I really enjoyed being back at Bloom last week and thank you to Bord Bia for inviting me. I checked and I think this is my 15th year, and it is really a fantastic showcase for Irish food and gardens. I always look forward to it. And, of course, I enjoyed my chat with Marty Whelan on Lyric FM and I think he enjoyed the cheesecake.

Here are two nice, light summery meals for you to try out. Shines Seafood in Killybegs, run by John and Marianne Shine, is famed for its Irish-caught albacore tuna with its soft pink flesh. Their tuna in olive oil is now widely available. I like the salty kick in this recipe that you get from the anchovies and the texture of the black olives. Not everyone is keen on anchovies, so if that is the case, leave them out.

This salmon could easily be done on a griddle pan on the barbecue, if you like. Dunnes Stores Simply Better do a very nice sun-dried tomato pesto with chilli which, again, has a nice kick. Make sure your avocado is ripe and you can sprinkle it with a little lemon juice to stop it oxidising. This dressing is a handy one to keep in a sealed container in the fridge all summer long. You will get a lot of use out of it.

Happy cooking,


Tuna Niçoise

Ingredients: Serves 4

12 small waxy potatoes

4 eggs, at room temperature

100g extra-fine French beans, trimmed

4 little gem lettuce hearts,

quartered lengthways and separated into leaves

4 ripe plum tomatoes, roughly chopped

½ small red onion, thinly sliced

6 anchovy fillets, drained and cut lengthways into thin strips

250g Shines Irish-caught tuna in olive oil, drained

16 pitted black olives in brine, drained

8 fresh basil leaves, torn

For the dressing:

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Pinch of caster sugar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 Place the potatoes in a pan of boiling salted water, cover and simmer for 15–18 minutes, until just tender. Drain and leave to cool completely, then cut lengthways into quarters.

2 Place the eggs in a small pan and just cover with boiling water. Then cook for 6 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Then remove the shells and cut each egg into quarters.

3 Plunge the French beans in a pan of boiling salted water and blanch for a minute or so. Then drain and refresh under cold running water.

4 Arrange the lettuce leaves on plates or one large platter and add the potatoes, French beans, tomatoes, red onion and anchovies. Scatter over the tuna, then add the quartered eggs, olives and torn basil.

5 For the dressing, whisk the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and sugar in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper or shake together in a screw-topped jar. Drizzle over the salad to serve.

Roast salmon with sun-dried tomato pesto and beetroot salad

Ingredients: Serves 4

4 x 100g salmon fillets, scaled

1 heaped tbsp sun-dried tomato pesto

100g fresh salad leaves, such as a mixture of rocket, watercress and baby spinach

175g cooked baby beetroot, cut into wedges

1 firm, ripe avocado, peeled, stoned and cut into small chunks

8 fresh basil leaves, torn

2 tsp snipped fresh chives

For the dressing:

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

½ tsp Dijon mustard

pinch of caster sugar

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).

2 Arrange the salmon fillets in a small baking tin lined with non-stick baking paper.

3 Brush each fillet with a little of the sun-dried tomato pesto and season to taste.

4 Bake for 8–10 minutes, until just cooked through and lightly golden. Leave to cool, then roughly flake the flesh, discarding any bones and the skin.

5 Arrange the salad leaves on plates and scatter the beetroot, avocado, basil and chives on top. Then scatter over the salmon flakes.

6 For the dressing, place the olive oil in a screw-top jar with the vinegar, mustard, sugar and seasoning, shake to form an emulsion.

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