Stewed apple is the star dessert of an Irish childhood, well along with Irish Bread Pudding! Apples were one ingredient that were easy to get hold of – and because they were naturally sweet you could cook them for dessert or to eat with roast pork without having to add any other ingredient. Apple Butter is effectively the same, except that the apples are cooked long and slow until they turn a burnished gold. It is thicker than stewed apple, tighter in texture and whereas stewed apple is soft and luscious and almost runny, ideal to stir into yogurt or custard, apple butter is more like a preserve to spread on a slice of toast. We show you how to make both.
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We spoke to Jemmy McCann of Ard Mhacha Mushrooms who is growing the first shiitake mushrooms in Northern Ireland. Shiitake mushrooms are prized in Asia for their flavour and health properties (their flavour profile becomes more pronounced as they age in or out of your fridge). They are temperamental to grow and you need both experience and patience, qualities that Jemmy and his father Kevin, who has been growing mushrooms for decades, have in droves.
Gruyère is a semi-hard to hard pressed cooked Alpine cheese made from cow’s milk, named after the Swiss Village of Gruyères (see our image above). The original cheese is made in Switzerland (though versions are made in parts of Germany, France and the US). An ancient cheese, early records show that it was made in 1115. It can be eaten on its own or used in cooking where it melts beautifully.
Garlic that is ‘old’ – that’s the garlic you find in supermarkets where garlic is sold as a year-round crop – often has a green germ or sprout in the middle. Some people find it bitter and claim it affects their digestion. So should you remove it or leave it in?
A set of heavy baking sheet pans with good heat conduction qualities are a must in the kitchen. Use them for reheating foods, crisping baked goods, roasting vegetables, baking biscuits and pastry and even serving canapés. They will last a lifetime if you invest well, take care of them and as they age, they’ll develop a patina that will increase their ‘non-stickiness’.
We’ve discovered how to make the best toasted bread, the kind that you make on an Aga but without having to invest in one. Our method transforms bruschetta where toasted bread is the star of the show and makes that artisan loaf go further as you can toast it when it’s stale.
We show you how to cook a t-bone steak and share our favourite recipes. ‘In the world of the butcher the T-Bone is considered the king of steaks’, says James Kenny of The Brown Pig Butcher in Terenure in Dublin. ‘It has a central T-shaped bone with a strip loin on one side and a fillet on the other and it comes from the back of the animal.’
Sautéing mushrooms can be a bit ‘hit and miss’. You need to cook them first to give up their juices, then turn up the heat to concentrate their flavour. Here are a few tips so you can get the best out of wild and farmed mushrooms. Including recipes for garlic mushroom, a mushroom spread you can keep in the fridge and creamed bacon and mushrooms that you can toss through cooked pasta.
Food writer and James Beard award-winning cookbook author Diana Henry has published her new cookbook How to Eat a Peach. Here she recounts a dinner held for her by another acclaimed food author Joyce Goldstein in San Francisco, the culmination of a journey in food that began in a bookshop in north London on a rainy afternoon in 1985.