Category Archives: Rules of thumb

Fish can be cheap as chips

Lemon sole with herbed green rice

It occurred to me that lemon sole is one of those fish I tend to overlook, maybe cos the fillets can be very small and are often overcooked and bland. I popped by my nearest fish counter on the way home and picked up three fillets for €1.60. When I got home I wrapped them in foil with some of the gnarlier bits of a fennel bulb, a few wedges of lemon, lots of black pepper and a little olive oil, and preheated the oven to about 200C.

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Today I think I’ll burn a cake

This is not the kind of thing one normally wakes up thinking.

Hmm, today I think I’ll go waste my money buying all sorts of ingredients which aren’t already lurking in my over-stocked dry store cupboards, and then I’ll spend way longer than necessary mixing them all together, and then – when I go to put them into my pre-heated oven with the desire that alchemy will transform said ingredients into a moist, warm, almond-dense appley cake over which I’ll pour my very posh home made ginger crème fraiche as friends applaud in wide-eyed, sugar-hungry anticipation – then I’ll notice that my ‘pre-heated’ oven is cool, and so I’ll fiddle with oven knobs until the fickle on-off light comes on and then I’ll wait another age and then I’ll put my cake-to-be into the now-hot oven, and then I’ll go do something else while this thing of potential beauty burns. Read the rest of this entry

Filed in Baking, Cooking fish, Inspiration | 3 Comments

Day Thirteen (or, by the skin of your fish)

Do you eat the skin off your fish? The answer probably depends on what visual that question cues up for you. If the words ‘fish skin’ bring to mind a slithery, wobbly layer of grey chewiness insulated by another layer … Read the rest of this entry

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Day Twelve (or, bathing with butter)

I started cycling to Blackrock this week, and home again. Which is just as well. Yesterday I ate not one bird for lunch but two (or at least two halves): roast breast of quail with confit legs, carmelised onion tatin … Read the rest of this entry

Filed in Cooking for Life Week Three, Dublin Cookery School, Rules of thumb | 5 Comments

Day Ten (or, the craic with coconuts)

We had been in the Asian Market to pick up some last-minute ingredients for Friday’s feast of green papaya salad with griddled poussin; stir-fried mussels with chilli jam and Thai basil; stir-fried beef with cumin, onions and chillies; green curry of halibut with pea aubergines; and southern grilled prawn curry. It turns out that Thursday is the day the delivery arrives from Thailand, and so the best day to pick up fresh produce. Read the rest of this entry

Filed in Cooking for Life Week Two, Dublin Cookery School, Rules of thumb | Comment Now

Day Six (or, on the meatiness of monkfish)

“You came in this morning and handled me like a piece of meat,
You have to be a man to know how good that feels.”
A line that, it turns out, could easily have been spoken by a monkfish… Read the rest of this entry

Filed in Cooking fish, Cooking for Life Week Two, Dublin Cookery School | 1 Comment

Day Five (or, the solace of risotto)

I was fairly wiped on Day Five of the Cooking for Life course, having been exposed to so much during the week. I suspect it was no coincidence that risotto featured as our main course on the menu: this one was made as a basic recipe flavoured just with onion and garlic, and then with Jerusalem artichoke purée stirred through toward the end, Gabriel cheese grated in and a girolles vinaigrette spooned into each bowl. Just the food needed to reboot spirits on a Friday afternoon! Read the rest of this entry

Filed in Cooking for Life Week One, Dublin Cookery School, Inspiration, Risotto, Rules of thumb, Stocks | Comment Now