#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: -1°C Friday 4 December 2020
Advertisement

A simple coddle recipe and a dessert to make your mouth water, courtesy of a Michelin starred chef? Yes, please

Chapter One’s Michelin starred chef, Ross Lewis discusses his new routine at home and shares some recipes.

Ross Lewis

IT GOES WITHOUT saying that closing two restaurants overnight is not something they teach you in catering college.

Two vibrant businesses, each filled with the fun and laughter of our guests and underpinned by the energy and dedication of our 60 staff, snuffed out overnight.

As I visit Chapter One once or twice a week to “walk the land” so to speak, the dining rooms are fully set up yet cloaked in darkness, in suspended animation, but ready to be revived and snapped back into life… when though?

This is, for one and all, a strange and uncomfortable time. A US navy admiral once said: “You may sail with the wind at your back, you may sail into the wind, but you can never drift.”

Our busy modern lives have conditioned us to feel very uncomfortable when we are in the drifting mode, because we have no compass, without which we face a huge challenge in directing our energies and thoughts.

An uncomfortable stop

Indeed, spending six, eight, who knows how many, weeks at home without the daily work routine and pressure of performance is simply without precedent since I started in catering 35 years ago. We are in uncharted waters.

Spending quality time day and night with my three teenage daughters has come with a few challenges, but it’s been a unique experience for me…. interpret that as you will! 

Like many others, I imagine that I’m doing fine with a bit of this and a bit of that – exercise, household work, connecting with friends and family, catching up on movies (a rare treat). I’m really trying not to stare constantly at my phone, but it’s harder than I thought. Our phones do hold the details of half our lives, I suppose.

Dinner, though, is a grand affair and (hardly surprising you might think) has become the focal point of our day.

The evening meal has acquired the status of a reward; something we all look forward to. I cook most nights, and we have finally found our rhythm with one helping with the cooking and prep process and one washing up as we go.

Adopting this approach, we have managed to cut out all the arguments (almost!) and avoid the situation where one poor unfortunate has to clean up the mountain of kitchenware that only a professional chef can leave behind in his or her wake.

Arguably, the process is helped along with a cold beer or a glass of white and some latter-day crooner belting out on the stereo. What do you listen to when you cook? Comments below, please!

Together, at the table

In any case, dinner is a time when members of the household emerge from their various nooks, crannies and hidey-holes and agree to be civil in the pursuit of good food and reasonably congenial conversation. For this portion of the day at least, we can feel like we are all getting along wonderfully. A culinary panacea.

We mix it up as we try to eat healthily most nights – the remaining nights are gangbusters where anything goes. On Saturday nights we get pizza Deliveroo-ed from our Italian, Osteria Lucio, with the other nights being a straight shoot-out between fajitas, burgers, or fish and chips. 

While we are lucky enough to have the technology and access to foods, it is frustrating both as a chef and as a community to think of those who don’t. However, good things happen when enthusiastic and generous people make it so. 

Good Grub

Denis O’Reilly, whom I know well, is one such shepherd. Over the last few weeks, he has put together something very special; a not-for-profit initiative to deliver fresh food packs to the families of children attending DEIS schools, with the help of partners including the Aisling Project and Glanmore Foods.

The kids being fed by Good Grub normally get their breakfast and lunch at school, so this initiative is designed to ensure their one reliable source of nutrition while schools are shut during the current crisis. 

To help support this initiative, myself and my boss/daughter Shéana have made two small cook-along videos from our home to show the families how to prepare two simple dishes from the food packs: a wholesome pasta bake and a classic Irish coddle.

Times are not easy for everyone but if you are in a position to help with this great project, it would make a huge difference to those on the ground who are in need. You can donate at www.goodgrub.ie or click on this link

Look after each other and keep cooking. Here’s a couple of recipes of mine to get you through:

Ross’s recipes

Irish Coddle 

IMG_8900 Irish coddle Source: Ross Lewis

Serves 4

Ingredients 

4 potatoes
Thinly sliced 2 carrots 
Sliced 4 onions 
Sliced 8 sausages 
Cut in 3 8 rashers 
Cut in half lengthways 2 sprigs of thyme 
Bunch of parsley 
25g butter

Method: 

• Melt the butter on a medium heat in a large pot and firstly add the sliced onions and cook until they start to lightly brown. 

• Add the sliced potatoes and carrots into the pot and add enough water to cover the potatoes and carrots by about 1 inch. 

• Continue to simmer over a medium heat with the lid on for 10 minutes. 

• Add the sausages and bacon and then simmer for a further 20 minutes. 

• Add the parsley and thyme (optional) and lots of white ground pepper and then serve.

Watch how Ross makes this dish with the help of his boss/daughter, Shéana: 

Source: Good Grub/YouTube

You can also watch Ross and Shéana prepare their signature Pasta Bake using fresh ingredients available in the Good Grub packs:

Source: Good Grub/YouTube

Caramelised apple and molasses sponge with ice cream:

191112_IMG_4829 Caramelised apple and molasses sponge with ice cream. Source: Ross Lewis

Molasses sponge:

150g whole eggs
170g muscovado sugar
75g ground almonds
150g olive oil
170g milk
10g baking powder
5g cinnamon powder
5g nutmeg powder
250g flour

Method:

  • Set up a kitchen aid with whisk attachment and whisk the eggs and sugar together on a medium speed for 5-10 minutes until light brown and fluffy.
  • Pour in the milk and whisk for a further minute.
  • Pass all the dry ingredients through a fine sieve and fold into the mix.
  • Then fold in the olive oil.
  • Butter the baking dishes and dust/line with demerera sugar.
  • Leave aside.

Caramelised apples:

2 Irish apples
Caster sugar
Unsalted Butter
Salt

Method:

  • Heat in a frying pan on the stove, add enough sugar to cover the base of the pan and allow to caramelise undisturbed.
  • Wash and peel the apples and dice to a 2mm dice and add to the pan.
  • Add a pinch of salt and caramelise for 1 minute then add 10g butter.
  • Cook for a further minute and take off the heat.
  • Take 40g of the caramelised apple and place into the buttered baking dish then add 45g of the sponge mixture, set aside.

Treacle sauce:

200g treacle
200g pouring cream
30g unsalted butter

Method:

  • Bring treacle and cream to the boil and simmer for 1 minute.
  • Monte with butter and take off the heat.

Presentation:

  • Place the sponge in the oven and cook for 9 minutes at 185*C.
  • Bring the treacle sauce to the boil.
  • Take the sponge out, pierce with a knife and pour 2 dessert spoons of sauce over the top.
  • Finish with a quenelle of ice cream

Enjoy!

Ross Lewis is head chef and co-owner of the Michelin starred Chapter One restaurant in Dublin Ross. Lewis grew up on a farm and went on to study Dairy Science at University College Cork. He discovered cooking as a living while working on a student visa in the United States. 

voices logo

About the author:

Ross Lewis

Read next:

COMMENTS (51)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel