A ‘Blooming’ great few weeks

Looking forward to Cooking at Bloom in the Park again this year

Looking forward to Cooking at Bloom in the Park again this year


I was delighted to appear on ‘The Saturday Night Show’ with Brendan O’Connor recently. The Show ran a competition on their Facebook and Twitter pages for two places at my cookery school and there was a fantastic reaction to the competition and congratulations to Mairead O’Keffee who won the prize. I am looking forward to cooking with you soon.

It was great to be on the show again and I have to say that both Brendan and ‘The Saturday Night Show’ are great supporters of Irish food and its producers, and that is what I was talking about on the show. It has never been a better time to be a chef in Ireland because there are so many great food producers throughout the country. People think that artisan food has to be expensive but that is not true. If you buy seasonal it does not have to be expensive. Bord Bia do a fabulous job promoting Irish food and these Irish producers, a lot of whom are great family businesses. They have huge passion in food and I love to support them.

If you missed the episode it is still available on the RTE player


This Thursday, May 29, will see the opening of Bloom in the Park. It is very much a family event. I love it and it is one of my favourite few days of the year. It is runs for five days over the June bank holiday with the last day Monday June 2. Over 100,000 people will be in attendance and it really is a fantastic event and I love being part of it. I am cooking every day at the show and will be using a lot of ingredients from the artisan food producers who will also be in attendance.

The recipes I will be doing are lovely, straightforward and delicious recipes and I hope you enjoy making them and of course most of all I know you will enjoy eating them. On Thursday the President, Michael D Higgins, will be opening the show and hopefully he will be dropping by to take hold of a pan and cook with me.

Below is one of the recipes that I will be cooking during bloom. It is a gorgeous Pizza Tart that is great fun to make and fantastic to eat. Have fun guys.

Serves 4
425g packet frozen puff pastry, thawed
A little plain flour, for dusting
1 large red pepper
1 large yellow pepper
3 tablesp. rapeseed oil
Tomato purée
100g (4oz) aubergine, cut into 2cm (¾ in) dice
1 small courgette, cut into 2cm (¾ in) dice
1 small red onion, cut into 2cm (¾ in) dice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablesp. basil pesto
Corleggy Goat’s Cheese, drained
2 tablesp. toasted pine nuts

Unroll the two pieces of puff pastry and place on a lightly floured board. Cut out 4 x 15cm (6 in) circles and place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, then chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).
Core and cut the peppers into 0.5cm (¼ in) dice.
Prick the inner circle of pastry all over many times to prevent it from puffing up, making a slight dip for the topping. Lay another sheet of parchment paper over the pastry circles and cover with a second baking sheet. This will prevent them from rising too much and will make them extra crispy and golden brown. Bake for 10–15 minutes, until slightly puffed up and light golden, swapping the baking sheets around on the oven shelves halfway through to ensure they cook evenly.
While the pastry is baking, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the rapeseed oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and sauté the aubergine, courgette and red onion on a medium heat for 8–10 minutes, until the vegetables are beginning to soften and catch colour. Season to taste and stir in the diced peppers and basil pesto.
Divide the sautéed vegetable mixture evenly among the pastry cases, spreading them out to the rim using the back of a spoon. Arrange Corleggy goat’s cheese balls on top of each one and return to the oven for 8–10 minutes, until the tarts have completely warmed through.

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