Saturday, February 11, 2012


Don't you just love a gift that you can benefit from for ages after your birthday/Christmas/any special occasion?  Well, I've already told you about the fantastic gift my boys gave me for my birthday last year - masterclasses with Michelin chef Oliver Dunne, and January brought the next class I'd chosen - "New Year, New You?" - just up my alley at the moment! 

It should be said at this stage that Olivers main concession to healthy eating was managing without his usual use of pounds of butter and replacing them with a whole bottle of olive oil!!!  That said the food was utterly delicious, if I could eat like this all the time I'd happily swear off sugar for life.

Pumpkin and Ginger Soup
This soup tasted so good, that I went out and bought the ingredients the next day and made up a batch (my attempt and the recipe are at the end of this post)

Stir-Fried Duck with Carrots, Sugar Snaps and Orange
This dish also works well with pork and would be perfect to throw together after work - although I can't imagine being able to chop the carrots as well as this!

Salmon with Sweet & Sour Peppers, Olive & Basil Crushed Potatoes
This was probably my favourite dish of the evening - those peppers are to die for, and the potatoes are beyond delicious, there are olives, shallots, basil and lemon juice in there - my mouth is watering at the memory!!

Fillet of Pork, Crushed Carrot and Swede, Chilli Wedge

I learned something new when Oliver was making this dish - what are generally called turnips in Ireland are swedes to the rest of the world! - you live and you learn!!  I felt this dish needed a sauce (maybe I'm not totally getting into the New Year New You vibe!!!!).  See how pink the pork is?  Delicious!

Beef Fillet with Potato Fondant, Tomato & Tarragon Dressing
These fondant potatoes were a total revelation - instead of frying them up to their oxters (technical term!!) in butter, these were cooked in a frying pan of water with a knob of butter and a splash of olive oil, and they actually taste just as good (well very nearly) as the real thing.

Now for my offering - I substituted the pumpkin with butternut squash and the soup went down a treat!

Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup

1kg               butternut squash, peeled and diced into small pieces
1 tbsp           olive oil
1 knob          ginger - about the size of your thumb
4 tbsp           white wine
750ml            chicken stock (from a cube is fine)
100ml            milk
pinch             sugar
                     salt to taste
1 tsp              Greek yogurt (per bowl)

Put the oil in a heavy based saucepan and add the squash, ginger and season.
Cook on a low heat with the lid on until the squash is soft
When it is soft, remove the lid and reduce until the liquid has evaporated.
Add the white wine and simmer, then add the stock and milk.
Bring back to the boil and then simmer for five minutes.
Blend until smooth - this takes longer than you expect to get a really silkey texture.
Serve with a spoon of Greek yogurt.



Ana Regalado said...

Love all the dish especially the salmon ! My mouth water when I saw the first photo ;D Post the recipe please if you have time , okay ?!

Unknown said...

The salmon does look incredible. That skin! I'd love to go on a cookery course and keep dropping hints but The Viking hasn't taken the bait as yet!

Anonymous said...

What a treat! Olivier's dishes look incredible - beautifully put together and SO delicious - also love YOUR soup - it's healthy and delicious.
mary x

Choclette said...

Sometimes it is just getting the ideas that is needed. Cookery classes are just great for that. What a lovely present.

Caroline said...

They look great! I'd love to go to a cookery demonstration or on a course some time... glad to hear you enjoyed yours.

Jayanthy Kumaran said...

this is just awesome...droooooooooling here..;P
Tasty Appetite

Karen S Booth said...

WONDERFUL photos of LOVELY food and what a great gift that was too....and the soup is just what I crave in this cold weather....Karen xxx

scrumptious days said...

My husband (Irish) and I are always debating turnips and swede, it get more complex in Brittany where both vegetables are generally fed to cattle!
What a fabulous gift, some super ideas to cook:-)

Kelly-Jane said...

All the dishes look lovely.

We are the same here we call swedes turnips or neeps. I've had actual turnip, but wasn't really struck with it, to swedes will remain turnips with us, lol :)

chow and chatter said...

lovely dishes you know how to eat ;-)

Clare said...

Sounds like you learned a lot from your cookery class, I'd love to go to one some day. The butternut squash and ginger soup looks delicious!

Phil in the Kitchen said...

These all look like really good dishes and the soup sounds lovely. I refuse to enter into the swede v. turnip debate since I caused a brouhaha (or was it a hullabaloo?0 by using the wrong name once in the north of England.