ALL ROADS LEAD TO DONEGAL

I was looking back over my blogs this morning and the one constant theme that keeps cropping up is the depth and wealth of talent I believe we have here in Ireland.

MOUTH WATERING... Who wants to tuck in to this beautiful ribeye.

MOUTH WATERING… Who wants to tuck in to this beautiful ribeye.

And I don’t just mean in the kitchen although I do believe we are blessed with the chefs we have. But we are also blessed with the fantastic local producers who work so hard to provide us with some tremendous ingredients right here on our doorstep and I would always urge you to try and use local produce when cooking. Not only does it taste better in my book but I think it is good to support local businesses when we can.

Next weekend, Friday 28 August to Sunday 30, there will be another chance to see a lot of these fantastic producers at the ‘Taste of Donegal’. Coming two weeks after the ‘Taste of Cavan’ this is another brilliant festival. I have been involved in it from its first year and I think it is a tremendous celebration of food and as with all these events just a great occasion for everyone on the family.

One of the local producers at the Taste of Donegal will be McGettigan Butchers and what fabulous meat they have.  This family run business has been open since 1952 and with a history like that behind them you know that they are produce only the best and I can tell you that Ernan and Mary McGettigan are real champions for Irish Food.

And I will be using their fabulous mean when doing a cookery demonstration on Saturday afternoon alongside my good friend Brian McDermott, the No Salt Chef. I love cooking with Brian and I know how much he loves this event in his home county.

The festival will run over three days and I really would recommend that you come along and enjoy time with the family and I promise you will have a brilliant time.

Below is a recipe that I enjoy cooking at my demonstrations. I really hope you enjoy it and if you are at the ‘Taste of Donegal’ next Saturday don’t forget to say hello!

Grilled Rib-eye Steak with Red Pepper Butter

I hear that less fillet and striploin is being sold these days and rib-eye has become more popular. I always bring steaks to room temperature by removing them from the fridge 30 minutes before I want to cook them. This butter or any of the variations on pages 42–43 will complement any grilled meat and it looks great. It can be frozen or it keeps happily in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Serves 4

4 x 225g (8oz) dry-aged rib-eye steaks

100ml (3 ½fl oz) Donegal Garlic Rapeseed Oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

baked potatoes, to serve

steamed purple sprouting broccoli, to serve

Smoky red pepper butter:

1 small red pepper

100g (4oz) butter, softened

1 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp chopped fresh thyme

1 tbsp Avonmore Cream

To make the flavoured butter, preheat the grill. Place the pepper on the grill rack and cook for 20–25 minutes, until the skin is blackened and blistered. Transfer to a bowl and cover with clingfilm, then leave to cool completely.

Remove the skin, core and seeds from the pepper and roughly chop the flesh, then place in a food processor. Add the butter, parsley, paprika and thyme and purée until smooth. Beat in the cream and then scrape the butter out onto a square of parchment paper. Roll into a cylinder about 2.5cm (1in) thick, twisting the ends to secure. Chill for at least 2 hours to harden.  This will keep for one month in the fridge or freeze.

Trim the rib-eye steaks of any excess fat. Place in a non-metallic dish and add the olive oil, garlic and thyme. Cover with clingfilm and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight is best.

Remove the steaks from the fridge at least 30 minutes before you want to cook them, then shake off any excess marinade and season to taste. Grill, barbecue or pan-fry the steaks over a fierce heat for 6–7 minutes for medium rare, or to your liking. Allow to rest for 5 minutes on warmed serving plates.

To serve, remove the flavoured butter from the fridge and remove the paper, then cut the butter into slices. Place butter slices on top of the grilled steaks and add a baked potato and some purple sprouting broccoli to each plate to serve.

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