Monday, 25 March 2013

prawn & asparagus risotto with seared scallops

Prawn & asparagus risotto with seared scallops

I think we all feel a bit on the glum side at the moment, stuck in the midst of this ridiculous weather. Wet & windy is not what we want! It is, however, what we've got, so this weekend I went down the comfort food route, and made Ms Chefilepsy & I a risotto. Quick, simple, hearty, and tasty enough to take your mind off what's outside, just for a little while at least.

I got hold of some lovely peeled fresh prawns from the guys at Kish Fish on Saturday morning (as well as half a dozen scallops, but then I just can't resist scallops!), and had some asparagus kicking about, so that decided what was going in the dish for me! You can stick in pretty much anything you want; the basic risotto is usually the same each time, with your main ingredient of choice just being stirred in towards the end.

  • 200g peeled prawns (cooked or raw - I used raw)
  • 350g risotto rice, such as Arborio or Vialone Nano
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • 2 litres warm chicken or vegetable stock (I went for a 50/50 split)
  • 20 asparagus spears, blanched in boiling slated water for 4 minutes, drained & cut into 
  • 12 scallops, corals removed (optional)
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • A few knobs of butter
  • Handful of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley

  1. Heat a large saute pan over a medium heat and add 2 or 3 knobs of butter. Once melted, add the shallots & fry gently for 4-5 mins until softened.
  2. Add the rice and stir to coat. Cook for around 3 minutes then add the wine.
  3. Reduce down a little over 2 or 3 minutes then add the first 3 ladles of stock.
  4. Stir gently (but constantly) with a wooden spoon until you can 'draw' a line in the rice without it filling up with liquid (think of Moses parting the sea!).
  5. Keep adding the stock, a ladle or two at a time, and follow step 4 until the stock has all gone. It WILL all fit, trust me!
  6. Before you add the last ladle of stock, stir in the prawns and asparagus, until the prawns are cooked & warmed through, which should only take a couple of minutes.
  7. Season to taste with salt & pepper, take off the heat and stand with the lid on for 2-3 minutes.
  8. The risotto should be lovely and creamy, not stiff & sticky, and you should stir in a few more knobs of butter at the end to increase the richness.
  9. Finally stir in the parsley & serve, garnished with 2 or 3 additional asparagus spears and 3 scallops per serving if you have them.
  10. If you've gone for the scallops option, just season them on both ends with salt & pepper, heat some butter in a pan until melted & hot (but not burnt), and fry the scallops on each end for around 1 minute, or until seared.
Serves 4.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

scallops with pea & mint purée, black pudding & rocket salad

Scallops with black pudding, pea purée & rocket salad

I just love scallops! Sweet, soft, indulgent-tasting flesh (not too 'fishy' for those of you who don't like fish to taste of fish!), and really good for you too! Not only that but this luxurious seafood has really come down in price recently, and finally, they're REALLY easy to cook, meaning you can have a swanky restaurant regular in your own home without too much trouble!

Paired with some thing meaty (but not too meaty!), the succulence of scallops is highlighted even more, for the ultimate surf 'n' turf. Great with pork belly (or the more expensive venison) for a main course, or as a starter with something lighter, such as the black pudding I've paired with it here. It's a classic combination, and for one good reason: it tastes fantastic!

Thanks again to my friends at Kish Fish for supplying the fantastic scallops!

  • 6 scallops, cleaned & corals removed.
  • 6 slices of black pudding, cut to approx. 1cm tick

For the pea purée:
  • 200g/7oz frozen garden peas
  • 2 sprigs of fresh mint
  • Small knob of butter

For the rocket salad:
  • Good handful of rocket leaves
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed (or chopped very finely)
  • ½ lemon (juice only)
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Bring a small pan of water to the boil & add the peas & mint sprigs. Cook for around 3 minutes, until he peas have softened & are tender.
  2. Drain the peas & mint, pick the mint leaves from the sprigs (careful, they may be hot!). Add to a blender with a knob of butter & blitz until smooth. Alternatively you can of course use a hand blender.
  3. For the rocket salad, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl except the rocket and stir well until thoroughly mixed. Finally add the rocket leaves by hand and mix together until well coated.
  4. Heat a little oil in a frying pan until hot and fry the black pudding for around 2 minutes on each side, until cooked through and crispy ion the outside. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
  5. Add a little more olive oil to the pan, heat again until hot. Season your scallops with a little salt & freshly ground black pepper and add to the pan. Cook for 30 - 60 seconds, until they start to brown & caramelise, then turn and cook for the same time on the other side. The timing will vary depending on the size of your scallops, but even the largest ones out there shouldn't take more than a minute on each side.
  6. To serve, spoon 3 dollops of the pea purée onto a plate, then add a slice of black pudding, finally topping off with a scallop.
  7. Dress the rest of the plate with some of the rocket salad, in any way that looks pretty!
Serves 2.

crab salad with fresh herbs & cucumber

Crab salad with fresh herbs & cucumber

This salad makes a good sized starter or a lovely light lunch, and is packed with flavour thanks to the combination of freshly chopped herbs. Use fresh crab meat if you can (although tinned will do just fine too!).

Ingredients (for 2 people)
  • 300g white crab meat
  • Handful of fresh chives, chopped
  • Handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • Zest & juice of 1 lime
  • Pinch of ground white pepper
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • Olive oil
  • ¼ cucumber, very thinly sliced

  1. Place all the ingredients (except the cucumber) into a bowl and mix gently with a fork.
  2. To serve, layer the crab mixture between 2 layers of the cucumber - use a cooking ring/mould if you want to go for a bit of swanky presentation.
  3. Finish with a chive or two on top of each stack and scatter chopped chives around for an even more impressive looking plate!
  4. Enjoy with a nice glass of chilled dry white wine. Or maybe two. Or...

Monday, 18 March 2013

kish fish, smithfield, dublin 7

Fishmongers in central Dublin are few & far between these days it seems. Many supermarkets stock pre-packed fish & seafood, however this is largely limited to salmon, cod, smoked kippers, prawns and mussels in a sauce or two. Whilst these still offer some good options for some lovely meals, clearly those options are somewhat limited.

How great then when I stumbled upon Kish Fish, a veritable treasure trove of all things fishy, and located just a few short minutes from the bustling city centre. Established in 1966, this local fishmonger stocks fresh fish daily, and supplies many top class restaurants across the country.

They also have a fantastically stocked shop open to the paying public, with a range and prices to suit all palates and pockets. Stepping into the shop sees you faced with a huge range of fresh fish & seafood (check out just part of what's on offer in the photo above), as well as loads of frozen produce, ranging from squid rings, to kilo bags of scallops, to whole octopus. They also stock some ready-to-go products, including a variety of sauces and prepared fresh crab meat.

Kish Fish are proud members of the BIM Seafood Circle and last year claimed the coveted BIM Seafood Specialist Of The Year Award (you can read more about all of that here).

The staff are not only friendly, but they're knowledgeable too, and are more happy to offer help and advice about the produce, as well as cooking tips and recipe ideas. 

Special offers are available as well, with great deals on a couple of fish varieties, and these change on a weekly basis. You can even sign up to receive details of the weekly offers via free text message: just text KISH to 51444. I receive mine every Thursday morning, which is great timing for my weekly Saturday trip to the shop!

Opening hours are 9:00am - 5:30pm (Tue/Wed/Thu/Fri) and 9:00am - 2:00pm (Sat), and you can find their location & directions using the map below:

I buy fish and/or seafood from Kish Fish most weekends, so keep an eye out on here and our Facebook & Twitter pages for more fish recipes soon!

Finally, a big well done & thanks to all the guys at Kish Fish! Long may it continue!
Kish Fish
40-42 Bow Street
Dublin 7, Ireland
(Second shop also open in Malahide).
Official Facebook page

Saturday, 2 March 2013

baked cheesecake with raspberry compote

Baked cheesecake with raspberry compote

Talk about a simple recipe! This dessert is baked in the oven rather than just chilled in the fridge, so more of a New York/American style. But yep, tasty nonetheless! It isn't as sweet as a typical cheesecake so needs the extra kick & sweetness of the fresh berries I think. Preparation only takes around 5 minutes, and then just whack it in the oven to do it's thing. And the raspberry compote only takes 5 minutes too. I said it was easy didn't I?!

  • 800g cream cheese (Philadelphia or similar)
  • 200ml double cream, whisked until it thickens slightly & turns glossy
  • 3 eggs
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g fresh raspberries
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C (fan 170C) / 375F / gas mark 5
  2. Lightly grease a 23cm springform cake tin with butter or oil.
  3. Whisk the cream cheese until fluffy, then add the cream, eggs, caster sugar and vanilla extract, and mix in until well combined.
  4. Pour into the cake tin & place in the middle of the oven for around 40 minutes, until the cheesecake starts to colour on top. It may also crack a little but that's completely normal!
  5. Allow to cool completely in the tin (it will firm up a little and make slicing much easier).
  6. For the compote, just place the raspberries in a small pan with the icing sugar and heat up over a medium heat, stirring occasionally. The raspberries will soften & start to turn mushy - that's when they're done!
  7. To serve, place a slice of cheesecake on a plate and drizzle the warm compote on & around, before getting stuck in.
Serves 10-12.