Midterm break means…….bedlum really. A new recipe? Completely out of the question I’m afraid so I’ve done a quick trawl of things I reckon might be nice for long weekend. Here goes……

Blood orange season is nearly over so enjoy them before they go.  caramelized-blood-orangesSkye Gyngell’s recipe for caramelized blood oranges is a lovely one.  All you need is a little ice-cream and maybe a slice of toasted panettone and you’ve got a simple, elegant desert. Or how about an intensely chocolately roulade with a blood orange salad for Easter Sunday?  Or there’s a cake with almonds and a vanilla mascarpone topping  that always goes down a storm.

If you’re planning a big meal for Easter this week’s fennel makes a fantastic gratin which goes with any roast. We’ve also got some early courgettes which I think I’ll use to make a soup with Parmesan. Right, I think that’s it. I hear Lee bawling downstairs, gotta go. Have a fantastic weekend xx

It’s one of those rare Dublin days where all you want to do is go outside. We’re just back from the an impromptu picnic in the park, the back door is open and the birds outside are really going for it out there. Everyone’s in a good mood. My recipes this week are an end of season last hurrah for blood oranges and a hello stranger for gorgeous Irish rocket (a mix of 3 varieties!!!) from Denis Healy’s farm in Wicklow.

Blood oranges seem to be a winner with pretty much everyone.  Apart from the amazing colour and flavour, they’re  just especially  lush. We make juice with them every morning maybe adding the odd grapefruit for tang. It is truly a great way to start the day.  Peeled and sliced with a little shredded mint is a very simple but really beautiful way to round off a meal. As you can imagine, this also works well with ice-cream. I also throw them into green salads and recently, as I wrote last week, I’ve had great success with cous cous, Feta and broad beans.

I was flicking through Skye Gyngell’s brilliant “How I cook” recently and found a recipe for caramelized blood oranges which I had to try. It’s very easy, just sliced oranges drizzled with a light caramel. Both the oranges and the syrup are served chilled so it’s really refreshing. A dollop of Greek yogurt or a scoop of vanilla ice-cream is a great foil with a light dusting of cinnamon if you really want to impress. And of course chocolate is good too (but you knew that). This recipe is a slighted amended version of Skye’s.

Caramelized Blood Oranges

4 or 5 blood oranges

100gr castor sugar

160ml water

Put the sugar and 50 ml water in a heavy pot. Stir once then set over a low heat and leave until the sugar fully dissolves. This will take a good 5 minutes. Turn up the heat a bit and let the caramel start to form and change colour stirring occasionally. Be sure and keep an eye on things as the caramel can turn very dark very quickly.You want a golden colour and when that happens carefully pour in the rest of the water and stir well.

Be very careful when doing this as the syrup is very hot and will spit. A tea towel around the stirring hand is a good idea. When the water has been absorbed, stir for another minute then take off the heat. Let the syrup cool down before decanting it into a jug or jar. When it has fully cooled down you can store it in the fridge for a month at least.

When you are ready to serve simply peel and finely slice the oranges. Lay out on a plate. Drizzle with syrup and serve. Heaven..

This week’s rocket is what local seasonal eating is all about. Picked first thing at the Healy’s farm it’s spanking fresh and bursting with flavour. It hasn’t, however, been sprayed a million times so is fragile and should be eaten ASAP. Here are a few ideas…..

Split a warm ciabatta, drizzle the bread with a little olive oil then stuff  with any of the following:

prosciutto and mozzarella

sun-dried tomatoes and Tallegio

sliced chorizo and Feta

goat’s cheese and beetroot chutney

bacon and mustard

fried chorizo and garlic mayo (tomorrow’s brunch in our house methinks)

Salads – any of the sandwich combinations mentioned above will work as a salad but these are also pretty tasty:

blood orange slices and toasted pine nuts 

black olives and sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan shavings

pan-fried chopped pancetta with croutons

toasted pinenuts and a dressing made with red (sundried tomato) pesto thinned out with olive oil and a small dash of balsamic

almonds and Parmesan dressing with a lemon dressing

toasted sunflower seeds and panfried courgette with a dressing made with pomogranate molasses

roasted red pepper and feta

Really the combinations endless. What are your favourites? Please share!!

Oh and one final thing, this week sees the last of the season’s celeriac (that big gnarly thing in your bag). Mash, roast or turn it into soup or there’s smashed with spud and green chili and crispy onions from a a few weeks back a recipe I’ve turned to again and again recently. Or there’s Hugh Fearnley-Whittingsdall’s moreish gratin with rosemary and cream.

Have a fantastic weekend,

Sarah

This week I thought we’d have a dessert for a change. It’s a  dark  chocolate roulade served alongside a beautiful salad of  Moro Oranges and mint(regular Navel are also lovely as is a mix of both types). I think it’s one of the best chocolate desserts I know. It’s a recipe I used to make quite a bit and revisited recently and fell in love with again. Chocolate and orange used to seem like such an obvious, run of the mill combination to me that for years I overlooked it. But a few years back I realised that it’s popular for a reason – it really works. The orange cuts through the lusciousness of the chocolate and cream and, as you can imagine, looks gorgeous on the plate. The recipe is very, very simple and can be prepared ahead of time making it perfect for dinner parties (if you must share).
If you’ve never made a roulade don’t be put off – it’s just a flat piece of cake rolled up. The end result isn’t supposed to look perfectly smooth and cylindrical and anyway, if things do go pear-shaped (literally!) you can dust it with icing sugar just before serving (hides a multitude of technical flaws) or serve it directly onto the plates with the salad rather than putting the whole thing on the table.
This recipe gives you enough roulade for six but if you don’t get through it or you’re cooking for less you can keep the rest in your freezer for about a week. Slices take about 1 hour to defrost so plan ahead!

Dark Chocolate Roulade with Orange and Mint Salad
For the roulade you will need:

150gr good quality dark chocolate with between 60% and 70% cocoa solids
5 medium or 4 large organic eggs
170gr castor sugar
90 ml espresso coffee
250 ml whipping cream
Baking tray 12″ x 9″/ 32cm x 24cm lined with Greaseproof paper.

For the salad you will need: 3-4 Oranges

A small bunch of fresh mint

Begin by making the coffee then pour it into a bowl and mix with the chocolate  then sit the bowl into a larger bowl of hot water so the chocolate melts fully and stays liquid while you prepare everything else. Separate the eggs into 2 large bowls. Whisk the egg yolks adding the sugar gradually until the mixture is pale yellow. Set aside and whisk the egg whites (clean the attachments on your mixer before you start) until stiff. Gradually whisk the melted chocolate and coffee into the egg yolks and sugar then fold in the whites. Pour the mixture into a lined baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes at Gas 4. The cake may not seem fully cooked but that’s fine.
Allow to cool then  cover with tinfoil or a damp cloth and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight if you can. To finish off the roulade cover with  250ml off whipped Cream and simply roll up the cake allowing the grease-proof paper to fall or peel away as you go. Use the greaseproof paper to wrap up the roulade and place in the freezer for about an hour.
For the salad, simply peel and quarter the oranges taking care to get rid of any pith or pips. Slice the quarters and toss with some shredded mint leaves if you have them (if you don’t, don’t worry).
To serve, slice the roulade and eat with the salad.

I was talking to Finn the manager of the Hopsack about blood oranges this morning – he was raving and I was agreeing. He told me about a salad he’s been eating recently and he highly recommended  it…

Finn’s Prosciuto and Orange salad.

Thinly slice a couple of oranges and lay on a plate. Sprinkle with a little fresh or dried chilli. Top with slices of Prosciuto and dress with your best olive oil.

Hope you enjoy these recipes,
Have a great weekend,
Sarah

Hi everyone,

Spring has sprung! ……. or at least it’s trying, last night’s freezing temperatures did make me wonder. I made soup with this week’s Cabbage and it was perfect. This recipe has beans which makes it almost like a stew so it’s almost a meal in itself…..

green cabbage

green cabbage

Tuscan style Vegetable and Bean Soup

You’ll need:

1 head Cabbage

4 Carrots

4 Spuds 2 Cloves Garlic

2 Medium Onions

1 Dried Chilli

1 Tin of chopped Tomatoes

1 Tin White Beans (Fagioli)

Start by chopping the Onions and begin sautéing over a low-medium heat with a generous glug of Olive Oil until they start to change colour stirring occasionally to stop things burning. This should take about 15 minutes enough time for you to prepare the other veg. Wash and roughly shred the Cabbage. Scrub the carrots and cut into 1 cm half rounds. Peel the spuds and chop into bitesize pieces. Finally, chop the garlic and chilli and if the onions are done add to the pot, stir for a minute before adding the rest of the veg including the tomatoes (but not the Beans) along with a teaspoon of Maldon Salt. Stir well then cover the pot and leave for about 15 minutes over a lowish heat then add 2 litres of weak vegetable stock (as usual I’d use Marigold and halve the quantity indicated on the packet so it’s not too strong). Bring to the boil then lower the heat, cover and cook for another hour. After an hour add the beans, stir well and continue to cook uncovered for a further 10-15 minutes. To serve (and this is what really makes it) take a piece of stale Bread (ideally Ciabatta or sourdough), toast it then rub the toast with a halved clove of garlic. Place the garlic toast at the bottom of your serving bowl and add the soup. Top with a drizzle of your finest Olive Oil and some freshly grated Parmesan (if you like – this is optional and some would say not necessary).

Keep the faith that summer really will come this year by having a Blood Orange salad for pud. Peel a couple of oranges removing the pith as you go then finely slice them and scatter with some mint leaves. Do this ahead of time and all the flavours will mingle. A serving of vanilla or chocolate (Butlers do the best I’ve had) ice-cream would be lovely too…..

Hope you enjoy the recipes,

Have a great weekend,

Sarah

Bacon and Cabbage is one of the first things you think of when Irish cooking is mentioned but most of us aren’t exactly nostalgic about it mainly because the cooking technique so beloved of mammies of old ie. boiling everything for at least 3 days doesn’t really do a whole lot for most (or rather any) variety. But the combination of Bacon with Cabbage or greens really does work. Try asian style pork belly and stir-fried pak choy if you need convincing.  My first recipe is much less timeconsuming but completely moreish. It’s a gratin with bacon and cabbage  topped with Cheddar Cheese and toasted til golden. It’s very fast and a cinch to make and the perfect comfort food if no valentines cards come through the letterbox tomorrow….
 
Bacon and Cabbage Gratin
 
You’ll need:
 
Olive Oil 
1 Onion
6 Streaky Rashers
1 Head Green Cabbage
100gr Cheddar Cheese
Some breadcrumbs if you have them
 
Roughly chop your Onion and begin to saute over a lowish heat in some Olive Oil. Chop the rashers into little bits and add to the Onion as it starts to turns translucent. While the Onion and Rashers are cooking roughly shred the Cabbage. To do this I’d cut it in half and work from there. Rinse the shredded cabbage and then add it to the pan just before the Bacon starts to turn crispy. Continue cooking  over a lowish heat until the Cabbage has completely wilted and softened (this will take about 15 minutes). Transfer to a gratin dish and grate the Cheese over the top and sprinkle on some breadcrumbs. Toast until golden and serve immediately.
 
It’s Blood Orange season at the moment and as well making great juice they are great in a simple salad (try adding a little shredded Mint for xtra colour and flavour if you have it) which is amazing with pretty much any chocolate dessert. If you find you get through a lot we can deliver a box along with your regular delivery. They come in 6.5k boxes which cost 17E. Just give Mary a shout if you’re interested.