Paul Daniels’ Baked Eggs With Spicy Spuds

Posted on: 30 March 2012 No comments

Those of you of a certain age, will recall that magicians who wanted to entertain the masses didn’t have to be suspended for days on end from glass cubes or enforce a hunger strike on themselves in blocks of ice. In the not so distant past, all that was required of them was a sharp wit, a charming (usually female) assistant and of course, the ability to perform the odd illusion or two. Paul Daniels was one such trickster. Not only did he tick all those boxes, but he had some damn fine catchphrases too. And if you thought that this more old school approach to showmanship wasn’t drawing crowds anymore, then think again. Paul is still packing them in and even after many decades in show business, continues to win praise from his peers and public.

Indeed when you are granted an opportunity with someone who has such a respected legacy under their belt, there was no way I could not ask him about the wildest trick he’s ever seen.”The production of a donkey and an elephant on an open stage by the late great Harry Blackstone.  No trapdoors, no cover, and there they were. Quite wonderful!”  And who was the greatest magician that ever lived?,“Merlin (if he ever actually lived) because people are still talking about him after hundreds of years.” That’s all very epic, but when it comes to food, Paul’s tastes are definitely more grounded. He may be a household name who has entertained millions, but serve him up some humble egg & chips and as he has says himself, “I am in heaven.” Sitting alongside Harry & Merlin perhaps?




4 medium sized maris piper potatoes, washed and peeled

4 free range eggs

4 grilled rashers

6 cherry tomatoes, sliced

1 teaspoon each of smoked paprika, mustard powder and garlic powder

½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper

1 tablespoon of butter

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil


Heat your oven to 180 degrees. Slice the potatoes lengthways, repeatedly to create evenly sized wedges. Lay them on a baking tray and then coat them in the olive oil. Combine all the dry ingredients and sprinkle them all over the spuds. Stick them in the oven for 45 minutes and shake the pan occasionally to prevent them from sticking.

Meanwhile,smear the butter all over the inside of two ramekins. Place 3 sliced cherry tomatoes on the bottom of each ramekin then put a rasher in each one. Carefully break an egg over each ramekin, taking care to let the white fall in first and keeping the yolk intact. Place them on a baking tray and bake for about 10 -12 minutes, until the egg has settled. Serve straight away with the spicy spuds.

Paul Daniels and Debbie Magee are doing a six date tour of Ireland that kicks off on May 1st.

This piece can also be read in far more reputable publication, The Irish Times where I have a monthly column in the cultural and entertainment guide, The Ticket.

Paddy Fodder For Paddy Whackery

Posted on: 16 March 2012 No comments

Green glorious green. It is quite literally everywhere right about now. Along with a shitload of media desperately trying to fill column spaces with the annual round up of “What does it mean to be Irish?” One thing’s for certain about our collective national identity, provincial complexes are still very much at play. The recent discovery of oil off the coast of Cork has given ample opportunity to the People’s Republicans to voice another request for independence. Pity these hapless fools didn’t read the small print, most of the dosh that’ll come from that won’t be boosting any part of their economy – it’ll mainly grease the pockets of O’Reilly Jnr, who happens to be half Greek and half Irish. Amazing that anyone with a bloodline like that can turn a profit.

If I were to adopt the same provincial attempts at pride myself, I’d be lashing out a big filthy Guinness stew this week. But I believe that all that needs to be said about our fair capital city was perfectly articulated by Dublin’s favourite wit, raconteur and all round pain in the Swiss, Mr. Eamonn MacEamonn, when he uttered the words,

“St. James’ Gate – the only place in Dublin, where the smell of Guinness is stronger than the smell of shite.”

In the interest of greater harmony amongst the counties, I have made a big fuck off pot of Irish beef stew with O’Hara’s Red Ale, a beautiful elixir that is brewed in Carlow. And that gives me a great opportunity to plug the Irish Craft Beer Festival which is taking place right now down at The IFSC until Monday. It’s a fantastic way to experience the amazing range of micro brewed and craft beers, ales and porters we make here. If for some reason, you haven’t had the chance to taste  these guaranteed Irish bevvies, you seriously need to get your hoop down there.

I myself have been very much enjoying the O’Hara’s range. All of them are lovely.





3 Pounds of Round Steak. Cut it yourself into bite size chunks. Trim off excessive fat but don’t throw that out.

1 Packet of Celery, washed and cut into 2 inch diagonally pieces

2 large onions, cut into ringlets (the Spanish ones are usually big enough)

6 Carrots, washed and cut into 2 inch diagonally pieces

1 litre of Beef Stock.  I think those jellied ones that Knorr do are doing pretty’ good. The rich beef one especially for a stew like this. I know it has a celebrity chef on it, but they’re still good.

2 bottles of O’Hara’s Red Ale

1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme

1 heaped tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons of Olive Oil

1 tablespoon of tomato puree

3/4 cup of plain flour

1 teaspoon of Wexford Honey


Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees.

Heat your oil in the big fuck off pot. If you don’t have a big fuck off pot just use two normal ones. Throw in that bit of fat from the round steak. Fry it until it browns then throw it out.

Fry the beef until it’s brown and then remove with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl to cool off.

Fry the onions until they go a little translucent, then throw in the carrots, celery, thyme, tomato puree and fry it all up for about five minutes.

As you cook the veg, check the beef to see if it’s cooled down. If so, then throw it into a clean plastic bag with the pepper and then lash in the flour on top of the meat by dropping it slowly through a sieve, so it doesn’t just fall into lumps. Then tie a knot in the bag at the top and swing it round so that the flour covers the meat.

Add the meat to the pot and again stir it for half a minute.

Pour in the stock and Ale and stir.

Bring to the boil on the stove with lid off. When it’s really hot put the lid on and then throw it into the oven @ 180 degrees for two hours.

When it’s done let it set for five minutes and stir in the honey. While that’s happening boil your Gnocchi. When they pop to the top of the pot, they’re done. Strain them and then lash them into your stew.


I see this as perfect Paddy Fodder for general, acting the maggot Paddy Whackery bad behaviour this weekend. This batch will serve at least 8. Give it a go and don’t forget to check out the Beer fest.

Havana Hibernia

Posted on: 9 March 2012 8 comments

There is a term that we use in the service industry, for those certain moments when an individual loses the run of themselves and attempts something that is just pointless and pretentious. That term is, wankology.

You will find much wankology with chefs when they try to make something like roast beef and Yorkshire pudding sorbet. It can also be prevalent even in something like a staff uniform where a hotelier might bring in some arsehole fashion designer to make all the reception staff look like crew members of the Starship Enterprise. Obviously, it can also be found behind the bar, like when some bright spark decides it would be a great idea to serve all pints out of pink crystal glasses.

So you can imagine my trepidation when I decided I would use spherification in a Havana Club Cocktail competition. After all, anything that is associated with molecular gastronomy could very easily be seen as total wankology and should therefore be quickly disregarded. But I just couldn’t help meself. I have become addicted to caviar and it aint the fishy egg kind. It’s the little caviars of booze that explode in your mouth upon the slightest touch.  They give a wicked texture to a drink and offer a brilliant way to introduce a new taste.

Thankfully this competition has fuck all to do with a facebook popularity contest so you needn’t worry about me plaguing you looking for votes.  The prize is to represent Ireland in Cuba in an international Havana Club Rum Grand Prix competition. With the hope of representing Ireland, I thought it might be best to do that with the best local Irish flavours that work with Havana Club Rum. After weeks of excruciatingly difficult and backbreaking labour of tasting and more tasting, I decided that the nicely acidic Highbank Orchard Apple Juice from Kilkenny, Ed Hick’s Wild Damson Syrup and old school Bunratty Mead would work well together.  I called it Havana Hibernia.  Here’s how:

Havana Hibernia


35 ml of Havana Club Especial

50ml of Highbank Orchard Organic Apple Juice

35ml of Wild Damson Syrup


90ml of low calcium water such as Deep River Rock

1.6 g of sodium alginate

35ml of Havana Club Especial

105 ml of Bunratty Honey Mead

500 ml of low calcium water such as Deep River Rock

2.5 g of calcium chloride

200 ml of sparkling water


-          Use a soup blender to combine the 1.6 g of sodium alginate with the 90 ml of Deep River Rock. Let it sit with a lid on, overnight to allow the air bubbles to escape.

-          Add the 35ml of Havana Club Especial and the Bunratty Mead to the alginated water by gently stirring it in to avoid creating any bubbles.

-          Use a soup blender to mix the 500 ml of Deep River Rock water to the 2.5 g of calcium chloride to create a calcium water bath.

-          Chill a martini glass with some ice and water.

-          Use a syringe to suck up 25 ml of the alginated Mead and Rum water and carefully drop it into the calcium bath, drop by drop making sure that each drop is of uniformed size.

-          As that cooks in the calcium bath, combine the 35ml of Havana Club especial, with the Highbank Apple Juice and the Wild Damson Syrup by stirring them all in a slim jug.

-          Strain the Mead and Rum caviars from the calcium bath and place them in some sparkling water. Let them sit there while you add three ice cubes to the rum and juice mix and stir for 10 seconds.

-          Pour the ice from the Martini glass and place the spherified caviars of Mead & Rum into the chilled glass.

-          Pour the ice from the Martini glass and strain the slim jug into the chilled glass with a julep strainer.

-          The caviars will rise to the top of the glass. Sláinte.

Apparently 45 bartenders from all round the country entered this competition. This makes me happy. There is a vibrant cocktail culture coming through in Ireland. It should be a vital part of any country’s culinary make up, finally we are starting to see that we need one here. Best of luck to all the competitors!


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