Compiled by MARIE-CLAIRE DIGBY
SOMETHING FOR THE BUBBLES
These easy to assemble Parmesan crisps topped with hot-smoked salmon (or you could use smoked trout), would be lovely served with a glass of something sparkling to welcome in the New Year on Monday night. Here is the recipe:
PARMESAN CRISP CANAPÉS
50g Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp plain flour
15ml crème fraîche
Finely grated zest of one lemon
Fennel seeds, chopped
Grated and shaved Parmesan cheese, to serve
Half a small fennel bulb
75g hot-smoked salmon, flaked
Salt and black pepper
Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Mix the Parmesan cheese and plain flour, along with a good pinch of black pepper. Spoon teaspoon-sized rounds of this onto the baking sheet and flatten slightly with the back of the spoon. Make sure there is plenty of space between each one, as the mixture will spread a little. Place the rounds under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes until the cheese has melted to make a golden brown crisp. Remove each crisp carefully using a pallete knife and leave to cool on greaseproof paper.
Mix crème fraîche with lemon zest and season to taste. To assemble, spoon a small amount of lemon crème fraîche on top of each crisp. Then sprinkle with a few fennel seeds, grated Parmesan cheese and finely chopped fennel, before topping with flakes of hot smoked salmon and black pepper. Finally, garnish with sprigs of fresh fennel and serve.
Make things easy for yourself and prepare ahead. Both the crisps and lemon cream can be made in the morning, just keep the crisps in an air-tight container and refrigerate the cream.
What to drink on new Year’s Eve? Something sparkly with something seasonal (to make your bubbles go a bit further), according to chef and writer Clodagh McKenna in her latest book, Clodagh’s Kitchen Diaries (Kyle Books, £20). The January chapter has some lovely superfood recipes to put a pep in your step and inspire healthy eating at this time of year.
500ml pomegranate juice
100ml ginger ale
1 bottle Champagne or sparkling wine
Fill a large jug two-thirds of the way with crushed ice. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Say cheese, please
If you’d like something to look forward to in the dark days of January, book in for the first Supper Club of the year at Donnybrook Fair in Dublin 4, where Irish artisan cheeses will be the focus of the evening.
Peter Thomas (maker of Bellingham Blue), John Hempenstall (Wicklow Bawn) and Helen Finnegan (Knockdrinna) will talk about their cheeses, which will be the third of four courses in a dinner menu also featuring Castletownbere scallops and heritage breed pork.
Wine pairings, chosen by Tindal Wine Merchants, will include Chablis, Fleurie, Pouilly Fuisse and Malbec Dulce Natural.
The Supper Club is on Wednesday, January 16th and costs €45 per person, including wine. You can book on 01-614 4849, donnybrookfair.ie.
Tea and theatre
White Tea, the cafe on the first floor of Brian S Nolan in Dún Laoghaire is hosting a tea and theatre afternoon on Nollaig na mBan, next Sunday afternoon. There wil be a performance of The 6 Marys by Jean Farrell. Tickets, €25, can be booked with Alice Burns on 086-8401637, or email email@example.com.
Pudding with a twist
The Philippines may not be the first country to come to mind when you think of black pudding producers, but Leah Sweeney, originally from there but now living in Listowel with her Irish husband Billy, explains that in the rural village where she grew up, each household had its own recipe and spice blend for blood pudding. The Sweeneys are now producing black and white puddings with a Filipino twist – chillies, garlic and ginger. For stockists see leahsgourmetfoods.com.