The Chef’s Table: Retro Dishes With Renewed Appeal

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Mark Doe of ‘Just Cooking’ cookery school in Firies, has some dishes you may be familiar with but are well worth revisiting…

Due to the great feedback from the last time we ran these recipes, I thought it would be good to cover it again.

I love food memories of food that we eat when we was younger.  Even though some of them were bland and boring, they still were classics and many of them are still popular today.

Continued below…


Chicken and mushroom vol au vent

Serves 4


For the chicken cream sauce (veloute)
100g butter
100g plain flour
1 litre chicken stock
50ml cream
Salt and pepper


In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat until it becomes frothy.

Take care not to let the butter turn brown, though — that’ll affect the flavor.

With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the melted butter a little bit at a time, until it is fully incorporated into the butter, giving you a pale-yellow-coloured paste.

This paste is called a roux. Heat the roux for another few minutes or so, until it has turned a light blond colour. Don’t let it get too dark.

Using a wire whisk, slowly add the hot chicken stock to the roux, whisking vigorously to make sure it’s free of lumps.

Simmer for 30 minutes stirring frequently to make sure the sauce doesn’t scorch at the bottom of the pan. The resulting sauce should be smooth and velvety.

If it’s too thick, whisk in a bit more hot stock until it’s just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cream and reboil.

Remove the sauce from the heat. For an extra smooth consistency, carefully pour the sauce through strainer

Chicken and mushroom vol au vent


4 large cooked vol au vent cases

4 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into a large dice

150g mushrooms, sliced

400ml chicken veloute

50ml cream

Salt and pepper

50ml white wine

1 clove garlic, finely crushed


Add a little oil to a frying pan and fry the mushrooms until golden, Add the garlic and fry for a further 1 minute.

Add the white wine and allow to evaporate by ¾’s

Add the veloute, cream and chicken and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes then add the chopped parsley. Check the seasoning and adjust if needed.

Pour the mix into baked vol au vent cases.

Continued below…


Knicker bocker glory


450g fresh raspberries

2 tbsp icing sugar

1 ripe mango, peeled, stone removed, diced

150g fresh blueberries

12 scoops vanilla ice cream

25g pistachios, coarsely chopped


For the raspberry coulis, measure 250g of the raspberries into a food processor, add the icing sugar and pulse until smooth.

Tip the raspberry purée into a sieve set over a bowl. Use a metal spoon to push the fruit pulp through the sieve. Discard the seeds.

Divide half the diced mango between six sundae glasses. Divide half the blueberries between the glasses, placing on top of the mango.

Sit one scoop of ice cream on top of each blueberry layer, drizzle over half the raspberry coulis and half the whole raspberries. Repeat the layering again to use the remaining ingredients and top with the chopped pistachios.

Banana split


1 banana, peeled and cut in half lengthways

2 scoops vanilla ice cream

1 handful raspberries

1 handful strawberries, hulls removed

25g dark chocolate, melted

2 tbsp milk

1 digestive biscuit, crushed

100ml whipped cream

To serve

1 tbsp grated dark chocolate

icing sugar and cocoa, for dusting

1 sprig fresh mint


Place the banana into an oblong serving bowl and place the two scoops of ice cream on top. Top the ice cream with whipped cream. Scatter over the raspberries and strawberries.

Mix the melted chocolate together with the milk until well combined, then stir in the crushed biscuit. Spoon the mixture over the banana.

Decorate the banana split with the grated chocolate, dust with the icing sugar and cocoa powder and top with a sprig of mint.

Crepe suzette


1 x pancake recipe (see below)

3 tbsp caster sugar

250ml freshly squeezed orange juice (2-3 oranges)

zest  1 orange

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tbsp Grand Marnier or Cointreau

50g unsalted butter


Prepare pancakes following the recipe below. Fold the pancakes into quarters.

Tip the caster sugar into a non-stick frying pan and set the pan over a low-medium heat. Allow the sugar to melt slowly without stirring and continue to cook until it becomes a deep amber-coloured caramel.

Immediately slide the pan off the heat and add the orange juice – be careful as it may splatter and spit as it hits the hot caramel.

Add the orange zest, lemon juice, the Grand Marnier and return the pan to a low heat to re-melt the caramel into the liquid.

Add the butter to the sauce in small pieces, bring to the boil and simmer gently until glossy and reduced slightly. Add the pancakes to the pan and warm through. Serve immediately.


Makes approx 16 pancakes


250 g plain flour 4 Large eggs

600 ml milk Pinch of salt

Sunflower oil


Place the flour, eggs & egg yolks in a bowl. Mix to a lumpy paste.

Gradually whisk in the milk until you have a smooth batter, am electric whisk is good for this.

Leave the batter to stand for 10 minutes to rest before cooking.

Heat a non stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add a teaspoon of sunflower oil to the pan.

Ladle in enough batter just to coat the base if the pan. Tip the pan to allow the batter to run evenly over the pan.

Cook until the top appears dry (approx 45-60 seconds). Flip the pancake over. And cook for 45 seconds more.

Turn onto a plate and sprinkle with caster sugar.

All in one gammon steak, egg and chips


1 large baking potato, unpeeled, cut into chunky chips

1 tsp olive oil

1 small gammon steak

1 egg

ketchup, to serve


Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Drizzle the potatoes with the oil and some salt and pepper. Bake on a roasting tray for 25 mins, until starting to go brown.

Remove and turn the chips. Push to edges of the tray, put the gammon in the centre and cook for 7 mins more.

Take the tray out of the oven and turn the gammon over, then crack the egg into the corner of the tray. Cook for 7 mins more until the egg is set and the gammon is cooked through. Serve with ketchup, if you like.

Scampi and chips


15-20 langoustine or Dublin Bay prawn tails, peeled (frozen are fine)

vegetable or sunflower oil for frying

140g plain flour

85g cornflour

150ml beer

100ml sparkling water

lemon wedges and chips, to serve

For the tartare sauce

6 tbsp mayonnaise

1 gherkin or 6 cornichons, finely chopped

1 tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped

rinsed and chopped

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tbsp chopped parsley


Get the oil heating in a large saucepan or wok – you will need enough to come 2-3in up the side of the pan. For the tartare sauce, mix all ingredients in a bowl and season.

Place the flours in a bowl with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Add the beer and sparkling water, and whisk to a smooth batter.

To test if the oil is hot enough, put a drop of batter into the pan – it should crisp and brown within 30 secs.

Dip each langoustine or prawn tail into the batter, then carefully drop it into the oil. Drizzle a little extra batter over each one while they are cooking – this will give you a really crispy coating.

Cook them in batches, making sure you don’t overcrowd the pan. When golden and floating to the surface, scoop out and drain well on kitchen paper.

Sprinkle the scampi with salt and serve with the tartare sauce, lemon wedges and chips.

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