BROADLY SPEAKING Broad beans are delicious with new potatoes, mint and butter.
As I write this we await temperatures of 24 celcius to come at the weekend. It might have been a washout of a summer up to now, but the inclement weather has not put a dampener on summer food treats in our house.
Superb oysters were enjoyed from Clew Bay two weeks ago. Then Dad brought in fresh broad beans from his polytunnel at Carrigskeewaun last week. Big, ripe, verdant, unctuous. Some years we have cooked the whole pods early in the season, and eaten them, but this time they were mature and furry, so we shelled them and threw them into boiling new potatoes with some mint from the garden and salty water. Once strained, with added butter, this is the perfect accompaniment to any summer supper. Broad beans, potatoes, mint, butter… heaven.
We have also been experimenting with making some new versions of guacamole so still have avocado’s floating around. Cut in half and scooped out with a spoon, avocados they make a great ready-to-go salad with red onion, good olive oil, walnuts and a thinly sliced red chilli.
My brother, Timmy, cooked potatoes the other night and added washed and chopped carrots to the pot, something about cooking it all together in the potato water produced a very homely effect, and they tasted superb!
Simple comforting foods
Here are two ‘experimental’ dishes that I tried of late and made me very happy. They were both so comforting. The first can just as easily be made with haddock, halibut, cod or another lean white fish (non-farmed).
Hake with sugar snaps and ginger
What you need
- 2 fillets cod
- 100g sugar snap peas
- knob of butter
- knob of peeled ginger, grated
- ½ lemon juiced
- Seasoning, ground paprika
- Tin foil or baking parchment to make ‘envelopes’
- String to tie your envelope.
What you do
I have been reading unverified reports that using tin foil in contact with foods may not be a good idea, although having grown up in a house with an aluminum kettle permanently simmering on the Aga I consider myself immune to most bad things! For this I used brown baking parchment.
Unless the fish is really fresh from the shop, first run it under the tap to clean and freshen. Lay skin-down on your baking parchment, place half the peas go on top, then some grated ginger, season and top the lot with half of your lemon juice and a sprinkle of paprika. Then do the same with the other fillet.
Leave enough parchment to wrap around the fish, and tie either end with pieces of string. Place on an oven dish and bake for 15 minutes at 185ºc. Serve with new summer vegetables and enjoy a meal full of nutrients and protein. (One can also serve with a dash of soy sauce if preferred.)
The key to this is preparation. There are fatty and stringy bits in the heart, around that lovely tender meat, and these have to be removed. For this version I began by using a short, sharp knife to cut out the middle of the heart, leaving the walls only. I then cut down one side and lay flat while stripping off the unwanted bits and thick skin either side, leaving only good meat.
What you need
- 2 lamb hearts
- 80g flour
- 3 tbspns olive oil
- Knob of butter
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 glass wine
What you do
Mix the flour, sea salt and black pepper on a plate with a fork and cover the heart strips with this mixture and move to a clean plate. With your pan on a high heat, add olive oil and butter. When melted (and before it burns), lay down your strips of meat. Cook for 45 seconds and turn with a fork, cook another 45 seconds and remove from heat. After a minute remove meats to a warmed plate and cover.
Return the pan to high heat and when sizzling add another knob of butter and ¼ glass of red/white wine (or a non-alcoholic juice of your liking). Bring to bubbling and keep stirring for a minute the sauce reduces. Take off the heat and pour over the meat ready to serve. This versatile dish can be served with new potatoes, a vegetable ratuatouille or with brown bread and salads.
The Cabot family live and work in Lanmore, outside Westport. Fresh, seasonal foods are their passion, from country markets to growing, making and selling. They love cooking and eating at the kitchen table, while Redmond and Sandra are kept on their toes with children Penny and Louis. Here they share their favourite recipes.