Category Archives for Quick And Easy

Lemon And Caraway Farles

Lemon and caraway farles – A version of the classic brown Irish soda bread. Perfumed with roasted aromatic caraway seeds and citrus lemon then cooked in a skillet.

caraway farles

My mother never made bread like this and if I’m honest I’d never even tasted let alone made a farle until I tried the commercial mass-produced version that you can buy down the supermarket. Celebrity chef Paul Rankin has even put his name to a brand. It’s an ideal bread for him to endorse. He comes from the heartland of the farle up in the north of Ireland where they serve it for breakfast as part of the traditional Ulster fry up.

Down here in the south this quick cook skillet bread isn’t all that common. Traditionally cooks here baked the same bread over the hearth or in the oven and I reckon we’ve been missing a trick. There’s something quite  satisfying about cooking bread on a stove top and watching it as it turns golden and puffs up a little right before your eyes. It very similar to cooking pancakes, drop scones, or blinis and I suppose farles are a combined Irish version of all 3.


These bread type farles aren’t to be confused with the potato farle. Which are really just glorified potato cakes with the addition of some flour and baking powder. Their tasty enough but i find their texture a little dense. Theres never enough flour or baking powder in them and if you want one that’s light and fluffy than you need milk in the recipe. It’s crucial  if you want anything with baking powder in it to rise. So if you’re going to all that trouble you might as well leave the potato out all together and make these ones.

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Monkfish Salsa Verde

monkfish salsa verde

Monkfish salsa verde – Pan roasted chunks of monkfish served with the classic, herb infused, italian green sauce.

It tastes fantastic and you can whirl it together in about 30 seconds. I like to dip big chunks of crusty fresh bread in it. I put it on pasta and burgers. I like to make a mint infused version and spoon it over some simply boiled new season potatoes.

When I think about it, there’s nothing salsa verde doesn’t go with. Beef, duck, pork, or lamb…. and fish of course. It works well with any species and its the perfect companion for Shellfish.

Steam some fresh mussels in your favourite white wine and add a heaped tablespoon. Or saute some shrimps and add as much of fruity, herbal concoction as you like. The luminous green sauce clings to the shellfish coating it with intense flavour and making it shine.

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Omelette Arnold Bennett

omelette arnold bennett

My version of the classic fish omelette Arnold Bennett. Made with flakes of smoky haddock, lightly cooked eggs, and a bechamel flavoured with mustard and Worcestershire.

You might be wondering who Arnold Bennett is and why the hell an omelette is named after him. Spare a thought though for the waiters at london’s savoy hotel who must get tired of answering this question.  Apparently this classic is still made there on a daily basis since some clever chef invented it in the hotel’s kitchen for the writer decades ago.

The story goes that Arnold was staying at the hotel while writing a novel. One night the chefs whipped up this omelette for his supper and he liked it so much he insisted it be cooked for him wherever he traveled. Hence the name.

Personally I’m not really that into omelets. Normally I like my eggs fried or boiled but on this occasion I have to agree with Mr. Bennett this unusual omelette  tastes absolutely divine.

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Warm Mackerel salad with cucumber and hoisin

warm mackerel salad

Grilled marinated mackerel with crunchy cucumbers, spring onions, and water chestnuts served with a spicy hoisin dressing.

I gave up ordering food from Chinese take aways a good few years back. Thier use of msg as a flavour enhancer eventually turned me off them, it just makes everything taste the same. I reckon that if you did a blind taste test, closed your eyes, and tasted the sauces they make you wouldn’t be able to tell a black bean from a satay sauce

Like everything there are exceptions and i still pick up the phone to have the classic crispy duck with pancakes and plum sauce sent up to the house. I think its the textures that I like most about the dish. Crispy duck and vegetables smothered with the piquant plum sauce all wrapped up in soft pancakes.

Its not often that I could say that the local chinese takeout served as an inspiration for a dish but Its definitely the case with this salad. The cucumbers and spring onions that you wrap the pancakes around work really well with fish, but for some extra crunch I’ve added some bean sprouts, water chestnuts, and sesame seeds.

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Dublin Bay Prawns In Garlic And White Wine

dublin bay prawns with garlic and white wine-3

The aroma that wafts through the kitchen as you cook this is gonna make your mouth water. Roasted shellfish and garlic, deglazed with a glass of your favourite white wine. A dead simple recipe, cooked in minutes.

The French call them langoustines. In Norway there known as Norwegian lobster. Here and in Britain there called Dublin Bay prawns and I’ve often wondered where that name comes from? I’ve been around Dublin bay many a time and it’s not like its teeming with them.

A popular recipe to use these sweet little crustaceans in is scampi. To me though this is sacrilege. Rolling them in breadcrumbs and sticking them in the deep fryer just doesn’t do them justice. Try this recipe instead it’s far quicker and 10 times tastier.

We’re so lucky here in this corner of the world to have succulent sea creature right on our doorstep. Its only habitat is the north-eastern Atlantic, as far south as Portugal, and up to the north in Iceland.

What makes Dublin bay prawns so great? why are they better than their cousins the tiger or king prawn from south-east Asia that you see on supermarket shelves everywhere? Well for me its all about the texture. There much softer, sweeter tasting, and more succulent.

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How To Make Fish Stock

Every cook should know how to make a good fish stock, its quick, easy and free. Well almost. The only cost is the price of a few vegetables, a glass of white wine, and a half  hour of your time.

ingredients for fish stock

If you’ve ever wondered why the sauces in top restaurants always taste just a little better than what you cook at home the fact that they make their own stock probably plays a part. That and the use of large amounts of butter, salt and cream. Us restaurant chefs are trained to be a bit heavy-handed with these ingredients.

Making some stocks is like looking after a child, they require constant love and attention. You’ve got to roast the bones and make sure the don’t burn. Chop and roast the vegetables. Bring everything to the boil and simmer in gently for eight hours skimming off any impurities all the time. And even then you’re not finished, because it need to be strained and reduced.

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