Mince is one of those old reliables that I come back to and enjoy again and again. It is good value and ideal for batch cooking and freezing. Each of these recipes can be made a day or two ahead. It is so versatile and these two recipes are best with Bord Bia Quality Assured mince. The turkey in these meatballs is very lean and the pork keeps it moist. You could use beef or lamb. Poaching meatballs in coconut curry gives a beautiful flavour.

You can put as many root vegetables in your chilli con carne as you like and add spices to your taste. You can experiment with different minces in each of these recipes.

I am back on the road filming again for New Coastal Trails for RTÉ One. We begin in Cork and Waterford, so if you see me wandering around Clonakilty, do say hello.

Happy cooking,


You can put as many root vegetables in your chilli con carne as you like and add spices to your taste

Fragrant meatballs in curry sauce

Serves four

  • 225g (8oz) lean minced pork
  • 225g (8oz) lean minced turkey
  • 50g (2oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 5cm (2in) piece of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 tbsp mild curry paste
  • 200g (7oz) tinned or fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 x 250ml (9fl oz) carton of coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Steamed Thai jasmine rice, to serve
  • Toasted flaked almonds, to garnish
  • 1 Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/gas mark 7).

    2 Place the minced pork and turkey in a bowl with the breadcrumbs, onion, chill, egg, garam masala, half of the ginger and half of the coriander. Season to taste and mix well to combine, then shape into 12 small balls approximately 2.5cm (1in) in diameter. Put the meatballs in a large roasting tin, drizzle over half the oil and toss gently. Place in the oven for about 10 minutes, until lightly golden.

    3 While the meatballs are cooking, make the sauce. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the curry paste and the remaining ginger. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, then add the tomatoes and continue to cook for two to three minutes. Add the coconut cream and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes.

    4Pour the sauce over the meatballs and quickly mix well to combine. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.

    5 Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice and arrange on plates with the rice. Scatter over the rest of the coriander and garnish with the almonds.

    Chilli con carne

    Serves six to eight

  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 450g (1lb) lean minced beef
  • 225g (8oz) minced pork
  • 2 x 400g (14oz) tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 600ml (1 pint) beef stock
  • 2 x 400g (14oz) tins of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sour cream, to garnish
  • Fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
  • Tortilla chips or steamed rice, to serve
  • 1 Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan set over a medium heat, then add the onions and fry very gently for 15 to 20 minutes, until the onions are golden and well caramelised, stirring from time to time. Don’t be tempted to decrease the amount of time this takes, as this stage is very important for the flavour.

    2 Add the minced beef and pork and fry off for about five minutes, until the mince is well browned all over, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon.

    3 Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, spices and stock. Season well and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer on a low heat, uncovered, for one hour, stirring occasionally.

    4 Finally, stir in the kidney beans and cook for another 20 minutes, until the meat is meltingly tender. Season to taste.

    5 Ladle the chilli con carne into warmed serving bowls set on plates and garnish with the sour cream and coriander. Add a pile of tortilla chips to each plate or some steamed rice to serve.