Wednesday, May 26, 2010


National Fish & Chips day today so this might be called for
Photography and text by Michael O Meara

Fish and chips

There is an infinite number of ways in which to cook fish, but at the end of the day it’s hard to beat a well made fish and chip supper. Delicate fish in a succulent batter, fried till golden and crisp with a simple squeeze of lemon juice and maybe a dollop of tartar sauce. This really is a meal made in heaven, but it need not cost the earth. We in Galway have an abundance of fresh fish and the best seafood for frying in batter tends to be the cheaper species. Whiting, haddock, ling or maybe codling work a treat; the most important consideration is that the fish is fresh. And how can you tell the freshness of a piece of fish?

1. All fish should have a pleasant and fresh smell; a strong fishy odour indicates the fish is on the way out.
2. The flesh of the fish should be plump and firm and never in anyway sticky
3. Fresh fish has a light slimy coating
4. The eyes of the whole fish should be bright and in no way sunken
5. The gills of fish should be bright red or pink in colour

The choice of oil used for deep frying is also important, I find that sunflower oil allows the flavour of the fish shine, while allowing the batter develop a crisp and light coating.
There are many ways to make a batter for deep frying. Using gram flour as a substitute to wheat flour makes a beautiful crisp coating on the fish and is simple to prepare.

Gram flour batter

300 ml chilled water
2 whole eggs
300 g gram flour
1garlic clove chopped fine
30g chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to season

Simply beat or blend all the ingredients together until a fine and smooth texture is achieved

When frying fish its best not to cut the fish into overly large pieces, but rather use small and thin fillets to allow the intense heat of the hot oil penetrate the flesh quickly in order to maintain a moist well cooked end result.
Always deep fry fish in clean oil at 180°C, dredge the fish in a little flour, then dip into the batter shake off any excess batter. Carefully place the fish into the deep oil and cook until golden on all sides. You know the fish is cooked when the flesh flakes apart.

To make a simple tartar sauce crush one hard boiled egg into 100ml mayonnaise, add the juice of ½ a lemon and a teaspoon full of chopped capers, gherkins and parsley. Mix all the ingredients together.

Of course fried fish needs freshly made chips to make a great meal. The potato I prefer for making chips is a Morris piper, peel and cut the potato into chips then allow soak for a few hours in cold water. Remove from the water and dry well then cook in cool oil at 120°C until cooked but without colour. Remove from oil and raise temperature of the oil to 180°C, cook the chips in the hot oil until golden. To serve toss the chips in a little Japanese rice wine vinegar and sea salt.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Fresh Irish morels picked by Louis Smith author of 'Forest Fungi in Ireland' Morels

Spring and early summer is a time when the countryside really comes to life. Early season fruits and vegetables become abundant as do the selection of seafood’s available. But one wild food which grows in spring and early summer which seems oddly out of season is also one of Ireland’s greatest delicacies.

The Morel mushroom is unusual as it is an early season mushroom and would be regarded by many gourmets as second only to the truffle in terms of taste, indeed a great many, myself included would regard the morel as the superior mushroom. The morel is an odd looking mushroom of which there are many in the genus for example the black morel or morchella elata. The mushroom has a honeycomb structure and would be regarded by the untrained eye as a ‘pooky mushroom’. In fact all morels contain helvellic acid which is highly toxic but easily destroyed on cooking so morels must never be consumed raw. Additionally and as is the case with all wild mushrooms expert identification is also of crucial importance.

When Louise Smith lecturer of culinary arts in GMIT and author of the outstanding ‘Forest Fungi in Ireland’ calls into the kitchen of Oscars with what could be regarded as a treasure in fresh morels its easy to get a bit excited.

One of the best flavour pairings in the culinary world is morels and cream and this combination can produce some of the most decadent sauces possible. When using ingredients which are as good as fresh morels its best to keep any dish as simple as possible as to show off the core ingredient as much as possible.

One very simple dish would be simple pasta of fresh morels flavoured with a little fresh tarragon.
For a great pasta recipe which is by Frank O’Conner lecturer at GMIT

1 kg ‘00’ flour

2 whole eggs

460 gram egg yolk

80 gram milk

32 gram olive oil

Knead for 15 minutes and allow rest for one hour

Feed through a pasta machine to produce a fine fettuccini, blanch in boiling salted water and refresh.
To make a morel cream
1 large shallot chopped fine

100 grams morel mushrooms chopped to a medium size

50 ml white wine

50 ml chicken stock

100 ml fresh cream

5 grams of butter

5 grams fresh tarragon chopped fine

Sweat the butter, shallots and morels in a thick based pot until soft but cook without colour. Add the white wine and reduce by half, then add the chicken stock and again reduce by half. Finally add the cream and allow reduce gently until a coating sauce like consistency is achieved. Adjust seasoning and finish with the tarragon.

To serve simply toss the fresh pasta in the morel cream and serve straight away.

By Michael O’Meara chef at Oscars bistro Galway city

Friday, May 21, 2010

frogs a bit different but great to eat

Frogs legs

Most people in Ireland, if invited to try a tasty meal of frogs legs would be inclined to run a mile! It’s really a pity as this little amphibian can really make a good meal. Interestingly it may well be an idea for an enterprising farmer to even consider farming fresh frogs, as the market for this delicacy is far bigger than you might expect. I introduced frog onto my menu more as an experiment to see if they would actually sell, and indeed they did. Although the frog is most often associated with the French and their cuisine, frog meat is in fact served in a great many countries all around the world ranging from Louisiana through to China. The meat is delicate and chicken like but a little creamier in texture, lending itself to a large number of culinary uses. The frog which is preferred for the pot is not the common frog often found in Ireland but rather Rana esculenta which is a larger animal with black markings. Wild frogs are highly protected in France and due to this most are now imported into Europe from as far away as Japan.

Frogs are normally sold fully prepared and are often frozen. Its best to treat the meat as you would chicken, taking all the normal precautions in particular insuring the meat is cooked well.

A few very simple recipes include

Frogs legs fried in garlic butter and lime

5 pairs of frog’s legs per person
½ clove of garlic
Chopped plat leaf parsley
One wedge of lime
20 gram butter

Season the frogs with salt and black pepper, then toss in a pre-heated pan with 5 grams of butter, add the garlic when half cooked. When cooked (the meat will easily come away from the bone) add the remainder of the butter, the parsley and finish with a squeeze of lime juice.

Deep fried frog’s legs
Season the frog’s legs with salt and pepper, then lightly flour shaking off any excess, pass them through egg wash then toss in fine bread crumbs.
Deep fried till golden and cooked, serve with a selection of sauces and lemon wedges

A small note to any producers, I’m hoping to include as many local foods as possible in this article. So if you would like me to create and photograph a dish using your product contact me at

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fresh tasty Irish crab

whats next on the cook book?
Fresh Irish crab
Photography and text by Michael O’Meara

Far too often the only use given to this versatile and decadent decapod, this abundant and delicious crustacean is to eat the claws and forget about the rest. Fresh crab when sold whole is one of the best value shellfish on the market. The culinary uses of crab are immense and range from simple soups to some of the great classic recipes of the world. There are many species of edible crab common to Irish waters. The most popular crab used for the table in Ireland is the common or edible crab. The shell of the common crab is about eight inches wide and reddish brown in colour. Other superb table crabs are the Velvet crab and the spider or spiny crab. The best way in which to kill a crab is by placing the animal into a deep freeze. This will slow the metabolism of the crab and put it to sleep. To cook pre-boil a large pot of salted water and cook the crab for around 20-30 minutes, drain and rinse under cold water until cold. When cold pull the claws of the crab, turn the body over and separate the body from the main shell by applying pressure behind the tail flap. Remove and discard the gills or dead mans fingers as they are known. The body of the crab contains meat but a lot of work is required to get to it I normally retain this part of the crab to be used as a base for a sauce or soup. The soft brown meat left in the main shell is great when simply mixed with some lemon mayonnaise and chopped parsley. A good way in which to obtain fresh crab is to approach one of the fishermen operating out of the small Galway piers such as Barna or Spiddal and ask if they might sell you some of their fresh catch.

Whole crab is great as the base for a seafood pie.
Melt 20 grams of butter with 20 gram of flour in a saucepan and allow cook without colour for 3 minutes, this is called a roux. Add 100 ml whole milk and whisk with the butter and flour mix allow cook till the sauce thickens and then mix 60 grams Killen Galway cheese into the sauce. Mix in 100 gram fresh cod to the sauce and all the white and brown meat from one freshly cooked crab add a dash of white wine and a tablespoon of chopped parsley and 20 ml cream. Pipe some fresh hot mashed potato around the rim of a crab shell. Fill the seafood mix back into the shell of the crab, sprinkle with a little Killen cheese and bake in the oven at 180°C for around 10 minutes. Serve straight away with a light tossed salad.

If crab claws are the only type of crab you can get.
Melt 25 grams butter and the juice of ½ a lemon in a frying pan, Add the crab claws giving 8 medium claws per portion. Fry in the butter without allowing the butter to colour until the crab is heated through and finish with a little chopped parsley.

Crab cakes are easy and will always go down a treat.
Mix 400 gram cold mashed potato with 200 grams mixed white and brown crab meat, add one egg and 30 grams flour. Mix in 3 finely chopped scallions and two tablespoons of chopped parsley. Season with salt pepper and a little cayenne pepper. Form the mix into golf ball size balls and flatten slightly. Pan fry in a little butter till golden and serve with lemon mayonnaise.

Monday, May 17, 2010



The consumption of seafood in Ireland is very much on the increase with us Irish finally embracing what is possibly our greatest food source and marine resource. Although the Irish territorial waters contain some of the best fishing grounds in Europe possibly making our marine natural resources the most significant of all our resources, for some crazy reason we have allowed the EU take control of our seas and we control only a tiny percentage of the allowable catch or quota. The world demand for food is very much on the increase and Ireland is incredibly well placed to take significant long term advantage of this increasing demand. SO LETS START GETTING BACK FULL CONTROL OF OUR WATERS!
One fish which our waters are rich in is ‘Hake’ and its smaller relative ‘Silver hake’ indeed when in prime condition hake is a difficult fish to surpass. Hake (Merluccius merluccius) is classified as a codfish and can grow up to a meter in length. The fish is impressive with a smooth grey skin, large eyes and an impressive barracuda like set of teeth. Hake are night hunters with the main season beginning around September. The flesh is delicate and should not be allowed overcook, also its best to cook hake on the bone as the flavour is far superior. The head of the fish is full of flavour and makes a good addition to the seasoning of many fish soups. The Portuguese people regard hake as a favourite food as do the Spanish.

To cook hake

Get your fish monger to cut the hake into either fillet or better steaks cut through the bone. Season the fish with sea salt and black pepper, freshly crushed, then flour lightly. Heat a thick based non-stick pan and add a little clarified butter then place the fish gently onto the pan and allow to cook gently for about 5 minutes. Turn the fish and repeat the process on the other side. Then remove the fish from the heat and place a cover on top of the pan allowing the residual heat of the pan complete the cookery process. The fish is cooked when the flakes of the fish start to separate, or if cooked on the bone the flesh can be eased away from the bone. You might have to cook the fish a little longer especially if the pieces of fish are large.

A very simple salad to serve with your hake is a vine tomato and baby spinach salad.
Cut one vine tomato per person into wedges and use about 100 grams of baby leaf spinach.
For the dressing mix 40 ml balsamic vinegar with the juice of one lemon then add 40 ml extra virgin olive oil. Whisk the dressing then toss the spinach leafs and tomato in the dressing.

By Michael O’Meara
Chef of Oscars bistro Galway city

Friday, May 14, 2010

grapefruit, fresh and fun!


By Michael O Meara
Oscars Bistro, Galway City

Big juicy and utterly delicious, the grapefruit is a fantastic and versatile fruit, great on its own or as part of a dessert. The grapefruit is possibly the largest commonly available citrus fruit cultivated from the larger pomelo which was first recorded in the sub-tropical region of Barbados the fruit was also known as the ‘forbidden fruit’ or ‘Shaddock’. It was Captain Shaddock who brought the first pomelo seeds to Jamaica which led to the first true grapefruit. The name grapefruit was likely conceived due to the way the fruit grows in clusters on the tree almost as a bunch of grapes. This fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C and is particularly valued as a breakfast fruit, with its bitter sweet taste making it a very refreshing part of the morning meal.
There are two main varieties of grapefruit being the Duncan and Marsh, the Duncan is the more flavourful. Grapefruits became particularly popular with the introduction of the red or ruby grapefruit which is now the more popular variety over the traditional yellow types, the pink variety of grapefruit can not be canned as they loose their colour. Conversely about half the world grapefruit crop is made into juice.
Grapefruit are not particularly good for savoury dishes as they tend to dominate in flavour, making them a better choice for sweet and desert type dishes, but grapefruit marmalade is a real treat when made well.
The grapefruit has been successfully crossed with a number of citrus fruits such as the tangerine grapefruit cross the ‘tangalo’ other grapefruit crosses include the ugly fruit.

Grapefruit is great for breakfast and makes a fantastic component to a citrus salad.
Simply peel and segment an orange, pink grapefruit, yellow grapefruit, mandarin orange and a blood orange, then squeeze the juice of a lime all over the segments. In summer a dollop of lemon sorbet served atop a simple citrus salad makes a refreshing and healthy start to any day.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Plums, a good fruit a tasty fruit

Michael O’Meara
Oscars Bistro Galway

The food authority Waverly Root cites the plum as “one of the worlds most luscious fruits”. Indeed when juicy and ripe a fresh plum is a thing of culinary perfection. Plums are incredibly versatile and make the most stunning compotes which can be used as a base for tasty sauces, ice-creams or accompaniments to both sweet and savoury foods. Duck roasted and served with plum sauce, plum compote with fresh vanilla ice-cream or tangy plum compote served with a strong blue cheese, heaven.
There are a great many varieties of plum available and the colours of the plum can be as stunning as the taste of the fruit, ranging from deep blue through to bright purple and the all the way to vibrant yellow. Plums are closely related to cherries, so close in fact that a cherry could almost be categorised as a small plum.
Plums have been cultivated for thousands of years but virtually all the plums we see today are the result of crossing three species being the Euoropean plum (P. domestica), American plum (P.americana) and Japanese plum (P.salicina). It should also be noted the Japanese plum is originally a native of China, but was improved by the Japanese. The name plum in the Middle Ages was often a source of confusion as the plums was the name donated to almost all dried fruit, this included raisins, hence the name plum pudding which we nowadays call Christmas pudding.

To make a tasty plum pie simply follow the recipe below

For the filling

1 kg ripe plums with the stones removed and chopped into medium sized chunks
400 grams granulated sugar
Place the plums and sugar into a thick based pot and allow to gently stew until very tender. Place aside and allow cool.

Short crust pastry
Sift 225gram plain flour into a bowl and stir in a pinch of salt.
Add 50gram chilled butter and 50gram lard cut into small pieces.
Lightly rub into the flour until you gain a breadcrumb like texture.
Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of cold water over the mixture then use a tablespoon to mix the mixture.
The mixture will form into clumps; press these together by hand to form a ball.
Allow the pastry to chill for at least 30 minutes
Butter and then lightly flour a baking flan tin.
Roll out the pasty and line the flan tin with the pastry then bake blind for 10 minutes in the oven at 180°C. Fill the pastry with the plum compote.

For a crumble topping to the pie
50g flour
25g butter
25g brown sugar
Blend ingredients together in a food processor and spread over the top of the pie and bake for about 10 minutes or till golden in a moderately hot oven.
Serve with vanilla ice-cream and enjoy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Galway Seafood Chowder


As with a great many traditional foods it is likely that chowder takes its name from the iron cooking pot in which it is traditionally cooked a Chaudière. Although the actual name chowder was first used in North America, specifically Canada in the 1730’s.The term Chowder would not be specific to a single soup but rather a number of interpretations of chowder exist ranging from rich creamy recipes through to light broth like soups often thickened with water biscuits, although all interpretations would indicate a hearty and very satisfying soup. The use of salt pork in seafood chowder is essential according to many traditionalists and will add a superb extra layer of flavour as will the use of potato. Clam chowder is possibly the most well known form of the soup and although very simple to make is one of the world’s great soups. Indeed the line between when chowder becomes a stew is often very thin indeed which makes chowder a great choice for a mid day meal on a sunny summers day. Experimentation is the order of the day when it comes to making chowder with the use of different fish and shellfish making the soup both fun to make and better to eat, although the recipe I have included may not be a chowder in the most traditional sense it will yield a hearty soup and will work a treat as a light meal or as a first course to a more substantial dinner.

Serves 4

50 gram onion
25 gram carrot --------------------chopped into a small dice
50 gram leek

25 gram butter
20 gram flour
700 ml fish stock
150 gram potato peeled and chopped into a small dice
30 gram streaky bacon chopped into small pieces
50 ml cream
10 gram flat leaf parsley
200 grams mixed fish and shellfish prepared and chopped into a medium dice, keep prawns whole

1. Add the bacon to a thick based pot and cook lightly, add the onion, carrot leek and butter and cook without colour.
2. Add the flour and allow to form into a roux then slowly add the fish stock insure that the flour is not allowed to clump and form lumps.
3. Add the potato and allow simmer for about 10 minutes then add the fish and simmer until the fish and potato are cooked.
4. Finish with cream and flat leaf parsley, season and serve.

By Michael O’Meara
Chef at Oscars bistro Galway city

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Carrots, don't you just love them!

Carrots—Just great

Carrots are simply a fantastic vegetable which lend themselves to an endless array of culinary uses. Boiled and tossed in a little butter, roasted, pureed or eaten raw the humble carota var sativa is a vegetable which few can resist. The carrot is even on the list of vegetables grown in the royal garden of Babylon. Interestingly the carrot may have been grown throughout the ages more for its leaves or seeds than its root. The bright orange colour which we are familiar with is far from the only colour of a carrot; carrots come in red, purple, white, orange and green varieties and can add great interest to a meal. Carrots contain a large amount of sugar and were even used as a source of refined sugar. In the past when sugar was a rare commodity the carrot was incorporated into sweet foods and can still be found in the popular carrot cake today. Perhaps the most unusual use for carrots was in the court of King James I when the ladies of the court wore carrots in their hats and pins. The Ancient Greeks used the vegetable to relieve stomach ailments and to increase virility. The Greek name for carrots being philon, from the Greek word philo, “to love. The aphrodisiac quality of the carrots was also used by Iranian men in the 1800.
And to make a simple and delicious carrot and orange soup follow the recipe below.

1 kg carrots peeled and chopped small
1 large onion chopped small
50 gram butter
1 litre vegetable stock
100 ml cream
Juice from 2 oranges (freshly squeezed)

1. In a thick based pot sweat the onion, carrot and butter together without colour
2. Add the stock and allow simmer until the carrots are soft.
3. Add the cream and orange juice then puree the soup
4. Check the seasoning and enjoy.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Summer time means barbeque and a rib recipe is essential
Michael O Meara
Oscars Bistro Galway


Really good quality pork is one of the foods that can really make a passionate chef all misty eyed. Pork is a meat which is still great value and when the cuts which are often regarded as the cheap parts are used a meal of outstanding value and taste can be had. For me the two best cuts of pork are the belly and ribs. Indeed these cuts require a little more work and attention than the more often used loin and legs but the little bit of effort is undoubtedly worth the work.
Pork ribs are a cut of meat which can be great fun to experiment with. Various aromatics, seasoning and spices can be incorporated into marinades. Even bacon ribs, when lightly cured make a fantastic addition to a barbeque. The making of a barbeque sauce is vital for the success of a great rib cook-up. I hate to say it, but the secret to a really good barbeque sauce is sugar, and lots of it. You see as you cook the ribs on a grill you must continuously baste the meat with a high sugar content sauce, this sauce will then caramelise with the natural juice of the pork forming a tasty, sticky layer of sauce on the pork which is both sweet and savoury. The sugar content of the sauce is balanced with vinegar; once this balance is achieved all sorts of flavourings can be used in a sauce.

This sauce can be made well in advance and will store in an airtight glass jar for up to a month
500 gram granulated sugar
500 ml white wine vinegar
1 large onion (chopped)
2 red chilli peppers
5 gram coriander seed
3 gram black pepper corn
300 gram tomato paste / puree
50 ml dark soy sauce
25 gram smoked paprika
Place the vinegar and sugar into a thick based pot and allow boil, add the chilli, coriander black pepper and onion and reduce by 25%
Add the soy sauce and tomato paste then season with salt. Blend completely and pour hot into sterilised jars to be used as desired.

To make BBQ pork ribs

Rub the ribs with chopped garlic, chopped rosemary, and olive oil as well as a little lemon juice and allow marinade for around 3 hours.

Place the ribs onto a barbeque and allow cook gently while turning often, when 90% cooked start basting on the bbq sauce while turning the ribs continuously. Allow the sauce to caramelise then add a little more building up a tasty glaze of sauce.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Nettles a great wild food


On the subject of wild foods, one of the most abundant and easy to collect is the nettle. The common nettle or Urtica dioica is a superb, versatile and tasty green vegetable. Nettles although common for a large part of the year are at their best in the spring, with the best nettles of all for the pot being the tops of the young shoots. In fact a dish of nettle was once used to mark the coming of spring. As the majority of us painfully know the nettle has a nasty sting which is composed of formic acid and this leads to the requirement of a good pair of work gloves for harvesting. However the sting is rendered impotent on cooking and should not discourage you trying nettles. Indeed the nettle is reputed to be a particularly healthy green vegetable with high concentrations of a large amount of vitamins and minerals.
From a culinary perspective the nettle is similar in many ways to spinach and can be used to good effect as an accompanient to seafood or as flavouring to a potato champ. At Oscars I have even made a flavourful ice-cream out of young nettle shoots. Although possibly the most common use for nettles is in soup, and indeed when nettle soup is made well it is a true culinary treat, bright and vivid green with a hint of spring onion and wild garlic. The nettle is well worth gathering during spring and even into early summer.

Nettle soup

1 kg of nettles with the stalks removed and well washed
25 gram butter
1 large onion peeled and chopped
50 gram wild garlic leafs (optional)
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock

I like to blanch and refresh my nettles in boiling water before making this soup to allow for a more vivid colour in addition to gaining a fresher flavour. Simply bring a large pot of water to the boil, plunge in the nettles for 30 seconds, then remove the nettles from the water and cool quickly under cold running water.

1. Place the butter and onion into a thick based pot and gently cook the onion without colour until soft.
2. Add the nettles and wild garlic and cook with the onion for about five minutes.
3. Add the stock and allow come to a gentle simmer.
4. Simmer for 5 minutes then blend the soup, season and serve.

By Michael O’Meara Oscars bistro Galway city

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Seafood stew

A fresh seafood stew is a tasty dish at any time of the day and when made with the seafood of Galway bay the stew becomes very special indeed. Seafood stew

On a hot summers day what could be better than a fresh seafood stew? Simmered gently in a white wine sauce, a few mushroom and leeks maybe, just for a bit of extra flavour. What’s great about a stew of fish is that just about any fish be it fresh water or from the sea lends its self to this tasty dish. The only important rule to follow is that the fish is fresh. And there are so many types of stew to experiment with, broths, cream stews, tomato based as are common in the Mediterranean countries. The fun with stew is that there is so much scope to experiment. It is important to cook the fish stew slowly as to not allow the pieces of fish to break up. A slow consistent and gentle heat is the secret; also don’t stir the stew much, in particular when the fish is cooked as again this will break up the individual pieces of fish.

For a stew that will feed 4 allow 150 grams of raw fish per person chopped into chunks and bones removed.

600 gram mixed fish cut into one inch chunks if using shellfish such as prawns remove the intestine and keep whole

400 ml fish stock
50 ml white wine
20 gram shallots diced fine
50 gram butter
50 gram plain flour
50 ml cream
100 gram button mushrooms cleaned
50 grams leeks chopped fine
20 grams parsley chopped fine

Carrots, courgettes, fennel, celery or any other summer vegetable that takes your fancy can be added at the same time as the mushrooms
1. Place the butter into a thick based saucepan and heat gently, then add the shallots and allow soften.
2. Add the flour and mix with the butter to form a roux, add the stock whisking lightly to incorporate with the roux.
3. Allow cook until the sauce begins to thicken then add the wine and cream.
4. Add the mushrooms and leeks and allow cook lightly.
5. Add the fish and ensure it is well coated with the sauce. Simmer gently until cooked.
6. Finish with chopped parsley and adjust the seasoning; serve with freshly boiled potato.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Its hard to better a good burger
Artisan style Hamburger
Serves 2
Difficulty *

For Burger
300grams lean steak mince
1 medium onion chopped fine
1 egg
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp tomatoes ketchup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp Bread crumbs
Salt & pepper to season

For garnish
1 sour dough baguette cut into suitable sizes and halved
2 vine tomatoes sliced
6 leafs of organic lettuce washed
½ red onions sliced
2 * 30 gram slices of a good farm house cheese; I’m using Killen cheese from Galway
Mayonnaise to taste

1. bind all the ingredients for the burger together and form into burgers
2. Heat a thick based pan and add a little oil
3. Cook the burgers over a medium heat until the juices run clear
4. Place the cheese on top of the burgers and melt under a hot grill also toast the bread at the same time
5. Onto the toasted bread add the lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise.
6. Place the burgers on top of the dressed buns and add the red onion finish by placing the final bread slice atop the burger and enjoy.

Monday, May 3, 2010


It really is hard to beat a good curry. At Oscars we really are lucky to have access to some of the best seafood in the world.

Text and photography by Michael O Meara Oscars


One of the most traditional English dishes dating back to the East India trading company. Curry may be delicious when made well, but Indian food it is not. Now the spices and their combinations used in curry are indeed very much Indian, but in India they tend to be fresh and far more fragrant than what we see in Ireland. The name curry originated from the word Kari which means spiced sauce. Curry powder was a British invention which allowed the spice combinations of the Indians to become far more user friendly, also transporting a powder is a lot simpler than moving complex varieties of foods across continents. Various spiced sauces can not only be found in India, but also in countries such as Thailand and Malaysia to name two. Each of these countries cuisines have approached the way they make their sauces in completely different ways for example the Malaysians way favour coconut pineapple bases to some of there sauces. In contrast the Thai people use complex combinations of fresh flavours such as wild ginger, lemon grass, coriander and lime leaf. The common element running through all curries is the use of chilli which varies to a tremendous degree in heat intensity. The way is which chilli peppers heat is measured is the Scoville scale named after its creator Wilbur Scoville. The substance that makes chillies hot is capsaicin and pure capsaicin measures 15’000,000 to 16’000,000 Scoville units. The scale starts with the mildest pepper, being the sweet bell pepper which rates as zero, the commonest hot pepper in Ireland is the Jalapeno with a rating of 2,500 the Hebanero comes in at a blistering 150,000-325,000 but the King of hot peppers is the Naga Jolokia (ghost chilli) with a rating of over 1,000,000 Scoville units, to put that heat into context Law enforcement grade pepper spray heat starts at 500,000 units.

For a simple fish curry (serves 3 – 4)

500 gram mixed fish cut into bite sized pieces, keep prawns and shellfish whole
1 Aubergine sliced into thin strips
Holy basil (normal basil will work) 50 grams

For sauce
1 tin of coconut cream
1 tin 300ml tin of pineapple pieces
Juice of one lemon
Thai fish sauce to taste
Puree together, place into a large pot and bring to a gentle simmer

10 coriander seeds crushed
10 fennel seeds crushed
3 Kaffir lime leafs
1 lemon grass fresh, chopped
10 grams ginger peeled & chopped fine
25 gram Thai red curry paste
Add to the coconut / pineapple sauce and allow infuse for 5 minutes
Then add the aubergines and allow cook for 3 minutes, add the fish and cover with a lid, poach until the fish is cooked. When cooked finish with the basil leaf, adjust seasoning with fish sauce and serve with boiled rice and fresh cut limes.