2010 Recipes

Recipes created for the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards 2010 by chef Derry Clarke of l’Ecrivain Restaurant, Baggot Street, Dublin 2, showcasing the 2010 award winners.

Nicky’s Plaice smoked salmon with crab salad & cucumber

Serves 4

  • 225g (8oz) Nicky’s Plaice smoked salmon


  • 1 gelatine leaf
  • ½ cucumber, roughly chopped


  • ½ cucumber
  • 100g (4oz) fresh white crab meat, picked over to remove any pieces of shell
  • 1 tsp creamed horseradish
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice


  • 1 ripe Hass avocado, skinned, halved & stone retained
  • 1 tbsp crème fraiche
  • squeeze of fresh lemon
  • Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • salted cured salmon eggs and micro cress, to garnish

To make the cucumber jelly, soak the gelatine leaf for 3-4 minutes in a bowl of ice-cold water. Purée the cucumber in a food processor, then season to taste. Place in a small pan with 100ml (3 ½ fl oz) of water. Drain the gelatine and squeeze dry, then dissolve in the cucumber mixture. Push through a fine sieve into a small container and allow to set in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours.

Using a long, straight-edged knife, slice thin horizontal slices from the smoked salmon. Cut these layers into 4cm (1 ½ in) squares.

To make the cucumber roll, place the crab meat in a bowl and fold in the horseradish and mayonnaise. Add the lemon juice and season to taste. Remove the seeds from the cucumber using a small teaspoon and then pare long thin ribbons from the cucumber using a swivel vegetable peeler – you’ll need 8 in total.

Arrange two slices of the cucumber on a clean work surface in a slightly overlapping layer. Divide the crab mixture into quarters and place one quarter at one end of the cucumber, then roll up tightly to enclose the filling.

To make the avocado purée, blend the avocado, crème fraiche and lemon juice together in a food processor. Season to taste, then transfer to a bowl and pop the avocado stone into the middle of the mixture (this prevents the avocado from going brown). Seal with clingfilm and chill until needed.

To serve, arrange the smoked salmon on chilled plates. Cut the cucumber jelly into small squares and arrange one on each plate with a cucumber roll. Scatter over the cured salted smoked salmon eggs and micro cress to garnish. Finish each one with a small pile of Maldon salt.

Fermanagh free range seared chicken breast with barley, cured bacon & turnip purée

Serves 4

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 Fermanagh free range chicken breast Supremes (skin on, boned but with wing bone still attached)
  • 100g (4oz) barley
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 50g (2oz) smoked bacon lardons
  • 50g (2oz) button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 4 tbsp red wine
  • 120ml (4fl oz) jus (see separate recipe)


  • 275g (10oz) turnip, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • parsley purée and pithivier filled with chicken confit, to garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4. To make the turnip purée, place the turnip, shallot with one tablespoon of water in a roasting tin. Stir in the olive oil. Cover with tin foil and roast for 40 minutes until tender. Purée in a food processor until smooth and season with salt and pepper.

Place the barley in a pan of boiling salted water and simmer for about 40 minutes until just tender. Drain well and set aside until needed.

Heat half the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan and quickly brown the chicken breasts on both sides and season. Transfer to the oven and roast for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through and tender.

Heat the rest of the olive oil in a sauté pan and sauté the shallot and bacon for 2-3 minutes until softened but not coloured. Tip in the mushrooms and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Stir in the barley and then pour in the wine and allow to bubble right down. Stir in the jus and allow to simmer gently for a few minutes until the flavours have had a chance to combine.

To serve, divide the turnip purée among warmed plates and make a dip in the centre of each one. Spoon in the barley mixture and arrange a seared chicken breast on each one. Garnish each plate with a spoonful of parsley purée and a pithivier filled with chicken confit, if liked.


Makes about 900ml (1 ½ pints)

  • 25g (1oz) butter
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 200ml (7fl oz) ruby port
  • 200ml (7fl oz) red wine
  • 1.5 litres (2 ½ pints) beef or veal stock

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and gently cook the shallot, garlic, celery, carrot, bay leaf and thyme for about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and cook for 2-3 minutes to caramelise. Add the balsamic vinegar, port and red wine and reduce by half. Next add the stock and reduce to a sauce consistency. Pass through a muslin-lined sieve, cool and chill in a covered container. The jus should keep for about 5 days in the fridge. It can also be frozen in ice-cube trays and then stored in plastic bags in the freezer.

Chocolate pave with Moonshine organic ice cream and Moonshine organic milkshake

Serves 6

  • 300g (11oz) plain chocolate, broken into squares
  • 500ml (18fl oz) cream
  • 2 eggs plus 5 egg yolks
  • 250g (9oz) caster sugar
  • 200g (7oz) slab chocolate cake (shop-bought or homemade)
  • 2 tbsp Cointreau (orange-flavoured liqueur)


  • 2 gelatine leaves
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 50g (2oz) cocoa powder, sifted
  • 120ml (4fl oz) cream
  • 40g (1 ½ oz) plain chocolate, broken into squares


  • chocolate sauce, Moonshine organic ice cream and Moonshine organic milkshake (see separate recipes)
  • quenelle crème chantilly, orange reduction, blood orange jelly, blood orange segments, hazelnut praline and sugared brick pastry shards, to decorate (optional)

To make the chocolate pave, melt the chocolate in a small bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave. Whisk the cream in a separate bowl until it just holds its shape. Set aside until needed. Whisk the eggs and egg yolks in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Continue to whisk until the mixture is fluffy, light in colour and holds its shape when you pass the whisk through it in a figure eight.

Heat the sugar and 80ml (3fl oz) of water until it reaches 110°C (if you are using a sugar thermometer) or to the soft ball stage (just before it browns). Gently pour into the egg mixture and continue to whisk. Fold in the melted chocolate and then fold in the cream.

Cut the chocolate sponge into slices and use them to line the bottom of a 17.5cm (7in) square baking tin, cutting down the slices as necessary to fit. Drizzle over the Cointreau. Pour over the chocolate mixture and chill overnight until set.

To make the chocolate glaze, soak the gelatine in a small bowl of ice-cold water for 2-3 minutes, then squeeze dry. Heat the sugar and 150ml (¼ pint) of water in a small heavy-based pan, without stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the cocoa until well combined.

Pour the cream into the cocoa mixture and reduce by half, then remove from the heat and stir in the soaked gelatine leaves whisking until dissolved. Melt the chocolate in a small bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave, then whisk into the gelatine mixture. Pour over the set chocolate mousse and leave to set again for 2-3 hours in the fridge.

To serve, cut the chocolate pave into six equal rectangles and arrange on plates, then decorate each one with a quenelle of crème chantilly and some sugared brick pastry shards. Add a drizzle of the orange reduction and a little of the chocolate sauce along with some blood orange segments and a blood orange jelly. Sprinkle on a little of the hazelnut praline to the side of each plate and top with a scoop of the Moonshine ice cream. Serve with a Moonshine milkshake.

Chocolate sauce

Makes about 300ml (½ pint)

  • 50g (2oz) cocoa powder, sifted
  • 100g (4oz) icing sugar, sifted
  • 100ml (3 ½ fl oz) cream
  • 125g (4 ½ oz) plain chocolate, finely chopped

Place 100ml (3 ½ fl oz) of water in a small pan until it comes to the boil. Whisk in the cocoa powder with the icing sugar until well combined. Whisk in the cream and allow to heat through and slightly reduce. Then whisk in the chocolate until just melted. The sauce should have a nice glossy consistency. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Pour into a jug, cover with clingfilm and chill until needed.

Moonshine organic ice cream

Makes about 600ml/1 pint

  • 400ml (14fl oz) Moonshine organic milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 75g (3oz) caster sugar

Bring the milk and split vanilla pod to the boil in a large saucepan.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a large pan of simmering water until the mixture is pale and creamy.

When the cream mixture starts to boil, pour it slowly over the egg and sugar mixture, whisking all the time. Transfer the mixture back into the pan the cream mixture was heated in and continue cooking on gentle heat until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon. Pass the custard through a fine sieve. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the custard and discard the pod. Leave to cool completely.

Transfer the cooled custard to an ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions, folding the apple compote in just before it is finished churning. Use as required or freeze for up to five days in a rigid plastic container.

Moonshine organic milkshake

Serves 6

  • 1 scoop Moonshine organic ice cream (see recipe or use a good quality vanilla ice cream)
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 225ml (8fl oz) milk
  • 50ml (2fl oz) Bailey’s cream liqueur
  • whipped cream and hazelnut praline, to serve

Place the ice cream in a liquidizer with the banana, milk and Bailey’s liqueur. Blend until frothy and divide among small glasses. Top each one with a little whipped cream and a dusting of hazelnut praline. Place a short straw in each one to serve.

Knockdrinna Meadow sheeps cheese, rarebit with port & pear purée and candied pecans

Serves 20

  • 450g (1lb) Knockdrinna Meadow sheeps cheese


  • 2 firm, slightly under-ripe pears
  • 100g (4oz) caster sugar


  • 350g (12oz) Knockdrinna Meadow sheeps cheese, rind removed and grated
  • 75ml (3fl oz) milk
  • 25g (1oz) plain flour
  • 25g (1oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
  • good pinch English mustard powder
  • a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 5 slices of white bread
  • Maldon sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • candied pecans and port & pear purée, to serve (see separate recipes)
  • micro cress, to garnish

To poach the pears, peel the pears and take a thin slice off the bottom of each so that you can stand it upright. Place in a small high-sided saucepan that will hold them tightly; it should not be deep enough for them to float.

Add the sugar to the pears and pour in enough water to reach just below the pear stalks. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Poach for 30-45 minutes or until the pears are tender. How long this takes will depend on their variety and ripeness. Leave to cool, then carefully remove and cut into slices. Use as required.

To make the rarebit, place the cheese and milk into a pan and slowly melt together. Add the flour, breadcrumbs and mustard and cook for a few minutes until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Add the Worcestershire sauce and season to taste, then leave to cool.

Once cold, scrape the mix into a food processor. With the machine running, slowly add the egg and the egg yolk. Transfer to a rigid plastic container and chill for at least 1 hour before using, or divide into smaller quantities and freeze.

To cook the rarebits, preheat the grill to high. Toast both sides of the bread until lightly golden, then stamp into 2.5cm (1in) rounds. Mould the rarebit mixture to fit the shape of the toasted bread rounds. Rest it on top and slide back under the grill for a few minutes until glazed and golden brown.

When almost ready to serve, remove the cheese from the fridge and carefully cut off the rind, then cut into 20 even-sized slices and arrange on plates. Set aside to allow the cheese to come up to room temperature. Cut the poached pears into slices and arrange a slice on each piece of cheese. Arrange the candied pecans with a small spoonful of the port & pear purée on each plate and garnish with the micro cress to serve.

Candied pecans

Serves 6

  • 75g (3oz) caster sugar
  • 25g (1oz) pecan nuts

To make the candied pecans, place five tablespoons of water and the sugar in a pan and boil steadily for 5 minutes, bringing the syrup to the soft boil stage (121°C/250°F). Add the pecans and cook for 1 minute before carefully removing them with a perforated spoon. Transfer to a sheet of non-stick parchment paper and leave to cool completely.

Port & pear purée

  • 4 ripe pears, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 250ml (9fl oz) red wine
  • 2-4 tbsp fine ruby port

Place the pears in a pan with the red wine. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and leave to cool. Blend to a purée with a hand blender or in a food processor and stir in enough of the port to make a thick purée. Transfer to a plastic rigid container and chill until needed. Use as required.