Tuesday, April 30, 2013

We asked Margaret O’Farrell, who writes a blog called A Year in Redwood where she chronicles her life as a former city girl, now a country girl and pig farmer, to do a blog post about entertaining at home. Her blog won Best Lifestyle Blog at the Blog Awards 2012 last October.
Margaret and Alfie grow freerange, gmo-free pigs in North Tipperary.  They have grown their pork and bacon business under the Oldfarm (www.oldfarm.ie) brand, selling pork directly to homes and restaurants throughout the country. 

Margaret told us, “We do quite a bit of entertaining here, between folks coming on pig-rearing courses and friends coming to stay.  Sometimes I find I can get stuck in a bit of a rut; always turning to the same tried and tested recipes!  Does this happen to others?  Every so often I have to have a ‘talk with myself’ and convince myself to try new recipes.

I know, I know, you are not supposed to try ‘new’ recipes on guests, but if they are friends I am sure they won’t mind.

So here’s a recipe I’d like to share with you.   If you like curries, which we do in this house, you will love these accompaniments.  Whatever your favourite curry recipe is... it will look really good served with this Raita and Chutney.  Curries make for easy and casual entertaining, and this little side dishes, make the presentation look really good.

Both dishes add a ‘cooling’ effect to a curry, which was certainly needed as I served them with Hugh Fernley Wittingstall’s goat curry .( Let me tell you that Hugh’s is soooooo sooooo hot! :)  If you like a hot spicy curry, it is definitely one to try.

The chutney can be made a few days ahead, and the raita only takes a few minutes to pull together - always useful when entertaining.
Old Rose vegetable bowl to left, Old Rose small angled bowl to right.

350 ml/12 fl oz/1 1/2 cups natural yoghurt
75 g/3 oz seedless grapes
2 firm bananas
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp freshly ground cumin seeds
1/4 tsp roasted cumin seeds to garnish.

Place the yoghurt in a chilled bowl.  Add the grapes and sliced bananas, and fold in gently.  Add the sugar, and ground cumin continuing to mix gently.  Chill in fridge and just before serving sprinkle over the toasted cumin seeds.

 Mango Chutney
(This amount makes about 3 - 4 jars).

4 tbsp malt vinegar
1/2 tsp crushed dried chillies
6 cloves
6 peppercorns
1 tsp roasted cumin seeds
1/2 tsp onion seeds
175 g/6 oz/ three-quarters cup sugar
450g/1 lb green (unripe mango, peeled and cubed.
5 cm/2 in long piece of ginger, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
thin peel of 1 orange or lemon (optional)

Put the spices and sugar in a saucepan with the vinegar.  Simmer for about 15 minutes on low heat to allow the spices infuse into the vinegar.

Add the mango, ginger, garlic and peel.  Simmer until the mango is mushy and most of the vinegar has evaporated.  This can take as much as three-quarters of an hour on a slow simmer.

Pour into sterilized jars.  Leave for a few days before serving.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Edward Hayden Launches new book -Food For Friends

Edward Hayden lives very near Nicholas Mosse Pottery in Kilkenny. He is a big fan of our pottery and regularly uses our pieces on his cookery slot on TV3's Ireland AM and also at his numerous demonstrations around the country.
Today he launches his latest and third cookbook - Food for Friends with O'Brien Press - so we wanted to congratulate him and wish him the best of luck with it. We also wanted to share his delicious recipe for Asian Crusted Salmon which was photographed by Carol Marks in our large rectangular Old Rose ovenware dish.
For more details about Edward and his books - www.edwardentertains.com

Asian Crusted Salmon
I love the combination of oriental flavours in this dish, and it's a perfect option as part of a buffet lunch or supper. Salmon is a popular dish in Irish homes, but sometimes it needs a helping hand flavour-wise and with this fragrant marinade and unusual nutty crust it will become a staple at your dinner parties and special family celebrations.
Serves 12
12 salmon darnes/fillets
2 tablespoons honey
4 fl oz/110ml soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch root ginger, crushed
6oz/175g cashew nuts, roughly crushed
grated zest & juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons coriander, chopped
1/2 red chilli, finely diced
So Serve:
Mixed salad leaves
Lime wedges
Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade in a large bowl.
Add in the salmon darnes and mix well to ensure they are completely coated.
Leave the salmon darnes to marrinae for a least 30 minutes; if time allows, 2-3 hours would be even better (but not overnight as it is just too strong).
Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the crust.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Line two baking trays with some baking parchment (or use an ovenware dish). Place the salmon darnes and the marinade into the trays, six on each and divide the nutty crust between the salmon darnes and bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool down and refrigerate overnight.
To serve, arrange some mixed lettuce leaves onto a large serving platter, arranged the chilled and crusted salmon darnes on top and garnish with lime wedges.
Note: This salmon is also delicious served warm with a tasty noodle stir fry or some steamed green vegetables. This cooking method can also be used for other fish such as seabass or monkfish.
Happy Entertaining!