Ploughing just gets better and better

The National Ploughing Championships is without doubt one of the best few days of the year. It gets underway tomorrow (Tuesday) in Tullamore Co Offaly and goes on until Thursday of this week. I absolutely love the show and once again I will be in the Farmers Journal Tent. I love writing and working with the Farmers Journal and have been doing so for ten years and this is also my tenth year at the Ploughing as well.
I have three demos each day, at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. It is a great event for food and farming and there is certainly something for everyone. The very best of Irish food is showcased and it is brilliant to be back there again and as always I am sure I will meet some fantastic people; I always do at the Ploughing.
I have shared two recipes that I will be making over the course of the three days in this blog – a gorgeous Striploin Steak with Sauce Diane and a fabulous MacNean Cheesecake. Happy cooking everyone.

Neven Maguire at National Ploughing Championships

CHARACTERS… You always meet great characters at the Ploughing – of all ages!


• 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
• 2 x 150g (5oz) striploin steaks
For the Roast Garlic Mash:
• 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
• 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
• 675g (1½lb) potatoes, cut into chunks
• 2 tbsp softened butter
• 1 tbsp cream
For the Sauce Diane:
• 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
• 25g (1oz) butter
• 1 shallot, finely chopped
• 150g (5oz) button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
• 120ml (4fl oz) brandy
• 150ml (¼ pint) white wine
• 150ml (¼ pint) beef stock
• 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
• good pinch sugar
• 150ml (¼ pint) double cream
• 1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• squeeze of fresh lemon juice
• Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4. Place the oil, garlic and thyme in a shallow dish and add the steaks, turning to coat. Set aside at room temperature for 20 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.

Meanwhile, make the garlic mash, place the garlic cloves on a piece of foil and drizzle with the oil. Scrunch up the foil into a purse and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.




Serves 4

• 200g (7oz) cream cheese
• finely grated rind and juice of ¼ lemon
• ½ vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out
• 100g (3.5oz) white chocolate, broken into squares
• 100ml (3.5fl oz) cream
• 100ml Coole Swan Liqueur
• 4 shortbread biscuits, finely broken up
• white chocolate curls, to decorate
• dried raspberries to decorate
• Maltesers to decorate
• spun sugar, to decorate
• fresh mint sprigs, to decorate

Using a whisk, beat the cream cheese, lemon rind and juice, vanilla seeds, melted white chocolate and Coole swan together, until smooth and light.
Fold in the whipped cream until combined. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1cm (1/2in) plain nozzle and place in the fridge until needed.

To assemble the cheesecake, divide the macerated strawberries among martini glasses and crumble the shortbread biscuits on top. Pipe the cheesecake mixture right up to the rim of the glasses and decorate with raspberries, white chocolate curls, dried raspberries, Maltesers, spun sugar and mint sprigs.
To serve, arrange the cheesecakes on plates.



• 8 oz Pat Clarke Strawberries chopped
• 2 tbsp crème de cassis
• 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
• 1 tsp mint or basil chopped

Pour the crème de cassis and vanilla extract over the strawberries. Cover with cling film and shake. Leave overnight to infuse.



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