The Currabinny Cooks: reinvent cupboard staples and treat yourself

The Currabinny Cooks: reinvent cupboard staples and treat yourself

In times of crisis, our tendency is to react by effectively battening down the hatches, focusing on essentials and casting off any ‘unnecessary’ luxuries. Indeed, our focus in our recent dealings with food and feeding ourselves have all been about ‘making do’ and economising.

There are of course very real and legitimate reasons why we do this. In the current climate especially there has to be an emphasis on minimising going outside our doors for provisions and making prudent choices on how much we spend.

Although there have been many absolutely delicious and successful ventures into the realms of store cupboard cooking and using humble but reliable ingredients, we feel there is definite scope to reinvent how and what we see as luxurious and ‘treating ourselves’.

Luxury doesn’t have to mean exotic and hard to come by ingredients from specialist shops. It doesn’t have to mean spending loads of money, nor does it have to suggest a huge and complicated work load. When it comes to food, luxury for us, has a lot more to do with indulgence, quality and ceremony.

The following recipes were developed with indulgence in mind, no mention of lockdown or pandemic, take some time out from all of that and treat yourself.

In times of crisis, our tendency is to react by effectively battening down the hatches, focusing on essentials and casting off any ‘unnecessary’ luxuries. Indeed, our focus in our recent dealings with food and feeding ourselves have all been about ‘making do’ and economising.

Breakfast Cake

The Currabinny Cooks: reinvent cupboard staples and treat yourself

Cake for breakfast is the perfect antidote to all sorts of troubles. On a melancholy morning, when you need a little uplifting, make this super easy little loaf, which is sticky, slightly sweet and salty, tasting of coffee and cocoa. A healthy dollop of creme fraiche or yoghurt along with a cup of strong coffee will give you a big well needed hug.

75ml coconut oil

25g cocoa powder

190g cream flour

250g caster sugar

1 tsp baking soda

Pinch of sea salt

1 shot of espresso (60ml)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp of distilled white vinegar

Creme Fraiche or Yoghurt to serve

Preheat the oven to 180C.

In a large bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, caster sugar, baking soda and sea salt until well combined.

Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan and leave to cool slightly. In a large measuring jug whisk together the coconut oil, espresso, vanilla extract and vinegar, along with 250ml of water until it has come together nicely without being curdled.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together well to form a nice batter which should be just a little thicker than pancake batter.

Line a small loaf tin with baking parchment and rub some coconut oil all over and then dust with a little cocoa powder. Pour the batter in and place in the hot oven for 50-55 minutes until well set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool thoroughly in the tin before carefully removing. Cut into slices and serve with creme fraiche or yoghurt and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Rotisserie Style Roast Chicken

The Currabinny Cooks: reinvent cupboard staples and treat yourself

We recently searched in every nearby supermarket within a reasonable radius for rotisserie chicken, which is a huge guilty pleasure of ours. For nothing is better than rotisserie chicken, meat torn into shreds and stuffed inside a good fresh baguette with some salt and mayonnaise.

Alas, the rotisserie chicken seems to have become an unnecessary luxury ingredient, discontinued at least wherever we checked.

This set us off on a mission to try replicate as close as possible the flavours and textures in a roast chicken.

The results were far more juicier and delectable than we could ever have hoped for. Enjoy.

1 organic chicken (roughly 1.7 - 2kg)

½ lemon

4 cloves of garlic, bashed

Olive oil

2 tsp of paprika

1 tsp of cayenne pepper

Sea salt and black pepper

½ tsp of dried thyme

½ tsp of dried parsley

60g butter

Preheat the oven to 160C.

Place the lemon half and one of the cloves inside the cavity of your organic chicken. Tie the legs together with some cooking string if they are not already tied together by the butcher. Place in a medium to large roasting tin.

In a small bowl, mix together the spices, salt and butter and smother the seasoned butter all over the chicken and inside the skin. Sprinkle over the dried herbs and place whatever vegetables you are using like potatoes and carrots, along with the rest of the garlic cloves around the chicken and drizzle with olive oil, seasoning generously.

Place in the oven for 2 - 2½ hours. While the chicken is cooking, baste it a couple of times with the pan juices. Serve immediately with the lovely veg and pan juices poured all over.

Potato Dominoes

The Currabinny Cooks: reinvent cupboard staples and treat yourself

This is a super simple, fun recipe, just when you thought you ran out of ways to use potatoes. The results are something in-between really good fries and really good crisps. The thinness of the potatoes and the high heat will mean that the dominoes will be crispy and dark brown along the edges and tender in the centre.

These can be eaten as a simple snack or as a side to any kind of meal. This recipe would naturally be incredibly wasteful if you threw away the cut ends, so please don’t do this. We like to toss the ends in olive oil, salt and pepper and either fry on a pan or bake in a hot oven. They are also perfect for scattering in a roasting tin with a chicken.

120g butter

4 medium rooster potatoes

Sea salt

Black pepper

Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment and place in the centre of the oven.

Cut the potatoes into cubes, reserving the cuttings to be used for something else.

Using a sharp knife, cut the large slabs of potato into thin slices (around 3mm). Arrange 5-7 slices on the baking sheet in a domino style, overlapping each other slightly, like a deck of cards. Do as many of these as will fit on your baking sheet, you can always do more than one baking sheet if needed.

Place a dollop of butter on each potato domino and drizzle the whole lot with a little olive oil.

Lastly sprinkle generously with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until browned at the edges and tender all the way through. Serve immediately.

Beer of the Week

The Currabinny Cooks: reinvent cupboard staples and treat yourself

Blue Rose Pale Ale, West Kerry Brewery 5.1% ABV; 500ml — €4.39

Stockists: Cork: Bradleys; Dingle: Centra, Spar, SuperValu, Moriarty’s, and Moran’s; Ballyferriter: Tig Bhric; Tralee: The Castle (also online at nutsaboutwine.ie)

Online: thebeerclub.ie, molloys.ie, and martinsofflicence.ie. For more stockists, see westkerrybrewery.ie.

Beoir Chorca Dhuibhne (West Kerry Brewery) was one of the founders of the craft beer movement in Ireland, and needs your support, just like all small enterprises, especially as her lovely pub, Tig Bhric, is closed in the lockdown.

Her beers are all outstanding, the Béal Bán a longtime favourite, the Cúl Dorcha Porter a match for any other black stuff.

This American Pale Ale pours a creamy light gold with rich malt aromas mixed with citrus and a touch of tangerine. Dry hopping comes through on the finish, with a bitter orange kick — balanced, and with a light touch and good complexity.

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