This is the fanciest cheese toastie you’ll ever eat
Paul Flynn has recipes from three great culinary traditions: Italy, Greece and Grogans
Pot roast Italian sausages with spring cabbage and polenta. Photograph: Harry Weir
I’m a bit of an over-planner to say the least. In other times, when there used to be holidays abroad, I’d spend weeks researching a trip. Every day was meticulously planned, with happening areas, restaurants, bars and some culture. I’d hide under the duvet at night on my phone doing the research, until the wife inevitably found me.
It was all a bit much, really. I promise the new me is going to be sizzlingly spontaneous. But first, I’m going to kiss the ground of whatever country I’m blessed to land in.
I’m the same with cooking. This comes from years of making mise-en-place lists in the kitchen. Restaurant cooking can be complicated, so I tend to keep it simple at home, but even then there has to be a list.
I’m a sucker for a sausage. They don’t even have to be posh for me to love them. Italian sausages are chunky and firm, not at all like the ones we grew up with. They usually have a hint of fennel seed and perhaps a little chilli. They have a natural affinity with polenta and the charred and silky cabbage. A little cinnamon in the braising liquid adds musk and mystery to the pot. Use good large chunky sausages if you can’t get Italian ones. I’m using one per person but use more if you feel you need to.
I love a Greek salad. Here I’m sitting a dainty concoction of its components on top of an open omelette. It’s a lovely thing that will be ready in no time at all. Be sure to have all the components prepped before you make the omelette just to help you get it right. A non-stick pan is essential for this.
I’m obsessed with cheese toasties and food trucks. When I came across Griolladh, a tiny operation in Malahide, I was smitten. Loose Canon on Drury Street makes a blinding toastie, too, but the place that has my heart is my beloved Grogans. It is served unabashedly plain and simple, just a pot of English mustard on the side, a pint of Guinness and lashings of sentiment. I’m nearly welling up here. This is my somewhat fancier homage to a great Irish tradition.