Tasty treats

Some appetising delicacies from www.bordbia.ie

Creamy Thai chicken curry with potato and coconut milk

Ingredients

Two tablespoons of sunflower oil; 750g one and a half pounds of skinless, boneless, chicken breast cut into large chunks; two to three tablespoons of red or green Thai curry paste; one pint of canned coconut milk; two tablespoons of Thai fish sauce; two tablespoons of light brown sugar; 1lb of new potatoes unpeeled, scrubbed and cut in quarters; a quarter teaspoon of salt; one to two tablespoons of lime juice; 50g of unsalted roasted peanuts; three spring onions, finely shredded and fresh coriander.

Method

Heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan. Fry off the chicken chunks for a few minutes to seal them. Remove chicken and put in a bowl. Add the curry paste to the pan and fry for about 30 seconds. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, and sugar to the pan and stir well to mix.

Return the chicken to the pan and cook the mixture. Then add the potatoes and salt and reduce the heat.

Cover the pan and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the potatoes tender.

Stir in the lime juice to taste.

Serve in bowls with the peanuts, coriander, and spring onion on top.

Apricot and almond cake

with oranges

in caramel

Ingredients

225g (8oz ) butter; 225g (8oz ) sugar; juice of one lemon; 75g (3oz ) ground almonds; 100g (4oz ) plain flour; 100g (4oz ) dried apricots, chopped in the food processor; three quality assured large eggs, beaten.

Oranges in caramel; four large oranges, peeled and slice; four tablespoons of sugar and 125ml of water.

Method

Set oven 180°C (350°F ) gas mark 4. Line a shallow 23cm cake tin with baking parchment.

Beat the butter and sugar together, until light and fluffy, add the lemon juice and ground almonds. Fold in the flour, apricots, and eggs. Transfer the mixture to the lined cake tin, smooth the top and bake for approximately 35 minutes until firm to the touch.

Place the oranges in a flat dish, heat the sugar in a heavy pan, allow the sugar to brown, add the water, and boil until you have a caramel sauce. Pour it over the oranges. Serve with the cake.

Pork chops

with mushrooms and garlic

Most supermarkets are now selling a mixed packet of gourmet or wild mushrooms, which would be perfect to use in this dish. However, if you prefer you could use all closed cup or chestnut mushrooms.

Ingredients:

Four 100g lean pork chops, well trimmed; one tablespoon of olive oil; small knob of butter; two shallots, finely chopped; 150g packet gourmet mushrooms, sliced; one garlic clove, crushed; two tablespoons of medium sherry; 250ml carton reduced fat crème fraîche; salt and freshly ground black pepper; boiled potatoes and green beans, to serve.

Method:

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4, 180ºC (350ºF ). Heat the oil in a frying pan and quickly sear the chops for a minute or so on each side until golden brown, then place in an ovenproof dish, side by side. Season. Add the butter to the pan and once melted, stir in the shallots and cook for a couple of minutes until softened, stirring. Add the mushrooms and garlic and season to taste, then sauté for another few minutes until the mushrooms are just tender. Pour the sherry into the pan and allow to bubble up, then stir in the crème fraîche until just heated through. Spoon over the pork chops and bake for 20 minutes until the pork chops are completely cooked through. Serve the dish straight to the table and have bowls of boiled potatoes and green beans to hand around separately.

Pork fillet

with prunes

This is delicious served with some spinach and a root vegetable puree. To make the purée simply steam 450g each of parsnips and potatoes until tender. Mash well and add 100ml of milk and a knob of butter, then blend with an electric hand whisk until you have achieved a smooth purée.

Ingredients:

Twelve ready-to-eat prunes; 300ml dry white wine; 450g pork fillet/pork steak; two tablespoons of seasoned flour; 25g butter; one tablespoon of redcurrant jelly; 150ml cream; one lemon with pips removed; salt and freshly ground black pepper; root vegetable purée (see intro ) and spinach, to serve.

Method:

Place the prunes in a bowl with the wine and set aside to soak for 30 minutes to allow them to plump up. Trim the pork and cut into 1cm slices. Place on a clean work surface, then gently press down with the heel of your hand to flatten them out slightly. Place the flour on a plate and then use to dust the pork, shaking off any excess. Heat the butter in a large frying pan and, when foaming, cook the pork for one to two minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate and set aside — you may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your pan.

Strain the wine into the hot pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until reduced by two-thirds. Stir in the redcurrant jelly and cook for another two minutes, stirring until melted. Add the cream, prunes, and pork, then season to taste and simmer gently for two to three minutes until the pork is cooked through. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice and season to taste, then pile the spinach on to plates and spoon over the pork mixture. Serve with the root vegetable purée and spinach.

Succulent

roast pork

This recipe is perfect to feed a crowd and the shoulder or gigot of pork are the best cuts to use. This is best served warm and not straight from the oven. If you are nervous about tying up the joint with string, bring the stuffing down to your butchers and ask them to do it for you.

Ingredients:

Two kg boneless shoulder or gigot of pork with rind on (at room temperature ); two fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves removed and finely chopped; 50g mature hard cheese, finely grated; four garlic cloves, finely chopped; four tablespoons of flat-leaf parsley, chopped; waldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper; boiled potatoes and baby carrots, to serve.

Method:

Preheat the oven to gas mark 5, 190ºC (375ºF ). Open out the pork onto a clean work surface and season generously. Sprinkle over the chopped rosemary, cheese, garlic, and parsley in an even layer. Tightly roll the pork back up to enclose the filling completely. Tie with string at two cm intervals to keep the meat in shape. If the skin is not already scored, use a small sharp knife to score the skin between the strings. Wipe off any excess moisture with kitchen roll and sprinkle with salt.

Place in a roasting tin and roast for 20 minutes per 500g plus 20 minutes. For the last 20 minutes of cooking time, increase the oven temperature to gas mark 7, 220ºC (425ºF ), so, if the joint is exactly 2kg, it will take one hours and 40 minutes until cooked through and tender with crispy crackling.

Leave the roast pork to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes, as it is actually best served warm. Carve into thin slices and arrange on warmed plates with the potatoes and baby carrots. Spoon over the pan juices to serve.

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