Monday, 17 March 2014

Beef and Guinness Pie

Keeping it short and sweet... Happy St Patrick's Day to one and all.

Beef and Guinness Pie

There is a deep richness in flavour that comes from the Guinness and enriches everything else without overpowering it.

Serves 4

500g steak pieces
2 heaped tablespoons plain flour
Sea salt
Black pepper
1 large onion
2 carrots
2 parsnips
3 sticks celery
Rapeseed oil
1 500ml can of Guinness
1 pack of puff pastry
1 egg beaten


Pat-dry the steak pieces with kitchen paper. On a side plate add the flour and season it with a generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper, roll the steak pieces in the seasoned flour until fully covered in a good coating, shake of any access flour.

Peel and chop the onion, carrots and parsnips and wash and chop the celery, set aside.

In a large saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over a high heat, add the steak pieces in small batches to brown them all over before removing with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper. When all the neat is browned carefully give the saucepan a wipe down with kitchen paper and return to a medium heat, add a tablespoon of oil and add the onion. Fry the onion until softened but not coloured then add in the carrots, parsnips and celery. Fry these off for 8-10 mins then add the beef back in along with all the Guinness.

Bring the saucepan to the boil then reduce down to a steady simmer for 45 mins.

Preheat the oven to 180°c. Carefully pour the contents of the saucepan into an oven proof dish. Roll out the puff pastry and cover the dish with it, pressing around the edges and trimming off the access. Pierce a few times with a sharp knife and brush over the beaten egg to give it colour.

Place in the oven and bake for 35-40 mins until the pastry is golden and delicious.

Serve with some mashed potatoes of your choice for a warm hearty meal.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Cookery Demonstration and more

I know I'm always saying it but it has been very busy times...
I managed to get out into the garden yesterday after 2 days of dry weather. I was very sad to do it but the greenhouse... well what was left of it... had to be dismantled. It got destroyed in the last storm with only one pane of glass surviving. I gathered up all the broken glass, took apart the frame and tidied what was to be tidied, the beds where shoveled into the wheelbarrow and used to top up my raised beds at the bottom of the garden. I am left now with a concrete slab which, for this year anyway, will be used for my bench to have my morning coffee (in better weather) and I will build some basic timber boxes and grow some  salad veg in them. This year my front porch will host my tomato, chilli and cucumber growing out of grow bags... It is a fine suntrap for the first half of the day and accumulates a lot of heat, so it will be a decent substitute for the growing season ahead. I'm very sad to see the greenhouse go but replacing the glass alone would have cost the guts of a brand new one and neither of what I can afford at the moment.
Dismantling the greenhouse

Concrete slab which will be cleaned up

Last Saturday the 1st March I done a cookery demonstration in The Ennis Book Shop. I really enjoyed it, as daunting as it first seemed when I started, the place filled up with people and I was in my element. I cooked up 5.... yes 5 recipes from the book all within 1 hour 20 mins. And was pleased to say that everyone got a taster of everything going.
A huge thank you to Brendan Mc Enery for fab photos again

Recipes I cooked:
Sugar crusted lamb cutlets and red wine jus

Links to all recipes above, just click onto each one... and I have the only one without a link down below.

Sugar Crusted Lamb Cutlets with a Red Wine Jus

I just love lamb cutlets and the caramelised fatty bits from grilling these bad boys are just to die for. Meat on the bone is always tastier and these cutlets with the richness from the jus leave you wanting more and more. Serve with some steamed baby potatoes or a simple side salad.

Serves 2
4 lamb cutlets
2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon of English mustard powder

For the Jus
1 full glass of red wine
1 sprig of rosemary
1 garlic clove peeled
A splash of soy sauce
A splash of balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of honey

Pat dry the cutlets with kitchen paper (this helps the other ingredients to stick) and set aside. On a plate or board sprinkle the soft brown sugar and mustard powder now roll the chops in it, pushing down and getting a good even layer all the way around.
Place the coated cutlets under a preheated grill on a high heat; grill them for 5-7 mins on either side.
In the meantime pour the glass of wine in a small pan and add the rosemary and garlic; place it on a high heat and reduce the wine by half. Then add the soy, balsamic and the honey and stir threw. Reduce another bit until it coats the back of a spoon; remove the rosemary and garlic before serving.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Flaky Pastry

Going by the hits on YouTube, this is my most sought after recipe that I have made a video for. It was one of the first video recipes I made and certainly not the best of quality, but it has proved popular with almost 30,000 hits. As I have often said I have not had a life long passion for cooking but this is something I was making from an early age as it is my mothers recipe. I just love this pastry, its perfect for both sweet and savory dishes.
The video is down at the bottom of this post, check out the quick hand action half way through... no special effects, honest ;)

If you would like to see new videos, leave me a comment down at the bottom.

Gorgeous homemade flaky pastry

This recipe has a very strict set of instructions but if you follow them carefully you will never buy again!! Yes, it’s that good!

*The secret of this recipe is to only do the bare minimum.*

 Makes about 500g of pastry:
240g plain flour
180g margarine
30g lard
Pinch of salt
Cold water to mix


The margarine and lard should be at room temperature.

Put flour in mixing bowl, add pinch of salt. Cut off 120g of margarine and cut off into small pieces into bowl. Now get in with clean hands and lightly mix the margarine through the flour.

Add the water by degrees while mixing with a knife until it just about forms dough. Empty the mixing bowl out onto a dusted work surface, form the shape of a square and roll out into a rectangle; one roll should suffice.  

Cut off small pieces of the remaining margarine and the lard and butter in small clumps. Roll up the pastry, turn the pastry 90° and roll it out again repeating the process until the margarine and lard has been used.

*Note how the pastry is barely worked...

Fold up the last time and wrap in Clingfilm or foil and put in fridge for at least an hour before using.

The pastry can be frozen at this point.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Thai Style Turkey Burgers

I had better put this recipe up as I spoke about it on Clare FM last Thursday and have had a few people ask again for the recipe. The recipe also appears in the book under the 'Lunch' section. 
It has been busy times of late but finally getting my mojo back and getting into the kitchen experimenting, perfecting and snapping again. There are more things in the 'pipeline'.... if this pipeline gets any longer the county council will be looking me to get planning permission!!! But, it is a good complaint that people, businesses and corporations are interested in me and what I am doing. Bring it all on, the more the merrier!!

Thai-Style Turkey Burgers

Turkey is the leanest of meats, so using turkey mince can wipe some of the guilt free of having a very tasty succulent burgers for lunch.

Makes 4 large burgers:

4 spring onions
1 red chilli
A thumb-sized piece of peeled ginger
400g turkey mince
A small bunch of coriander leaves
50ml of rapeseed oil
Crusty bread baps
Fresh salad leaves
Sweet chilli sauce to serve


Thinly slice the spring onions, de-seed and slice the chilli and grate the ginger.
In a large mixing bowl add the turkey mince, spring onions, ginger, chilli, coriander and oil. Now get in there with clean hands and start scrunching everything together until really well combined.
Divide the mix into 4 and using clean hands form 4 burgers. Place them on an oiled baking tray or plate, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for an hour to ‘firm up’. This will ensure they keep shape and don’t fall apart when grilling.

Grill the burgers on just higher than medium heat for about 6-8 mins either side ensuring they are cooked through. Serve in some fresh crusty baps with in season salad leaves and a generous dollop of sweet chilli sauce.
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