Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Mussels at theIR simplest
Serves 2
Difficulty *


1 KG fresh mussels well cleaned with beards removed
2 shallots
100 ml white wine
10 grams butter
1 tbsp parsley chopped fine


Heat a large thick based pot, add the wine, shallots, and butter and bring to the boil, add all of the mussels and place lid onto the pot, cook until all the mussels are open but be careful not to over cook the mussels.
Serve straight away with some crusty bread.

Note. Mussels are a great value a tasty shellfish but a little caution is advised. Know were the mussels came from and discard any open shells before cooking.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Text and photography by Michael O Meara, Oscars Bistro


Often a food which is either loved or despised, the beetroot is an extreme vegetable in many ways. This bright and vibrant vegetable which can be either scarlet or golden in colour has a great many uses, some of which may be a little unexpected, beetroot ice-cream anyone? Beetroot is one of four closely related plants of the Beta vulgaris plant. The root of which should always be cooked with the skin on in order to prevent the colour from leaching. This is unless a vibrant liquid is desired of course, as beetroot juice makes an excellent food colouring. Indeed the scarlet beetroot is an extremely healthy vegetable which is packed full of antioxidants. Additionally beetroot roasts beautifully and makes a superb accompaniment to a great many fish in particular oily fish such as mackerel. Beetroot grows extremely well in Ireland and is a vegetable which we should exploit more. In eastern European countries, in particular Poland beetroot is a common part of the weekly diet. In fact one of the finest soups I have ever had the pleasure of sampling was in Poland, cooked by a brilliant home cook and not in some kind of fancy restaurant. This borshch (barszcz) which is the name given to beetroot soup was simply stunning. The soup was made broth like and was as delicate as the finest consommé I have sampled. But a base of pork and beef stock was combined to give a depth of flavour which was far greater than the sum of the soups parts. I have always judged a chef on their ability to make a soup and indeed this was a great soup and a great cook.

To make a tasty beet soup first of all you will need a stock

500 gram pork trimming
1 KG beef bones
1 large onion
1 carrot
200 gram celery

1 KG fresh beetroot peeled and chopped coarsely

1. Roast the pork and beef in a moderate oven until nicely browned, Place into a thick based pot then add all the other ingredients, cover in cold water and allow simmer for 3-4 hours skimming excess grease of the top as the stock cooks.
2. Strain the stock and then return to a clean pot, skim the stock then add the beetroot and allow simmer for around on hour.
3. Remove the beetroot and retain 100 gram for garnish (slice into a neat baton). Return the garnish back into the soup, season with salt and pepper and serve.