Darina Allen is a true celebrity in Ireland. Her cookery shows have been televised and her books are a staple in
most Irish homes. She is the founder of Ballymaloe,
a successful cookery school in East Cork which she runs with her husband Tim Allen.
Darina has kindly agreed to provide a weekly recipe on the site, so get out that apron and start cooking!
As we plan our Millennium party, whether it's a gentle family affair, an
extravagant night of madness with our close friends or a lavish banquet, the
menu we choose and the food we eat should play a central part in the
This should definitely be an indulgent evening, a perfect excuse to overdose
on all the delicious things we have had to so carefully ration on so many
occasions up till now. If ever there was a night not to feel guilty about native
Irish oyster number 14, this is it.
But lets keep it simple, there is no point in trying to over complicate food
combinations when so often the basic ingredient is perfect on it's own. If like
us you adore oysters then simply a splash of lemon juice is all they need. Of
course sacrificing a little of your champagne to make a sauce wouldn't be
breaking any rules.
Another wonderful option for a starter, especially for a bigger party is to
serve a selection of smoked fish. There are now several small smoke houses
around the country producing an excellent product, not only Salmon but also
Trout, Mussels, Hake, Eel and much more. Served with Horseradish sauce and sweet
dill and mustard mayonnaise - simple and totally delicious.
Although the whole country has Turkey mania this time of year, a wonderful
alternative is the fabulous selection of game which is in season. A roast
stuffed Pheasant, although it requires a little more work is an absolute treat.
Woodcock, Snipe, Wild duck, Mallard, Quail even Pigeon and of course Venison are
all in season and it's silly not to take advantage of them. For us a Roast
Woodcock on toast couldn't be beaten.
Wherever you are in the world Scallops, Lobster and Prawns are some of the
most luxurious foods there are, and we have the very best of them right on our
Pan fried Scallops, hot buttered Lobster, Prawns in Bretonne Sauce all are
worthy and welcome at a Millennium feast. For a large gathering serve the
lobster and prawns cold on some brown bread with homemade mayonnaise, completely
unaffected this is without question one of the simplest and finest ways to enjoy
Next stop dessert, but at this stage your body may just be craving something
cleansing, ideally a green salad would be just the fix at this point but because
it's the middle of winter and the selection of lettuces will be limited let us
suggest Champagne Sorbet. It may not always be the ideal alternative but I think
on this occasion we'll get away with it.
For pudding there is really only one rule "what shouldn't we be
having", decide on the naughtiest dish and have it all to yourself. For us
it's got to be an ice-cream bombe, three layers of Chocolate, Coffee and Praline
ice-cream decorated with sparklers to be lit at 12 o'clock - dramatic and
delicious. The icing so to speak on the millennium cake must be a perfect Irish
farmhouse cheese, enjoyed slowly with a glass of vintage port.