Monthly Archives: October 2014

Goulnoff Casserole


I’ve come up with another one of my notions ( Anyone who knows me, knows I suffer from too many ideas, and feet and legs would protest with too many actions!!).Once a month, I will be cooking a dish that you can taste in Grogan & Brown Artisan Butchers in Smithlands, and then, if you like the result, you can find the recipe for it here.  I think it makes a refreshing change from reading recipes and wondering if you’d like them or not.  Tomorrow, there will be a bain-marie in their wonderful shop in Smithlands (from 10.30am) with this heartwarming casserole in it for you to taste.  Don’t leave it too long to go and visit the shop, or it might all be gone ;-). They’re doing amazing work out there and , in case you haven’t heard, have ranked 6th Best Butcher Shop in Ireland at the ACBI Craft Butchers ‘Shop of the Year’ awards.  Congratulations Dermot and John!  Well deserved, and impressive after just 1 year in business.

Goulnoff’ is also another ‘Danetteism’ for a recipe I concocted one cold evening when I couldn’t decide whether to cook a pot of goulash or a pot of stroganoff (see previous blog for reference to my cold season cravings)…so I thought, “why not have both?”.  The following recipe is my take on combining the two recipes.  Plenty of sweet and smoked paprika, chilli, garlic, peppers, and smoked rasher for the ‘Goul’ and then the mushrooms, the beef and the soured cream for the ‘noff’.  I do vary it according to which way I’m leaning strongest (i.e. I might add a teaspoon or 2 of caraway seeds if I felt more Goulashy, or hold back on the chilli if I felt more stroganoffy).  This language is getting a bit silly now, so I’ll carry on!

If you are a carnivore and the temperature drops, I think it’s pretty well accepted that one goes for  the heartwarming, meaty casserole-type dishes and no matter what we call this, it is definitely heartwarming.  It sates like a plate/bowl of Irish Stew, Coq au vin or Boeuf Bourguignon, and here’s how you make it.

John and Dermot sell a cut of meat I was unfamiliar with until meeting them, called featherblade.  It works well marinated on the barbeque if the inner sinew is removed, but is really ideal if left intact for slow-cooking which is what I did in this instance.  Incidentally, if you want a really tender and flavourful meal, it’s great if you can plan ahead when slow-cooking .  A reheated bowl of stew of any sort is always better than when it was made on the day.

Start by cutting your meat into 1″ cubes–2lbs. of meat will feed 6-8 people after adding the vegetables and saucey bits. (They will gladly cut it for you in the shop). DON’T remove all the fat.  You can easily skim any fat off the top when it’s finished, and fat is where the flavour is….so LEAVE it ALONE.  Season well with black pepper.DSC_1139 (1024x576) Sauté the meat( in small batches) in Rapeseed oil over a medium high heat until brown and set aside into a dutch oven or casserole dish.  When all the meat is browned, fry 1 large chopped onion and 2-3 slices smoked back rasher , sliced into strips until the onions are soft and the bacon is cooked. Either finely chop, or grate (I use a micro-plane), 6-8 large cloves of garlic and add to the pan.  If you’re used to using 1 or 2 cloves of garlic in these type of dishes, hang around for the ride with me!! You won’t be disappointed, just go for it and see ;-)..There’s a whole world waiting for you out there!IMG_20141024_105330 (1024x738) Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn.  To the pan add 3 heaped teaspoons smoked paprika, 4 teaspoons sweet paprika, 1 teaspoon ground fennel seed (You can do this yourself in a mortar and pestle or in a coffee grinder designated for spices only), 2 teaspoons ground coriander, and 1 or 2 finely chopped fresh chillies (optional, but a good idea!), and stir well.  (It will become pasty.)  Immediately add a glass of red wine….hmmm, how much is a glass of wine?  It depends on if you’re an optimist or a pessimist!!  Mine are between 5 and 6 fl. ounces, and by the way if you only have white wine…use that.  Don’t panic, they’re both lovely.  Stir to deglaze the pan.DSC_1144 (576x1024) Then add this mixture to the meat in the casserole pan and place that pan over the heat.  Add to this pan, 800 grams of tinned chopped tomatoes,  (2 standard sized tins, or thereabouts), and 500 grams of tomato passatta.  I like a lot of sauce (No, really?…for those of you that don’t know, I make and sell sauces!!), I think it’s actually the end resulting sauce that really sates me.  It takes on the wonderful flavours of ALL the ingredients and warms the cockles, so to speak.  I also like to add about 8 fl. oz beef stock at this point too.  Use a good stock cube if you like, but make sure it’s a good stock cube, about a teaspoon of dried thyme or a few sprigs of fresh thyme,and 3 bay leaves. To season at this point, add 2 teaspoons of sea salt and 2 dessertspoons of sugar.  Bring the contents up to the boil , then simmer very, very gently (You can put the casserole into a low oven at this point at approx. 160 C ) for at least 2 hours.  Check it occasionally if it’s on top of the cooker just to make sure it’s gently bubbling, and not cooking too fast.    DSC_1153 (450x800)  It should look a bit like that last picture (except more in focus!)after the 2 hours.  If you like your meat to totally fall apart, then cook it a bit longer…try it and see.  The seasoning at this point is crucial as to how your dish is going to turn out and it’s a matter of preference.  I must do a blog solely on this topic, as I have had many a debate over it.  Ingredients differ, we as people differ, and it’s NEVER going to be the same.  So taste and adjust with more salt, black pepper and or sugar, and paprika for that matter.

While the meat was simmering, cut a mixture of fresh peppers into thick strips (about 2 large or 3 small peppers). Add them to the casserole and return the pan to simmer point.  DSC_1154 (647x800) While the peppers are simmering in the Goulnoff,  slice a pound of mushrooms, thickly.  Place 2 Tablespoons of Rapeseed oil along with 2 ounces of butter over a fairly high heat in a skillet or frying pan that will comfortably hold the mushrooms and add the same to the pan.  Stir regularly until they start to carmelise and brown.  When they do, season with sea salt , black pepper and about 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic.  Stir or toss frequently for a couple of minutes, minding that the garlic doesn’t burn, then add these to the casserole too.DSC_1162 (1024x576)Let it all simmer together for another half an hour so they can properly marry, then serve with either crusty bread, boiled or roasted potatoes, noodles or rice.  When I blogged it, I served it with noodles as I felt the stroganoff side of Goulnoff was losing out a bit.  Whatever you choose, place a large dollop of soured cream on top and stir it into the mix as you eat it.  Heartwarming, it definitely is ;-).

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Ingredients: 2-lb. featherblade  beef, black pepper, rapeseed oil for frying, 1 large (Spanish) onion, 6-8 cloves garlic, 3 heaped teaspoons smoked paprika, 4 teaspoons sweet paprika, 1 teaspoon ground fennel, 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1-2 fresh chillies, 6 oz. red or white wine, 800 grams chopped tinned tomatoes, 500 grams tomato passatta, 8 fl. oz. beef stock, thyme, 3 bay leaves, sea salt, sugar, 2-3 sweet peppers, 1-lb. mushrooms, oil and butter for frying , 3 more cloves garlic., soured cream = heartwarmth.





Autumnal Brunch

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Let’s face it we’ve been blessed this year with a spectacular September.  Yesterday, in Co. Kilkenny anyway, we had a day of persistent rain. That was followed by a huge announcement from nature this morning declaring ‘Autumn is here now’!! Crisp, but sunny….cold (I could see my breath for the first morning this season) ,and very fresh after the rain.  It was bracing and at the same time promising.  That’s what I like about Autumn.  Autumn in the garden is the time the plants are ‘getting down to it’…nudge, nudge.  This is the time nature plants, when the seeds hit the ground and find a place for themselves so they can reappear in the early winter or spring. In my vivid imagination, I like to think the leaves are turning their deep reds, purples and oranges to remind us we need to warm ourselves up….to follow their example and get the warmth into us.  It’s also harvest time, so there is SO MUCH OUT THERE THAT A FOODIE LIKE ME HAS PALPITATIONS OVER WHAT I WANT TO PUT TOGETHER!! (Too much choice)….and there’s a new type of hunger, one where I feel we NEED to eat, not just play with fresh berries (divine as they are), or nibble on this and that.  At the first sign of cold my body screams ‘FEED ME’, and the comfort food notions roll out.

There’s nothing new with what I conjured up today.  I didn’t re-invent the wheel with what I made, but I did put together a few ingredients that sated both David and myself and set us up for a day of pottering in the garden and rejoicing in the change of season.

Floury potatoes, divine purple kale  (from Sinead at the Kilkenny market), Smoked Black Forest Ham, Mature Cheddar Cheese, Scallions from the garden, a homegrown tomato from the greenhouse (I was very late getting the plants going , and was blessed with our Indian summer for a late crop . Thank you, Madelaine McKeever of  Brown Envelope Seeds for the most flavour-filled tomato seeds this year), fresh eggs, and ground Wakame seaweed. (Just a little aside here.  My facebook friends are probably sick of hearing me going on about using seaweed after having done Sally McKenna’s seaweed course.  Her book ‘Extreme Greens’ really inspired me, but it was a subject I felt I needed to have explained to me in person, and I am so glad I attended the course in West Cork…extra bonus was the weather was divine!!  DSC_1038 (1024x576)

Sally is so passionate and knowledgeable about the subject of seaweed, and she took any hesistations I previously had, completely out of the equation by showing us all, literally, what the different seaweeds are, which part of the sea they reside in, when to harvest them, how each of them tastes, and how to use them.  Living inland, I also (usefully) learned how to rehydrate different varieties, how to make savoury , spicy and citrus salts and even made bath bombs!  The health properties of seaweed are endless, and it’s easy to incorporate them in our diets.  I’m finding it really fun to see which seaweeds compliment other food flavours – they don’t have to dominate, but it’s more fun if you can feel they’re there, and that’s where seaweed gets really interesting.  Seaweeds tend to make the eater more aware of texture in their food as they eat them…well, that’s my theory, and anyone who eats my food knows I love texture…so many people forget about it when they cook.)

So back to satisfying those Autumnal cravings…In Ireland we reach straight for the potatoes to comfort ourselves, and that’s exactly what I did. I have to say I’m not obsessed with floury potatoes like a lot of Irish people are. It depends on what’s on the menu for which variety of potato I will use, but In this case, for potato cakes, a floury potato is precisely what is best. I peeled and steamed about 600 grams of Rooster potatoes, and just before they finished cooking I placed some purple kale on top to steam for a couple minutes(saves on the washing up!!). Remove any large stalks from the kale leaves first, I used about 2 cups of leaves. Remove the leaves and then roughly chop them. Press the steamed potatoes  through a potato ricer,and stir a good knob of butter into them. Add the chopped kale and the sautéed onions I forgot to tell you about!  ( I finely chopped a medium sized onion and gently sautéed it in 2 oz. Butter until it was soft). Stir in 2 oz. Grated Mature Cheddar cheese, aTablespoon of ground, dried Wakame, a couple slices of smoked ham, chopped, 3 or 4 Scallions, finely chopped and an egg yolk and then bring the mixture together with some plain flour. I used about a half cup..but it will depend on your potatoes. DSC_1099Flour your hands and your work surface and shape the potato mixture into 1/2″ thick cakes. Coat them in a dusting of flour and then fry them gently over a medium  heat in rapeseed or other oil, or if you happen to have some duck or goosefat then your really rocking. (Both are excellent for frying potatoes). Cook until golden brown on both sides. Place on a baking tray top with a little more grated cheese, and keep warm while you poach or fry an egg to put on top.DSC_1104 (576x1024)

Garnish with  chopped tomato, preferably homegrown and sweet and savour.

Autumnal Potato Cake with Poached Egg and Diced Homegrown Tomato

Autumnal Potato Cake with Poached Egg and Diced Homegrown Tomato

Savour being the perfect word, as this week is Savour Kilkenny week (our food festival). I’ll be doing tastings of my sauces in both The Little Green Grocer (Saturday afternoon), and Glasrai &Goodies (on Sunday). Do drop in to see us. I will also have a heartwarming casserole on offer in Grogan and Brown Artisan Butchers in Loughboy on Saturday, and the recipe will be blogged here so you can try it for yourself ;-).


600 grams steamed  floury potatoes, 2 cups steamed and chopped kale leaves, 2 oz butter, 1 medium onion finely chopped , few slices smoked ham, chopped , 2 oz grated Mature Cheddar Cheese, 1 tablespoon ground Wakame seaweed, 3 or 4 chopped Scallions, Diced Homegrown Tomato.   =A happy tummy 😉