Sea veg, Salmon, Stout


on the 24th of October we took a class trip to the lovely scenic area of west Clare .A bleak and cold day but a worth while experience ,our first stop was at Quilty wild irish sea veg , this is a seaveg company set up to provide fresh organic sea veg to customers in all parts of the world .from here we moved onto the world famous Burren smokehouse this was a real treat as we got to sample some of their produce and got an insight into the production and history behind such a famous brand that is used worldwide by some of the top chefs, the video tour of the production line really gave us an insight into what goes on when trying to develop a product or a service .we were told that the salmon is know being shipped to America and Asia to customers who make their orders on line .from here we made the short walk down the road to the roadside tavern which is also owned by the same people as the smokehouse ,here they have their very own micro brewery which was a truly delightful experience when we got to sample  some of the produce that they had to offer .in my opinion the homebrewed  red ale had the taste of  more please off it which I would have done if we hadn’t to be in greaghen’s castle for a spot of lunch , as we entered the drawing room as it was called the heat off the open log fire  immediately took away any of the winter wet chill that we had being feeling all day ,the lunch of soup and sandwiches as they called it was much more than your everyday soup and ham sandwich it was truly mouth watering , a spiced onion and thyme soup accompanied with a selection of open sandwiches that were all different ranging from crab on brown soda to chirizo on spelt  bread this on its own was worth the trip ,all back on the bus we headed for kilfenora organic pig farm ,this was the highlight of the for me as  I am a lover of fresh organic pork as there is so much that can be done with it and the tastes and flavours that could maker me talk all day about pork dishes. the way in which the pigs are reared is very good as they have the freedom to roam  free on the land and enjoy the short lifespan they have as they are culled at 6 months .  as we left the pig farm and got on the road home this gave me time to reflect on the trip and It came to mind that this was a real valuable experience to have as it gave me more of an understanding in the way our country and its people have developed and produced these organic produces that are sold worldwide and how they have used our landscape to produce this is truly wonderful .it goes without saying Ireland truly is an emerald isle.


devils foodcake ( forget the calorie count )

 Tuesday the 23rd of October once again we are back in pastry class today is a mixture of different gateaux’s  , todays class is truly a no go for calorie counters as the level of indulgence is at a high . chocolate, caramel, cream , chocolate cream, butter cream, fluffy Italian meringues , and deep sweet sponges are just a sample of whats in store . today the class worked in pairs due to the level of work that has to be done within a very short 4 hour class . I have been paired up with bob today so its a bob and rob pairing ( more like Podge and Rodge ) we decided on the devils food-cake gateaux which we agreed after that it should be renamed heaven on a plate due to the level of TLC it received in the making and preparation according to bob ( podge ) .during the preparation we noticed that this was truly a chocolate lovers cake ,after all chocolate is a love food as they like to call it, the only devil involved with this cake is the one that eats it . constructed with layers of chocolate sponges , chocolate cream, chocolate glace this does deserve the name but by ingredients only , taste  wise it is heaven on a plate . hope you enjoy .



all purpose flour  101g

cocoa powder        31g

baking soda            2.5g

baking powder       0.5g

salt                            1g

eggs                           56g

sugar                          126g

vanilla paste               2g

mayonnaise                86g

water                            105g


Chocolate cream

Heavy cream                333g

64% chocolate              233g

eggs                                50g

egg yolk                          100g

sugar                               83g

Chocolate glaze

silver leaf gelatin            7.2g

heavy cream                    150g

sugar                                  225g

water                                  180g

cocoa powder                     75g



. the sponge is made by whisking together the eggs sugar, vanilla until they become a thick paste and pale yellow colour.

. incorporate the mayonnaise into the egg mix

.sift dry ingredients together

.fold dry ingredients along with the water into the egg mix in two additions each until a smooth batter

. bake in a preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 375f or 170c

.for the chocolate cream whisk the cream to soft peaks and chill

. whisk together the eggs, egg yolk , sugar over a bain marie until it thickens being careful not to scramble the eggs .transfer to mixing bowl and whisk to a slow ribbon stage

. melt the chocolate to 48c degrees

. mix one third of the cream into the chocolate mix , incorporate the egg mix into the chocolate ,finishing with the remaining cream .

cut the sponge into two layers , put one of the layers inside a clean cake mould topping with chocolate cream then apply the second layer of sponge and top with more cream mix ,

. freeze the cake until the layer of chocolate cream has set allowing you to remove the ring mould

. prepare your chocolate  glaze by bringing the cream, sugar, water to the boiland then whisk in the cocoa powder, reduce the glaze by two thirds until you get the right setting consistency ,adding the gelatin you are now ready to glaze your little devil

. place the cake onto a wire rack ,using a sauce gun if at hand , if not you can use a stepped pallet knife ,spread the glaze all over the cake covering every surface of the cake . return to the freezer for a period of time sufficient for the glaze to set .

. remove from the freezer and let return to room temperature

. final step simply forget the diet and calorie counting and enjoy this truly heavenly but devilish dessert

beaujolais berry and basil tart , a wine lovers favourite

this is a lovely litte recipe that I picked up from a French chef that I spent some time working with . It is a must have recipe for the upcoming winter period as it uses fresh winter berries and a nice bottle ( or two ) of a sweet French dessert wine , which infuses with the fresh basil flavour to give you a unique savoury and sweet taste ,also known as umami  . the sweet pasrtry is a recipe that I use for all my sweet desserts as it is a simple yet quality pastry . hope you enjoy


Sweet pastry

Flour                            225g

Butter                          110g

Sugar                           80g

Egg yolk                      1


Beaujolais & basil jelly

Red wine                     1 bottle

Basil                            bunch

White peppercorns      4-5

Gelatine                       8-10 leaves



. make sweet pastry and refridgerate

. Blind bake the tart case in a preheated oven at 165’c for 12 to 20 min’s until golden brown

. Boil together the red wine, basil, white peppercorns, sugar.

. Soak gelatine in cold water

. Whisk gelatine into red wine mix, strain mix into bowl over an ice bath to start cooling, do not let it cool completely .

. line tartlets with the berries , cover with jelly, refridgerate to set

the effects of modern technology on menu design and show casing of menus online

 due to taking on a recent project during my culinary studies  I have come across some interesting developments into the effects of modern technology in the culinary world  which in many businesses have gone (putting it politely on the compost heap ) The level of menu design in the last century has developed so much that we no longer look go to our restaurant of choice  anymore without checking out the menu online first , this in my opinion has seriously effected the level of customers to restaurants . As a chef by trade  this eliminates the possibilities for a chef to express their work and creativity ,the menus that are available to view may not be suited to the potential customer so therefore this turns them off visiting the establishment for a dining experience , this in turn does not allow the chef to show their true skills and experience that would allow him or her to create a dish for the potential client showcasing potential customer lost ? yes potential income lost ? yes . these are things that need to be taking into consideration during this economic climate  , what are your views on this?