Wednesday 17 January 2018

Food files: Five minutes with Ballymaloe's Rory O'Connell

Rory O'Connell. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney.
Rory O'Connell. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney.
Frank Kavanagh
(Stock photo)
Eton Mess
Blue Hills teapot.

The chef and Balllymaloe Cookery School founder on the ingredients he can't be without and his guilty food pleasures.

My philosophy is...

Choose the finest and freshest ingredients and, in my case, do not intervene too much with them. I always try to cook to the seasons and find that the particular combination of ingredients growing at a particular time of year tends to give the possibilities for delicious combinations of flavour.

My desert island ingredients...

Butter to fry the fish I would have to catch to survive on. Olive oil, cold-pressed extra virgin, of course. Could I bring a hen so as to have an egg a day and a few herb plants to get a herb patch going? Sweet marjoram would be one of the herbs along with thyme, fennel and rosemary. I would also love some dried chilli flakes and some Irish sea salt.

An ingredient I'd like to champion...

Seakale. It's hardly known about and is delicate and delicious and comes at a time of the year when vegetables are so scarce, making it seem even more wonderful. It grows wild along our coastline but we cultivate it in the gardens and cover it with terracotta pots to keep the light off it and as a result the stalks are pale, tender and succulent.

My guilty pleasure...

The odd Jaffa Cake.

My culinary inspiration comes from…

Farmers markets', both home and abroad, where you see a wide range of ingredients. Books of course are a tremendous source of ideas and inspiration, and every year at Litfest we get an opportunity to see and taste the work of some of the world's finest chefs; a unique opportunity.

Rory is one of the speakers at the Kerrygold Ballymaloe Litfest of food and wine. See for the full programme

Eastern promise

Blue Hills teapot.

If your tea ritual is something sacred to you, the Blue Hills tea pot by Danish designer Lars Rank is a worth investing in. Taking its inspiration from Japan, the side handle means its sits better in the hand and has a better balance  than normal teapots. €135, available from Nordic Makers.

This month we're...

...Taking it outside

Eton Mess

Al fresco dining is on the agenda this month and Fallon & Byrne, the People's Park Dun Laoghaire, combines a recently launched casual dining menu with a beautiful stone terrace to make it one of the city's most idyllic outdoor eating spots. Sunny days were made for the roasted whole sea bass with sumac and tabbouleh, followed by a decadent Eton mess with Wexford strawberries. See

…Getting our grill on

(Stock photo)

The Radisson Blue Hotel and Spa, Galway, is kicking off the summer season with its barbecue menu on Veranda Lounge and Terrace. The crowd pleasing menu includes a 6oz chuck and brisket burger with smoked cheese and bacon jam as well as veggie friendly chickpea and lentil burgers with fresh mozzarella and sun kissed tomatoes, with healthy salads from €18.50 per person. See.

...Feeling the amore

Frank Kavanagh

If you've ever wanted to learn how to make a perfect, proper Italian espresso, micro roasters Frank Kavanagh, pictured, and Peter Sztal can show you how at The Art of Espresso event at The House of Peroni, taking place at 1 Dame Lane on Saturday 21 and 28 May. The 40 minute classes include a selection of coffees and a Peroni Nastro Azzuro Piccola, and tickets cost €15. See the

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