There is going to be a lot of the great outdoors this summer and her are two nice summery picnic recipes. Make sure to get good quality Bord Bia sausage meat.

These sausage rolls can be made ahead and frozen, uncooked, for up to a month. You can cook straight from the freezer but give them about an extra 10 minutes cooking time.

If you don’t have fresh basil you could use a tablespoon of basil pesto. Poppy seeds are also nice to give that crunchy texture

Mackerel is a lovely healthy fish. Or you could use smoked trout. I always like Goatsbridge near Thomastown, Co Kilkenny. The horseradish add some real punch and I love it. Again you could use some pesto if you don’t have the fresh herbs. This pâté is delicious on toast, or brown bread, or in a wrap.

It is so great to be on the way back to normality in the restaurant. Our 20 rooms are booked and for the time being we are only open to overnight guests. But it feels great. We have 58 staff, including 14 chefs, back to work and it is fabulous to be back together doing what we enjoy.

Thank you to all of our customers, supporters and friends who have helped us through this very difficult time. We look forward to being fully open soon and welcoming you.

Happy cooking,


Sausage rolls with sesame seeds

Makes about 40

25g (1oz) butter

2 tbsp finely diced onion

3 eggs

450g (1lb) good-quality sausage meat

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

1 tbsp chopped fresh basil

1 tbsp cream

500g (1lb 2oz) ready-rolled puff pastry, thawed if frozen

plain flour, for dusting

2 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/gas mark 7). Line 2 baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.
  • 2 Melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté the onion for about 5 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  • 3 Break 2 eggs into a food processor or liquidiser and add the sausage meat, sweet chilli sauce, basil and cream. Blend for 2 minutes, until smooth, then scrape out into a bowl with a spatula and stir in the cooked onion. Season to taste and spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm (¾in) plain nozzle. Chill for at least 30 minutes to firm up a little.
  • 4 Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl with a pinch of salt and set aside for glazing. Roll the puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface to a 40cm × 30cm (16in × 12in) rectangle, then cut into 4 strips, each measuring 30cm × 10 cm (12in × 4in). Pipe the sausage meat mixture in a fairly thick line down the centre of each pastry strip and brush along one long edge of the pastry with a little of the beaten egg. Roll up to enclose and press down the edges firmly to seal (or you can use a fork to do this).
  • 5 Brush the sausage rolls with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle lightly with the sesame seeds and some of the chilli flakes, if using. Cut into 2.5cm (1in) lengths, wiping the knife each time to clean off the sausage meat, and arrange on the lined baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until crisp and golden. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Pack into a rigid plastic container to transport them for a picnic, then once you’ve reached your destination, hand the sausage rolls around with napkins.
  • Smoked mackerel pâté

    Smoked mackerel pâté. \ Janine Kennedy

    Serves four to six

    3 cold smoked mackerel fillets (about 450g/1lb)

    150g (5oz) soft cream cheese

    100g (4oz) crème fraîche

    1–2 tbsp creamed horseradish

    juice of ½ lemon

    dash of Tabasco sauce

    small handful of fresh dill, finely chopped

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    sourdough or rye bread, to serve

    lemon wedges, to serve

    watercress salad, to serve

  • 1 Remove the skin from the mackerel fillets and discard any bones, then break up the flesh into a bowl. Add the cream cheese, crème fraîche, 1 tbsp of the horseradish, lemon juice, Tabasco and dill. Mix thoroughly, until well combined, then taste and add the remaining tablespoon of horseradish, if liked. Season to taste and transfer to a serving bowl, then cover with cling film (or use a suitable container with a tight-fitting lid). Chill until needed – up to two days is fine – and transport in a cool bag.
  • 2 For the picnic, set the bowl of smoked mackerel pâté with a spoon in it on a wooden board with the sourdough or rye bread, lemon wedges and watercress salad. Hand around plates and cutlery and allow everyone to help themselves.