Nov 21 2012

The Sunday Times. October 14th 2012. Blackberry Cumberland, Cajun Pasta and Scallop stars.

Posted by     6 Comments    Posted under: The Sunday Times weekly column

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.

Blackberry Cumberland Sauce – makes 500 ml of sauce
Recipe type: Sauce

Introduction We like to freeze things around here. Even if it is just a small amount of something we have grown or foraged. There is nothing quite like having a good old rummage in the freezer and finding a small tub of sauce or soup that you stashed away in the prime of summer, for a rainy day. This recipe is one of those items that will end up in the freezer. It is called sauce, but really sets up like a fabulous thick jam and can be called upon to dress up any Sunday roast or even a day-after-Christmas turkey sandwich. Best to forage the last few berries off the bushes this week and start planning your freezer finds for a cool night in January. Enjoy.
  • 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

  1. How to prepare
  2. 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 ….

Scallop stars.

Scallop Stars

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

Optionalto 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.

Your support on Facebook/Twitter/here on the blog , the emails and the steady flow of book sales works wonders for a gal.

Thank you xxx




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6 Comments + Add Comment

  • do you store the cumberland sauce in a jar in the frdge? How long does it keep?
    Mught try to make it. Sounds delicious

    • Yes Peggy, it keeps for ages in the fridge too. Like for a month or more.
      You can use frozen blackberries too just let them drain a bit in a colander so you are not watering them down with ice in the pot when cooking them.
      It is delicious and slightly addictive. x

  • It’s really not ideal to read this blog when hungry, is it?! Delighted to read the crayfish pasta recipe. My 11 year old has just started to appreciate fish (very exciting and a huge leap from when she was a tot and would eat nothing but potato waffles!) so I’m always looking for new and interesting ways to cook it. Will definitely be giving this a go. Isi it very ignorant to ask if the tubs of crayfish in the supermarket would suffice for this recipe?

    • I think those tubs would be perfect. The fresh ones, although delicious, are very hard to get out of their shell. However, an eleven year old would make a great assistant for that job too!
      The pasta recipe os so easy and fast – it will tickle the tastebuds of the most finicky eater.

  • Both the sauce and the pasta sound and look delicious. But especially the sauce! I’ve got leftover Thanksgiving turkey that would taste great with some sauce on the sandwich.
    I’ve bookmarked to make next summer when my berries are ripe. Thank you!

    • Hi Kirsten,
      The sauce is pretty fabulous and we made a nice batch ourselves this past Autumn when the berries were in full swing.
      I also have a recipe for Blackberry Buttermilk Muffins that are heavenly – even with frozen berries if you have any stashed in your freezer.
      Thanks for the visit. Móna

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About Móna
I am a native Galway girl that seems to be drawn to professions that rhyme with 'err'. Writer, Mother, Restauranteur, Wedding Planner, Dishwasher, Grass cutter, Cocktail maker. I suppose you could say I am a well rounded entrepreneur.
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