Archive for July, 2010

What better way to use up those lovely small courgette, than simply enjoy the flavours of the courgette enhanced with bacon & parmesan in a Courgette Carbonara. This is a lovely light summer dish, creamy yet not too much sauce. The recipe I used was one of Jamie Olivers from Jamie at Home cookbook, this is a great book, broken up into seasons, with insights in growing veg, varieties, growing tips &  recipes. I really like this book, as it has great reciepes, from smashed peas & broadbeans on toast to butternut squash muffins, its defo one of my favourite Jamie books, it is a toss up between Jamie at Home & Jamie’s Dinners!! The winner hasn’t passed the post yet…


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 I was very excited about my first outing to The Tannery Cookery School, I’ve wanted to go there since it opened however the opportunity never arose. The Tannery Restaurant, was opened in the old leather (tannery) factory in Dungarvan back in 1997, by renowned chef Paul Flynn & his wife Marie. His cooking is considered hearty & rustic & he has numerous awards under his belt.

About two years ago, Paul opened The Tannery Cookery School on Church St. &  in 2009 Glanbia donated some scrap land adjacent to the cookery school to turn into a productive Vegetable Garden.

On arrival to the cookery school, we were welcomed & offered beverages & tour of the garden. I have to say the vegetable garden has come on leaps and bounds and is a credit to the gardener in charge there.

The most exciting part of the day was of course the cooking….The tapas & cichetti (Italian version) which Paul cooked were given an Irish twist using Blackpudding, Irish fish & local produce where possible.

The first dish was Chorizo Croquettes, which were absolutely melt in the mouth bite size nibbles, alternatively these could be adapted to crab,garlic & ginger croquettes or cheese.

The next dish was very simple but tasty, Crostini al gorgonzola with caramelised pear  – the gorgonzola was mixed with mascarpone , until you get a creamy texture, simply spread this on the crostini or alternatively add a slice of carmelised pear. The sweet pear & the strong flavour of the blue cheese complimented each other excellently.

We also had a Chilled Cucumber Soup, I’m not a cucumber fan, but I think I would prefer this with Beetroot as an alternative.

One of my favourite dishes was the Chickpeas with blackpudding in garlic & parsley, this dish is traditionally made with morcilla (contains mainly pork blood and fat, rice, onions, and salt) in Spain. However as Morcilla isn’t available over here , black pudding is a perfect Irish twist. The chickpeas & blackpudding worked really well together & this dish was very quick to make & tasted fantastic. 

The Rillettes of fresh & smoked salmon with creme fraiche, would be a perfect served on crostini for a dinner party or with a little salad for starter or on home-baked brown bread with rocket for lunch.

Tusan Bread Salad is a fantastic recipe, with vine tomatoes, roasted peppers, toasted ciabatta & olive oil had such an amazing mix of flavours of the mediteranian.

I have to admit that the reason behind me going to the cookery school this weekend was as a gift to my sister for getting into vetinerary college, as we went along together. However when Paul mentioned if anyone was squeamish, as he took the half quail out of a container, i nearly fell under my seat, my sister just looked at me & laughed!!  I have to say that I did try the Roast Quail with sage, which had a beautiful flavour, however when Paul cut the little roast quail with the knife, when i heard the bones crunch that did slightly turn me off it! And to add to it an American lady at the dinner table beside me told me she had wild quail in her back garden & they were so cute she couldn’t eat them!! But don’t let me put you off them.

This tapas plate contains the following clockwise from 12 o’clock, tuscan bread salad, salmon & creme fraiche, roast quail with courgette flower, brandade of white fish, chick pea & black pudding & in the centre a potato & Cheese Tortilla.

Overall I have to say that the course was great value, it started at 1oam in the morning & we sat down for lunch at 2.30 with plenty of wine available. The food was fantastic & the recipes are definitely one’s that would be perfect for any occasion & I hope I will make loads of use of. The course was €70 for the half day & really enjoyable.

Enjoy Vick x

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After a lovely foodie weekend (which I’ll update you on later this week), I spent yesterday afternoon driving back up to Dublin, with a car full of blackcurrant, rhubarb, purple spouting broccoli, lettuce, onions, new potatoes & my lavender shortbread. I decided that I better put a few of my ingredients to good use. I saw this recipe on Nigel Slater during the year & thought how yummy it sounded & I dreamt about having fish for dinner, so off I trotted to SQ this evening & picked up two lovely mackerel for €2.12, which is such a bargain & as the rest of my dinner was from the garden, I think it cost me approx €1 in total – I think I should join Prudence magazine!!

Mackerel with Rhubarb

Firstly sprinkle rhubarb with caster sugar & roast in oven for approx 20 mins at 180C, then prepare fish by dusting in some seasoned flour, add a little butter to the pan & place in hot pan skin side down then turn & cook for approx 5mins. Serve Rhubarb & Mackerel hot with yummy new potatoes.

Happy Cooking xx

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Lavender Shortbread

Lavender is such a beautifully scented plant, when it comes into flower I always pinch bunches to hang in the house as it releases strong refreshing scents. However recently browsing through The River Cottage Year I spotted a recipe for Lavender Shortbread, so I decided here go’s…. I have to say that the shortbread had lovely texture & the lavender added a unique taste, although it was scattered throughout it still had a strong flavour. This shortbread would be perfect served with ice-cream or even just with big cuppa tea!

Lavender Shortbread


160g softened butter

80g caster sugar

2 tsp fresh lavender flowers

240g plain flour


Cream butter & sugar together, add the lavender flowers, then sift in the flour. Place in non stick tin & flatten, prick with a fork & cook in pre-heated oven at 170C for approx 20mins or until golden.

Happy Cooking xx

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