Food file

 

A round-up of today's other stories in brief

A-Team delivers dinner party food

Joe and Hazel Bourke, whose Assolas Country House and Restaurant in Kanturk was a Blue Book member and popular weekend retreat until they closed it five years ago, have gone back into the hospitality business. Their new venture, www.easyentertaining.ie, provides readymade or ready-to-cook dinner party fare, delivered to customers all over Ireland.

“When we closed Assolas in 2005 we had a lifestyle change. Hazel started teaching fulltime and I was consulting and doing event management. When it came to having friends in for dinner, the task of gathering nice ingredients took a lot of planning and, with our hectic schedules, turned into a lot of hassle,” Joe says. If that sounds familiar, their new website provides the “complete dinner party, all fully planned out, shopped and chopped for you”.

The cost ranges from €17.90 per person for monkfish bouillabaisse with garlic aioli, served with three vegetable side dishes, and gooseberry and elderflower fool for dessert, going up to €33 per person for a more elaborate three-course dinner party menu. The north and west Cork menu at €21 per person is an interesting line-up of twice-baked Ardrahan cheese soufflé, fillet of hake with organic tomato salsa and vegetables, with apple and raspberry crumble for dessert. The inspiration for the menus is Irish country house cooking, using what Joe describes as “best-in-class” suppliers.

One you’ve placed your order online, you receive detailed instructions on how to cook (or re-heat) your dishes, and a timeplan to keep you fuss-free and able to enjoy the company of your guests. Orders must be made on Monday for Friday delivery, and the food comes in environmentally friendly, “Woolcool” insulated packaging.

See www.easyentertaining.ie.

Wedding china 

It is refreshing when celebrity endorsement is accompanied by genuine enthusiasm. So it’s good to know that chef Neven Maguire had Belleek china on his wedding list, as well as using it in his MacNean House and Restaurant. Maguire is a brand ambassador for the Co Fermanagh company, and he will be using it when he gives two cookery demonstrations in Arnott’s, Henry Street, Dublin 1 next Saturday at 1pm and 2pm. The demos are open to all and are free of charge.

Put this one in your trolley

Superquinn pulled off a significant coup when it signed up Orla Broderick to write A Passion for Food: The Superquinn Cookbook, to mark the company’s 50th birthday. She wrote for the excellent BBC Good Food magazine in London for five years and has written several cookbooks, as well as working with Ainsley Harriott, Anthony Worrall Thompson, Kevin Dundon, Nevin Maguire and Paul Flynn, on their books.

Her latest publication, a handsome hardback, is an inventive project that includes contributions from well known chefs including Ross Lewis, Neven Maguire and Donal Skehan, as well as Superquinn staff and customers. Declan Furlong, chef at Barretstown, the Co Kildare residential camp that provides therapeutic recreation programmes for children with serious illnesses and their families, must know better than most how to make food that kids love to eat, and he has also contributed recipes.

A couple of innovative features elevate this publication above its peers. Best of all is the web link for each recipe, from where you can download and print a shopping list of the ingredients you’ll need. There are also wine-matching suggestions, helpful chefs’ tips and plenty of colour photographs by Harry Weir, with food styling by Sharon Hearne-Smith and design by David Gibbons. It wouldn’t be a Superquinn production without a word from founder and non-executive president Feargal Quinn, who contributes a foreword, as well as his recipe for garlic mussels with bay leaves.

The book is on sale in all Superquinn branches, and in Easons (€25).

Wasabi salmon burgers with red onion salsa Pictured above, serves four

550g salmon fillet, skinned and boned

2 spring onions, thinly sliced

1 heaped tbsp wasabi paste

2 tsp sesame seeds

1 tbsp seasoned flour

3 tbsp olive oil

2 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped

1 small red onion, finely diced

1 green chilli, seeded and finely chopped

Juice of 1 lime, plus wedges to garnish

4 slices of good bread

Little Gem lettuce and fresh coriander sprigs, to serve

Using a large sharp knife, cut away any brown bits from the salmon fillet, then finely chop it. Place in a bowl, then stir in the spring onions, wasabi paste and sesame seeds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide into four portions, then using slightly wetted hands, shape into patties. Dust in the flour, shaking off any excess.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan. Add two tablespoons of the oil to the frying pan and then add the salmon burgers. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly golden, but still slightly pink in the centre.

Meanwhile, make the red onion salsa. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and stir in the red onion, chilli, lime juice and the rest of the olive oil. Heat a griddle pan until it is smoking. Add the bread and chargrill on each side until nicely marked. Arrange on warmed plates and top with lettuce leaves, coriander sprigs and the burgers. Spoon the red onion salsa on top, and garnish with lime wedges.

Probably the best tomato sauce . .

Conall Breheny has impeccable cheffing credentials – he has worked at Roly’s in Dublin, Café Paradiso in Cork, Mulcahy’s and the Lime Tree in Kenmare – but it is his completely delicious tomato sauce that could make him a household name. Tomatoes Galore is part of his Breheny’s Bellish range of condiments, flavoured oils and dressings, which he produces in partnership with his wife, Mairéad Hayes-Breheny at Baile Bhúirne in the west Cork Gaeltacht.

This is a hero product in the making. The addition of smoked tomatoes, which Breheny gets from the Gubbeen Smokehouse, adds complexity to this multi-purpose product, which can be used as a sauce, dip, or marinade. It sells for €3.39, and you can get it at the Breheny’s Bellish stalls at farmers’ markets in Mahon Point (Thursday); Limerick Milk Market (Saturday); and from the Real Olive Company in the English Market in Cork. It was launched recently at the Shop 2010 trade show, and attracted lots of interest, so nationwide distribution should be on the way. See www.brehenysbellish.ie. mcdigby@irishtimes.com