One list five meals: Mince with Olives and Rice

Serves 4

Rice for four 
A dash of olive oil 
4 back rashers, sliced — McCarthy’s of Kanturk do really great cured rashers 

1 onion, finely chopped 

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped 

550g of lean minced beef 

1 tin of chopped tomatoes 

A handful of capers, drained 

A bunch of thyme, removed from the stalk 

A handful of green olives, sliced 

A handful of black olives, sliced 

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

Heat the oil and sauté the onions and rashers until the onions have softened and the rashers are turning golden. Add the garlic to the pan and stir until it is starting to change colour. Add the mince and brown it all over, then add the tomato, capers and thyme. Allow to bubble away over a low heat for a half an hour. Taste and season.

Stir in the olives and serve with the rice.

Filo Pie with Smoked Bacon and Spinach 

Serves 4

Two dashes of rapeseed oil 

400g of spinach 

1 onion, sliced 

4 back rashers, thinly sliced 

1 tsp of nutmeg, grated 

150g of ricotta 

30g of golden sultanas 

3 eggs, lightly beaten 

250g of filo pastry about 10 sheets 

A knob of butter melted 

Heat a dash of oil in a large pan and sauté the spinach until it has completely wilted.

In the meantime heat another dash of the oil and sauté the onion until it is turning translucent. Add the rashers to the pan and fry until they are turning golden.

Drain any liquid. from the spinach and move it to a bowl. Stir in the nutmeg, ricotta, raisins and the contents from the pan as well as the eggs. Mix well.

You will need to lay just over half of the filo sheets into an oiled eight inch cake tin. Brush each layer of pastry with butter to help them stick to each other. Fan them out so they layer over each other in the centre but drape a little over the side of the cake tin.

Pour the filling gently onto the pastry and then cover with the  remaining four sheets. Fold in the pieces that were draping over the cake tin and pinch them together with the top sheets so the pie is sealed. Brush the top of the pie with the remaining butter.

Bake at 180 degrees for 45 minutes until the filling is set and the pastry is golden.

Romanesco Cauliflower with Pasta 

Serves 4

Tagliatelle for four 

1 small head of romanesco cauliflower, cut into florets 

A generous dash of olive oil 

4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced 

1 tsp of chilli flakes 

6 anchovy fillets 

100g of parmesan style cheese, finely grated 

A bunch of parsley, chopped 

This cauliflower is becoming more common in Ireland. I still think it looks magical, like something from outer space. I love using it when cooking for children as it invariably stirs up lots of questions.

Put the florets on to boil in lightly salted water, boil until they are tender but still retain a bite. Remove them with a slotted spoon and then use the same water to boil the pasta. Cook until it is al dente.

In a large sauce pan heat the oil over a low heat and fry the garlic. Once it is starting to change colour stir in the chilli flakes and anchovy fillets. Stir for a few moments and the fillets will begin to disintegrate. Add the cauliflower back into the pan and coat with the now flavoured oil.

Stir the cheese through the pasta until it melts, taste and season. Serve the cauliflower on top and drizzle with a little more oil.

Sausage Nibs in Tomato Sauce with Rice 

Serves 4

Rice for four 

A dash of olive oil 

4 cloves of garlic, chopped 

1 red onion, thinly sliced 

2 tsp of dried mixed herbs 

1 tsp of chilli flakes 

2 tbsp of white wine 

2 tins of chopped tomatoes 

400g of banger style sausage, sliced into bite size pieces 

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

Heat a dash of oil and sauté the onion and garlic together for two minutes stirring continuously. Remove them from the pan and set aside.

Add a little more oil to the same pan and when it is heated fry the pieces of sausage until they are golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the garlic and onion back and stir in the mixed herbs and chilli flakes for a minute then add the wine and chopped tomatoes. Allow to simmer away over a gentle heat for 10 minutes without a lid.

Scrape the sausage pieces into the sauce and allow to bubble away covered with a lid for 15 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. Taste and season.

Serve on a bed of the rice.

Chicken with Turnip Mash and Brandy Gravy 

Serves 4

Turnips for four 

4 potatoes, chopped 

2 tbsp of milk 

4 chicken thighs on the bone 

8 cloves of garlic 

2 large sprigs of thyme 

1 bulb of fennel, sliced 

Two knobs of soft butter, about 50g 

50 mls of brandy 

Put the turnips on to boil in lightly salted water until they are completely soft. Drain any excess water.

Put the potatoes on to boil in another pot, also in lightly salted water. When they are soft drain any excess water.

While they are both boiling place the garlic, fennel and thyme in the base of an oven proof dish. Rub the chicken with half of the butter and seasoning put it on top of the garlic. Place into an oven heated to 180 degrees for 35 minutes or until cooked.

Mash the turnips with the rest of the butter and season.

Remove the chicken and vegetables from the dish and set aside. Pour the brandy into the base of the dish and rub it around so it gets the taste of the juices. Place it back into the oven until bubbling. Pour it over the chicken and mash. You can serve this with salad if you wish.


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