Jess’s Monthly Melt Down: Herby Roasting Dish Gnocchi with Almonds, Courgette and St. Tola

We’re peaking people! Wow, I never thought this little island could be so hot. Even though it’s cooled off – I’ve been swimming in Salthill and having at least two 99s per week! I think the last thing anyone wants to be doing is spending too much time in the kitchen when you can get outside, so this month I’ve whipped up some quickie crowd pleasers in effortless glam. Ricky is at it again recommending his top three wines you can have in your togs, that will make you feel like you are in the sun even if its not there! Don’t forget to tag us all in your recipes. I would love to see how you’re getting on.

Ricky’s matchy matchy: Bianco “Zacinta Revi” Ficomontanino

1 packet of Rustichella Potato Gnocchi
35ml of Odysea Extra Virgin Olive oil
3 cloves of Garlic (smashed)
3 Courgettes (sliced)
20g of mint
20g of basil
20g of flat leaf parsley
35g of Valencian Fried Almonds (roughly chopped)
45g of St Tola Goats Cheese (crumbled)
1 lemon (zest only)
Fresh black pepper

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

Blanch the Gnocchi as per packet instructions. Brush the courgette slices with extra virgin olive oil and half cook them on a grill pan – this looks pretty but also adds so much flavour. Don’t cook them completely as they will finish cooking in the oven.

Toss the gnocchi and courgettes together in a bowl with the smashed garlic before spreading out on a roasting dish lined with parchment paper. Pop them in the oven for around 20 mins until the gnocchi are golden brown.

Transfer to a bowl and add the fresh herbs, lemon zest, a good lash of freshly ground black pepper and the chopped almonds. Dollop with the St. Tola Goats Cheese and serve.

Jess’s Monthly Melt Down: Sassy Lunchbox Peaches & Monte Enebro Salad

This is a fab starter, main or side dish that you can whip up in less than 15 mins for your hungry tribe. It’s perfect with grilled chorizo or some Jane Russell’s pretty pork sausages. I have a beautiful Spanish wine match and a sexy, summery juice pairing to suit this perfectly, put together by myself and Enrico . We’ve been working together with wine for over 16 years so he’s the sliced pan to my fish finger sambo, the yin to my yang etc ……

Sassy Lunchbox Peaches tossed in Jerez Sherry Vinegar, Valencia Almonds, Steve’s Greens and Monte Enebro. Serves 4-6

Rickys matchy matchy – Rioja ‘Soplar’ Moraza (serve chilled)
Jessie’s Juice – Richmount Elderflower Cordial

Ingredients :

6 Lunchbox (flat) Peaches (Quatered)
1 White Salad Onion (Sliced)
200g of Monte Enebro
100g of Fried Valencia Almonds
35 mls of Jerez Sherry Vinegar
50ml of Odysea Extra Virgin Olive Oil
70g of Pitted Green Olives
2 big handfuls of Peppery Greens
30g of Basil (torn)
Salt and Pepper for seasoning

Method :
Gather all of your ingredients in front of you – this makes the assembly quicker and easier. Toss your peaches and onion together in a large bowl with the olive oil, basil and sherry vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

On your platter, add the peppery leaves first before pouring on the peach and onion mix. Spread them out before pouring the lovely lush juice all over. Crumble the Monte Enebro evenly over the greens and peaches. Add the olives and almonds last – no one wants a soggy almond in a salad! I like to pop some edible flowers on top too. Serve with some local bread and enjoy a super simple and delish supper!

Duck Pizza

Duck pizza makes a lovley little Canape. Think massive, crispy duck vibes with melted scamorza, mint, coriander and cucumber but without actually having to do a whole lot of work – leaving you with more time for decanting, winning at scrabble or just chilling out watching Nationwide.

Makes 2 pizzas

1 packet of da Piero Pizza Bases
1 packet of Sheridans Duck Confit
2 packets of Scamorza Bianca
1 bunch of Spring Onions 
1 Cucumber 
30g of Fresh Mint 
30g of Fresh Coriander 
1 bottle of Kewpie Mayonnaise 
50g of Salted Peanuts 
1 jar of Prunotto Pizza Sauce 
1 bottle of Kwanghi Black Garlic Sauce 
2 limes for a swanky garnish 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Prepare all of the ingredients first – slice the cucumber, chop the spring onions, pick the mint and coriander, chop the nuts, grate the scamorza and tear the duck off the bone.

Layer up the pizza bases with 45ml of pizza sauce each (The Dough Bro’s told me the ultimate trick – NEVER overload your pizza!) Add the duck followed by the grated scamorza and pop it in the oven. Cook the pizzas directly on the racks, don’t use an oven tray or you will almost certainly get a massive soggy bottom (sniggers).

Once the pizzas are glazed and the cheese is melted, remove from the oven and pop them on a chopping board. Top with swirls of kewpie and kwanghi before adding the fresh herbs, sliced cucumber and spring onions. Sprinkle the peanuts on top of everything and garnish with sliced limes (or just add them to your gin and tonic!)

Nutshed and Morello Brownies

In Ireland, we are going through a massive peanut butter trend and OMG – I am ready for it! I love the entire Nutshed range of peanut butters but I use the “super crunchy” in this recipe for the extra pleasure of a serious crunch. I add a swirl of the Sheridans cherry jam for added grown up level. You can totally eat these hot with a good quality, shop bought vanilla ice cream.

250g of Butter
300g of 70% Chocolate Drops
300g of Sugar
80 grams of Cocoa Powder
6 large Free Range Eggs
130g of Plain Flour
200g of Nutshed Crunchy Peanut Butter
1 jar of Sheridans Cherry Jam

Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Melt the chocolate and butter in a small pot over a low heat. Once fully melted remove from the heat , sift in the cocoa powder and beat together until smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, use a handheld electric mixer to whisk the sugar and eggs together until pale and creamy. The beaters should leave a ribbon like trail in the mixture. Add the chocolate mix and fold in with a spatula.

Fold the flour in with a spatula and then pour the batter into a tin. Dot over the peanut butter and add the jam into the gaps. Swirl together gently and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the brownie has a good crust and is still a little wobbly in the middle. Allow to cool (if you have that kind of discipline), slice and enjoy!

Tomato Party with Chorizo Dressing

The Sun is back out so salads are back in and what better way to celebrate than with some cracking Irish tomatoes with one my fav cheeses! If I was a cheese I would be burrata – simply because I’ve had to wear spanx since I can remember and ladies you will all agree with me here: the relief of being able to take them off and lie on the bed with the aircon on 21 and starfish, it’s the best feeling in the whole wide world! This is how I feel when I make this salad and when I tear the burrata to adorn it. This is the ultimate crowd pleaser power salad, if you haven’t tried burrata it’s time!

Enrico’s Match: Gruner Veltliner “Handcrafted” Arndorfer

2 Fresh Maragato Chorizo Sausages 
35ml of Sherry Vinegar 
10g of Prunotto Acacia Honey 
400g of Wonky Tomatoes (sliced)
A pinch of Achill Island Sea Salt 
35g of Basil 
100g of Fresh Bread (torn) 
25g of Onion
2 bulbs of Garlic (smashed) 
1 Garofolo Buffalo Burrata (drained) 

Peel the fresh chorizo and break the meat apart with your hands until you have bite size pieces.

Heat a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat, add the chorizo and fry until all the beautiful red oil releases itself. Add the honey, turn off the heat and add the Sherry vinegar. Mix with a wooden spoon and set aside.

Slice the onion and give it a rinse under the cold tap. Add to the chorizo pan and toss.

Add the torn bread and smashed garlic to the sliced tomatoes and give it a good toss, then pop onto a serving dish. Tear up your beautiful burrata and drape over the tomatoes before pouring over the chorizo dressing. Garnish with the torn basil and serve. 

“Tirokafteri” Style Feta Dip

Necessity is the mother of invention! I was alone in Kai for a lunch shift and found myself overwhelmed with prep work. I needed to whip up something extra for one of my tasty lunch bowls – it was missing a little flavour explosion. I happened to have blackberries, beets and the addictive Spanish almonds from Sheridans so I immediately thought: Tirokafteri, the greek feta dip. I whipped up some feta, tahini, garlic, velvet cloud, a pinch of cumin and a dash of olive oil and I had this amazing queen of dips that I use all the time for our mezzes. It can also be slathered over baked beans on toast or served with corn chips and a quick pico – the list is endless!

500g of beets, colours of your choice (roughly chopped)
100g of blackberries
75 grams of Valencian Fried Almonds with Herbs
100g of Roussas Barrel-Aged Feta Cheese
60 mls of Tahini (from Lebanon is best)
3 cloves of Garlic
10g of cumin
25 mls of Odysea Extra Virgin Olive Oil
100 mls of Velvet Cloud Yoghurt

To make the dip: pop the feta, yoghurt, garlic, cumin, tahini and olive oil in a blender and blitz until you have a smooth paste. Set aside.

In a large bowl toss the beets, blackberries and almonds with olive oil. To serve, place the salad beside a good dollop of the dip to enjoy them both together. Garnish with some torn basil or mint.

Jess’s Monthly Melt Down: Divorced Eggs – Murphy Style!

Break ups never tasted so good! Divorced eggs is an iconic and super tasty Mexican recipe. I first heard of them from a pal living in Mexico City. He was like “Jess, you have to make these,” so I did! As you can probably guess – it basically means eggs going their separate ways. I’ve added Ballyhubbock Halloumi because it’s the best summer sheep milk cheese on earth and it’s made in Ireland. A good brunch with a cup of tea can solve all heart breaks.

Enrico’s Wine Match: Rosato “D-Mencial” Adega Entre Os Rios

4 Free-Range Eggs  
35 mls of Savage Sauce 
1 Avocado 
1 packet of Ballyhubbock Irish Haloumi (sliced)
4 slices of Sourdough Bread 
20 mls of Odysea Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
100g of tomatoes (chopped)
20g of Coriander (torn) 
10 mls of Lime Juice 
Sea Salt and Black Pepper 
35 mls of Salsa Verde (shop bought) 
1 clove of Garlic (chopped) 
20g of Onion (diced)

Peel and smash the avocado with a fork. Season with salt and pepper before adding the lime juice and coriander. Mix well to combine. 

Combine the tomatoes, onions and garlic into a little salsa. Season and set aside. 

Fry the Halloumi followed by the eggs in olive oil (or my personal fav butter) until they are sunny side up. 

Toast the Sourdough. 

Pop two slices of sourdough toast on a plate (or platter if your cooking for a crowd). Pop the avocado on one slice and tomato salsa on the other and add the fried egg. Garnish the tomato toast with the savage sauce and add the salsa verde to the avocado toast.

Finnish with the fried Halloumi on top and prepare yourself for a super tasty treat!

Jess’s Monthly Melt Down: Belle of the Valdeon Butter Ball

This is one of those recipes that you will stick to the fridge with your tacky Barcelona fridge magnet and always have a supply of in the freezer. You may want to invest in some eating pants or active wear for this recipe – Valdeon Blue, quince, Crawford’s raw butter and other friends all get churned into a very handsome compound butter. Melted on top of a free range pork chop, rump steak or even on a sassy eggplant parma will guarantee to make it the belle of the butter ball.

Myself and Enrico are massive fans of anything grilled and in pork chop form so this drinks pairing is, let’s just say a bit of a mic drop! This makes around 20 portions of our Spanish inspired butter.

Enrico’s matchy matchy – Cruce de Paraje ‘Crusol’ Vinos al Margen
Jessie’s Juice – Con Traas Lemonade

Ingredients :

2 blocks of Crawford’s Butter
150g of Valdon Blue
50g of Quince Paste
2 tbsp of Fallot Dijon Mustard
1 tsp of Smoked Paprika

Method :

Make sure all of the ingredients are at room temperature, then pop everything into a free standing mixer and whip. Roll out like a little sausage in parchment paper and put into the fridge until firm. Slice into portions and put in a zip lock bag in the freezer. Take out a portion as you need it – I serve it on freshly grilled meat as it’s basically a self-saucing sauce!

x Jess

Jess’s Monthly Melt Down: One Pan Wonder Crispy Manchego Spuds

“IT’S NOT A MEAL IF IT DOESN’T HAVE SPUDS!!” If I was a trendy chef I’d have this made into a tattooed sleeve with curly parsley and swirls of Creme de Casis but alas, I’m caught in this no-womans land that my nephew describes as “post hipster fallout” – and I love it!!! Age 40 is the “NO more trying to be cool” phase.

One Pan Wonder Crispy Manchego Spuds with Sheridan’s Onion Marmalade, Ortiz Boquerones, Capers and Parsley. Serves 4-6

Enrico took the spud brief wine match like the true gent he is! As I eyeballed him over zoom to reinforce my seriousness, he came up with a real treat in the shape of this Albarino ‘Komokabras Naranja’ Adega Entre Os Rios. This left me to freak out over Jessie’s juice pairing so I went with a little glass of Karmine Apple Juice.

Ingredients:

800g of Maria’s Pink Firr Apple Potatoes (or any waxy spud, boiled until cooked and cooled)
250g of Manchego (finely grated)
90ml of Odysea Extra Virgin Olive Oil
10 cloves of Garlic (smashed)
1 packet of Ortiz Boquerones (drained)
200g of Flat Leaf Parsley
1 jar of Sheridan’s Onion Marmalade
1/2 jar of Fallot Capers (drained and rinsed)
Sea Salt and White Pepper

Method:
Start off with a large sheet pan and line it with non-stick parchment paper. Crush Maria’s Pink Firrs softly with the bottom of a pot so they still hold their shape. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil before throwing in the smashed garlic.

Pop a little handful of grated Manchego on top of each spaced out spud and bake for 25 minutes at 180 degrees in a preheated oven until golden and super crispy. Slide the cooked cheesy spuds onto a platter, add a teaspoon of onion marmalade in between each of them and garnish with chopped boquerones, capers (make sure they are rinsed) and flat leaf parsley. This is amazing with grilled John Dory or crab claws dipped in mayo!

x Jess

Jess’s Monthly Melt Down

SPANISH MONTH EDITION

Hey hey hey! OLA ….It’s Spanish month and there is no better way of celebrating than with hard core tasty salads. Since the “staycation” is the plan, it’s time to get some simple yet impressive party platters up your sleeve – the kinda ones that will make the mother-in-law think you’ve been taking zoom cooking lessons from a funky Spanish hippie hipster guru in Thai fisherman’s pants! 

I’m mixing it up here with some big hitter Spanish cheeses that everyone is gonna love, even if ya haven’t heard of them! Now if you’re anything like me, you were raised on block supermarket cheese. We had one kind and in New Zealand this happened to be Colby and/or the processed sliced cheese. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not a cheese snob and I firmly believe in “any port in a storm” when it comes to irrational hunger. Dipping the toe in the Spanish cheese world is actually amazing! Fun Fact; There is a cheese the shape of a breast called “Tetilla”, which has always made me laugh my immature head off. 

My tribute is to Manchego, Monte Enebro and then onto Valdon Blue. They are my top 3 that you will never be disappointed with. There is a sheep, goat and cow and choosing these three shows intelligent simplicity in my world. With a scoop of Valencian fried almonds, some quince paste and a few sliced deli meats combined with some local Irish provisions you are going to be whipping up some lush tapas whether it’s in the holiday bungalow in Carlow, cruising the Shannon, catching the ferry to the Aran Islands in Galway or putting some tunes on in ya back garden in Drimnagh! 

I’m going to leave you all with a little list for the messages to stop all confusion when you’re shopping online or in your local Sheridan’s. Please tag us in your amazing creations and see ya next month for more Meltdown Monthly action.

x Jess

Sheridans Visit to Rustichella d’Abruzzo

Rustichella d’Abruzzo was born in 1924 in Penne and today lucky clients from around the world can take part in training tours organized by the extraordinary gracious hosts Gianluigi and Maria Stefania.

Sheridans have been working with Rustichella for 20 years and it was a great privilege to take part and get a better understanding of the company history and products. Our program started with a visit to one of the local stars of Abbruzzo gastronomy: “la Bilancia” Restaurant.  Highlights included the local charcuterie, Spaghetti Senatore Cappelli with courgette flowers, pasta party games and a visit to the impressive charcoal grills and traditional kitchen.

We were greeted the following morning at our hotel in Loreto Aprutino with extraordinary views across Abruzzo. Then we were off for a visit to the new factory opened in 1998 in Moscufo, where the indefatigable Giovanni presented the selling points of Rustichella and afterwards the history of the family business was outlined by partners Gianluigi and Maria Stefania.

Following an agreeable lunch of freshly prepared Primograno range pastas and sauces including an intriguing and recent addition to the range of a blue Paccherini destined for top restaurants we were able to visit the modern factory. During the visit we were able to observe firsthand all the different steps of long and short cut pasta production from the mixing and extrusion through the brass dyes, through the slow drying process and on to the packaging of the final product ready for shipping.

Following the visit, we were happy to get outdoors and stroll through the olive trees adjoining the factory.  This was a good introduction to the second part of the day about olive oil tasting for which the Abruzzo region is justly famous.  We visited an ancient olive press (used for lighting fuel) and learned about the production and tasting of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Saturday morning was dedicated to local history and culture with two museum visits in the coastal town of Pescara where we visited the home of the “enigmatic” Italian Poet Gabriele d’Annunzio and the local history museum where we able to explore the local region through the ages and an in-depth discovery of the local shepherds and traditional cheesemaking.

Later in the afternoon we visited the fields of St. Caterina where Rustichella grow their wheat for the Primograno range to participate in a seminar on local wheat varieties given by Gianluigi, the President of Rustichella. We learned of the influence on wheat varieties by ancient colonization from Greece, the Phoenicians, North Africa and the East, all of whom brought their own wheat.

In the evening, we dined in a traditional local fish restaurant ‘Da Carmine’ and were presented with our Premium Pasta Expert’ diploma by Fadel and Giovanni and then homeward bound. 😊

It was a great pleasure to discover the gastronomy, culture and people of Abruzzo and meet the family behind Rustichella that made the visit so memorable.  We were able to get an insider’s view of artisanal pasta production and in the process make lasting contacts with a great group of fellow food professionals from all over Europe.

Sheridans Visit to Crawford’s Farm

We hit the road, Tipperary bound, this past October holiday weekend to catch the end of season at Crawford’s Farm. It was mild for the end of October, but the threat of winter was in the wind. We were greeted by the farm dogs which admittedly, being the city mouse that I am, I was mildly apprehensive about getting out of the car… Needless to say the dogs, much like their owners, were undeniably friendly. Farmers Owen and Mimi Crawford, got their start outside of the natural food industry, working as a carpenter and environmental scientist respectively. Looking for a lifestyle that fulfilled their principals, the Crawfords turned to the land in order to ‘live well, eat well, connect with nature, put their ideals into practice, and ultimately to contribute positively to the Irish food and farming systems.’

We started off into the fields, picking some apples along the way for the ‘the girls’ as the dairy cows are fondly referred to. The fields were roped off to regulate the grazing patterns and the herd was lazily munching in the fields, looking forward to their upcoming winter holidays no doubt. The Crawfords have 11 dairy cows, who work for the spring-autumn seasons and the cows take 3 months off to recoup. The 9 month working schedule works for both farmer and cattle by giving the cows time to calve and rest collectively and therefore concentrating milk production throughout the year. Additionally, the time off allows the fields to regenerate with new, high nutrient spring growth and give time for projects around the farm which are in no shortage of supply. The Crawford’s herd are Irish shorthorn cattle, their milk is not homogenized or pasteurized, and is sold as a natural, raw milk. Their family farm/creamery is compact, efficient, and relies on biodiversity to provide the best quality grass for the herd. The dairy cows are the main focus of the farm, but it’s their symbiotic system that makes it sustainable; Shorthorn calves are reared for grass fed beef; their pigs consume leftover skim milk/apples/vegetables and are later sold as pork; the farm chickens and ducks roam free to fertilize the land and are later sold as poultry; they grow their own organic grain for the cows during the winter months to ensure a healthy diet off season. Each element plays a part in their system that respects the land and animals while producing healthy, sustainably made raw milk. Small production, diverse farms like Crawford’s play a vital role in the future of Irish food production and the preservation of Irish food/farming tradition.

So Why Choose Raw Milk?

Raw milk is a micro biotic, live food high in vitamins, enzymes, protein, beneficial bacteria, minerals  and amino acids that help nutrients and your immune system. Because pasteurization kills off most of the aforementioned, its health benefits are significantly lower than it’s raw counter part.

Crawford’s raw milk products include milk, butter, cream and butter milk, and are rich, complex and full flavour.

Crawford’s Raw milk is sustainably and ethically farmed in Co. Tipperary. Cows are treated humanly and live happy, healthy lives.

Crawford’s farm is produced responsibly, handled with the utmost care and stored at optimum conditions to ensure a quality safe raw milk product for customers. Crawford’s grass fed herd have maintained their health and quality of milk through their grass fed diet. Their cows do not receive antibiotics like conventional dairy cows, making them better able to process harmful pathogens through their natural digestion.