TOMATO by Kevin

I'll set the scene, early last Saturday morning hours before our Manatsu pop up we were standing at tom_usJenny's stall as she unpacked (which is a major rule breaker, there has been threats of beatings for doing such a thing),we where talking about things we really needed for the pop up, namely stripped marrows. We wondered if Dennis Healy would have some. The final few boxes were being unpacked and low and behold in front of our eyes there sat a box, a wonderful box of stripped marrows. It was perfect, it's rarely as perfect, but then Jenny lifted the box away and hidden beneath our miracle marrows lay aurora tomatoes, the first we had seen since last October. The sizes all different, plump and shiny. We hugged, we told Jenny of our love for her and offered hugs....they were rejected, we hugged again. I ran around and we then bought a bag of them. Junko came over to the kitchen to begin prep for Manatsu and I offered her one, she made that noise Japanese people make when they're amazed. It was cool. Here are two tomato facts!

  1. Tomatoes are healthier for you when cooked (none of that raw stuff)
  2. Tomatoes and strawberries can be interchangable (see icecream recipe) tom-icecream

So, there you go. We all love tomatoes, we only really eat them seasonally. It becomes a little sad and tomato-less from November to May. We celebrate when we have them and so we have decided to dedicate this weekes menu to the tomato. Each course will have the little gems in it, in some way of another and it'll be fantastic. Here's the breakdown!

1. Summer Tomato Cocktail - I don't know how to explain this so here's the recipe:

1/4 heirloom tomato 30gr honey dew melon 1 strawberry 45ml gin 14ml lemon 7ml simple syrup
Muddle the tomato, melon, and strawberry together in a shaker to a consistent, smooth texture. Then add the gin, lemon, and simple syrup. Shake the ingredients together with ice vigorously, then double strain into a glass.

2. Heirloom tomato plate - this is truly inspired by Jess of Kai who holds a similar passion for tomatoes to ourselves, its plate of tomatoes, different varieties.

3. Courgette salad - with the ribbons of courgette we plan to make a beautifully summer dressing using the tomato juice.

4. Ceviche with gooseberry and fennel - this is an Ecuadorian style ceviche and it'll be supper special!

5. Miso soup with squash - We'll blend the red miso with the super tasty tomato seeds, this has a super umami style affect on the tomatoes

6. Summer fruit icecream with wood sorrel lemonade -  Tomato is a fruit, aww yeah. This is a gelati style dessert, we'll also be serving it with basil gelati and some buffalo ricotta gelati from Toonsbridge. The wood sorrel lemonade is an interesting drink that I'm fairly excited about!

7. Raw milk cheese board -  why not have some of our delicous tomato jam and tomato chutney with your cheeses, we'll be featuring corleggy and young buck on the boards with some tasty crackers.

There you have it and while we are at it, here's a our tomato jam recipe:

2kg tomatoeschopped fresh basiltom-cheese 1 red onion chopped125gr brown sugar 325gr caster sugar 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon coriander ¼ teaspoon cumin tablespoon cider vinegar tablespoon apple balsamic vinegar
Clean tomatoes, removing any stems. Cut an X in each tomato end with a sharp knife.
Prepare an ice water bath.
Bring water to a boil. Keep the heat on full and drop the tomatoes in. When the skin starts to peel, remove them to the ice bath. Empty the water and clean the pot.
Work over a baking trap and peel the skins off the tomatoes. Then squeeze the stem end to pop out the stem. Roughly chop the tomatoes and place them back into the dry pot.
Add all of the other ingredients to the chopped tomatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook the mixture for about two to three hours or until it reduces to a thick jam. Make sure you don’t let it burn. The cooking time depends on the amount of liquid in the variety of tomatoes you use so the timing is not an exact science however the finished product will be about 1kg.
Store in glass jars in the fridge for two weeks.


Also this week our final supper on the Saturday is happening in Establshed in Belfast a very beautiful cafe with very wonderful people. We are legging it up on the Saturday morning and we'll be knocking out some magical brunch for the afternoon and then we're down to business for the night, there'll be 16 spots up for grab with more details to follow later to day! Exciting times to be had!

Well you've read down this far so I'll give you one last recipe for the road. Here's out tomato gelato recipe


1kg of heirloom tomatoes - chopped 250ml of simple syrup a pinch of course sea salt
Puree tomatoes in processor until smooth. Strain through fine sieve, pressing on solids to release enough tomato puree to measure 500ml. Add chilled simple syrup and pinch of coarse sea salt to strained tomato puree; stir to blend.
Transfer tomato mixture to ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions, or stick in freezer, whip up every 30min of so till gelati is formed, cover and keep frozen.




Chocolate Caramel Biscuits by Kevin

This is another one of the numerous biscuits myself and the sister make together. I oddly don't have a picture of the finished product. I guess I'll have to make them again.....

What you'll need:

for the biscuit

  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

for the caramel

  • 1⁄2 of one 379g of condensed milk
  • 3 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon golden syrup

for the topping

  • 125g dark chocolate

For the cookies, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the egg, mix well, add flour and baking powder. Combine. Shape the dough into a log about a thumb in diameter, wrap in cling and leave in a fridge for 1 hour.

When the dough is firm, preheat the oven to 165°C/gas mark 3. Slice about 15 biscuits. Place on a prepared baking tray. Bake for about 15mins. They might be a bit ready beforehand pop them out once they're a pale golden colour. They'll be soft. Leave them on the tray for about 10min and move them over to a rack ro cool.

While the biscuits are cooling make the caramel, place all ingredients in a small pot over a low heat. Stir regularly, allow the mix to thicken. The moment you see the caramel setting on the side of the pan it's ready. Transfer to a shallow pan and cover in cling, let it cool for 30min. Once it's cool, divided it into 15 balls and place it on top of each biscuit. Flatten.

Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water. Once it's melted make a mess....or use a slotted spoon. Dip the biscuit into the chocolate and leave to sit on a rack in the fridge to set.


Imagine lovely chocolate dipped biscuits.....maybe i'll just make more...and take a photo and eat more....


Dry Harissa Spice Mix by Kevin

The next supper was a Moroccan inspired meal. For one of the dishes I wanted to make a broth. I decided to make this spice mix.

What you'll need:

  • 4 teaspoons cumin seed, toasted and lightly ground
  • 4 teaspoons coriander seed, toasted and lightly ground
  • 8 tablespoons dried chilli, chopped finely
  • 4 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons seas salt
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted and finely ground
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder

In a frying pan place the seeds and toast them till they become fragrant. Don't let them burn. I used a mix of different dried chillis I had floating around. Place all the seeds in a mortar and pestle or dedicated coffee grinder, work them down. Mix all the ingredients together. It's all pretty simple and that's that. Give it a few days to settle and combine.


Supper Happened! July 11th by Kevin

Apologies about that massive delay! It's been all go here lately. There are many plans in the works!

So I decided on this supper around the same time that i had decided to do te July 4th dinner. I had been in Galway and met James McGeogh. Who kindly gave me some of his AMAZING smoked black pudding. James studied butchering for seven years in Germany, where he gained his interests in air dried meats and smoked meat.....anyway, he gave me some of his black pudding and the idea popped into my head that it would go wonderfully with really well with some kind of sweet compote. So I needed a platform to deliver it. I decided that scotch quail eggs would be the answer.

The dinner was well and truly booked out when  found out one of the attendees was wheat and cows-milk intolerant. She offered to eat around anything that contained wheat (she had not looked at the menu) once I explained there was no escaping wheat she offered to not attend, but I insisted that I could make everything to suit her diet. With a few substitutions I soon had a wheat/gluten/cows-milk free meal under way.

I prepared the quail eggs by soft boiling them, letting them cool then wrapping them in the black pudding that I minced further down and added some cream. For the alternative I made  smoked mix of sausage meat and treated them the same. Rolled everything in polenta and left to stiffen up in the fridge.

The yorkshire puddings were a bit more of a challenge in the intolerant department..I used a mix of self raising flour, xanthan gum, egg and goats milk....they were more Yorkshire muffins in the long run, but I was informed were rather tasty. Everyone had steak the one way (no substitutes there) I deglazed the pan with some madeira wine and my salsa verde mix.

Finally came the wonderful challenge of a tolerable pasta. There was a huge amount of ideas, recipes and tips (which always worries has really got a simple working idea for it) I knew I didn't need it to be overly elasticy, so I just needed to make sure there was lots of protein to bind it all together so I decided on fresh duck eggs, with an extra yolk throw in on top for good meusure..

and it worked! Success. I filled all the ravioli and that was that! I was done. Ready to serve and everybody could eat and enjoy.

Here are photo compliments of Liz, who was one of my intolerant people!

Rhubarb & Ginger Jam by Kevin


So this was the rest of my productive day yesterday. I also count being productive as posting one blog post. >_> Maybe others are more productive. I have about 700g of rhubarb left over from a salad I made for the last supper. It was going on the soft side so it was decided it'd be a jam.

What you'll need:

  • 700g rhubarb, washed, chopped into 2cm pieces
  • 700g jam sugar
  • 80 stem/crystalized ginger, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime

Wash and chop the rhubarb. Place in a large bowl with lime juice and chopped ginger. Cover in jam sugar. You need jam sugar for this recipe because rhubarb has little to no pectin. Coat all the rhubarb with the sugar, cover. Leave for 2 hours, during that time pop back every now and then and give it a shake.

Once the 2 hours is up scoop all rhubarb mix and put it into a heavy based pot and stir till the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolved bring the mixture up to a boil. At this point the rhubarb will start to break down. The mixture will darken. If you have a sugar thermometer keep and eye out for when the mixture hits 'jam'. If not there's an easy test:

Place a saucer in the freezer at the beginning of the cooking down process, when the jam has been boiling for a while take half a teaspoon of the mixture out and place on the saucer. Give it 30 seconds and you'll see if it jams. If not keep heating.....actually put 2 saucers in the freezer.

Once it has gotten to the point of jam pour the mixture carefully into sterilised jars. Label. Let it cool. Then eat the next morning with the granola you also made while being productive!

Granola by Kevin

So I had a somewhat constructive Saturday, I made this granola and some rhubarb & ginger jam. It had been a while since I last made granola so decided to make a new and improved recipe.

What you'll need:

  • 400g jumbo oats or rice flakes(gluten-free option)
  • 100g pumpkin seeds
  • 100g sunflower seeds
  • 100g almonds
  • 100g hazelnuts (skin removed)*
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 100ml orchard syrup
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, split, seeds removed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnimon
  • 100g of preserved cherries or other fruit you like yourself

*I've found the best way to get skins from off hazelnuts is to put 500ml of water in a deep pot and bring to the boil, once it's boiling add a tablespoon of baking soda mix and add in the hazelnuts. Let them boil for 3min then remove and run under cold water. With you hands rub off the skin or place them on a clean tea towel and roll it a few times. You should now have naked hazelnuts..

Preheat your oven to 120°C.

In a large bowl mix all your dry ingredients (except cherries) together with vanilla seeds and cinnimon. In a small pot on a low heat mix together honey, syrup and sugar till sugar is dissolved (i put in the left over vanilla pod for some extra flavour, remove before adding to the oats) Once it's dissolved and not too hot pour slowly over the oat mix while stir with a wooden spoon. Mix well. Once everything is incorporated place the mixture on a large baking tray, level it all out with the spoon and place in the oven.

Remove the tray from the over every 15min and turn over the mixture. Keep this up for 1hr 15min. The oats and nuts will gradually darken to a wonderful golden colour.

Once the time is up, leave to cool on the tray. Once cooled mix in whatever dried/preserved fruit you'd like and place in an airtight jar. I find with this amount that I'd get about 9 serving and will last for about a month.


Chocolate Covered Orange Blossom & Cointreau Biscuits by Kevin

Image So this was one of the many biscuits we made on our day of many biscuit making. The recipe was originally from Willie's Chocolate Bible with a few tweaks...

What you'll need:

  • 170g unsalted butter, softened
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp orange blossom water
  • 1 tbsp cointreau
  • 150g plain flour
  • 150g fine semolina
  • 300g good dark chocolate


Beat sugar and butter in a large bowl till light and fluffy. Pour in blossom water and cointreau. In a seperate bowl soft together both flours, mix them into the butter mixture till it forms a soft dough. Wrap in cling and chill in a fridge for 40min.

Preheat the oven to 150°C, line two baking trays with baking parchment. I rolled our the dough on a semolina covered surface. Roll it out to a thickness of about 1cm, get a 6cm biscuit cutter and cut out about 24 biscits. Space them away from each other on the trays. Put them in the oven for 18-20mins, until golden at the edges.

Remove from the oven leave on the tray for 5min then transfer them to a wire rack.


While they are cooling prepare the chocolate, for dipping biscuits it's best to temper by seeding the chocolate.

Tempering Chocolate:*

Split the chocolate up into 200g & 100g. Roughly chop the 200g chocolate and finely grate the 100g. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof dish above a pot of very gently simmering water. If you have a thermometer it really helps here, heat the chocolate to about 45°C and melted. Try not to stir the chocolate and make sure the bowl is not touching the water below it. Once at the correct tempature remove from the pot and stir in the grated chocolate. You want to keep stirring the chocolate till it drops to a temperature of 28°C for dark or 26°C for milk. Once at this temperature place back on top of the gently simmering water and bring the temperature back up to 33°C. Chocolate is now tempered. Taking the time to do this with your chocolate will make everything better in the long run.

*Seemingly 300g of chocolate is the smallest amount of chocolate to successfully temper. I've never really tried anything smaller.

Place the wire rack over a baking tray.vTake each biscuit and dip the top into the choclate mixture, place back on the rack. Once the choclate is cooled. EAT THEM.

Supper Happened July 4th! by Kevin

Sorry about how far behind I am on these supper posts. It's been a bit hectic lately. So today, I hope to tell you about two supper that have happened! This was somewhat of a hurried supper, I had been working Galway at the Ocean Race and came back on the train to Dublin the night beforehand and was on a train back to Galway in the early hours of the morning the Thursday morning.

ImageThe idea for the dinner came to me while I was at Corleggy Cheese's farm preparing to go to Galway. I decided if I was going to be on the West Coast of Ireland I should mainly use what I could get my hands on there. I thought to myself that I'd just ask around the market and see who had the best mussels BUT everyone was talking about Marty's Mussels. So I went and found the number for them called and voilà, mussels. I talked to Catherine Nee (Marty's wife) she informed me all about their mussels, she also brought them to Dublin for me, which was very,very appreciated. They're rope grown, they've got a thinner shell and cook quicker than most mussels I've used in the past. I arrive in Dublin to find these waiting for me:

I got home Tuesday and began to prep, decided I was tired. So relaxed. I had my little sister over the next morning, so the Wednesday turned out to be a very busy day. The supper was easy and very manageable, the main prep came with the making of the ice-cream. The idea to infuse it with elderflower came when I was on the farm, the only problem was getting it to Dublin five days later. We had been infusing vodka with elderflower for some other fun projects so I decided to borrow some of it and make a syrup. I cooked down the vodka with some extra elderflower in it with 4 tablespoons of sugar, boiled off the alcohol. So I used the syrup as the sugar in the custard. Job done, I had elderflower custard. Left it to chill in the fridge for 8 hours or so. I got gooseberries from the McNallys and cooked them down with lemon juice and sugar. We served it with gingerbread people.

Cooking the mussels was simple, at Marty's they debeard nd clean all the mussels. I made my harissa and got a huge amount of coriander. In the bottom of my largest post I heated oil with chopped garlic and shallots.  When te oil was hot enough I added the mussels with a glass of dry white wine.  I didn't necessarily need the wine, but I want to get a good bit of steam to make sure I could get all the mussels cooked properly...I hadn't gotten around to cooking 5kg of mussels went ok. There was a bit of pot shaking, but I just left them to it. IT was great with the thinner shells they cooked great. I put about 2/3 of the batch  into a large hot pot and lay it out on the table, sprinkled chopped coriander over the top and it was ready to go.

As we worked our way through the mussels I served slices of sourdough bread to start to soak up the wonderful spicy juice in the bottom of the pot. With this meal we also had battered aubergines covered in honey infused with rosemary. With Aubergines I always try to get as much liquid out of them as possible before cooking with them. Battered aubergines are not the prettiest things in the world but that taste great. I also made a seaweed salad, with this salad, I rehydrated a mix of seaweeds and washed out a good bit of the saltiness. I then mixed the seaweed with spinach and some seared broadbeans, dressed it in a honey, lemon and dijon mustard dressing.

It all went well. The ice-cream was fresh and light, it was refreshing after a spicy and salty dinner.

Making/baking with the sister 2 by Kevin

  Michelle arrived early Wednesday morning, I had just gotten back the evening beforehand. I had to get everything ready that night! So we had a bit of a busy morning. We got right to it..we went for breakfast. Then went looking for biscuit cutters. Then we decided to start getting ready. We got around to making 3 things.

























Whiskey Marmalade Cake for Silke & Patsy, with icing by Kevin

So I stayed in a wonderful woman house in Galway named Patsy, Silke of Corleggy Cheeses was also there! So I promised them dinner and dessert for one of the evening I was there. So I decided that they'd appreciate this cake. So..i've used 'so' alot in this post.


What you'll need:

for the cake

  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • Zest of 2 organic unwaxed oranges, plus juice of 1 orange
  • 3 large eggs
  • 14 teaspoon salt
  • 75g of whiskey marmalade
  • 175g self-raising flour

for the icing

  • Juice and zest of ½ orange
  • seeds of ½ vanilla pod
  • 100g or so of icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180°C/gas 4, Butter a 1kg loaf tin and line with baking paper.

Beat softened butter with both sugars in a large bowl till very pale and fluffy. Add orange zest and mix. In a jug crack in eggs break the yolks up a little with a fork. Slowly begin adding eggs to the butter mixture, beating till it's fulling incorporated.


Add the orange juice, salt and marmalade and mix very well. Sift flour over the top and mix just enough to combine. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure you've gotten all the butter. Give it one final mix and spoon into the tin.

Bake for about 45min. Remove from the over and allow to cool for 10min in the tin. Once removed from the tin leave to cool on a rack.

While it's cooling make the icing. In a jug, whisk together the orange juice, zest, vanilla seeds and icing sugar (about 1 tablespoon at a time till it's slightly thick)

Pour over the top of the cake and let it run down the sides.

...wrap it nicely and bring to Galway on a train the next day.


Gingerbread women, men & men dressed as women by Kevin

Well we went shopping, found people shaped biscuit cutters and a new rolling pin. We decided it was necessary to have some kind of biscuit baked each time we do this, so this time round gingerbread people! I also wanted these buscuits to go with the Elderflower Icecream for that evenings supper.


Yes I'm aware of the spelling mistake.

What you'll need:

  • 350g plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 150g light soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons golden syrup

Preheat oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Line a baking tray with baking paper.


Sift flour, ginger and bicarb into a bowl. Rub in the butter till you get a sand like texture, then stir in sugar. In a separate bowl whisk together golden syrup and beaten egg in a bowl. Mix it in the dry ingredients to form a dough.


Roll out the dough on a floured surface till is about 3mm thick. Cut out you gingerbread:

  • Women
  • Men
  • Snails
  • Whales
  • Hedgehogs
  • Foxes
  • and so on


Place them on the prepared tin, with a tooth pick give them faces and angry eyebrows. Bake for about 10min or till golden. A tip also which I forgot with the first batch, give them a bit of space. Let them cool for about 5min on the tray then transfer to a rack.

Terribly Chocolatly Chocolate Brownies by Kevin

So we decided Brownies and ginger bread men would be our baked goods for the day. We also made a Whiskey Marmalade Cake!


What you'll need:

  • 300g dark chocolate chopped, plus 150g extra
  • 100g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 100g plain flour


Preheat your oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Grease a 20cm square baking tin and line with baking paper, get it around the edges too. Place 300g of chocolate, butter and salt in a heatproof bowl over gently simmering water. Let it melt down slowly. In another bowl, break up the eggs and add the sugars and vanilla till its all incorporated.


Whisk it into the melted choclate mixture. Gently fold in flour and 150g of roughly chopped chocolate till just mixed. Pour into prepared tin. Bake for 25min or till it's set. Leave them to cool entirely in the tin. Cut into squares. Eat!


Michelle's Chocolate Cookies by Kevin

So we were so prepared and moving with great speed and poise Michelle decided she'd make a batch of chocolate cookies. She had been given a recipe from a friend but decided to tweak and change a few things today.


What you'll need:

  • 140g unsalted butter, softened
  • 90g brown sugar
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g dark chocolate, min 70%
  • 200g chocolate chips

Beat butter and sugars in a bowl till it's nice and creamy. Add the whole egg and mix, the add the yolk and mix again. Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate together and gently mix into the mix. Leave to once side. Place a bowl over a pop of gently simmering water and melt down the 150g of dark chocolate. Once with melted add the the mixture. Mix well to combine. The mix is stiff so don't worry if it's difficult to stir. Finally mix in chips.


Preheat your over to 180ºC/ gas 4. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper. Using an icecream scoop pick up big helping of the cookie mix and place on the trays with a good with of space between each mound. we made rather large cookies today so we just had 10 mounds. You could easily half the size for more cookies in the end. Bake for around 25min if you are making large cookies, otherwise jsut 18-20 for smaller. They'll come out of the oven a little soft. leave them on the tray for 5min then place onto a wire rack to cook completely.


Lemon Drizzle Cake by Kevin

So I asked Michelle last week what she'd like to learn to bake, she said "ice-cream" that was find....then she said "Lemon Drizzle" a few days later. So that was also grand, talking to her yesterday I found out we were going to make both :) This was actually the second thing we started this morning. We began making ths once the custard for the ice-cream was cooling. But not to worry we'll begin here!

What you'll need:

For the Cake:

  • 175g softened butter, plus a bit to grease the loaf tin
  • 175g caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • Finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 2 eggs
  • 75ml milk
  • 175g plain flower
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

For the glaze:

  • 100g caster sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat your over to 170°C/gas 3. Butter a 1kg loaf tin and line the bottom with baking paper. Beat the softened butter, sugar and salt in a large bowl till light and fluffy. Add lemon and whisk well till it's incorporated. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after you add in each one. (it kinda looks like scrambled eggs at this stage) Then add the milk. Combine. Sift in flour and baking powder together. Fold the mixture till it's well combined. Try not to over mix! Pour it into the prepared tin and level it off. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Leave it to stand in the tin for about 15 minutes. Turn it out onto a rack and leave to cool the rest of the way. Once cooled place it on your serving tray. To make the drizzle combine the lemon and sugar in sausepan. Stir gently till the sugar is dissolved. Keep heating till it becomes syrupy. Don't let it boil!

Prick the top of the cake, then pour the syrup all over the top. Don't let hot sugar land on your's not cool. The cake keeps in an airtight tin for about 4 days.