Paul Flynn: Low-cal food has its place, but not here

`My wife makes zero-fat lentil stews by the bucketful and I dutifully eat and stare wistfully at my skinny jeans'

Black and white pudding, crushed-pea mash. Photograph: Alan Betson

Black and white pudding, crushed-pea mash. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

We’ve settled into a routine at home of daily walks where we plough through podcasts. I’m all art and history, whereas herself loves nothing more than a good murder. I worry about that sometimes.

I’m trying to be reasonably good with the food we are eating at home. It’s so tempting to go full-on Julia Child every night as we have all this extra time on our hands. But steamed vegetables with misery dressing is the order of the day most days, unsurprising retribution for Christmas overindulgence.

I won’t trouble you with any low-cal recipes this week, in truth they are the preserve of my wife. She makes zero-fat lentil stews by the bucketful and I dutifully eat and stare wistfully at my skinny jeans.

These dishes were tried and tested over the last few weeks in the dark evenings. I put these three recipes together with the notion they would be perfect for tea around 5pm. Then I thought I must be a right old greedy guts when I considered a duck risotto might be something relatively spartan.

Winter Nights

A festival of conversation, culture and ideas from The Irish Times
Mon, Jan 25th-Fri, Jan 29th
BUY TICKETS NOW Proudly Sponsored by

You might have guessed I’m a sucker for risottos. I hope that in my dotage I’ll be given the odd one. I’ll suck it in with gummy glee and reflect on past glories. This one has red wine which really gives it depth and gravitas. Confit duck legs are another favourite of mine. The salami delivers smoky, continental heft. I’m only using a few necessary leaves of cabbage, save the rest for another day.

Duck risotto with cabbage, salami and red wine. Photograph: Alan Betson
Duck risotto with cabbage, salami and red wine. Photograph: Alan Betson

The croissant is a gooey delicious mess, the creamy goat’s cheese oozes from the crisp pastry as if trying to escape being ravished by the figs. The compote would be lovely with some cheese or perhaps some duck at another time. Simply double the recipe and it will keep for a week in the fridge.

Sticky onion, fig and goat’s cheese croissant. Photograph: Alan Betson
Sticky onion, fig and goat’s cheese croissant. Photograph: Alan Betson

I’m making a pea mash for the next one. It's a firm favourite at home. It’s a pretty dish that’s simple to make. Just the thing for the jaded housebound gourmand. You can substitute the mustard for mint jelly to serve with some lamb chops, delicious and easy.

Recipe: Duck risotto with cabbage, salami and red wine

Recipe: Sticky onion, fig and goat’s cheese croissant

Recipe: Black and white pudding, crushed pea mash

Irish Times
Food&Drink Club

Exclusive events, competitions, reviews & recipes Join now
The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.