For our starter today, let us celebrate some wonderful Irish goat’s cheese. Corleggy, who are not a million miles from me in Co Cavan, are a favourite of mine. And St Tola in Co Clare also. They do farm visits and you can find out more on their website. This is a nice simple salad to start with using the best of Irish ingredients. The hazelnuts give good texture to the cheese.

The duck confit is not unlike a lamb hotpot. Confit is classic French cooking where the duck is cooked slowly in its own fat. ?I like ?Skeaghanore West Cork Farm in Ballydehob, near to Roaring Water Bay. ??

The chocolate and hazelnut semi-freddo is a cross between a frozen chocolate mousse and an ice cream. It is a nice, light Italian dessert. ?This dessert can be made even a few days ahead but do take out of the freezer 10 minutes before serving.

Happy cooking,


Neven's Goat's Cheese and Hazelnut Salad \ Claire Nash

Crispy Goat’s Cheese Salad with Apple and Hazelnut

Serves four

25g (1oz) fresh white breadcrumbs

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tbsp sesame seeds

2 tsp very finely chopped skinned, toasted hazelnuts

1 egg

25g (1oz) plain flour

150g (5oz) log of goat’s cheese, cut into four slices (or three smaller logs of goat’s cheese, divided into 12 pieces)

sunflower oil, for deep-frying

For the salad:

2 crisp Irish eating apples

Juice of 1 lemon

50g (2oz) rocket leaves

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

50g (20z) skinned, toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Neven's Goat's Cheese and Hazelnut Salad \ Claire Nash

1 Mix the breadcrumbs with the parsley, sesame seeds and chopped hazelnuts in a shallow dish and season to taste.

2 In a separate dish, beat the egg and season lightly. Season the flour and place in another shallow dish.

3 Lightly coat the goat’s cheese in the seasoned flour, then dip each one into the beaten egg, gently shaking off any excess. Place in the breadcrumb mixture so that it is completely coated.

4 Set on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the fridge for at least 10 minutes to firm up.

5 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

6 Heat the oil in a deep-sided pan or deep-fat fryer to 180°C (350°F) and cook the breaded goat’s cheese for one to two minutes, until golden brown.

7 Carefully remove from the oil and transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain off any excess oil.

8 Arrange on the lined baking sheet and place in the oven for another 3–4 minutes, until heated through but still holding their shape.

9 Meanwhile, ?make the apple and hazelnut salad. Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, cut the apples into wafer-thin slices and toss in the lemon juice to prevent discoloration.

10 Cover each plate with a layer of slightly overlapping apple slices and add a small mound of the rocket, then drizzle with olive oil. Put a goat’s cheese fritter into the centre of each plate and add a grinding of black pepper. Scatter over the hazelnuts to serve

Duck Confit, Potato and Onion Pie

Serves 4-6

2 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus extra for greasing

4 onions (sliced on a mandoline is best)

3 fresh thyme sprigs; leaves stripped (plus extra for garnish)

1.5kg potatoes peeled and thinly sliced (on a mandoline is best)

4 duck confit legs (you can buy these pre-made)

500ml chicken stock

Knob of butter

For the cabbage:

Knob of butter

1 Savoy cabbage, trimmed, stalks removed, and thinly sliced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Neven's Duck Confit Pie with Buttered Cabbage \ Claire Nash

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4).

2 Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Sauté the onions and thyme for 10–15 minutes, until soft and just beginning to colour around the edges. Season to taste.

3 Remove the skin from the duck and discard. Take all the meat off the bones, then shred.

4 Layer the potatoes in a large baking dish with the onions and duck.

5 Season each layer as you go and finish with an attractive overlapping layer of the potatoes. Pour over the stock and top with tiny pieces of butter.

5 Rub some foil with oil. Place it, oil side down, over the dish and seal tight. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and press the potatoes down with a metal spatula.

6 Bake for another 15–20 minutes, until the stock has all been absorbed and the potatoes are golden brown. Scatter over thyme leaves to garnish.

7 Once cooked, this pie can be cooled down, covered with cling film and kept in the fridge or frozen.

8 Just before you’re ready to serve, prepare the cabbage. Heat a large frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add the butter with a tablespoon of water.

9 Add the cabbage and a pinch of salt and toss constantly over a high heat. Cover for a few minutes, then toss again and season with pepper.

10 Tip into a bowl and serve straight to the table with the duck confit, potato and onion pie so everyone can help themselves

Chocolate and Hazelnut Semi-Freddo

Serves 4-6

75g plain chocolate, roughly chopped, plus extra for garnish (use chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids)

175ml cream

2 eggs, divided into yolks and whites

1 tsp lemon juice

35g caster sugar

2 tbsp dark rum

75g blanched hazelnuts, roughly chopped

1 Melt the chocolate in a microwave or in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Once melted, set aside to cool slightly.

2 In a separate bowl, whip the cream. Set aside.

3 Add the egg whites and lemon juice to another bowl. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed and set aside.

4 In another bowl, beat the eggs yolks and the sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the rum to this mixture, then add the melted chocolate and mix well to combine (the mixture will get quite thick, this is normal).

5 Gently fold in the whipped cream, beaten egg whites and hazelnuts, being careful not to knock out too much air in the whipped ingredients.

6 Divide the mixture into small cups or moulds (you can line them with cling film for easy removal) and place in the freezer for at least four hours. Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving.

7 Place on a nice plate and decorate with grated chocolate.

Read more

Entertaining at Home: wines that soak in the Spanish sun

Entertaining at Home-Beer can chicken