Donal Skehan

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I’ll be cooking up a tasty pasta dish using some fantastic Irish cheese.  The lovely Elizabeth Ryan from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers will be joining us to chat about a selection of different cheese available.

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Zesty Brocolli and Goats Cheese Orecchiette

This makes the perfect midweek supper, which can be easily thrown together with a few simple ingredients.

Serves 4
300g of orecchiette or other small pasta pieces
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
Zest of 1 lemon
1-2 teaspoons of dried chilli flakes
3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
150g of goats cheese
A good glug of extra virgin olive oil to serve
Sea salt and ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and drop the broccoli florets in. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes until just tender, then remove from the pot and refresh in a bowl filled with ice cold water.

Bring the pot of water back to the boil, add in the orecchiette and cook according to the instructions on the pack or for about 12-15 minutes, until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, add a good drop of olive oil to a frying pan over a medium high heat and fry the chilli flakes and garlic for 3-4 minutes. Drain the broccoli and then add it the pan, tossing to combine.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it and place it back in the pot. Toss through the broccoli, chilli and garlic and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Then add the lemon zest and crumble in the goats cheese.

Gently fold the goats cheese in so that it doesn’t break up and melt completely.

Serve the pasta straight away with a final generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.

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Cheesy Cauliflower and Broccoli Bake

This is pure, unashamed, comfort-food indulgence! Don’t be scared of making the  sauce — it takes minutes.

Serves 4
1 large head cauliflower, broken into florets
head broccoli, broken into florets
50g/2oz butter
50g/2oz plain flour
500ml/18fl oz of warm milk
150g/5oz of cheddar cheese
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Sea salt and ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Bring a pot of water to the boil, then add the cauliflower and broccoli florets and cook for no longer than two to three minutes — they should still have a good bite to them, as they will finish cooking in the oven. Drain them under cold water and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour quickly so you have a smooth paste. Gradually whisk in the warm milk and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a steady simmer for two minutes until the sauce becomes thick.

Remove from the heat and add in the cheese, Dijon mustard and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Place the cauliflower and broccoli in a high-sided baking dish and pour over the cheese sauce. Top with a little extra grated Cheddar and another sprinkle of ground black pepper.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the top is nice and golden. Serve in big hefty spoonfuls!

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Creamy Broccoli Pasta

I am huge fan of simple pasta dishes which are easy to throw together in a matter of minutes and this one definitely hit’s the spot. There is a wealth of in season vegetables at the moment and you can easily replace broccoli with asparagus or cauliflower and maybe some broad beans thrown in for good measure. If you can’t your hands on parpadelle pasta, tagliatelle will do just fine.

Serves 4
250g of papardelle pasta
1 head of broccoli, broken into florets
1 tablespoon of olive oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced finely
200g of crème fraiche
Juice of 1 lemon
A generous pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper

Cook the pasta according to the packet. Steam or boil the broccoli until tender when pierced with a fork, drain and place in a bowl filled with cold water.

Fry the garlic in a large frying pan over a medium heat, for about 1 minute, then add in the crème fraiche and bring to a steady simmer. Add in the lemon juice and season with sea salt and black pepper.

When the pasta is cooked, drain the water and place back into the pot. Pour in the garlic crème fraiche and broccoli and stir through gently until everything is combined.

Serve straight away with an extra sprinkle of black pepper.

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Sesame Honey Duck with Broccoli

With just a few simple ingredients this is an easy dish to create and is really tasty.

Serves 2 portions
1 head of brocolli chopped into florets
2 duck breasts
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
5 tablespoons of soya sauce
3 tablespoons of honey

In a small bowl, mix the soya sauce, sesame oil and the honey until combined.

Place two duck breasts in a small roasting tray and brush over half the soya honey marinade. Place in the oven at 200°C for 25-30 minutes. In the last 10 minutes of the cooking time brush over the rest of the soya honey marinade, sprinkle with half the sesame seeds and finish cooking.

When the duck is ready, remove from the roasting tray and allow to rest on a chopping board. Keep the roasting tray which should still be full of tasty duck flavours as this makes a great dressing for the broccoli, try to spoon off as much fat as possible. While the duck is cooking steam the broccoli for 4-5 minutes and remove from the heat.

Tumble the broccoli florets into the roasting tray and toss gently until they are completely coated. Slice the duck thinly and serve with the broccoli.  Sprinkle over some extra sesame seeds and enjoy!

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Broccoli Feta and Cherry Tomato Salad

I have been living on this salad over the last few weeks, so I thought I would stick it up here! It’s really delicious and full of healthy ingredients, plus it’s so easy to make!

Serves 4
1 large head of broccoli, chopped into bite size pieces.
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes. (250g)
1 packet of ready chopped pancetta or bacon.
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
A good pinch of ground black pepper.
A good handful of crumbled feta cheese.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil.  While the water is boiling, combine the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a serving bowl.  Add the broccoli to the pot of water and blanch for 60 seconds, you should see the broccoli turn a vibrant green.  Drain the broccoli pieces and run under cold water.  Add the broccoli to the serving bowl and set aside.

Place a small frying pan over a high heat and fry the bacon pieces until crispy.  Remove the bacon from the pan, place on on some kitchen paper and allow to cool before adding to the rest of salad.

Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and tumble in to the bowl on top of the broccoli. Add the bacon pieces and feta cheese to the serving bowl. Gently toss all the ingredients in the dressing and season with black pepper.

Serve as a tasty side dish or a really tasty lunch.  You can also add walnuts or pine nuts for an extra crunch!

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Chili Chicken Broccoli Asparagus Noodles

This simple little stir fry is an easy little dinner.  The key when stir frying is to do all the preparation before you start to cook.  Make sure to have your wok almost smoking hot when you start to fry.

Serves 2
2 large chicken breasts
1 red chili, chopped finely
Thumb sized piece of ginger, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves chopped finely
2 Tablespoons of oyster sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
8 asparagus, cut in to bite size pieces
1 broccoli head, cut in to bite size pieces
1 red onion, cut in half moon pieces
200g of Ho Fan noodles

First of all you will find with most Chinese recipe’s the hard work is all in the preparation before the cooking starts. Boil some water for the noodles and begin by chopping all your ingredients.

Chop the chicken breasts into thin strips and place in a bowl with the chili, oyster sauce, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and half the garlic and ginger. Combine the ingredients and place in the fridge to marinate.

Drizzle the prepared broccoli, asparagus and onion with a little oyster sauce and sesame oil. Fry the garlic and ginger in some oil until brown then add the onions and follow with the rest of the veg. When this is cooked through remove from the pan and place on a plate.

Now add the noodles to the boiling water and stir, they should only take about five minutes, keep checking them and make sure not to overcook. Now fry off the chicken, when it’s cooked add the veg and by this time your noodles should be cooked. Drain them and mix with the chicken and veg. Serve immediately!

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