8 thin back rashers
650g of savoy cabbage, stalks removed and leaves roughly sliced
4 medium potatoes, sliced
2 large sweet potatoes, sliced
200mls of stock
150g of butter, soft
250g of hard cheese, grated
Grill the rashers until crispy and chop into thin slices when they are cool. Put the cabbage on to boil in lightly salted water for about three minutes until it is starting to go tender but still has bite. Remove it with a slotted spoon and place on some paper towel.
Put the potato slices into the same water and boil for five minutes until they too are partly cooked. Drain the saucepan and when the potatoes are cool enough to handle arrange half of the slices on the base of an oven proof dish.
Sweet potato will cook quicker than normal potatoes so the baking time will be enough to soften them up. Lay a layer of the sweet potato on top of the potato and spread half of the butter over them both. Place the cabbage on top and sprinkle with the crispy bits of bacon. Layer the rest of the potato and sweet potato on top. Then spread the remaining butter and pour over the stock.
Place into an oven heated to 180 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove and sprinkle the cheese on top and bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes until the veg are cooked through and the cheese has turned golden.
Day 2 - Rich Tomato and Bean Stew with Tarragon
1 onion, finely sliced
1 red chilli, finely sliced
A dash of olive oil
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
2 litres of stock
2 tins of mixed beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp of sun dried tomato pesto
A small bunch of tarragon, chopped
1 tbsp of creme fraiche
Crunchy bread for four
Heat a dash of oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion until it is starting to turn translucent. Add the chilli to the pan and stir fry for a further minute.
Pour the tined tomatoes and the stock into the pan and bring to the boil. Add the chopped carrot, turn down the heat and allow to simmer until the carrots are cooked through.
Stir in the beans, the pesto and half of the tarragon. Allow to bubble for a minute.
Taste and season. Stir in the last of the tarragon and the creme fraiche. Serve with some crunchy bread.
Day 3 - Spiced Chicken Liver Paté with dressed Kale
75g of butter, soft
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
550g of chicken livers, you can get them
trimmed by your butcher
50 mls of creme fraiche
1 tbsp of port or brandy
¼ tsp of cinnamon
½ tsp of nutmeg
¼ tsp of chilli flakes
200g kale, washed and finely sliced
A handful of almonds, toasted and
1 tsp of cider vinegar
2 tbsp of olive oil
¼ tsp light mustard such as Dijon
Toast for 4
Heat a knob of the butter in a large pan and sauté the garlic and chicken livers. You want the livers to be brown on the outside but still pink in the middle. You may need to do them in two batches.
Scoop the livers along with the garlic and butter from the pan into a liquidiser. Add the cream, the rest of the butter, the port, spices and seasoning. Blitz until a smooth paste. Scoop into ramekins or one large bowl if you prefer to set it in the centre of the table family style. Place covered in the fridge until it sets.
Whisk the vinegar, oil and mustard until completely combined to make the dressing. Toss the kale and almonds in your dressing. Serve the dressed kale alongside the paté with some toast and chutney if you like.
Day 4 - Prune stuffed Chicken in Prosciutto Ham
A dash of rapeseed oil
Waxy potatoes for four, chopped
Parsnips for four, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tsp of ground nutmeg
4 chicken breasts, off the bone
4 large slices of a thin ham such as parma or prosciutto
12 soft prunes, de stoned and roughly chopped
2 tsp of a mild dijon mustard — optional
This recipe sounds impressive but is not all that time consuming. I like the sharpness of mustard with the sweet prunes, but this is completely optional, if you prefer it without feel free to omit it.
Toss the potatoes and parsnips in oil, nutmeg and seasoning and place into an oven proof dish. Roast at 180 degrees for ten minutes, remove and toss.
While the vegetables are in the oven make a slit in each chicken breast and smear a very thin scraping of the mild mustard then place a quarter of the prunes in the centre. Roll it up with a slice of ham, using wooden skewers if necessary.
Place the breasts on top of the vegetables and place back into the oven for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is done. Serve with any juices poured over the chicken.
Day 5 - Tacos with Mince and Green Chilli
2 tomatoes, chopped
Juice and zest of a lime
2 small red onions, very finely sliced
A large bunch of coriander, chopped
A dash of rapeseed oil
1 green pepper, de seeded and finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic
600g of lean mince beef
200 mls of stock
1 tbsp of tomato puree
2 tsp of ground cumin
½ green chilli, finely sliced
1 large ripe avocado, de stoned and mashed
2 tbsp of sour cream or natural yogurt
16 soft tacos
A few lettuce leaves, shredde
Stir the chopped tomatoes with the juice of half a lime and all of the zest. Add one red onion and half of the coriander, season and set aside to allow the flavours to blend together.
Heat a dash of rapeseed oil and sauté the other red onion until it is turning translucent. Add the green pepper and garlic and stir until the pepper is softening. Stir in the beef and brown all over. Add the stock, tomato purée, cumin and green chilli. Allow to bubble away until the meat is cooked through.
Mix the avocado with the sour cream and the rest of the lime juice. Season to taste. Fill the shells with a scoop of the beef and then top with the salsa, avocado and a sprinkling of coriander and sliced lettuce. Get yourself a large napkin and pick the tacos up and eat them. You can add some hot sauce like Tabasco to them if you like.
Michelle Darmody owns The Cake Cafe, The Daintree Building, Dublin 2, 01 4789394 www.thecakecafe.ie
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