Johnny Kalsi’s Langoustines

Posted on: 28 January 2011 No comments

“Jaysus, I’d she has a hoop on her like the rear end of the Batmobile. ”

A mate of mine made this remark after watching a lady spend an hour wolfing down whole prawns – shells, tails and all. I guess he must have had personal experience of what happens to you when you eat the parts of crustaceans that are usually discarded. Not the kind of thing you wanna hear when you’re chomping on cheap fare in an All- You- Can-Eat-Chinese mind you.  But it’s a fair point nonetheless.

Buffets appear to be the only establishments where the staff are so lazy and the quality of produce so unbelievably poor, that they can’t be arsed peeling and deveining the prawns they serve.  These are the kind of shrimp that are shipped in from dodgy South East Asian fish farms. Owned and operated by the kind of lads that Gordon Ramsey was hunting down in the recently aired Channel 4’s  Great Fish Fight.

Nobody likes hearing a lecture, but there are a multitude of issues around modern food production that need to be addressed and the telly that seems to be the best medium for making people aware of them. For me, some of these urgent problems were really well highlighted in those Channel 4 programmes.  Like, why the fuck don’t we eat more fish from our local seas? The most obvious being langoustines, otherwise known as Dublin Bay Prawns or Scampi (when they’re breaded and deep fried). We produce bucketloads of these bad boys around our waters, they taste amazing and yet, we send most of them out to France and Spain? This is truly a baffling exercise.

Maybe their low usage here could be down to a lack of understanding of what to do with them.  If so, then perhaps we can address that a little now.Get thee down to a half decent fishmonger (try Kish in Smithfield for instance) and order your langoustines. Approach them like 2 halves of the one beast, the top half has the head and claws and the bottom half has most of the meat.  Chop them in half, keep the heads and claws for a seafood broth/stock. Remove the shells from the bottom halves by simply peeling them. If there is still a black line of gut along the meat, remove it with the end of a fork. Or else you can pull it with the tail, as is demonstrated here.  When you have successfully removed the flesh from them all, you will have to look towards someone far more refined and delicately handed than I in order to flavour and cook them…

No better buachaill, than Johnny Kalsi from The Dhol Foundation. A master of the Punjabi Dhol drum,  Johnny has toured and performed with the likes of, Peter Gabriel,  Robert Plant and Jimmy Page and is a permanent member of Afro Celt Soundsytem.


Here’s Johnny with the singer from some band called Led Zeppelin. I think they’re from Mullingar.

Being uber talented is one thing, but Johnny must be the most liked drummer on the planet. Amongst his peers, the mere mention of his name seems to bring a smile to anyone’s face. I’d say it’s coz they’ve had his cooking. He likes to bring his Indian heritage to the dinner table and he’s a bloody dab hand at it too.  Please observe…




The flesh of 10 langoustines

1 cup of gram flour (available in any Asian food store)

1.5 teaspoons of Mustard or Cumin Powder

110 ml of Yogurt

75ml of water

3 finely chopped spring onions

Zest of half a lime

2 to 3 finely chopped green chillies

Small handful of freshly chopped coriander


See above for preparing the langoustines. Heat up a deep fat fryer to 190 degrees.

Take all the other ingredients and mix them into a large bowl to make a thick batter.

Coat the langoustines in the batter and deep fry until golden. Serve them on a bed of lettuce that’s been seasoned with lemon juice and a little bit of salt and pepper. Garnish with some more fresh coriander.

Dalkey Mustard Gnocchi

Posted on: 14 January 2011 2 comments

The Godfather III. A mediocre film, made shite by a certain Sofia Coppola. Surely her auld fella, one of the greatest directors of all time, must have known about one of the golden rules in cinema:



It was on the telly over Chrimbo and I foolishly thought I’d give it another go. Mistake. Every scene she appeared in made me angry. Why didn’t anyone on the set or in the studio pull Francis aside and break it to him?

“Look fella. This whole thing with casting Sophia as Mary Corleone…..I’m not really so sure…”

“What do you mean exactly?”

“Well, em,…well…..”

“Spit it out man!”

“Well, I’ve seen better acting in an amateur snuff film and how can you expect the audience to believe that Andy Garcia is lobbing it into her after he’s been giving it welly with Bridget Fonda? I mean, jaysus Francis, she has a head on her like a hungover crow.”

And that bit in his restaurant when he teaches her how to make gnocchi and then they get stuck into each other on the prep area, even though they’re first cousins? Rottendotcom. Second worst love scene ever, the first obviously being Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson in a Star is Born.  Thankfully, I have an iron stomach, otherwise I never would have been able to eat another gnocchi again.  That would be a bummer, coz I fucking love anything with potatoes in it.

As you may already know, I adore pissing Italian people off by fucking with their food. So my gnocchi have a little bacon fat in them and some Dalkey mustard. You can buy packaged gnocchi practically anywhere now, I’ve seen them in Spar. There is always an easy temptation to mix them in with some pesto or Ragu, but I love them with a nice Guinness stew. Especially these mustard ones here.

The trick is to keep them light, but firm enough that they don’t fall apart on you in the pot.  Give them a lash.




- 6 decent sized roosters

- 2 tablespoons of butter

- Type 00 flour. You will need one third in weight of whatever the weight of the mashed potatoes is. This is a very fine flour from Italy. They use it for pizzas and pasta so is sometimes called pasta flour. Superquinn stock it.

- 1.5 teaspoons of Dalkey mustard. This happens to be my favourite grain mustard as it’s not too acidic.

- 1 teaspoon of fat from smoked bacon. This is optional, I just like the flavour and I hate wasting it.

- 1 beaten egg


Heat your oven to 200 degrees. Pierce all your spuds with a fork and put them in the oven for about an hour until they’re nicely baked.

Let them cool off for a little while, say ten minutes. Cut them all in half and scoop out all the spuds into a mixing bowl. When they’re all in, drop in the butter and bacon fat and mash them up.

Let the mash cool off completely. When it’s at room temperature, combine the mash with your flour and egg until you get a dough like consistency. Add more flour if needed. Then you bring the mustard into the mix. The easiest way to do all this is to mix it up with your hands for a few minutes. But don’t go too hard on it or you will break up the mustard seeds.

Once it’s all brought together, seperate the mix into 3 or 4 sections and roll each section into a snake shape. Then start cutting them into gnocchi, the smaller the better in my opinion, about an inch in size should do it.

To give them some shape, place a fork on the counter and press each gnocchi onto the curve of the fork so it leaves an indentation, like so:


Dust them with a little flour if you’re not gonna cook them straight away. To cook them, you fill a pot of water half way, put half a teaspoon of salt and a little olive oil in and boil it up. Stick about a dozen gnocchi into the pot and they’re done when they rise to the top. This only takes a couple of minutes.

Serve them in a stew instead of spuds or rice.

Korean New Year’s Soup

Posted on: 7 January 2011 No comments

I’m not entirely certain what would appear in my psychological profile if one were to gauge it by perusing this website. The Sunday Times said my colourful language, “would make even Gordon Ramsey blush.”


People may read that and think that I’m a vulgar brute, but they shouldn’t be so quick to judge.  Underneath all the profanities, vitriol and mindless rants, lies the bleating heart of a complete fucking asshole. Trust me when I say, that I am ten times more obscene and disgusting in the flesh than on the interweb. But I have got some genuinely nice mates. One of whom does great charity work for a Thai orphanage and is actually quite the romantic. You don’t believe me, do you? Well please read on…

His name is Bilbo Bangkok and he has recently fallen for a Korean lady named Sooki. At the last minute, she told him that she would fly from Seoul to join him in Bangkok for New Year’s Eve. Humbled by this gesture, he decided it would be fitting to prepare for her a Korean national dish called Duk -Gyuk, a soup that is traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day as a hangover cure. A frantic search quickly kicked in as he desperately tried to obtain a decent piece of beef brisket and some Korean rice cakes. After all the ingredients were finally sourced, he had just enough time to buy some flowers and meet her at the airport.

Now the Irish and Koreans really don’t have much in common, apart from a massive love of alcohol. So as soon as they got out of the airport they went crazy, broadway style. Daiquiris, posh wines and with it being New Year’s Eve, bucketloads of champers were lashed back. The level of inebriation they experienced was so intensely off the chart, that they decided to switch clothing in a downtown restaurant. As you do.


After a geansaí load of gargoyle, they finally retired for the night. And even though he must have had a hangover that would kill a donkey, Bilbo somehow managed to get out of bed early and prepare the lady’s surprise soup. Sooki was extremely impressed! Hopefully enough for her to try and forget how fond her new partner is of wearing dresses. The fact that he resides in a city where every street corner has a ladyboy on it must have added to her suspicions…

So there yez are now. I know it aint the kind of thing you’d read about in a chick lit novel, but that’s about as close to true romance as I’d ever like to get.

I would like to wish the happy couple all the very best for 2011 and beyond! Bilbo has very kindly provided me with his recipe for Doh-gu. I’m looking forward to dusting off my favourite satin frock and cooking it myself tomorrow.




  • 1  packet of  Korean rice cakes, you can get these in Korean store on Strand Street or The Asian Store on Drury St. They will most likely be frozen. They take about an hour to thaw out.
  • 1 pound of stewing beef, left whole. Ideally go for a piece of brisket which you can get without ordering at FXB’s on Moore Street
  • 1 litre of low salt beef stock
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 3 cloves of whole garlic
  • 1.5 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped garlic
  • Half a teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs, whisked, fried and sliced into thin strips
  • 2 dried seaweed sheets, cut into thin slices. The ones you use for sushi
  • 2 scallions, chopped thinly


Let the rice cakes sit in cold water for 20 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Meanwhile, boil up your stock and add the garlic cloves and onion. When it comes to a boil, throw in the beef and bring it down to a simmer. Put the lid on it and leave it for an hour.  If at any stage  some froth comes to the top, remove it.

Put a pinch of salt into your whisked eggs and fry them on a wide flat pan, like a thin omelette. Cook both sides very lightly. When they are done, cut them into thin strips the same width as you cut the seaweed strips. Put them both aside.

After the beef has cooked for an hour take it out and strain the vegetables from the broth.  Let the beef rest for 10 minutes and then add the rice cakes to the broth. Cook them off for about 10 minutes on a low heat stirring occasionally, until they’re soft.  Cut the beef very finely and then shred it with your hands.

Then you take the sesame oil, chopped garlic, soy sauce, pepper and half of the scallions and combine them all with the beef. Let them sit.

Cook the remaining scallion into the soup with the rice cakes for about a minute or so, then turn it off.

Pour a bowl of the soup and mix  a little bit of the beef, egg and seaweed into it and serve.


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