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This Week’s Guest Chef – John McIntyre

This Week’s Guest Chef  is John McIntyre.

Chef at The Olde Castle Bar & Restaurant, Donegal Town

Born in Dublin, John McIntyre started cooking at the tender age of fifteen and learned the value of fresh, locally sourced produce from that early age. A keen sea-fisherman, John also loves trying out old recipes, putting a modern twist on the dish using ideas from abroad intertwined with traditional methods. He worked in Greens of London and Killakee House in the Dublin Mountains, reputedly the most “haunted restaurant in Ireland”, but it didn’t worry John!

John is now the Head Chef at the Olde Castle Bar & Restaurant in Donegal Town. This stone floored restaurant serves a selection of Seafood & Traditional Irish dishes, served with a modern twist. The Olde Castle Bar has, over the last few years, built a great reputation for it's food - recieving many accolades including Gastro Pub of Co Donegal in 2010. It is also included in the Bridgestone Guide.

The Olde Castle Bar's Seafood Platter for Two

John's Chargrilled Fillet Steak & King Prawns with a Basil Béarnaise
“Always get your meat from your local butcher and ask if has it been hung for at least twenty-one days. This will ensure tenderness and flavour,” says John. “I season my meat with cracked black pepper and sea salt – these bring out the flavour in the meat. I’m using Basil instead of the traditional Tarragon for this sauce as I think it works great with the Prawns.”

Basil Béarnaise Sauce

3 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons white wine
5 Peppercorns crushed
2 tablespoons shallots finely-chopped
1 tablespoon Basil chopped
1 tablespoon water
3 Egg yolks
300ml unsalted butter melted
Sea Salt, to taste
A little Garlic butter is needed to cook the prawns

1. In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, wine, peppercorns, shallots, and Basil. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce to 1 tablespoon. Add 1 tablespoon of water. Cool.
2. Add the egg yolks and whisk, over low heat (use a double-boiler), until frothy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
3. In a steady stream, add the butter until the sauce thickens. Season with a little salt. Strain the sauce through a sieve and set aside.

Fry the seasoned steaks on a hot pan for 2 minutes each side. Leave them aside for two or three minutes to relax the meat before serving. This will let the juices balance themselves in the meat after cooking. Toss the peeled Prawns in a little garlic butter on the same pan for one minute and pour over the steak. Serve with the Béarnaise sauce.

Don't forget to Feed the Fish at the bottom of this post!

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The Irish Food Guide Blog includes news, foodie chat, recipes, award results, links and other general information on the Food & Tourism Industry in Ireland.

It is written & curated by Zack C. Gallagher, Donegal Town, Co Donegal, Ireland.

“My Blog is a slice of the Irish Food ‘Network’. I’m a Chef with over 30 years experience and also have a background in media. I’m passionate about Irish Food Tourism and I believe that a rising tide really can lift all boats!”

Supporting Irish Food created by passionate producers and encouraging the Irish food & hospitality industry to use modern social media methods to increase their business.

Zack is building a Food Tourism Network, with food tourism partners all over the island of Ireland, to connect guests with artisan Irish food producers, so they can experience the provenance and personality behind our Irish food Visit