Category Archives for Snacks And Sandwiches

Smoked Kipper Rarebit

smoked kipper rarebit

Smoked Kipper rarebit – toasted crusty bread topped with a silky bechamel sauce flecked with lightly smoked kippers and mature cheddar cheese. Than grilled till golden.

If you’d never heard the term rarebit before than you could be forgiven for thinking it is some sort of culinary masterpiece, exotic, and difficult to make. It’s a really fancy word for the world’s favourite snack, the humble cheese on toast.

I have no idea where the word rarebit comes from and having done a little research I’ve been left none the wiser. I did learn though that there are a couple of different versions of this pimped out cheese on toast recipe. There’s a Scotch version, two English ones, and even a more modern Irish one. The country most associated with the dish though is definitely Wales.

It’s a bit of a surprise that a country with some of the finest tasting lamb and seas teeming with some of the freshest fish and shellfish is so closely associated with cheese on toast. Apparently the reason for this is that back in the day the poor people of Wales couldn’t even afford the cheapest cuts of meat. We know all about that here in Ireland, it’s why we’re world famous potato eaters.

The classic Welsh rarebit has got to be the best tasting cheese on toast recipe you’ll ever come across and it’s really easy to make too. All you’ve got to do is mix some ale with mustard powder, butter, worcestershire sauce, and a big hand full of mature cheddar cheese. Gently heat it till it’s melted and bubbling then pour the molten mixture over some of your favorite toasted bread and grill till golden. Dead easy…

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Asparagus With Crispy Hazelnut Duck Eggs

asparagus with crispy hazelnut duck eggs

Spears of new season asparagus in a piquant lemon and hazelnut dressing topped with a golden fried soft duck egg.

Deep fried eggs where all the rage in Dublin restaurants a couple of years back. I don’t know which chef first came up with the idea, but its ingenious. Tasty doesn’t even begin to describe these crispy little pillows of eggey comfort. They’re also a chefs dream because all the hard work can be done ahead of time. You can have them breaded and ready to go in the fridge and it takes just 30 seconds to quickly fry them.

To make deep-fried eggs first you’ve got to lightly poach them so that the yolks stay soft, runny, and molten. Than their gently dipped in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs (I used some brioche crumb laced with roasted hazelnuts here for extra richness and a super crispy finish) then quickly fried till golden.

You could of course use a regular hens eggs if you can’t get duck eggs or their not your thing. Some people find their rich flavour a little strong. The other major difference between hens and duck eggs is in size. Duck eggs being much bigger. Bakers swear by them for well risen cakes and rich pastries.

Here I’ve teamed up my deep-fried eggs with some simply boiled new season asparagus for a different take on the classic asparagus with hollandaise sauce. The sweet tasting asparagus works well with the richness of the eggs. As a substitute for the piquant hollandaise sauce I whipped up a simple dressing with hazelnut oil, lemon juice, butter, and some more of the roasted hazelnuts for an added nutty flavour hit.

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Smoked Salmon And Cream Cheese Chelsea Buns

smoked salmon and cream cheese chelsea buns

A fishy version of the classic Chelsea bun made with layers of smoked salmon, zesty cream cheese and spinach.

“Give her a Chelsea bun, miss! That’s what most young ladies like best!” The voice was rich and musical, and the speaker dexterously whipped back the snowy cloth that covered his basket, and disclosed a tempting array of the familiar square buns, joined together in rows, richly egged and browned and glistening in the sun.” — Lewis Carroll, A Tangled Tale

Originally I was hoping to cook a bit of fish today but there’s absolutely none around. The poor weather and the holidays mean that nobodies been out fishing. I should have known better than to bother heading down to the fishmongers, It was closed and all you could get in the supermarket was salmon and other farmed fish.

l did spot some smoked salmon that was going cheap (they probably have a lot to get rid of after christmas) and decided to do a bit of baking instead and that’s where these smoked salmon and cream cheese Chelsea buns come in.

The classic Chelsea bun is a thing of beauty. Made from a dough enriched with butter and eggs then rolled out and spread with currents, butter, and brown sugar before been baked. They are absolutely mouth-watering especially eaten straight from the oven. Slightly crusty on the outside with a warm, sweet, and fruity interior.

Theres a slight chance you might have eaten a Chelsea bun before without even realising it. They look very similar to a cinnamon roll. You know the ones, it’s the Danish pastry you see a version of for sale everywhere from service station forecourts to trendy coffee shops. I like to munch on one in the morning with a strong coffee to get myself going, but their not to be confused with a Chelsea bun.

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Smoked Haddock And English Mustard Pasty

smoked haddock and english mustard pastyChunky flakes of smoked haddock fillet, encased in a creamy and pungent mustard sauce, wrapped up in flakey puff pastry.

I’ve taken one of Great Britain best-loved dishes, the classic Cornish pasty, and made my own fishy version. Gone is the traditional mince beef and turnip interior to be replaced with smoked haddock, young baby spinach, and a punchy mustard sauce.

The traditional Cornish pasty is a dish has been around for centuries and was first made popular by miners who use to take it underground for something to snack on. Because of its shape and size it fits easily into a miners pocket and could be wolfed down without any cutlery….a quick and handy meal. Apparently they would heat it up on a spade over a candle, not ideal food preparation conditions. I wonder what environmental health would say…no wonder their life expectancy was so short.

Just get your puff pastry in the shop for this. You could make your own but who’s got the time for all that folding, turning and resting? Making the real deal is a real labour of love and if you’ve got half the day to spare than it’s worth the trouble. Most of us simply don’t have the time though. Read More

Mushroom Croquettes With Pont L’eveque Dip

mushroom croquettes with pont l'eveque dip

Crunchy potato croquettes laced with pungent dried mushrooms dipped in creamy, cheesy sauce.

I always know when it’s not worth my while to make a trip down to the fishmongers. Mondays or any time there’s been a spell of bad weather like the last couple of days means there won’t be much fresh fish around bar the usual suspect……a.k.a farmed fish –  salmon, sea bass or mussels.

The weather been so bad that the thought of a shopping trip to the supermarket fills me with dread. I don’t like shopping at the best of times and I’ve no intention of budging outside the house today. So this gives me the chance to use up some ingredients that have been hanging around the kitchen a while.

A while back I discovered some dried mushrooms lurking at the back of the cupboard behind some chinese five spice. I’m not sure how long they’ve been there but I’m guessing at least a year…..maybe more. They’re still dry and crisp so I reckon they’ll be fine to eat even though I can’t make out the best before date on the packet.

Thier black trompettes or as the french call them trompettes du mort. A fitting name because you look like you might die if you ate them and I’d be the first to admit they don’t look all that appetizing.

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Crab tart

Sweet crab, peppery rocket, and salty parmesan cheese baked over flakey shortcrust pastry.

crab tart

If you’ve ever made a classic lemon tart or even a creme brulee than you’ll recognise the method used in this recipe. The only sweet element in this though is the luscious crab meat that’s been encased in a rich and creamy savoury custard infused with a deeply flavoured fish stock. This is a tart that tastes of the sea….

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