Life Recipes

Monday 19 March 2018

A taste of Wicklow - Recipes from Catherine Fulvio

Cheesy lemon cups with garlic herb oil from A Taste of Home by Catherine Fulvio
Cheesy lemon cups with garlic herb oil from A Taste of Home by Catherine Fulvio
Berry Pannacota
Polenta and Parsley Chunky Parsnips
Lamb wellington from A Taste of Home by Catherine Fulvio
Italian-Style Tomato, Shallot and Rosemary Chicken Hotpot
Kale and cannelinni soup from A Taste of Home by Catherine Fulvio
Ham croquettes from A Taste of Home by Catherine Fulvio
Roasted Red Pepper, Leek and Soft Farmhouse Cheese Terrine
A Taste of Home by Catherine Fulvio, Gill books

Catherine Fulvio applies a masterful twist to traditional recipes, inspired by her upbringing at Ballyknocken House

Kale, Cannellini and Potato Soup

This is where Italy meets Ireland - yes, it's my taste nod to Italy and a really delicious and healthy blend of our two cultures.

Serves 4


Olive oil, for sautéing

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

60g smoked bacon, diced

4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

1 tsp chopped thyme

100ml white wine

1.2 litres vegetable stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

60g curly kale, washed and roughly shredded

150g cooked cannellini beans


Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion for 5 minutes until soft and just starting to colour. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the smoked bacon and sauté until fairly crispy. Add the potatoes, thyme and white wine and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Pour in the vegetable stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat. Check the seasoning, adding salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Simmer for about 18 to 20 minutes.

Stir in the kale and cooked beans and simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes, until the kale is just tender. Ladle into soup bowls and serve.

Lamb Wellington with Wild Garlic

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Lamb wellington from A Taste of Home by Catherine Fulvio

Beef Wellington is truly delicious. Being lamb farmers here at Ballyknocken, we adore our family version of Lamb Wellington. It really is a very fine dish, perfect for that 'wow factor' when you really want to impress.

Serves 4


3 tbsp olive oil

4 x 120g lamb fillets (ask your butcher to trim them for you)

Good pinch of paprika

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 shallots, finely sliced

1 garlic clove, finely sliced

250g fresh seasonal mixed mushrooms, sliced

2 tbsp Madeira

50ml white wine mixed with 1 tsp cornflour

75g pork or duck-liver pâté

16 young wild garlic leaves

300g all-butter puff pastry

Egg wash, to glaze


Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Sear 2 pieces of lamb at a time until golden brown all round. Season with paprika, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Leave to cool.

Add the shallots and garlic to the frying pan and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Then add the mushrooms and cook for a further 4 to 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the Madeira, then add the white wine and cornflour mix and cook until the mixture has thickened. Lastly, add the pâté and salt and pepper to taste and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 210°C/fan 190°C/gas 7. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Wrap 4 wild garlic leaves around each lamb fillet. Roll out the puff pastry to 0.5 cm thick and cut into 4 equal rectangles, each of sufficient size to wrap around a lamb fillet. Spread a layer of the cold mushroom mix over each rectangle of pastry, leaving a 3cm edge free all the way around. Place a fillet in the middle of each and wrap the puff pastry around it. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash and seal well.

Place the wrapped fillets, unsealed side up, on the lined baking tray. Make a small slit in the pastry for the steam to escape during the baking process. Then score the puff pastry on top. Brush with egg wash, making sure that only the tops and sides are coated and that the parchment paper is free of egg wash. Bake for about 17 to 20 minutes until the pastry is golden.

Leave to rest for 4 minutes before cutting so that the juices in the meat can settle. Serve sliced on a platter with Polenta and Parsley Chunky Parsnips (see recipe below).

Cheesy Lemon Cups with Garlic Herb Oil

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Cheesy lemon cups with garlic herb oil from A Taste of Home by Catherine Fulvio

We love teaching Italian recipes in the cookery school and this one in particular reminds me of Sorrento, where I have enjoyed many delicious dishes, including lemon pasta served in large lemon shells. Inspired by the Amalfi Coast, this recipe is perfect for a starter.

Serves 4


4 large lemons, halved

1 medium red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

100g grated Parmesan

150g ricotta

100g pistachio nuts, roughly chopped

100g mozzarella, torn

1 tsp oregano, chopped

1 tsp rosemary, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp parsley, chopped

8 tbsp brown breadcrumbs

For the herb oil: 100ml olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

50ml lemon juice

4 tbsp chopped mixed herbs such as dill, thyme, rosemary, parsley and oregano

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Strips of lemon zest, to garnish

Handful spinach leaves, shredded, to serve


To prepare the lemons, squeeze the juice from them and retain for the herb oil. Run a sharp knife between the skin and flesh of each lemon half and, using a spoon, scoop out and discard the flesh, then set the remaining skins aside. Preheat the grill to medium.

Mix the chilli, Parmesan, ricotta, pistachios, mozzarella, oregano and rosemary, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and spoon this cheese mixture into the empty lemon halves. Place in a medium-sized gratin dish. Combine the parsley and breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the lemon halves. Grill for about 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and the topping crisp.

To make the herb oil, pour the oil into a blender. Add the garlic and lemon juice and blend until smooth. While the motor is still running, add the herbs and blend. Check the seasoning, adding salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. To serve, put a handful of shredded spinach on each serving plate and place two lemon halves on top. Spoon over some herb oil, garnish with a sprig of rosemary or dill and serve immediately.

Polenta and Parsley Chunky Parsnips

Polenta and Parsley Chunky Parsnips

A great tip that I learned from an Italian chef who visited us is to soak peeled parsnips in half milk and half water to stop them turning brown. It really works, but remember to rinse well and pat dry before cooking.

Serves 4


Rapeseed oil

5 to 6 large parsnips, peeled and sliced into chunks

4 tbsp fine polenta (cornmeal)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp chopped parsley, to garnish


Preheat the oven to 210°C/fan 190°C/gas 7. Heat some oil in a roasting tin. Place the parsnips into a bowl and drizzle with some oil. Sprinkle the polenta over and toss very well.

Add the parsnip chunks to the heated oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Roast for about 20 to 25 minutes until crisp and cooked. Spoon the parsnips into a serving bowl, sprinkle the parsley over and keep warm until required.

Italian-Style Tomato, Shallot and Rosemary Chicken Hotpot

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Italian-Style Tomato, Shallot and Rosemary Chicken Hotpot

One-pot wonders are the solution to healthy, nutritious meals in our busy lives. This one is packed with vegetables and, because I'm using chicken thighs, it freezes very well, also.

Serves 4


For the hotpot: Olive oil, for frying

8 deboned, skinless chicken thighs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 shallots, peeled and halved

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 medium carrot, finely diced

1 tsp chopped rosemary

2 tsp chopped oregano

400g tinned diced tomatoes

1 tsp honey

500ml chicken stock

12 black olives, pitted

For the potato and Parmesan topping:

4 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

1 tbsp melted butter mixed with 1 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp grated Parmesan

2 tsp chopped mixed rosemary and oregano


Heat a little oil in a casserole dish over a medium heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and freshly ground black pepper and sear until golden brown. Place on a clean plate and set aside. Add the shallots and sauté for about 4 minutes, until golden, before adding the garlic and cooking for 1 minute. Then add the carrot, rosemary and oregano as well as the tomatoes, honey and chicken stock. Bring to the boil and check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as required.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Return the chicken thighs to the casserole dish, stir well and add the olives.

For the topping, arrange the potato slices neatly over the top of the hotpot, starting from the outer edge and leaving a small space in the centre. Brush the potato slices with the melted butter and oil mix and sprinkle the Parmesan and chopped herbs on top. Bake in the oven for about 30 to 35 minutes until the potatoes are cooked and golden.

Leave to settle for 5 minutes, then sprinkle a little salt over the top before serving.

Ham Croquettes with Leek and Paprika Sauce

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Ham croquettes from A Taste of Home by Catherine Fulvio

A firm favourite with my children, these have meat and veg in them so all boxes are ticked. It's also quite a useful recipe for using up leftovers. The beauty of croquettes is that the filling can be changed to suit what's in the fridge - I often add diced, sautéed chorizo or smoked salmon. Sometimes I even make smaller ones to serve as canapés with drinks in summer in the herb garden.

Makes 12


For the croquettes: 100g good quality ham, diced into small pieces

350g warm mashed potato

Good handful young spinach, shredded

½ lemon, zest only

1 tbsp chopped chives

2 tsp chopped oregano

3 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 egg, beaten

4 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs

3 tbsp sesame seeds

Rapeseed oil, for frying

For the sauce:

Rapeseed oil, for frying

½ medium leek, finely sliced

2 tsp wholegrain mustard

½ tsp sweet paprika

4 tbsp crème fraîche

1 tsp chopped oregano

1 tbsp chopped parsley

100ml vegetable stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


To make the croquettes, place the ham, potato, spinach, lemon zest, chives and oregano in a medium-sized bowl and mix together. Divide into 12 portions to shape.

Spoon the seasoned flour out onto a clean plate. Pour the beaten egg into a shallow, wide bowl, and spread the breadcrumbs and sesame seeds out on a clean plate. Dampen your hands with cold water and shape the ham-and-potato mixture into croquettes. Dip each one into the egg, then the flour, and roll in the breadcrumbs and place on a plate lined with parchment paper. Leave in the fridge for half an hour to set.

To make the sauce, heat some oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, add the leek and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes until softened but not browned. Stir in the mustard, paprika, crème fraîche, oregano and parsley. Pour in the stock and simmer to thicken slightly, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

To cook the croquettes, heat some oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Carefully place the croquettes in the frying pan in batches and fry until golden and crispy and heated through.

To serve, place some wilted chard on a platter, arrange the croquettes on top and spoon over some of the sauce - serve the rest in a small ramekin on the side.

Roasted Red Pepper, Leek and Soft Farmhouse Cheese Terrine

Roasted Red Pepper, Leek and Soft Farmhouse Cheese Terrine

The best way to serve this is to put the whole terrine in the centre of the table and let everyone dig in. It looks really impressive. Roasted peppers are delicious in salads or soups. The best way I know to peel them is to roast them at fan 200°C for 25 minutes until blistered and blackened and then place into a sealed plastic bag for 10 minutes. Peeling them will be so easy.

Serves 4


Extra virgin olive oil, for sautéing

1 medium leek, sliced in half lengthways

6 roasted red peppers, peeled and deseeded, each sliced into 4

For the filling: 400g cream cheese

100g Greek-style natural yoghurt

4 tbsp pitted black olives, chopped

2 tsp chopped oregano

½ lemon, zest only

1 tbsp chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salsa:

10 cherry tomatoes, finely diced

6 pitted black olives, sliced

½ lemon, zest only

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

6 fresh oregano leaves

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Crusty bread, to serve


Heat a large frying pan with a little oil and lightly sauté the leeks. Leave to cool. Place a doubled layer of foil 20cm long on a baking tray. Lay the pieces of red pepper in 3 adjoining rows along the length of the foil, just touching each other, and lay the leeks across all 3 rows.

To make the filling, combine the cream cheese, yoghurt, olives, oregano, lemon zest and parsley in a bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Spoon the cream-cheese mix on top of the leeks, piling it up slightly. Fold the foil in on the two ends. Gather up the two long sides of the foil, fold over and seal. Smooth the sides and leave to set overnight in the fridge.

To make the salsa, mix all the ingredients together well, almost crushing them. To serve, unwrap the terrine and place on a large board or pretty platter. Spoon the salsa over the top. Using a sharp knife, cut a few 5cm slices of terrine and serve with crusty bread.

Very Berry Pannacotta Tart

Berry Pannacota

This recipe really was an invention - we needed something to use up the fresh fruit from our garden. I love pannacotta and so we began to experiment. It's an impressive dessert to look at, yet it's light and fresh in flavour. You can make it with any other suitable fruits, such as grapes, mango, papaya, kiwi and so on.

Serves 8-10


20 Rich Tea biscuits, crushed

1 lemon, zest only

100g melted butter

For the filling:

5 leaves gelatine

150ml cold water, to soften the gelatine leaves

300ml cream

70g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

250g natural yoghurt

For the topping: 100ml water

60ml caster sugar

2 gelatine leaves

150ml cold water, to soften the gelatine leaves

100g blueberries

100g raspberries

100g loganberries or any other berry of your choice


Line the base of a springform tin with parchment paper. Place the crushed biscuits into a bowl and add the lemon zest. Pour in sufficient butter to form a soft base. Spoon the biscuit mix into the tin and flatten. Place in the fridge to set for 30 minutes.

To make the filling, first soak the gelatine leaves in the cold water. This will soften them and make them pliable. Place the cream and sugar into a saucepan and stir. Warm the mixture to dissolve the sugar and then bring it just to boiling point. Remove the pot from the heat and add the vanilla extract.

Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine leaves and place them into the cream mixture. Whisk briefly to dissolve. Add the yoghurt and whisk until smooth, then pour over the biscuit base. Cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or until set.

To prepare the topping, combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and heat on medium to high until a thin syrup forms.

Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in the cold water until soft, then squeeze the excess water and add the leaves to the syrup. Stir well until dissolved. Leave to cool and set slightly.

Remove the tart from the fridge and arrange all the berries on top. Mix the lightly set gelatine syrup and carefully pour over the top. Leave to set for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Irish Independent

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