Category Archives: Street Food

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.

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.

Argentinian Empanadas

I have a confession to make. I have recently been having a bit of a fling with South American cuisine. My usual staples don’t know. At least I don’t think they know. Like, they know that I haven’t been as faithful lately but I think this is the first time I have stopped really loving them.

But who could resist the crumbly pasty. The searing chillies. The enigmatic scents. The warming spices. All of these exemplified in the simple envelope of exploration that is the empanada. The staple dish of busy Artentines. Using store bought shortcrust you can make these up on the double and have them to hand for any glutinous outdoor adventures.
The Ingredients
500g Pork Mince
1 Bunch of Mint
1 Bunch of Spring Onions
1 Red Chilli
1 Lime
1 Tsp Jerk Seasoning
1 Roll Shortcrust Pastry

-In a hot frying pan with a tablespoon of sunflower oil, start to fry off your pork mince until it takes on a little colour. Make sure to keep breaking it up with a wooden spoon.
Step 1
-Finely chop up the spring onions, mint leaves and chilli, remove the seeds if you like.
Step 2
-Add the chilli and the Jerk Seasoning into the pan and cook them off for about a minute. Turn off the heat but keep the pan on the ring.
Step 3
-Quickly add in the spring onion and mint leaves and stir together well. The residual heat will be enough to cook them through.
Step 4
-Juice in the lime.
Step 5
-This is going to be your filling for the empanadas. Set this aside for a few hours or overnight to cool down enough to be rolled into the pastry.
Step 6
-Now this is the fun pastry bit. Roll out the full sheet on a large, lightly floured surface.
Step 7
-Cut it into pieces about three or four inches across. I got eight out of my sheet.
Step 8
-Set them aside. One at a time, using a lightly floured rolling pin and board, roll each sheet out a little. You don’t need too much extra surface area, just a bit of thinning out of the pastry.
Step 9
-Place a large tablespoon of the chilled filling into the centre of each piece of pastry.
Step 10
-Fold each piece over and squeeze down two edges, leaving one open. Using your baby finger, press all of the air out of your parcels and seal the final side by pressing down firmly.
Step 11
-Using a bit of flair and general messing around, fold up the edges of your empanada to create a tight seal. There are loads of ways of doing this and they all work just as well.
Step 12
-Repeat this for all of your pastry sheets and place them all on a dusted baking tray. (If you have a spare egg in the fridge, whip it up in a small bowl with a drop of milk and brush it lightly over the pastries to give them a great shine when they cook.)
Step 13
-Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees and cook your pastries for 25/30 minutes. Use your own instincts here as each oven is different. The pastry should be flaky and golden as it comes out.

The Final Product

These are perfect as they are but seriously benefit from a little dipping sauce. Chimichurri is traditional but anything from BBQ sauce to ketchup to English mustard works a treat.

Jerk Pork Tenderloin

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Jerk paste is something that once you learn to make once, you will be forever indebted to that ethereal balance of smoky and spice, zest and fragrance of all things Caribbean. I know when the sauce comes together it might not look like much, it is when it starts to get a bit of heat and real charcoal smoke that the flavours really come alive.

You can pick up a jerk seasoning in most big supermarkets or I have a recipe for one here.

1 Pork Tenderloin
1 Bunch of coriander
3 Cloves of Garlic
2” Piece of Ginger
1 Lime
2 Chillies
1 tbsp Jerk Seasoning

-First you want to make up the jerk paste that will marinade the pork kebabs. Start by finely dicing the chillies.
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-Crush the garlic.
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-Finely chop the coriander stalks and keep the leaves to one side.
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-Chop up the Ginger.
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-Zest the lime.
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-Add the chillies, garlic, coriander stalk, ginger and lime zest into a blender.
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-To this add the juice from the lime, about two or three tablespoons of sunflower oil, the jerk seasoning and a drop of hot water to help emulsify everything together.
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-Blend baby, blend.
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-When everything is well blitzed, roughly chop up the coriander leaves and add them to your jerk paste.
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-You are now ready to marinade, slice the tenderloin in half lengthways down the middle, then again, making four long fillets of loin.
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-Weave these fillets onto wooden skewers (soak them in water for about twenty minutes to avoid them burning like mine) or the longer metal ones if you have them.
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-Set them on a large sheet of double layered, heavy duty tin foil. I used the container the fillet came in to help keep hold of the marinade.
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-Pour all of the marinade over the skewers and make sure they are well covered.
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-Wrap up the kebabs well in the foil and marinade for about 2 hours, turning after one hour to make sure there is an even covering.
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-When they are done marinating grill them for about three to four minutes each side in whatever fashion you see fit. For me, nothing beats charcoal and good old wood smoke.
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This is a fantastic take on the slow pimiento smoked pork of the Caribbean. The paste here could easily be smothered over chicken or fish aswel and makes a great addition to a BBQ sauce.

Baked Mackerel Parcel

Summertime food for me will always be mackerel. For some it’s strawberries and cream, for others its caprese salad. For me it’s mackerel, straight out of the Atlantic, fishing with my Dad, collecting a bucket-full of the little torpedo shaped blighters, still contorted with rigor and ready to be devoured as soon as possible.

This is one of the easiest and most fool proof way of cooking fish. You will see it crop up time and time again on restaurant menus and in cookbooks. It can be made in advance if you are having a dinner party or whipped together in minutes on a lazy Wednesday night.

It is also seriously adaptable. I used the ingredients here but you can use it with any herbs and light vegetables and pretty much any small fish. Experiment and you never know what combinations you will find.
The Ingredients
1 Whole gutted Mackerel
1 Small Leek
1 Lemon
1 Small Bunch of Coriander
1 Small bunch of Thyme
50ml Cider/fish stock/chicken stock/veg stock/white wine/water

-Rinse and finely slice up the leek, (remove a lot of the thick green tips as they are a bit tough to eat) and slice the lemon.
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-Take one long piece of wide tin foil and double it over so you parcel is good and thick.
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-Place a few of the sliced leeks and lemon slices in the middle of your foil along with a little coriander and thyme.
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-Now place the Mackerel on top.
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-Stuff the Mackerel with more of the leeks, lemon and the herbs.
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-Cover the fish with any remaining stuffing and season well with salt, pepper and a little olive oil.
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-Now wrap the fish by folding one of the long sides of the tin foil over the other and sealing it tightly.
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-Roll up one end of the long tin foil tube you now have until you reach the body of the fish. This should leave one end open.
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-Into this end, pour the liquid. I had a bit of cider in the fridge so I used that but any stock or wine would work well. You want some kind of flavourful liquid that is going to steam the fish in the oven.
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-Wrap up that end tightly so you are left with a completely sealed, tin foil parcel of goodness.
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-Place this parcel on a baking tray and cook in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for about fifteen to seventeen minutes depending on the size of your fish.
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-When it comes out of the oven pierce the foil and savour the smell and the steam. This is a glorious thing to eat.
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The foil parcel makes a ready-made bowl. The leeks and herbs have cooked down to create an incredible salad. The oil and juice from the mackerel have combined with the cider to create an incredible sauce and the fish is light and flaky and fragrant. I can’t imagine a more perfectly well contained meal.

Old School Sliders with Red Onion Relish

Sliders are one of my all-time favourite street foods. You can take a simple starting point which is in essence a mini burger and then go to (flavour) town on it. They are about experimenting and trying new things, about gluttony and greed for all things delicious. Why pick one type of burger why you can have three different types of burger? They have been adapted into every major (and most of the minor) food cultures in the world with even three Michelin star Chefs having a good go at them.Hopefully I will get to show you some of the wackier and wild things that have been done with this fast food staple but here I am just going to do simple cheeseburger with onion relish. A classic combination that will satisfy anyone when the hunger hits.

To do the onion relish right it really does need a bit of time so get it on early so you aren’t worried about timings. I guarantee it will be worth planning a little ahead. The long slow cook helps to develop the natural sweetness in onions and then you get this beautiful aniseed quality coming from the Fennel and Cumin. It also keeps really well in the fridge if you have some left over.

750g Beef mince
4 Small burger buns or slider buns if you can find them.
4 Red Onions
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Fennel Seeds
Lettuce
8 Slices of Cheese (cheddar or emmental for melting)

1. Get a large pan onto a low heat with two tablespoons of sunflower oil.
Ground Spices
2. As finely as you can, slice the onions and add to the pan with the ground cumin and fennel.
Sliced Red Onion
3. Saute on a low heat for about 45/50 minutes, stirring occasionally. They should be dark and soft and super sweet. (A little butter right at the end makes a big difference)
Onion Relish in the pan
Finished Relish
4. When the onions are ready season the mince well and shape into four patties.
Shaped Burgers
5. Get a pan onto a high heat and your grill on full
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6. Fry the patties on a high heat in a little sunflower oil for about four or five minutes each side, depending on the size of your burgers.
Completed Burgers
7. When they are nearly good to go put your buns under the grill (cut side up) to warm through.
Slider Buns
8. Next place two slices of cheese on each patty and sling them under your hot grill.
Sliders with Cheese

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9. Now all that is left is assembly. Bun first, then lettuce, patty (with cheese), caramelised onion relish and then the top of the bun.

Old School Sliders

There are few things in this world more satisfying that a really well prepared cheeseburger. Add this staple to your arsenal and you will have a lifelong skill with which to make friends and influence people.