Bo Bech’s avocado, caviar and almond oil, from his restaurant Geist in Copenhagen. Photograph: Instagram/bobech

Take inspiration from the simple genius of Danish chef Bo Bech

Crispy potato with beer beurre blanc and sea lettuce.

If we are condemned to be a country of potatoes and beer then we need to make sure we produce the best potatoes and best beer in t(...)

We have made some inroads into this anti-fish way of thinking, and it seems now we appreciate fish a little more. It features more on menus and shopping lists. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

February is a wonderful time for eating fish, but be aware of where it comes from

Do vegetarian truly understand the effect of eating quinoa and avocado on the cost of human lives in countries such as Mexico and Bolivia?

JP McMahon: I quit vegetarianism after seven years. It’s a diet with ethical issues of its own

Chef Paul Bocuse showing off his tattoo. Photograph: Paul Bocuse/Facebook

Bocuse, one of the masters of French gastronomy, has died at the age of 91. Thornton reminisces about working with him and McMahon(...)

Illustration: Getty Images

Venture out of your comfort zone, get some good Irish seafood and cook it over an open flame

A  head of cauliflower rubbed in a red spicy sauce  in a cast-iron pan ready to be roasted

A vegetable-forward dish that I like to cook at this time of the year is roasted cauliflower with hazelnuts and lardo

Just make a standard ice-cream recipe - and then start experimenting

JP McMahon: Savoury will take over from sweet when it comes to desserts

Honey-glazed roasted carrots. Blanching carrots and parsnips and then placing them in an oven tray ready for roasting puts you in a good place.

If you can’t have a glass of wine while preparing Christmas dinner you are doing something wrong

I recommend making your mash the morning of Christmas or even the night before
Tuber belles

I prefer to make mash at Christmas. If you prefer duck fat roast potatoes, then do them. But you don’t need both

'Tiramisu is something I make with the kids and they enjoy the act of assembling it while eating as much of the cream as they can.' Photograph: Getty Images/Moment

While we do have Christmas cake in our house, I have never understood its appeal

Before soda bread we had a great variety of bread, all based on the sourdough method. Photograph: Getty Images

The invention of sourdough in Ireland is credited to a woman who went for a wander with her lover

We should be worried about industrial farming across the pond

There are so many ways to show your appreciation of beef, in particular the slow and long ways that induce those mouth watering um(...)

Along with making your own ice-cream and your own butter, making pasta is something we all should be able to do

Anybody can make delicious fresh pasta from scratch. Here’s how

Stacks of cut peat in Roundstone Bog in Connemara. Photograph: Getty Images

JP McMahon:Turf-smoked salmon, turf-smoked beef, turf-smoked butter; these are things that for me are distinctly Irish

Antonio Carluccio pictured outside his restaurant Carluccio’s on Dawson Street, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Michelin-starred chef JP McMahon on the influence of the late Italian chef, Antonio Carluccio

‘Pumpkins and squash abound in Ireland at this time and as chefs and cooks we normally don’t give them enough credit or time in the kitchen’

JP McMahon: Whatever happened to treating vegetables with the same respect as our meat and fish?

Mussels with bacon

Great pairings include pork with shellfish, prawns with rhubarb, and cockles and lamb

Celeriac’s turnip-sized round root  is juicy and beautiful to eat raw or cooked

Don't be put off by the gnarly appearance of celeriac, it can make smooth, delicious dishes

Grilling with an open flame is a technique we shouldn’t just reserve for our meat and fish. Photograph: Getty Images

Grilling vegetables over a direct flame gives them a beautiful bittersweet umami flavour

Make your own sauce simple, especially for chicken dishes.

Spices, vegetables, tomatoes, stock and chicken all go in to the one pot, writes JP McMahon

Pigeon in its natural environment: served with  autumn vegetables, such as   local squash or wild Irish mushrooms

Ireland has a rich tradition of roasting wild fowl – pity pigeons are so hard to come by

Blackberries are beautiful picked straight of the bush

Seasonal supper: Blackberries and venison tartare work exceedingly well and are a great introduction to the beauties of wild food

Wouldn’t it be nice one day to actually enter a cafe and smell streaky rashers on the grill? Photograph: Getty Images

Ireland, once king of the rashers, is now filled with cafes serving pre-cooked, rubbery bacon

While visiting top restaurants in England and Denmark, all scallops arrived alive in their shells

It’s not illegal in other European countries – so why here?

Seasonal supper: for the ideal medieval meal

Cava Bodega fishcakes: they’re simple to make but of course the fact they’re deep-fried and served with lemon mayonnaise makes them more desirable. Photograph: Julia Dunin

Don’t be put off if you are unable to buy salted ling– it’s very easy to make

The simplicity of the recipes attests to a great respect for the reader

Flicking through a 1949 book, what struck was how modern the recipes seemed

Courgettes make a wonderful soup and are great raw in a summer salad with goat’s curd

Seasonal Supper: When in need of inspiration around vegetables I turn to Antonio Carluccio

Keep your ragu simple: onion, garlic and maybe carrots. Passata is good to use for your sauce.

Lasagna is always down to good-quality ingredients: use the best and you’ll get the best

Authentic paella is made with seafood, though chicken and chorizo versions have become popular

People from the Spanish city regard dish as one of their most important cultural symbols

A leg of lamb scored and  sprinkled with  milled nori (seaweed). Photograph: JP McMahon

Irish lamb has a wonderful distinct flavour and combines well with many types of seaweed

Turbot: delicious baked in the oven. Photograph: Getty Images/Cultura RF

For an alternative Sunday lunch or dinner, try a whole roast turbot

The taste of summer: I never imagined one could eat just tomatoes and toast for breakfast. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

I never imagined one could eat just tomatoes and toast for breakfast

Homemade lemonade: for a twist, add some fennel. Fennel and lemon is a really good combination

A simple recipe for a bitter-sweet thirst-quencher

Cherries, like any fruit, need heat and warmth to produce sugars

Fresh or pickled, cherries go wonderfully with goats’ cheese

Langoustines or what most of us call Dublin Bay Prawns. Photograph: JP McMahon

While langoustines are a little more work than their soft shell equivalent, they are very rewarding

Since the asparagus season has ended, you can supplement them as a side dish for your fish or beef

Seasonal Supper: garlic scapes have taken the food world by a slow storm

Trout - simple and delicious

Seasonal Suppers: Lured by the mayfly, this most traditional of Irish meals is perfect right now

'Every May and June, we pick enough garlic to keep us going for the year.'

It is one of our native herbs and we should all experience its beauty

Elderflowers work wonderfully with poached white fish such as halibut or turbot

Seasonal Supper: Pickle this flower, or use for seasoning roast chicken or fish

Raw wild salmon is a beautiful treat, dressed with a little extra virgin rapeseed oil and some apple cider vinegar. Photograph: Tegra Stone Nuess/Getty Images

Seasonal suppers: with wild salmon, keep it simple, and don't ruin it in the frying pan

Seasonal Suppers: The humble mushroom is perfect for simple early summer dishes

Irish peas should be popping up soon

A great starter for this time of year is pea and potato soup with goats curd

Asparagus needs only a minute or two at most to cook so be careful not to leave it too long on the heat.

It has a short life on the menu so enjoy asparagus while you can

Minted mackerel and mushroom escabeche. Photograph:  Getty Images

Seasonal suppers: Between now and the end of autumn, preserve a few items of nature’s bounty

Hello, hipsters: the Reuben sandwich. Photograph: iStock

It’s been quite a journey for the meat staple – just as well it is able to withstand long journeys

April is a great time for brown crabs

Seasonal Suppers: now is the best time to try Ireland's delicious brown crab

Wild ramsons, also known as wild garlic, near Port Eynon on the Gower Peninsula in Wales.

Wild leek, wild pea, little cabbage flowers: Ireland’s early spring bounty is truly wonderful

The potato is part of our modern heritage

One of my favourite spuds at the moment is a variety called Pink Fir Apple

See beyond tarts and crumbles and use rhubarb in a savoury way

Braised oxtail will reward patience: cook it low and slow, even overnight

Oxtail has a lovely flavour and great meaty texture

Mackerel is back by the barrel load, flowing  down from Donegal to our fishmongers in Galway. Photograph: Getty Images

At this time of year I like to grill this fish and serve it with a potato salad with spring herbs

Do we really need  asparagus to be available all year round? Photograph:  Bryan O’Brien

A wonderful alternative to asparagus this time of year is purple sprouting broccoli

Most ham we eat now is “reformed”. It has all the odd cuts of pork glued together with gels, gums, additives and preservatives.

Industrial sliced bread can have at least 20 ingredients, but they are not confined to bread

Venison pairs beautifully with mashed potato and a rich, onion gravy

Venison has grown in popularity in recent years and can be cooked in many tasty ways

Once considered  a health scourge, butter has bounced back and is now what some would call a superfood.

And it’s back on the healthy food list – so why not have a go at making your own

For this dish, you can use either chicken or a leg of lamb, though keep in mind the latter will take longer to roast. Photograph: Getty Images

Everything goes into the oven at once, providing a stress-free delicious dish for the family

I like to use a scandalously high amount of butter in mash. Simmer  potatoes until soft. Strain them and  pass through a drum sieve and add sea salt

No need to make extra work for yourself with vegetables and think about ditching the turkey

Béarnaise sauce: a mix of butter, eggs, cider vinegar, lemon, shallots and tarragon

Most people associate this sauce with steak but it works well with poached white fish

Pheasant, left, and partridge can also be cooked by the same method

Sear your bird and then oven-roast, but don’t forget to let it rest before carving

Jerusalem artichoke soup

Jerusalem artichoke soup is easy to make and will offer comfort on a winter’s night

When we opened Cava in 2008, I knew fried squid with lemon and garlic would be on our menu

Fried squid might be associated with foreign climes, but it can be line caught in Donegal

When steaming mussels, clams or oysters, do so for the briefest time and take them off when they are just open. In this way, they’ll be juicy and plump

We should eat more shellfish which is easy to cook and a wonderfully tactile dish to share

Mussels on a beach in west Ireland: “We have some of the world’s best produce.” Photograph: iStock

We steamed oysters in Cong, cooked mussels over Killary harbour and ate seaweed in Mayo

Pick a pumpkin: they are seasonal and they are at their best now. Photograph: Imagefile

These vegetables have a lovely flavour and are not as tricky to cook as you might think

Pumpkin soup is another heavenly delight

A pumpkin purée is a nice simple accompaniment to a piece of grilled fish

Blue elderberries: collect any berries and pickle them in apple cider vinegar and some honey. They’ll  keep all winter.

Juniper and elderberries come into their own in this season of mellow fruitfulness

By October, the lambs have matured and grown from eating our beautiful grass, gorse and heather of Connemara. Photograph: Alan Betson

Ireland only has two seasons, both of which involve rain: a season of cold rain and a season of not so cold rain

As well as mallard, there is also plenty of partridge, pigeon and pheasant around this time of year

It’s game season and the weather has turned to wet and windy – we want food to comfort us

As well as making a beautiful silky smooth puree, celeriac can also hold its own as a bowl of heart- warming soup.

This celery offshoot is great for making puree, soup, roast chips and fancy coleslaw

The toppings of the traditional pizza: tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil are all available in Ireland at the moment and making pizza with the kids is a great way to show them how to turn raw materials into food

Making pizza at home is a great way to show children how raw ingredients become dinner

"As the temperature drops, my head turns to my stomach for comfort... Salads turn to stews and light sauces become laden with the beautiful fat we call butter."

It’s amazing how our countryside provides autumn food that sings when cooked together, such as pigeon, mushrooms and pumpkin

A delicious vegetarian dish that’s bursting with Spanish flavours

Whatever your own attempts at making an Irish dessert, there’s plenty of fruit around in September. Blackberries in particular abound this month. Photogaph: Getty Images

Forget sugar and flour, but look to berries, honey, herbs and cream

Avocados – and prawns too – can come from sustainable and ethical places

When it comes to avocados and prawns, go with your gut and vote with your basket

Samphire, the beautiful wild green vegetable that grows by the sea, is best picked in July and August

It’s the right time of year to pick wild samphire

Whether it’s baking bread, poaching a piece of fish, or cooking a piece of pork shoulder outside on an open grill, cooking grounds us, feeding both out body and our mind.

Creating a meal on a wood-burning stove connects us with our ancestors and ourselves

Labneh is a simple and easy fresh cheese originating from the Middle East

How to turn yoghurt into a cheese with its roots in the Middle East

The first Irish tomatoes and courgettes have found their way into our kitchen in the last few weeks

Here’s how to make a simple pickle, and a mayonnaise dressing with nasturtiums

I find seaweed immensely more interesting than croissants – it is an absolute super food

Seaweed from Japan, croissants from France - marketing has a lot to answer for

Sometimes the shiny ones taste of nothing, while the rough-looking ones have an incredibly sweet taste. Photograph: iStock

Other than making a jam or a pie filling with them, cherries also pair nicely with pork dishes

Every year around this time, our kitchen is full of green gooseberries. I can’t help ordering them because they’re a challenge for every chef and cook

A sweet and savoury approach to a seasonal challenge

Whether it’s a lamb or a lobster, everything must cease living to ensure our continued survival as a species

Food is always a matter of life and death. For most of our lives we don’t have to think about this

Pick a letter - M - Mackerel, mangetout, mushroom – who knew they could taste so good together

When was the last time you didn’t like the “look” of a dish and so didn’t taste it? Our eyes are our safety nets

Over 70m food pictures are Instagrammed each day showing how we eat with our eyes

Just as strawberries appear the elderflower sheds its aromatic flowers. Strawberry and elderflowers work together on many levels: in a fizzy cordial or as part of an assemblage of smashed meringues and cream.

The fruit and flowers are stalwarts of an Irish summer and they work so well together

Vegetables are always a negotiation. “If you eat this piece of cauliflower, I’ll let you watch YouTube for half an hour.”

We eat simply on our days off, following the rules of local, free-range and organic

A plate of sea vegetables and herbs for JP McMahon

You know my thoughts on using a flamethrower in the kitchen. If in doubt, set it on fire. I love the taste of charred vegetables.

Pickling in summer is important. We have so many vegetables and flowers that we need to preserve for winter.

A chargrill or small bbq is also a nice way of giving a pleasing aroma to a whole host of baby vegetables.

Are you ready for Japanese-grilled fresh new-season baby veg?

The most beautiful months to forage sorrel are between May and September. Photograph: Getty Images

From breakfast to dinner, sorrel combines well with poached egg, fish and lamb

Picked from their thorny green stems, the flowers have a distinct smell of coconut.  Photograph: Getty Images

Use it to infuse alcohol, to flavour vinegar, or turn it into a wine, if you can wait nine months

The springtime mushroom can be used in a barley risotto or served with a fried duck egg and asparagus

Crab and mackerel are plentiful in April and so is wild garlic. It grows in abundance in ancient Irish woodlands. Brill is also a good one for April.

In the case of ‘catch of the day’, JP McMahon came across two British definitions that seem to be acceptable

For a nice watercress purée: pick a handful of watercress and blanch it in boiling water with a handful of organic baby spinach. Refresh in ice water and blend until super smooth

The bitter quality of these leaves is very good for our digestive system

Blanch purple sprouting briefly in boiling water, for about a minute, with a little butter

Purple broccoli takes relatively little cooking. It’s beautiful raw in a salad.

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