One list, 5 meals: Bread and Tomato Salad

200g of leftover, stale bread
4 cloves of garlic, halved
1 red onion, sliced

A handful of capers, drained

2 tbsp of cider vinegar

500g of very ripe tomatoes, chopped

4 tbsp of olive oil

2 balls of buffalo mozzarella, pulled apart

Fresh basil, roughly chopped

Rub the bread all over with the garlic and drizzle with olive oil and seasoning. Place into an oven heated to 180C and roast for10 minutes.

Toss the red onion in the vinegar then add the capers, tomatoes and bread. Stir in the olive oil and mix everything well. Toss through the mozzarella and basil, taste and season.

This is lovely with crispy bacon stirred through to bulk it up a little.

2. Chicken with White Wine and Bacon

Rice for four

A dash of rapeseed oil

4 chicken thighs on the bone

4 smoked streaky rashers, chopped

1 red onion, sliced

300g of mushrooms, roughly chopped

250 mls of stock

100 mls of white wine

1 tbsp of creme fraiche

Put the rice on to boil in lightly salted water and drain when cooked.

In the meantime, heat the oil in a large pan and brown the chicken all over. Set it aside and use the same pan to fry the bacon until it is golden.

Put the bacon aside with the chicken. Fry the red onion and mushrooms in the same pan until both have softened. Add the chicken and bacon back to the pan and pour over the stock and wine. Allow to bubble slowly over a low heat until the chicken is cooked. Keep a lid on to keep the juices in the pan. Taste and season.

Serve with the rice and a dollop of creme fraiche on each serving.

3. Zesty Potato and Mackerel Salad with an Egg on top

2 tsp of honey

1 tsp of lime juice and the zest

1 tbsp of creme fraiche

2 tsp of Dijon mustard

2 tsp of rapeseed oil

600g of baby potatoes, boiled and then cooked

200g of smoked mackerel

A bunch of parsley, chopped

4 eggs, poached to your liking

Whisk the honey, lime juice and zest, creme fraiche, mustard and oil until it is smooth. Taste and season.

Toss the warm potatoes in the dressing and then toss through the mackerel and parsley.

Top with an egg and serve.

4. Peppered Whiting with Lemon Dip

One list, 5 meals: Bread and Tomato Salad

Baby potatoes for four

4 fillets of whiting

1 tsp of Dijon mustard

2 tsp of melted butter

1 tbs of pink peppercorns, crushed

1 tbs of black pepper corns, crushed

A dash of rapeseed oil

2 tbs of creme fraiche

Zest of 2 lemons

A bunch of parsley, finely chopped

Put the potatoes on to boil in lightly salted water and drain when cooked.

Rub or brush the fish with the mustard and butter then coat them in the peppercorns and sprinkle with seasoning.

Fry the fish in the rapeseed oil until it is cooked through, about two minutes a side.

Mix the lemon zest, parsley and creme fraiche and taste and season. Serve the potatoes beside the fish with a dollop of the creme fraiche on the side.

5. Pasta with five-herb dressing and peas

One list, 5 meals: Bread and Tomato Salad

pasta shapes for four

good olive oil oil

1 onion, finely chopped

6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

a bunch of basil, roughly chopped

a bunch of parsley, roughly chopped

a bunch of chives, roughly chopped

a small bunch of mint, roughly chopped

2 handfuls of frozen peas

200g of parmesan, grated

Put the pasta on to boil in lightly salted water and drain when cooked.

Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion until it is turning translucent. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté for another minute.

Boil the peas until heated but still retaining a bite.

Blitz one tablespoon of the oil with the onion and garlic and the herbs until it is a paste. Toss the pasta in the herb mixture with the peas. Sprinkle with cheese. Taste and season.


Louisa Earls is a manager at Books Upstairs, D’Olier St, Dublin, which is owned by her father, Maurice Earls.Virus response writes a new chapter for Books Upstairs

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