course to start the meal and yet packed a punch in terms of flavour.

 

For the main course, myself and Jason opted for the duck breast. The duck was nicely cooked, and served with a purée of carrot flavoured with star anise. It was accompanied by some cabbage fried with bacon. It was a very good dish indeed. Simple food, done well.

Dessert. Yes please.

For dessert they brought us out a selection of the desserts that are offered on their new menu. The whipped mascarpone was by far the highlight for me. Light, served with raspberries. I would bath in the stuff. Apologies for that image. If I had to choose what to eat in that bath? The apple pie. It was like something your granny used to make. All of this was accompanied by some very nice wines, paired with the dishes by Karl, who was looking after us very well that evening.

 

There is some nice cooking going on in The Library. The new menu is packed with tasty and wholesome winter dishes, and everything, down to the burger buns (which we actually got to taste- after dessert) is done in-house. It’s most certainly worth a visit- poke your head in the door, walk across the bar and take a seat up in the restaurant amongst all the books!

Slow-cooker venison stew

15 Oct

Stew. In a bowl. On a table. In the kitchen.

 

Last winter, after I heard many a person raving about their slow-cookers (Crock Pots to any American readers), I took the not so financially painful plunge and bought one. These gadgets are surprisingly good value and  for the results they produce are well worth having in the kitchen. During the summer months, the slow cooker sat in the cupboard, slowly getting jealous of its enemy the barbecue, so I thought it was due a spin this weekend with some stew-friendly weather on the cards and also with game back in season. So off I went to my fishmongers to get my venison. Yes, I did say that.

 

Ingredients:

Splash of olive oil

400g venison

1 onion (chopped according to how picky your eaters are)

4 cloves of garlic (crushed)

2 tablespoons of flour

300 ml of red wine

300 ml of stock (I used beef)

1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon of tomato puree

salt and pepper

1 bay leaf

5 sticks of celery

4 carrots

baby potatoes (4/5 per person)

 

Method:

First heat some oil in a big pan/ wok.

Add the venison at a nice high heat and let it brown for a few minutes. I removed it at this point as I didn’t want to overcook it.

Add in the onion, which was left in big chunks (not everyone likes onion apparently.) Cook until it has softened a little.

Add the venison back in, with the garlic and the flour. Over a medium heat, stir and toss everything around until it is all covered nicely.

At this point add in the red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to get the floury-goodness incorporated.

Once this is done, add in the stock, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper. Fling in a bay leaf if it takes your fancy. Bring to the boil.

Once it had been brought to the boil, transfer it to your slow-cooker.

I cooked it at high for about 2.5 hours before adding the vegetables in, which were all chopped into small/ bite size pieces. Cook on high for another 1.5/2 hours until the veg is tender.

Some good crusty bread would have been excellent with it to mop up the juices. I didn’t have any, so no gloating. The venison was deliciously tender after it’s slow-cook, so Bambi’s mother didn’t die in vain.

Enjoy.

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.

Sticky Moroccan Mackerel

23 May

Mackerel chilling in their marinade

 

Last week I asked for a few suggestions as to what my next recipe would be. Thanks to everyone for the comments and suggestions! Lizzy suggested something Moroccan or a fish dish- so I combined the two. And so was born my Sticky Moroccan Mackerel.

Yesterday evening I made the short jaunt out to Howth and got my hands on some incredibly fresh whole mackerel, which my obliging fishmonger cleaned for me. I don’t mind cleaning fish, I used to do it for a living, but I appreciate when they offer to do it!

Ingredients:

2 whole gutted mackerel

2 tablespoons of honey

3 tablespoons of ketchup

juice of 1 lime

1/2 teaspoon of paprika

1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

For this recipe I took the barbecue out of hibernation, and it really added to the flavour of the dish. Fist wash the mackerel and pat dry with some kitchen paper. Take the heads off if you like. Then score the flesh as I have done in the photo- this allows the marinade to permeate into the flesh. This is important because the likelihood is if you barbecue the mackerel, a lot of the marinade will come off with the skin.

Then mix all the ingredients until you get a smooth paste. Place the mackerel in a long dish and spoon the marinade over them. Ensure the marinade gets into the cavity and then scores. Ideally if you can leave them to marinade for a few hours that would be perfect. If not, no worries! I didn’t have that long!

Ensure you have a nice hot grill/ barbecue. The mackerel cooks pretty quickly. As sizes differ, as will the barbecue, the best guide re: timing I can give you would be to look into the scores on the skin and you can see how far the fillets on each side have cooked. If you have a fish grill this is ideal, as it allows you to turn the fish without it disintegrating.

I served the mackerel with some greens and brown rice- on which I poured a little sesame oil and lime juice.

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