A Seven Minute Lunch for a day on the go.

When you are working the antisocial hours of an average kitchen you really have to jump on any free days you have. There isn’t an awful lot of time for going to the bank or getting your laundry done or even having a quiet pint and a read in the local cruiser, so your days off tend to be a mad flurry of chores, errands and quick catchups with people you really should spend more time with. I had one such day earlier this week.
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During my early morning shop I came across this new pasta I had never seen before called Tripoline. It’s somewhere between linguine and pappardelle with one edge crinkled up. Very exciting looking. I had an idea for just a quick plate of pasta before heading back out for the afternoon. Cooking with pasta is something that I really enjoy but don’t get to do often enough. There’s something pretty challenging in putting on the pasta and knowing that in seven minutes you have to have a sauce or something ready to go with it.
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250g Tripoline Pasta
2 Slices of Stale Bread
1 Tsp Dried Herbs
100ml Olive Oil
3 Cloves of Garlic
2 Tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
3 Rashers of Smoked Bacon
1 Lemon
1 Small Bunch of Parsley

-Get a large pot of water boiling and a large frying pan onto a high heat.
-First we are going to make pangritata, a crispy breadcrumb topping that really rocks with this pasta. Tear up the two slices of bread into chunks and blitz in a food processor with a little olive oil and some dried herbs. Whatever ones you fancy. I used oregano here.
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-When your water is boiling, pop in the pasta and put on the lid. Seven minutes on the clock.
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-Pour the breadcrumbs from the processor into the hot pan and toast until golden. This should take two minutes. Five minutes left.
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-Set aside onto a piece of kitchen paper or tea towel.
-Into the empty pan you want to add the 100ml of olive oil.
-Peel and finely slice up the garlic.
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-Add this to the hot oil, it will start to bubble and colour.
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-Add in the chilli flakes after about thirty seconds.
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-While the chillies cook, slice up the bacon and add it in to the pan.
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-Cook these up for about two minutes.
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-At this stage your pasta should be perfectly al dente. Soft and tender but still with a little bite.
-Lift it out of the boiling water and straight into the pan. The pasta is going to hit that oil that has been infused with garlic and chilli and smoky bacon and it will mingle its own cooking liquor to make a mind blowingly good sauce.
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-Mix up the pasta with the oil really well and juice in the lemon.
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-Chop up the parsley and add it to the pan.
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-Serve immediately with lashings of the pangritata on top. From start to finish in well under fifteen minutes. Can’t go wrong.
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Kushari Rice and our favourite homely dishes.

On paper this can seem like an odd dish. Rice and lentils and pasta? Together? I wasn’t entirely sold myself until I tried it. You see the big selling point here is how incredibly satisfying it is to eat! Kushari is the national dish of Egypt and it is eaten everywhere from street corners to palaces to fast food shops after a heavy night on the town. It’s cooked in chicken stock and served with sweet, caramelised onions on top and often with a spicy tomato sauce. As simple as it is it is a dish that holds a very special, homely place in the hearts of many Egyptian people.

Like our mashed potato or lamb stew, on the surface it could seem derivative or basic but because of that simplicity it holds a part of our culture and heritage and is a source of endless comfort for people when far away from home or feeling like the world is just a bit too big to tackle today.

200g Basmati Rice
200g Split Peas
200g Macaroni Pasta
1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
1 Chicken Stock Cube
2 Red Onions
50g Butter
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-Add the rice, cumin and stock cube to a small pan along with 300g boiling water.
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-Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to a low heat for about ten minutes and then turn it off.
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-Boil the pasta, once it’s cooked drain it and set aside.
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-Boil the dried split peas. They should take about 25/30 minutes.
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-Peel and finely slice the onions.
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-Melt the butter with a tablespoon of sunflower oil in a medium pan.
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-Add in the onions and cook over a low heat for about thirty minutes.
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-Once they start to go dark and sweet and jammy then you know you are good to go.
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-Next it’s just assembly, in a large bowl, mix together the split peas, rice and pasta with a few tablespoons of Olive oil. Also at this point season the rice really well. This dish could be in danger of being a bit bland but with the onions and a good pinch of salt it will be spot on.
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-Pour it all onto a large serving platter and smother the top with the buttery onions. What’s not to love?
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I have really grown a fondness for this dish over the last while and I definitely think you will too if you give it a go. Especially at it at 3am after a trip to the battle cruiser.

Mojo Pork and The Death Of Pulled Pork

Centra now does pulled pork sandwiches. It’s my own fault. Well, it’s our own fault. We did this to ourselves. We demanded it from every sandwich shop and diner. From every deli and every burger shack. Pulled pork, in some form or other, has probably graced the menus of most of the restaurants in Dublin. It was only a matter of time before the newsagents got wind of it. I can’t complain too much, I have done pulled pork recipes myself. I love the stuff, but I think it’s time we said goodbye.

In the spirit of a fond farewell here is yet one more pulled pork recipe. Because why the hell not. This one is called Mojo pork and is something I tried out for the first time earlier this Summer after seeing it in the movie Chef by Jon Favreau. It is a seriously fruity, vibrant alternative to the usual spicy version we are used to. It also works so well with any other fruits you have knocking around the house.

1 Pork Shoulder
2 Oranges
2 Limes
1 Bunch of Mint
1 Bunch of Coriander
8 Cloves of Garlic
2 Tsp Cumin
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-Ok first thing you have to do is make up your marinade. Juice and zest the oranges and limes into a bowl.
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-Crush and chop up the garlic and add it in.
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-Finely slice up the coriander.
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-Do the same with the mint.
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-Add both of the herbs into the marinade.
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-Place the shoulder into a medium sized roasting pan so it fits snugly and then pour over the marinade.
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-Get your hands in there and massage the marinade into the meat well. You want it to be entirely coated in the zesty, herby freshness.
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-Place this into a preheated oven at 200 degrees.
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-After about an hour or so the meat will start to colour nicely.
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-At this point you want to cover it with a layer of tin foil and lowering the heat down to 150 degrees.
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-After another three to four hours the pork will be perfect pulling texture. Take it out and let it rest for about thirty minutes at room temperature.
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-When you are ready to eat just gently pull it apart on a chopping board with a couple of forks.
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The finished product can then be used in sandwiches or burgers or tacos. We had it in some little flatbreads and a dollop of barbeque sauce on top. I’m going to be sad to see it go but it just gets me more excited as to what the next big exciting thing is.

Cooking Lessons 101 – Aioli

This isn’t so much a recipe as it is an absolutely essential piece of skill for any budding chef. The ability to make your own mayonnaise is one of the first things they teach you in Culinary School and it is something that has influences right across the full spectrum of egg based sauces. It involves making an emulsion of egg yolks and then thickening that with sunflower oil or olive oil.

But that all sounds rather boring doesn’t it? What I want to show you is how you get that incredibly creamy, rich texture we all love from really great mayo but is no-where to be found in a jar of Hellman’s. So many people (myself included) never liked mayo but instantly changed as soon as they realized that what that had been eating was not, in fact, mayo.

This is a simple recipe that will give you a fantastic, flavourful accompaniment to anything from sandwiches to chips to salad dressings. I guarantee, once you try this, you will never look back.

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2 Egg Yolks
3 Cloves of Garlic
1 Lemon
500ml Sunflower Oil
100ml Olive Oil

-Mix your two oils together in a jug.
-As finely as you can, chop up the garlic.
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-Sprinkle a little salt over the garlic and then crush it with the side of your knife to puree it.
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-In a large mixing bowl, crack in your two egg yolks. Keep the whites to make meringues later.
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-Add in the garlic and the juice from half of the lemon. Reserve the other half for seasoning later.
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-Using a large, balloon whisk, beat together the eggs, garlic and lemon.
-Now this is the tricky part. Resting your bowl securely on a tea-towel or something similar, start to whisk the egg mixture with one hand. With the other hand, begin to very slowly pour your oil into the bowl. This should be no more than a trickle.
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-Keep whisking the mixture vigorously. It should start to thicken fairly quickly as you add in the oil bit by bit. If it looks like the oil isn’t combining with the eggs, stop pouring it in and whisk like there is no tomorrow. Whisk until your arm hurts. Whisk until your arm stops hurting and feels like it is going to fall off and then keep whisking after that. This will bring it back together.
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-After you have added about half of the oil you can start to add it in a little faster as the emulsion becomes more stable. Also pop in the second half of the lemon juice.
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-Once you have added in all of the oil and whisked it all well you can taste it for seasoning.
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-Could it do with a little extra mustard or lemon? Also test the consistency, sometimes aioli can become pretty thick, if you aren’t happy with it just add a little water and combine until you get the texture you are looking for.

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This recipe can sometimes be a little tricky but the pay-off is totally worth it. Being able to whip up your own mayo at a moment’s notice is a pretty impressive skill to have and once you start mixing up your own flavour combinations you will never, ever stop.

A Casual Fling and Breakfast Burritos

I think it’s pretty safe to say that Dublin is undergoing something of a “fling” with the burrito. It’s ok though. We both know what it is. It’s just casual. We are both having fun. Neither of us is looking for something serious right now. Dublin is just experimenting with different kinds of food. We just got out of a string of long term relationships, first the Breakfast Roll, then the Chicken Fillet. We needed something fun for a while.

But I think it’s only polite that after a night of Pinto Bean Passion that we offer to make breakfast before kicking the poor thing back out onto the streets. At least until we drunk text them after the work night out next Thursday that is.

I think I might have a suitable breakfast right here. The Breakfast Burrito. The perfect combination of our loves and theirs. An even playing field. But something I don’t think Dublin has seen much of yet. For shame on all those burrito establishments! Well here is your no strings attached breakfast burrito, sorted.
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Ingredients
6 Slices of Smoky Bacon
100g Chorizo
5 Eggs
3 Spring Onions
100g Cheddar Cheese
Small Bunch of Fresh Coriander
2 Small Tomatoes
2 Large Flour Tortillas
Tabasco Sauce
Chipotle Sauce

-Slice up the bacon and the chorizo and add them into a hot pan with the finely chopped stalks of the coriander. They might need a tablespoon of oil to get started but the fat should render out of the chorizo quick enough. Preheat your grill to high.
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-When they have gotten dark and crispy, remove them from the pan onto a piece of kitchen paper, try to reserve as much of the rendered fat and oil as possible for the eggs.
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-Crack your eggs into the pan, still over a high heat. Let them cook together for about 5 minutes or so or until the whites are nearly set.
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-While these are cooking, grate your cheese and slice up the spring onions.
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-When the eggs are good to go scatter all of the cheese and spring onions over the top and place your pan under the hot grill for about five minutes.
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-While the cheese is melting, finely chop up your tomatoes and coriander leaves.
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-When the eggs come out from the grill they should look gooey and melty and delicious.
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-Using a spatula, lightly break and mix up the eggs and the cheese all together so you end up with a kind of scrambled eggs. Don’t be afraid of bursting your perfect yolks, these are going to give you a totally unique scrambled egg consistency.
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-Lightly heat your tortillas under the grill for about a minute each side and then lay them out. In the centre of each one (you should get two servings from this recipe), pile a big spoonful of the egg mixture.
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-Next, add on the chorizo and bacon, and the tomato and coriander mix. Sprinkle a little Tabasco sauce to give it an extra bit of bite.
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-Starting from one end, wrap it up tightly in the warm tortilla and you are good to go.

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Serve this beast with a side of chipotle sauce and you have a hangover breakfast that will help you forget anything that came before.

Asian Style BBQ Sauce and Midnight Munchies

Asian BBQ Sauce

I always like to have a jar of some kind of sauce knocking around in the fridge for emergency munchies when I get home at Ridiculous O’ Clock from the restaurant. This is one I tried out recently and I am absolutely digging at the moment. The Hoisin and Soy Sauce add the perfect balance of sweet and tangy and sour that is exactly what you want smothered over a bacon sandwich at 1am.

It’s also pretty quick to throw together so you have no excuse not to take your late night culinary game up a notch.
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Ingredients
400g Tomato Ketchup
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Dried Chilli Powder
1” Piece of Ginger
2 Cloves of Garlic
2 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce

-In a saucepan over a medium heat, add the ketchup and sugar in together.
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-While they simmer away for about five minutes, grate the ginger and finely crush the garlic.
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-Add them into the pot along with the chilli powder.
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-Simmer this for about 5 to 10 minutes to cook the garlic and ginger.
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-Next add in the Hoisin and the Soy Sauce.
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-Simmer for another few minutes and then you are good to jar it up.
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This will keep in the fridge for a good few weeks if kept in a sealed jar. I sincerely doubt it will last that long though.

Sweet, Spicy and Sticky Chicken Drumsticks

A month or two back I had the pleasure of working at the Big Grill festival in Herbert Park along with John Relihan of Barbecoa in the demo tent. To say that we had fun would be an understatement of insultingly large proportions. We were supposed to cook up set dishes like a full Rib-Eye on the Bone, a Smoked Duck Breast, rubs and sauces and all manner of barbeque staples.

Once we arrived however and got talking to the organisers they pretty much gave us leave to do as we pleased with the equipment we had at our disposal. In came whole lambs, broken down into ribs and shoulders and legs, chickens, steaks, onions, chillies. We were smoking anything and everything we could get our charcoal encrusted hands on.

My personal favourite of the weekend has to be the Beer Can Chickens we did. Mustard and paprika and honey and marmalade gave those birds a skin like you wouldn’t believe, while a trust can of Sierra Nevada made sure the meat stayed succulent and tender. It was an incredible thing to eat and an even more difficult thing to dispense to the masses of awaiting punters at the demos. I felt like I was stuck in an episode of Walking Dead more often than I was comfortable with.

These drumsticks are a more accessible for an easy dish that works a treat for parties. Give it a try and I guarantee you will be doing your chicken this way for a long time to come. All credit to John for this recipe.

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Ingredients
12 Chicken Drumsticks
2 Tbs Frenchs American Mustard
2 Tbs Smoked Paprika
Half a jar of orange marmalade
5 Tbs of Honey
1” Piece of Ginger
1 Small Bunch of Coriander

-Place all of your drumsticks in a large bowl and spoon the mustard on top.
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-Using your hands, coat each drumstick well with the mustard.
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-Next add in the paprika, and a little salt.
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-Again mix them all up well. You want to have a relatively even coating on each drumstick of the mustard and paprika mix.
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-Lay all of your drumsticks out onto a grill tray with the rack on. This allows an even distribution of heat.
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-Bake in the oven at 200 degrees for about 25 minutes, this will vary a bit depending on your oven.
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-While they are cooking you can make up your secret chicken weapon that will change your life. The sweet orange glaze. Start by grating your ginger and finely chopping up the leaves of the coriander (save the stalks for a killer carrot soup).
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-Add these, along with the honey and marmalade into a small saucepan.
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-You don’t really want to cook this so much as bring it together, so about 5/10 minutes over a medium to low heat will be fine.
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-Remove the drumsticks from the oven when they start to get a bit of colour and go crispy.
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-Now this is the fun bit, one by one, dip each of the drumsticks into your sweet and sticky glaze and give them a good turn over in it. Place them all back in the oven for about five to ten minutes.
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-When they come out they should be golden and tacky and the aroma from the glaze should fill every room in your house. And maybe a few from next door aswel.
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