Eating with friends: recipes and styling tips for a summer get-together
We begin our summer series of entertaining with yummy recipes from two really handy books, Clodagh’s Suppers by Clodagh McKenna, and David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl’s Little Green Kitchen, which offers veggie options kids will enjoy too.
Clodagh’s Irish Farmhouse Cheese Soufflés
These are my beautiful, light, fluffy cheese clouds! A dreamy starter or a main course for lunch. If you are frightened of the thought of making a soufflé, please don't be, as this recipe is so simple and completely foolproof. I also love making this with Gouda or Gruyère.
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It's best to make the mixture no more than 2 hours before cooking - as you might lose the lightness in the egg white.
Makes 6 individual soufflés
20g fresh white breadcrumbs
40g butter, plus extra for greasing
40g plain flour
150g mature Irish Cheddar, grated
1 tsp Dijon mustard
4 large eggs, separated
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Grease six small ramekins or other small ovenproof dishes and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs to coat.
2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook - continuing to stir - until a paste (roux) forms. Then gradually add the milk, whisking constantly, and cook until you have a smooth, thickened sauce.
3. Whisk in the grated Cheddar and mustard, followed by the egg yolks. Once the cheese has melted into the sauce and the consistency is smooth, remove the pan from the heat.
4. Put a kettle of water on to boil. Whisk the egg whites in a very clean and dry bowl until stiff. Next, stir a couple of spoonfuls into the cheese mixture to loosen it, then very slowly and gently fold in the remaining egg whites with a spatula.
5. Divide the mixture between the prepared dishes.
6. Make a bain-marie by half-filling a roasting tin with boiling water from the kettle and place it in the oven. Stand the dishes in the bain-marie and bake for 12 minutes until the soufflés are well risen and golden, and then serve immediately.
Baked Coconut Tempura Veggies
Dipping vegetables in a batter and baking until golden and crispy is a simple trick to make them more fun and accessible for kids. Our method is easier and healthier than any deep-fried version - and the almond flour and desiccated coconut add a pleasant sweetness and crunch. We serve these on a large platter with our sticky rice balls, dipping sauce and various other raw veggies and fruit. Aquafaba is simply the liquid from a tin of chickpeas.
Active preparation: 50 minutes
Start to finish: 1 hour
For the sticky rice balls
200g Thai black rice, preferably soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce or tamari
For the tempura veggies
250g butternut squash, rind and seeds removed
½ cauliflower head (250g)
200g mushrooms of choice, cleaned
1 avocado (150g), stone removed and flesh scooped out
100g tofu, patted dry
For the coconut tempura batter 2 eggs, or 125ml aquafaba
125g almond flour
100g desiccated coconut
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the dipping sauce
60ml soy sauce or tamari
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar
½ tsp white sesame seeds, preferably toasted
To serve Red cabbage leaves
Sugar snap peas
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and grease a baking tray or line it with baking parchment.
2. To make the sticky rice balls, bring the rice and water to the boil in a medium-sized lidded saucepan, then reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes, or until cooked and most of the water has been absorbed.
3. While the rice is cooking, prepare the veg: cut the squash into slices 1cm thick, the cauliflower into florets, the mushrooms into halves or quarters, the avocado into wedges, the tofu into bite-size triangles, and set aside.
4. To make the coconut tempura batter, crack the eggs into a medium-sized bowl and whisk together. Put the rest of the ingredients in a separate medium-sized bowl and stir together. Dip the vegetables in the egg mixture, before tossing in the coconut mixture and transferring to the prepared tray.
5. Bake for 15-25 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked, golden and slightly crispy. Remember to turn the vegetables over halfway through the cooking time.
6. While the vegetables are cooking, make the dipping sauce. Put all of the ingredients, except the sesame seeds, in a small serving bowl and stir together. Scatter with the sesame seeds and transfer to a serving platter.
7. When the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes with the lid on, before stirring through the oil, vinegar and soy sauce. Mash the rice with a fork until it is sticky. Working with one heaped tablespoon of rice at a time, roll into balls and transfer to a serving platter.
8. When the vegetables are cooked, remove from the oven, transfer to the platter and serve hot alongside the sticky rice balls, some cabbage, avocado, sugar snap peas, pea tendrils, pineapple and lime wedges, and with the dipping sauce on the side.
Adult upgrade: Serve with sriracha sauce.
Clodagh's Dublin Bay Prawns Pil Pil with Dipping Toasts
I remember the first time that I ever had prawns pil pil: it was in the famous Boqueria market in Barcelona. I sat at the counter of one of the tapas bars, and watched how they fired up the plump fresh prawns with fiery chillies, aromatic garlic and smoky paprika. They were out of this world… They served them with very thinly sliced sourdough toasts that were brushed with olive oil. I scooped the prawns pil pil onto the toasts to create the perfect bite!
This is one of the easiest and fastest starters that I know - but I also make them when I want a late-night supper that's light but bursting with flavour. Makes 6
100ml olive oil
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
30 raw Dublin Bay prawns (langoustines), peeled and deveined (see below) but tails left intact
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp dry sherry
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sourdough toasts, to serve
1. Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil, followed by the garlic and chilli flakes. Cook for 2 minutes.
2. Toss in the Dublin Bay prawns, followed by the smoked paprika, dry sherry and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Just before you take the pan off the heat, toss in the parsley.
3. Serve with some sourdough toasts for scooping up all the juices.
To devein: Remove the heads and shells from the Dublin Bay prawns. Cut into the flesh of each prawn down the back and pull out and discard the black vein that lies just below the surface. This is actually the prawn's digestive tract and needs removing. Rinse the prawns briefly in cold water.
A helping hand: Let the kids chop the tofu; it is soft and very easy to cut without any accidents. Let them fill the bowls with rice and place them upside down on the plates. Lifting those bowls and revealing the ricedome always brings out oohs and aahs!
Extracted from Little Green Kitchen: Simple Vegetarian Family Recipes by David Frenkiel & Luise Vindahl. Published byHardie Grant, €28.
Photography by David Frenkiel