(Ann and her assistant, Noeline Brennan set up the table, above)
Ann Clarke lives on Sandymount Farm, an intensive sheep and suckler farm. During the winter months (or chilly spring days), Ann likes to always have a pot of nourishing soup simmering on the cooker. She makes her own brown scones and wholemeal bread. Vegetable soup and bread make a great meal or snack during the day and she'll often mix up a batch of her winning Smoked Mackerel Pate to spread over the bread.
On the farm in Sandymount, the main meal is had in the middle of the day since working outdoors generates big appetites. In addition to soups, Ann makes a lot of lamb and beef stews which are also warming and wholesome served up with vegetables or creamed potatoes.
Keeping budget constantly in mind, Ann is always on the look out for weekly special offers in the supermarket. When she sees an item on offer, she'll put it in the freezer and as a result she can produce hearty economical meals. Using fresh herbs from the garden in soups and stews makes a big difference. In her garden she grows her own rosemary, thyme, mint, parsley and lemon balm so they are readily available when cooking.
(Smoked mackerel pate with melba toast)
North Tipperary Federation I.C.A
"Budget Meal for Two"
Smoked Mackeral Pate
With Melba Toast
Chicken Mediterranean Style
Served with Carrots Swiss Style, Broccoli
& Riced Potatoes
Mackeral Pate 2.94
Melba toast 0.25
Chicken Mediterranean style 4.75
Potatoes & vegetable 1.00
Why not buy a bottle of wine from your saving to create a really memorable meal!
Smoked Mackerel Pate
40 gms smoked peppered mackerel 4.00
Juice of 1 lemon 0.20
200 gms cottage Cheese or natural yoghurt 0.99
200 gms crème fraiche 0.69
Pinch of salt
Total for 4 persons €5.88
Total for 2 persons €2.94
- Remove the skin & bones off the mackerel.
- Put the smoked mackerel, cottage cheese & crème fraiche in a food processor.
- Squeeze the lemon and pour into mixture
- Season with salt & pepper
- Blend all ingredient into a pulb.
- Spoon into individual rampkin dishes
- Chill in the fridge for min of 1 hour
- Pour dessert spoon of melted butter on top of each rampkin dish to seal
- Decorate with bay leaf and return to fridge to chill prior to serving.
- Serve with melba toast
(This was absolutely delicious and you know how I like smoked mackerel! The next day I went out and bought all the ingredients myself to make it at home. Delish!)
Chicken Mediterranean Style
2 chicken breasts 3.00
Tin of chopped tomatoes 0.49
2 tbls of olive oil (plus some for brushing dish) 0.20
1 tsp chopped lemon balm
1tsp grated lemon rind
Pinch of sugar
Medium onion 0.10
2 tbsp fresh chopped basil 0.40
50 gms pitted olives (black or green) 0.40
1 tablsp tomato puree 0.10
200 gms mozzarella cheese 1.50
Salt & pepper
Dash of wine (optional) 0.30
Total sauce for 4 persons €2.49
Total sauce for 2 person €1.75
Total of Chicken Mediterranean Style
- Chop onion finely,
- Heat oil in the pan and sauté onion until soft
- Add tin of chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, chopped basil, grated lemon rind & seasoning to onion mixture and cook for 15-20 minutes on med heat to reduce liquid.
- Take a ovenproof roasting dish with lid & brush with oil, lay the chicken breasts in dish.
- Pour the tomato mixture over the chicken & sprinkle with green or black olives
- Cook the chicken in a pre-heated oven 180 degrees for 20 minutes.
- Remove chicken from oven and sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese.
- Return to oven or brown under grill for 3-5 minutes until cheese has melted and brown.
- Serve with selection of fresh seasonal vegetables & creamed or rice potatoes.
Ann and Noeline's table was set quite simply as you can see here. There was an overall blue and white theme using a white tablecloth and napkins. Blue placemats defined each space and gorgeous antique silver cutlery, salt and pepper shakers and serving pieces gave it a special feel. For the centrepiece, there was a low round vase filled with fresh picked blue bells, a couple of votive candles and the china was all white which showed off the dishes.
I'll be writing more about tables in the future but here are a few things to keep in mind. Keep flowers low so your guests can see each other across the table. If using candles, never use scented candles as they'll interfere with the scent and taste of your food. Introduce colour through flowers, placemats or small candles. Keep china simple, while I love white I also love beautiful borders on plates with the centre of plates white. (More examples of that to come)
An additional note: The showroom at Kinane Fitted Kitchens is open daily (Mon - Fri. 8:00-17:00, Sat - 10:00-15:00) and has over 25 kitchens on display. The company was established in 1973 and their range includes contemporary to traditional set ups with a huge assortment of specialty items including hot water taps, Insinkerators, Neff ovens along with an assortment of work surfaces including timber, stainless steel and granite. But stop in and see for yourself, I guarantee you will be inspired! http://www.kinanefittedkitchens.com/.