A large bunch of asparagus, any woody bits removed from the end of the stalks and the stems cut into two.
spaghetti for four
a dash of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
1 egg yolk
2 tbs of milk
100g of parmesan, finely grated
Heat some slightly salted water in a saucepan and boil the asparagus for two minutes then remove the stems from the water with a slotted spoon. Add the spaghetti to the water and allow to cook until it is ready, then drain it.
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the garlic until it is about to change colour. Add the asparagus and cooked pasta to the pan so it all gets lightly coated in the oil. Take off the heat.
Mix the cheese, milk and egg yolk well. Stir this through the pasta while it is off the heat.
Season and serve.
2. Smoked mackerel with pink peppercorn dressing
baby potatoes for four
4 carrots, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, four halved and the other two finely chopped
2 tsp of honey
a dash of olive oil
a large knob of butter
4 fillets of smoked mackerel
2 tsp of pink peppercorns crushed
1 tsp of lemon juice
Put the potatoes on to boil in lightly salted water and drain when cooked.
In the meantime, toss the carrots and garlic in honey and oil and put into an oven heated to 180 degrees until soft.
Melt half of the butter in a large pan and fry it skin side down. It just needs heating through as smoking has cooked the fish.
Once you have removed the fish add another knob of butter to the pan and add the rest of the garlic and pink peppercorns. Fry for thirty seconds and take off the heat. Add the lemon juice, taste and season.
Serve the fish with the potatoes and carrots and pour the dressing over the fish.
3. Roast carrot and walnut salad with goat’s cheese
400g of carrots, chopped into bite size pieces
1 tbs of honey
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp of chilli flakes
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
1 tbsp cider vinegar
the zest of a lemon and 2 tsp of juice
mixed leaves for 4
100g soft goat’s cheese, crumbled
a large handful of walnuts, toasted
Place the carrots into an oven-proof dish and toss them in the honey, oil, chilli flakes, cumin and cinnamon as well as one tablespoon of olive oil. Season well. Put into an oven heated to 180 degrees for 20 minutes. Tossing them every now and then. You want the chunks to be cooked through but still retaining some bite. Set aside to cool.
To make the dressing mix the rest of the olive oil with the vinegar, lemon zest and juice. Taste and season.
Toss the leaves in the dressing then mix with the carrots. Make sure to scrape any juices from the roasting tin. Sprinkle with the cheese and nuts. Taste and season.
4. Chicken stuffed with semi sun-dried tomato paste
rice for four
1 ball of mozzarella, chopped into small chunks
2 tbs of red pesto
1 tbs of creme fraiche
4 chicken breasts
green leaves for four
1 tbs of dressing
Put the rice on to boil in lightly salted water and drain when cooked.
While the rice is on mix the chopped mozzarella with the red pesto and creme fraiche.
Slice each chicken breast along the side to make a pocket. Push the mixture into each pocket and shut it with a cocktail stick.
Place the beasts onto a baking tray and drizzle with oil and season. Place into an oven heated to 180 degrees and bake until the chicken is cooked through, about thirty minutes.
Toss the leaves in the dressing. Serve the chicken on the rice. Spoon any sauce that has escaped over the breasts. Serve the salad on the side.
5. Ricotta and caper pizza with beans and red onion
A handful of green beans, topped tailed and halved
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
a dash of olive oil
2 large pizza bases
250g of ricotta
the zest of two lemons
a handful of capers, or caper berries
a large handful of rocket
Place the beans in boiling water and cook for five minutes until they are softening.
Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the beans and red onion until the onion is beginning to soften.
Mix the ricotta with the lemon zest and some cracked black pepper.
Heat your oven to as high as it will go and leave a baking tray in there to heat up.
While the tray is heating spread half of the ricotta on each base and sprinkle with the beans and red onion. Gently remove the hot baking tray and slide the first pizza onto it. Cook until the base is golden. Repeat with the second.
Sprinkle with the capers and rocket and serve.
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