Tip for boiling potatoes

Don’t add salt to the water when you are boiling potatoes – this stops them splitting. Instead drain them, and then season.

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how to roast or bake rhubarb in the oven with caster or demerara sugar for a quick and easy fruit dessert.How to roast rhubarb   

Bake whole or sliced rhubarb – it only takes 15-20 minutes – to serve with greek yogurt or to fill a pre-baked tart for a quick dessert. You can keep the cooked rhubarb covered in the fridge for a few days and add it to granola for a healthy breakfast or serve it with cheese after dinner.

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How to choose kitchen string   
Kitchen string is used to tie meat before roasting to make sure it cooks evenly, to give you neat slices and to containstuffing. It can also be used to tie labels on jars of preserves and to tie a bouquet garni or muslin bag of spices to the side of a saucepan so you can remove it easily. Choosing the correct string will save you problems during cooking.


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Nutmeg can be used in both savoury and sweet dishes to lift them and add a note of sweetness. It can lift a dish with just a pinch.



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The trick with roasting pork is to keep the pork moist but to make sure that the crackling is crunchy.



How to make the best roast potatoes

Roast potatoes should be crisp and crunchy on the outside, and soft and melting on the inside. Here's how to do it.

1. Set the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

2. Boil peeled potatoes in a large saucepan of salted water, then simmer for 10 minutes. You should be able to pierce the potatoes with a fork, but they should still be firm.

3. Heat 50 mls of olive oil per 1 kilo of potatoes in a large roasting tin in the oven until the oil smokes. While the oil is heating, drain the potatoes well, then return them to the saucepan and heat them for 30 seconds over a low heat to dry them out. Toss them about in the saucepan to roughen up the outside or score with a fork. Very carefully, spoon the potatoes into the hot oil and turn them over to coat them. Bake in the oven for up to an hour, or until they are soft inside when you pierce them with a fork. They should be golden and crunchy outside - if not, bake them for a little longer. During cooking, turn the potatoes a few times to make sure both sides get crunchy.

You can make them in advance and take them out of the oven 10-15 minutes before they are fully cooked, then reheat them at 200C/400F/Gas 6 for 15-20 minutes before serving.

How to skin a chestnut

Use a small sharp knife to cut an 'x' in the chestnut, making sure to pierce the shell. Lay the chestnuts on a baking tray and bake at 200C/400F/Gas 6 until the shell has turned black and started to come away from the nut inside. Serve immediately and let your guests peel them at the table. You can also lay the chestnuts in a baking pan on a layer of salt and roast for 30 minutes.

You can buy chestnut purée in most supermarkets – mostly it is sweetened and used for desserts – stir it into whipped cream and use it to top meringue nests. Sprinkle chocolate shavings on top.

Store fresh chestnuts in the fridge where they will become sweeter in a few days. 

How to cook chestnuts
To bake fresh chestnuts, roast them on a baking tray at 200C/400F until the shells are blackened and the skin is coming away, then peel while warm. You can buy peeled, cooked chestnuts in vacuum packs in the supermarket. Melt butter in a saucepan, add the chestnuts and a sprig or two of thyme or one sprig of rosemary. Cook for 30  minutes over gentle heat with the lid on, checking them frequently to make sure they don't burn. Toss them from time to time to ensure even browning.

Traditional Irish recipes 

Visiting from outside Ireland? Read our Irish Recipes here in our Irish food section.

Irish cabbage and potato soup    Buttered Irish Leeks  Irish Bread and Butter Pudding     Irish boxty recipe    Irish porridge with honey, cream and fruit    Cheesy potatoes with Glebe Brethan Cheese   Irish potato cakes     Irish Potato Stuffing recipe    Irish Potato salad recipe    Irish rice pudding    Irish soda bread recipe    Irish Wholemeal Brown Bread    Stir-Fried Cabbage with bacon     Irish Beef in Guinness     Irish Fruit scones     Creamy Onion mash      Ham hock, kale and potato stew      Irish lamb stew      Irish parsley sauce    Fried mackerel fillets with oatmeal       Irish Champ recipe

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