Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pork Pithivier, Prawn Cocktail, Wild Mushrooms

I had a serious mushroom craving last week, and being aware that we did mushrooms on toast as a tapas previously, I knew that I would have to be creative to feature the same dish twice, therefore breaking the strict rules of Salty Squid and Tapas Friday. Also, I went over budget this week. So to summarise, I wanted to feature a dish we already had (not that we would ever do that, chorizo and calamari are just two foods that we have had to get really creative with over the past 6 months!) and I went over budget, trashing the '3 dishes for 15Eur' stipulation. Thankfully, I had just the creative thinking that gave us the opportunity to have mushrooms in an original way. Simply, remove the toast. Enjoy!

All you need for this amazing dish are mushrooms, enough garlic to kill a vampire, butter and some crusty bread. Personally, a stage of cheer-leading girls chanting M.U.S.H.R.O.O.M.S - R.O.C.K, would help, but we have two fridges in our already over crowded kitchen so it wasn't possible. Such a shame.

Heat some tasteless oil, like Rapeseed, add the fungus and season - be pretty heavy handed with the pepper. Mind you, I have the palate of a cushion and I find 'subtle flavours' to be a phrase used to describe under seasoned dishes.

Also recommended would be to check out the National at Glastonbury. They were amazing. But you can't add them to your pan. Or have them on toast.

Did I finish the recipe? Probably not but who cares. Once the mushrooms start getting some
colour add the garlic. I like a strong almost raw garlic hit that's why I add them here and not at the start. Give it all a toss and add a knob of butter and some fresh chilli. Parsley would go down well too. A squeeze of lemon juice is all we need to be happy. Very happy in fact. So happy you want to grab the underneath of your chair and hop around the room. Well maybe.

Back to the 80's we go or perhaps even further, maybe a breakfast meeting in MadMen? But if we focus on the 80's, you will need a mullet and shoulderpads. Thankfully, both seem to be making their way back to the 'high-street', as a fashionista might retort. Yes, shoulder-pads are back in vogue and I am currently designing my own brand of aprons with shoulder pads, so stay tuned for more info!

Shred your lettuce, preferably iceberg. You need the crunch. Make some mayo and add some ketchup and harissa for your sauce. Clean and de-vein the prawns, not in that order and cook them in some oil with some good seasoning. Set aside till cool and needed. arrange in a bowl or glass or pocket. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

Easier than playing England. Sweat off an onion and some garlic. While this is happening, dry fry some coriander seeds, cloves and nutmeg, then crush to a powder. Add 300g of minced pork to the pan followed by the ground spices. Cook for a while, then add some white wine vinegar and sherry. Season and transfer 2/3 of the mince to a blender, leaving the rest in the pan to get crunchy. Add some mustard, cream an egg and more sherry if you feel giddy, to the mince in the blender. Oh and some apricots. Blitz to a consistency you like and mix in the reserved mince. Roll out your puff pastry and cut circles of desired size. Egg wash one half and fill with the mix and seal with a top layer. Give it a good egg wash and repeat with the remainders. Add a fancy cut on the crust if you could be bothered - I don't exactly have the hands of an angel - although I am getting excellent lessons in pastry and baking from a very talented chef - but that aside I am so awkward and messy it makes me laugh and the chef angry, my point is I do not have a soft touch.

Shopping List
Minced Pork €5
Prawns (1/2 price)€2.40

Mushroom €3.60
Puff Pastry €3.20
Veg and salads €2.50

Total €16.70

Franziskaner Weissbier

On the stereo:
Spoon, Vuvuzelas, Gorillaz at Glastonbury

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Leg Of Chicken In Cava Sauce, Black Pudding And Cashel Blue Crostini, Jambon De Savoie With Melon

The problem, if you want to call it that, with summer is that this hot weather encourages the eating of salads. The problem with salads is that they are salads. Now now don't start flipping out dear reader, I like salads - in fact I probably like them a lot, but they are no substitute for some hot, non-salad food. I have never really found it 'too hot to eat'. Even if it is a hot sticky day and I get a whiff from the local Thai take-away or even the smell from a BBQ, I can safely say, that I do not under any circumstances utter to myself 'ooh I would love some lettuce right now'. Nope, give a steaming hot bowl of noodles or a burger the size of my head, with some lettuce and tomato of course.

In this weeks fascinating tapas entry, we tried to combine the delicate and light, with the rich and heavy. Tried I said!!

After a busy week of hot stickiness, there is no better dish suited to this weeks Tapas Friday than Melon and what we hoped would be Serrano Ham. Sadly, it seemed everyone else in Dublin had the same idea as Salty Squid and I found it hard - well impossible - well I only tried one place but I was in a rush, it was hot and I didn't fancy going on a Serrano-Hunt. We were forced to settle on a French Jambon de Savoie and personally, I am not the greatest Parma ham fan. I like it, but...and there is a but. If that makes sense. Which it doesn't. For a change.

Now to insult your intelligence, chop your melon. Remove the seeds and fold, throw, catapult your chosen ham onto the same plate/board/table and munch away like a little mouse eating a nut. Or maybe I mean squirrel. Eating a nut that is, not being eaten by a mouse.

Some good free-range or organic chicken legs are essential. Brown the legs in a hot pan on both sides with a good bit of seasoning. Remove and set aside. Next cook off a chopped shallot and some garlic until soft. Add some white wine vinegar, mustard and Cava. Let it come to a boil and reduce the heat and simmer for a minute. Give it a good season – lots of black pepper. Next add a touch of cream and then re-add the chicken and a good bit of thyme or tarragon or parsley. Stick it into the oven for about 20 mins to cook the chicken – adding a touch more Cava and some lemon juice at the end. Some nice bread to mop up the sauce is highly recommended.

Alternatively for a vegetarian option, omit the chicken, shallot, cream, garlic, whatever 'erb you chose and white wine vinegar and the cooking. Simply serve the Cava in a glass like object, preferably a glass.

A summer dish it is not. In fact this little slice of brilliance is so comforting you almost get the impression it WANTS to give you a big hug, if it had arms. But again, that's probably the Cava working it's magic on my hungry self.

Get some really nice black pudding – we got ours from our local friendly butcher. Some good blue is also required and we hear at Salty Squid are always trying to find the cheapest way of producing these meals – we had some Cashel Blue frozen – it did the job perfectly.

Fry off some slices of black pud and arrange them onto of some sliced baguette– which also came from our local freezer (cha-ching!), and top with the blue cheese. Stick it under a hot grill for a minute. Serve with home made red onion relish – which we didn’t have. I forgot the red onions. But we had a pear so I just cooked it with some butter and cinnamon and a sarcasm of honey.

Shopping List
Chicken legs €3
Black Pudding €1.20

Melon €2.50

Cream €1.30
Shallots €0.60
Jambon de Savoie €4.22

Total €12.82

Cuvee Des Contis, 2009, 14%
Rosé da Peceguina, 2009, 13.5%

On the stereo:

Basement Jaxx
, Vuvuzelas

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pan Fried Hake With Salsa Verde, Chorizo Polenta, Warm Goats Cheese Salad

It has been a busy 7 days. In fact, I am so late writing this today that it is more than 7 days, but you get that some times. In a week that saw the leaving certificate exams kick off, the World Cup started Oliver Dunne of Bon Apetite in Dublin 'boycots' the Restaurants Association of Ireland 'Awards', because they are, well s*ite and Máire Flynn of the Tannery tells him to take a chill pill as the restaurant awards are only a bit of fun. We also saw Irelands finest boys in blue escorting Israeli spuds - I mean I know we love our spuds but do they really need Irelands answer to McNulty and Co protecting them - and why would anyone want to buy Israeli spuds - apart from just for the obvious reasons. Right now we have amazing Irish spuds here, boil them and cover with butter, salt, butter, black pepper and butter. We made a great potato salad with celery, carrot, spring onions, home made mayo, harissa and chives. You will not beat it. Think we might have photo on our flickr page. It was so good.

Did I also moan about the 'Taste of Dublin' where the chefs want to be 'celebs' and the 'celebs' think they are chefs... no I didn't and I won't. I'll leave it for today as our blog is late.

Roll your goats cheese into a sausage shape and stick in the fridge until needed. Wash your salad leaves, slice your pear and fennel thinly and mix with the leaves. Add some crushed walnuts and mix. Next make your dressing by using a table spoon of dijon mustard, honey and some white wine vinegar. Mix well then slowly add some good olive oil, mixing all the time. Season and maybe give a squeeze of lemon juice to loosen it up. Next, chop up your cheese into small but thick slices. Press some walnuts into them and roast under a hot grill for a couple of mins until the cheese begins to melt. While doing this, dress the salad and add the warmed goats cheese at the end.

Or Spongebob with spicy sausage. Boil some salted water and then using a whisk get a nice bit of 'motion in the ocean'. Add the polenta (is used 200g and it was way to much!), olive oil and another pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 mins. Remove from heat, cover and stick it into a pre-heated oven for an hour and a half, stirring occasionally.

Next, slice your chorizo and cook in hot oil. Remove and set aside. Reserve the cooking juices from the chorizo. Now remove the polenta from the oven a whisk in a good knob of butter, chorizo oil and soem chopped cooked chorizo. Put it into a dish of some sort, lined with parchment paper and refridgerate overnight.

When ready to eat the following day, remove the polenta, slice and bake with some chorizo on top. Serve with a salad....maybe a warm goats cheese salad?

Rinse your hake and remove any bones etc if your fishmonger has been too lazy. Portion it as you like and set aside while we make the salsa verde. Take a bunch of parsley and mint and finely chop. Flash fry some capers and finley chop. Chop some gerkins and a clove or two of garlic and...finley chop. Tear up some basil and mix it all together. Add a tbsp of mustard and some white wine vinegar. Slowly add some oil and mix well. Season. You can also use anchovies in this but i decided not to.

Next, heat a little oil and add the fish, skin side down. Cook until crisp then turn and cook for another min. Romove from the pan and plate with a topping of salsa verde.

Fresh hake €6
Veg, 'erb, salad and polenta €6.70

Chorizo €2.00


Total €14.70

Cuvee Des Contis, 2009, 14%
Montezovo Bardolino, 2008, 12.5%

On the stereo:

Josh Rouse,
Justin Timberlake, Vuvuzelas