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This Weeks Guest Chef – Paul Ricketts cooks Tempura Lobster

Paul Ricketts was born in England. His Irish roots were strong and he moved to Ireland 20 years ago. Trained as a chef, Paul spent many years fishing Lobsters & Crabs and he now runs daily fishing trips out of Donegal Town’s old Pier.

Paul has been a long-time advocate of fresh Lobster. “It really is the juicest seafood there is” he says, “and if you buy it fresh from your fishmonger, it is no more expensive than any other quality fish or seafood!”. His boat, the Donna-Marie, is the only fishing boat running full or half-day trips in the bay from Donegal Town. Paul still keeps his own Lobster pots for his own cooking pot!

"To cook the lobsters for this dish, bring them to the boil and simmer for 8 minutes only. Take them out of the water and leave aside to cool. This is done because you are going to cook them again in the hot oil and you don’t want the lobster meat to get tough!"

Skipper/Chef Paul Ricketts aboard the Donna Marie for Donegal Bay Charters

Spicy Tempura Lobster
¼ pint of lager
2 tbls flour
1 tbls white wine vinegar
pinch each of Tumeric, Cumin, Chilli Powder & Gram Masala
a twist of black pepper
Mix all together with a whisk or in your blender

1. Crack open the lobsters, pull out all the meat from the tail and claws and slice it into bite- sized pieces.
2. Heat your oil in a shallow pan. I use a mix of Sunflower oil & Olive oil (½ & ½ ).
3. Dip your lobster pieces into the batter, shake off the excess and pop them into the pan. Don’t put in too many pieces at a time or you will cool down the oil too much.
4. Fry for 1 minute on each side and drain on kitchen paper. Cook off the rest of your lobster.

Serve it with some fresh lime wedges and a tasty rocket & vine tomato salad!

You can contact Paul for Fishing Trips at Donegal Bay Charters on 086 609 6035

Follow him on Twitter at @DonegalCharters
Facebook at DonegalBayCharters

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

Cathy's Spelt Recipe Wins 2 Gold Stars in London

‘Cathy’s Spelt for Health’ Flapjack Mix Wins Two Gold Stars at the 2011 Great Taste Awards!

Cathy Whitty, founder of 'Cathy’s Spelt for Health’  from Tinahely, Co Wicklow is celebrating after winning a prestigious 2011 Great Taste Award. Cathy's Spelt Flapjack Mix has been presented with a coveted two-star Gold Great Taste Award.

The Great Taste Awards, held in London and organised by the Guild of Fine Food, are now in their 18th year and going from strength to strength. 7481 products were entered from 1600 companies for the 2011Great Taste Awards. It took 350 experts 34 days to blind taste all the entries and decide which entries would achieve the coveted one, two and three star gold awards.

Cathy Whitty, the founder of 'Cathy’s Spelt for Health’ started her business after discovering
she had a wheat intolerance eliminating wheaten bread from her diet. Cathy set about creating
an easily digestible bread mix for others suffering from the common wheat sensitivity using
spelt flour instead of wheat. She was soon distributing her range of spelt products to over 100
health food outlets nationwide and travelling all over the country to meet the growing demand.

“We have seen a lot of interest in our wheat-free products since we launched our business
a couple of years ago. The biggest problem is that wheat is so prevalent in Western foods and
there are few alternatives available on the market. Spelt has long been recognized as providing
an excellent alternative to those wishing to avoid wheat. Many of its benefits come from the
fact that it offers a broader spectrum of nutrients and it’s also been found to be much easier to
digest than traditional wheat” says Cathy.

Winning an award at The Great Taste Award this month is a “tremendous achievement." says Cathy. "We are delighted at winning this prestigious award and we are very proud of the two-star product ranking it received. It is an honour to be recognized for the quality of our spelt product range.” Cathy has recently added a scone and a tomato and herb mix as well as number of recipes to her growing spelt baking mix range.

“Winning Gold in this country’s largest and most respected independent food accreditation scheme is a massive pat on the back for any producer – it is independent proof that their products are of the highest quality” said Bob Farrand, Chairman for The Great Taste Awards. “We provide constructive feedback from our expert judging teams and for many, winning 1, 2 or 3-star Gold is exactly what’s needed to help grow their businesses, even during a recession. Every winner should feel very proud that their hard work has been rewarded.”

Award Winning Flapjack recipe from Cathy’s Spelt:
What you need:
• A bag of Cathys Spelt for Health Flapjack Mix
• 140g of butter
• 140g of Golden Syrup
• Flat baking tray
• Dried Apricots

Baking instructions:
• Preheat the oven to 160 degrees/Gas Mark 3.
• Place the contents of the bag in a bowl
• Melt the butter, golden syrup/honey and apricots in a saucepan
• Pour melted ingredients into bowl with flapjack mix and mix together
• Grease flat baking tray and flatten out mixture onto tray
• Place in the oven for 15 mins or so until its golden and slightly soft
• Allow to cool and cut into desired sized squares

You can contact Cathy at
and check out their website for more details on

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

This Week's Guest Chef - "The Community Chef" Brian McDermott

Brian McDermott is well considered to be Ireland’s first "Community Chef".
He has been cooking professionally for 17 years and spent most of his career on the Inishowen Peninsula, where he owned his own award-winning restaurant “Finnegan’s”.

Now, he works in the community with young people and school children, the unemployed, ethnic groups, lone parent groups and low-income households, at a local level, educating people about food. He visits trade shows, festivals, schools and community centres to give demonstrations and advice. Brian has just finished building a purpose built Cookery School & Studio at his home in Inishowen - and he's open for business!

Meringues with soft summer fruits

"This is a classical summer dessert is always handy as a quick dessert option. You can use any fresh fruit that's in season for the tastiest last minute dessert! They're also great for picnics & barbeques as you can put them together on the beach or in the garden!"

200g   Castor Sugar
4          Egg Whites
            Squeeze Lemon Juice
1          Kiwi
16        Raspberries
8          Strawberries
100g   Crème Fraiche

  1. Allow egg whites to be at room temperature. Whisk egg whites with lemon juice and pinch of sugar until stiff. Gradually add in the rest of the sugar. The mix now should be a stiff meringue.
  2. Pipe or spoon out onto tray lined with greaseproof paper. Cook in very low oven of 50° for approx 2 hours.
  3. Wash berries and slice Raspberries in half. ¼ the strawberries. Peel, half and slice the kiwi.
  4. Arrange a little crème fraiche on top of meringue and neatly arrange fruit on top.
A few extra meringue tips from @communitychef :
If you like, try adding some of your favourite chocolate bar through your meringue mix before cooking. Meringues will keep in an airtight container for 2 weeks.

Brian has a new book out called  “Reunite with Food”, see 
You can also Follow him on twitter at @communitychef

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

A Quick & Easy Summer Quiche

Quiche is a traditional French savoury open tart. Quiche Lorraine is the most famous, being a smoked bacon & cheese version. There will always be a lot of debate about what should go into a "quiche" and the truth is, you can put what ever you want into it! At home there are no rules or regulations as to what you can make - you are only limited by your imagination!

Quiche is fun to make and can be eaten for dinner or lunch, as a meal or an appetizer.  This time of year it is a great way to get kids to eat all sorts of vegetables and eggs as it can be eaten hot or cold.

Serve it with your favourite summer salads and sides and a glass of cold white wine!
Serves 6 in a 10” Baking tin about 2" deep

My Ingredients:

Egg Mix

300ml milk
4 medium eggs
Beat this together and prepare your Pastry.



400g plain flour
150g real butter
1 egg
50ml cold water
sea salt & black pepper



You can use whatever you like to fill a quiche. These are my favourites:
½ red pepper
½ green pepper
½ onion
1 red onion
5 mushrooms
1 clove garlic
2 vine tomatoes
a few slices of Chorizo

200g grated Irish cheddar cheese

My Method:
  1. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Season. Break in the egg and add half the water. Pull the mixture together in the bowl and add a little more water if needed.
  2. Use a little extra flour to smooth the pastry. Cool in the fridge for twenty minutes to relax the pastry before rolling out.
  3. First you bake the pastry case ‘blind’. This means to roll out the pastry into your baking case with some greaseproof paper inside it. Put a layer of dried beans or rice on the paper and bake for 10 minutes. Take the pastry out of the oven and remove the paper and beans. (You can keep this aside and use them again and again).
  4. Meanwhile slice all the vegetables to the same size. Add the chorizo, a little salt & black pepper and cook on a low heat in a little butter to soften the vegetables for about 10 minutes stirring often.
  5. Spoon the filling into the cooked pastry case and sprinkle the cheese on top. Gently pour the egg mix over the filling just until everything is covered. Being careful not to spill over the edge, place in a pre-heated oven at 160*C and cook for 30 minutes.
To test if it is cooked, gently push a knife into the middle. If it isn’t firm give it another 5 minutes or so in the oven. mmmmm!

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

"Like" Me in Belfast? - Like my Burritos!

Free Burritos at Belfast Mexican Restaurant Boojum this Saturday 9th July !

Boojum, the popular Belfast Mexican restaurant, is offering the hungry people of the city Free Burritos this Saturday, 9th July, as a thank you for their loyal support!

The Free Burrito Day marks the end of a "Facebook Race" to get the highest number of ‘Likes’ between it's Belfast and Dublin Boojum stores with the northern fan page winning the contest and bagging free grub.
The fresh Mexican Burrito bar began the campaign back in May, to encourage people throughout Ireland to join the Burrito Revolution.  Since then, the competition has been hotter than a jalapeno, with Belfast coming from behind to beat Dublin by over 900 votes therefore securing the prize of tasty tortillas wrapped around fillings such as cheese, chicken, beans, lettuce, salsa and guacamole.   
Owners of Boojum, John and Karen Blisard
Husband and wife team, John and Karen Blisard, opened the first Boojum in December 2007.  After moving from America to Ireland and searching unsuccessfully to find a satisfactory Mexican restaurant, the American husband and Northern Irish wife took the plunge to open their own.  The business soon expanded to Dublin where, to mark the launch of the new store a free burrito day saw over 750 burritos served in just six hours.  
John masterminded the social media campaign and explains, “Using Facebook was a fun way to create awareness of our brand, while also introducing a little friendly competition between Belfast and Dublin.  Social media relates to Boojum’s target market; it's how they communicate and share information, so it made sense to devise a marketing campaign around it.  Many people in Ireland may not be familiar with burritos, fresh Mexican food or our style of service. By making it free, we get to introduce people to our food that may not normally come in and try it, as well as thanking our regular customers.”

Miss Northern Ireland Finola Guinnane yesterday afternoon
getting in the Mexican spirit for the Great Burrito Giveaway
Free Burrito Day is taking place on 09 July from 12-6pm at Boojum, Chichester Street, Befast only.  For more information visit or check out their Facebook fan page.

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

Richys Restaurant Cork is Bord Bia’s Just Ask! Restaurant of the Month, July 2011

Richys Restaurant, Clonakilty, Cork has been awarded Bord Bia’s Just Ask! Restaurant of the Month for July 2011.

The award, which recognises restaurants that provide information to their customers about where their food comes from, coincides with the launch of a new venture by Richys Restaurant called R café.  R Café, which will exist alongside the restaurant will serve breakfast/brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and delicious cakes all day with great coffee whilst continuing to serve the best local, in-season food the region has to offer. 

Richys Restaurant and R Café prides itself on serving the best seasonal produce sourced locally in West Cork. Its wide-ranging menu contains information outlining the origin of the key ingredients in each dish, the names of all their local suppliers and a list of foods that are in season at the time. Their website,, also provides a listing of local suppliers (including a supplier of the month).
Richie Virahsawmy, Head Chef at Richys
‘Our menus change seasonally’, said Head Chef, Richie Virahsawmy ‘Being in West Cork we are spoiled with wonderful artisan producers such as Ummera Smoked Products where we source our smoked duck breast from; Edward Twomey’s famous Clonakilty black pudding; Devoy’s Organic Farm fruit & vegetables and Dave Bushby’s wonderful Rosscarbey strawberries. Our fresh meat is supplied by Ballyburden Meats in Ballincollig and Shannonvale Poultry in Clonakilty supply our chicken. Shellfish de la Mer in Castletownbere and Bantry Bay Seafood provide us with seafood’’ .
Richys new Cook Book
As a member of both Euro-toque Ireland and Good Food Ireland, Richie is proud to highlight his commitment to sourcing local and promoting small food producers wherever possible.
Just Ask! is a Bord Bia campaign which aims to encourage consumers to look for information on where their food comes from when eating out and encourages chef’s to provide the information on their menus. According to recent research from Bord Bia, 81% of Irish diners believe it’s important that restaurants use local produce with 72% deeming it important that the origin of meat is listed on the menu.

Speaking about Richy’s Georgina Campbell said, ‘It’s not often that you come across a menu like this, it not only names the origins of key ingredients in each dish and credits their valued local suppliers at the end, but also lists some of the foods that are in season at the time – and even gives a glossary to explain some of the less usual ingredients and cooking terms!’

As part of Bord Bia’s Just Ask! programme, restaurants listed on Georgina Campbell’s website are invited to submit copies of their menus and sourcing statements.  On a monthly basis, a Just Ask! winner is chosen by Georgina Campbell in agreement with Bord Bia. In addition, an overall Just Ask! annual award winner is selected as part of the Georgina Campbell Awards which take place during October.

To get involved in Just Ask! or to find out more, see With so many great value restaurants right on your doorstep, eating out is still on the menu!

For more information on Richys Bar & Bistro see

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

The Wild Atlantic Way is the world's Longest Coastal Route