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Catherine Fulvio: Enjoy rack of lamb and cheesecake recipes to spice up your summer dining

The TV chef shares some thoughts and two delicious recipes to liven up any table this summer.

Catherine Fulvio

IF THE PAST year has taught me anything, it’s that I absolutely love the outdoors! Hiking, gardening and of course dining and cooking outside.

We are blessed here at Ballyknocken House & Cookery School, in the sense that we have our own herb, soft fruits and vegetable gardens. It’s an absolute joy being able to grow our own and harvest our food. Nothing can beat it for freshness.

And when everything else in our lives is standing still, I must admit, the garden gives me great solace. Because plants keep on growing, regardless of what else is going on around us. Nature just keeps happening and it brings a little sense of normality to me. Then when I express this to my children, they think I’ve lost the plot! But that’s teenagers for you!

Another passion of ours here is the BBQ. Over the years we’ve been busy teaching guests how to smoke, how to use coal and gas barbecues effectively most importantly how to add that important injection of flavour in the forms of marinades, dry rubs, glazes and flavoured salts.

In a bid to keep ourselves busy as the hospitality industry was on hold, we had this idea that we would take our cookery school online. And what a fantastic journey that has been for us. I’m now thrilled to be able to offer a huge variety of long and short courses suitable for every curious foodie in your life.

I think we are most proud of our new BBQ – Hot ‘n Smoky Masterclass. We have some amazing recipes and there are lots of very helpful tips and tricks, so check it all out on catherinefulvio.com. Personally, I’ve been blessed to have been part of the RTE TV series Tastes Like Home where we take recipes from friends and family here in Ireland to their loved ones abroad – it’s been a wonderful way of communicating through the love of food.

And I’m also very grateful that I got to see all those amazing countries, so while we can’t travel right now, below is a taste of some of the dishes that I’ve prepared along the way from the TV series. And the lamb dish, in particular, will be fabulous on your BBQ this summer.

Wishing you a wonderful summer!

Catherine’s Recipes

Rack of Lamb with Yoghurt Salsa & Heirloom Tomato Salad

chrisvmiproductions-ie Source: Christian O'Brien

Serves 4 (3 x 4 cutlets racks of lamb, allow 3 cutlets per person)

For the marinade

2 tbsp chopped parsley

4 cloves garlic, chopped finely

3 tsp Dijon mustard

100ml olive oil

2 tbsp honey

1 lemon zest only

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salsa

2 tbsp chopped coriander

2 tbsp chopped parsley

2 tbsp chopped mint

75ml olive oil

1⁄2 cucumber, deseeded, diced and drained of excess juice

1 small red onion, diced

1 large (or 2 small) tomatoes, deseeded and skinned, diced

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tsp Dijon mustard

500g Greek natural yoghurt

Rocket and sprigs of flat-leaf parsley and coriander, to garnish Baby potatoes, to serve

To prepare the marinade, mix the parsley, garlic, mustard, oil, honey, salt, pepper and lemon zest in a bowl. Then spread over the racks of lamb. Refrigerate for an hour at least for the flavours to infuse.

To make the salsa, separately blitz 1 tbsp chopped coriander, 1 tbsp chopped parsley, 1 tbsp chopped mint and the olive oil and set aside Then combine all other ingredients, season to taste and put in a serving bowl. Drizzle the flavoured oil over the top and set aside.

To finish the lamb, preheat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Then heat a large frying pan with a little oil on a medium to high heat, add the lamb to the pan and sear until brown and caramelised.

Transfer the racks of lamb to a roasting tin and place in the oven for about 12 minutes for medium, basting with the glaze from time to time. 16 to 18 minutes for well done.

Allow the racks to rest in a warmer for 10 minutes.

To serve, scatter some rocket on a serving board or platter, arrange the lamb on top and serve with yoghurt salsa, baby potatoes and a salad, garnishing with the remaining herbs.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Peach Dressing

IMG_0147 Source: Catherine Fulvio

Serves 4-6

1kg assorted heirloom tomatoes – cherry and beefsteak

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1 cucumber, partially skinned and seeds removed

2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped

2 tbsp basil or coriander, torn

2 tsp mint, chopped

100g hard goat’s cheese, crumbled / shaved

2 tbsp baby capers

Salt and pepper to season

For the peach salad dressing

1 large ripe peach, peeled, stoned and chopped

100ml extra virgin olive oil

50ml cider vinegar

1 tsp honey (to taste)

1 tsp parsley and mint

Salt and pepper to season

For the salad: Soak the red onion in hot water for about 5 minutes, then remove and pat dry. Slice the beefsteak tomatoes and halve the cherry tomatoes. Slice the cucumber.

To make the peach dressing: blitz together all ingredients and check for seasoning, adjusting as necessary.

To serve: arrange the tomatoes, onion and cucumber on a large serving platter.

Scatter over the herbs, capers and crumbled cheese. Drizzle some of the dressing over and serve with the remaining dressing on the side.

Baked Irish Coffee Cheese Cake with Cherry Sauce

Baked Irish Coffee Cheese Cake with Cherry Sauce 11 Source: Christian O'Brien

Makes 1 x 23cm

For the base

300g digestive biscuits

½ tsp ground ginger

150g butter, melted

For the filling

300g soft cream cheese

100g crème fraiche

50g soft dark brown sugar

3 eggs

3 tbsp espresso coffee

3 tbsp Irish whiskey

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For the cherry sauce

1 tbsp arrowroot

4 tbsp water

350g jar pitted morello cherries (retaining juice too)

3 tsp caster sugar

2 star anise

To finish

150g cherries with stems attached, to decorate

Small sprigs of lemon balm or mint, to decorate

Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan 150°C/gas 3. To prepare the tin, generously brush a 26cm loose base tart tin with melted butter.

To make the base, place the biscuits in a food processor and crush until fine crumbs form.

Transfer the biscuit crumbs to a bowl, add the ginger then pour over the melted butter and mix thoroughly until the crumbs are completely coated.

Tip them into the prepared tin and press firmly down into the base and up the sides. Set in the fridge for 30 minutes.

To make the filling, mix the cream cheese, crème fraiche, dark brown sugar, eggs, espresso coffee and whiskey together in a large jug.

Pour the mixture into the biscuit base and smooth evenly. Place in the oven to bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until just set.

Carefully remove from the oven and cool completely before removing from the tin.

For the cherry sauce: Drain the cherries, reserving the juice. Mix the arrowroot and the water together in a small bowl. Add the reserved juice, sugar, arrowroot mix and star anise in a saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the mixture boils and thickens. Stir in the cherries and set aside to cool slightly. Remove the star anise before serving.

To decorate, arrange the cherries with stems attached as well as some sprigs of lemon balm or mint in a quarter moon shape on the one side and serve with the cherry sauce.

Enjoy!

Catherine Fulvio is a TV chef, food writer and author who runs Ballyknocken House. Her BBQ masterclass is now booking.

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