James Street South Cookery School: Treats right at your feet

IT’S FEBRUARY and 'Love Local' month during the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink. This week's recipes are two very easy and traditional dishes which make best use of the amazing local produce we are able to enjoy from our very own doorstep. Northern Ireland is rightfully renowned for its seafood and pork so when making these meals, make sure you buy the locally farmed meat and shellfish from Belfast's St George's Market, which is of course a mecca for amazing food from all across our wee country.

St George's is playing host to the 2016 Focus on Food Conference this coming Tuesday and with the theme of "Our recipe for tourism success" it is a must-attend event for those who want to learn from industry leaders. It will be a personal treat to hear from the keynote speakers, namely Ewan Venters CEO of Fortnum and Mason, JP McMahon, chef and founder of Eat Galway, and Valentine Warner, chef, writer and gin producer.

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Smoked bacon chop with parsnip and wine

4 x 350g smoked bacon chop (on the bone)

4 parsnips, peeled and quartered

25ml Riesling wine

1 teaspoon honey

2 sprigs thyme

4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

Salt, pepper and rapeseed oil

For best effect and taste, you want to BBQ the bacon chop over charcoal. Most people store the BBQ in the winter but you can always pull it to the garage door and light it up. Rub the chop with rapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the BBQ grill and cook for three minutes, then move (do not turn, move) and cook for another 3 minutes. It is always best to BBQ away from the centre or at a high level. Turn over and cook again for 6 minutes.

Take off the BBQ and leave to rest. Peel your parsnips and quarter lengthways, add in the rest of the ingredients of the wine, honey, thyme and garlic and you can cover and place in the fridge to marinate. When ready to cook, place in a pre-heated oven at 200degC, removing the cling film, season with salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes.

To plate up place your bacon chop on the plate, add the roast parsnips and drizzle the cooking juices from the parsnip. You can serve with a potato gratin.

Prawn & Crab Cocktail

Serves 4

1 baby gem, washed

1 chicory, washed

½ cucumber

400g prawns, cooked and peeled

100g white crab meat, picked

1 lemon, quartered to garnish

Marie Rose Sauce

5 tbsp mayonnaise

5 tbsp tomato ketchup

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

A drop Tabasco

1 tbsp horseradish cream

½ tbsp. Pernod

Salt and pepper

Peel and skin the cucumber, cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Finely dice and place in a large bowl. Shred the baby gem and chicory and add to the cucumber, keep one leaf of chicory and baby gem back per person for the garnish.

To make the sauce, mix the mayonnaise with the rest of the ingredients seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Add the crab and prawn and mix until coated with the sauce. When preparing crab it is always best to do this in a bowl inserted over another bowl that is full of ice. We always go through the crab in order to take out any shell and it is best to use disposable gloves for this.

To serve, divide the shredded salad among the dishes and arrange the prawn and crab mix on top. Garnish with the leaves of chicory and baby gem and a lemon wedge.


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