Beer Battered Fish Tacos with Caper Creme Fraiche

There’s a science to a light and crispy batter and the secret lies with beer. It’s complex physical properties mean that it creates a long lasting source of carbon dioxide (partly due to “foaming” proteins in the mash that help a beer keep it’s head) which makes it a great base for a light and crispy batter. As the CO2 foams in the batter while cooking, it creates an insulating barrier between the external heat and the contents inside, allowing delicate proteins like those in fish to cook gently while the batter crisps up forming a crunchy, light shell. When cooking with beer, it’s important to balance the bitterness of hoppy beers, because when they’re introduced to heat, the hops will only increase in bitterness. It’s easy to balance that bitterness when you’re using beer in a sauce or a gravy, but in a batter that would be tricky, so rather than use an IPA or an English style ale, opt for a beer with low-medium hop bitterness. We’ve used a Kolsch-style beer brewed by Northbound brewery in Derry. The “08” has a low hop profile but keeps it’s head well making it perfect for a beer batter. This beer proudly wears a great taste 2015 award, so since the recipe doesn’t call for the whole bottle, your thirst stays deliciously quenched while you cook up a storm in the kitchen! Recipe by

Serves: 3 Tacos

Cook Time: 50 mins

Below are the ingredients listed

250g Fresh Cod Loin

150g Morton’s Plain Flour

150mL Northbound Brewery’s Kolsch-Style Ale

1 Egg

1 Tsp Baking Powder

1/2 Tsp Smoked Paprika

1/2 Tsp Crushed Chilli Powder

1/2 Tsp Garlic Granules

Sea Salt Flakes

Rapeseed Oil for Deep Frying

For the Caper Creme Fraiche Dressing:

2 Tbsp Creme Fraiche

2 Tsp Pickled Capers with Pickle Juice

1/4 Tsp Dill Pollen Atlantic Sea Salt

1 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Dill

For the Tomato Salsa:

2 Plum Tomatoes, Grated

1 Clove of Garlic, Grated

1 Tsp Grated Ginger

1 Tbsp Fresh Corriander

1 Tbsp Broighter Gold Chilli Infused Oil

For the Tacos:

250g Plain Flour

1 Tsp Baking Powder

Pinch of Sea Salt

2 Tbsp Broighter Gold Lemon Infused Rapeseed Oil

125mL Cold Water

Tomato Salsa

Mix the grated plum tomatoes (excl. skin), garlic, ginger, chilli oil & corriander in a bowl & season with salt and pepper.


Sift the flour & baking powder into a large bowl and add the salt and oil.

Gradually add the water to the bowl to form a dough & knead for 5 mins.

Divide the dough into 6 balls and roll each into a thin, circular shape.

Cook the rolled dough on a hot dry pan until the underside starts to brown, flip and repeat.

In a hot pan, shallow fry half of the taco base, while holding the soft taco at a 45 degree angle. Once half of the taco is crispy, flip to fry the other half until crispy.

Caper Creme Fraiche

Finely chop the capers and mix into the creme fraiche with the sea salt, fresh dill and pickle juice.

Beer Battered Cod

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and mix in spices & a pinch of salt.

Crack the egg into a well in the flour and mix through the flour.

Gradually add the beer, mixing well to break any flour lumps until you have a smooth batter.

Cut the cod loin into 1.5-2 inch cubes.

Dip the fish into the batter and transfer into a deep fryer on a high heat to cook until the batter turns golden and crispy.

Salt the battered cod pieces immediately after cooking.

Assemble the tacos however you like them and wash it all down with the rest of that delicious beer!



Sweet Cure Bacon Chop with Green Cabbage

This recipe was probably the simplest Sunday lunch Swankfood have ever made. When you have the best quality ingredients it makes cooking easy, there’s no need for over elaboration or fancy dressings. This dish only has 3 main ingredients and they are all local. The cabbage is from the the excellent and convenient Mash Direct, the bacon chops are from Hannan’s Meat Merchant and the sauce for the cabbage is from Red Dog Foods. The dish only took 45 minutes to cook and there was next to no preparation needed. Reipe by

Serves: 2

Cook Time: 45 mins

Below are the ingredients listed

As usual I chose to cook on the BBQ but the oven will produce nearly as good a result. As I said there is pretty much no prep time on this bar the potatoes. The chops came as a rack of 4 so I cut in half to reduce the cooking time. They were cooked over charcoal for around 4-5 minutes per side then moved to the other side of the grill to cook indirectly for 35 minutes at 170c.

For the last 10 minutes I also added a lump of hickory wood to give a hint of smokiness. If you are using the oven simply preheat to 220c add the pork then straight away reduce the heat to 170c and cook for 40-45 minutes. Again a meat thermometer should be used for best results.

For the Mash Direct cabbage simply place in a pan on medium heat, add 2 Tablespoons of the Red Dog Apple & Sage Jelly and stir until piping hot. Apple and sage are notoriously best friends with pork, the jelly also helps cut through the fattiness and smokiness of the Bacon Chop while adding a hint of sweetness.

For the roast potatoes simply peel, cut into desired size and power boil for 6-7 minutes. Ensure they are well drained and place on some kitchen roll for the remaining moisture to evaporate. Moisture is the killer of crispy roast potatoes so ensure the moisture has stopped evaporating before they are placed in the oven. Heat some goose or duck fat in a roasting dish, throw in the potatoes and coat well with the fat. I also sprinkled on a small amount of cayenne and smoked paprika and salt before they were placed in the oven at 220c for around 30 minutes. If you are cooking both the bacon chops and potatoes in the same oven simply remove the chops after 35 minutes and wrap in tin foil. The pork will continue to cook and stay warm in the foil until the potatoes are ready.

Simple, no fuss, hope you enjoy


Portbello with Broighter Gold

This is a convenient starter or snack that can be made in minutes and only needs 4 ingredients. It’s the first (and maybe last!) vegetarian dish Swankfood have featured but the earthiness of the mushrooms should keep the meat eaters happy, until the main course anyway. Recipe by

Serves: 2

Cook Time:

Below are the ingredients listed

Portobello’s are made up of 90% water so you will need to be aware of this and do a couple of things to avoid your mushrooms swimming on your plate. The first is removing the dark gills with a spoon which also makes room for the cheese. Put a few slits in the cap of the mushroom which will allow some of the water to escape. Pre-heat your oven to 200 and cook the bare mushrooms for 5 minutes. After 5 you should see the excess water on your baking tray. Remove the mushrooms and sprinkle the cheeses on top and drizzle with the rapeseed oil. Add the seasoning and cook at 200 for a further 5 minutes.



One Dish Kasundi Chicken

Northern Ireland is in a serious food boom with the NI year of food and drink well under way. This boom is driven by a fantastic range of local producers, award winning chefs and promoted widely by Food NI. Our country has some of the best produce in the world with more and more artisan producers popping up every month. One such producer is Passion Preserved a progressive company based in Ballinderry who, as the name suggests, produce a range of excellent preserves and chutneys. Now when you think preserves and chutneys you automatically think cheese and crackers but their range of products can offer so much more and with little imagination. This recipe came about on a miserable Wednesday night in June when Swankfood wanted something quick and easy but as ever smacked you in the face with flavour. That smack in the face in question came from Kasundi which is a hot Indian style pickle from the aforementioned Passion Preserved. It’s a fairly intense pickle packed with mustard seeds and cumin and if you love Indian flavours this is your thing. Recipe by


Cook Time:

Below are the ingredients listed

This is a fairly simple one in that all is needed to to chop everything up, place in a roasting dish and wait! There are a couple of tips however that will make the difference.

First put your oven on full wack to 220c, with a large oven proof dish to heat, then start by cutting the potatoes into similar sized shapes to ensure they cook evenly. Cut the smaller ones in half and the larger ones into thirds. Power boil for 10 minutes and drain well. Chop the asparagus, broccoli, pepper and onions and the chicken into strips. You want the veg to be fairly chunky as they will be cooking at a high temp for around 40 minutes. Once the oven has come up to temp and the dish is piping hot remove and throw in all the ingredients. The Kasundi is fairly pungent stuff so if you are wimp on the spice front just use less. The mango chutney helps balance out the dish and provides sweetness while also encouraging the ingredients to crisp and colour. Put in the oven and leave it to do its thing.

After 15 minutes remove and give it a mix, you will notice the edges of the dish starting to blacken so the idea is to move the outside ingredients to the inside and vise versa. Put back in the oven for a further 15 minutes.

At this stage Swankfood noticed there was still a small amount of liquid at the bottom of the pan, you want the ingredients to go crispy which requires all the liquid to evaporate so it was back in for a further 7-8 minutes.

The dish doesn’t really need anything else (apart from the mandatory garnish of parsley!) but it would work well with a dollop of Raita on the side.



Abernethy Butter Chicken

Swankfood's usual mentality when making curry is the hotter the better but this curry lies at the other end of the spectrum in being mild, smoky and slightly sweet. Murgh Makhani translated to Butter Chicken, it doesn’t take much thought to what the main ingredients are but if you have the time (about 2hrs 10mins) and a bit of patience it is well worth the effort. Recipe by

Serves: 3/4 people

Cook Time: 2 hours 10 mins

Below are the ingredients listed

For the butter sauce

  • Chicken Breasts 4
  • Coconut Milk 1 tin
  • Tomato Passata 300g
  • 2 White Onions
  • Garlic 4 cloves
  • Ginger thumb sized chunk
  • Smoked Abernethy Butter 50g
  • Tomato Purée 1 Tablespoon
  • Palm Sugar 2 Teaspoons (alternatively brown sugar)
  • Double Cream 250ml
  • Coriander small bunch
  • Worcestershire Sauce 3 splashes
  • Bay leaves 2

For the Spice mix

  • Fuenugreek 2 Teaspoons
  • Saffron 1 pinch
  • Smoked Paprika 1 Teaspoon
  • Mild Chill powder 1 Teaspoon (optional)
  • Ground Almonds 2 Teaspoons
  • Coriander powder 2 Teaspoons
  • Garam Masala 1 Teaspoon

For the chicken marinade

  • Tumeric 3 Tablespoons
  • Garam Masala 1 Teaspoon
  • Olive Oil 5 Tablespoons

The first step is to marinade the chicken in order for it take on a fantastic yellow colour from the tumeric as well as absorbing the flavour from the garam masala. Some recipes call for the chicken to be marinaded overnight in the likes of buttermilk but they find this extra effort is outweighed by the outcome. Since the chicken will be both grilled on the BBQ and then braised in the sauce the texture will be extremely tender as well as having that smokiness that can only be achieved from flame grilling. Simply cut the chicken breasts into large chunks and mix well with the marinade ingredients then set aside while you prepare the sauce.

Swankfood see the importance of building layers of flavour when making a curry and like many other currys it starts with onions. As this will be a mild, sweeter curry it is important to cook the onions long and slow to release maximum sweetness so chop finely and add to a saucepan with 25g of butter. For this dish they used smoked Abernethy butter which as the name suggests obviously adds a smokiness to the first part of the dish. Cook the onions on low heat for 15 minutes stirring occasionally so they don’t catch and burn.

After 15 minutes add the garlic and ginger and fry for a further 2 minutes before adding the spice mix along with another knob of butter. Ensure the heat is still on low while you mix the spices and onion together. You want the spices to fry long enough to release their aroma but not so long as they burn and ruin the dish, this should only take around 2 minutes. Finish this stage of the sauce by adding the tomato purée and mixing well.

With the first layer of flavour complete it’s now time to add the liquid ingredients. Add the coconut milk and passata along with some chopped coriander and a couple of bay leaves. Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.

After 15 minutes add half the double cream (125ml) and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes while you prepare the chicken.

To BBQ the chicken ensure your grill is at maximum temperature and cook for 10 minutes. You are aiming for black grill marks on the chicken which will provide a tandoori flavour to the dish. Since the chicken will continue to cook in the sauce it doesn’t matter if it isn’t cooked through. Remove from the grill and add straight to the sauce.

After adding the chicken let the sauce simmer on the lowest heat for a further hour. This may seem like a long time but they think it is necessary in order for the chicken to tenderise, the sauce to reduce and for all the different elements of the dish to come together.

After the hour is up its time to add the final layer of flavour, butter and cream. Therefore add another 25g of butter along with the second half of the cream (125ml). Stir for one minute until the butter has melted and you are left with a luxuriously thick sauce.

Swankfood served with basmati rice, poppadoms and a fresh sprinkling of coriander.



Duck Confit Risotto

This recipe from Swankfood is a bit of a fusion with the duck confit being a French classic and the Risotto originating from Italy. They normally don’t go for fusion dishes as They think the idea is usually better than the outcome but this one works superbly well. The duck confit is very rich so one leg is enough for four dishes with the succulent meat simply shredded on top of the risotto. The finished product is creamy, earthy and fairly rich, meaning small portions or served as a starter is probably the route to go. Making Risotto is a bit like making a curry in that it has numerous stages with each adding a different layer of flavour. Perhaps not one for a midweek dinner in a hurry as it does take a bit of time, so they recommend saving it for the weekend with a couple of bottles of wine. Recipe by

Serves: 4 people

Cook Time:

Below are the ingredients listed

  • Confit Duck Leg 1
  • Risotto Rice 260g
  • Good quality Olive Oil 9 Tablespoons
  • Bacon Lardons 250g
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Celery Stick 1
  • White Onion 1
  • Carrot 1
  • Garlic 4 cloves
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Kilcreen Cheese
  • Chicken Stock 2 Pots
  • 1 glass of dry white wine
  • Broighter Gold Truffle infused Oil (optional)
  • Butter 2 large knobs

The first stage to making a risotto is traditionally called the soffritto which is the flavour base for the dish. For their soffritto they made a simple mirepoix by finely chopping onion, celery and carrot. Fry on medium heat along with four tablespoons of olive oil for fifteen minutes.

After fifteen minutes remove the soffrito to a dish and set aside. The next stage is to add the bacon lardons so turn the heat up high until it starts to smoke and add two tablespoons of olive oil and fry until slightly crisp and the fat has rendered.

The final stage before adding the rice is to add the chopped shiitake mushrooms and garlic and fry for a further five minutes until the mushrooms have softened. Add the soffritto back to the pan and stir well.

Now for the rice, allow 65g per person and add to the pan along with another three tablespoons of olive oil and fry on medium to high heat. The idea is to toast the rice before the liquid stock is added. You are aiming for the edges of the rice to become translucent and the centre to still appear opaque. This stage is crucial in ensuring maximum flavour is absorbed by the rice as it fries in the rendered bacon fat and olive oil.

While the rice is toasting put the confit duck leg in a preheated oven at 180ºc and roast for ten minutes. As the duck has been previously cooked it just needs to crisp up and heat through.

Unfortunately they didn’t have any homemade chicken stock but they found the Knorr Stock pots are a great and convenient alternative. Add two pots to a jug of boiling water and stir well until completely dissolved. Next you need to deglaze the pan with the white wine so pour in and ensure all the caramelised bits are scraped from the bottom and incorporated into the dish.

The next stage of the dish takes a bit of patience. Add a ladle of stock at a time until it’s absorbed by the rice, repeat this process until the rice is cooked al dente. This is probably the most crucial element of the dish as it is this gradual addition of stock along with stirring which will make the rice release the starch making its own creamy sauce. This process should take around twenty minutes for the quantities quoted.

You are aiming for a consistency similar to thick porridge and if you were to run a spoon through the risotto it should slowly fill the space.

The final step is to add one final ladle of stock along with a cup of cheese and two knobs of butter. They used two types of cheese in Parmesan and a local semi-hard nutty flavoured cheese called Kilcreen. The Parmesan adds a salty creaminess to the rice and the butter further enriches to provide an excellently umptuous dish. Stir well and cover with tin foil and let the risotto sit for two minutes while you shred the duck leg.
To serve place a small amount of duck on top of the risotto and finish with a drizzle of Broigher Gold Truffle in fused Oil. Although this dish takes a bit of time and attention don’t be put off as there isn’t too many things that can go wrong.



Broughgammon Kid Curry

Swankfood are massive fans of curry so they wanted to create another original recipe using local ingredients. As everyone knows chicken and lamb both work well in curry but they wanted to create a dish that was extra special using something different. Enter Broughgammon farm! Recipe by


Cook Time:

Below are the ingredients listed

1 Kid Goat leg or Small Lamb Leg Boned
10 Garlic Cloves
100 g Ginger
4 Medium Tomatoes
2 Scotch Bonnet Chillies
1 Bunch of Thyme
2 Onions Finely Diced
3 tbsp Real Butter
4 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 Tins Coconut Milk
3 Heaped Tbsp Garam Masala
1 Tsp Chilli Powder
6 Cardamon Pods
1 handful curry leaves
2 Lamb Stock Cubes
750 ml Water For the Rice
1 Cup Basmati Rice
2 Scotch Bonnet Chillies (left whole)
1 Can Coconut milk
4 Sprigs of Thyme

First thing to do is to prep your vegetables and bone out the Goat leg and chop into cubes. If you aren’t confident in doing this just ask your butcher. (They used a food processor to blitz the garlic, chillies and ginger).

Next step is to put a large pan onto a high heat, add your oil and fry the diced meat until brown. Take the meat out of the pan, place in a bowl and set aside. Turn down the heat to medium and in the same sauce pan add the butter, then add your garlic, chilli and ginger paste. Cook this for a few minutes until it starts to take on a golden colour. To this add your onions and thyme and cook for 10 minutes until they have sweated down and taken on a really nice colour. It is important that the heat is not too high as you don’t want the butter or the veg to burn. They are not looking for blackened onions at this stage! Now put the meat back into the pot with the bone, add your garam masala, cardamom, chilli powder, curry leaves, tomatoes, coconut milk and stir. Don’t forget the bone as this will add more flavour than any shop bought stock pot.

Crumble in the stock cubes, top this up with water so it just covers well then put the lid on. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 hours stirring occasionally. They removed the lid for the last hour so the sauce had a lovely thick consistency. They then added the stalks of the coriander to give the dish that extra bit of freshness (it really makes a difference).

Cooking Rice is not one of their strong areas and they think people who say they follow the packet instructions, it turns out nice and fluffy and not stuck to the pan are telling lies!

So this is how they cooked theirs. To a large pan they added a tin of coconut milk, 2 whole scotch bonnet chillies, salt and a few sprigs of thyme, they then added 750 ml of water and brought it all to the boil. Once boiling they reduced the heat slightly and added my rice, cooked it for 10 minutes until just tender and no more. They then drained it and took the Chilli and thyme out. They tipped it back into the pot and let it stand for a few minutes to fluff up.

They served this with a simple shop bought garlic naan and garnished with coriander. The Broughgammon kid leg made all the difference and added a sweetness that isn’t as prominent with lamb. If you aren’t a fan of Gamey meats don’t be alarmed as the kid goat, being well a kid, didn’t have time to develop that particular taste found in older goats.

The scotch bonnet Chillies although intensely hot also provided an initial sweetness to the dish but when cooked for a lengthy period of time they also provide a fruity element with the heat slowly developing after at the back of the mouth.



Pulled Pork with Red Dog Spice Rub

This simple yet delicious recipe is perfect for family get-togethers.

Serves: 4 PEOPLE

Cook Time: 7 HOURS

Below are the ingredients listed

  • 1 kg pork shoulder
  • Red Dog Texas Spice Mix
  • Enough liquid to half cover the pork shoulder whilst cooking: preferably cider but water or apple juice will do.
  • Optional: Beech-Wood Smoked Sea Salt  added with the rub to give a smoked taste without having to use a smoker.
  • Cover the pork with the rub (and smoked salt if you use it) and rub it in. Place it into the fridge for half an hour to let it marinade. Preheat an oven to 145 degrees Celsius.
  • After it has sat for half an hour, set the pork in a deep dish and pour in the liquid covering the bottom half of the shoulder.  Cover the dish with foil and place in the oven to cook low and slow for around 6-7 hours or until tender.
  • Once cooked, take the pork out of the juices and place into a bowl and shred.  Once shredded add a little of the cooking juices back into the pork to keep the pork nice and moist.
  • It’s now ready to serve!  Serve in a bap with some BBQ sauce and coleslaw or alongside some potatoes.

Seafood Linguini with Dill Pollen Salt

This recipe is an amazingly simple yet flavourful pasta recipe using some amazing regional ingredients.

Serves: 4 people

Cook Time: 30 MINUTES

Below are the ingredients listed

  • 400 g of dried linguini
  • Dill Pollen Sea Salt Flakes
  • Butter and oil for cooking
  • 400 g Shellfish cleaned and shelled (langoustine or prawns are perfect)
  • 1 onion (any kind) chopped finely
  • 1 clove of garlic chopped finely
  • Add water, a good pinch of dill salt and some oil to a pot, then heat until the water comes to a boil (make sure there is enough water to completely cover the pasta)
  • While the water is coming to a boil, heat up a second pan on a medium heat and then add some oil. Once the oil is hot add in the onion and garlic with a little black pepper and salt, then stir until the onions start to caramelize and the garlic is cooked. Once cooked empty the onions and garlic into a dish and set to the side to keep warm. Then set the pan back onto the heat.
  • At this point the water should have come to a boil, add your pasta and cook until al’dente normally around 7 minutes (or 3-4 minutes if you’re using fresh pasta).
  • While your pasta cooks, add some butter and oil into the pan with some dill salt (the oil should stop the butter from burning), add in the shellfish and once cooked, add in the onions and garlic again.
  • At this point your pasta should be cooked. Drain off excess liquid and add your pasta to the pan with the shellfish.  Stir the pasta through the shellfish evenly adding a bit of olive oil and black pepper to season.
  • Once evenly combined you can either serve the pasta straight from the pan or put it in a serving bowl. Optionally, if you want, you can shave some parmesan over the top.