Monkfish with Pernod and Dill sauce

The Ingredients:

1 fillet of monkfish

50g unsalted butter

2 tbsp flour

150ml milk

2 tbsp Pernod

Fresh Dill

Spinach, Rocket and Kale leaves

Maldon sea salt

Ground black pepper

Wedge of lime

The Make:

Pre heat oven to 160C. Take a large sheet of tinfoil and place two slices of butter in the centre. Place the monkfish fillet on top of the butter with a sprig of dill and a wedge of lime. Fold up the foil around the fish to make a parcel. Place foil parcel in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Melt 50g butter in a pot. Mix in the flour to make a roux. Stir constantly on a low heat. Add the Pernod gently making sure not to split the sauce. Stir. Add milk and stir until the sauce is as thick as custard. Stir in some chopped dill and a pinch of salt. Steam the green leaves in a pot with some butter and a splash of milk. Season with salt and pepper. Once soft, squeeze off the liquid and serve with slices of monkfish and dill sauce.


Tequila Prawns

We are all about seafood at the moment. We generally eat pretty well in our house but we always seem to lack on eating enough seafood. Which is unusual because it is the first thing we order when we eat out at a restaurant. Part of the reason I feel, is the lack of trust I feel when I see fish for sale in a supermarket. Is the fish fresh? Where and how was it caught? And why does it seem so expensive for what you get?. We live very close to the Irish Sea and to one of the eastern seaboards finest ports ‘Clogherhead’. Seamus Dunne is a wholesale fishmonger who supplies most of the restaurants of Drogheda. His fish is sourced fresh and prepared at his premises right on the pier at Clogherhead. Seamus works with his son ‘Kenneth’ descaling and cutting up a wide variety of fish. This family run business is everything we believe in here at our house. These guys are hardworking men who strive to get the best out of their products. I was put in touch with Seamus by his other son ‘James’ who has become a beer making buddy of mine. We often compare notes on our recent brewing samples. Last week I made the short trip out to the pier to pick up some fresh fish. I brought the family so they could see exactly where the fish is prepared. The variety of fish alone was impressive. It beats the 3 varieties normally offered in supermarkets.  Watch this space for more fish recipes this week. We are armed with the finest. 

The Ingredients:

20 Prawns (peeled and butterflied)

1 pink onion 

3 large spring onions 

8 cherry tomatoes 

1 tbsp tomato purée 

Juice of 1 lime

100mls Tequila 

100g unsalted butter 

1 tsp paprika 

1 tsp honey 

Basmati rice 

Fresh coriander to serve 

The Make:

Finely chop onions and tomatoes. Soften onions in a deep frying pan with butter and paprika. Add in chopped tomatoes and tomato purée and simmer gently. Now pour in lime juice and sugar. Simmer. Add in prawns. When prawns are almost cooked pour in Tequila. Flambé the tequila carefully.

Once the prawns are cooked serve up dish with steamed rice and fresh coriander.

Bang Bang Millionaire Square


Recently we were asked by the fabulous Two Spots Coffee to make a special treat to compliment one of their latest varieties of coffee, a medium roast called “Bang Bang”. Two Spots are an Irish roasters who supply some of the freshest coffee as it’s roasted each week on site in Dublin. All of their coffee is named after famous Dublin characters. Bang Bang was a much loved Dublin character, a fan of cowboy films. He travelled the buses and trams of the city staging mock shoot-outs using a large church key.

We had the chance to meet up again with the guys at the opening of my ‘bother-in -law Alan’s’ class little delicatessen Skinny Batch where Two Spots coffee is being served fresh daily.

We have worked with Two Spots before on our Venison with garlic and black coffee sauce. This recipe is still one of our most frequently visited recipes. This time around it was time to make a sweet dish and here it is, a delicious version of a millionaire square. Be sure to drop in to Skinny Batch or order the coffee on-line at Two Spots Coffee to get the best out of this treat.

The Ingredients:

180g unsalted butter
8 tbsp golden syrup
2 large tbsp Bang Bang finely ground coffee
30g chocolate
300g digestive biscuits
300g carnation caramel
370g chocolate
1 tsp bang bang coffee granules
1 tbsp icing sugar

The Make:

Put the unsalted butter, golden syrup, bang bang coffee granules, 30g chocolate into a saucepan and melt at a medium heat. Blitz the digestive biscuits in food processor. Add the biscuits to the melted mixture and mix well. Spread out into a lined grease proof tray. Flatten out with the back of a spoon or tap tray to allow the mix to sit evenly. Now put it into the fridge to set for approx 10-15 mins. Melt 370g chocolate in a bowl over hot water. Remove the biscuit base tray from the fridge. Layer over the caramel on biscuit base, then layer over the melted chocolate and leave to set in the fridge for 2 hours. Sift together a tsp of bang bang coffee and a tbsp of icing sugar. Remove the bang bang coffee caramel tray from the fridge. Cut into slices and dust with coffee and icing sugar mixture.


Deep fried Halloumi 

There’s a bit of a buzz about this middle eastern street food right now. Think back to when you didn’t see pulled pork everywhere, that’s what it’s like right now. Deep fried halloumi is going to turn up where you’re least to expect it. Halloumi cheese is often grilled and served with harrisa paste. As this sheep’s cheese has a high melting point it works well with heat. So deep frying it makes perfect sense. Halloumi is high in fat and protein and low in carbs, perfect for your low carb diet. Mozzarella sticks will seem so bland after you try these little beauts.

The Ingredients:

1 block of Halloumi

Olive oil for frying

The sauce:



Sesame oil

Lime juice


Maldon sea salt


Sesame seeds

The Make:

Heat enough oil in a large pot for deep frying. Chop halloumi in to chip size pieces. Fry until golden. This won’t take long at all. So do it in small batches. Season fried halloumi with salt and sesame seeds. For the sauce mix 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise,  2 tablespoons of shiracha, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and a squeeze of lime juice. Mix well and serve with the deep fried halloumi  and garnish with chopped coriander.


Sea Bass with Pretzel crust

The Ingredients:

2 sea bass fillets 

1 lemon 

1 whole garlic bulb 

250g unsalted butter 

Maldon sea salt 

300g Pretzel chips 

1 small brioche bun

1 tub of Philadelphia cream cheese 

2 tbsp Herbs de Provence

Parmigiana for grating

1 tin of mushy peas 

Pea shoots optional 

The Make:

Take a sheet of foil the size of a baking tray approximately 40 x 60 cm. Lay it flat and place two 25g slices of butter on top . Place sea bass on butter. Put two lemon wedges and half of a garlic bulb on top of sea bass. Fold over tin foil and make a parcel. Place parcel on a tray into a pre-heated oven at 180C and bake for 20 minutes. Add pretzels to a blender and blitz to a fine crumb. Add in 150g butter, brioche bun and blitz until mix comes together. Empty out mix onto a cling film covered pan. Using a rolling pin or flat glass, roll out pretzel crust to a 2cm thickness. Refrigerate crust until fish is nearly ready. Add tub of Philadelphia, herbs de provence, 100g butter and a grating of parmigiana to a pot and gradually bring to a heat on the hob until it makes a smooth sauce. Heat peas. Using a pizza slicer cut a rectangle of pretzel crust to fit the fillet of sea bass. Place crust on top of sea bass and grill until it browns. Serve up crusted sea bass with herb de provence sauce, peas and pea shoots. 


Candied Primroses 

These beautiful little flowers are in full growth right now. Over the Easter break we went on a local forage and found these lighting up the hedgerow. All you need is some egg whites and caster sugar. Use a small clean painting brush to gently apply the egg whites and then sprinkle with caster sugar. Allow them to dry on a wire rack. They are fantastic for bringing that lemon cupcake to that sensational level. 


The Essential list for any Larder

Below is a list of ingredients that every larder should have. This is a once off purchase that you can add to as you use or run out of each item. Most kitchens will have a fair amount of these items already so this won’t be that pricey. In our kitchen we use the corner rotating press for storing these items. It is so handy for keeping everything together and being able to quickly get them at a glance. Below I have added a list of essential equipment too. Over time you will have bought most of these tools too. These lists are intended for the would-be cooks who are looking for guidance in getting started.

Larder or store cupboard :

Tins: 2 of each

☐ Baked beans
☐ Chopped tomatoes
☐ Passata ( sieved tomato )
☐ Tuna
☐ Sardines
☐ Anchovies
☐ Coconut milk
☐ Evaporated milk
☐ Sweetcorn
☐ A selection of soups ( handy for bulking up a stew )
☐ Red kidney beans
☐ Chick peas
☐ Marrowfat peas

Dry Goods :

☐ Flour – cornflour, plain, self raising and wholemeal
☐ Couscous
☐ Pasta – spagetti, fusilli, tagliatelle and lasagna sheets
☐ Porridge oats
☐ Rice – basmati, long grain and risotto
☐ Raisins and currants
☐ Nuts/Seeds – walnuts, macadamia, pistachio and cashew / sunflower, pumpkin and pine nuts

Spices :

☐ Chilli flakes
☐ Black pepper ( ground and whole selection of colours red and black )
☐ White pepper ground
☐ Maldon sea salt flakes
☐ Garam masala
☐ Cumin
☐ Mustard seeds and powder
☐ Oregano
☐ Basil
☐ Thyme
☐ Nutmeg ( whole preferably )
☐ Cinnamon ( ground and whole )
☐ Cloves ( ground and whole )
☐ Mixed spice
☐ All spice
☐ Cayenne pepper
☐ Paprika
☐ Smoked Paprika
☐ Turmeric
☐ Vanilla ( pods and extract )

Sugar :

☐ Granulated
☐ Caster
☐ Demerara
☐ Icing
☐ Muscovado

Stock cubes :

☐ Beef
☐ Chicken
☐ Lamb
☐ Vegetable
☐ Fish

Jars or Bottles :

☐ Ketchup
☐ HP brown sauce
☐ Soy sauce ( dark and light )
☐ Oyster sauce
☐ Sriracha
☐ Coconut cream
☐ Chilli paste
☐ Honey
☐ Maple syrup
☐ Mustard ( Dijon and wholegrain )
☐ Worcestershire sauce
☐ Mint sauce
☐ Tartare sauce
☐ Mayonaise
☐ Horseradish
☐ Fish sauce
☐ Shoahsing rice wine vinegar
☐ White and malted vinegar
☐ Apple cider vinegar
☐ Red wine vinegar
☐ Balsamic vinegar or glaze
☐ Treacle
☐ Molasses
☐ Golden Syrup

Oils :

☐ Olive
☐ Extra virgin olive
☐ Sunflower
☐ Rapeseed
☐ Coconut
☐ Groundnut
☐ Sesame

Vegetables :

☐ Potatoes
☐ Onions
☐ Garlic
☐ Tomatoes
☐ Carrots
☐ Ginger
☐ Shallots
☐ Mixed chillies

Nice to haves :

☐ Chorizo
☐ Amaretto
☐ Jagermeister
☐ Halloumi
☐ Harissa paste
☐ Buttermilk
☐ Pancetta
☐ Ricotta
☐ Wasabi
☐ Jamaican Ginger Ale
☐ Gochujang chilli paste ( Korean fermented hot chilli paste )

A list for the Fridge :

☐ Butter unsalted x 4
☐ Milk
☐ Cheese ( cheddar and parmigiana )
☐ Eggs x 12
☐ Yoghurt ( natural )
☐ Sauerkraut ( fermented cabbage )
☐ Kimchi ( Korean spicy fermented cabbage )

A list for the freezer :

☐ Bread ( naan and pitta )
☐ Peas
☐ Spinach
☐ Kale
☐ Puff pastry
☐ Filo pastry
☐ Ice-cream
☐ Ice cubes

Essential equipment needed in the kitchen:

☐ Cooks Knife 20cm
☐ Small knife 10cm
☐ Serrated bread knife
☐ Meat cleaver
☐ Knife sharpener
☐ Large wooden chopping board
☐ Tongs
☐ Spatula
☐ Ladle
☐ Ballon whisk
☐ Potato masher
☐ Potato peeler
☐ Pastry brush
☐ Rolling pin
☐ Wooden spoons
☐ Colander
☐ Sieve
☐ Metal skewers
☐ Potato ricer
☐ Digital timer
☐ Digital food thermometer
☐ Digital food scales
☐ Plastic containers and zip lock bags
☐ Baking beans
☐ Baking tray and baking sheet
☐ Roasting tray with rack
☐ Griddle pan
☐ Bun tray
☐ Stick blender
☐ Large casserole pot
☐ Food processor
☐ Pyrex glass bowl
☐ Measuring jug and spoons
☐ Non-stick frying pan with metal handles so it can go in the oven
☐ Non-stick pots with metal handles so it can go in the oven
☐ Tin foil
☐ Cling film
☐ Pestle and mortar
☐ Mandolin
☐ Coffee grinder


Sriracha Candied Walnut Breakfast Bar


We love Sriracha sauce in our house. It goes so well with many different dishes. It works particularly well with omelettes and a strong cup of tea. It was only a matter of time before we experimented with sriracha and a sweet dish. We made a sriracha and maple syrup paste and coated the fresh walnuts with it. We cooked the coated walnuts in the oven at 170C for 20 minutes. The result was so good I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough to complete the recipe because I kept eating them. I have written before here about how well chilli and dark chocolate go, well here is that perfect marriage again.You may have read or seen recipes for energy balls on social media lately. Balls! ehhh, exactly. Don’t be so hard on yourself by eating these rabbit droppings. You will get as much if not more energy from eating these breakfast bars than any ball. You’ll thank me.


50g mixture cranberries/raisins
300g mixture of seeds/porridge oats, rice crispies
60g chopped hazelnuts
100g butter
100g soft brown sugar
160g golden syrup
80g crunchy peanut butter
200g Bourneville dark chocolate

Sriracha Walnuts:

100g Walnuts

4 tbsp sriracha

4 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp caster sugar

The Make:

Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin with baking parchment.

 Put the dried fruit in a mixing bowl. Add the seeds, oats and cereal, and mix well.

 Put the butter, peanut butter, soft brown sugar and golden syrup in the saucepan. Cook gently on the hob, stirring with the spatula, until the butter and sugar are melted.

 Remove from the heat and pour the dry ingredients into the saucepan. Mix well until all the ingredients are coated with the syrup mix.

 Fill the baking tin with the mixture. Use the spatula to press the mix down evenly. Bake at 130 fan oven for 25 mins, then leave to cool completely. For the sriracha walnuts mix the ingredients well in a bowl and make sure the walnuts are covered evenly with the syrup. Place the coated walnuts in sieve to allow the excess syrup to drip free before roasting. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and roast at 170C for 20 mins and allow them to cool on a rack. Melt the chocolate and cover the breakfast bar evenly. Place the walnuts into the melted chocolate and let IT cool in a fridge before cutting into squares. Enjoy.

Terrific Tomato Tart

Abigail’s interest in the kitchen has really picked up over the last while. At 8 years of age her attention to detail is something else. Recently on a rainy Saturday afternoon she wanted to help make a dinner. So we went to the fridge and larder to see what we had in stock. It is so important to have the basics of a decent recipe at home. Keep an eye out for our ” Essentials for your Larder ” post in the future. Abigail picked out everything she wanted to add. I kept trying to help by suggesting we add a tin of sardines or some truffle oil. I was politely told not to over complicate the dish. And she was so right. Her confidence around knives the gas hob is unreal. She has the skills all right. We couldn’t be more proud as parents seeing our eldest express herself in the best possible way. After dinner there wasn’t a crust left on the tray. We asked the kids what they thought of the recipe and collectively they all said it was in Roald Dahls words a Terrific Tomato Tart.




The Ingredients:

1 red onion

1 white onion

2 cloves garlic

3 streaky bacon

6 tomatoes

100g Cheddar cheese grated

100g Parmigiana cheese grated



100g Unsalted butter

Packet puff pastry

1 egg beaten

3 sprigs of rosemary


The Make:

Finely chop onions and garlic and fry them off with 50g of butter. Once soft set aside. Chop up bacon and fry it in same pan as the onions with the other 50g of butter. When the bacon has browned mix back in the onions and garlic. Slice the tomatoes and arrange them on top of bacon and onion mix. Cover pan and allow the tomatoes to steam. Pre heat oven to 160C. Roll out pastry and cut to fit an oven tray. Score a 1 inch border on the pastry. Carefully remove the steamed tomatoes from the pan with a spatula to keep their shape and set aside. Now spread the bacon and onion mix onto the pastry within the border. Neatly arrange the steamed tomato slices on top. Egg wash the pastry border. Evenly sprinkle the grated cheeses on top. Season with salt and pepper. Place the sprigs of rosemary on the top. This will give some nice aromatics. Place the tart into the oven and cook 30 minutes. Cook until the base is crisp. Remove rosemary before serving.


Cacio e pepe

Cacio e pepe is literally Italian for cheese and pepper. This is a very simple yet effective show stopper of a dish that takes only 4 ingredients to make. This pasta dish will impress whom ever you cook it for. It is so moreish that you can even eat the bowl. That is, of course, if you like pasta and parmigiano if you don’t, butter some toast and sit back and think about what your missing out on. 

The Ingredients:

100g parmigiano reggiano grated

1 pack of spaghetti

50g unsalted butter 

2 tsp ground black pepper 

The Make:

Boil a large pot of water. Add spaghetti and cook it al-dente. In a deep frying pan add a ladle or one cup of the pasta water. Bring it to a simmer and add the butter. Stir in 1 tsp of the black pepper. Add 1 portion of the cooked pasta into the sauce and mix it all together. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of the grated cheese on the pasta and stir. Set the cooked pasta aside and keep warm. Now in a clean dry non-stick frying pan add in the remaining cheese. Spread it evenly over the pan. Let it melt over a medium heat. While the cheese is still warm gently place it over an up turned bowl and mold it around the bowl. Allow this to gently set in a cool place. You can now use this cheese bowl to serve your cooked pasta in. Edible delph is what it’s all about because it saves on the wash up.