This pasta looks the business doesn’t it? Well it tastes amazing too. In actual fact, it’s super quick and easy to make, and cheap as chips too. All you have to do really is cook the pasta and stir in everything else.
As this is a simple dish you’re relying on the lemon, basil, parmesan and black pepper to give it a bold kick of flavour, so be generous with each of them. Purple basil tastes the exact same as normal basil, so don’t despair if you can’t get your hands on it, this will turn out the exact same with the regular stuff. Whip this up for a fancy looking but super simple supper after work during the week to put a pep in your step!
Ingredients (serves 2):
2tbsp Grated Parmesan
Zest of 2 Lemons
Basil (purple if you can find it!)
Salt & Pepper
Boil the pasta in salted water according to the packet instructions. I take mine off a minute or two early so that it’s al dente. Reserve a little of the cooking water.
Roughly chop your basil and set aside. I use a good bit, about a handful.
Stir in the ricotta, parmesan, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Have a taste and adjust with more salt, pepper or cheese if needed. You may need to loosen it out with a little of the cooking water or even some olive oil for a silky finish.
Top with more grated parmesan and black pepper and an artistic sprig of basil! Enjoy.
You can’t beat a really good potato salad. Not the kind supermarket versions slathered in mayonnaise that make you feel sickly after a helping, but this fresh delicious kind bursting with punchy flavours and with some cooked ham thrown in for a meaty and filling addition.
I made this dish for a picnic a few weekends ago for my house-mate and I when we were still experiencing the Irish heatwave. Luckily there is a really nice park just around the corner from my house so with the rug, dishes and food in a bag, off we trotted to the local park for a sunny light lunch. My potato salad was made with garlic, onions, capers, lemon zest and ham and really could be eaten as a meal in itself, as well as I side.
This is really quick, and the ham makes it filling and substantial enough as a main dish. I used leftovers for lunch in work on Monday, and some more leftovers the following night in a kind of a spanish omlette/ tortilla.
1 kg of baby potatoes
1-2 cups of roughly torn cooked ham
4 cloves garlic crushed
2 red onions finely minced
1 small bunch of chives chopped
1 large cup of caper berries
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup rapeseed oil (or other mild tasting oil)
In a big salted pot of boiling water add your potatoes and cook for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
Meanwhile add the garlic, onion and all the oil to a large pan and stir on a medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are done. You want this soft and translucent, but not golden and crispy.
When the potatoes are cooked slice them length ways and stir into the pan (make sure the heat is off at this point) coating in the garlic and onion oil.
Finely chop the caper berries (reserve a few whole ones for serving) and stir into the mix along with the lemon zest and a generous seasoning of sea salt.
Serve in a dish with the remaining whole capers decorated on top with some more lemon zest.
Without wanting to toot my own horn, this is probably the best lunch I’ve ever made! Just as well, as I was asked to write a blog for the RTE Food website, under the theme “picnic” recently and was worried my usual picnic food wouldn’t be sophisticated enough. When I was younger my family spent every summer in West Cork and rain or shine we would be on the beach every day for a swim and of course a lunchtime picnic. Our picnic lunches usually involved Egg Salad sandwiches which we gobbled down hungrily after hours or running around the beach and jumping in and out of the sea. I have an obsession with egg salad sandwiches, and it’s probably because of the reminders of endless, happy days spent on the beach.
Alas, I felt providing the RTE Food website with a recipe for Egg Mayonnaise may be laughed at, so instead I made this recipe which still has the creamy element my dear egg mayonnaise had, and delicious capers and herbs that make a good egg salad, but with mixed fish instead of egg. My mum had just pulled a fresh brown bread out of the oven which I thought would go perfectly, so I pinched half a loaf and skipped out of the house on the way to my posh picnic. This was so delicious that I can see it becoming a weekly meal, chez moi. The monkfish was quite expensive, so if I’m making again I will probably substitute it for another robust white fish and maybe leave out the prawns for a more inexpensive, week-day version. Enjoy this little beaut, but if all else fails, an eggy sandwich is always a crowd pleaser! 🙂
Ingredients (Serves 2 hungry people):
1 fillet monkfish
1 filled trout
4 Irish prawns (don’t be fooled into getting tiger prawns, they’re horrible, hard and not soft and sweet like the Irish prawns)
Brown Bread sliced
3 tbsp creme fraiche
1 tbsp oil (I used rapeseed)
Zest of one lemon
Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon depending on size (taste as you go)
1 handful capers (you can chop any of the big ones, and leave the little ones whole)
2 stalks of dill torn into little bits and extra for garnishing
Salt and Pepper
1. Bake your fish in an oven 180C with a little oil, salt and pepper until cooked through (about 15 minutes). I put on the monkfish first for 5-7 minutes as it was a much thicker piece and takes longer to cook.
2. For the sauce mix together the creme fraiche, lemon juice, lemon zest, oil, capers, chopped dill and season with salt and pepper.
3. Flake or chop the fish into bite-size pieces and stir into the sauce.
4. Serve the fish mix on brown bread and lettuce with a squeeze of lemon juice on top and a garnish of capers and dill.
I made Fish Pie for the first time this weekend and I must admit, I was quite impressed with myself! I had a craving for some comforting, hearty fish pie during the week and so set about making some on Saturday night. I noticed everyone was blogging pictures of green food this weekend and Irish traditional dishes for Paddy’s Day, which I didn’t do at all. But I think this Fish Pie still fits the traditional Irish food bill, so I’m going to pretend that this was my patriotic offering this Paddy’s Weekend.
I wanted to use some fennel and lemon juice in my fish pie for a nice refreshing flavour and so stuck to white fish only, as I felt the flavours would complement each other. I picked up a nice fillet of smoked haddock and also of monkfish and they worked beautifully. No proper fish pie would ever leave out the smoked fish, you need the smokiness to cut through the creamy sauce. I think that simple, comforting meals like this are the best, all you need to do it make sure you get the freshest fish, veg and dairy and you are bound to produce a mouth watering pie!
The sauce was silly it was so easy, I essentially just poured some cream on top of the sautéed vegetables and seasoned it and that was that! I recommend giving this a go. I made two individually portioned fish pies, but if you are making a full family sized one, just double the quantities listed below.
4- 5 Large Potatoes (avoid using Rooster Potatoes… they make a poor mash)
Large knob of butter
1 fillet monkfish
1 fillet of smoked haddock
1 fennel bulb
1 garlic clove
Juice of half a lemon
Zest of a lemon
salt & pepper to season
1. Boil the potatoes for about 20 to 30 minutes depending on size. They’re done when a knife cuts easily through them. Mash the potatoes with a knob of butter, a splash of milk and some salt and pepper. You want your mash soft but firm, add a little more milk if necessary.
2. Finely chop the fennel bulb, make sure to keep the fennel herb at the top of the bulb for use later. Slice up your leek and scallions too (a mandolin makes a nice quick job of this.) Just to note, the fennel takes a little longer to soften so slice finely and perhaps start frying a few minutes before adding the rest of the veg. Sauté all the veg until soft, add the cream to the pan of vegetables and add the lemon juice, half the lemon zest, some salt and pepper and half the fennel herbs. Make sure to taste it at this point and add more lemon or pepper if necessary.
3. Fill your dishes until they are half filled with the creamy vegetables and then mix in the uncooked chopped fish pieces. Cover the fish mix with the mashed potato and put into a preheated oven at 180C for 30 to 40 minutes.
4. Two minutes before taking out put a little knob of butter on top of each fish pie. It melts down the edges but I think a drizzle of melted butter over the top of the mashed potato is so inviting! Take out and garnish with the remaining lemon zest and fennel herbs. Enjoy!