Winning Recipes of the Irish Food Writers' Guild Food Awards 2008

Lavistown Cheese, Waldorf Salad, Baby Leaves, Apple & Port Jelly & Hazelnut Dressing


Serves 8



1 large crisp eating apple, such as Granny Smith

3 tbsp chopped roasted shelled walnuts

1 celery stick, peeled and diced small handful baby spinach leaves

75g/30z thinly sliced smoked duck breast

250g/90z Lavistown cheese, cut into eight even sized slices

16 cubes apple & port jelly (see separate recipe) about 4 tbsp hazelnut dressing (see separate recipe)

3 tbsp apple puree (see separate recipe) rocket, micro cress and extra-virgin olive oil, to garnish


Method: Peel the apple and cut into quarters, then remove the core. Finely dice half and place in a bowl, then cut the remainder into wafer-thin slices and set aside. Add the walnuts to the diced apple with the celery and mix to combine. Arrange overlapping slices of the apple on a piece of cling film set on a clean work surface and cover with a layer of baby spinach leaves and finish with slices of the smoked duck.


Heap a small pile of the Waldorf salad into the middle and roll up into a tight cylinder shape about 2.5cm/1 inch thick. Trim down the ends and then cut in half. Carefully remove the cling film each roll and repeat with the remaining ingredients - you'll need eight rolls in total. Arrange each piece of Waldorf salad roll on a plate with two slices of the Lavistown cheese. Add a couple of cubes of the apple and port jelly to each one and then spoon around small dollops of the hazelnut dressing and apple puree.


Garnish the plates with rocket, micro cress and add a light drizzle of olive oil to finish before serving.

Hazelnut Dressing


Makes about 150ml/1/4 pint


1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

a pinch of caster sugar

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 tbsp chopped roasted and skinned hazelnuts

Salt and freshly ground black pepper




Place the vinegar in a screw-topped jar and add the sugar and a good pinch of salt then shake until the salt has dissolved.


Add the oil to the jar with the mustard and shake again until you have formed a thick emulsion. Season to taste and stir in the hazelnuts. Chill until needed and use as required.

Apple & Port Jelly


Makes about 500ml/18fl oz


3 gelatine leaves

400ml/14fl oz apple juice (good quality)

100ml/3 1/2fl oz ruby red port




Soak gelatine in a small bowl of cold water for 10 minutes until soft. Drain and gently squeeze out any excess liquid.


Warm a third of the apple juice in a small pan. When simmering, whisk in the gelatine and continue to heat gently until dissolved. Whisk back into the remaining apple juice with the port. Pour into a plastic mould or dish so that it is about 1 cm/1 /2 inch deep and leave to cool completely. Cover with a lid or cling film and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. When set, cut into small dice and use as required.

Apple Puree


Makes about 300ml/1/2 pint


2 crisp eating apples

1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

100ml/3 1/2fl oz apple juice (good quality)

knob of butter




To make the apple puree, peel, core and dice the apples. Place in a pan with the sugar, if using and apple juice, Bring to the boil and then simmer for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat, whisk in the butter until you have achieved a smooth puree. Pass through a fine sieve if necessary. Leave to cool, then chill in a bowl covered with cling film and use as required.

Patrick Moran's Roast Loin of Kerry Mountain Lamb with Polenta Sandwich of Slow Braised Shoulder, Aubergine Caviar, Tomato & Red Pepper Ketchup


Serves 8




olive oil, for cooking

400g/14oz loin of lamb, well trimmed


1 lamb shoulder, boned

2 fresh thyme sprigs

1 fresh rosemary sprig

1/2 teaspoon rock salt

2 carrots

1 celery stick, finely diced

1 leek, trimmed and finely diced

1 bay leaf

1 litre/1 3/4 pints chicken stock

500ml/18fl oz red wine


FOR THE KETCHUP: 1 garlic clove, sliced

1 red onion, finely sliced 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1 fresh thyme sprig

1 bay leaf

2 red peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped 2 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped

1 tablespoon caster sugar

2 tablespoons red wine

1 tablespoons red wine vinegar


FOR THE POLENTA: 200g/7oz polenta 25g/1oz butter

2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives



1/2 small garlic clove, crushed squeeze of lemon juice


a little extra-virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

basil a'ioli (see separate recipe) and fresh basil leaves, to garnish




To prepare the braised lamb shoulder, rub in one of the thyme sprigs with the rosemary and rock salt and place in a shallow non-metallic dish. Cover with cling film and leave to marinade in the fridge for 24 hours.


Rinse the lamb shoulder under cold running water and dry well, then roll up and tie tightly at intervals with butcher string.


Heat a large heavy-based pan. Add a tablespoon of the oil and then add the rolled lamb shoulder and quickly seal on all sides until lightly browned. Finely dice one of the carrots and add with the celery, leek, bay leaf, chicken stock and wine. Season to taste. Cover tightly and slowly bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and braise very gently for 4-5 hours until meat is very soft, turning the joint occasionally to ensure even cooking.


Remove the lamb shoulder from the braising liquid and when cool enough to handle, cut away the string, then leave to cool before finely shredding. Strain the braising liquid through a fine sieve and reduce until slightly thickened. Leave to cool completely and then fold in the braised lamb, transfer to a non-metallic bowl, then cover with cling film and chill until needed.


To make the ketchup, heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a pan and gently cook the garlic, onion, cumin, thyme and bay leaf for 3-4 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the roasted red pepper dice, tomatoes and caster sugar and cook for another 1-2 minutes until syrupy. Add the red wine and red wine vinegar and continue to reduce for about 5 minutes until all the liquid has evaporated.

Remove the thyme and bay leaf and discard. Season to taste and using a hand blender blitz to a smooth puree. Leave to cool completely and transfer to a plastic squeezy bottle. This will keep happily for up to one month in the fridge stored in a sterilised container.


Pour 1.2 Iitres/2 pints of cold water into a large pan and bring to the boil. Add a teaspoon of salt, then pour in the polenta in a very fine stream, stirring vigorously all the time with a wooden spoon. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the polenta is very thick and no longer grainy, stirring occasionally to prevent it from



Remove the polenta from the heat and stir in the butter and chives. Divide between two non-stick baking sheets and spread out to a thickness of about 1cm/1/2 inch. Cool, then cover with cling film and chill for at least 1 hour.


To make the aubergine caviar, pierce the aubergine near the stalk end with a form to prevent it from bursting during cooking. Grill the aubergine for about 40 minutes, depending on its size, turning regularly until the skin is black and the inside feels very soft and smells 'smoky'. Cut the aubergine in half lengthways and scoop out the soft creamy flesh into a bowl. Work it to a paste with a potato masher, and then stir in the garlic with enough lemon juice and olive oil to taste. Season with salt and cover with cling film until needed.


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. To roast the loin of lamb, heat an ovenproof frying pan. Add a little olive oil and then quickly sear the lamb all over. Season to taste and then place in the oven for about 5 minutes until moist and tender but still nicely pink in the middle.


To finish the polenta sandwiches, spread a 1 cm/1 /4 inch layer of the shredded braised lamb on to one sheet of the polenta and carefully place the other sheet on top to form a sandwich. Cut into 7.5cm/3 inch lengths that are no more than 2.5cm/1 inch wide. When ready to serve, arrange the polenta sandwiches on a non- stick baking sheet quite close together and bake in the oven for about 5 minutes or until completely heated through.


To serve, carve the loin of lamb into wafer thin slices and arrange on plates, then place a polenta sandwich on top of each portion at an angle. Squeeze a line of the ketchup underneath and add a quenelle of the aubergine caviar. Garnish with small blops of basil a'loli and a fresh basil leaf.


Quick links

Links of Interest

Not the full Irish - Katy McGuinness explores the true origins of 'Irish' foods.

The Irish Food Writers’ Guild is grateful to the Herbert Park Hotel for their ongoing generosity in hosting our regular meetings in their excellent facilities.


+353 (0)86 838 4401

2014 © Irish Food Writers' Guild. All Rights Reserved.