Saturday 20 January 2018

Recipes: Get out of the kitchen

Michelin-star Oliver Dunne
Michelin-star Oliver Dunne

Oliver Dunn

The Santa Rita/LIFE Magazine Irish Restaurant Awards 2010 are now in full swing. This week, Oliver Dunne, the Michelin-starred chef of Bon Appetit, Malahide, shares his favourite recession-proof recipes with LIFE readers, along with his top tip to a successful dinner party. Also, you can get 20 per cent off your food bill at Bon Appetit, Malahide, and at 130 other restaurants nationwide.

I always maintain the secret to a successful dinner party is preparation. I want all the hard work out of the way before my guests arrive so I can relax and have a pleasant glass of wine or two -- or maybe three, four or five -- to kick-start the evening nicely.

The other scenario involves me slaving away in the kitchen while my fiance, Sabine, entertains our guests while I'm left listening to laughter coming through those lonely kitchen walls. And, believe me, the latter situation has happened more than once as a result of over-complicating things, and quite simply not being organised.

So, to prevent being isolated in the kitchen, wallowing in self-pity, organise yourself and plan your menu very carefully. Don't do anything that requires too much last-minute cooking or prepping: have as much done in advance as possible.

Ninety per cent of this simple, yet incredibly tasty, meal can be done in advance, so all that's left for you to do is reheat and serve, and, most importantly, enjoy yourself.

Cream of Pumpkin and Ginger Soup

You will need:

1kg (2¼lbs) pumpkin

25g (1oz) butter

50g (2oz) fresh ginger, grated


50ml (1fl oz) white wine

550ml (18fl oz) chicken stock

75ml (2½fl oz) cream

A little sugar

Freshly ground black pepper

Peel the pumpkin and then dice it into small pieces. Put the diced pumpkin into a heavy-based saucepan with the butter and the grated fresh ginger, and then season it all with a little salt.

Cook on a low heat with the lid on until the pumpkin goes soft. Then, remove the lid and reduce the excess cooking juices until they evaporate completely. Add the white wine and simmer, and then add the chicken stock and the cream. Bring this to the boil and then simmer it for five minutes. Then blend the mixture until it is smooth.

Season the soup with a little sugar, some more salt, a little freshly ground black pepper and serve.

Shepherd's pie

You will need:

4 large potatoes


Olive oil for frying

1 large onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

3 large carrots, sliced

500g (1lb 2oz) lean lamb, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lamb stock cube

1 teaspoon thyme leaves, all stalks removed

100g (4oz) frozen petit pois

2 tablespoons gravy granules

1 splash Worcestershire sauce

Knob of butter

Splash of milk (optional)

Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 190°C, 375°F, Gas 5.

Chop the potatoes into chunks and, to remove the starch, rinse them in cold water until the water runs clear. Bring to the boil. Once they are boiling, add the salt and leave them to boil until they become soft, which will take about 30 minutes. Gently heat one or more tablespoons of the olive oil in a pan and then add the chopped onions and the chopped garlic. Fry for 3-4 minutes until they both start to brown.

While the onions and garlic are frying, parboil the sliced carrots for about 10 minutes. Add the lamb mince to the fried garlic and onion and season it with some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Crumble the lamb stock cube into the pan, and add the thyme leaves.

Fry until the lamb is browned, and then add the frozen petit pois.

Drain the carrots and add them to the mix. Add the gravy granules into the pan along with a little water, plus a good splash of Worcestershire sauce. Stir well, taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Leave on a low heat to cook.

Drain the potatoes and add the knob of butter to the pan. If you like your potatoes smooth, then add a splash of milk to them. Mash the potatoes. Place the lamb into an ovenproof dish and place a layer of the mashed potato over the top of the lamb, ensuring that the lamb is completely covered by the potato. Bake in the oven for a further 10 minutes and serve.

Apple Tart Tatin with Chantilly Cream

Serves 4

You will need:

4 Braeburn apples

120g (5oz) butter

100g (4oz) sugar

1 packet puff pastry

100ml (2fl oz) cream, whipped, to serve

10g (½oz) icing sugar, to serve

Heat the oven to 150°C, 300°F, Gas 2.

Peel the apples and cut them into quarters, removing the cores. Spread the butter in the bottom of a frying pan and cover it with sugar.

Arrange the quartered apples around in a circle, with the peeled side down, on the butter and the sugar. Cover the apple layer with the puff pastry, ensuring that you tuck the pastry in all the way around the apples.

Place the frying pan on a low heat -- this will turn the butter and sugar into caramel. Heat until the caramel turns a nice amber colour -- to judge the colour of the caramel, gently pull the pastry away from the side slightly and take a peek.

Once it has turned amber, put the frying pan into the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked. Sweeten the whipped cream with the icing sugar and serve it with the tarte tatin.


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