Rice for four
1 red pepper, de seeded and chopped into small chunks
1 courgette, chopped into small chunks
2 leeks, white parts sliced
1 red onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
A dash of sesame oil
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 red chilli, finely sliced
1 tbsp of cider vinegar
½ tbsp of brown sugar
1 tbsp of fish sauce
4 hake fillets about 720g in total
Flour for dusting
Put the rice onto boil in lightly salted water and drain when cooked. Toss the red pepper, courgette, leeks, red onion and garlic in a little oil and seasoning and place into an oven heated to 170 degrees. Cook for ten minutes then stir in the tin of tomatoes, red chilli, vinegar, sugar and fish sauce. Place back into the oven until the vegetables are completely soft and the sauce is starting to get mushy and thickening.
Dust the hake fillets in flour and seasoning. Heat another dash of oil and fry skin side down until cooked halfway through. Gently turn over and fry until cooked.
Serve a scoop of the vegetable relish with the fish and the rice on the side. The relish will keep for a few days in the fridge and is great to have pre prepared.
Chicken with Spicy Stock and Rice
2 chicken breasts on the bone
2 chicken thighs on the bone
2 red onions, 1 finely chopped and the other sliced
2 carrots, chopped
A thumb size pice of ginger, sliced
1 tbsp of Harissa paste
Rice for four
1 tbsp of creme fraiche
Put the chicken pieces, the sliced onion, a third of the carrots, the ginger and harissa paste into a saucepan. Add water so everything is almost covered. Put a lid on the pot and boil for about 40 minutes, or until the chicken pieces are completely cooked through.
Put the rice on to boil in lightly salted water and drain when cooked. Heat some oil in a pan and fry the garlic, the finely chopped onion and the rest of the carrots. Fry until turning golden.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, strip the meat from the bone and slice into pieces. Keep the stock but remove and discard the vegetables that were used to flavour it, their work is done.
Add the chicken pieces to the frying pan and fry with the other vegetables until the carrots are soft. Add 4 tablespoons of stock and one of creme fraiche. Taste and season and serve with the rice. The rest of the stock can be used for spicy soups or sauces. It freezes very well.
Brussels Sprout Pasta
Spaghetti for four
250 g of brussels sprouts, removed from the stem and older outside leaves removed
A knob of butter
4 cloves of garlic
1 red chilli chopped
4 streaky rashers sliced
150g of parmesan cheese, grated
A drizzle of olive oil
Put the sprouts on to boil until they are beginning to soften, but still al denté. Remove from the saucepan but retain the water. Slice when cool enough to handle.
Add a little salt to the water and then use it to boil the spaghetti, until it too is soft but retaining a little bite. Drain when cooked.
Heat the butter or oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic, chilli and rashers until the rashers are cooked. Toss the ingredients from the butter pan and the sprouts together until the sprouts are coated. Stir the contents of the pan through the pasta with the cheese. Taste and season, drizzle with a little olive oil as you serve.
The Fry-up Salad
We call this the all-day breakfast salad in The Cake Café. It is great at any time of the day, but particularly after a hard day’s work. If you have some leftover potatoes you can add them to the pan with the pudding to bulk up the salad.
100mls and a dash of olive oil
8 thick slices of black pudding
4 streaky rashers, sliced
12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
A bunch of thyme, pulled from the stalk
1 tin of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
30 mls of cider vinegar
2 tsp of wholegrain mustard
2 tsp of honey
4 eggs, lightly poached
4 handfuls of mixed leaves
Crunchy bread for four
Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the black pudding on one side. Turn each piece and add the rashers to the pan. Fry until both are cooked through. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
Add the tomatoes to the same pan. Sprinkle them with the thyme and some seasoning. Allow to fry until they are softening, stir the beans through and coat with any juices in the pan.
Whisk the vinegar, the 100 mls of oil, the honey, mustard and some seasoning. Toss the leaves and the other prepared ingredients in the dressing. Place one of your poached eggs on top and serve with the bread to mop up the juices.
Stewed Lentils with Bangers and Roasted Tomatoes
4 streaking rashers, cut into slices
A knob of butter
1 small red onion, finely sliced
4 cloves of garlic, finely crushed
250g of puy lentils
500 mls of stock
200 mls of white wine
A bunch of thyme left on the stalk
3 large bay leaves
8 banger style sausages
4 pinches of chilli flakes
A bunch of cherry tomatoesHeat the butter and fry the rashers, onion and garlic in a saucepan until they are all turning golden. Add the lentils to the saucepan and then pour in the stock and white wine. Bring to the boil and add in the thyme and bay leaves. Boil for two minutes then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer. Allow to bubble away until the lentils are soft. It will take about 30 minutes or so depending on their freshness.
Toss the sausages, chilli flakes and tomatoes in a small bit more butter and place into the oven while the lentils are bubbling. Bake until the sausages are cooked through.
Serve a nice scoop of the lentils with the sausage on top and tomatoes on the side.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved