Fluffy Sponge with Gooseberry and Elderflower Compote
WHEN life is a bit hectic it’s brilliant to get away for even one night.
Weekend food with Darina Allen
It doesn’t have to be very far away, just a change of scene so you can flop onto someone else’s sofa and have a ‘phew’ moment.
Bring along your passport so it feels exotic, but ideally it should be within an hour’s driving distance so you can make the most of your short break.
We checked into Perryville House B&B in Kinsale recently — what a lovely spot that is right in the centre of Kinsale overlooking the harbour, an oasis of calm run by the Corcoran family.
We arrived mid-afternoon and wandered into the little Garden Tea Room for afternoon tea — so stylish with a pretty vintage feel.
Hannah had a lovely selection of homemade cakes and they really were homemade — coffee cake, passion fruit cake, several types of scones, sultana, white chocolate and raspberry and her strawberry shortcakes and iced lemon curd cake were unbearably delicious.
We started with little finger sandwiches, cucumber and mint, egg and chive, Umerra smoked chicken with mayonnaise and salad leaves — delicious.
There were 10 or 12 types of Lov Organic tea to choose from and hand roasted Pónaire coffees from Limerick.
Kinsale is the prettiest town with lots of little winding streets with gaily coloured shops and a myriad of cafes, restaurants and pubs to choose from.
We had a one-year-old grandchild with us, but we had an early dinner at Fishy Fishy Restaurant and an amble through the fun fair and a walk by the harbour.
Breakfast at Perryville was just what you hope a breakfast will be, with freshly made bread — I particularly loved the spotted dog with fat sultanas and orange and Glenilen yoghurt, homemade granola, a citrus fruit salad and lots of fresh berries and a huge honeycomb from Hannah’s dad’s bees.
The rashers and the sausages were well sourced by Barrett’s butchers in Kinsale and the eggs from Ruth Wright’s free range hens.
Don’t miss the Kinsale Arts Festival from Saturday Jul 7 to Sunday, Jul 15; check out: kinsaleartsfestival.com/
Radish and Anchovy Sandwich
A delicious open sandwich from Alice Water’s Vegetables book.
Choose a very fresh baguette.
Cut in half lengthwise and spread liberally with unsalted butter.
Wash and trim the radishes, leaving on their tender leaves.
Cut the radishes in half lengthwise and place them on the buttered baguette.
Garnish with anchovies fillets and ground black pepper.
Blue Cheese, Walnut and Candied Peel Sandwich
A delicious combination.
Serves 4 – makes 12-16 finger sandwiches
50g (2oz) butter
225g (8oz) blue cheese e.g. Cashel Blue, Crozier Blue, Bellingham Blue, Roquefort, Stilton….
50g (2oz) chopped fresh walnuts, fairly finely chopped
35g (1½oz) candied orange and lemon peel, finely chopped
Thin slices of white bread
Cream the butter, add the crumbled blue cheese, beat well.
Stir in the chopped walnuts and candied peel.
Spread on thin slices of lightly buttered good white bread, sandwich together.
Trim off the crusts, cut into fingers and serve.
Fluffy Sponge with Gooseberry and Elderflower Compote
3 organic eggs
225g (8oz) caster sugar
75ml (3fl oz) warm water
150g (5oz) plain white flour
1 tsp baking powder
For the Filling
Green gooseberry and elderflower compote (see recipe in my column, Irish Examiner, Saturday, Jun 16) or Sliced fresh strawberries, raspberries, loganberries and maybe frosted redcurrants, or kumquats, or homemade jam and softly whipped cream
2 x 20cm (8 inch) sandwich tins
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5.
Separate the egg yolks from the whites. In a food mixer, whisk the yolks with the caster sugar for 2 minutes and then add in the warm water.
Whisk until light and fluffy, this will take about 20-30 minutes.
The mixture will have greatly increased in volume and should hold a figure of eight for a few seconds.
Gently fold the sieved flour and baking powder into the mousse in batches.
Then whisk the egg whites until they hold a stiff peak. Fold them in very gently.
Divide the mixture between two greased and floured sandwich tins and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from the tins and cool on a wire rack.
When cool, sandwich the two together, green gooseberry and elderflower compote or another filling of your choice and whipped cream.
Sprinkle a little caster sugar or icing sugar over the top before serving. Serve on a pretty plate with a doily.
Green Gooseberry and Elderflower Compote
Elderflowers have an extraordinary affinity with green gooseberries and by a happy arrangement of nature they are both in season at the same time.
2 lbs (900g) green gooseberries
2 or 3 elderflower heads
1 pint (600ml/2½ cups) cold water
1 lb (450g/2 cups) sugar
First top and tail the gooseberries. Tie 2 or 3 elderflower heads in a little square of muslin, put in a stainless steel or enamelled saucepan, add the sugar and cover with cold water.
Bring slowly to the boil and continue to boil for 2 minutes. Add the gooseberries and simmer just until the fruit bursts.
Allow to get cold. Serve in a pretty bowl and decorate with fresh elderflowers. Serve with elderflower cream (see below).
NB: The tart green gooseberries must actually burst otherwise the compote of fruit will be too bitter.
Scones with White Chocolate and Raspberries
Makes 18-20 scones using a 7½cm (3inch) cutter
900g (2lb) plain white flour
175g (6oz) butter
3 free-range eggs
Pinch of salt
50g (2oz) caster sugar
3 heaped tsp baking powder
100g (4 oz) raspberries
100g (4 oz) chopped white chocolate
450ml (15floz) approx. milk to mix
Egg wash (see below)
Granulated sugar for sprinkling on top of the scones
For crunchy tops:
50g (2oz) granulated sugar for top of the scones
First preheat the oven to 250C/475F/gas mark 9.
Sieve the flour into a large wide bowl; add a pinch of salt, 3 heaped teaspoons of baking powder and the caster sugar.
Mix the dry ingredients with your hands, lift up to incorporate air and mix thoroughly.
Cut the butter into cubes, toss well in the flour and then, with the tips of your fingers, rub in the butter until it resembles large flakes.
Make a well in the centre, then add the white chocolate and raspberries.
Whisk the eggs with the milk; pour all at once into the centre.
With the fingers of your ‘best hand’ outstretched and stiff, mix in a full circular movement from the centre to the outside of the bowl. This takes just seconds and, hey presto, the scone dough is made.
Sprinkle some flour on the work surface. Turn out the dough onto the floured board.
Scrape the dough off your fingers and wash and dry your hands at this point.
Tidy around the edges, flip over and roll or pat gently into a round about 1 inch (2½ cm) thick.
Stamp into scones with a cutter or a knife. Brush the tops with egg wash (see below) and dip the tops only in granulated sugar.
Put onto a baking sheet. Gently gather the extra pieces of dough together, flatten and repeat as above.
Bake in a preheated hot oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool on a wire rack.
Serve, split in half with home-made Raspberry jam and a blob of whipped cream.
Scones are best served freshly baked.
Egg Wash: Whisk 1 egg, thoroughly with about a dessertspoon of milk. This is brushed over the scones to help them to brown in the oven. Home