Foolproof Food for Valentine's


Prep Time: 



Cheese Fondue


2 tablesp. white wine

2 small cloves of garlic, crushed

2 teasp. Ballymaloe Tomato Relish or any tomato chutney

2 teasp. freshly chopped parsley

6 ozs (170g) grated mature Cheddar cheese

Crusty white bread


Buttermilk Scones

1 lb (450g) white flour, preferably unbleached

1 level teaspoon salt

1 level teaspoon  breadsoda

Sour milk or buttermilk to mix – 12-14 fl ozs (350-412 ml) approx.


French Peasant Soup 

Serves 6 

6 ozs (170g) unsmoked streaky bacon (in the piece)

Olive or sunflower oil

5 ozs (140g) potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼ inch (5mm) dice

2 ozs (55g) onions, finely chopped

1 small clove garlic (optional)

1 lb (450g) very ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced or 1 x 14 oz (400g) tin of tomatoes and their juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper

½-1 teasp. sugar

1¼ pints (750ml) homemade chicken stock or vegetable stock

2 ozs (55g) cabbage (Savoy is best), finely chopped

Garnish Chopped parsley


Spiced Chicken with Almonds

2 lbs (900g) boned chicken, cut into finger-sized pieces (use brown meat)

1 tablesp. coriander seeds

1 tablesp. cumin seeds

2 teasp. ground turmeric

Good pinch cayenne pepper

2 teasp. salt

1 teasp. sugar

4 ozs (110g) onions, roughly chopped

1 inch (2.5cm) piece of fresh ginger root, sliced

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 oz (30g) blanched almonds

12 ozs (340g) red pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

5 tablesp. sunflower oil

5 fl ozs (140ml) water

2 tablesp. freshly squeezed lemon juice


Orzo with Fresh Herbs

7 ozs (200g) orzo

4 pints (2.3 L) water

1½ teaspoons salt

½ – 1 oz (15-30g) butter

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)


Green Salad with Honey and Mustard Dressing

Honey and Mustard Dressing

6 fl ozs (150ml) olive oil or a mixture of olive and other oils, eg. sunflower and arachide

2 fl ozs (50ml) wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 teasp. honey

2 heaped teasp. wholegrain honey mustard

2 cloves garlic



Green Salad
You will need a mild lettuce (eg. the common Butterhead) as the basis of the salad and as many of the following as you care to or can put in:
finely chopped Parsley,
Mint or any herbs of your fancy,
spring onions,
dice of cucumber,
Mustard and Cress,
the white tips of cauliflower,
tips of purple sprouting broccoli,
Iceberg lettuce,
Chinese leaves,
Salad burnet, and any other interesting lettuces available.
Passionfruit and Mango Fool with Boudoir Biscuits
1 medium ripe mango (about 11oz/300g flesh after peeling)
4 passion fruit
1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1-2 tablespoons castor sugar
½ pint (300ml) softly whipped cream


Foolproof Food by Darina Allen Ballymaloe

Cheese Fondue 
Myrtle Allen devised this Cheese Fondue recipe made from Irish Cheddar cheese. It’s a great favourite at Ballymaloe and even though it’s a meal in itself it may be made in minutes and is loved by adults and children alike.
A fondue set is obviously an advantage but not essential.  Put the white wine and the rest of the ingredients into a small saucepan or fondue pot and stir. Just before serving put over a low heat until the cheese melts and begins to bubble. Put the pot over the fondue stove and serve immediately with fresh crusty French bread or cubes of ordinary white bread crisped up in a hot oven. 

Buttermilk Scones 

These scones only takes 2 or 3 minutes to make and 20 minutes to bake.  
First fully preheat your oven to 230ºC/450ºF/regulo 8.
Sieve the dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre.  
Pour most of the milk in at once. Using one hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary.
The dough should be softish, not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, turn it out onto a well floured worked surface.  WASH AND DRY YOUR HANDS.  Tidy it up and flip over gently.  
Pat the dough into a round about 1½ inches (2.5cm) deep and cut into scones.  
Bake in a hot oven 230C/450F/regulo 8 for 20 minutes approx. 
If you prefer you can leave it whole to make a loaf of white soda bread,  pat it into a round as before and cut a cross on it to let the fairies out! Let the cuts go over the sides of the bread to make sure of this. Bake in a hot oven, 230ºC/450ºF/regulo 8 for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/regulo 6 for 30 minutes or until cooked.
If you are in doubt, tap the bottom of the bread: if it is cooked it will sound hollow. 

French Peasant Soup 

This is another very substantial soup – it has ‘eating and drinking’ in it and would certainly be a meal in itself particularly if some grated Cheddar cheese was scattered over the top.  
Remove the rind from the bacon if necessary.
Prepare the vegetables and cut the bacon into ¼ inch (5mm) dice approx.
Blanch the bacon cubes in cold water to remove some of the salt, drain and dry on kitchen paper, saute in a little olive or sunflower oil until the fat runs and the bacon is crisp and golden.
Add potatoes, onions and crushed garlic, sweat for 10 minutes and then add diced tomatoes and any juice.
Season with salt, pepper and sugar.
Cover with stock and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the finely chopped cabbage and continue to simmer just until the cabbage is cooked.
Taste and adjust seasoning.  
Sprinkle with lots of chopped parsley and serve. 

Mediterranean Peasant Soup 
Add ½ Kabanossi sausage thinly sliced to the soup with the potato.  ¼ lb (110g) cooked haricot beans may also be added with the cabbage at the end for a more robust soup. 

Spiced Chicken with Almonds Serves 6-8 

First prepare the chicken.  (Remove the skin).
Warm the coriander and cumin seeds separately in a dry pan careful, not to burn (cumin burns more easily)
Grind  in a pestle and mortar.
Mix with turmeric, cayenne, salt, sugar, onions, ginger, garlic, almonds and peppers.
Whizz in a food processor until smooth.
Heat the oil in a saute pan and cook the paste for about 10 minutes until reduced, add the chicken, water and lemon juice.
Cover and cook gently for 15 – 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender*.  
Serve with pilaff rice.
Note: If you would like a hotter curry, increase the amount of cayenne to 2 teaspoonful. 
Brown meat takes longer to cook then white meat.  

Orzo with Fresh Herbs 

Orzo looks like fat grains of rice but is in fact made from semolina.  
Serve as an accompaniment to a main course or as a base for a pasta salad. Serves 4  

Bring the water to a fast rolling boil and add the salt. Sprinkle in the orzo, cook for 8-10 minutes* or until just cooked. Drain, rinse under hot water, toss with a little butter. Season with freshly ground pepper and garnish with some chopped parsley. 
*Time depends on the type of Orzo. 

Green Salad with Honey and Mustard Dressing 

Honey and Mustard Dressing  

Mix all the ingredients together and whisk well before use. 

Green Salad

Wash and dry the lettuces and other leaves very carefully.
Tear into bite sized pieces and put into a deep salad bowl.
Cover with cling film and refrigerate, if not to be served immediately.
Just before serving toss with a little French Dressing – just enough to make the leaves glisten. Serve immediately.Note: Green Salad must not be dressed until just before serving, otherwise it will be tired and  unappetising. 

Passionfruit and Mango Fool with Boudoir Biscuits
Peel the mango, chop the flesh and puree in a food processor.  
Put into a bowl, add the passion fruit seeds and juice, add freshly squeezed lime juice and sugar to taste.  
Fold in some softly whipped cream to taste.
Serve in a pretty white bowl or martini glass with Boudoir biscuits to dunk. 

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