Neven Maguire celebrates the best of Irish produce
Inspired by his travels, Neven Maguire shares some tasty yet simple recipes that celebrate our great local produce
I have been spending some time Down Under -- January is when I take my 'summer' holiday. When I travel, I am always on the lookout for new dishes. It is always great to bring things home and then put an Irish twist on them. I usually try things out on friends and family as soon as I get a chance.
It might sound like a bit of a busman's holiday, but the truth is that I enjoy cooking at home just as much as I do in the restaurant.
At home, I like to make lots of simple, tasty snacks to have ready when people call in, or for the times when we take it easy and watch a DVD -- or, better still, a Manchester United match!
Doing my demos around the country, I'm finding that people are becoming more and more conscious of how their food tastes. They are taking the time to try new things and to appreciate the flavours, and they are recognising just how good some of our local food producers are.
So, I have picked some recipes that are both tasty and quick to make.
Fajitas are great family food. You can fill them yourself at the table. There is no shortage of good, ready- made salsa in the supermarkets, but I've provided a recipe for one that's very easy to make, so you might give it a try.
Roasted peppers make a great vegetarian starter. They can be prepared in advance and just popped into the oven when people arrive. You might like them with mozzarella or a nice soft goat's cheese.
Incidentally, there are some excellent Irish-made pizza bases on the market now that are well worth trying; there is no harm in the occasional short cut!
By now, New Year resolutions are probably shattered and, for wickedness, you won't do much better than the peanut toffee shortbread. It is perfect for enjoying with coffee, and very moreish.
And if you want to try a different resolution, how about cooking more often using our own, excellent Irish produce?
'Neven's Country Living Cookery Book' is available in bookshops now