Saturday, February 23, 2008


I catered a party last night for one of my clients so I wanted to show you all what I did. Sometimes it doesn't pan out the way you think it will or should but with my usual crew in tow, everything was golden. And yes, my usual photographer, aka the Mrs. was dragged along.
Marinated olives, Gourmet cheese selection
Prosciutto, Salamis, Tapenade, Hummus
Toasted lavash and pita chips
Herb grilled flank steak w/ cilantro mint pesto
Grilled red onions
Cedar plank salmon filet
Roast mini potatoes w/
Herb & red wine vinaigrette
Grilled asparagus w/ lemon olive oil
Grilled baby orange & white carrots
Crispy butternut squash risotto cakes
Baby arugula salad w/ blistered cherry tomatoes, shaved parmesan
Balsamic vinaigrette

Monday, February 18, 2008


NOTE: Orange Roughy is now on the RED list (the worst) of sustainable seafood, which means you should replace it with any other firm white fish. To find out which fish are sustainable click here.
2 servings
2 orange roughy filets (wild Pacific halibut, black or Pacific cod, tilapia, black sea bass)
2 baby bok choy
1 large sweet potato
1 cup veg. broth
1 tbsp. fresh ginger - grated
1 tbsp. olive oil
S.+P. to taste

Begin by heating broth and ginger on medium heat in saute pan. Peel and roughly chop sweet potatoes for mash. Proceed as normal. Pre-heat medium saute pan on high heat. Add washed bok choy to broth mixture and cover with lid. Braise on medium- low heat for 1o- 12 mins. until tender. Sear seasoned fish for 3 mins. 'til golden. Finish in oven for 5-6 mins. It should be firm to the touch and juices running clear when ready.
To assemble, place your mashed sweet potatoes in centre of plate, golden brown fish on top and braised bok-choy.
A simple healthy meal for two.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


I was searching around on the net the other day looking at other food blogs, of which there are plenty, and came across lots of different varieties. There are blogs for every type of food and every calibur of cook. It's actually quite interesting seeing what people are doing and what they're interested in. The whole blogging idea is to blog with other people. It's all about people checking your site out and you theirs. It's a whole culture really but the one problem I found was the amount of time I spent looking around for interesting ones.
Being Irish the luck was with me. I came across a great site,
What I like about Jenn's site is that it's not only about food but also about the world of food bloggers. One of the great things about the net is the fact that you can just come across all types of people with stories to tell. Because of this Jenn decided to offer a medium to connect all these people who have a common interest, food. The Foodie Blogroll was born. Wait till you check this out. It's got over 1,000 blogs on there covering every and all types of food. The variety is brilliant. One of the beauties about this is that it's not exclusive. If you love food and have a blog, you can join and get your name out there. Of course if you're just interested in food then you have access to all the sites. Everyone who's on the blogroll has the complete list on their site. Just think of the possibilities of how many people have access to your site and what you want to say.
You'll find the complete list on my permanent links on the left of the page. Definitely worth a gander.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Friday, February 8, 2008

Last Restaurant Standing

Has anyone been watching Ramsay's show, Kitchen Nightmares (the British version not the waaaaaay over the top American one)? I caught it last night. He was on top form calling the 'chefs' " muppets" and "handicapped". That's good tv. They were a complete shower of mis-fits so it was damn entertaining. You should check it out if you haven't on the BBC/BBC America. Anyway not my point for the blog. There was a new show on afterwards, Last Restaurant Standing. Anyone who might have any inclination about opening a restaurant should have a gander at this. It'll definately give you an insight into how you SHOULDN'T do it.

The show's fronted by Raymond Blanc. If you know anything about food I bet you've heard of this guy. He has a very famous restaurant in England called 'Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons'. I said that in my best French accent which obviously sounds nothing like it's supposed to so let's move on. Set in England, there are 9 couples who are all given a restaurant and have 7 days to get it up and running. Some of the locations are in town centers, others are in the sticks. You should have seen the state of some of these places when the couples moved in. This was no easy task. Fortunately for me, and probably more importantly my missus, I've no intention of going near a restaurant apart from grabbing a bite. But a bar...maybe...

The contestants had to design the decor (although they had help), come up with a name, create a menu and obviously get customers. Remember this was all in 7 days. No way Jose! Talk about stress. One of the couples were newlyweds (not Nick and Jessica but not far off it). He was a jazz musician who was more interested in setting up his drum kit than actually cooking anything. She was highly annoying. They called their place 'Ostrich'. The reason? She's an actress who once played the backend of, guess what? Ya, an ostrich. She said she became one with it. No shit. You can't get much more into a part than by being actually in the thing!

The format is pretty much the same as everything else on the box right now. The three restaurants that do the worst are given a challenge and the losers are sent packing. Obvious really. I like the fact that none of the cooks are trained so it definately makes it more interesting and I want to see what menues they come up with. Apart from Animal and the ostrich (anyone get that?) no one was really that interesting yet but it was only the first episode. I'll watch it again and let you know.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Shrove Tuesday or as I know it, Pancake Tuesday, is a day I always looked forward to as a child. I remember coming home from school knowing we were going to get pancakes after our dinner. These are not the typical American style pancakes but more like the French style, crepes (a thin version). They are traditionally served fresh from the pan with sugar and lemon juice. Man they were good! Shrove Tuesday is a term used in Ireland, the UK and Australia and marks the day before Lent, also known as Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). The reason pancakes are associated with the day before Lent is that the 40 days of Lent is a time of fasting when all the rich foods like eggs, flour, milk and sugar are not eaten. As it turns out these are the ingredients for making........... pancakes. You've got to love the thinking behind this tradition. Let's eat lots of sugar and then fast for 40 days afterwards, sound like a plan?

Though this recipe is not for a traditional 'Pancake Tuesday' pancake, it's a healthy alternative to the American pancakes. I'd love to give you the recipe but it's so good that it's top secret. Everyone I've made these for loves them and the fact that they're low-fat and full of goodness amazes people. Unfortunately unless you come by my house for breakfast you'll have to trust me on that.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Is it odd to say I'd never heard of Mardi Gras until I moved to the States? The wife kept bringing it up so I assumed we were in the season. All I knew about it was that it's a huge party and everybody goes nuts. So far it sounds right up my alley. I wanted to look into it more so we hit up Google. Really, all she had to say was Pancake Tuesday and I'd have known exactly what it was, the day before Lent (which starts this coming Wednesday).
My take on Mardi Gras: French for Fat Tuesday, it's the mother of all piss-ups (you people in New Orleans what I mean) before you're supposed to give up something you really like for Lent. When I was a kid I'd always give up sweets (candy) for Lent although I never lasted too long. It was always the easiest thing to tell the parents and have a chance of getting away with it although they weren't that strict. Back in the day giving up alcohol was a requirement. I don't know who's day that was but I'll tell you what, it wasn't mine! Today, the main tradition is no meat on Fridays. I grew up with always having fish on Friday so this got me thinking I should do something that is not only a Louisiana favorite but also something you can make on Fridays (that is, if you practice Lent). The missus likes it hot and spicy (too many obvious jokes here) but I only added a tiny kick so feel free to add more if you like.
Traditionally gumbo is made with a roux (flour and oil) which is used to thicken the sauce. This recipe is the Healhty Irishman way-brothy and light, healthy and tasty.
1 lb. medium shrimp - peeled and deveined
1 med. red pepper -med. dice
1 green pepper - med. dice
1 red onion - med. dice
1/2 cup celery - med. dice
1 1lb. bag okra - fresh or frozen (1/2 inch rounds)
2 cloves garlic -minced
1 16oz tin chopped tomatoes
1 cups clam juice
1 cup white wine (optional)
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp. thyme - chopped
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 quart veg./chicken stock
1 lemon - zested
olive oil

When I cook a lot of these dishes I try to keep it as low maintenance and easy as possible. I could do without having to wash up after myself if I could get away with it. Some people will attest I'm a messy bastard so I like to limit the pot usage (don't get too excited, I mean what I cook in) as much as possible.
This is pretty straight forward I think, so here we go.

Pre-heat a med. large soup pot. If using fresh okra, wash in cold water. Remove the caps and cut into 1/4 inch rounds. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to pan followed by the okra, whether fresh or frozen. Saute on med. heat, stirring constantly for approx. 10 mins. or until the slime has disappeared. Add your chopped veg and garlic and cook for 15 mins. or until soft, stirring occasionally. If the veg start to stick to the pan add another dash of olive oil. Add your wine and let it reduce for 3-4 mins. Go ahead and add the tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, cayenne, clam juice and broth. Bring it to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer for another 20 mins. You can take the recipe this far if you want to do this in advance. When you're ready to eat add in your shrimp and simmer for 20 mins. I like to finish by adding the lemon zest. It gives it a nice bite.

Taste and season. How easy is that? Cheers to Mardi Gras!