Restaurant recommendations and more hidden gems from Donal’s Little Black Book.
Buttering us up
If the thought of making your own pastry terrifies you, there is a solution. Meet Mairead Finnegan, the owner of Roll It, Handmade All Butter Pastry, who began producing ready-to-roll pastry using all-Irish butter two years ago. Mairead offers two types of pastry in her range: sweet shortcrust for biscuits and tarts and plain shortcrust for sweet or savoury tarts and pies. The range is now stocked in selected food stores across Ireland in the frozen section. A handy ingredient to have for any baking emergencies.
Little black book
Arriba, Arriba! Andale! If you're a lover of all things Mexican, you need to hightail it to Picado Mexican Pantry, Richmond Street, Dublin 2. Run by husband and wife team, Lily and Alan, it has everything you need to cook authentic Mexican food at home. Each product is hand-picked, tested and tasted by Lily to ensure only the best and most authentic products make it to their shelves. Think canned chipotle chillies, corn tortillas and Mexican vanilla pods... Shop online or in their new store and make sure to check out their Facebook page for any upcoming events and workshops. You better be quick, though - they sell out fast!
I always get excited when new eateries open up close to my home and Minetta Deli in Sutton is no exception. Set up by sisters Deborah and Niamh, Minetta's neat menu offers comfort food at its finest including their homemade pizzas which do not disappoint. The specials board is ever-evolving and offers gems like Doran's devilled crab and cheese sourdough toastie or the Fivemiletown goats' cheese with pomegranate seeds salad box. With a huge array of tasty treats for such a tiny spot, this little deli has a whole heap of personality and style. Welcome to the neighbourhood, ladies!
This is a great dish to serve on a large serving platter to share, allowing your guests to break off chunks of belly, or you can shred the flesh. You can also serve this as a starter in 6cm square cubes or larger, if desired. This recipe shows you how to serve the pork belly as a starter, served with caramelised apples and a spiced jus. Serves 5
The key to this recipe is to cook the onions slowly until they become caramelised. Throughout history, onion soup was seen as peasant food because onions were cheap, plentiful and easy to grow. The modern version of this soup originated in France in the eighteenth century and uses beef stock as its base. It can be difficult to find a good French onion soup recipe, but I can certainly stand by this version.
Lemon tart is always a firm favourite. Don't get too worried about the process, as it's relatively simple. If you like, you can double the amount of pastry and freeze half of it for the next time. You can also cheat and use shop-bought pastry or a ready-to-go pastry case, which is slightly naughty but perfectly acceptable if you're not comfortable making your own pastry.