Archive for the ‘Saturday Dish’ Category

These are the best rolls to have with your breakfast, brunch or an afternoon tea. They are incredibly buttery and work well with both jam and runny cheeses. Amusingly, I’ve mainly eaten them at a Dane’s house in Ireland, but this is the recipe from our family cookbook and it works out very nicely.


1 tbsp Dried Yeast (2 x 7g packets)

200g Butter (Divided into 150g and 50g)

450g Flour

225ml Milk

1 tsp & 1 tbsp Sugar

½ tsp Salt

1 Egg (beaten)

2 tbsp Poppy Seeds


Rolling pin, pastry brush, baking tray, wire rack


Measure out the milk and warm in the microwave for about 40 – 50 seconds until it is warm. You can also do this in a pot but it’s faster and leaves less washing up in the microwave.

Mix in the yeast and the teaspoon of sugar to the warm milk and leave until it has become frothy, about 15 – 20 minutes.

While you’re waiting for the yeast to activate, measure out the flour and rub in 150g of the butter. When you’re finished the mixture should have the consistency of breadcrumbs. Add the remaining tablespoon of sugar and the half-teaspoon of salt and mix through.

It’s now time to go back to the yeast mixture. By now the yeast should have foamed up and will be ready to add to the dry ingredients. Give it a quick stir and pour the yeast liquid in with the dry ingredients and mix together into a soft dough.

Once the dough has come together in the bowl, tip it out onto a floured worktop and knead for approximately 5 minutes, until it becomes smooth and elastic.

When you’ve finished kneading the dough, put it into an oiled bowl and cover with Clingfilm. Alternatively, you can put the dough into an oiled freezer bag. Leave to rise for 20 minutes until it has become slightly puffy. While the dough is rising, turn on the oven and preheat it to 220°C.

After the dough has risen, put it on a lightly floured worktop and roll it out into a large rectangle measuring approximately 20 x 50 cm. Make sure that the edges are as level as you can get them.

Take the remaining 50g of butter, it should be quite soft, and spread it across the bottom half of the dough.

Now comes the slightly tricky bit, fold the top half of the dough leaving a slight overhang. Flip the whole lot over so that the overhang is on the top and seal it down, using a little more butter if necessary.

Seal up the edges at each end in the same manner. Flip the folded dough back over so that the seal is now on the underside.

Brush the dough with the beaten egg and sprinkle the poppy seeds as evenly as possible along the length.

Cut the dough into triangles. You should get between 12-14 triangles out of this batch.

Place the triangles onto greased baking trays and place into the oven to bake for 15 minutes until they have turned golden brown.

Once baked, remove from the oven and allow cool on wire racks.

Enjoy with more butter and jam.

Joanna Schaffalitzky set up smorgasblog.ie, in order to share recipes from the Danish and Irish sides of her family. She enjoys all forms of cooking but is most fond of baking, especially if it involves copious amounts of butter and sugar. She can be found on Twitter: @joannaschaff or @smorgasblog

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I’m a little obsessed with spicy food, and by spicy I mean the hurts-so-good stuff that actually makes you sweat. Jarred jalapenos, fresh chilies and Tabasco sauce are all staples in my kitchen, and when I’m ordering at an Indian or Chinese restaurant I usually ask for “extra spicy.” Sometimes I regret it but as they say, no pain, no gain.

Back when I lived in Los Angeles the Vietnamese Steak Salad was my favorite go-to spicy dish and no one did it better than Daisy Mint, a cute little Viet café in my ‘hood of Pasadena, California. I spent weeks trying to recreate the dressing, which is the perfect combination of tangy and spicy and freshness. After a few kitchen disasters and more than my fair share of disappointment I think I finally nailed it!

You can find ingredients like fish sauce, rice wine vinegar and Asian chili sauce at most oriental markets (like Asia Market in Dublin). If you’re not a hot head like me, you can use less chili to suit your taste. And it should be noted that you can cook your steak to your preference as well; I prefer mine on the rare side of medium-rare – as you can tell from the photos – which I think works great for this salad. I have to agree with Elephant Castle’s chef Jack Duffy: Irish beef is so high-quality, I’d happily eat it blue!

Spicy Vietnamese Steak Salad

Serves 3-4, depending on hunger level!


1 lb flank steak (or skirt steak – ask your butcher)

80 ml of low-sodium soy sauce

63 ml of rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon hot (not sweet!) Asian chili sauce


1 large head of crisp lettuce (like iceberg or romaine), torn into bite-sized pieces

2 tomatoes, sliced

3 spring onions or ½ red onion, sliced thinly

Small handful fresh mint leaves, chopped

Big handful fresh coriander, chopped


80 ml fresh lime juice

Small handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped

2 Tbsp dark brown sugar

1 Tbsp soy sauce, low sodium

1 Tbsp water

1 Tbsp Asian fish sauce, bottled

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 red chili pepper, seeded and minced (you can leave seeds for more spice)


Preheat grill or broiler.

Prepare marinade by mixing together the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and chili sauce. Place in a plastic container with the flank steak and let marinate for at least one hour.

Dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar or bowl; mix well. Set aside. Place steak on a grill rack or broiler pan coated with vegetable oil spray. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side for medium rare or longer until desired degree of doneness. Cover with foil and let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Cut each slice into 2-inch pieces.

Prepare salad mixture (lettuce, tomatoes green onion, coriander and mint leaves). Combine salad mixture, steak and dressing in a large bowl, tossing to coat.


Clare Kleinedler is a freelance journalist and writes about her transition from LA to Ireland in her blog, An American in Ireland.

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Pomelos are those fruit that look like melons with grapefruit skin. Asian in origin, they have a very mild citrusy taste and are certainly nowhere near as bitter as grapefruit.

In Thailand, pomelos are used as a salad ingredient and that’s my favourite way to eat them. Here’s my recipe:


  • 1 pomelo
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 limes, juice of
  • 1 stalk finely sliced lemongrass


  1. Peel and segment a large pomelo (this is a bit of work – it can take 15 minutes to do one fruit) and place the pieces in a bowl.
  2. Make a dressing by combining the other ingredients.
  3. Pour the dressing over the fruit and garnish with fresh coriander.

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Abandon being good for the day. Throw aside your worthiness and any pretence at a health drive. You deserve these!

These dark delights are the love children of Nigella’s Choc Cherry Cupcakes from Domestic Goddess and Bill Granger’s Easy Mix Chocolate Cake, perfected, if that is not too strong a word, by me. So they are naughty but nice, cheeky and sexy, and bound to add to your wobbly bits! They take after Nigella more in the looks department – dark, sexy, sultry and very yummy mummy! They are deeply delicious with a hint of sweet, rich, mellow cherry. Just cook ’em and see. And then thank me!

Makes 12 cupcakes  (American muffin pan)

110g soft butter (1/2 pack)

2 eggs

110g caster sugar

25 g cocoa powder

80ml full fat milk

120g plain flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 jar (120ml) no-added sugar Morello Cherry Jam (St Dalfour in UK/ Ireland)

Challenging method here…

Preheat over to 180 C.

Bung all ingredients (except jam) in a bowl. Whisk for 2 mins with an electric whisk. Food processor would do the job too! Stir in jam by hand so all the fruity bits (ooh matron!) don’t get mushed up.

Spoon into muffin cases in the muffin tin.

Bake for 15-20 mins till risen and cooked through (test with skewer).

Ice when cool with… 100 g Divine dark chocolate (or other fair trade/ organic, 70 % dark, sexy chocolate) melted with 50ml cream, gently in a bowl over hot water.

Enjoy, by yourself!

Lucy Pearce is a freelance writer and contributing editor at JUNO magazine.Visit her new blog for up-to-date kitchen sink philosophy, and check out her article archive. @dreamingaloudnt

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I’ve been trying to get away from serving meat every day. In a rush of healthy optimism I purchased a bag of dried mixed beans for 65c in the supermarket. The whole family was dubious as I diligently soaked them overnight and cooked them not really knowing what I was planning to do with them. I hate beans, my other half is a confirmed carnivore and my eldest child is suspicious of anything new. This dish turned out to be surprisingly tasty and filling, not too ‘beany’ and tasted even better the next day. I ate it just as it is but it can be served with rice, baked potato or tortilla chips. 

Mixed Bean Chili

1 onion chopped

1 red bell pepper diced

1 500g bag of dried mixed beans –soaked overnight then boiled for 15 mins and drained and rinsed. (3 drained cans of a selection of beans will do fine)

1 tbs cumin

2 cloves garlic minced

1 tbs hot chilli powder

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 jalapeno pepper (I left this out thinking it would be a step too spicy for my kids)

¼ cup chicken or veg stock

4 cups water

1 tin chopped tomatoes

¼ cup of red wine

Heat olive oil in large saucepan. Sauté onion till soft (about 5 mins)

Add cumin, cayenne, paprika, chilli powder garlic and chopped jalapeno.

Add red pepper, continue to cook stirring for another 3 mins.

Add can of tomatoes, wine, stock and water, bring to the boil.

Add beans, bring back to the boil then simmer for 20-25 mins, stirring occasionally.

Using a potato masher or spatula, mash about 1/3 of the beans at the bottom of the pot to thicken the chilli to desired consistency. Stir well and simmer for another 10 mins or so.

Serve with sour cream and grated cheese.

Jenny Foxe is the MD of The Natural Home Company. She also haphazardly runs a home with two small boys and is a voluntary breastfeeding counsellor. She occasionally blogs at http://www.jennyfoxe.blogspot.com You can follow her on twitter at @jennyfoxe

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Slow Roast Chicken with Vermouth

If you know you’ll be having a lazy day at home, then this slow-roasted chicken is the ultimate weekend food. You roast it at a very low temperature for three hours, flipping it over once an hour, then jack up the heat for the final 30 minutes to crisp the skin to a picture-perfect golden brown. The chicken is unbelievably moist — roasting it at such a low temperature makes it almost impossible to dry out — and the flavours of the lemon, garlic and rosemary in the cavity really penetrate into the meat. What’s more, Saturday’s leftover roast chicken can then become Sunday’s chicken sandwiches, soup or stir-fry, pasta or risotto. Once you make this, I’m willing to bet that, like me, you won’t want to roast a chicken any other way again.

Slow Roast Chicken and Vermouth
Serves 4


1 x 2 kg whole chicken
1 lemon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
200 ml water
60 g unsalted butter, melted
125 ml extra-dry vermouth or a dry white wine (If you don’t have vermouth, you could substitute dry white wine instead. Alternatively, feel free to omit the alcohol altogether. It won’t really affect the flavor of the chicken, just the juices)

Preheat the oven to 80°C and wipe the chicken clean.

Cut the lemon in half. Rub one half of the lemon all over the chicken, getting as much juice onto the skin as you can. Season the cavity with salt and pepper. Peel the garlic and stuff it into the chicken cavity along with the rosemary and both lemon halves.

Place the chicken upside down in a roasting tin just large enough to hold it. Add the water. Cook for 1 hour, then turn right side up (I can usually do this with my bare hands since the roasting temperature is so low). Return it to the oven and cook for another hour, then turn upside down again and cook for yet another hour.

Remove the chicken from the oven and raise the temperature to 200°C. Brush the melted butter all over the skin, season very well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and add the vermouth to the pan.

Return the chicken to the oven (make sure it finishes right side up) and cook for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and the juices run clear. Strain the fat and serve with the lemony, salty juices from the pan.

Kristin Jensen is a freelance editor and blogs at Dinner du Jour. As a working mum with two young children, the blog’s focus is on delicious dinners for busy people and parents. She also recently set up the Irish Food Bloggers Association with Caroline Hennessy, where you can connect with other food bloggers and stay up to date with foodie news and events.  Twitter: @dinnerdujour and @IrishFoodies

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A lot of people say that you’re either a cook or a baker. I am a cook. I’ve had a rather calamitous past with baking. With sauces and roasting and stewing, you can usually re-claim a disaster in the kitchen. Baking, sadly, is not so forgiving.

My ultimate goal is to bake like this girl. Sure, her cake isn’t perfect but look how happy she is!

My end results are the same as this happy girl, but I go through the whole process in a more heightened state of awareness, regularly crossing the line into sheer hysteria.

So, when I decide to attempt baking, I need to know that the recipe is FOOLPROOF. Cooking and baking are really all about confidence, so it’s important that your first attempt recipe is a reliable one.

I conquered my scone-fear this week by using Nessa Robins’ recipe for the straight-forwardly scrumptious plain scones, which I found on her lovely blog Nessa’s Family Kitchen. (http://nessasfamilykitchen.blogspot.com/)

The recipe worked out so well that I blazed forth in a flour-filled cloud of glory and attempted the more intricate and astoundingly gorgeous Spring Onion, Bacon and Cheese Scones from Delicious Magazine.

Once you master the basic recipe below, there’s no reason why you can’t add your own favourite flavour and texture combinations. Throw in a handful of your favourite seeds to get a crunchy scone, or go for the more unusual grated carrot and a tablespoon of ground cumin. The basic recipe is waiting to be experimented with. Just as soon as you’ve built up your baking confidence, of course.

What you need for Nessa Robins’ Scrumptious Scones (Makes 10-12 scones)

FYI: This recipe works perfectly when halved, in case you don’t want to make quite so many scones.

450g self-raising flour

Pinch of Salt (which I forgot but I guess my added parmesan compensated for that)

25g caster sugar

85g cold butter

1 large egg

225ml milk

For the glaze (which I forgot. See what I mean about a flustered baker?! I’m terrible!)

A bit of egg whisked with a little milk (I think milk works just as well on its own in case you don’t want to use another egg)

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C/ Gas Mark 6.

Start off by sieving your flour and caster sugar into a large mixing bowl. Cut your butter into smallish cubes.

If like me, you have hot hands that don’t make for baking, you can use a food processor to combine your flour and butter. If you have a more delicate paw than myself, then you can rub the butter into the flour until it’s all combined and you have a sort of crumb texture.

I find the food processor really, really useful here, because it takes like 1/8th of the time and you don’t have to worry about your butter melting which could lead to major drama and kitchen meltdown! And that’s not what we want.

Beat your egg into your milk.

Now (if using food processor) return your flour and butter mixture to your big mixing bowl. Make a sort of well with a wooden spoon and pour your milk and egg mixture into this space, mixing everything around with a wooden spoon until a rather wet and sticky dough is created. Don’t panic! It’s supposed to be a bit wet. It’s all going to be fine.

On a floured surface, plop out your dough and knead it, but not too much, as that will toughen the scones. You can sprinkle a little bit of flour over the dough if you think it needs to be less sticky, but it should be perfect once it’s had a nice massage.

Now you want to roll it out. I always use cling film when rolling any dough. I put it over the dough and then flatten the dough with a rolling pin – the cling film stops the dough from sticking to the pin. It’s very clever.

Roll out your pastry and using a little perforated cutter, cut out as many scones as you can. Now roll up the excess dough and cut out some more. Repeat until you ain’t got no dough left.

At this point, you can glaze your scones with your milky egg mixture.

Pop your scones on a buttered baking sheet, not over-crowding them, and bake in your oven for 10 to 12 minutes. My cutter was quite small so I ended up with around 15 little scones, which I baked in two batches

Take your scones out and let them cool slightly on a rack, but they’re pretty much ready to go and be enjoyed.

Best served warm!

Aoife Mc Elwain blogs about food at I Can Has Cook?

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