The Sunday Times. October 14th 2012. Blackberry Cumberland, Cajun Pasta and Scallop stars.
Hello fellow food lovers,
It is wet and dreary and cold. I am trying to get all caught up on sharing a back long of The Sunday Times weekly recipes and I am loving all the light bright photos I have been flitting in and out of all weekend. The evenings have grown so short here in Galway since the time change and now, it is almost completely dark before 5pm each evening. I feel like hibernating, don’t you? Wake me up when the crocuses and snowdrops start to bloom.
I feel it would be unfitting if we did not mention how proud we are that Galway now has a Michelin star restaurant (Aniar), the first, and hopefully not the last, for the city of the tribes. When we moved back to Galway four years ago there was a slow and steady throb of excitement in the food and restaurant sector but it almost seemed like people were afraid to step out of their comfort zone and push the proverbial envelope when it came to dining out. JP McMahon (owner of Cava and EAT restaurants too) and his creative crew (Enda McEvoy – executive chef) have exceeded the expectations of all Galwegians, and then some. We are delighted to see them putting Galway on the Michelin map and hope many of you will come to sample their fabulous menu.
The notion of a restaurant serving up foraged food on a plate is very hip these days and finding the balance between something that looks and tastes like weeds to something that looks like but certainly tastes nothing like a weed takes skill. A few weeks ago shared a recipe for blackberry buttermilk buns and since then have discovered that the leaves of the blackberry bushes, when steeped in boiling water with a spoonful of honey, can help reduce the inflammation caused by a sore throat. Imagine, all these years we have been picking the fruit from the bramble bushes without ever knowing that the leaves had a value. This is what foraging teaches us.
The first recipe we are sharing this week is another for blackberries. Cumberland sauce, as we know or remember it, pours a bit thin, like a syrup. We have included a recipe for Blackberry cumberland sauce that is more of a chutney or jam than a syrup. It is also delicious and we are sure you will love it on a piece of roasted meat for Sunday supper or just by itself on a slice of cheddar cheese.
The second recipe we are sharing is for a pasta dish. Pasta is the fastest option to turn to in our house when everyone is in a hurry and starving. Although we do make a lot of our own pasta from scratch, there are several excellent fresh pasta options out there and tagliatelle is our favourite. The recipe is really for the sauce. Roasting bell peppers (and peeling the blackened skin off) enhances the overall flavour of the pepper, making it an excellent addition to any sauce or stew. It also decreases the chances of there being any digestive issues as most of the bitterness comes from the skin. Although we made ours a seafood pasta, you could throw a piece of chicken or pork into the sauce just as easily or keep it light and just add more veg at the end.
Our third recipe is our little way to nudge you into the entertaining spirit. Now that everyone has settled back into school, it is time start thinking about entertaining for the holiday season. This Scallop star appetiser does require a bit of finagling with the pastry but is worth every minute of your time. It is not often you see mustard sauce served with seafood but in this case the marriage of flavours works incredibly well. You can make your own puff pastry from scratch (email us for a recipe if you want one) but the pre-made pastry works just fine too.
This batch of recipes should put you in the mood for entertaining. The blackberry cumberland is delicious. That sweet mustard shallot tang will stand up well to a sizzling piece of duck or a slab of cold cheddar. We served it with a piece of duck. Our own back yard duck. You can only imagine how good this tasted.
- What you will need
- 400 g [2 cups] blackberries
- 240 ml [1 cup] dessert wine or port
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Tbsp Orange/citrus zest
- How to prepare
- Sauté the shallots in the butter with the black pepper and salt. Add in the blackberries and mash them up a bit to release the juices. Pour in the wine (or port) and bring to a slow simmer. Add in the brown sugar, mustard and zest. Taste (careful not to burn your tongue) and adjust seasoning as necessary. Sometimes a squeeze of an orange will bring it to perfection but a lot has to do with your own personal taste. We like to serve this a little thicker than a traditional cumberland which is typically served runny like a syrup. The children love this on a piece of brown bread with a thick slice of Mossfield organic cheese for their school lunches.
A recipe for cajun pasta that will knock your socks off – because it is so very very simple
Cajun Cray fish pasta – serves 4 as an appetizer
A few weeks ago we received a small bag of crayfish from a friend of ours. The tiniest and most flavour packed present we have ever seen. Their is not a lot of meat on their little bodies but the shells are chock full of flavour so after you cook them for a few minutes in boiling water, remove the fish from the shells saving it for your dinner and make a small pot of fish stock from the shells. This is handy to have on hand when making a chowder for lunch on a Saturday. Waste not want not.
What you will need
For the sauce
1 small onion, large dice
40 g [1/3 cup] celery, large dice
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
A pinch of salt and black pepper
1 Tbsp butter
A small pinch of dried oregano, basil and cayenne.
A small sprig of fresh thyme
1 red bell pepper, roasted and skin removed
120 ml 1/2 cup stock (fish or chicken)
240 ml [1 cup] cream
125 g cray fish, pre-cooked
What you will need
For the pasta
250 g of fresh Tagliatelle pasta
How to prepare – the sauce
Sauté the onion, celery and garlic in a bit of butter with salt and pepper until tender (about 8 minutes on medium heat).
Add remaining herbs and spices and the red bell pepper.
Deglaze with the 1/2 cup of stock and add 1 cup of cream.
Simmer for ten minutes.
Using an immersion blender, blend until the sauce is smooth.
Add in the pre-cooked cray fish. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
How to prepare – the pasta
Cook the pasta in 2 liters of boiling salted water for 6 minutes. Make sure not to overcook it, you want it al dente. Drain once cooked and then add to your cajun cray fish sauce. Serve immediately.
and finally we have a recipe to get you thinking about those Christmas parties you are throwing ….
When using with puff pastry you need to work fast with very cold pastry. Roll it out and cut it as fast as you can and do not over work it as it might end up very chewy and dense; It should be light and flaky. Once you have the scallops seared and ready to put into the pastry stars, practice first on a few pieces of paper, just to be sure you get it right before you put it in the oven. If entertaining you can bake these ahead and eat them at room temperature if desired.
What you will need
320 g puff pastry (1 box store bought is fine or email us for a recipe)
4 large scallops
1 egg, for egg wash
What you will need – for the sauce
1 small onion/shallot, fine dice
2 tsp butter
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
3 Tbsp cream
Salt & black pepper to taste
Optional – to make this more of a main meal than an appetiser
1 kilo prawns, shelled
How to prepare – the sauce
Sauté the onion in some butter and oil. Add in the scallops, sprinkled with a bit of salt and pepper and cook for two minutes on each side. Do not burn the onions; if you have to, take them out of the pan while the scallops cook. (if using prawns to make a bigger meal out of this then add them in here).
Deglaze the pan with a squeeze of lemon juice and worcestershire sauce and add in the wholegrain mustard. Reduce heat and add the cream and mix well with wooden spoon. Finish with a knob of butter and fresh parsley. Remove scallops and add them to the pastry (below) and reserve the sauce for later.
How to prepare – the pastry
Cut the sheet of pastry into four perfect squares; only use very cold puff pastry.
Place each square on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
At each corner, cut a diagonal slice almost to the middle but not quite (1/2”).
Egg wash the edges. Place a cooked scallop in the center of each pastry square.
Take the left side of each corner and fold it over to meet itself and continue to do so in a pinwheel fashion. Practice first with paper. Once you have sealed the scallop in the star/pinwheel shaped pastry puff, egg wash the outside of the pastry.
Bake in a 220ºC oven for 10 – 15 minutes (depending on your oven).
Serve on a bed of salad greens with the sauce poured on top.
Enjoy the read and recipes … and thanks for all the emails and support guys and dolls. I cannot tell you how hard it has been adjusting back to the life of a student …I honest-to-god cannot wait to get back to the world of ‘work’ and away from the madness that is the world of academia. Almost finished with this semester so only 12 more weeks of ‘college/structured class’ after Christmas then we can take our life off ‘hold’ and get back to ‘normal’ whatever that is.
Thank you xxx
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