Cook with Neven

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  • Winter Recipes
  • Smoked Bacon Frittata with Parmesan Cheese

    Frittata


    Serves 4

    This is one of my favourite frittatas, the sweetness of the onions complimenting the smokiness of the bacon perfectly. It is as good served cold as hot or warm.

    Originating from Sicily, it is cooked until set firm, making it excellent picnic food or an addition to a platter of antipasti, as well as a light lunch or supper.

    Ingredients

    2 tbsp olive oil

    25g (1oz) butter

    3 Spanish onions, thinly sliced

    6 rindless smoked bacon rashers, cut into small lardons

    1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

    3 garlic cloves, crushed

    8 large eggs, lightly beaten

    50g (2oz) freshly grated Parmesan

    1 tsp finely chopped fresh sage salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Wild rocket to garnish

    Method

    Heat one tablespoon of the oil and the butter in a large sauté or frying pan. Add the onions and start by cooking over a fairly high heat, stirring constantly until they begin to soften but not brown. Then reduce the heat and continue to cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently so the onions do not stick or brown. They will need about 30 minutes in total to caramelise.

    Stir the bacon into the onion mixture with the thyme and garlic 5 minutes before the end of cooking time and continue to cook until the bacon has begun to sizzle and crisp up. Tip into a large bowl and leave to cool for at least 5 minutes. Season generously.

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4. Add the eggs, Parmesan and sage to the onions and stir well to combine. You should have 1.2 litres (2 pints) of mixture in total. Heat the remaining oil in an ovenproof heavy-based pan, that is about 23cm (9in), in diameter and deep enough to take the mixture. Swirl to coat the sides of the pan evenly, then pour in the egg mixture and cook for 6-8 minutes over a low heat to set the bottom and sides.

    Transfer the pan to the oven and cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes until just set, puffed up and lightly golden. Loosen the sides with a palette knife and cut the frittata into wedges and serve warm or cold on to plates. Garnish with rocket to serve.

     



    Bacon and cabbage soup

    bacon and cabbage soup






    Serves 4 - 6

    This is a wonderfully simple chunky soup. Use quality Irish back bacon.

    Bacon and cabbage soup

    Ingredients:

    50g (2oz) pearl barley

    50g (2oz) butter

    100g (4oz) rindless smoked bacon rashers, trimmed of excess fat and diced

    125g (4 ½oz) potatoes, diced (about 1 medium)

    1 small onion, finely chopped

    1 garlic clove, crushed

    1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

    1.2 litres (2 pints) chicken stock

    275g (10oz) cabbage, cored and finely shredded

    salt and freshly ground black pepper

    crusty white bread or wheaten bread, to serve

    Method:

    Place the pearl barley in a saucepan and cover with plenty of water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a simmer then simmer gently for 1 ½ hours or until the pearl barley is tender. Drain and set aside until needed. Place a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat, add the butter to melt and stir in the smoked bacon, potatoes, onion, garlic and thyme.

    Cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stock to the bacon mixture with the cooked pearl barley and bring slowly to the boil.

    Tip in the cabbage, reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the cabbage is just tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with crusty white bread or wheaten bread.

     


    Seared Rib-eye Steak with Smoked Paprika & Red Pepper Butter

    Rib-eye Steak




    Serves 4

    I always bring steaks to room temperature by removing them from the fridge 30 minutes before I want to cook them. This recipe uses my favourite cut, the rib-eye, which is still nice and tender but with enough fat and textures to make for an exciting chew.

    Ingredients

    4 x 225g (8oz) dry aged rib-eye steaks

    100ml (3 1/2fl oz) olive oil

    2 garlic cloves, crushed

    1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

    FOR THE BUTTER:

    1 small red pepper

    175g (6oz) butter

    1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

    1 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    1 tsp smoked paprika

    1 tbsp cream

    salt and freshly ground black pepper

    steamed potatoes and lightly dressed mixed green salad, to serve

    Method

    To make the flavoured butter, preheat the grill. Place the pepper on the grill rack and cook for 20-25 minutes until the skin is blackened and blistered. Transfer to a bowl and cover with clingfilm, then leave to cool completely.

    Remove the skin, core and seeds from the pepper and roughly chop the flesh, then place in a food processor. Add the butter, thyme, parsley and paprika in food processor and puree until smooth. Stir in the cream and then scrape out onto a square of parchment paper and roll into a cylinder, twisting the ends to secure. Chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours is fine.

    Trim the rib-eye steaks of any excess fat, place in a non-metallic dish and add the olive oil, garlic and thyme. Cover with clingfilm and leave in fridge to marinade overnight.

    Remove the steaks from the fridge at least half an hour before you wish to cook them, then shake off any excess marinade and season to taste. Grill, barbecue or pan-fry the steaks over a fierce heat for 6-7 minutes for medium rare, or to your liking. Allow to rest for 5 minutes on warm plates.

    Remove the flavoured butter from fridge and remove the foil, then cut into slices. Place butter slices on top of the grilled steaks and add a baked potato and some mixed salad to each plate to serve.

     


    Glazed Pork Kebabs

    Glazed Prok Kebabs



    Serves 4

    A simple orange and honey marinade gives these tasty kebabs their flavour. Of course when the fine weather arrives, you can cook them on the barbecue and serve with some salad. If you are using wooden skewers, it's best to soak them in water for about an hour before using so that they don't dry out too burn and burn.

    Ingredients

    1 tbsp runny honey

    juice of 1 orange

    1 tsp Dijon mustard

    2 tsp freshly grated root ginger

    1 tsp dark soy sauce

    675g (1 1/2lb) boneless pork, well-trimmed and cut into 4cm (1 1/2in) cubes

    steamed baby potatoes and long stemmed broccoli, to serve

    Method

    Mix together the honey, orange juice, mustard, ginger and soy in a shallow non-metallic dish until well combined. Add the pork cubes and stir until evenly coated, then cover with clingfilm and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 48 hours is perfect. As with most marinades the longer you leave it the better the taste.

    To make the kebabs, thread the pork, courgettes and onions alternatively on to 8 x 15cm (6in) skewers. Heat a griddle pan or preheat the grill. Arrange the kebabs on the griddle or grill rack and cook for 18-20 minutes, turning regularly until the pork is tender and cooked through. Arrange on plates and serve with the baby potatoes and broccoli.

     



    Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Roast Vegetables

    pesto stuffed chicken breast







    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    125g ball mozzarella, torn into small pieces

    4 tbsp basil pesto (see recipie p.126)

    4 skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets

    8 smoked streaky bacon rashers, rinds removed

    8 cherry tomatoes

    FOR THE ROAST VEGETABLES:

    3 courgettes, trimmed and thickly sliced

    3 carrots, cut into thick fingers

    1 aubergine, trimmed and cut into thick fingers

    3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

    2 red peppers, cored, seeded and cut into chunks

    2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks

    1 onion, chopped

    4 tbsp olive oil

    2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

    1 mild red chilli, seeded and finely chopped

    1 tsp sesame seeds

    salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Method

    Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas mark 6. To prepare the roast vegetables, place all of the vegetables in a large roasting tin and drizzle over the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Th en sprinkle the chilli and sesame seeds on top and season to taste. Spread everything out to a single layer, then roast for about 45 minutes until the vegetables are tender and catching around the edges, tossing once or twice. Meanwhile, mix the mozzarella and pesto together.

    Cut a slit into the side of each chicken breast, then stuff with the pesto mixture. Place two halved cherry tomatoes in each breast. Wrap each stuff ed chicken breast with two bacon rashers - not too tightly, but enough to hold the chicken together. Season, place on a baking sheet and place in the oven about 10 minutes after the vegetables went in.

    Roast the stuff ed chicken breasts for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and tender and the bacon is crispy. Remove from the oven and rest in a warm place for 10 minutes. Arrange the roast vegetables on warmed plates with the pesto stuff ed chicken breasts to serve.

     



  • Summer Recipes
  • Pasta Salad with Baby Spinach

    pasta salad and baby spinich




    Serves 4

    This pasta salad is also good served cold and appeals to children and adults alike. The heat of the pasta just wilts down the spinach leaves so you could always try taking it with wild rocket. I like to serve it with a nice piece of pan-fried salmon or chicken would also be delicious.

    Ingredients

    100g (4oz) pine nuts

    350g (12oz) farfalle pasta (bows)

    50g (2oz) fresh basil leaves

    2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

    50g (2oz) freshly grated Parmesan

    150ml (1/4 pint) extra-virgin olive oil

    100g (4oz) baby spinach leaves

    salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 180C (350F), Gas mark 4. To make the basil pesto, spread out the pine nuts on a baking sheet and roast for 8-10 minutes until toasted and golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.

    Plunge the farfalle into a large pan of boiling salted water; stir once and cook for 8-10 minutes until al dente or according to instructions on the packet.

    Place the basil in a food processor with a teaspoon of salt and the garlic, then blend until finely chopped. Add half of the pine nuts and the Parmesan and whizz again briefly; then with the machine running, pour in all but one tablespoon of the olive oil through the feeder tube until the pesto is thickened and emulsified. Season to taste.

    Drain the pasta briefly under cold running water and drain again. Return to the pan and pour in the pesto, stirring until well coated, then fold in the spinach with the remaining pine nuts and season to taste. Divide among warmed plates to serve.

     


    Oriental Pork Fillet with Stir-fried Rice

    oriental pork



    Serves 4

    Pork fillet is not only economical to buy, but it is also very lean and therefore low in fat. Here it is marinated and served with a quick stir fried rice. To ensure perfect results every time, make sure that the cooked rice is cold and that all the grains are well separated. If you are cooking rice specially to make this, then spread it out on a tray and leave to cool completely before using.

    Ingredients

    4 ripe vine tomatoes, roughly chopped

    2 garlic cloves, peeled

    1 tsp freshly grated ginger

    2 red chillies, seeded and chopped

    1 tsp Chinese five spice powder

    3 tbsp dark soy sauce

    3 tbsp dark muscovado sugar

    2 x 350g (12oz) pork fillets, well trimmed

    FOR THE STIR-FRIED RICE:

    2 tbsp sunflower oil

    450g (1lb) cooked long grain rice

    1 small onion, finely chopped

    2 eggs

    1 tbsp dark soy sauce

    1 tsp sesame oil

    2 spring onions, finely chopped

    Method

    Place the tomatoes in a food processor with the garlic, ginger, chillies, Chinese five spice, soy sauce and sugar. Blend until smooth and then transfer to a pan with a spatula. Bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes until you have achieved a thick paste, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

    Place the pork fillets in a shallow non-metallic dish and pour over the cooled tomato paste, then rub all over with your hands. Cover with clingfilm and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight is best.

    Preheat the oven to 200C (400F), Gas mark 6. Place the pork fillets on a rack set over a roasting tin and bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through and tender, brushing every 10 minutes or so with the marinade. Leave to rest in a warm place for 5 minutes.

    Meanwhile, prepare the rice, heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the oil and once heated, tip in the onion and stir fry for 2-3 minutes until tender and just beginning to colour. Add the rice and continue to stir fry for anther 2-3 minutes or until sizzling hot. Beat the eggs with the soy sauce and sesame oil and then add to the wok with the spring onions. Continue to stir fry for 1-2 minutes until cooked through. Carve the oriental pork fillet and arrange on warmed plates with the stir fried rice to serve.

     



    Grilled Chicken Salad with Roasted Garlic and Basil Dressing

    grilled chicken salad



    Serves 4-6

    This is a great main course salad. The simple marinade for the chicken does everything you could wish for and helps to keep it moist during cooking. If you want to cook the chicken on a charcoal barbecue, light it 30 minutes before you want to start cooking. If using a gas barbecue, light it 10 minutes beforehand.

    Ingredients

    4 skinless chicken breast fillets (quality assured)

    2 heads of romaine lettuce, washed and roughly cut

    FOR THE MARINADE

    1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

    1 tablespoon honey

    1 garlic clove, crushed

    1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce

    FOR THE DRESSING

    1 garlic clove, unpeeled

    6 tablespoons olive oil

    1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

    1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

    1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

    1 small red onion, very finely diced

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

    salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Method

    To make the marinade, place the soy sauce in a shallow non-metallic dish with the honey, garlic and sweet chilli sauce. Mix well to combine. Make three shallow diagonal slashes on the top of each chicken breast and place them in the dish. Cover with clingfilm and leave to marinade in the fridge for at least six hours or overnight if time allows.

    Preheat the grill. Place the garlic clove in a small pan with the olive oil and heat gently for 10-12 minutes until the garlic is cooked through but not coloured. Leave to cool completely, then mash up the softened garlic with a fork. Set aside until you want to finish making the dressing.

    Place the chicken on a grill rack and cook under the grill for 7-8 minutes on each side until cooked through, brushing regularly with any remaining excess marinade. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly, then cut into slices.

    To finish making the dressing, place the garlic olive oil in a jam jar with the vinegars, mustard, red onion and basil. Season to taste, then place the lid on top, shake well until thick and creamy.

    To Serve, arrange the lettuce leaves around large bowls or plates, scatter the chicken over the salad, drizzle the dressing over and serve.

     




  • Desserts
  • The MacNean Cheesecake with Strawberries and White Chocolate

    macnean cheesecake




    Serves 8

    Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, lemon rind and juice, add in the vanilla seeds, icing sugar...

    Ingredients

    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.

     




    Coconut Panna Cotta with Mango

    panacotta




    Serves 6

    Panna cotta is a set Italian cream that is almost a cross between a crème brulee (without the crunchy topping) and a mousse. What makes them so special is the addition of the coconut milk, giving them a truly exotic flavour.

    Ingredients

    1 vanilla pod

    4 gelatine leaves

    500ml (17fl oz) cream

    100ml (3 1/2fl oz) coconut milk

    100g (4oz) caster sugar

    1 large ripe mango

    handful raspberries

    fresh mint sprigs, to decorate

    Method

    To make the panna cotta, split the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds. Put the gelatine leaves into a bowl of cold water and leave them to soak for 10 minutes. Put the cream, coconut milk, caster sugar and scraped out vanilla seeds into a pan and slowly bring up to the boil. Take the pan off the heat, gently squeeze the soaked gelatine leaves dry and add, whisking continuously until they have dissolved. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a measuring jug.

    Divide the mixture equally between 6 x (150ml) 1/4 pint dariole moulds or ramekins, place them on a baking tray and leave them to set in fridge for at least 3 hours or up to two days is fine.

    Meanwhile, peel the mango and cut the flesh into even-sized thin slices, discarding the stone. Place on a plate, then cover with clingfilm and chill until needed.

    To serve, unmould the panna cotta by dipping them briefly into hot water and arrange on plates. Decorate with the mango slices, raspberries and mint to serve.

     


    Passion Fruit Curd Pavlova with Raspberry Coulis

    Passion fruit curd pavlova and raspberry coulis







    Serves 6

    Ingredients

    4 egg whites 1 vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out

    225g (8oz) caster sugar 2

    200g (7oz) fresh raspberries and/or strawberries

    50g (2oz) white chocolate, finely grated

    FOR THE PASSION FRUIT CURD:

    2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks

    100g (4oz) caster sugar finely grated

    rind of 1 lemon and the juice of 2 lemons

    4 passion fruit, halved and pulp scooped out

    100g (4 oz) unsalted butter

    100 ml (3 ½fl oz) cream, whipped

    FOR THE RASPBERRY COULIS:

    25g (1oz) sugar

    100g (4oz) fresh raspberries

    6 fresh mint sprigs, to decorate

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 110°C (225°F), Gas mark ½. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. First, to make the Pavlovas, whisk the egg whites with the vanilla until stiff and then continuing to whisk, gradually adding the sugar. Whisk until thick and glossy and the whites form stiff peaks (and you can turn the bowl upside down, without the mixture falling out).

    Spoon onto the baking sheet in six individual mounds and make a dip in the centre of each with the back of the spoon. Bake for 1 hour until the bottoms are crisp and sound hollow when tapped. Remove them carefully from the baking sheet to avoid breaking and leave to cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile, make the passion fruit curd.

    Place the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon rind and juice and passion fruit pulp into a bowl set over a pan of gently-simmering water and stirring constantly, cook for 15-20 minutes, until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. (It is important not to let the water boil, as this could curdle the eggs). Remove and leave to cool for 20 minutes.

    Whisk in the butter and leave to cool, then whisk in the cream. To make the coulis, place the sugar in a small saucepan with 25g (1fl oz) water and bring slowly to the boil. Reduce to simmer for 2-3 minutes and then remove and allow to cool. Place in a mini blender, add the raspberries and blitz to a purée. Pass through a sieve set over a bowl to catch the coulis. To serve, place a pavlova onto each plate. Spoon curd into the centre dip of each one and top with the fresh berries. Drizzle over the coulis and scatter the white chocolate on top, then decorate with the mint sprigs.

     



    Banana and Butterscotch Pancakes

    banana butterscotch pancakes







    Serves 4

    100g (4oz) plain flour pinch of salt

    1 egg

    300ml (½ pint) milk

    25g (1oz) butter, melted sunflower oil, for cooking

    3 bananas

    1 lemon, halved and pips removed

    50g (2oz) toasted hazelnuts (optional)

    FOR THE BUTTERSCOTCH SAUCE:

    150g (5oz) caster sugar

    120ml (4fl oz) cream

    40g (1 ½oz) butter

    ¼ vanilla pod, seeds only crème fraîche, to serve

    Method

    To make the butterscotch sauce, place the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan with 150ml (¼ pint) of water. Bring to the boil and cook for approximately 15 minutes, until golden brown. Stir in the cream, butter and vanilla seeds and mix well to combine. Stir over a low heat to a thick consistency and keep warm.

    Sift the flour and salt together. Beat the egg into the milk and whisk into the fl our. Let it rest for 30 minutes. Add the melted butter. Warm the pancake pan and add enough oil to cover the base. Tip some batter into the pan and tilt the pan so that the mixture covers the base in a thin layer.

    Cook for 15-20 seconds, until golden brown. Flip over and cook the other side. Keep warm. Peel the bananas and then cut into thick slices. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Put a pancake on a plate and drizzle over some butterscotch sauce. Arrange the bananas on top, drizzle some more butterscotch sauce over it and sprinkle with some toasted nuts, if desired. Fold the pancake in half. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche.

     



  • Christmas Recipes
  • Brussels Sprout, Red Onion and Bacon Crumble

    brussels sprout red onion bacon crumble





    Serves 6-8

    If you are not a fan of Brussels sprouts try using thickly sliced leeks with broccoli or cauliflower instead. This will also make a good vegetarian option for Christmas lunch if you leave out the bacon.

    Ingredients

    675 g (1 1/2 oz) Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half

    knob of butter

    1 large red onion, thinly sliced

    2 cooked slices smoked bacon, diced

    200 ml (7 fl oz) cream

    50 ml (2 fl oz) milk

    good pinch freshly grated nutmeg

    50 g (2 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs

    25 g (1 oz) walnuts, chopped

    1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Method

    Preheat oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Half fill a pan with water and bring to the boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and simmer for 4-5 minutes until just tender but not soggy. Drain and refresh under running cold water.

    Butter a baking dish and tip in the blanched Brussels sprout. Scatter over the red onion and bacon. Mix the cream with the milk and nutmeg in a jug and season to taste, then pour over the sprouts. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and place in oven for 20-25 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.

    To serve, place piping hot directly on the table and allow guests to help themselves.

     



    Roast Goose with Apple and Cranberry Stuffing

    Roast Goose with Apple and Cranberry Stuffing



    Serves 8

    Ingredients

    6kg (12lb) oven-ready goose

    2 eating apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges

    100g (4oz) fresh cranberries

    24 asparagus spears, peeled

    1 tsp salt

    2 tbsp redcurrant jelly 1

    tbsp ruby red port or red wine

    finely grated rind of 1 orange

    For the apple and Cranberry stuffing:

    2 tbsp olive oil

    2 eating apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices

    1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

    350g (12oz) sausage meat (good quality)

    75g (3oz) fresh white breadcrumbs

    100g (4oz) dried cranberries

    100g (4oz) walnut halves, chopped

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Method

    To make the stuffing, heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the apples and sauté for 3-4 minutes until softened and golden. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool. Add the thyme, sausage meat, breadcrumbs, cranberries and walnuts, stirring gently until evenly mixed. Season to taste. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas mark 6.

    Place the goose on a rack set over a roasting tin. Pour over a full kettle of boiling water, then drain off the water from the roasting tin. To stuff the goose, start at the neck end where you'll find a flap of loose skin: gently loosen this away from the breast and you'll be able to make a triangular pocket. Pack in two-thirds of the stuffing inside as far as you can go and make a neat round shape on the outside, then tuck the neck flap under the goose and secure it with a small skewer. Rub all over with salt. Press the remaining stuffing into the base of 450g (1lb) loaf tin and set aside.

    Weigh the goose and calculate the cooking time, allowing 15 minutes per 450g (1lb) plus 15 minutes - this goose should take about 3 ½ hours. Place in the oven to roast, draining off excess fat every 30 minutes or so and after 1 hour reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4. Continue to cook, still draining the fat off every half an hour. Remove the goose from the oven 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Drain off all but two tablespoons of the fat and add the apple wedges, cranberries and asparagus, tossing to coat. Warm the redcurrant jelly in a small pan or in the microwave and stir in the port or wine with the orange rind, then brush over the goose.

    Return the goose to the oven with the reserved tin of extra stuffing and cook for the final 30 minutes until completely tender. Transfer the goose to a serving platter and cover with foil, then leave to rest for 10 minutes. Place the cranberry, apple and asparagus mixture into a warmed serving bowl and keep warm. To serve, garnish with roast goose with the thyme and bring to the table. Turn the tin of extra stuffing on to a warmed serving plate. Carve into slices and arrange on warmed serving plates, discarding any excess fat with some of the stuffing, roasted cranberries, apples and asparagus, the roast potatoes and vegetables.

     



    Mulled Fruit Trifle

    mulled fruit 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) ruby red port

    100g (4oz) caster sugar

    1 tsp ground mixed spice

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

    500g (1 1/4lb) bag frozen fruits of the forest

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

    300ml (1/2 pint) double cream

    FOR THE CUSTARD

    300ml (1/2 pint) milk

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

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

    5 egg yolks

    4 tbsp caster sugar

    2 tsp cornflour

    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, cornflour, sugar and vanilla 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 leave to cool, covering with a piece of clingfilm to prevent a skin forming on top.

    Meanwhile, prepare the mulled fruit. Place the ruby red port in a large pan with the sugar, mixed spice and vanilla and then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes until syrupy, stirring occasionally. Stir in the frozen fruits of the forest and set aside until cooled, stirring occasionally. The fruits should defrost naturally in the hot syrup but still hold their shape.

    Scatter the Madeira cake over the base of a 1.5 litre (2 1/2 pint) glass serving bowl. Spoon over the cooked fruits of the forest mixture and cover with the cooled custard. Chill for 1 hour until the custard sets a little firmer or up to 24 hours is fine.

    When ready to serve, place spoonfuls of the whipped cream on top of custard, then gently spread with a palette knife or back of a spoon to cover the custard completely. Sprinkle over the toasted flaked almonds and place straight on the table to serve.

     



    The best ever-Irish coffee

    irish coffee




    Serves 6-8

    A little indulgence is a wonderful thing and it doesn't come much better than this...a dark luxurious Irish coffee with a couple of extra shots of liqueur, topped with lightly whipped cream. Make them to order and watch your guests enjoy every sip.

    Ingredients

    350 ml (12fl oz) cream, well chilled

    50 g (2 oz) sugar

    120 ml (4 fl oz) whiskey

    1.2 litres (2 pints) freshly brewed expresso coffee (piping hot)

    120 ml (4 fl oz) Baileys Irish cream

    120 ml (4 fl oz) Kahula (coffee liqueur)

    pinch fresh grated nutmeg

    Method

    Heat a small heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Place the cream in a bowl and lightly whip, then chill until needed.

    Sprinkle the sugar over the base of the frying pan and allow to caramelise, without stirring. Pour in the whiskey and quickly flambé, then stir in the Baileys and Kahula and cook over a low heat until smooth, stirring occasionally.

    Pour the coffee into hefty, thick-stemmed glasses and stir in the liqueur mixture, then over the back of a spoon, carefully pour a layer of cream on top.

    To serve, add a tiny grating of nutmeg to each glass.

     




  • Demonstration Recipes
  • 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 Rried 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 sauté 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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