Jason & Brenda Byrne’s Veggie Chilli

Posted on: 25 April 2014 No comments

If you are indeed, lucky enough to pin down the frantic Jason Byrne for an interview, there truly is no way of knowing what he may come out with next. Then again, when you’re a globally touring comic, there can be as much insanity from the punters as there is from the stage. As Jason outlined in one incident, “Here in Melbourne, a fella brought in a bag with two spiders and a snake in it, he was sitting in the audience and said he was a vet, people were terrified.”

It was actually in Australia that he kicked off his, “You Name The Show” campaign, where his fans had to name the new show, not him. This unique approach brought back some great results which he was more than willing to share on his brilliant social media posts. But his own personal favourites were, “The picture of a knob drawn on the poster,”The Ginger Ballinteer Minge Brigade” and “YOU name the show.”

And when he’s not waxing lyrical about the antics of his fanbase, he’s quite happy to get back to telling us about his own somewhat unusual idiosyncrasies and indeed, those of his family. When I asked him about what kinds of special food traditions they have at his house, he had this to say, “Every Easter, we all go to my mum’s house to taste her famous Chocolate Easter Jesus pie. She makes it in the shape of Jesus on the cross and there are smarties in his head.”

Between outrageous audience members and semi blasphemous holiday cakes, its no wonder that Jason craves one piece of edible familiarity when he’s off the road. His wife’s amazing Vegetarian Chilli. At least that’s one element in his life that comfortably lacks any big surprises. Here’s how she does it….



2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 large, chopped Spanish onion

6 garlic cloves, chopped

2 chopped red peppers

1 tablespoon of jalapenos

2 teaspoons dried oregano

250 ml of vegetable stock

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ can of black eyed beans

½ can of black beans

½ can of haricot beans

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

1 can of tomatoes

To garnish:

1 tub of sour cream mixed with 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander, 2 sliced scallions and 2 tablespoons of grated white cheddar.


Pre heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, peppers and garlic; sauté until for about 10 minutes. Lash in the chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cayenne; stir for another 2 minutes. Mix in beans, stock, jalapenos, tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring it up to the boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until flavors blend and chili thickens. It should take about 15 mins.

Ladle chili into bowls with rice and a heaped tablespoon of the sour cream mix on top.

Catch Jason Byrne’s brilliant live show in Vicar Street on either May 2nd or May 9th. This piece is also available to read in the far more respectable publication called The Irish Times.

Omar’s Jamaican Stew Chicken

Posted on: 21 March 2014 No comments

It would appear that good things and indeed quite often great things, can come to those who wait. Once upon a time in 1992, Stevie Wonder told the British soul singer Omar that they would one day work together. Some 14 tears later, that day arrived and they recorded Stevie’s Feeling You in London for Omar’s Sing if you want it album. Since then, Omar has made quite a marvelous habit of collaborating with other outstanding artists.

His latest long player The Man features guest appearances from The Scratch Professor and Soul II Soul’s vocalist, Caron Wheeler. But when I asked him of what exact highlight he has from all the other acts he’s been lucky enough to work with, he spoke about his time with the late, but very great Syreeta Wright. “she was my favourite female singer. When I heard her sing the song that I had written for us, I burst into tears.”

His touring schedule at the moment reads like a world travel mag. But during down time off the road, he cooks up an old family favourite. A Jamaican dish called Stew Chicken. If you need some Caribbean spice in your life, then we highly recommend it!



10 pieces of skinned chicken. Divide that up how you will between leg,
thigh and breast

The juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon salt

1 decent chicken stock cube

1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

100 ml of sunflower oil

3  thinly sliced spring onions

2 chopped mid sized onions

1 chopped Scotch bonnet chilli. Make sure to remove the seeds

2 cloves of minced garlic

1 red pepper, seeds removed, chopped

1 green pepper seeds removed, chopped

1 heaped tablespoon of butter

Cooked Basmati rice, to serve


Drop the chicken pieces in a big salad bowl and smother it in the
lemon juice. Then sprinkle with the salt, chicken stock cube and black
pepper. Using your hands, rub the seasonings in to give the meat a
good flavour, then cover and leave it in the fridge for 30
minutes minimum or overnight, if you have time. Heat the vegetable oil in a
large, deep flameproof casserole with a lid until really hot.

Remove the chicken from the seasoning, reserving the seasoning mix.
Add a few pieces of chicken to the oil and fry gently for about 5
minutes on each side until the chicken is browned. Don’t overcrowd the
pan as they won’t cook colour properly.

With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the casserole and repeat
with the remaining chicken pieces. Carefully pour out most of the oil,
leaving just 2 spoonfuls in the casserole.

Add the spring onions, onions, chilli, garlic and peppers and stir
briefly to take out the crunch from them. Return the chicken to the
casserole with any reserved seasoning mixture. Pour in a half a litre
of water, add the butter, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat.
Cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the liquid is reduced to a rich
sauce and the chicken is cooked through.

Omar plays The Sugar Club on March 28th


Posted on: 21 February 2014 No comments

There are certain deeds and actions that a band can do to earn themselves extra themselves extra privileges. Such as putting the name of a venue into your album title.  Limerick lads Hermitage Green have recently done such a thing. Their most recent recording, “Live at Whelan’s” has ensured that all five band members are now allowed special “lock in” rights.  And I can’t deny or confirm this next statement but apparently, “The Whelans are calling their first born Hermitage and everything.”

2013 was a breakthrough year for these cheeky chappies. Their performance at the Electric Picnic was witnessed by 6,000 and garnered them huge praise and an extra gazillion hits on their YouTube channel.  Then in the latter half of the year they did a UK tour with The Pogues. All systems are go at the moment as they gig round the country with a grand finale in The Academy on February 27th. After that Dublin show they’re travelling  to Canada for more shows before hitting the studio in Nashville to get some recording down. That would appear to be a great city to help them hone their strong acoustic sound.

Vocalist Dan is very keen on Indian Food since he found himself there on a long break. It’s where he picked this here sweet potato recipe he’s shared with us.   But it wasn’t all curry fueled fun and games in Asia. “I spent some time in a National Park staying in a jungle lodge. There was absolutely no electricity or contact with the outside world. Whilst there I drank a can of cider that had been left in the sun for nearly an hour. Horrific.” I hope he received some counseling.



2 large sweet potatoes, sliced evenly

1 large Spanish onions, chopped

1 bag of baby spinach, washed
1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1  can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
250 ml  water
1 can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander

Basmati rice to serve


Heat your oven to 180 degrees. Peel the sweet potatoes and roast them for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
As the sweet potatoes cook, heat the oil over medium heat in a pot.
Throw in the onions and sauté 2-3 minutes, or until they turn clearer in colour.
Next, drop in all the spices and stir to coat the onions evenly with spices.
Add tomatoes and the chickpeas, stir to combine.
Drop the water in and raise the heat up to a strong simmer for about a minute or two.
Next, add the fresh spinach, a couple handfuls at a time, stirring to
coat with cooking liquid.
When all the spinach is added to the pan, cover and simmer until just
wilted. It will only take a couple of minutes.
Add the cooked sweet potatoes to the liquid, and stir to coat.
Simmer for another 3-5 minutes, or until flavors are well combined.
Transfer to serving dish, toss with fresh coriander, and serve hot with basmati rice.

This piece is also available to read in The Ticket with The Irish Times.


15 August 2014


21 July 2014


30 May 2014

Little J’s Slow Cooked Ribs

25 April 2014

Jason & Brenda Byrne’s Veggie Chilli

21 March 2014

Omar’s Jamaican Stew Chicken

21 February 2014