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Valentine's Day Menu

Dundrum Bay mussels with white wine & garlic – serves 2

½ kg mussels in their shell
15g butter
A splash of olive oil
1 leeks, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
A large sprig of fresh parsley (chopped)
30ml of dry white wine
Fresh ground salt and pepper
30ml fresh cream

There is one simply rule when preparing mussels; when they are uncooked throw away any open mussels, when they are cooked throw away any that stay closed. Never take a chance with shellfish, if you think they may be off don't eat them.

1. Rinse the mussels under the tap, scrub the outside of the shells to clean and trim the 'hairy' beard.
2. Knock any open mussels hard with a blunt implement (spoon/knife/fork). If they don't shut throw them out. Then wash again.
3. Melt the butter gently in a pan large enough (with a lid) to hold the mussels. Add a generous splash of oil with the leeks and garlic and fry on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
4. Add two thirds of the parsley to the pan and stir gently for about a minute on a low heat, then introduce the wine, salt and pepper (to taste), and bring to the boil.
5. As soon as the mixture is bubbling place the mussels in the pan gently and cover for two minutes, remove the lid and add the cream and return to the boil.
6. Serve straight from the pan into large bowl, cover with remaining parsley and serve with fresh wheaten bread.

Finnebrogue Vension Steaks with home-made Cranberry Sauce – serves 2

2 venison steaks (about 400g total weight)
2 level teaspoons crushed peppercorns
A splash of olive oil
A pinch of salt

For the cranberry sauce
200g cranberries
½ onion, finely chopped
1 orange, juice and finely grated zest only
1 tbsp clear honey
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
100ml red wine

1. To make the cranberry sauce, zest the orange using a zester or grater to get really fine strips of zest, about 1cm long.
2. Place the cranberries into a pan with the onion, orange juice and zest, honey, red wine vinegar and red wine.  Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, stir the sauce thoroughly and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes, or until the sauce has reduced to a pouring consistency. 
3. To cook the steaks, heat the oil in a medium-sized, thick-based frying pan.
4. Dry the steaks thoroughly with kitchen paper then press the crushed peppercorns firmly over both sides of the steaks. When the oil is smoking hot, drop the steaks into the pan and let them cook for 5 minutes on each side for medium (4 minutes for rare and 6 minutes for well done).  30 seconds before the end of the cooking time pour the sauce in – not over, but around the steaks. Let it bubble for about 20 seconds, season with salt.
5. Serve the steaks on a bed of creamy champ with the sauce poured over the top and a medley of local vegetables.

BUSHMILLS™ Whiskey Cheesecake (will make one cheesecake using an 8” spring form tin)

75g butter/margarine
1 packet Digestive (sweet-meal) biscuits, crushed
150g icing sugar
280ml whipping cream
150g cream cheese
75ml/3 capfuls of BUSHMILLS™ Original Irish whiskey

1. To prepare the base melt butter and mix with crushed biscuits. Push mixture into base of spring form tin. Put in refrigerator to chill while preparing the filling.
2. Whip cream cheese until soft and then add icing sugar.
3. In a separate bowl whip cream and add to mixture. Finally, pour the BUSHMILLS™ Original Irish whiskey into mixture and fold in. Pour filling into prepared spring form tin. Put back in refrigerator and chill until lightly set.
4. Enjoy (responsibly).
Tip: this is a recipe from Bushmills Distillery chef, Liz. If you’d like to benchmark your cheesecake on the real thing, pay Bushmills Distillery a visit and have a bite to eat in the Distillery Kitchen.

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