Cookery Feature - Winning Ways

Irish Food Writers Guild Awards 2014Irish Food Writers’ Guild President, Georgina Campbell, shares some of the stunning recipes created by Derry Clarke for the annual lunch held at L’Ecrivain to celebrate the winning foods and people at the Guild’s Food Awards (photos by Paul Sherwood,

Running since 1992, The Irish Food Writers’ Guild Awards are a keenly anticipated highlight in the culinary calendar. The simple criteria - Award winning products must be Irish and of truly excellent quality - and the ethical selection system remain unchanged.

They are nominated by Guild members who take a full role in choosing the short list and, at a tasting meeting (in which products are bought and paid for, without the knowledge of producers), cast their votes using the PR system.

This year, encouraged by the development of artisan cider and beer production, the Guild introduced a new award for Irish produced drink.

Irish Food Writers Guild Award Winners 2014The winning food products this year are the Ballyhoura Mountain Mushroom Range, Coolea Mature Farmhouse Cheese, and Irish Atlantic Sea Salt and the inaugural Irish Drink Award goes to Stonewell Cider - all, as it happens, from County Cork - while Responsible Irish Fish receive the Environmental Award and recognition is also given to the Heritage Irish Potato Collection.

A special Lifetime Achievement Award was also given to much-loved fellow member, Myrtle Allen, for her immense contribution to Irish food over the last fifty years, and to mark her 90th birthday.

RECIPES created for the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards 2014 by chefs Derry Clarke and Michael Hunter of l’Ecrivain Restaurant, Baggot Street, Dublin 2.

*Note for home cooks - don’t be discouraged by the cheffy presentation of these beautiful dishes, the following recipes are very do-able thanks to focused cook-friendly editing by Guild Secretary Aoife Carrigy (

Ballyhoura Mountain Mushroom consommé with Coolea cheese tortelliniBallyhoura Mountain Mushroom consommé with Coolea cheese tortellini

Serves 4

This elegant consommé dish pairs the deep flavours of Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms with the tangy notes of Coolea cheese. For a more intense pairing, look for the Mature Coolea cheese with its caramel character.

for the consommé

200g assorted Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
200g smoked bacon
1 litre water
3–4 egg whites

for the pasta

500g flour, sifted
3 eggs
6 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 tbsp olive oil

for the tortellini

200g Coolea cheese, rolled into 4 small golf ball-sized balls
1 egg, beaten

to serve

200g Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms, cleaned
rapeseed oil
a little lemon juice
freshly ground Irish Atlantic Sea Salt and black pepper

To make the consommé, add the sliced Ballyhoura mushrooms, smoked bacon and water to a large heavy-based pot and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for two hours. Strain and chill the liquid. When cool, add the egg whites to the liquid and heat over a low heat. The egg whites will rise to the top of the pot taking all the impurities with them. Carefully strain the liquid through a muslin cloth and you will be left with a beautiful clear consommé.

To make the pasta, place the flour in a food processor. Add the eggs and egg yolks and process until the dough starts to form a ball. Next add the salt and olive oil and combine. Shake a little flour on a work surface and knead the ball of dough by hand for five minutes or until it becomes smooth, adding more flour if it sticks. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave it to rest in a cool place for one to two hours.

To make the tortellini, roll the pasta dough through a pasta machine set to the thinnest setting. Cut out four circles of pasta about 6cm in diameter, place cheese in centre of each of the pasta circles, brush around the edges of the disk with beaten egg and fold in half. Press the edges well to seal, ensuring that there are no air pockets or tears.
Take each semi-circle in your hand and curl the two tips of the straight edge around your index finger pressing well to seal. Then turn up the two edges to form a shape like the brim of a hat. Cook the tortellini in boiling salted water for two minutes.

To serve, slice the remaining mushrooms and toss in a hot pan with a little oil. Season and add a little lemon juice and strain on a kitchen towel. Divide the mushrooms between four warmed soup bowls, pour over the consommé and then place a tortellini in the centre of each bowl. Sprinkle a little Irish Atlantic Sea Salt and cracked pepper around the rim of the each bowl and serve while hot.


Dry-aged beef, Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms, Coolea cheese, parsley purée, wild garlicDry-aged beef, Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms, Coolea cheese, parsley purée, wild garlic

Serves 4

Lucy Deegan and Mark Cribben of Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms grow and harvest an extraordinary range of cultivated and wild mushrooms in Co. Cork, where Coolea cheese is also produced.

This simple dish showcases both alongside some quality dry-aged Irish beef.

for the beef

2 fillet dry-aged Irish steaks
freshly ground Irish Atlantic Sea Salt and black pepper

for the mushrooms

300g assorted Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms, cleaned
freshly ground Irish Atlantic Sea Salt and black pepper
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
for the parsley purée
200g fresh flat-leaf parsley
30ml olive oil
for the wild garlic
handful wild garlic, washed
1 tbsp butter
freshly ground Irish Atlantic Sea Salt and black pepper
to serve
4 generous slices Coolea cheese

Season the steaks and sear on a very hot pan, making sure to brown all sides. Cook medium-rare and leave to rest for at least five minutes.

Heat a clean pan, add a little rapeseed oil and toss the mushrooms for two minutes. Season and add a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce. Transfer to kitchen towel.

Remove the parsley leaves from the stalks. Place the stalks in a pot of boiling water for two minutes. Add the leaves and cook for a further two minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl of iced water. Drain and blend in a food processor with the olive oil until smooth. Finally pass through a sieve.

Toss the wild garlic in a hot pan with the butter, season and sauté for 10-15 seconds.

To serve, cut the steaks in half. Place a slice of Coolea cheese on each piece of beef. Dot the plate with parsley purée and scatter the sautéed wild garlic over the beef

Irish Atlantic Sea Salt & caramel mousse with Stonewell apple cider sorbet Irish Atlantic Sea Salt & caramel mousse with Stonewell apple cider sorbet

Serves 4

Craft ciders have been making a comeback and Derry Clarke showcases Stonewell’s tangy flavours by contrasting with a sweet and salty mousse in this contemporary Irish dessert.

for the sorbet

250g sugar
125g water
1 tsp glucose syrup
juice from 1 lemon
150g pressed apple juice
1 x 500ml bottle of Stonewell Dry Irish Cider

for the caramel

500g caster sugar
75g unsalted butter
1½ tsp Irish Atlantic sea salt
3½ leaves of gelatine (soaked) or 4g agar
250g cream

for the mousse

100g caster sugar
100g icing sugar
100g egg white
500g lightly whipped cream

to serve

clotted cream, optional
cinnamon crumble, optional

To make the apple cider sorbet, bring the water, sugar and glucose syrup to the boil, turn down heat and simmer for three minutes. Remove from heat and then add the remaining ingredients. Leave to cool. Once cooled, place into an ice cream churner and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions.

To make the caramel, heat a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat and slowly pour in enough sugar to just cover the base of the pan. When the sugar changes to an amber colour, slowly add more, mixing gently as you go. Continue in this way until you have added all the sugar and a rich dark caramel colour has been achieved.

Remove pan from heat. Add the butter and the Irish Atlantic Sea Salt. Stir to dissolve. Add the cream gradually, taking care as the caramel is very hot and may spit. Once all the ingredients are mixed together, add the soaked gelatine or whisk the agar into the mixture. Set aside to cool.

To make the meringue mix for the mousse, beat the egg whites in a spotlessly clean bowl until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Add the sugar in one tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly, until all the sugar is incorporated and stiff peaks form. (If you prefer to cook the egg whites you can use an Italian meringue recipe as the base for this mousse.)

Once the caramel mixture has cooled, fold it into the meringue and then fold in the cream. Leave to set in the fridge until ready to serve.
Serve on a chilled plate. Arrange a quenelle of caramel mousse in the centre of the plate and place spheres of sorbet to sit alongside the mousse. Add a quenelle of clotted cream and sprinkle with cinnamon crumble, if using.

All recipes created for the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards 2014 by chefs Derry Clarke and Michael Hunter of l’Ecrivain Restaurant, Baggot Street, Dublin 2.

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