Archives for September, 2013

Time for a new Adventure

After 15 years in Dublin, it’s time for a new start for my family and I in West Cork. Since our move I’ve come over all Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, growing my own vegetables in the back garden and getting to know the people I buy my meat and vegetables from again. I’ve even bought a few books on growing your own food and the first salad leaves are beginning to take off.

Lest the  1m x 1m patch at the back of the semi-d doesn’t work out,  I’m lucky my father in-law is an avid gardener.   Here are two recipes using his rhubarb and apples, as well as some fresh blackberries picked with my daughter last night.  Buttermilk Panacotta with Poached Rhubarb and Strawberries and an Apple and Blackberry Tart.


Apple and Blackberry Tart

Apple and Blackberry Tart
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4

I managed to pick the blackberries and apples myself in September so this only cost a few cent to make. You can leave out the blackberries if you like.
  • 12” square of puff pastry, thawed if frozen
  • 3 apples
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Handful of Blackberries
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Ice cream or whipped cream to serve

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 C
  2. Slice the apples and place in a bowl with lemon juice
  3. Place the pastry on a baking tray covered in parchment paper
  4. Add the apple slices, leaving ½ inch empty around the edges
  5. Sprinkle over the caster sugar and dot the butter around
  6. Top with some blackberries if using
  7. Bake for approx 20mins until the apples are cooked and the pastry is golden.
  8. Serve with vanilla ice-cream of whipped cream


Buttermilk Pannacotta with Poached Rhubarb and Strawberries

Buttermilk Pannacotta with Poached Rhubarb and Strawberries
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6

Try other fruits such as plums depending on what is in season. You can also use the poached rhubarb and strawberries as a topping with porridge or yoghurt (natural or greek). Rhubarb freezes really well, just wash, chop and pop in a freezer bag. Traditionally, a pannacotta is turned out on a plate. I prefer to serve it in a short whiskey or brandy tumbler glass.
Poached Rhubarb
  • 4 stalks of rhubarb (or equivalent frozen)
  • 10 strawberries
  • 4 tablespoons of caster sugar (adjust to taste)
Buttermilk Pannacotta
  • 400ml double cream
  • 200ml buttermilk
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 3 gelatine leaves
  • 1 vanilla pod or equivalent in vanilla paste (not vanilla essence)

  1. Add the rhubarb, strawberries and sugar plus a spoon of water to a saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the rhubarb is soft. This will take about 10 minutes.
  2. For the pannacotta, soak the gelatine leaves in a small bowl of cold water for 10 minutes.
  3. Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Put in a large saucepan along with the empty vanilla pod, buttermilk, double cream and caster sugar. Bring to the boil slowly and remove from the heat.
  4. Remove the gelatine leaves from the water and squeeze gently to remove excess water. Add to the pannacotta mix and whisk until the gelatin is combined.
  5. Pour the mixture into a jug, removing the vanilla pod. You can strain the mixture through a sieve to remove some of the vanilla seeds.
  6. Pour the mixture equally into the glasses, leave to cool and place in the fridge (covered with clingfilm). They will need 2 – 3 hours to set but can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for 2 days.
  7. To serve, remove the pannacotta from the fridge and clean any condensation from the glass. Top with the poached rhubarb mix and a sprig of mint if desired.