Potato and Boyne Valley Bán Gratin

DSC00077
Potato and Boyne Valley Bán Gratin

Don’t you just love it? You are at work, you have a recipe in mind, you know that you have all the ingredients at home and in this case it was a head of broccoli, I needed to use for a simple but tasty gratin. I also wanted to use Michael Finnegan’s new cheese from Slane in County Meath called Boyne Valley Bán; a goat’s cheese tomme he has been experimenting for a while… I love it! Anyhow, I made it back home to the house at 6:30pm, only to realise that the broccoli in question had turned completely yellow, it was actually warm, the whole top shelf of the fridge had been bathed by the light bulb of the once cold appliance. I thought: ” Great! What now? A new fridge?”. The culprit was in fact one of my cats, “Shaky Leo”, a charming young black panther who suffers from “C.H” ( Cerebellar Hypoplasia) which causes him a lack of full control of his movements and some great “Free Styling” moves… In one of his “Parcour”, my little friend ended up opening the fridge slightly… All day… Good bye broccoli…

DSC00014
Guilty face! Shaky Leo

I am well used of Plan “B’s” and thankfully, residing in the much cooler basket at the bottom was a beautiful courgette. That will do instead! I brain stormed a quick check list…

  • 4 medium organic potatoes
  • 1 medium organic courgette
  • 5 spring onions
  • 40 cl of raw organic fresh cream
  • 250 g of Boyne Valley Bán ( or a semi hard goat’s cheese)
  • 1 happy egg
  • salt and pepper
  • a good pinch of cumin seeds

Thankfully, I didn’t forget the cheese!

DSC00096
Boyne Valley Bán whole

And a little closer…

DSC00126
Goat’s Boyne Valley Bán

I peeled and boiled the potatoes until just a bit under cooked. I drained and dried them ( back in the pot on a dry heat for just a few seconds). In a baking tray, I placed the cooked potatoes evenly adding the thickish slices of courgettes and the sliced spring onions on top. I beat the cream with an egg, salt and pepper and poured the mix over…

DSC00048
Potatoes cooked, courgette and scallions

I Placed rectangles of the cheese to cover the best part of the dish. Before putting in the oven, sprinkled the cumin seeds evenly…

DSC00057
Cheese on top…

I baked in a hot oven (200 c) for 25-30 minutes and served it with green leaves with, olive oil and lemon…

DSC00077
Potato and Boyne Valley Bán Gratin
DSC00082
Close up

Keep Well and Eat Happy

Slán Tamall

Franck

Licorice and Lima Bean Stew

Choice 3
Lima Bean stew, with licorice stick and garlic croutons…

As I mentioned in my latest drama/ action pumped story Duck or Die ( that’s right, you have to go and read it now… Mwah-ha-ha…) my mother used to make – to the delight of my father – a wonderful haricot bean and beef stew. Here is a vegetarian dish I have created, based on the original, packed with summer flavours and memories. There are the beans, of course, and I used dried Lima beans from my Italian friend Roberto who runs the wonderful organic Mariangela Prunotto farm in Alba, Italy. I also found some licorice sticks in the health food shop the other day; when we were kids we used to buy these aniseed roots from the local pharmacy, and munch on them old day like cowboys on under a hot sun… Talk about a funny trend! I also added fresh local organic tomatoes, my mother was crazy about them at this time of year! I’d better get on with that recipe, which I realised is also vegan… What do you know?

Continue reading “Licorice and Lima Bean Stew”

Duck or Die…

Choice 2
Gun of freedom…

When I opened the big gate of adolescence, a frightening squeak from a giant cast iron secondary school entrance welcomed and absorbed me in a solemn vacuum. Of course, and like today, there were kids who just wanted to blend in, ride those teenage years under the radar with minimum collateral damage, wanting to be acknowledged and noticed, yet having the skills to keep your cards close to your chest; not showing too much, dodging rain drops and other potential scraps or punches because you looked at, or aggravated with smart words a tougher kid with social or rather deeper personal issues than yours. Some built themselves with a strong and bold shell: Punks, Goths, Skinheads and Red Skins (the left wing ones; their Doc Martens were burgundy rather than black), right down to a couple of old fashioned black leather jacket bullies with learning difficulties, easy enough to manipulate if you knew how to; keeping them sweet by sharing candies, giving a few test wagers that would up some grades, preventing them from repeating the class… Again. I was a “bullet dodger”, or at least that is what I have been called once by that big fucker – who was actually pretty smart- as he tried to pound my face into the granite wall of the refectory. I used words, and it seemed to work.

Continue reading “Duck or Die…”