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A cookery demo by Niall McKenna at James Street South

Thursday, June 29, 2017

I was lucky enough to be invited to James Street South to watch, learn and taste a selection of the current lunch specials from The Bar + Grill, alongside the perfect tipples for this summer. I'm a fan of Chef Niall McKenna so this was one invitation I couldn't refuse!

I love the food at James Street South.  Great local ingredients transformed  into fantastic dishes.  I couldn’t wait for Niall to share some of his secrets!  I took my sister Diane with me as she is a regular visitor to the restaurant and I knew she would be keen to see what happens behind the scenes!  On arrival at the cookery school, we were greeted with a rather lovely white Sangria.  A lighter and fresher alternative to the traditional version,  Better still, we were shown how to make it along with a a pineapple and watermelon garnish.  This could be the new drink for me!

First of all, Niall showed us how to prepare squid.  His top tip?  Never use normal flour with squid- instead use rice and potato flours to really dry it out as this will make it more crispy.  He rustled up a tomato ceviche with plum, cherry and salad tomatoes with shallots and spring onions.   A dressing was made by cooking off red peppers, chillis, soy sauce, lemons, garlic, ginger, black pepper, cabernet sauvignon vinegar and olive oil before blitzing and pouring over the tomato mixture.  The squid was deep fried  before serving with the tomato ceviche.  Truth be told, I was convinced I didn’t like squid but it would appear that I have never been served good squid cooked well.  This was light, crispy and delicious!

Next up was Hannans Chateaubriand which Niall prepared before being sent off to the kitchen to be cooked while he rustled up a Verde dressing using Sea Kelp.  I wasn’t sure what to expect of this but when it came, served with the beef it was the perfect accompaniment.  Salty but not too much to overwhelm the flavour of the beef.  I would love to try this with fish and salad as I think it would work perfectly.

We really enjoyed seeing how Niall goes about working with his ingredients and his passion for what he does is infectious.  It really is worth a visit.  If you are interested, you can find out more here

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