Cook with Neven

"Take Quality Ingredients, Careful Preparation and Add Wonderful Flavours..."

A selection of recipes cooked by Neven at Demonstration evenings can be viewed below.

Happy Cooking!

 
  • Demonstration Recipes
  • Seared Striploin Steak with Sauce Diane and Roast Garlic Mash

    Ingredients: (Serves 2)

    2 tbsp rapeseed oil

    2 garlic cloves, crushed

    1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves

    2 x 150g (5oz) striploin steaks

    For the Roast Garlic Mash:

    4 garlic cloves, unpeeled

    1 tbsp rapeseed oil

    675g (1½lb) potatoes, cut into chunks

    2 tbsp softened butter

    1 tbsp cream

    For the Sauce Diane:

    2 tbsp rapeseed oil

    25g (1oz) butter

    1 shallot, finely chopped

    150g (5oz) button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced

    120ml (4fl oz) brandy

    150ml (¼ pint) white wine

    150ml (¼ pint) beef stock

    1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

    good pinch sugar

    150ml (¼ pint) double cream

    1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    squeeze of fresh lemon juice

    Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Method

    Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4. Place the oil, garlic and thyme in a shallow dish and add the steaks, turning to coat. Set aside at room temperature for 20 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.

    Meanwhile, make the garlic mash, place the garlic cloves on a piece of foil and drizzle with the oil. Scrunch up the foil into a purse and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

    To make the sauce, heat a pan and add one of the tablespoons of the oil and the butter, then swirl until the butter has melted and is foaming. Tip in the shallot and mushrooms and sauté for 4-5 minutes until tender. Pour over the brandy, then use a match or tilt up the pan to catch the flame. It will flare up for about 5-10 seconds and then subside when the alcohol flame burns off. Add the wine, stirring to combine and then simmer until reduced by half. Stir the stock into the pan with the Worcestershire sauce, sugar and cream. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until thickened to a sauce consistency which will coat the back of a wooden spoon, stirring occasionally. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice. Season to taste. Reheat gently in a pan when needed.

    Meanwhile, steam the potatoes for the mash for 20-25 minutes until tender. Open the cooled foil purse and carefully squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins. Melt the butter in a pan and add cream and the roasted garlic. Tip in the potatoes and mash until smooth, then season to taste. Spoon into a piping bag with a plain nozzle. Keep warm.

    Heat an ovenproof frying pan over a high heat. Season the steaks with plenty of black pepper and cook for 2 minutes on each side to seal in the juices, then transfer to the oven and cook the steak for another 5-10 minutes, turning once, depending on how rare you like your meat (5 minutes for rare, 7 for medium and 10 for well done).

    Transfer the cooked steak to warmed serving plates, season with salt and set aside in a warm place to rest while you assemble the dish. Pour any juices that run off the meat into your sauce for added flavour. Drizzle the sauce around the steaks and pipe the roasted garlic mash to one side to serve.

     



    The MacNean Cheesecake with Strawberries and White Chocolate

    Ingredients: (Serves 8)

    400g (14oz) cream cheese

    100g (4oz) icing sugar

    ½ finely grated rind and juice of lemon

    1 vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out

    200g (7oz) white chocolate, broken into squares

    200ml (7fl oz) cream

    8 shortbread biscuits, finely broken up

    FOR THE POACHED STRAWBERRIES:

    300ml (1/2 pint) red wine

    2 tbsp crème de cassis

    75g (3oz) caster sugar

    1 cinnamon stick

    1 star anise

    1/2 vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out

    400g (14oz) strawberries, plus extra to decorate

    Method

    Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, lemon rind and juice, add in the vanilla seeds, icing sugar and beat for about 5 minutes until smooth and light.

    Melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool a little. Meanwhile, place the cream in a separate bowl and whip until stiff.

    Fold the melted chocolate into the cream cheese mixture and then carefully fold in the whipped cream. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle and place in the fridge until needed.

    To poach the strawberries, place the red wine and cassis in a pan with the sugar, cinnamon stick, star anise and vanilla pod and seeds and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until reduced by half and slightly thickened. Place the strawberries in a heatproof bowl and pour over the wine mixture through a fine sieve, discarding the cinnamon stick, star anise and vanilla pod. Stir to combine and leave to cool.

    To assemble the cheesecake, divide the poached strawberries among martini glasses and scatter the crumble the shortbread biscuits on top. Pipe the cheesecake mixture right up to the rim of the glasses and decorate with fresh strawberries and mint sprigs.

     



    Spun Sugar Curls:

    Ingredients:

    225g (8oz) caster sugar

    1 tbsp powdered glucose

    Method

    Place the sugar, glucose and 250ml (9fl oz) of water into a heavy-based pan. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until you have achieved a golden caramel colour. The sugar syrup should be a thick honey consistency but not too runny. It thickens a little as it cools so if it gets too thick, then simply heat it again and it will loosen fairly instantly. Using a clean, small metal spoon and a knife-sharpening steel, dip the spoon into the caramel and lift it out again, then twist it around the steel to create some sugar curls, working very carefully as the caramel is extremely hot.

    Tip: To make a orange caramel sauce:

    100ml pure orange juice

    Add the orange juice carefully, stirring until combined and then simmer gently for another 5 minutes until thickened. Leave to cool for about 10-15 minutes until thickened a little further.

     



    Chestnut and Wild Mushroom Soup

    Serves 8-10

    Cans of chestnuts are now becoming more widely available in good deli shops and the larger supermarkets. I've also seen packets of vacumn-packed chestnuts but they seem to be more of a seasonal product that comes out for the Christmas period.

    Ingredients

    50g (2oz) dried wild mushrooms

    1 tbsp sunflower oil

    450g (1lb) peeled chestnuts, chopped (canned or vacumn-packed)

    1 large onion, finely chopped

    100g (4oz) piece rindless smoked bacon, finely chopped

    1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

    1.2 litres (2 pints) chicken or vegetable stock

    200ml (7fl oz) double cream

    Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Lightly whipped cream and snipped fresh chives, to garnish

    Method

    Place the dried wild mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and pour 400ml (14fl oz) of boiling water to cover. Set aside for 20 minutes until they have plumped up. Drain the mushrooms and gently squeeze dry, reserving the soaking liquid.

    Heat a large pan and add the sunflower oil. Add the chestnuts, bacon, onion and drained wild mushrooms and sweat gently for 10 minutes until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.

    Add the thyme to the pan with the reserved soaking liquid and stock, stirring to combine. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for another 20 minutes. Stir in the cream and allow to heat through for 1 minute, then whizz with a hand blender until as smooth as possible. Season to taste and ladle into warmed wide-rimmed bowls. Garnish each one with a little drizzle of whipped cream and a sprinkling of chives. Serve at once.

     


    Crispy Fried Prawns in Kataifi Pastry with Chilli Jam

    Serves 4-6

    Even though not as well known as filo pastry, kataifi pastry is also a very versatile pastry that has a three month shelf life in the fridge. With its origins in southern Europe and the Middle East, it looks like vermicelli when it is raw and like a shredded wheat breakfast cereal when it is cooked.

    Ingredients:

    150g (5oz) frozen kataifi pastry

    25g (1oz) plain flour

    1 egg

    50ml (2fl oz) milk

    12 fresh Dublin Bay prawns, peeled and veins removed

    rapeseed oil, for deep-frying

    Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    chilli jam and mayonnaise , to garnish

    lightly dressed mixed lettuce leaves, to serve

    Method:

    Thaw the pastry whilst still in its plastic for a minimum of 2 hours before using. Once its is thawed it will be soft and pliable and ready to use but remember when using it, you must always keep it well covered. Place the flour in a shallow dish and season generously. Beat the eggs with the milk and a pinch of salt in a separate shallow dish.

    Toss the prawns until lightly coated in the seasoned flour, then dip briefly in the egg wash, then wrap well in kataifi pastry. To wrap the prawns, lay about 10g (1/4oz) of the kataifi pastry in a rectangle on a board. Sit a prawn across the width at the end closest to you and then roll it up away from you to completely enclose. Place on a non-stick parchment paper well-spaced apart so that they don't get tangled up and cover with clingfilm. Chill until ready to use- these will sit happily for up to 4 hours in the fridge.

    Just before serving, heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or a deep-sided pan to 160C (325F). Cook the coated prawns in batches of three for about 3 minutes turning half way through until crisp and golden brown and the prawns are cooked through,. Drain on kitchen paper.

    To serve, place three prawns to one side of large serving plate. Spoon a little chilli jam to the other side with a little of the mayonnaise alongside. On third part of the plate arrange a small pile of dressed salad.

    Chilli jam

    This is one of my store-cupboard essentials that's simple to make, and is the ideal substitute for shop-bought sweet chilli sauce. It keeps very well in the fridge for up to 3 weeks and can be put into a squeezy plastic bottle if you would like to use it to garnish plates.

    Ingredients

    Makes about 450ml (3/4 pint)

    2 tbsp rapeseed oil

    2 onions, roughly diced

    2 red peppers, cored, seeded and roughly diced

    1 garlic clove, crushed

    1 red chilli, finely chopped

    1 tbsp tomato puree

    1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

    50g (2oz) light muscovado sugar

    4 ripe tomatoes, diced

    1 tbsp dark soy sauce

    Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Method

    Heat the rapeseed oil in a heavy-based pan on a medium heat. Add the onions, red peppers and garlic and saut?? for 2 minutes until just beginning to soften. Stir in the chilli and tomato puree and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, sugar, tomatoes and soy sauce and pour in 300ml (1/2 pint) of water to just cover. Simmer for 45-50 minutes until well reduced and thickened, stirring occasionally.

    Remove the chilli jam from the heat and leave to cool completely, then tip into a food processor or liquidiser and blend to a puree. Pass through a sieve set over a bowl and season to taste. Transfer to a rigid plastic container and store in the fridge. Use as required.

     


    Duck Breast with a Cabbage and Wild Mushroom Stir-fry and Honey and Clove Jus

    Ingredients:

    2 x 175g/6oz duck breasts or pheasant

    2 tbsp rapeseed oil

    25g/1oz butter

    Fresh lemon thyme sprigs, to garnish

    For the Cabbage and Wild Mushroom Stir Fry

    175g/6oz Savoy cabbage, finely sliced

    85g/3oz unsalted butter

    1 red onion sliced

    1 garlic clove, finely chopped

    85g/3oz mixed exotic mushrooms, such as oyster, shitake and chestnut, trimmed, brushed

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 190?C/375?F/Gas 5. Trim the excess fat from duck breasts but leave the skin in place. Make a few shallow, diagonal cuts across the skin-side of each breast with a sharp knife, taking care not to cut down into the meat, then season well on both sides.

    Heat an ovenproof frying pan until very hot. Add the oil and then the duck breasts, skin-side down and cook for about 3 minutes until crisp and lightly browned. Turn over and cook for another minute to seal in the juices. Add the butter to the frying pan, slide it into the oven and leave them to roast for about 5-7 minutes if you like your duck pink, or a little longer if you prefer it well done.

    Meanwhile for the cabbage and wild mushroom stir-fry, put the sliced cabbage and 2-3 tablespoons of water into a large pan and cook over a high heat for a couple of minutes until only just tender and still crunchy. Tip onto a plate and set aside. Add the butter to the pan and once it has melted add the onion and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes until soft and lightly browned. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for 2 minutes until just tender. Add the cabbage, stir well and season to taste. Keep warm.

    Remove the duck breasts from the oven and lift them onto a board. Slice each one across into thin slices, keeping them in shape. Spoon the cabbage and wild mushroom stir fry into the centre of each warmed serving plate. Slide a palette knife under each duck breast and lift them on top of the cabbage. Pour the sauce around the edge of each plate and garnish with the herbs.

    Honey and Clove Sauce

    2 tbsp clear honey

    1 tbsp soy sauce

    1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

    1 tbsp brown sugar

    1 tbsp tomato ketchup

    100ml brown chicken stock or beef stock

    1 tsp whole cloves

    Method

    Heat all the ingredients and boil for approximately 5 minutes or until thickened to a sauce consistency which will coat the back of spoon. Season the taste.

     


    Glazed Loin of Bacon or Ham

    Serves 6-8

    The loin of bacon is most often used for bacon rashers but now is becoming widely available in one piece. As it has a lovely even shape it is perfect for easy carving and is a lovely change from the traditional ham, especially served with the redcurrant sauce.

    Ingredients:

    1.5 kg (3 lb) loin of bacon

    1 onion, roughly chopped

    2 carrots, roughly chopped

    2 celery sticks, roughly chopped

    few black peppercorns

    1 bay leaf

    2 fresh thyme sprigs

    1tsp whole cloves

    Whiskey Glaze

    2tbsp Irish Mist

    2tbsp maple syrup

    2tbsp balsamic syrup

    1tbsp ground all spice

    Method

    Place the bacon joint in a large pan and cover with cold water. Add the onion, carrots, celery, peppercorns, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes per 450 g (1 lb). A joint this size should take no more than 1 hour.

    To make the whiskey glaze, place the Irish mist, maple syrup, balsamic syrup and ground all spice , bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes until you have a honey consistency.

    Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Remove the cooked bacon joint from the pan and reserve the liquid. Carefully cut the rind from the loin of bacon and score the fat in a criss-cross fashion. Stud with the joint whole cloves ,Place in a small roasting tin and brush with the whiskey glaze.

    Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes until the fat is nicely glazed and the bacon is completely heated through.

    Remove from the oven and transfer to a warmed plate to rest, covered loosely with foil.

    To serve, carve the rested glazed loin of bacon and arrange on plates with a little of the redcurrant sauce spooned on top.

     


    Raspberry, White Chocolate and Sherry Trifle

    Serves 6

    My Mum always made this trifle for special occasions when I was growing up. I just loved helping, especially with the cleaning of the bowls and it definitely inspired me to be a chef. At Christmas I like to decorate the top with pomegranate seeds to make it sparkle like jewels!

    Ingredients:

    100ml (3 1/2fl oz) Red Wine

    100g (4oz) caster sugar

    1 tsp ground mixed spice

    1 cinnamon stick

    500g (1 1/4lb) bag frozen raspberries

    200g (7oz) Madeira cake, broken into pieces

    100ml sweet sherry

    Whipped cream to serve

    FOR THE CUSTARD

    300ml (1/2 pint) milk

    100ml (3 1/2fl oz) double cream

    1/2 vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out

    5 egg yolks

    100g caster sugar

    1 tbsp cornflour

    100g white chocolate , grated

    toasted flaked almonds, to decorate

    Method

    To make the custard, Place the milk, cream and vanilla pod and seeds in a heavy-based pan over a gentle heat and cook until it nearly reaches the boil - but don't allow to boil. Meanwhile, place the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a large bowl and whisk together until pale and thickened.

    Remove the milk and cream mixture from the heat and then slowly whisk it into the egg mixture until smooth. Pour back into the pan and place on a gentle heat. Cook, without allowing to boil, until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat and whisk in white chocolate, leave to cool covering with a piece of clingfilm to prevent a skin forming on top.

    Meanwhile, prepare the poached raspberries. Place the red wine in a large pan with the sugar, mixed spice and cinnamon stick and then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes until syrupy, stirring occasionally. Stir in the frozen raspberries and set aside until cooled, stirring occasionally. The raspberries should defrost naturally in the hot syrup but still hold their shape. Remove Cinnamon stick.

    Spoon the raspberries into a bowl; arrange the madeira cake on top, drizzle over the sweet sherry. Next pour over the white chocolate custard, gently spread with a palette knife. Pipe some whipped cream over the top and garnish with the flaked almonds and some fresh raspberries.

    This will keep in your fridge for up to two weeks.

     


    Spun Sugar Curls

    Spun Sugar creates a beautiful web of glossy sugar strands that can be used to wrap or top pastries to produce a beautiful, professional appearance.

    Ingredients:

    225g (8oz) caster sugar

    1 tbsp powdered glucose

    Method

    Place the sugar, glucose and 250ml (9fl oz) of water into a heavy-based pan. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until you have achieved a golden caramel colour. The sugar syrup should be a thick honey consistency but not too runny. It thickens a little as it cools so if it gets too thick, then simply heat it again and it will loosen fairly instantly.

    Using a clean, small metal spoon and a knife-sharpening steel, dip the spoon into the caramel and lift it out again, then twist it around the steel to create some sugar curls, working very carefully as the caramel is extremely hot.

    Tip: To make butterscotch sauce, stir in the cream, rum and butter and mix well to combine. Continue to cook until it reaches a nice sauce consistency, stirring occasionally.

     


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