Monthly Archives: September 2013

lemon ricotta cheesecake


I prefer ricotta to cream cheese (Philadephia) which I find too rich.

I make the base in the Magimix: 100 gm digestive biscuits, 30 gm brown sugar and 50gm melted butter. I line a 20 cm tin with baking paper and press in the base mixture. This goes into the fridge while I make the filling.

I mix together 350gm ricotta, 75 gm sugar,  the rind of a lemon and the juice of two lemons in the Magimix. I dissolve 15gm gelatine in 30cl water in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. (You could use gelatine leaves too)  and strain it into the cheese mixture. I whip 150 cl cream and carefully fold the cheese mixture into the cream. It goes into the fridge for at least three hours.

You can serve the cheesecake as it is, or cover it in berries (raspberries, redcurrants, strawberries etc) or frosted grapes.

stuffed cuttlefish

Lunch today  was fish !

The cuttlefish  was ready-cleaned by the fishmonger.  I cut up the tentacles small, add a good handful of chopped parsley, some capers,  some grated pecorino and a spoon of breadcrumbs. With the mixture I stuff the body of the fish and secure with cocktail sticks. I put them into an oiled gratin dish, dribble over more oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and cook for 30 minutes in the oven at 200°C.

This was to have been our lunch, but William came at the last moment so I also did some fish cakes. The recipe for those is coming tomorrow!

wild mushrooms


Apart from porcini, we found two fine examples of mazzo di tamburo ( macrolepiota procera). So I fried them as an antipasto last night.

I cut the mushroom caps into manageable sizes, and dipped them in egg and breadcrumbs.  I fried them in olive oil for a few minutes each side and seasoned with salt and pepper.

There is only one word…divine!

sage and onion stuffing


I’m not stuffing a whole chicken or turkey today, I’m just making rolls of chicken breast with sage and onion .

i sauté a little chopped onion. Then in a bowl I mix the onion with a small handful of chopped  fresh sage,  2 spoons of fresh white bread crumbs, a generous grind of pepper and nutmeg, a spoon of parmesan and a little salt.  Finally, a dash of milk. I place a spoonful of the mixture on a thin slice of seasoned chicken breast and roll up. It makes sense to secure the rolls with a cocktail stick. I didn’t today and one of the rolls opened up as it cooked! I quickly seal the rolls in olive oil, add a splash of white wine, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes. I uncover the pan and reduce the cooking liquids.

This would be good in turkey breast too. If I were to stuff a whole bird, then obviously the quantities would be greatly increased but I would also add chopped ham amd an egg instead of the milk.

plum crumble


Hannah made this for my birthday party in Donegal. Her puddings are gorgeous, I think my version comes close!

I stone and cut red plums into 8 pieces and fill a buttered pie dish. I sprinkle over some brown sugar and lemon peel. To make the topping, I  break up 100 gm of almonds in the mixer, add 100gm flour, 80 gm brown sugar and 100 gm butter and whizz to create the crumbs, which I spread thickly over the fruit. I fleck the top with butter and bake for 45-60 minutes at 180°C.

I would never serve a crumble straight from the oven. The fruit doesn’t develop a good flavour if it’s too hot. So, I usually plan to rest the dish 30 -60 minutes before eating.

PS. I almost forgot to take the photo, half had already gone!

rabbit and onions


Another recipe from a favourite food writer, Claudia Roden. This has a distinct French flavour, and indeed I serve it with French toast (eggy bread) which is simply slices of white bread soaked in seasoned, beaten egg and milk and then fried in a butter/oil mixture.

For the main dish, I start with the button onions. They go into a large pan with butter, oil, a spoon of sugar and seasoning. When the fat is melted and the onions frying I cover with water, cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes. Then, I uncover the pan and cook for a further 40 minutes until the water has been absorbed. In another pan I sauté a little chopped onion, add the rabbit pieces and brown them on both sides. Then I add 250cl red wine and cook briskly for 10 minutes. Then I lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes. When the meat and onions are ready I put them into one pan and cook gently for 5 minutes. If I’m lucky enough to get the rabbit liver, I cook it separately in a little butter for a few minutes and add to the finished dish.

It must have been good because Giovanni ate 4 or 5 large pieces!

vegetable salad


My mother dressed every salad – cooked or raw – in the same way. A little finely chopped onion, vinegar, a good dollop of mayonnaise , olive oil, salt and pepper were mixed together in the bottom of the serving bowl and left to stand for a few minutes. The vegetables or salad were then folded in. My only variation is to sometimes substitute yoghurt with mayo… and not to dress EVERY salad this way!

However last night I had some left over boiled french beans and mayo, so I steamed a few potatoes and made Mother’s salad. I added a few cherry tomatoes too. 


vinegary crudités


You need at least an hour to prepare these vegetables, two hours would be better! But they make a nice pre-dinner nibble with drinks.

I cut carrots, courgettes and cucumbers into sticks (carrots should be finer than the rest) and put them in a colander with a good sprinkling of salt. After an hour I  add a good splash of white wine vinegar, and l put a plate under the colander. I leave the vegetables for another hour. Every 15 minutes I pour the drained vinegar from the plate back over the vegetables.  I arrange on a plate and grind some pepper and coriander seeds over the sticks.

Try with small pieces of cauliflower and turnip sticks too. 


potato and tomato bake


This is a nice supper dish, best made in summer when you can get good San Marzano tomatoes (the long variety).

I finely slice two large potatoes on the mandolin (no need to peel) and slice three tomatoes lengthways. I oil an oven dish and alternate  layers of the vegetables,  seasoning well and adding a sprinkle of fresh origano and marjory. I strew some breadcrumbs on top and a good splash of olive oil. I bake the dish in the oven at 180°C for an hour.  I cover the dish with foil in the last 15 minutes.

Enjoy  hot or at room temperature!