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Festive Finger Food (Canapés)

Nov 21, 2022

There's no better time to settle into some creative cooking than in the run up to the party season. It's no secret that I adore this time of year and one of my favourite culinary hobbies is dreaming up little morsels of heaven to delight guests with.  By now I have a few signature recipes which many of my family and friends look forward to when they come for drinks.  Canapés don’t have to be difficult but they do give you an opportunity to showcase your culinary talents and impress your friends. Best of all, tasty bites are a great way to set any occasion off on a fabulous note! 

Try these 3 signature canapés that are true crowd pleasers. Remember, preparation is the key, but there is still lots of scope for creativity. You can store canape bases and fillings in an airtight container until ready to use.  Always buy plenty of extra fresh herbs for freshness.  Contrast and colourful garnishes make finger food look so appetising. Once you...

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Indian Fish Curry

Oct 03, 2022

When the weather gets a bit chillier, I pull out my folder of comforting midweek meals and this Fish curry is always popular with the family.  Fish can be very expensive, but if you keep an eye on the blackboard at any good fish counter, you can pick up some fantastic deals on white fish.  For instance, you may notice Cod might be priced very high, while the Hake or Haddock offers a more economical alternative, with no compromise on the tastiness of a meal. This fish curry can be made with any white fish, and even prawns.

The creaminess of this curry comes from Cashew nuts rather than cream or coconut milk!

Serves 6

Cooking Time: 30 mins

Ingredients

    1.2kg haddock, skinless, pinboned, cut into large chunks
    1 tbsp turmeric
    30g butter
    2 tbsp sunflower oil
    1 tbsp fennel seeds
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    10 cardamom pods, crushed, seeds only
    1...

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A Northern Irish Whiskey Cake

Mar 14, 2022

Old recipes are always the best recipes. This whiskey cake recipe was given to me by a lady from Lurgan, Northern Ireland. Intensely dark and moist, it is very easy to make. This is a traditional boiled fruit cake, so called because part of the fruit mixture is boiled before adding it into the cake batter.

The old housewife trick of liberally lacing a little extra whiskey over the top of the cake once it is freshly baked increases the shelf life and in creating this intensely flavoured cake, which remains wonderfully moist even for up to a week, if stored tightly wrapped in an airtight container. The boiling method also means there is no creaming of butter and sugar involved, so the stove actually does the work for you. The mixed dried fruits are soaked in whiskey and spices before being boiled with butter and sugar. Though you’ll be tempted to eat the plump, liquor-soaked fruit straight from the pot, the sacrifice of leaving it be, will be worth it. 

The world would be...

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Irish Beef and Guinness Stew

Mar 11, 2022
 

Guinness Stew may well be the mother of all stews since anything simmered for hours is going to be wonderfully tasty. Arguably the most deeply flavourful sauce of all stews, with a rich dark brown flavour, this is an Irish classic. The not-so-secret ingredient that goes into Stew that gives the sauce the deep flavour and colour is Guinness Stout (or 'The Black Stuff' as we often say in Ireland), which is known to be much richer than most beers (the thick foam that gathers on the top of a pint).  Irish Stout is widely exported nowadays and other equally good Irish Stouts such as Murphys Irish Stout or Beamish) can be substituted in this recipe . All Irish Stout is so dark it is almost black and it’s why the gravy of the stew is such a beautiful deep brown colour. Don't get confused between a Beef and Guinness Stew and Irish Stew (which is more famous and authentic, made with lamb and more like a soup when served, with NO guinness). In an Irish Stew, the potatoes are...

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The Perfect Traditional Irish Scones

Mar 09, 2022

For a Quintessentially Celtic Treat, Nothing Beats a Freshly Baked Fluffy Irish Scone!

It was “Sally O’Brien and the way she might look at you” that used to attract the tourists. Nowadays tourists are flocking to experience wild coasts, ancient ruins and Irish food. Though subtle culinary differences do exist between us and our close neighbours in Britain. Rather than high tea, Irish scones conjure images of a farmhouse kitchen, a wooden table and a ginormous pot of tea.

When I worked the morning shift in a kitchen, the scones were in the oven within 10 minutes of my arrival. All I had to do was crack some eggs, then pour them, along with milk, into the dry scone mixture (which I had prepared the day before). Every B&B in the country might make a fresh batch each morning if they knew how easy scones are to make.

Truly Irish scones are made in the fashion of white soda bread; combining plain flour, bread soda, salt and buttermilk. While delicious and fluffy when...

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An Authentic and Traditional Seafood Chowder

Feb 08, 2022
 

Irish Seafood Chowder: A traditional Irish delicacy that never fails to disappoint!

This traditional hearty soup has been a feature in Irish life for as long as village communities have subsisted on the fisherman's catch landed along the wild shores of the Atlantic Coast. The memorable mix of fresh haddock, salmon, and shrimp (or prawns as we call them in Ireland) is nicely balanced out with seasonal veggies such as leeks, carrots, and potatoes. The sauce of fish stock and cream brings a flavourful and comforting warmth that refreshes the soul. Unlike the American versions of chowder, this more authentic recipe has less cream, allowing for the other true flavours to show through. Ireland is known for it's seafood, and this delicious chowder is a prime example of Irish cooking using fresh ingredients from nature to create a wholesome meal enjoyed by many all across the island. This is why you can find it at local pubs all around Ireland 

Because we are an island, it is only...

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A Delicious Irish Farmhouse Apple Pie Recipe

Feb 05, 2022
 

Irish Farmhouse Apple Pie: A nurturing dessert loved by all ages!


A delicious warm Apple Pie (we also say Apple Tart in Ireland) reminds us all of home. Here's an Irish recipe to celebrate St Patrick's Day. Served with freshly whipped cream it is a wonderful dessert.

Is there anything more homely than apple pie? It must be one of the most nurturing desserts, loved by adults and children alike. The aroma of a freshly baked apple pie takes me right back to my childhood.

I would be sent out into my grandfather’s garden and farm in Delgany, grumbling all the way, to collect the windfall apples. Windfalls don’t store well. The bruise which forms where they hit the ground quickly starts to go bad. They had to be used immediately, and my grandma’s deep dish apple pie was the perfect way to do it. I love everything about it: the wonderful smell, the rich golden buttery crust and the slightly tart apple filling.

I have a favourite Pyrex glass pie dish which I’ve been...

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Kale Salad with Tahini Soy Dressing

Jan 05, 2022

It seems you’re nobody these days, unless you’re a kickboxing, cleaning eating, kale juicing junkie.  My ‘A’ for effort is my zeal for kale salads.  When asked if kale really needs all that ‘massaging’, I explain that the challenging dark green leafy fibres are broken down by the concentrated acidity in limes and lemons, but I’m no scientist.  For me it is the difference between chewing a pale woody indigestible leaf versus chowing down an appetising salad of vibrant tender leaves.  When laced with a hefty dressing (I use tahini but you can use peanut butter instead for a similar consistency) a kale salad can be very satisfying.  Pomegranates are a luxury, adding an exotic twist, but you can mix and match sultanas, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, grated ginger, nuts and even turn it into a main course salad with fish or chicken.  

KALE SALAD WITH TAHINI SOY DRESSING

Serves 6

200g Curly Kale, washed, ribs removed,...

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Halloween Cupcakes

Oct 20, 2021

Hallowe’en is big business these days. If you leave it until the eleventh hour, you may run out of time to invent a blood curdling costume or paint a convincingly devilish face. Come October 31st, by noon, most shops will be sold out of pumpkins. So a great way to get in the spooky spirit is with some frighteningly easy baking ideas. Before you start, throw open the cupboards and gather those festive sprinkles, food colourings, icing and cutters. You’ll be surprised at how much creepy fun you can add to your bakes once you have all the necessary decorating supplies. With the school mid-term commencing, there will be lots of time to squeeze in a bit of baking. It’s the ultimate activity to warm up little monsters as they prepare for trick-or-treating escapades.  If your main concern is who is going to eat all those cakes, fear not, an impromptu Hallowe’en, neighbourhood, bake sale is a wonderful way to raise money for a good cause. The annual...

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Chicken Korma

Sep 01, 2021

Serves 4

If you don’t have coconut milk, you can combine cream and some chicken stock to create a sauce.  There are many different ways to add that subtle coconut flavour. I often add in some dessicated coconut...

4 chicken fillets
For Marinade
100ml natural yoghurt
1 clove garlic
1 tsp turmeric
For Korma Sauce
50g butter or oil
1 onion
2 cm piece fresh ginger
pinch chilli powder (or fresh chilli, or tabasco)
half teaspoon cinnamon
6 cloves (optional)
1 tin full fat coconut milk (use creamiest part in tin)
salt and pepper, to taste
25g flaked almonds
25g fresh coriander herb, to garnish

To serve: 1-2 cups rice

 

  1. To Marinade Chicken: Cut chicken into 2cm cubes. Put into a bowl with yoghurt, garlic and turmeric.  Cover and marinate for 15 minutes.
  2. For Sauce: Peel and dice onion finely. Peel and grate the ginger.
  3. Melt butter on HIGH for 30 seconds. Add onion, cook on a high heat for 2 minutes.  Stir in ginger, cloves, cinnamon and chilli powder, cook on HIGH for 1 minute.
  4. ...
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