Archive for November, 2009

:: Open Aromatic Duck Salad

This is my recipe contribution to December’s edition of Irish Tatler, and it also just so happens to be one of my favourite recipes of all time forever and ever the end!  It is also one of my favourite recipes from my cookbook which may I remind you would make a lovely christmas present for a loved one!  Ok shameless plugs aside, this is such a wonderful dish and it’s super easy to prepare, stick the duck in the oven slice the vegetables, make the dressing and you’re done!  Couldn’t be easier!

Open Aromatic Duck Salad

This is basically an adaptation of the classic aromatic duck and pancake dish which is available at most Chinese restaurants. It’s one of my favourite dishes and is so simple to produce. The tender crispy duck goes well with the fresh raw vegetables and tangy Asian dressing.

Serves 2
1 crispy half duck portion (available pre-cooked at most supermarkets)
2 large carrots, thinly sliced
½ cucumber, thinly sliced
½ Chinese cabbage, finely shredded
Bunch of spring onions, thinly sliced

For the dressing:
Juice of ½ lime
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
1 teaspoon of sesame oil

Before you start, put the duck in a roasting tin (you can stick the breast on a wire wrack, this way the fat will drip) and place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes at 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 or until heated through.
In a large mixing bowl mix the ingredients for the dressing. Add the carrot, cucumber, cabbage and spring onions, and toss to combine.
Take the duck out of the oven, slice thinly and add to the salad. Serve straightaway.

Photo credit: Jocasta Clarke


November 16, 2009 at 8:30 am Leave a comment

:: Winner of Everyday Harumi Cookbook Competition!

Great response to the Harumi competition with 179 entries!  Big congrats to Katie who won herself a copy of the Harumi cookbook!

If you weren’t lucky, head over to my twitter @donalskehan and follow me, then tweet the following message:
“Win a copy of Everyday Harumi with @donalskehan and by RT’ing this msg” I’ll pick a winner tomorrow!  Good luck!

November 13, 2009 at 3:25 pm 2 comments

:: A Drop Of Swedish Inspiration

Most of the time I love and thrive on times when life is a little hectic and there are almost too many things to do in one day.  It makes taking a little break all that more enjoyable, knowing that you have been getting things done at a fast pace!

After the business of launching the book was taken care of at the end of October I managed to slip out of the country for 5 precious days to visit Sofie in Sweden.  She is spending a little quality time back in the motherland for a few months and is loving it.  As hard as it is to be apart we seriously appreciate the time we have together so that is a positive!

Unfortunately Ryanair have stopped the direct flight from Dublin to Gothenburg, which makes life a little difficult as there are no other direct options.  However this gave me a chance to catch up my friend Ubbe in Oslo, he’s a dancer in the Norwegian production of Mamma Mia.  It was my first time in Oslo and although I only saw it briefly it’s really a lovely city.

The next day it was on to Gothenburg, I really love this city!  I think size wise and familiarity wise, my mind compares it to Dublin, but I’m sure factually I’m wrong.  We spent the first day shopping which I love over there, because for me the shops are brimming with new ideas and inspiration.  The scandinavian design is really simplistic and stripped back.  I have been wanting to include a bit more styling and emphasis on table setting in my food photos so that’s what my eye was looking out for!

The shops didn’t let me down and were filled with amazing flower displays, fabrics, cutlery and sleek, simple tableware.  I always find that the Swedes are very conscious of the changing seasons when it comes to design and at the moment shops are gearing up for Christmas with lots of tasteful ribbons, interesting looking dried twigs, and bold seasonal greens and reds.

We went for a walk in the grounds of a beautiful old Swedish house and it was really apparent where the shops were getting their inspiration.  The colours in the forest of berries, bushes, and crisp leaves left no doubt in mind that nature was their source!

I’ve come home with lots of idea’s and even more motivation, so hopefully I’ll be able to inject a little more design into the food shots.  I forgot to mention, that I finally upgraded camera’s from the Canon 400D to the Canon 5D MII so am still getting to grips with it as it’s a little more serious than what I was used to.  But the photos are getting there so bear with me!

November 12, 2009 at 2:11 pm 7 comments

:: Chicken Thigh Supper

This is another one of my favourite dishes from the book.  Food that is full of flavour for only a tiny amount of effort is ideal for entertaining.  Most of the time all you need is the basic ingredients in order to create wonders!  Although chicken on the bone is a little bit more effort on the plate, I truly believe there is far more flavour going on than plain old chicken breasts.  Not only that but it is cheaper to buy thighs, wings and legs it’s far tastier!  More often than not you can get them at special offer also.  To be honest if you buy whole chickens and get your head around learning to cut them up into thighs, drumsticks, wings and breast pieces you will save a fortune.  Stick the meat you don’t need in freezer bags and pop them in the freezer and dinner will never be too far away!  Chicken thighs are a handy ingredient and this recipe really makes the best of them.  It’s a hearty dish packed with mouth watering flavours!

Chicken Thigh Supper

This is a super dish for a big group of people, served with a tasty salad; it’s perfect for weekday entertaining. If you can’t get a hold of chicken thighs, you can use any other cuts as long as they’re on the bone. This gives the meat a really great flavour.

Serves 4

6–8 chicken thighs
200g pancetta, diced, or bacon bits
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
75ml/3fl oz red wine
2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1 red onion, chopped in half moons
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs of thyme
2 teaspoons of English mustard powder
2 tablespoons of olive oil

In a large deep frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and brown the chicken and pancetta, until you get a nice colour on the thighs. Set aside on plate covered with kitchen paper.
In the same pan, add the rest of the oil and fry the garlic, onion, rosemary and thyme for 2 minutes. Sprinkle over the mustard powder and stir through.
Add the tinned tomatoes and red wine, and bring to the boil. Add the chicken and pancetta pieces back to the pan, turning the chicken pieces to coat.
Cover the pan and cook for 20 minutes over a low heat or until the chicken is cooked through. You may need to extend the cooking time depending on the size of the chicken thighs. I don’t add salt to this recipe as the pancetta can be quite salty, but make sure to taste it and add seasoning if needed.
Serve with a tasty salad and some hearty wholemeal bread.

November 11, 2009 at 12:38 pm 8 comments

:: Mushroom Hunting Pics!

A few weeks ago, myself and the lovely Aoife decided to head to Powerscourt waterfall to take part in Slow Food Ireland’s mushroom hunt. It was my very first mushroom hunt and to be honest I didn’t really know what to expect.

The whole thing kicked off in the middle of a quiet field where all the participants had parked the cars. We were given a brief talk by a mushroom expert about what to look for, edible and poisonous. After being warned that mushroom hunting was even more dangerous than most extreme sports, we left in groups quite ominously not knowing who would return!

We paired up with some lovely ladies who were fairly new to the slow food movement like ourselves, and our hunt quickly became less about extreme sports and deadly ingredients and more about getting to know each other. After lots of chatting we realised we hadn’t actually found ANY mushrooms! Then there was talk about heading down to the local shop to pick up a few if we were stuck as we couldn’t return empty handed!

Luckily we didn’t have to resort to that and the competitive streak really came out when we met fellow hunters who had baskets full of strange and interesting mushrooms! We began to look a little harder and it was a case of once you saw one you saw hundreds. After a lot of talk over which varieties we should pick, we decided to pick them all and let the expert decide!

It was quite funny to notice passer by’s reaction to us bending down and inspecting these little mushrooms. Almost everyone we passed wanted to take a peak into the baskets and look very worried when we told them we were planning to eat them!

We headed back to the field where the organisers had setup a little picnic and were serving mushrooms soup and cooking up some of the mushrooms which had been picked. Everyone had brought there own dish for a cold buffet and there was a great selection of different dishes, someone even brought along a basket of delicious apples picked from their garden!

Overall it was a lovely experience, but after eating the mushrooms that were cooked after we had picked them I felt slightly unnerved with the knowledge that had any mistakes been made, I could be making a swift visit to the hospital! Hope you enjoy the photos!

November 10, 2009 at 8:00 am 10 comments

:: Crispy Hasselback Potatoes

Today is the day I am going to share one of my ultimate favourite recipes from the book! I started writing my first food column in the Irish Independent Weekend magazine last weekend and got the opportunity to share some of my personal favs from the book, including Kerstin’s bursting berries with white chocolate, Chicken Thigh Supper, Lime and Mint Mohito Chicken and Hasselback potatoes. However as I know there are a lot of readers beyond Ireland that might be interested in these recipes I thought it would be worth posting here too!  Let me know if you want any of the other recipes included in the article posted here!

Crispy Hasselback Potatoes

I came across the recipe for Hasselback potatoes when I was younger and they are so visually appealing that I had to make them. The traditional recipe, originally from Stockholm, calls for breadcrumbs and cheese, but I have tried to make it as simple as possible for this recipe. The potatoes go nicely alongside most dishes. If your potato slices don’t separate while cooking, increase your heat and you should get better results.

Serves 4
Approximately 20 baby potatoes
2 tablespoons of melted butter
A generous pinch of sea salt

These potatoes are a little bit daunting at first, but once you get the knack of it you’ll have no trouble! The idea is to cut slices about 3mm in thickness right across the potato, but to keep them attached at the bottom.
If that all sounds a bit too much, there is a quick trick you can use: place the potatoes on a wooden spoon and slice down: the dip in the spoon will prevent you from slicing all the way through.
When you’re finished, place all the potatoes sliced side up in a roasting tray and brush each one with the melted butter and give a good sprinkling of coarse sea salt.
Roast at 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 for approximately 45 minutes or until the slices of the potatoes fan out and turn golden brown.
Serve straightaway and dig in!

November 9, 2009 at 3:46 pm 14 comments

:: Everyday Harumi Japanese Cookbook Competition

Harumi Kurihara is one of Japan’s most popular cookery writer, you may not have heard of her but she is already being dubbed the Japanese Martha Stewart!  Her new book “Everyday Harumi” focuses on Japenese homecooking with simple recipes which are easy to read and even easier to prepare!

Thanks to the lovely folks over at Octopus Books I have a copy of “Everyday Harumi” to give away on the blog!  To be in with a chance of winning, enter your details below and submit your answer to the following question:

What is Harumi’s surname?
A: Kurihara
B: Takahashi
C: Suzuki

Your First Name
Your Email Address
Your Answer

A winner will be chosen at random from all the entries, one entry per person, and the competition closes 13th of November at 9am! Best of luck! 🙂

November 6, 2009 at 8:00 am 1 comment

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