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Light your fire with flaming cherries

This is proper grown-up food with the added fun of a flambé


All out of buttermilk but want to marinate some chicken?

Simply make your own buttermilk by adding one tbsp of lemon juice or white wine vinegar to 250ml full fat milk.

Stir and set aside for about 10-12 minutes and it will curdle and thicken, ready to use in minutes.

For an extra flavour dimension, add some additional flavours such as local honey or chilli, or try wholegrain mustard.

I recently tasted a delicious new one by Filligan's of Donegal (€3.30) available in a growing number of shops around Ireland or online at filligans.ie.

If you are looking for a tasty grown-up supper, my two recipes this week are perfect summer dishes. First, we have a very tasty buttermilk marinated griddled chicken, followed by a kirsch flambéed cherries jubilee that is served with ice cream. The flambé provides some extra entertainment at the table.

Sometimes it's the simplest recipes that yield the best results. Forward planning for making the marinade, allowing the chicken to marinate in the buttermilk with plenty of fresh herbs and spices, and the correct cooking time will ensure the perfect result.

For this recipe I use butterflied chicken fillets as they cook quicker and more evenly without becoming dry. Skinless chicken thighs can be used but will take longer to cook.

I serve them on a bed of summer salad, such as halved baby gem lettuce and baby potatoes. Sometimes I char the lettuce on the griddle pan.

Simply add oil to the pan, cut the lettuce in half lengthways, season and griddle for a minute or two before adding the chicken. Some grated hard cheese such as pecorino romano can be added if desired.

Cherries jubilee is a real summer dessert, with the added drama of a flambé. One thing to remember when making this dessert is to remove the pan from the heat before adding the alcohol. Then ensure the flame is fully extinguished before serving - safety first.

By the way, if you buy more cherries than you need, cherries freeze beautifully if you follow these few steps.

Firstly, discard any bruised cherries as they don't freeze well. Don't rinse them under water before freezing as the water will hasten spoilage. Pit the cherries before freezing, then layer on sheets of parchment and freeze overnight.

Perfect for pies, sauces and ice cream - and no more waste!

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Happy cooking,

Kevin

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Flambeed Cherries Jubilee

Ingredients (Serves 4):

450g fresh cherries

100g caster sugar

½ lemon, juice

2 strips orange zest

2 sprigs lavender (optional)

50ml kirsch, warmed

4 tbsp vanilla ice cream

Method:

1. Warm a sauté pan over a moderate heat. Scatter the caster sugar and melt for a minute until just starting to colour.

2. Toss the cherries in the pan with the orange zest and lemon juice and lavender, if using.

3.  Tilt the pan onto one side and carefully pour the kirsch over the cherries, letting the kirsch ignite.

4 Once the flame has extinguished, continue to cook for a further minute or until the cherries are starting to break down. Remove from the heat.

5. Spoon some cherries and juice into a serving dish and add some ice cream.Enjoy straight away.

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Griddled Buttermilk Chicken with Salad

Ingredients (Serves 4):

200ml buttermilk

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 lemon, zest and juice

4 tsp rosemary, chopped

1 tbsp chive

4 chicken fillets, butterflied

1 tbsp oil

8 baby potatoes, cooked and halved

2 heads gem lettuce

Salt and pepper

Method:

1. In a bowl, gently mix together the buttermilk, garlic, lemon zest and juice, herbs, salt and pepper. Combine well.

2. Add the chicken fillets and set aside in the refrigerator for one hour or up to a day to marinate.

3. Pre-heat a griddle pan or barbecue.

4. Drizzle the potatoes with some oil and place on the griddle. Cook over low heat until warmed through.

5. Place the chicken fillets on the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness, until fully cooked through. Season well.

6. Remove from the griddle and set aside on a board. Carve if desired.

7. Place the salad leaves on a serving platter and add the potatoes.

8. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

9. Add the carved chicken to the salad and serve immediately.

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TOP TIP: HOME-MADE BUTTERMILK WITH A LEMON TWIST AND SOME EXTRA ZEST

ALL out of buttermilk but want to marinate some chicken?

Simply make your own buttermilk by adding one tbsp of lemon juice or white wine vinegar to 250ml full fat milk.

Stir and set aside for about 10-12 minutes and it will curdle and thicken, ready to use in minutes.

For an extra flavour dimension, add some additional flavours such as local honey or chilli, or try wholegrain mustard.

I recently tasted a delicious new one by Filligan’s of Donegal (€3.30) available in a growing number of shops around Ireland or online at filligans.ie.

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