Georgina Campbell's Cookery Feature - Celebrating Rainbow Trout 'The Forgotten Fish'

Mags & Ger Kirwan

The indomitable Margaret ‘Mags’ Kirwan - who, with her husband, Ger, runs Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny - has never been short of ideas. The idea of using their rainbow trout to produce Ireland’s only caviar is a recent, and very successful, example of the way she thinks - and she’s been at it again, this time with a charity cookbook, ‘Fishwives’, that was completed just in time to launch in Kilkenny Castle last month, at the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival.

Celebrating rainbow trout, ‘the forgotten fish’, this aptly named book features the recipes of 78 women - the ‘fishwives’ - and all of the proceeds are going to a charity that is very close to her family’s heart, Hospice Africa Uganda (, which works to ensure a peaceful and dignified end of life for thousands in Africa.

Women from the world of politics, entertainment, business and food were invited to contribute a favourite fish recipe, preferably trout - and, although there are a few other fish and seafood dishes included, almost all contributors rose to the challenge and made rainbow trout the main ingredient in these deliciously do-able dishes. Surprisingly, there is virtually no overlap and this unique collection of recipes succeeds brilliantly in demonstrating how versatile rainbow trout is in a very wide range of dishes.

The contributing ‘fishwives’ are equally varied, ranging from public figures like former Tanaiste Mary Harney, to inspiring local women such as Julie Calder-Potts of Highbank Organic Orchard and Anne Neary of Ryeland House Cookery School, and chefs, food writers and bloggers from all over Ireland.

Fishwives – A Cookbook By Goatsbridge; paperback, with original photography by Joanne Murphy; price €20

Arranged alphabetically, the contents begin conveniently with Darina Allen, and go on to include many of Ireland’s most influential food lovers ranging from people like Irish Food Writers’ Guild Chairwoman Aoife Carrigy and Helen Carroll of RTE’s ‘Ear to the Ground’ to the newly appointed Chief Executive of Bord Bia, Tara McCarthy.

Mags Kirwan’s four sisters, Miriam, Louise, Joanne and Cathy, all contributed recipes too - and it was Miriam (Donohoe), who volunteered with Hospice Africa Uganda in Kampala for eight months this year, thus providing the inspiration for this book, which also includes a fish pie recipe from the founder of Hospice Africa Uganda, 81-year-old Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr. Anne Merriman, who travelled from Uganda especially for the event.

Thanks to Slater Design in Dublin, ‘Fishwives’ is not an only interesting and exceptionally useful way to support a worthy cause but also a very attractive, professionally produced and eminently giftworthy book. Mags Kirwan said she expects ‘at least one copy to be under every Christmas tree in Ireland’ this year, which should make the Christmas shopping a lot simpler. But it’s bound to be a sell out - so be sure to get your order in early.

Fishwives – A Cookbook By Goatsbridge; paperback, with original photography by Joanne Murphy; price €20. Available online from Goatsbridge at and in selected shops and outlets nationwide.


Smoked Trout with Poached Eggs & Hollandaise Sauce

Smoked Trout with Poached Eggs & Hollandaise Sauce

An appealing recipe using cold smoked trout, from Anne Neary of Ryeland House Cookery School, Co Kilkenny.

2 servings

100g cold smoked trout
4 free-range eggs
¼ fennel bulb, sliced
Salt and cracked black pepper
125g/5oz butter
2 free-range egg yolks
½ tbsp white wine vinegar
½ lemon
2 large slices of sourdough bread, toasted

First make the hollandaise sauce. Very slowly melt the butter in a pot over a low heat. Once fully melted, pour off the golden butter fat into a separate saucepan leaving the milky proteins behind. Keep the melted butter warm while you heat a pot of water until simmering.

Place the egg yolks, a pinch of salt, and vinegar in a bowl (large enough to fit over the pot of water) and whisk together until combined. Place on top of the simmering water and continue to whisk until the yolks thicken (this should take three to five minutes).

Take off the heat and add the melted butter, in a slow trickle, while whisking continuously. The sauce will gradually become thick and creamy. Finish with a squeeze of lemon. Cover and keep warm while you poach your eggs.

Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Reduce the heat and swirl the water with a whisk. Crack one egg into a small bowl and gentle slide into the whirlpool of water; quickly repeat with the remaining three eggs (at this stage the water should be bubbling very gently). Cook for approximately three minutes.

To serve, divide the cold smoked trout between two warm plates of buttered toast. Top each pile of trout with two poached eggs and spoon over the hollandaise sauce. Garnish with some thinly sliced fennel if you wish and season with cracked black pepper.


Black & Amber Gin & Tonic

Black & Amber Gin & Tonic

One of the most original recipes in ‘Fishwives’, Julie Calder-Potts of Highbank Organic Orchard combines one of their own products - the unique single estate Highbank Crystal Gin - with Ireland’s only caviar, which is produced by Goatsbridge Trout Farm.

1 serving

1 heaped tsp. Goatsbridge trout caviar
Dried nori seaweed
35ml Highbank Crystal Gin
70ml fever tree tonic
Lime wedges (optional)

In a brandy balloon glass, place the Goatsbridge Trout Caviar.

Add a small sprinkling of nori seaweed and some crushed ice.

Pour over the gin and stir. Top with the tonic water and serve with a spoon on the side for eating the gin infused caviar.


Trout with Inch House Black Pudding & Beurre Blanc

Trout with Inch House Black Pudding & Beurre Blanc

The black pudding hand made by Nora Egan at Inch House, Co Tipperary, is based on a traditional recipe handed down by her mother and as her daughter, Mairin Byrne, shows in this lovely recipe, it associates very successfully with baked trout.

2 servings

4 small trout fillets
50g/2oz butter, softened
Small bunch fresh basil, finely chopped
300g/12oz Inch House black pudding
125g/5oz breadcrumbs
2 shallots, finely diced
3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
300m//10.5fl oz cream
300g//2oz butter, cubed
1 lemon, quartered

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Take two fillets and place, skin side down, on an oiled oven-proof dish or tray. Blend the butter and basil together and dot on top of the trout flesh; spread gently.

Crumble the black pudding into the breadcrumbs (use a food processor if you wish) and scatter over the buttered fillets. Place the other fillets on top, flesh side up, and bake for 15 minutes.

While the fish is cooking, make your beurre blanc. Combine the shallots and white wine vinegar in a pot and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Simmer for three minutes until reduced by a third. Next, add the cream and slowly bring to the boil. Take off the heat and add a third of the butter while whisking constantly. Continue to add the butter, a small cube at a time, until the sauce thickens (always stand over the sauce as it can separate).

Serve immediately with the sauce and fresh lemon.


Gluten-Free Herby Smoked Trout Fish Cakes

Gluten-Free Herby Smoked Trout Fish Cakes

Tracy Hamilton travelled down to the ‘Fishwives’ launch in Kilkenny Castle from Co Down where, together with her husband Martin and their sons, they grow and process the vegetables sold under the innovative Mash Direct brand. Hot smoked trout is the key ingredient in her gluten-free take on the ever-popular fish cake.

5 Servings

1 kg/2.2lbs baby new potatoes
20g/0.8oz butter
Olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Large bunch spring onions, chopped
Small handful fresh dill, finely chopped
1 unwaxed lemon, zest
Sea salt and black pepper
1 hot smoked trout side, roughly chopped
1 tbsp gluten-free flour
2 eggs, beaten
Gluten-free breadcrumbs
Gluten-free flour, for dusting

Steam potatoes in their skins until tender, around 20 minutes. Place butter and a drizzle of olive oil in a pan over a medium heat and allow to melt. When slightly bubbling, add the crushed garlic and sweat until translucent but not brown. Add the sliced spring onions and dill and toss until coated in the garlic butter; remove from the heat and add the zest of the lemon and season to taste.

Once the potatoes are cooked, allow to cool and remove the skins by scraping with the back of a butter knife. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and crush roughly with a fork. Add the trout, the lemon zest, herb-butter mix and flour. Stir gently until all the ingredients are well mixed.

Form handfuls (150g/6oz of the mixture) into circular cakes, ten in total. Refrigerate the cakes for about 15 minutes and heat a deep fat fryer to 190°C/375°F.

While the cakes are chilling, set out a shallow bowl of flour (for dusting), a shallow bowl of the beaten eggs, and a shallow dish of crumbs. Remove the cakes from the fridge. Dust the cakes in flour, then dip them into the egg, allowing excess liquid to drip off, and then coat in the gluten-free crumb. Fry in batches cooking for six to nine minutes (depending on the thickness of the cakes) until heated through.

Serve and enjoy - a good accompanying side dish would be Mash Direct red cabbage and beetroot as its sweet/sour flavour profile would complement the smokiness of the cake.


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