Posts tagged ‘Cotter’

July 9, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Denis Cotter’s summer squash, borlotti bean and roasted pepper soup with basil chilli oil

Saturday 18 June

I know, we’re playing catch-up here, but we have an excuse. We’re moving house you see, and for the past few weeks I’ve been calling solicitors and estate agents every hour, every day. The good news? We’ve exchanged contracts and are looking forward to moving in a couple of weeks and starting to shop for our veg at the wonderful little local grocer’s.

Of course, we are still eating. Back in May, Ella got me Denis Cotter’s briliant new recipe book For the Love of Food. You can get it here.

This rich, rustic, wonderful soup is one of the first recipes we’ve tried from the book. As ever with Cotter, the trick is in assemblage. What? Well, Cotter’s talent is to see that you should treat each ingredient with the respect it deserves. If I’d invented this summery soup I’d have probably fried an onion, added some courgette and peppers, then added a tin of tomatoes and a tin of borlotti beans, some chopped chilli, a pint of stock, simmered, and then scattered some basil leaves over at the end. And, you know, fine. Seriously, it would be fine.

The Cotter factor? Roast the peppers first, cook the beans separately and add marjoram and the zest and juice of a lemon. Add some spring onion at the end. Blend wilted basil leaves with olive oil and chilli to make a fiery pesto. Et cetera, et cetera. The end result is a much deeper flavour and a soup that is truly respectful to the vegetables from which it is made. Glorious.

March 17, 2011

Denis Cotter vegetarian recipes for St Patrick’s Day

It was a Denis Cotter veg-fest in the Guardian today, as the vegetarian chef from Cork City delivered three recipes for St Patrick’s Day. Each is a vegetarian dish using some classic Irish ingredients. First up is a braised turnip galette of mushrooms and chestnuts (here), then there is a cabbage timbale with tomato sauce and parsnip gnocchi (here) and finally, and the one I think I’ll make first out of the three, blue cheese potato cakes with bean and cider stew (here).

There’s always a fair amount of work to do in Cotter’s recipes – he’s not a one-pot cook – but it’s the combination of elements in his cooking that sets him apart. So you know that with the potato cakes it won’t just be the way the blue cheese and cider hang together well, it will be the addition of the rosemary aioli that lifts it to unexpected places. With the galette it will be the red wine sauce that does the trick and with the cabbage timbale it will be the tomato and thyme sauce – or perhaps the fact that the gnocchi is made with parsnip, not potato. It’s the addition of third element on the plate that makes the difference.

Happy cooking!

March 7, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Monday 7 March

We had an onion, a lovely Savoy cabbage, a large tomato and some tins of chickpeas in the cupboard, so I popped to the shop for a red pepper and a couple of small fennel bulbs. This Denis Cotter-inspired stew is always a winner and a lovely balance of flavours. It’s one-pot cooking of the simplest variety and in no way bland. And there’s always a lovely olive oil-scented broth at the bottom of the bowl. This being us, we added a spoonful of some rather hot homemade chilli sauce to serve. Nice. As for Denis Cotter… his name will be cropping up regularly. Just wait and see. Or Google him. And buy his cook books.