ALnEoVthEeLrRECIPESAward-winning chef Seamus Commons
of Knockranny House Hotel creates a
vegetarian menu worthy of dinner party status
Photography Brian Clarke | Assisted by Harry Weir
RECIPE ON PAGE 28 ˘
Wild garlic and potato soup
This is a woodland walk in a bowl – but it’s not for the faint-hearted, the flavours are really bold.
It’s best eaten on the day it is made, as it will lose its colour and vibrancy
Serves 2 1 Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. 4 To make the croutons, slice the bread into large
Add the onion, potatoes, thyme and leeks and fry cubes, fry in clarified butter and rosemary on a
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil for 3-4 minutes, until softened without colour. gentle heat until golden and allow to drain on
½ small onion, chopped Add garlic and leaves. kitchen paper.
2 baker potatoes, peeled and
finely diced 2 Add the water and bring to the boil. Reduce the 5 To make the parsley oil, add all the ingredients to
1 sprig thyme, chopped heat and simmer for ten minutes. a blender, blitz and pass through a sieve.
2 leeks, washed and diced
½ clove garlic, chopped 3 Add the cream and spinach and use a hand 6 To assemble, place the soup in a warm bowl,
200g wild garlic leaves, washed blender to liquidise the soup. Season, to taste, drizzle with parsley oil and add croutons.
300ml water with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
50ml double cream
Salt and ground black pepper,
For the croutons
2 slices bread
1 sprig rosemary
For the parsley oil
100g parsley, stem removed
3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
Don’t allow the soup to over-boil, or it’ll
kill the flavour. Simmer is best. Garnish
with garlic flowers if you have some.
Beetroot and chocolate orzo with hazelnut, rocket and balsamic pear
This is a really quirky dish – the colour is so vibrant and the chocolate adds a brilliantly sweet touch to the savoury
beets. Balsamic pear vinegar can be found in some good delis, otherwise just use a really good quality balsamic
Serves 2 1 Bake beetroots on a tray sprinkled with salt in an oven
at 180ºC/gas mark 4 until soft, about 25-35 minutes
1 candied beetroot depending on size.
1 golden beetroot
1 red beetroot 2 Peel and quarter the candied and golden beetroot and
1 tablespoon good quality balsamic caramelise on the pan until golden.
1 tablespoon port
50g dark chocolate 3 Peel and roughly chop the red beetroot. Add to a
300g cooked orzo blender along with some good balsamic, port and dark
5g rocket chocolate. Blitz to make a paste. Warm paste in a pot
1 teaspoon balsamic pear vinegar and add cooked orzo.
For the hazelnut dressing 4 To make the dressing, using a bowl and whisk, mix the
mustard and honey together. Whisk in all the vinegars
5g Dijon mustard until combined. Add in all of the oils until the dressing
10g honey comes together. Add hazelnuts.
20ml balsamic vinegar
20ml truffle vinegar 5 To serve, place the orzo in the centre of a warm bowl.
20ml white wine vinegar Top with four pieces of caramelized beetroot. Add a
20ml truffle oil sprinkling of hazelnut dressing, top with rocket leaves
20ml hazelnut oil and drizzle with pear balsamic.
50ml rapeseed oil
100g hazelnuts, roasted and cracked
Use chocolate with a very high
percentage of cocoa – the bitter
flavour works best with the beetroot.
Swede, parsnip and rosemary terrine with cabbage & violet potatoes
This is essentially a twist on a traditional Irish stew, minus the meat
Serves 2 1 In a pot, combine the butter, water, garlic, 6 In a saucepan, sweat the garlic and shallot lightly
rosemary and a pinch of pepper and bring to the in the rapeseed oil until soft and cooked, then add
200g butter boil. Remove from heat and add the swede and the shredded cabbage and mix them together.
6 tablespoons water parsnip slices. Season with salt and stir. Leave to cool.
¼ garlic clove, finely chopped
1 sprig rosemary, chopped 2 Assemble into a small loaf tin, by layering 7 Roll the large cabbage leaves until they are flat and
1 small swede, peeled and cut into ingredients. Cover with tinfoil and cook for 25-35 smooth. Lay out the leaves and place the shredded
2mm slices minutes in a preheated oven at 180ºC/gas mark 4. cabbage mix in a thin cylindrical shape along the
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into Check that the terrine is tender with a knife. edge of the leaf. Roll the leaf around the mix into a
2mm slices ‘cigar’ shape. Wrap clingfilm around the cabbage
Salt and pepper to taste 3 Using an identical loaf tin as a weight, press and and tie at both ends until it is airtight. Repeat until
4 violet potatoes leave to cool completely. When cool, cut into two there are four cabbage ‘cigars’.
1 head Savoy cabbage even pieces.
1 clove garlic, finely diced 8 To serve, place a terrine slice in the centre of the
1 shallot, finely diced 4 Bake the violet potatoes in an oven for 20-25 plate. Top with the cabbage cigar. Place one violet
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil minutes at 180ºC/gas mark 4 until cooked. potato at either end of the terrine and serve.
Pepper 5 Remove four of the large outer leaves from the
cabbage and remove the centre vein. Blanch the
leaves in a pot of salted boiling water for
approximately three minutes until soft, then
refresh in ice water. Place the leaves onto a cloth
to dry. Using the inner leaves of the cabbage,
remove the veins and finely shred the leaves.
Blanch and refresh also.
Candied walnuts work really well
with this, and add texture.
RECIPES PICTURED ON FACING PAGE ˘
TIP White onion tart tatin, celery
purée and celeriac slaw
For a little added
extra, serve with This is inspired by the classic apple tart tatin. The sweetness
a poached egg. of the cooked onions really works for this dish, particularly
with a savoury balsamic glaze. Keep an eye out for Spanish
Green asparagus, artichoke onions in the summer – they are much sweeter
purée, pickled mushrooms
This dish really illustrates why simplicity is often king – just
enjoying great, fresh ingredients when they are at their 1 large white onion
best. The pickled mushrooms need to be made in advance 150g caster sugar
Serves 2 375g ready roll puff pastry
10 spears of green asparagus For the celery purée
For the artichoke purée 500g celery, finely chopped
½ clove garlic, chopped
300g artichokes, peeled and finely chopped 50g butter
½ clove garlic, chopped 1 teaspoon thyme
50g butter 2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon thyme 50g spinach
6 tablespoons water Salt and pepper to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon truffle oil For the celeriac slaw
For the pickled mushroom 200g celeriac, finely shredded
½ shallot, diced
150ml pint water ¼ clove garlic, finely diced
75ml pint white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
200g sugar 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 sprig tarragon 3 tablespoons good quality mayonnaise
10 fennel seeds Salt to season
Pepper, to season
20 mixed whole mushrooms, nameko and shimeji work well 1 Roast the onion, skin on, in the oven at 180ºC/gas mark 4
for eight minutes until par cooked.
1 Prep the asparagus by removing 5cm from the base and
‘defrilling’ the rest. Blanch in salted water for two 2 Place the sugar into a pan and heat gently without
minutes, refresh in cold water. Dry thoroughly. stirring until golden brown. Remove from the heat,
add the butter and stir in gently to make caramel.
2 Using a thick based saucepan, cook the artichoke, garlic,
butter and thyme on a low heat for two to three minutes 3 Peel the onion and cut in half horizontally.
to soften. Add water and continue to cook on a low heat 4 Place the puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface and
until soft. Add to blender and blitz until smooth. Season
with salt and pepper to taste and add truffle oil. cut out two circles slightly larger than the onion halves.
3 Leaving the mushrooms aside, add all of the other 5 On a greaseproof tray, pour two blobs of the caramel and
ingredients into a medium-sized pot and bring to the place each of the onion halves on top, flat side down.
boil. Leave to cool. Add mushrooms to the mixture and
leave to infuse until pickled for a minimum of 24 hours. 6 Cover the onions with the puff pastry and tuck the edges
down around the sides. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes
4 To assemble, heat the asparagus spears in boiling water at 180ºC/gas mark 4 until the pastry is golden brown.
and place in the centre of the plate. Add one quenelle of
artichoke purée and arrange picked mushrooms around 7 To make the purée, using a thick-based saucepan, cook
the plate. the celery, garlic, butter and thyme on a low heat for two
to three minutes to soften. Add water and continue to
cook on a low heat until soft. Add to blender with the
spinach and blitz until smooth. Season with salt and
pepper to taste.
8 For the slaw, combine the celeriac, shallot, garlic and
parsley in a bowl until well mixed. Season with salt and
add lemon juice. Taste and add mayonnaise to finish.
9 To assemble, using a soup spoon, create a circle in the
centre of the plate with the celery purée. Place the onion
tatin (slightly off centre) on top of the purée. Make a
quenelle of the celeriac slaw and place beside the tatin.
The celeriac slaw is what I
call ‘posh coleslaw’ and it
is great with sandwiches,
terrines and cold meats.
Use a very hot pan and
toss the vegetables
quickly so you don’t lose
their nutritional value.
broccoli, kale, wild
garlic, straw potatoes,
cashew and lime dressing
This is the perfect spring dish. Get the best ingredients – freshness is key
Serves 2 1 Place the sprouting broccoli in a frying pan with a
little oil on a high heat and cook until the broccoli
6 sprigs of sprouting broccoli is charred. Take out of the pan and leave aside. In
100g kale the same pan, place the kale, wild garlic and
100g wild garlic spinach and cook until wilted.
2 Peel the potato and cut into a fine julienne. Cook
For the straw potatoes at 160ºC/gas mark 2V in a deep fat fryer until
golden and crisp. Place onto a cloth to dry.
1 Maris Piper potato
Salt to taste 3 Mix the garlic, lime juice and rapeseed oil together
and add toasted cashews. Season with salt.
For the cashew and lime
dressing 4 Spoon the wilted greens into the centre of a bowl
and place the charred broccoli on top. Drizzle the
2 slices garlic dressing over the leaves and broccoli and finish
¼ lime juice with a handful of straw potatoes.
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
500g cashew nuts, toasted
Salt, to taste
Heirloom tomatoes, Macroom buffalo haloumi,
tarragon powder, black olive, mustard frills
This dish is really just summer on a plate and a fantastic way to celebrate the first of the Irish tomatoes. The sweetness of
the tomatoes works well with the salty haloumi, so be wary of adding any extra salt. The black olive powder needs to be
prepared in advance but it will make more than you need and stores well. Use it like a seasoning or serve with cheese
Serves 2 1 Pan-fry the haloumi cheese until golden brown 4 Arrange the sliced and quartered tomatoes
on all sides. in the centre of the plate. Sprinkle a pinch of
200g haloumi cheese, cut into batons the black olive powder over the tomatoes.
10 black olives 2 Mix maltodextrin and dried tarragon together Arrange the haloumi batons on top of the
300g sliced and quartered heirloom in a bowl. Using a whisk, slowly add in the tomatoes. Place 4-5 sprigs of the mustard
tomatoes tarragon oil. Add salt to taste. frills around the dish. Drizzle a spoonful of
5g mustard frills tarragon powder over the dish and serve.
3 Blanch the black olives in boiling water and
For the tarragon powder refresh in ice water. Repeat eight times. Dry
overnight in an oven at 100ºC/gas mark W.
1 tablespoon dried tarragon Blitz until powder-like.
5 tablespoons maltodextrin, see panel
on page 32
2 tablespooons tarragon oil
The Macroom haloumi
is something special and
worth seeking out.
RECIPES PICTURED ON FACING PAGE ˘
Say what? Cuinneog buttermilk
panna cotta with
˘ Feuilletine (foo-ye-teen) comes from the rhubarb jelly
French word for ‘leaves’ and is more commonly
found in the professional kitchen. Essentially, This is a new, delicate way of using rhubarb without any
feuilletine consists of thin, crispy shards of of that bitterness. The buttermilk bring the whole thing
sugar cone with a delicate caramel and together and works very well with rhubarb
praline flavour that can be added to mousses,
ganaches and other desserts to give texture. Serves 4
˘ Yellow pectin is a gelling agent in the form
of powder used for making jellies, fruit gums 1 gelatine leaf
and cake fillings. 117ml cream
˘ Citric acid naturally occurs in citrus fruits. ½ vanilla pod
It is used as a natural acidifier or preservative 47g condensed milk
in food and drinks (think fizzy drinks). A wide 62g Cuinneog buttermilk
range of fruits and vegetables contain citric 78g plain yogurt
acid, but limes and lemons are the best source.
It can be found in some pharmacies. For the rhubarb jelly
˘ Maltodextrin is produced from starches of
corn, wheat, potatoes or rice and is used as a 100g rhubarb purée
food additive and thickening agent. It’s often 90g sugar
found in soft drinks and sweets but can also 20g glucose
sometimes be added to the beer-making 10g sugar
process. It is easily and quickly digested by 3g yellow pectin
the body. It can cause problems for anyone 2g citric acid
suffering from a gluten intolerance or allergy. Caster sugar, to dust
ˇ Many of these products can be sourced
online, particularly from wholesale and For the biscuit base
catering companies such as MSK or BD Foods.
50g digestive biscuits, crushed
20g white chocolate, melted
¼ vanilla pod seed
¼ grated Tonka bean
1 Soak the gelatine in water. Heat the cream, vanilla
and condensed milk. Do not boil. When the gelatine
softens, add to the mixture and remove from heat.
2 Add the mixture to the buttermilk and yogurt.
3 Line a small tray with greaseproof paper and pour in
the mixture. Place in the fridge and allow to set for at
least an hour.
4 Use a circular cutter to create a tower shape from the
5 Mix the purée, 90g sugar and glucose together in a
pot and bring to the boil. Mix the 10g of sugar and
pectin together well. Add to the boiled purée. Cook
until the mixture is 108ºC.
6 Whisk in the citric acid and pour onto a small tray
lined with greaseproof paper. Place in fridge and
allow to set for 39 minutes. When set, cut jelly into
cubes and dust with caster sugar.
7 To make the biscuit base, mix all of the ingredients
together in a pot and place flat in a tray lined with
greaseproof paper. Place in fridge and allow to set.
When set, use a circular cutter to make into discs.
8 To assemble, place the biscuit base in the centre of
the plate. Put the panna cotta on top of the biscuit
and arrange 4-5 cubes of the rhubarb jelly on and
around the dessert. Add a sprinkling of ginger
Seamus Commons has put La Fougere restaurant in Knockranny
House Hotel, County May on the culinary map over the last few years,
winning multiple awards for his superb and consistent cooking using
the best of Irish ingredients. Seamus has been no stranger to the F&W
Restaurant of the Year Awards’ podium, taking home the Best Chef
Connacht Award on multiple occasions. Set in the heart of Mayo, Seamus’s
ethos revolves around getting the right ingredients and keeping them
as natural as possible. While Knockranny is known for its annual game
weekends, Seamus’s knowledge extends beyond the land to the sea, and
he’s as adept at cooking an excellent piece of John Dory as he is a haunch
of venison or a rack of lamb. Knockranny has a growing kitchen garden on
the grounds, from which Seamus gets much of his inspiration.
Knockranny House Hotel | Westport, County Mayo, Ireland.
www.knockrannyhousehotel.ie; Tel: + 353 (0)98 28600
I love this served with ginger
ice-cream. Alternatively, you
could make a thin, circular
layer of jelly and place on
top of the panna cotta to
serve, as per the image.