The Restaurant returns with a great line-up of 6 celebrities putting on the Head Chef uniform and taking on the challenge to create a menu that will please the diners and earn a five star rating from Resident Critics, Marco Pierre White and Rachel Allen.
Singer, songwriter and radio presenter Una Healy is taking on the Head Chef challenge in this episode of The Restaurant.Will the critics be singing along with our Head Chef Una Healy, or will there be discord at the critics’ table in The Restaurant?
Una’s menu is inspired by childhood memories of growing up in County Tipperary, and is filled with the Irish food she loves to eat when she comes home to visit. The popstar from Tipp served Spice Bag Chips, which proved a novel concept for Marco Pierre White who pushed away the side dish, choosingnot to taste the chipper inspired chips, best reserved for the way home after a night out.
On starters, Popstar Una, made a roasted tomato soup with a spinach filled Raviolo – which is one large square of cheese filled pasta – smaller servings would be Ravioli. The starter took a lot of effort to make, but sadly did not impress. Resident Critic, Rachel Allen did not like the paring of pasta and soup “I feel like the soup is a mistake with the Raviolo”.
The second starter served on the night was Crab Claws in Garlic Butter served with a Porridge Bread. Una wanted to champion the very easy to make brown bread, which is simply rolled Irish oats and natural yogurt as a binder.
Mains; Rib-eye Steak with Peppercorn Sauce & Spice Bag Chips, while most diners rejoiced at being served Spice Bag Chips, the Critic’s Table was unimpressed, one diner commenting on how ‘brave’ it is to serve the takeaway inspired dish to Michellin Starred Chef, Marco Pierre White. The second main, Pan-Fried Cod with Brown Butter Shrimps and Champ won over the dining room. The fish main, taken from Una’s Confirmation Day and Chef’ed up certainly helped boost her star rating out of 5.
For Deserts; Una served a Tipp-Top of the Pops Sundae, a playful clue, on the chart-topping girl group ‘The Saturdays’ that Una was a part of – the band enjoyed huge success with 13 Top Ten hits and 4 Top Ten Albums. Rachel Allen twigged the clue, guessing the mystery chef hailed from Tipperary and was a chart topper. Sadly, the playful dessert did not do much to help Una’s start rating, but one diner commented ‘it looks like a tacky ass 80’s dream’. The second dessert, Pink Rhubarb Crumble with Warm Custard, with a twist of ginger also did not win over the Critics. Marco Pierre White asked Una why the ginger?
The Guest Critic who joined Resident Critics, Marco Pierre White and Rachel Allen to rate Una’s menu out of 5 stars was Catherine Fulvio.
Chatting with Una, Guest Critic, Catherine said “I could see your life story and your loves coming out here… that cod, I just loved every bit of it, the little bit of samphire, that saltness coming in, the shrimps, it was perfectly cooked cod.”
Crab Claws in Garlic Butter with Porridge Bread
For the crab:
20ml vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 shallots, finely diced
30 fresh crab claws (otherwise known as toes) 150ml dry white wine
100ml double cream
70g butter, cut into cubes
juice of 2 lemons
20 fresh chives, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the porridge bread:
500ml carton natural yoghurt
1 large egg
2 tbsp olive oil (30g), little extra (1⁄4 tsp) to grease 2 x 500ml cartons quick-cook porridge oats (375g) 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Put the yoghurt in a bowl, scraping it all out. Then rinse out the yoghurt carton and you will have no need to use scales for this clever bread.
2. Make a well in the centre of the yoghurt and add the egg and oil. Stir until mixed. Then use the carton to measure out 2 cartons of the oats and mix them in with the bicarbonate of soda and salt.
3. Lightly oil a 675g loaf tin and tip in the oat mixture. Bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes until golden brown. Go around the sides with a table knife to loosen out the bread and tip out on to the work surface.
4. Return the loaf to the oven and put straight on the oven shelf without any tin or baking sheet for another 5 minutes to dry the crust out. Leave the cooked loaf to cool down completely on a wire rack.
5. For the crab claws, heat a heavy-based, deep-sided pan and add in the oil.
Sweat the garlic and shallots without colour and season well. Add in the crab claws and toss them for 20 seconds. then add in the white wine and reduce by half.
6. Add the cream to the crab mixture and reduce by half again, then fold in the butter and add the lemon juice and chives. Season to taste and arrange five crab claws on each serving plate and spoon over the beurre blanc. Cut the porridge bread into slices and arrange alongside to serve.
Spinach & Ricotta Raviolo in Tomato & Basil Soup
For the pasta:
550g strong ‘00’ flour, plus extra for dusting 6 egg yolks
2 tsp olive oil
pinch of fine salt
For the stuffing:
280g fresh baby spinach
225g ricotta cheese
25g freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1⁄4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
For the soup:
1kg vine ripened tomatoes
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
900ml vegetable or chicken stock handful fresh basil leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. To make the pasta, place the flour, egg yolks, eggs, oil and salt in a food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds, until the mixture binds together. Be careful not to overwork.
2. Remove from the blender and bring together with your hands to form a semi-soft dough. Alternatively, you can also do this by hand on a clean work surface: make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, then mix the wet ingredients into the dry using your fingers to add the dry ingredients little by little.
3. Work the dough hard for about 2 minutes, until it’s smooth, silky and elastic. Wrap in cling film and allow it to rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour, if time allows.
4. Remove the dough from the fridge and divide into 4 balls. Re-cover 3 balls and work with one at a time. Flatten the ball slightly with the base of the palm of your hand and run it through the thickest setting on your pasta machine, which will roll it into a thick sheet.
5. Fold the two ends into the middle and run the pasta through the machine, still on the thickest setting, three or four more times, until the dough feels silky and pops as you feed it through the rollers. This will make the sides of the pasta fill out to the full width of the pasta machine.
6. Lightly dust both sides with flour and run it through the machine on a thinner setting. Repeat this process through the settings until the sheets are 1–1.5mm thick. If the dough starts to stick to the rollers, smooth over a little flour and cut it in half at any stage if it gets too long to handle.
7. Lay the sheet of pasta out flat on a clean tea towel while you roll the other pieces, starting back at level one. Leave for a couple of minutes to dry out before cutting into shapes.
8. To make the stuffing, cook the spinach in boiling water until tender. It should take only a few minutes. Drain and try to squeeze as much water out as you can.
9. Chop the spinach and add to a large bowl, with the ricotta cheese, egg, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg and a bit of salt. Mix well.
10. Using a 4cm cutter and starting from one end, measure and mark (do not cut) the distance between the raviolo, on half of the dough only. You should be able to get 20-22 raviolo. Place about one tablespoon of filling on the pasta in the middle of each of the raviolo At this point you should used only half of the ricotta/spinach filling.
11. Place the other half of pasta, and press down around the filling with your fingers. You want to get most of the air out so that your ravioli will seal nicely. Cut the ravioli using your cutter. Set aside on parchment paper lightly floured. Make sure the ravioli don’t touch each other or they will stick together.
12. To make the soup, preheat oven to 190C. To make the soup, arrange the tomato halves in a baking tin, cut side up. Drizzle over half the rapeseed oil and then sprinkle the vinegar and thyme on top. Place in oven and roast for 20-25 minutes until softened and lightly charred.
13. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a pan, add the onion, and garlic and sweat for 10 minutes until lightly golden, stirring occasionally. Add the roasted tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until slightly reduced and then add the basil and blitz with a hand blender until smooth. Season lightly and pass through a sieve for a really smooth finish.
14. When ready to serve, return the smooth soup to a clean pan and reheated gently, stirring occasionally. Do not allow it to boil for too long or it will loose some of its wonderful vibrant colour.
15. To cook the raviolo, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the raviolo for a couple of minutes after they start to float. This time is based on how thin/thick you made the pasta. Taste before removing the raviolo from the water to make sure that it is cooked through.
16. To serve, ladle the tomato & basil soup into warmed bowls and top each one with 3 of the raviolo. Garnish with a little extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of pepper.
Rib-Eye Steak with Peppercorn Sauce & Spice Bag Chips
For the steak:
4 x 225g dry aged rib-eye steaks 100ml olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
For the spice bag chips:
4 large Rooster potatoes
sunflower oil, for deep-frying, plus 2 tbsp extra 1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large red pepper, cored and thinly sliced
1 tsp Spice bag seasoning
1 red onion, thinly shredded
2 spring onions, thinly shredded
For the peppercorn sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
good splash of Cognac
1 glass of white wine
150ml veal or beef stock
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
good pinch of sugar
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley squeeze of lemon juice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Marinade the steaks in the oil, garlic and thyme in a shallow non-metallic dish for 1 hour at room temperature.
2.To make the peppercorn sauce, heat a pan and add the oil and butter, then swirl until the butter has melted and is foaming. Tip in the shallot and sauté for 2–3 minutes, until tender. Pour over the Cognac, then use a match or tilt up the pan to catch the flame. It will flare up for 5–10 seconds and then subside when the alcohol burns off. Add the white wine, stirring to combine, then simmer for 6-8 minutes until reduced by half. Stir in the stock with the cream, Worcestershire sauce and sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20–25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to a sauce consistency that will coat the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice and season to taste.
3. To make the spice bag chips, peel the potatoes and cut lengthways into roughly 1cm slices. Cut each slice into fairly thick chips and rinse in a colander under plenty of cold water to remove excess starch. (If you have time, it’s worth letting the chips soak in a bowl of cold water for several hours, or overnight.) Pat dry with kitchen paper.
4. Heat a deep, heavy-based pan, half-full of the sunflower oil to 130C. It’s important to use a cooking thermometer and check the temperature regularly. Alternatively, use an electric deep-fat fryer heated to 130C.
5. Using a large metal slotted spoon, gently lower half the chips into the hot oil and stir carefully. Fry for 10 minutes, or until cooked through but not browned. 6 Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on plenty of kitchen paper. The chips can be left for several hours at this stage.
6. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a sauté pan and cook the onion and pepper for 8-10 minutes until tender and lightly charred.
7. Preheat the oven to 200C. To cook the steaks, cut an ovenproof griddle pan on a high heat. Season the steak on both sides, then rub all over with the garlic cloves, thyme and olive oil. Put the steak into the hot pan and char the underside for 2 minutes until griddle lines appear. Turn the steak over to brown the other side, rub the top with thyme again, then lay the thyme and garlic on top of the meat.
8. Once evenly browned all over with griddle lines, put a few thyme sprigs and 2 of the garlic cloves to one side, hold the steak with a pair of tongs to cook its fatty side and render it down so it’s soft. This will take a few minutes. Arrange on a large baking sheet and put the thyme, garlic and a generous knob of the butter on top and repeat with the remaining steaks – you will need 2 baking sheets.
9. Place the steaks in the oven to finish cooking for 2-3 minutes or until the meat reaches 62- 65C on a probe thermometer (or until cooked to your liking).
10. Rest the steaks for 10 minutes, while you finish the chips. Reheat the oil to 190C. With a slotted spoon, lower the par-cooked chips gently into the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Season generously with the spice bag mixture.
11. To serve, arrange the rested steaks on warmed plates with the freshly cooked chips and scatter over the sautéed red pepper and onion mixture, then garnish with the shredded red chilli and spring onion. Pour the peppercorn sauce into a small jug and serve one alongside each steak.
Pan-Fried Cod with Brown Butter Shrimps, Samphire & Champ
50g unsalted butter
4 x 150g pieces cod fillet, skin on (scaled and pin boned) 100g brown shrimps (thawed if frozen)
2 tsp chopped fresh dill
For the champ:
1kg Rooster potatoes rock salt, for cooking 100ml milk
75g butter, diced
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. First make the champ. Bake the potatoes on a bed of rock salt for about 1 1⁄2 hours until tender, then cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh. Mash until smooth. Heat the milk and beat into the mashed potatoes with the scallions until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
2. Melt 25g butter in a sauté pan over a medium heat. Fry the cod skin-side down, for about 3 minutes until the skin is crisp and golden. Turn over and fry for another 1-2 minutes. Set the fillets aside on a plate and keep warm.
3. Add the remaining butter to the pan and melt gently. When it stops foaming, add the shrimps and warm through for 1-2 minutes. Add the dill.
4. Meanwhile, steam the samphire for 2-3 minutes until tender. Season with sea salt and divide between warmed plates. Top with the cod skin-side up. Garnish with the shrimps and drizzle with the buttery juices from the pan.
Tipp-Top of the Pops Sundae
For the ice cream:
25g skimmed milk powder 50g glucose syrup
1 piece of pared lemon peel 4 vanilla pods
100g caster sugar
4 egg yolks
For the butterscotch sauce: 100g caster sugar
2 tbsp dark rum
1 vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out
For the chocolate fudge sauce:
25g caster sugar
175g plain chocolate, finely chopped (at least 70% cocoa solids)
Selection of sprinkles 6 ice cream wafers
6 glace cherries
1. Place the milk, skimmed milk powder, glucose syrup, lemon peel and vanilla pods into a pan. Place over a medium heat until it just comes to the boil. Take it off the heat and leave to cool.
2. Whisk the caster sugar and egg yolks together in a large bowl until thick and creamy, then whisk in the hot milk until evenly combined.
3. Pour the milk mixture back into a clean pan. The egg yolk will thicken the mixture but because there is not any cream present there is more of a risk that it might curdle so cook it over a low temperature, stirring constantly until the egg thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
4. Pour the thickened custard into a bowl that is sitting over a bowl of ice. Then once cold, remove the lemon peel and vanilla pods.
5. Leave in the fridge for at least four hours and then pour into cryo bowl and add in liquid nitrogen, bit by bit until the ice cream is at the right consistency. Alternatively place in an ice cream maker and mix until you have achieved a smooth creamy texture.
6. To make the butterscotch sauce, place the cream in a pan with the sugar and butter and bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 4-5 minutes until thickened and beginning to become syrupy, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from catching. Remove from heat and leave to cool a little.
7. Meanwhile, place the chocolate for the sauce in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until melted. Whisk into the sauce until smooth and well combined. This is ready to serve warm or transfer to a bowl and leave to cool completely, then cover with clingfilm and keep in the fridge until needed. Use warm or cold as required.
8. Bring the sugar and 200ml of water to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until reduced by a quarter and syrupy.
9. Add the cream to the caramel with the butter and rum, stirring until combined and then simmer gently for another 5 minutes until thickened. Leave to cool for about 10- 15 minutes until thickened a little further.
10. This is ready to serve warm or transfer to a bowl and leave to cool completely, then cover with clingfilm and keep in the fridge until needed. This can also be put in a squeezy bottle. Use warm or cold as liked.
11. To serve, scoop three scoops of ice cream into each sundae glass and spoon some of the butterscotch and chocolate fudge sauce on top. Decorate each one with sprinkles, a wafer and put a cherry on top.
Pink Rhubarb Crumble with Warm Custard
For the rhubarb compote:
225g pink rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 2.5cm pieces 50g caster sugar
1 tbsp Grand Marnier
For the crumble topping:
5 tbsp plain flour
1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
75g butter, diced
5 tbsp caster sugar
finely grated rind of 1 orange 2 tbsp slivered almonds
For the custard:
5 egg yolks
3 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out 300ml milk
1. To make the custard, place the egg yolks in a large bowl with the sugar and vanilla seeds. Whisk with an electric mixer for a few minutes until pale and thickened. Place the milk and cream in a medium pan and bring to the boil, then immediately remove from the heat.
2. Gradually whisk the heated milk and cream into the egg yolk mixture until smooth, then pour back into the pan and place over a gentle heat. Cook gently for about 6-8 minutes on a medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon, stirring. Serve hot or transfer to a large bowl. Cover with clingfilm to help prevent a skin forming and leave to cool, then chill until needed. It can also be put into a squeezy bottle depending on how you want to use it. Use warm or cold as required.
3. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6). Divide the rhubarb among 4 small ovenproof dishes or ramekins.
4. To make the rhubarb compote, place the rhubarb in a pan with the sugar and Grand Marnier. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer very gently for 8- 10 minutes until the rhubarb is completely tender but still holding its shape. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely. Transfer to a plastic container with a lid and keep in the fridge for up to two days.
5. To make the crumble topping, place the flour and cinnamon in a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar and almonds.
Sprinkle it over the fruit and bake for 20–25 minutes, until the crumble is cooked through and golden and the fruit is soft.
6. Serve warm or cold on plates topped with the warm custard.