Friday, 17 January 2014

A description given by Fernand Point regarding wine

Fernand Point was a game changer in world of food and Cuisine. For over thirty years he ran the Restaurant de la Pyramide, in Vienne, France and built it into one of the worlds greatest restaurants and trained many of the next generations top French chefs. When he died in 1955 at the age of fifty-eight he was considered the master cusinier of the twentieth century. His book Ma Gastronomie takes centre stage on many a book shelf.
His thoughts on wine are of interest and you might have a smile on your face reading it
Point: 'White wines, in my opinion, are like women - they must be caught in their youth. On the other hand, the excellent red wines are like men who will, in principle at least, find themselves maturing into subtle yet vigorous old gentlemen. Of course, the Beaujolais must always be drunk young. He's a likeable young fellow who deceives you with his long pants'

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Smoked Haddock Soup, curry oil and coriander

This is an adaption of the famous Chef’s Simon Hopkinson recipe for a soup using the same ingredients. It is warm, tasty and tastes of more, which is all we wish for. You will need:

70g butter
2 leeks, white parts only, sliced finely and washed
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper
600ml of good chicken stock
1 large potato, peeled and chopped
300ml of milk
450g of undyed smoked haddock skinned and without bones (use fish from a local smoke house or even better still use Sally Barnes smoked haddock it’s the best)
1 tbsps. of chopped coriander leaves
Little lemon juice to taste
150ml of cream
1 tsp. of curry powder
2 tbsps. Of sunflower oil

In a large saucepan melt the butter and cook the leeks gently until soft. Add the garlic and potato and cook for a further five minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, season and liquidize and strain through a sieve.
Cook the haddock in the milk and add both to the soup base, stir in the coriander, lemon juice and cream.
In a small pot heat the oil gently and add the curry powder, let the oil cool and strain. Use this to swirl on top to the soup just before serving.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Its time to claim back our stout

Out of the ashes of the Champagne swilling days of the Celtic tiger the Irish have claimed back their right for stout. We have turned back the clock where almost every town in the country has its own microbrewery. No longer are we dependent on one or two big companies providing us with chemically induced beer. We have gone for taste and quality and have provided the platform for small artisan passionate brewers to dazzle us with their beer.

We now know what IPA, red ale, pilsner and real stout tastes like. Our new generations of talented brewers have taken a huge financial risk to provide us with this liquid gold and in turn we have gone out and supported what they are doing. My father has told me stories of years gone buy of people going to different parts of the Country and looked forward to tasting their unique beer. We can now do this for ourselves.

I feel we are turning a corner in relation to our food heritage. People want to know where their food and drink comes from and they want to be able to put a face to what they are eating and drinking. We are now beginning to realize that we do have some of the best produce in the World. It is important to speak out and let people know this; the French, Italian and Spanish have no problem in doing so. It will create better food for our children, jobs, culture and great conversation around our dining tables. Really it’s a no brainer.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Marcel Boulestin knew what he was talking about

'In those days methods of cooking were very primitive, that is to say they were perfect, giving results which I did not sufficiently appreciate, and which today we try to imitate by modern processes' Marcel Boulestin 1878 - 1943.

This weekend I spent my time cooking in Lismore Castle for a small group of people. The menu consisted of what Merlin the gardener picked from his fantastic vegetable plot, the herbs came neatly tied with string, squash of all shapes and sizes, herbs, artichokes, potatoes, celeriac, chard, romanesco, I was in heaven, a Chefs dream was the recurring thought going through my mind.
I cooked each and every ingredient with utter respect, took time to taste everything and presented it simply,  letting the produce speak for themselves. I went to McGraths butchers and purchased some of his fantastic beef, the fish came from Billy Burke in Waterford. This was food, this is why I became a Chef.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Red Biddy

I have a good friend who grows the most amazing vegetables in County Wexford and each year around this time I ring him with one request. I need some of the 'white stuff' I will say down the phone, this is our code name for poitin. Of course this is totally illegal, hence the code name. He gives me a delivery date and I set out to my favourite spot to collect slows and blackberries in order to have everything ready for my red biddy making. When the White Stuff arrives I add sugar, blackberries and the slows, give it a good shake and taste it for sweetness. This is a personal thing so you will have to figure that our for yourselves.
If you do not know where to get Poitin use good quality vodka instead, its good but not as good as the real stuff
Red Biddy