Do we know how to season food? Photograph: iStock

Some people don’t even have salt in their house. Are you one of them?

Surprisingly, we import many more potatoes than we produce in Ireland these days. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: We may end up eating more pasta than potatoes in the years to come

My darling clementine, the one bright star that clings to January as the days become gradually brighter. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: It’s the antidote to everything during the dark month of January

Crab makes for a simple starter and now it’s easy to buy picked crab meat. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: A pint of creamy, malty Guinness perfectly complements shellfish saltiness

Celeriac. Photograph: iStock

Why not ditch the turkey and ham for a plant-based option? Or have the lot together

Eating goose at Christmas goes all the way back to the Greeks, even though they wouldn’t have called it Christmas. Photograph: iStock

‘Michaelmas goose’, stuffed with potatoes, signified prosperity for the year ahead

The acceleration of global trade may have led to the demise of hogget and mutton. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: In Ireland, mutton was once prized for its texture, flavour and value

Rutabaga is the common name for a swede in North America

This gorgeous Scottish dish will have you reaching again and again for a swede ... or is it turnip?

Autumn is a time for shellfish and nuts, and I love to combine the sweetness of the scallop meat with the rich nutty flavour of a roasted hazelnut. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: Across Europe you can hand-dive for scallops, but it’s outlawed in Ireland

Braised pheasant with curly kale. Photograph: iStock

Pheasant must be the most under-appreciated and under-consumed of wild birds

Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: A jar of these would make a lovely Christmas gift – as would a pear tree

Artichoke dip: you can add any spices, such as cumin or smoked paprika, and try lemon or lime juice instead of the apple cider vinegar. Photograph: iStock/Getty

JP McMahon: Feel free to play around with the flavours in this recipe

Chanterelles form a symbiotic relationship with the roots of these trees and help the trees talk to each other. Photograph: iStock

Cooked in duck fat, the golden chanterelle provides a superior taste of warm earthiness

As with damsons, elderberries are great for flavouring alcohols such as gin.

JP McMahon: A spiced elderberry and orange rum may be just the thing I need this Christmas

The easiest way to remember how much gin or fruit to use is to keep to a ratio of 2:1. That’s two parts gin to one part fruit

Seasonal liqueurs are a great way to make the most of all the stone fruit in shops and on trees

My favourite pumpkins are the Crown Prince variety – with a blue-grey skin and a bright orange flesh. Photograph: iStock

Crown Princes have great flavour when roasted and can be used in soups and stews

Roast and purée the pumpkin to serve with venison steaks. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: Sika deer is not native to Ireland but is a sustainable meat

Fresh figs can form the basis of a delicious ice-cream

JP McMahon: This recipe makes use of a fruit grown in Ireland for centuries

Native oysters need to breed during the summer months so that they have a sustainable population going forward. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: Making fermented hot sauce isn't difficult. Give it a go

Served with lashings of whipped cream and sugar, this was a staple in Irish homes

Ricotta is an Italian cheese made from the whey left over from making other cheeses, such as mozzarella.

Try these ricotta and blackberry tarts made with simple ready rolled puff pastry

Though corn is a grain and a type of maize, sweetcorn is picked when young, called the milk stage, and used as a vegetable

When making sweetcorn fritters with avocado you can use tinned, frozen or fresh corn

Cherry jam is a great one to have in your fridge or cupboard, especially if you want to make a cherry bakewell tart.

Easiest way to preserve these tasty berries is to pickle, salt or make jam from them

Is Ireland the only country in the European Union where it is illegal to hand dive for scallops? Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: Try swapping sausages for scallops and bacon for hot smoked mackerel

Photograph: iStock

Good tomatoes should be aromatically succulent, softly acidic and a little sweet

Cucumbers are likely to have been in Ireland since the 14th century. Photograph: iStock

Theses are far from traditional cucumber sandwiches, but are just as posh

‘Chicken Caesar salad is now so ubiquitous that I would be reluctant to order it in a cafe or restaurant’

Easy, food processor mayonnaise for this popular salad can be whipped up in minutes

Plump, fatty mackerel works well with aromatic spires. File photograph: Getty Images

These plump, fatty fish work wonderfully with aromatic spices

The technique of gratinating predates the current English word which did not appear in print until 1846. Photograph: Getty Images

Summer gratins should be light, or at least lighter than the extremely rich potato gratin

Peel the broad beans. This is important, as they have a rubbery outer layer. Photograph: iStock

I’ve yet to see an Irish pea or broad bean this year – everything is running behind

Dublin Bay prawns have a long history in Ireland. Photograph: Getty

My recipe for langoustines with stout and malt extract is inspired by the old city’s fisherwomen

Watercress  pairs well with fatty fish such as eel and salmon. Photograph: iStock

This peppery plant was a favourite with first Irish hunter-gatherers and in the big house

New potatoes are great roasted with cold pressed rapeseed oil, fresh rosemary, garlic and Achill Island sea salt. Photograph: iStock

Now is a wonderful time to enjoy new potatoes, and here's something exciting to do with them

Gooseberries usually begin to appear on supermarket shelves in June. Photograph: iStock

The word ‘mess’ may refer to the appearance of the dish or simply to the quantity of food

Elderflower syrup can be turned into a wonderful cordial by adding sparkling water and lemon. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: Pickling and preserving gives you the choice of using with savoury or sweet dishes

We should try to eat more haddock and less cod. Photograph: iStock

This haddock and mussel soup is a tasty, inexpensive midweek dish

While corn arrived in Europe 500 years ago,  corn tortillas have only recently become available in the supermarket. Photograph: iStock

Great as a side dish with chicken or pork, these little crispy patties are simple to make

Just when you thought rocket had had its peppery day. Photograph: iStock

Once on every salad plate, try this salad leaf now with sea bream, fennel and lemon

Teriyaki chicken: sticky favourite. Photograph: iStock

Japanese dishes balance elements of taste to create a beautiful marriage in our mouths

Due to its short season, asparagus is still a hot commodity. Photograph: iStock

This asparagus and goat’s cheese tart would work wonderfully with elderflower

When buying sardines fresh, consume on the day. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: Peel open a tin and turn a classic puttanesca into a tasty sardinesca

Broccoli and hazelnuts produce a wonderful culinary marriage. Photograph: iStock

April is a difficult month for vegetables in Ireland

 Hot cross buns are a central part of celebrating Easter. Photograph: iStock

An easy as pie hot cross bun recipe to bake at home

JP McMahon’s mother’s shepherd’s pie. Photograph: Anita Murphy and Zania Koppe of Ginger and Sage Photography
Shepherd’s pie

Though many of us will not relish cooking a whole crab, picked white crab meat is now widely available in most supermarkets. Photograph: iStock

Serve with a smoked cheese custard for a light starter with crisp rye crackers

They come in all shapes and sizes but for many dishes, small, young leeks are best. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: Leeks, oatmeal and milk are central to Gaelic cooking. Brotchán roy combines them

This lamb will also work well for your Mother’s Day lunch. Photograph: iStock

A green herb stuffing brings a patriotic hue to a family celebration of the national day

Mussels cook extremely quickly so it’s important to have everything chopped and ready before you start cooking them. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: Now more than ever we need to support our shellfish farmers

Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: Last year we made jam, tarts and pies with rhubarb. Here’s a rhubarb sorbet and a vinegar to try

In the past year chefs Niall Sabongi and Tom Brown have both published recipes for fish Kievs. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: The wild garlic is out already, and this is a deeply satisfying way to use it

Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning, often made with soya beans.

This savoury, umami-rich paste can transform many dishes, including roast chicken

This week was the tipping point when the sixth red cabbage arrived. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: Brassicas in my fridge were becoming a problem but the solution lay in my own cookbook

The best place to eat a lobster is at home because it’s cheaper due to the fact that you’re cooking it yourself under your own roof.

Too many of us associate lobsters with wealth but this is far from the truth

Tempura batter is exceedingly light, which is why it needs to be made just just before frying. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: Those that believe tempura has no place in Irish food will be surprised

To get nutrition into your diet during cold winter nights, try a warm tuna salad with baby potatoes and green beans. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: In my world, food is either nutritious or non-nutritious

Child-friendly ragu or bolognese sauce

JP McMahon: Comfort food is seen as sentimental, but that’s what we need right now

Photograph: iStock

Lentils are a great meat substitute. Here is how to make a lentil pasty

Bon appetit: just one butterflied turkey breast should feed four to six people, depending how large the breast is and what else you are serving with it. Photograph: iStock

Don’t worry if the bird you ordered is now too big for your smaller family gathering

Baking or roasting a fish whole is actually a lot easier than pan frying a fillet. Photograph: iStock

Across Europe, seafood and shellfish appear prominently on the dinner table

Like other seasonal vegetables, fruits and nuts, sweet chestnuts pair well with other foods that are also in season. Photograph: iStock/Getty Images

We have relegated the use of chestnuts to the Christmas period but they are so versatile

What to do with celery? Photograph: iStock

There’s an easy way and a hard way – both bring the humble celeriac to divine heights

Brussels sprouts, the perennial Christmas vegetable, go perfectly with seafood. Photograph: iStock

This recipe may seem unusual, but it brings Brussels sprouts and mussels together wonderfully

Cooking duck, whether it’s pan frying a breast, confitting a leg, or roasting one whole, is not any more difficult than cooking chicken. Photgraph: iStock

Silverhill, Skeaghanore and Regan’s should be as well-known as our sports stars

Delicious: mutton curry. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: Mutton curry first found its way into Irish households in the 18th century

Jerusalem artichoke  works great in risotto. Photograph: iStock

Many great chefs, including Gordon Ramsay, have made this dish before

 Once you get the hang of this recipe, you can make it by eye. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: The great thing about this recipe is that you can use any fruit

The remains of charred hazelnuts shells can be found in many Irish Mesolithic sites

JP McMahon: The hazel tree occupies an important part of our mythology

An open letter to the Taoiseach from chef and restaurateur JP McMahon

Braised pheasant with curly kale. Photograph: iStock

The game bird is often seen as the preserve of a higher class of person. This is nonsense

Figs made their way to southern Europe in the Neolithic period.

JP McMahon: Making jam or chutney with a bit of vinegar an easy way to use up a surplus

Duck with orange and juniper go perfectly together. Photograph: iStock

With game season in full swing, why not try cooking wild birds on the barbecue?

Pumpkins: you can grow them in Irealnd, but it is not for the faint hearted. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

JP McMahon: I’m not a big fan of pumpkin pie – these alternatives are more to my taste

Paella with chorizo and lobster

Traditions evolve, move around, change...Not according to the paella police

‘I cook venison as I cook lamb, pan frying it with herbs and butter.’ Photograph: iStock

Taste of autumn: How to make venison with beetroot and hazelnuts

 J P McMahon:  I wonder who is actually writing these regulations as they seem to show no understanding of the daily workings of the hospitality industry. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

What happened to that slogan ‘we’re in this together?’ We are not in this together. The hospitality industry is on its knees

Preparing crab may appear daunting, but it can make us reflect more on our relationship with food. Photograph: iStock

Add plenty of chopped, fresh herbs to your crab and use olive oil to make it lighter

If you can’t get kohlrabi - though they are turning up in increasing numbers in vegetable delivery boxes - substitute a cauliflower, beetroot or celeriac and cook in the same manner

Cooking with hay is an age old art, dating back to at least Neolithic times

You haven’t tried a real tomato until you’ve had an organic heirloom tomato.

Tomato skins are normally removed because of their taste and texture, or if you’re making a sauce

Pollan can be grilled or pickled as with herring, or fried with a crispy layer of breadcrumbs. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: This white fish can be found in five Irish lakes, including Lough Neagh

The Irish wild cherry (silín) is a hard one to find nowadays, but it has sustained us on this island since at least the Bronze Age. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: Here are two ways to enjoy the wild cherry

Marrows have been grown in England for at least two centuries (1822), but courgettes don’t get a mention until the 1960s. Photograph: iStock

Though it emigrated to Ireland from Central America, courgette grows well here

‘We are all familiar with cucumber sandwiches, but what about cucumber sorbet or ice-cream?’ Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: Cucumber ketchup is the relish you never knew you wanted

JP McMahon in his Aniar restaurant in Galway. Typically it is Americans who make up the bulk of his  customers at the restaurant. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

We should not have to police a law that’s not being policed by those in power

An older way of enjoying raspberries was to combine them with fresh curd.

Raspberries need little more than some sugar and cream. This shortbread is a great way to show them off

‘The best strawberries need nothing, they can be eaten straight up in the car. The sight of them should make you salivate immediately.’

Take your summer berries to heavenly levels with salt, rapeseed oil and balsamic vinegar

When making a grilled mackerel sandwich, Make sure the fish fillet is pin-boned and cooked on the skin side only, until blistered.

Other than fish fingers, what have we against putting fish in between two slices of white sliced bread?

Broad beans and peas on toast are a truly beautiful thing. Photograph: iStock

Food nostalgia makes me long for bruschetta, but I seldom make it with tomatoes

This quiche recipe is great to bake with children because of its many different parts.

This is a great recipe to bake with children because of its many different parts

‘Probably my greatest gripe regarding cooking chicken is the extent to which  we over cook it.’ Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: My greatest grind regarding cooking chicken is the amount we over cook it

A Spanish tortilla keeps for 24 hours and is great for a picnic.

Understanding the seasonality of potatoes can help us appreciate them more

Fancy cooking sardines outdoors? All you need is a barbecue and a basket.

JP McMahon: We have great fishmongers delivering online so being adventurous has never been easier

Ripe fresh green gooseberries: ideal for salting, pickling or making jam. Photograph: Richard Johnston

JP McMahon: ‘The first time I tasted a salted gooseberry my eyes widened’

As they ripen, these cream-coloured flowers give off a honeyed floral odour that perfumes the air

Welcome the warm weather by making elderflower cordial or add to gin

Asparagus can be pickled quite easily. Photograph: iStock

We treat foods in cans as somehow being worth less than their fresh equivalent

Oysters are a national treasure that many of us seem to never try, which is unfortunate. Photograph: Anita Murphy

A naked oyster is truly remarkable, but if you need to dress it up, bake it with wild garlic butter

This recipe can be made with any mushrooms. Photograph: iStock

Wild mushrooms are still a few months away, so here’s an homage to the button

Potted crab goes perfectly with soda bread. Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: For some reason potted shellfish still has currency in our own era

Watercress is an important aspect of Irish food culture through the ages. Photograph: iStock

How to poach salmon and make watercress purée

I like to think of purple sprouting broccoli as winter (or early spring) asparagus. Photograph: iStock

Hardy vegetable survives our climate, despite our poor soil and inclement weather

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