Recipes

This is the ultimate picnic recipe, one that Myrtle Allen has been making decades. The original recipe is in her re-released book, The Ballymaloe Cookbook, originally published in 1977 by Gill & Macmillan. It's also great for children's parties. You slice and open the top of a loaf of bread, like a treasure chest, then cut the inside out, slice the inside piece and make layers of sandwiches, then refill the 'chest' crust of the loaf with all the sandwiches, close the lid, and, hey presto: you will dazzle everyone with your picnic prowess!

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Detoxify me

Serves 1-2.
 
  • A handful of kale or spinach leaves, stalks included
  • A small handful of parsley and watercress, mixed
  • 2 apples, quartered, pips removed
  • 1 stick of celery
  • ¼ of a cucumber
  • ¼ of an avocado
  • Juice of 1 lime
 
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Pour the olive oil into a large overproof saucepan and place on a medium heat. When it is hot, add the finely chopped onion. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 6-8 minutes until the onion is soft but not browned. Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium, stir in the risotto rice and cook for 1 minute, then pour in the dry white wine and bring to a simmer.

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To cook the duck breast, first use the tip of a knife to make three or four shallow incisions into the fat - make sure you don't cut the meat. Season the duck breast with salt and freshly ground black pepper and drizzle it with a tiny bit of extra-virgin olive oil. Place the duck, fat side down, in an unheated frying pan or grill pan. Turn the heat on low and cook the duck breast very slowly, until it is golden brown, allowing the fat to render out - this may take 15-20 minutes. Turn the duck breast over and continue to cook it for another 5-10 minutes, until it is just cooked through.

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First, make the salsa. If you're using papaya, cut it in half and scoop out all the small black seeds and discard them. Cut the papaya halves in half again, then slice off the peel. Cut the flesh into roughly 1cm (about ºin) dice and place the diced papaya flesh in a bowl.

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Place the butternut squash pieces, the beetroot wedges and the red onion wedges in a roasting tin and drizzle them with about 4 tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil. Season with the salt and freshly ground black pepper and roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until they are completely tender and slightly caramelised around the edges.

Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar or the sherry vinegar, whichever you're using, over the warm vegetables and set them aside to cool to room temperature.

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To cook the pearl barley, tip it into a saucepan and cover it with more than twice the volume of water. Bring to the boil, simmer for about 30 minutes until the barley is cooked, and drain. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, then drizzle with the extra-virgin olive oil, and add the balsamic vinegar or the red-wine vinegar, whichever you're using. Toss together well, then allow to cool slightly.

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First, put the pumpkin seeds, the sunflower seeds and the sesame seeds on a tray and into the oven. Cook them for a few minutes until they are just slightly browned, then remove them from the oven and take them off the hot tray (so they'll stop cooking), and set them aside.

Put the rinsed quinoa and the vegetable stock in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes uncovered or until the liquid has evaporated, then set aside and allow the quinoa to cool.
Increase the oven heat to 230°C, 450°F, Gas 8.

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While the pastry is chilling, melt the butter in a wide saucepan, add the spinach leaves and cook them until they have wilted. No additional water is necessary; the moisture remaining on the spinach is sufficient. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

When the spinach leaves are cooked, drain them and allow them to cool.

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While the pastry is chilling, make the pasty filling. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan set over a medium heat, and add the chopped onions, the chopped garlic and the finely grated root ginger. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook until the onions are soft and slightly golden.

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