Monday, July 30, 2012

Dermie's Product Of The Week: Simplee Seasonings...

East Cork is widely known as being the culinary hub of Ireland home to many of Ireland's top butchers, chefs, artisan producers and Ireland's most popular Farmer's Market. The latest culinary venture to emerge from East Cork is the 'Simplee' seasonings range set up by Edel Cooney in 2011.

Edel re-packaged her homemade seasonings and started selling to butchers and supermarkets in the Cork area. The response was phenomenal from locals and now the Simplee seasonings range are set for expansion with new distribution arrangements signed for more outlets across Ireland.

The Simplee range is make up of eight innovative artisan lines including: Sea Salt, Peppercorn, Herb Salt, Chilli Salt, Garlic Salt, Lemon Pepper, Sweet and Smoky Salt and not to mention the fantastic salt free seasoning. The salt free seasoning is an all purpose seasoning which is bursting with the flavour of citrus fruit, spices and seeds. It is terrific on fish, in your lunch sandwiches, as a use in dressings and of course to enhance an evening casserole.

In such a very short period of time, Simplee Seasonings have taken the Irish market by storm and there is no doubt that they will become market leaders in their category. A full list of stockists can be found here. Check my blog over the coming weeks where I will be sharing recipes using the Simplee Seasonings range. In the meantime, give Edel's summer soup recipe a try:

Recipe: Edel's Tomato & Honey Soup With A Chilli Salt Kick

This recipe is a favourite in Edel's house, it is simple, quick and great for all of us who are trying to make their food budget stretch further. For Edel, this tastes of summer, and it never lasts long. Top tip…double up on everything and save the leftovers in the fridge.


- 1kg very ripe tomatoes
- Olive oil
- 2 tbsp honey
- Handful of thyme
- 1 white onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 100ml water
- Chilli Sea Salt
- Optional: croutons, basil, yogurt


- Slice all your tomatoes in half. Arrange on a baking tray and pour over honey, thyme leaves and 2 tbsp of olive oil.
- Place in a preheated oven of 230 degrees for about 15 minutes.
- While your tomatoes are cooling, finely chop your onion and crush your garlic.
- Peel the skin from the tomatoes and roughly chop.
- Sweat the onions and garlic with a little olive oil for about 5 minutes until they are translucent.
- Add the tomatoes and water and a little chopped basil if you have it.
- Blend until smooth. Season with a generous amount of Simplee chilli salt and pepper. Taste.
- Reheat and serve with croutons and a swirl of yogurt.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Dermie Meets: Chef John O' Leary Malton Hotel...

Tucked away in the heart of Killarney, Co. Kerry is one of Ireland's most luxurious hotels and is home to an exceptionally talented chef, John O' Leary. I caught up with John recently to chat about sourcing world class local ingredients, the launch of their new seasonal signature platters and asked him to share some simple summer recipes.

John and his team take good food seriously and never compromise on using only the freshest local quality ingredients including Kerry lamb and Beal Kerry cheese. John describes his food as "creative cuisine, classically influenced" which is served in contemporary elegance in a true Victorian setting. He truly believes that Ireland has world leading beef, fish and lamb which he is fortunate enough to be able to source right on his doorstep.

“Our new menu offers a range of locally produced and grown ingredients from Kerry lamb to Beale local farmhouse cheese, which comes from Listowel. We work very closely with our local suppliers to source indigenous ingredients like wild mushrooms from Kenmare and wild garlic from the Killarney countryside”. The local forager, Patrick, sources the very best local ingredients including wild chanterelle mushrooms. The journey from forest to fork is captured here:

One of the most popular summer lunch dishes which leaves the kitchen is that of roast vegetable salad with basil pesto. John shares the recipe for this dish as an example to showcase that over 80% of the ingredients for the salad are sourced from the hotels herb and salad garden.


Recipe: Roasted Vegetable Salad with Basil Pesto:
(Serves 4)

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees or gas mark 4.

The salad comprises of a selection of leaves including Mizuna, Mibuna, Mustard Leaf and Rocket and for colour a little Oak Leaf and allow a hand full of leaves per person. You may like to use Dermie's salad dressing here.

For The Topping:

The topping is decided by what is in season. Throughout the summer, the Malton garden is home to baby courgettes, artichokes, red onions, spring onions, cherry tomatoes, celery, pak choi stem and radish. Try to source a selection from your own vegetable garden or from the local farmer's market.

- Cut selected vegetables into equal sized pieces and toss in olive oil, Maldon salt and cracked black pepper.

- Add some unpeeled garlic cloves to the mixture.

- Roast in a preheated oven for 12-15 minutes (it is important to leave a bite to the vegetables).

- Allow to cool slightly and dress them with a little basil pesto.

- Toss them through your salad leaves and top with crumbled Cashel Blue cheese or Beal Irish Goats Cheese.

This recipe is delicious with a chilled glass of Pinot Blanc.


The team of chefs are very excited about their new Tiffin Platters which they have recently launched offering diners value for money with a nice alternative to tapas. “Our Tiffin Platters offer a creative alternative to tapas, so why not order a few platters amongst friends and share the experience. All our platters have been specially selected so that each course balances perfectly with the next. We grow our own range of herbs and vegetables in the hotel gardens providing us with some of the wonderful fresh ingredients we use in these new dishes" explains John.

The Malton’s feta cheese and olive salad platter accompanies a lamb tagine with apricot cous cous, with a refreshing raspberry and lime posset platter to finish.

For a more authentic Indian experience, diners are invited to sample spiced hummus with lemon, chicken and coconut korma, and cardamom parfait; a tempting blend of spices and flavours. The Malton’s roasted vegetable salad with basil, goats’ cheese and wild mushroom lasagne, finished off with lemon curd with crushed meringue.


Whether the occasion calls for luxury on a grand scale or quiet intimacy, dining at The Malton is an experience you'll want to share.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Best Buy: Cashel Blue Cheese

Beechmount Farm is an area of rolling pastureland in Fethard, South Tipperary and home to the world famous Cashel Blue Cheese. Like many early Irish farm house cheese producers, the Grubbs started making cheese as a way of adding value to their own milk. Over half of all the milk used in the production of Cashel Blue comes from their herd of Holstein Friesians with the remainder coming from nearby farms.
"One sunny summer’s day my daughter Sarah and I were watching my husband, Louis, herd his cows in from pasture. What a deliciously rich and creamy milk they gave! I started to experiment. Eventually, in 1984, I created Cashel Blue, a cheese I believe truly represents the outstanding quality of Tipperary milk".

Cashel Blue is a natural rinded blue cheese made from pasteurised cow's milk and vegetarian rennet. The cheese has a distinct soft yellow paste with a blue to green coloured mould. The young cheeses are mildly blue where the mature cheese versions depend on balance and elegance.

Cashel Blue cheese is on par with any other internationally made blue cheeses. The distinctive flavour is creamy, mildly blue and slightly acidic when young; with a good balance between creaminess and blue as the cheese matures. Over 18 weeks the blue cheese matures becoming more becomes more aggressive in flavour and more granular in texture. Cashel Blue is perfect with cheese crackers served alongside some chutney, a great addition to any cheese board and also adds great depth of flavour to steaks, burgers, green soups including broccoli, and so much more.

Cashel Blue produce a second variation of cheese known as Crozier Blue which is made from pasteurised sheep's milk with a natural rind and a greyish green mould. The paste becomes chalkier in texture towards the centre of the wheel. It is very simular in appearance to Cashel Blue, but a whiter paste owing to the sheep's milk mould. Crozier Blue is released from 3 months of age and is available all year round.

The Cashel Blue range is available across Ireland in a number of supermarkets, food markets and many artisan food stores internationally. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Recipe: Ballymaloe Country Relish Beef Burgers

There is nothing more delicious than a prime Irish beef burger, with some Ballymaloe Relish on top, but ever try to put the relish into the burger mix itself? It is simply divine. When mixing the ingredients together, I add in tomato relish into the beef mince, before grilling leaving you with a truly sensational burger!

Serves 4:

Shopping List:

- 1 Finely Chopped Onion.
- 500g Organic Lean Minced Beef.
- 1 Large Beaten Egg.
- 4 Tbps Ballymaloe Country Relish.
- 6 Bacon Strips.
- 8 Burger Buns.
- 2 Tsp Fresh Thyme & Parsley (Chopped).
- Salt & Black Pepper Seasoning

To Serve:

- Ballymaloe Country Relish.
- 4 Rounds Ardsallagh Goat's Cheese.
- Fresh Salad Leaves, Cucumber Pickle & Sliced Tomatoes.


1. Sweat the onions in a heavy bottomed pan, over a gentle heat, just until they are softened. Place them aside in a bowl to cool. Once cool mix in the relish, herbs and seasoning into the minced beef before adding in the beaten egg.

2. Take a little of the mixture and fry it in some oil to test for seasoning. Adjust the seasoning if necessary before rolling the mixture evenly into evenly sized burgers. Mold the mixture together by placing down gently with your hands and flatten into four even burgers. Ensure all the burgers are the same thickness and size, otherwise you will have unevenly cooked burgers.

3. Line the burgers on a well oiled tray and brush the tops with a little olive oil. Cover the burgers with cling film, place them in the fridge for at least an hour to allow them to set and for the relish to marinate the burgers.

4. Place your grill pan on a medium heat and grill the burgers for five minutes, for medium burgers and a minute extra for well done burgers. Ensure the burgers are well cooked through before serving. It is important not to place too much pressure on the burger while cooking and ensure you only turn once for the ultimate perfect burger.

5. When turning the burger, place the bacon on the pan and allow the bacon to go extra crispy. Drain the fried bacon on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

6. Place the burger buns under the grill until golden brown. Slide the burgers onto the bun, place the goat's cheese on top and allow to brown. Serve with a dollop of Ballymaloe Country Relish, salad, cucumber pickle and bacon or the topping of your choosing.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Product of the week: Dee's Eat Well Be Happy Vegetarian Range

Dee produces two innovative meat-free burgers - Dee's Omega Burgers and Dee's Spicy Bean Burgers - both of which are vegan, vegetarian and filled with many health benefits. The omega burger range blends two whole grains with two super-food seeds and fresh vegetables to create what Dee terms "a nutrition powerhouse" which is mild tasting with a natural flavour of toasted seeds.

When I tried the range, I dressed the burger with a dollop of rustic tomato relish, Ardsallagh goats cheese and a sprinkle of sea-salt just before the end of grilling leaving a delicious, healthy, great tasting meat-free burger. Another option in Dee's range is the Spicy Bean Burger which blends aduki beans and wholesome wholegrain together to create a burger filled with protein and fibre. Dee's top secret blend of herbs and spices make this a hit with those looking for something with more of a kick.

Last year, Dee expanded into the vegetarian 'ready meals' market with three new additions:

- Sweet Potato & Bean Chill.
- Butternut Squash Potato and Lentil.
- Moricoran Chickpea & Potato.

These are the perfect on-the-go meal for that busy office, or those evenings after the gym when you just want a healthy meal-to-go alternative. Dee's products are stocked in many stores across Ireland and the UK with a full list of outlets here.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Recipe: Dermie's Razzle Dazzle Cake...


This weekend, over 30,000 people marched the streets of Dublin City to mark the 29th Annual Gay Pride Parade. The theme of the event was 'Show Your True Colours'. The theme of the event coincides with the gay pride flag which is a multi-coloured rainbow flag made up of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. The flag, as well as the pride march, symbolises diversity; inclusiveness; hope and yearning.


To mark the closing of Dublin's Gay Pride, I have themed this blog entry as 'Show Your True Colours', baking a 'Razzle Dazzle' rainbow cake. This cake really is terribly terrific bringing an array of summer colours to a party or to the table for light afternoon tea. Commonly known as a rainbow cake; many a child's party has also been enjoyed with the arrival of this cake. Serves six to eight generous delicious slices.


Shopping List:

- 225g Butter.
- 225g Caster Sugar.
- 4 Medium Organic Eggs.
- 225g Plain Cream Flour.
- 2 Tsp Baking Powder.
- 3 Tbsp Organic Milk.
- 5 Colouring Pastes (Red, Green, Orange, Blue, Yellow).

For The Buttercream Frosting and Icing:

- 250g Unsalted Butter.
- 250g Icing Sugar, sieved.
- 2-4 Tbsp of Boiling Water.

2x 8 inch cake tins



- Preheat the oven to 190 degress or gas mark five.
- Grease your cake tins very well with melted butter; dust with flour and line with greaseproof paper. Ensure you line the cake tins very well and evenly otherwise you will end up with an uneven rainbow.
- Cream the butter very well. Using an electric hand whisk, add the sugar in stages until very pale and fluffy in colour.
- Whisk the eggs one at a time and add into the mixture in slow stages ensuring each egg is incorporated thoroughly before adding the next.
- Sieve the flour; then using a tea strainer sieve the baking powder into the flour. Add the flour to the mixture in stages and add the milk to make the mixture lighter. 
- Stop. Weigh your mixture. Divide into five even separate large bowls. Take two of the bowls, dip a cocktail stick into the food colouring paste and add a small number of colouring drops to one mixture, incorporating the colour completely into the mixture.
- Fold the mixture into the baking tin and using the back of a tablespoon spread the mixture evenly. Repeat this process with the remaining four colouring mixtures. 
- Work on two baking tins at a time and cover the remaining tins (or bowls if you only have two tins) with cling film until ready. 
- While the first two baking tins are in the oven, move onto colouring the next two baking tins so that the mixture is not setting too much.
- Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. The cake will shrink in from the edge of the tins and the centre will look and feel firm. 
- You know the sponge is ready by placing a skewer in the centre and it will come out clean.
- Leave the sponge to cool for five minutes before turning the sponge out onto a wire rack. Repeat this process for the remainder of the layers.
- It is very important that you allow all the sponges to cool completely before icing and frosting. In the meantime, make your butter cream icing and frosting.

- Cream the butter and add the sieved icing sugar.
- Mix in the hot water and beat the mixture. 
- Sandwich the cake layers together with an inch thick layer of icing. 
- Using a palette knife, ice the top and outer layers of the cake with the remaining icing. If you wish, decorate the sides and top of the cake and pipe rosettes of butter-cream. 


Note: The cake tastes even better when you sandwich the layers together with raspberry jam but I used icing to give the colours a nice white outer lining. Odd numbers always look better, so I divided this mixture into 5 layers, but you can increase the ingredients to make a seven or even a nine layer rainbow cake.