Category Archives for Healthy

How To Make Sauce Vierge

salmon sauce vierge. http://www.cocklesandmussels.com/

Anyone who’s ever learned how to make sauce vierge will know that the use of the word sauce in its title is perhaps a little misleading. Sweet tomatoes, fragrant coriander seed, and freshly chopped soft herbs, all mingled together with fruity extra virgin olive oil is definitely something I’d call a dressing.

For me the word sauce conjures up images of rich, silky, indulgent liquids made with large amounts of cream and butter. Sauce vierge on the other hand is something a lot lighter, better for you, and ultimately very tasty.

It’s little wonder that it’s a sauce I come back to again and again. It’s a classic companion for any type of white fish, shellfish, and even works well with pasta. Any leftovers make a great dressing for potato salad too.

Sauce vierge translates as virgin sauce. Maybe the name comes from the use of virgin olive oil in the recipe, I’m not sure. It was made popular by the french chef Michel Guérard, one of the founders of nouvelle cuisine. A recipe for it first appeared in his book  La Grande Cuisine minceur. Its since gone on to become a modern classic

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Beetroot Poached Salmon With Samphire

beetroot poached salmon

Fillets of salmon poached in an earthy beetroot stock with zesty lime infused samphire.

We’re already well into the new year and over the past couple of week I’ve been trying to eat healthy. Not that easy when you work in a kitchen surrounded by food 24/7. I try not to pick at food while I work and to sit down and eat a proper meal at least once a day.

Fish is already big part of my diet and if you’re trying to lose weight, get fit, or just eat a little healthier than getting a bit more fish into your diet is a good idea. Not only is fish the ultimate fast food but it’s also one of the most nutritious.

Packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, and omega 3. The list of its health benefits for fish eaters goes on and on. It’s also low in fat and cholesterol with one big caveat, it all comes down to how you cook it.

Obviously frying or deep-frying are out the window. The best ways to cook fish if you want to be healthy are steaming, baking in the oven, and poaching like this recipe here.

Not only is the fish poached in this recipe. First its marinated and then cooked in an earthy, nutrient rich, beetroot stock that’s been infused with balsamic, garlic, and thyme. The nutritional value of beetroot is well documented. Lots of vitamin c, low-fat, plus plenty of dietary fiber are among its many benefits. Read More

How To Make Brown Soda Bread

brown soda bread

Any time I’m eating smoked salmon I need a couple of  slices of brown soda bread to go along with it. Its moist earthy flavour complements the smoky tang of the salmon, just add a squeeze of lemon and you have an Irish classic that’s served in pubs and restaurants up and down the country.

Here in Ireland we don’t have a massive food culture. No long history of food with lots of classic dishes like the French or Italians. They’ve got coq au vin, pot au feu, risotto and osso bucco. We’ve got bacon and cabbage, some of the best ingredients in the world….and our brown bread.

Brown soda bread is associated with Ireland because of the extreme poverty here in the late 19th century. While other parts of the British isles moved on to bread made with hard wheat flour and yeast we stuck with soda bread simply because these other ingredients weren’t available in rural Ireland. Plus all you needed  to make it was a pot and a fire.

Go out to any restaurant anywhere in the country and you’ll find it in the bread basket they bring to your table. For me it tastes as good as the finest brioche or the best focaccia plus its a lot better for you and  far easier to make.

Every chef in every restaurant has their own recipe. Some like to add butter and eggs for an extra bit of richness. Or treacle and honey for sweetness. Any type of oats or wheat bran can add to its earthy flavour. While all sorts of seed – pumpkin, sesame, poppy or sunflower can give it a different texture.

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Mackerel Escabèche

Mackerel Escabèche – Fillets of fresh mackerel poached in a vinaigrette flavoured with balsamic, saffron, and spices.

mackerel escabeche

I need help for my mackerel addiction. My infatuation with this fish has been going on for a while now and I can’t see it ending anytime soon. It’s just so tasty and cheap that if I see some freshly caught fillets sitting on a fish counter they somehow magically end up in my shopping basket.

I realise that not everybody shares my craving for this cheap and sustainable seafood. I’ve tried putting in on menus in various restaurants where I worked over the years and it’s never been a great seller.

People just don’t know what they’re missing. Mackerel is packed with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, as well as b vitamins to boost your immune system, and is a known antioxidant. Read More

Smoked Haddock, leek and butterbean bake

Chunky flakes of  haddock encased in a smooth, smoky sauce. Loaded with rustic leeks and butter beans, topped with golden, crunchy parmesan.

smoked haddock, leek and butterbean bake

I Love good friday. Its one of two days during the year that i know for sure I won’t be working. The other been christmas day. Bars, restaurants and cafe’s the length and breadth of the country are forced to close due to the fact they serve alcohol. This gives hard-working restaurant chefs the chance to relax and put the feet up.

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