Honey Roast Smoked Salmon with Crispy Potato Cakes and Asparagus Curls

November 13th, 2014

As seen on RTE Television – Donal Skehan ‘Kitchen Hero – Donal’s Irish Feast



















Donal’s version of Eggs Benedict which is a poached egg served on a crispy potato cake that gets baked in the oven slice of brioche and a warm butter sauce, which is much lighter than Hollandaise. It is also fantastic served with slices of hand carved cooked ham or crispy bacon.


225g Connemara Smokehouse Honey Roast Smoked Salmon, broken into large flakes (skin discarded)
For the Crispy Potato Cakes
50g butter
2 large waxy potatoes, peeled
Salt and pepper

For the Poached Eggs
1 tblsp white wine vinegar
8 eggs

For the Beure Noissette
75g butter, diced (at room temperature)
juice of 1?2 lemon
2 tsp snipped fresh chives
For the Asparagus Curls
4 asparagus spears, trimmed
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 180°C.
First make the crispy potato cakes. Melt the butter and use a little to grease a standard Yorkshire pudding tin.
Grate the potatoes and in a tea towel squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Place the potatoes in a bowl and pour over the rest of the melted butter. Season to taste and mix until well combined. Using two forks, divide the mixture among the Yorkshire pudding moulds, gently pressing it in. Bake for 20- 25 minutes or until crisp and golden brown, flipping halfway through.

Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan with water. Add the white wine vinegar and salt then bring to the boil. Break each egg into the water where it is bubbling, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 3 minutes, until the eggs are just cooked through but the yolks are still soft. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into a bowl of iced water.

When ready to serve, make the asparagus curls. Using a potato peeler, pare the asparagus into curls and place in a bowl. Toss in the olive oil to lightly coat and season with salt and some lemon juice.
To make the butter sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Continue to cook over a medium high heat until it turns a nutty golden brown. Whisk in the lemon juice and chives and serve over the top of the salmon.
Return the sauté pan filled with water to the boil. Add the poached eggs and cook for 1 minute to warm through.
Run a small palette knife around each crispy potato cake to loosen them and put one on to each warmed plate. Arrange the smoked salmon flakes on top. Drain the poached eggs briefly on kitchen paper and then place one on each serving. Spoon over the beure noissette and garnish with a good grinding of black pepper. Finish with the asparagus curls and serve straight away.

Also served on the night with Connemara Smokehouse dish…

Braised Connemara Lamb Shanks with Nettle Mash

Donal Skehan Connemara Lamb Shanks with Nettle Mash











  • 8 Connemara Hill lamb shanks (about 475g each)
  • 50g plain flour
  • 2 tblsp sunflower oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 375ml dry white wine
  • 750ml chicken stock
  • 4 canned anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 1 tblsp tomato purée
  • 2 tblsp roughly chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves

For the Persillade

  • 4 tblsp finely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tblsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tblsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 2 canned anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • Small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • For the Nettle Mash
  • 1.2kg floury potatoes, peeled and halved or quartered if large
  • 75g butter
  • 100ml milk
  • 50 tender young leaves, washed well and roughly chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place a really large casserole pan on a high heat. Season the lamb shanks and toss them in the flour to coat. Add the oil to the pan and working in batches, sear the lamb shanks all over until golden brown, transferring them to a large plate as you go.
  2. Next, reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, celery and carrots to the pan. Sauté for 6-8 minutes until soft but not coloured, adding the garlic for the last minute. Mix in a little bit of flour to thicken the sauce. Increase the heat and then add the wine, allowing it to bubble down for a minute or two. Now add the tomato purée, then the rosemary and bay leaf. Then add the anchovies and season well. Return the lamb shanks to the pan, pour over the stock and cover with a tight fitting lid. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a very gentle simmer for about 3 hours. Turn the shanks occasionally during this time.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the persillade. Simply toss the mint, lemon zest, parsley, garlic and anchovies together in a small bowl. Cover and chill until serving.
  4. Half an hour before serving, prepare the mash. Cook the potatoes in a large pan of boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Warm the milk and butter in a small pan until just coming to the boil and remove. Drain the potatoes well and mash until smooth with the milk and butter mixture. Stir the nettles through to wilt completely and season to taste. Cover and keep warm.
  5. Once cooked the meat from the lamb shanks should be really tender and just falling off the bone. Carefully remove the shanks to a large plate and keep warm covered in foil. To serve, spoon a large dollop of creamy nettle mash into the centre of each serving bowl or plate. Sit a lamb shank proudly on top, spoon the sauce over and scatter generously with persillade.

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Mud Pie with Strawberries


Donal Skehan Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Mud Pie with strawberries











225g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
125g butter, diced
175g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g ground almonds
6 large eggs, separated

For the Chocolate Glaze
100g dark chocolate?(70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
30g butter
50g icing sugar, sifted
75ml Cuinneog buttermilk
75g hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
Fresh strawberries decorated with wild pea flowers, to serve


Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 20cm diameter springform tin with baking parchment.
To make the mud pie, melt the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl sitting over a pan of barely simmering water.
Remove the bowl from the heat and mix in the sugar, vanilla extract and ground almonds with a spatula. Stir through the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing after each addition, until you have a thick batter.
Put the egg whites in a standing food mixer (or use an electric hand-held mixer in a bowl) and whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add the egg whites to the chocolate batter and fold through gently until just combined.
Pour the chocolate batter into the prepared cake tin and place in the oven to bake for about 35 minutes until it is firm but with a slight wobble. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to sit on a wire rack to cool in its tin. Before removing the tin to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the glaze. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl sat over a pan of just simmering water. When melted, remove from the heat, whisk in the icing sugar and buttermilk, a little bit at a time.? Allow to cool until the mixture becomes thick enough to leave a figure of eight on the surface.
Pour over the cooled dark chocolate mud pie and then sprinkle with hazelnuts and strawberries.

Connemara Smokehouse featuring on Donal Skehan Kitchen Hero Feast

November 12th, 2014

Watch Connemara Smokehouse on Kitchen Hero Feast on @RTE 1 THURS 7pm 13th Nov ….

Donal Skehan brand new series, Kitchen Hero: Donal’s Irish Feast which, as the name implies, offers a culinary and visual spectacle. In each programme, Donal travels to a different county and visits three small, often quirky, food producers. He then cooks three dishes using the producers’ ingredients to create the eponymous Feast in a spectacular country house to which the producers are invited.

In programme one on Thursday 13th November at RTÉ ONE on 7pm, Donal visits three of Galway’s finest artisan food producers – Connemara Smokehouse & Visitors Centre, Ireland (salmon), Connemara Hill Lamb Ltd. (Lamb, and Cuinneog Ltd (Buttermilk)

He then prepares the first ‘Feast’ in this new series at the spectacularly located Lisdonagh House, Ireland in Headford,Co Galway.

The Kitchen Hero tour visits the Solstice Theatre, Navan, on 30th November.

Roberts family with Donal Skehan

Roberts family with Donal Skehan

Kipper Pâte with Soft-Boiled Egg & Watercress Salad

October 22nd, 2014

Grilled golden Connemara Smokehousekipper with a soft runny egg is a great combination…

Serves 6


2 Connemara Smokehouse kippers (200g each)
150g unsalted butter, softened
1 lemon, juice only
2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
6 large eggs
100g watercress, trimmed
brown toast, to serve

1 tsp smooth Dijon mustard
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sunflower oil


Preheat the grill to medium. Place the kippers skin-side up in an ovenproof dish and put a couple of knobs of butter on each one. Put the kippers under the grill for 10 minutes, basting them occasionally with the butter. Take out, remove the head, peel off the skin and lift off the bones, taking care to pull away any that remain attached to the fillets. Put the fillets in a food processor and blend. Add the lemon juice, breadcrumbs and the remaining butter and blend until you have a coarse pâté. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the eggs. Simmer gently for exactly 7 minutes, lift out, tap them to break the shell and drop into a bowl of iced water. Carefully peel the eggs.

To make the vinaigrette, stir the mustard into the vinegar before whisking in the two oils. Season generously with salt and black pepper.

Toss the watercress in the vinaigrette and place a mound of salad on each plate. Serve a spoonful of the pâté with a halved egg and some brown toast.


Hot Hot Hot Kippers

October 19th, 2014

Do you remember how good kippers used to taste?

Nowadays, they are all too often dyed and barely smoked. Here at the Connemara Smokehouse we start with fresh herrings that are plump and un-bruised. They are split by hand, lightly cured then mildly smoked for up to 18 hours depending on the weather. The result is succulent flesh with golden skin and a wonderful flavour. They are delicious and nutritious and are a tasty source of protein, calcium and omega 3 oils.

With the run up the Christmas Season, Graham is up in the early hours smoking.  Graham just finished smoking some kippers. So here a few pics to show off these beautiful golden kippers straight out of the kiln just to tempt you…

©Saoirse O'Rourke

Click to view more…

All the delicious flavour of these world-famous kippers, makes the most wonderful breakfast or healthy snack. Just simply grill with a knob of butter or shallow poach in gently boiling water and serve with some toast or traditional soda bread……yum!!!

Pier Paradise Away from it all

August 22nd, 2014

Pier Paradise

When we say we like to find places off the beaten track, we really mean off the beaten track! The location of the Connemara Smokehouse and Visitor Centre is one of the most magnificently remote we’ve ever seen. A small white building on the end of Bunowen Pier, where fresh fish, including wild and farmed salmon, are smoked delicately in the traditional way, to produce artisan delights of superiour quality. Find the smokehouse by following the signposted road from Ballyconneely village. Take your time. Golden beaches are part of the scenery. On a blue skies and sunshine day, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the tropics, as miles and miles of creamy white sand and turquoise waters dot the coastline. As you follow the road past  beach and bay, you’ll see the smokehouse perched at the end of the pier. Here is nature at it’s most wildly beautiful, where natural and traditional products are created in magical surroundings. The Roberts family have been smoking fish here since 1979. Connemara Smokehouse kicks off our week of blogs specially dedicated to Good Food Ireland producers. As a ‘Come and See’ Producer, the Roberts welcome visitors to the smokehouse and shop on Mondays to Fridays,  with special guided tours and talks on production methods on Wednesdays. What a place to see the Atlantic coastline at it’s best, and meet a family dedicated to producing the best in Irish smoked fish. Don’t miss a chance to see it all for yourself.

Good Food Ireland Blog








Connemara Smokehouse in Top 10 Ireland and Northern Ireland: Food and Drink

August 22nd, 2014

National Geographic Travel – By Kathleen M. Mangan

Ireland and Northern Ireland have long had the raw ingredients for a world-class cuisine—icy northern waters yielding fresh fish and shellfish, lush green grass for dairy herds, hillside wild herbs for free-ranging lambs, and traditional skills such as butchering, bread making, and whiskey distilling.

A widespread gourmet food movement got under way in the last two decades as top Irish chefs landed cooking shows and Michelin stars, revealing the culinary potential and generating enthusiasm. The result is a pervasive emphasis on quality local ingredients and artisan producers. Don’t be surprised to see the provenance of menu items listed: Skeaghanore duck, Clonakilty blackpudding, Castlemine Farm dry-aged beef. This made-in-Ireland approach extends to drinks too, with loyalties leaning toward local microbrews and gins produced with Irish botanicals.

  1. Farmhouse Cheese

    Cheese making dates back to the days of the monasteries here but nearly died out. It helped get the artisanal food movement going when it was reestablished in the mid-1970s by the makers of Milleens and Coolea cheese. Sheridans Cheesemongers, with shops in Dublin, Galway, and Kells, features over 50 Irish cheeses in a variety of styles from more than 30 artisan producers in the north and south. Sample before buying or head to the wine bar above the Galway shop for tasting platters to share.

    Dromoland Castle in Newmarket-on-Fergus offers an Irish cheeseboard at breakfast, and doubles the size to wind up dinner in its Earl of Thomond Restaurant. For an interesting cheesy creation, head to Gallagher’s Boxty House in Temple Bar, Dublin, for traditional boxty potato dumplings with lick-your-plate Cashel blue cheese sauce. Derry Clarke of Michelin-starred l’Ecrivain in Dublin presents Bellingham blue cheese mousse with black grape confit and pickled walnuts on his ten-course tasting menu.

  2. Seafood

    The bounty of the sea is celebrated in festivals and on menus across the island. One of the biggest festivals is the Galway Oyster and Seafood Festival at the end of September. Alternatively, sample Irish bivalves at renowned oyster bars in the Saddle Room at the Shelbourne Dublin and at Mourne Seafood’s Dublin and Belfast locations, serving oysters from County Donegal and County Down, Northern Ireland. Learn the secrets of the Mourne Seafood chefs in classes at the Belfast Cookery School.

    Award-winning seafood restaurants include The West in Westport, Mayo, the All-Ireland Chowder Champions for 2012 and 2013. Eithna’s by the Sea in Mullaghmore, Sligo, was named best seafood restaurant for 2014 by Georgina Campbell Guides. Chef Eithna O’Sullivan incorporates local seaweed into entrées, bread, and pesto sauce; her signature dish is lobster, most popularly served as Goan lobster curry. The waterfront restaurant has an undersea mural splashed across the façade.

    Enjoy traditional music in the Bridge Bar at the Moorings Portmagee while gorging on their seafood tasting platter featuring local Kerry shellfish and seafood like Portmagee crab claws, Cromane mussels, three different varieties of salmon, and smoked mackerel.

  3. Smoked Salmon

    Ireland’s smoked salmon deserves its own category. Salmon has been eaten in Ireland since prehistoric times and ties into Celtic mythology—the Salmon of Knowledge was considered the wisest of creatures. Smokehouses around the island smoke salmon with oak, beech, or turf, and restaurants typically serve it as an appetizer with brown bread. Oysters Restaurant in Strabane, Northern Ireland, presents a creative twist with pistachio-crusted, peat-smoked Irish salmon with martini and chive velouté.

    Ummera Smoked Products in Timoleague, Cork, offers certified organic smoked salmon produced with eco-friendly practices. It’s cured with pure Portuguese sea salt and Costa Rican cane sugar, then smoked over smoldering oak from sustainable forests. Connemara Smokehouse in Ballyconneely, also certified organic, employs a slow process to ensure flavor and texture, fanning beech wood smoke around the fish in the kiln for up to ten hours and storing it in a cool room for another 24 hours. Take their Wednesday smokehouse tour in the summer to see filleting, salting, smoking, and slicing firsthand.

  4. Lamb

    The Irish take pride in lamb from specific regions—Connemara Hill lamb even has geographical protection from the European Union. Mary Gleeson of Gleeson’s Townhouse & Restaraunt, Roscommon, says it’s the sweet, grass-reared Roscommon lamb that makes her stew so tasty and admired. She cooks it in fresh thyme and rosemary-flavored broth with onions, carrots, celery, and potatoes. The Roscommon Lamb Festival in May offers a chance to taste local lamb cooked a variety of ways.

    Enjoy Wicklow lamb shanks cooked in red wine and rosemary along with musical merriment and Irish dancers at the Merry Ploughboy Pub in Rathfarnham. Castle Murray House in Dunkineely, Donegal, has a creative take on Donegal lamb, presenting roast loin and braised breast with confit aubergine and rosemary puree, morel jus, and smoked garlic foam. Air-dried lamb made by McGeough’s Artisan Butcher in Oughterard, Galway, is a flavorful, unique product. It’s marinated in herbs and spices, air-dried for at least eight months, smoked with beech chippings, and sliced thin like prosciutto.

  5. Traditional Breads

    Soul-sustaining bread is a staple for the Irish, notably soda bread with a cross cut into the top. The soda bread master is Peter Ward of Country Choice in Nenagh—heaps of his crusty round loaves are gone before day’s end. The northern specialty is oatcakes, with artisan baker Robert Ditty setting the standard at Ditty’s Home Bakery & Coffee Shop in Castledawson and Magherafelt, Northern Ireland. The Waterford blaa, a soft white roll dating to the 17th century, now has EU protected status. Third-generation bakers Michael and Dermot Walsh make fluffy blaas at M&D Bakery in Waterford City.

    Great places to find artisanal bread include the Limerick Milk Market, Cork’s English Market, and St. George’s Market in Belfast. Look for small-batch butter and home preserves to go on it. If you want to learn to make bread yourself, take the ferry from Cunnamore Pier, West Cork, to Heir Island and roll up your sleeves for a one-day course at Firehouse Bakery Bread School with baker Patrick Ryan.

  6. Teatime

    Ireland drinks more tea per capita than any other place in the world except for Turkey. There are charming tearooms all over Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as luxury hotels offering elegant high tea. Miss Courtney’s Tearooms in Killarney, County Kerry, has been family run since 1909 and features antique china tea sets, old-fashioned tablecloths, chandeliers, vintage party photos, and lovely treats. Miss Katie’s Tea Rooms near Blarney Castle specializes in imaginative cupcakes, while the Queen of Tarts in Dublin serves up signature Baileys cheesecake tart—made with Irish cream cheese and Baileys Irish cream—and so much more.

    For formal high tea with three-tiered presentation, Lough Erne Resort in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, can’t be beat with a table by the log fire, views over the lough, and celebrity chef Noel McMeel’s edible creations. If you’re a chocoholic, go for the Chocolate Afternoon Tea with a Death by Chocolate cocktail. Another impressive-yet-alternative option is the Art Afternoon Tea taken in the Georgian drawing rooms at The Merrion Hotel, Dublin. It features pastries that echo some of the hotel’s famous works of art.

  7. Craft Apple Juice and Hard Cider

    Gourmet drinks made with apples—alcoholic and nonalcoholic—are popular in Ireland. These small batch offerings are dry and crisp, not supersweet; some are infused with berries and other flavors. The hard cider is typically lightly carbonated. The Apple Farm in Cahir has a farm shop where you can buy apples, as well as sparkling apple juice, hard cider, and apple juice mixed with strawberry, raspberry, or blackcurrant juice. Kilmegan Cider in Dundrum, Northern Ireland, offers hard cider infused with wild elderflowers for a subtle floral finish.

    Longueville House in Mallow, Cork, is an apple lover’s destination, as the Georgian mansion hotel has apple orchards on the estate. Owner William O’Callaghan makes hard cider and apple brandy that is double-distilled in copper pot stills then aged four years in oak barrels. Try the home-reared pork loin with cider sauce followed by apple tart with apple brandy ice cream and caramel sauce in the restaurant.

  8. New Irish Gin

    There are three newcomers to the gin scene that are made in Ireland with unique botanicals, infusing the spirit with the flavors of the countryside. Shortcross Gin, made by Rademon Estate Distillery in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, launched in April, incorporating apples, elderberries, and wild clover with classic botanicals such as juniper. The aromatic, complex elixir has a long, peppery finish. It’s completely handcrafted, all the way to signing labels with batch and bottle number.

    The Exiles Irish Gin launched in May and is the only gin in the world to include shamrocks. It’s also infused with honeysuckle flowers, red clover flowers, rowan berries and bog myrtle, and has floral and citrus notes. Dingle Original Gin made by Dingle Distillery incorporates fuchsia, heather, bog myrtle, hawthorn, and rowan berries, sourced locally where possible, in its lineup of 16 botanicals to give it the essence of the Kerry landscape. In its first year, it won a gold medal in the 2013 Irish Food Awards.

  9. Microbrews

    Although Guinness is pervasive in Irish pubs, there’s a microbrewery boom across Ireland and Northern Ireland, now counting about 40. You’ll be spoiled for choice with more than 200 craft libations at the Irish Craft Beer & Cider Festival in Dublin in September. If you’re an enthusiast, book a table at L. Mulligan Grocer in Dublin, which pairs each menu offering with a recommended craft beer or (for desserts) whiskey from their list of over 200 craft beers and 300 whiskies. Check out their unique cask beer offerings too.

    A few microbreweries open for tours, such as Hilden Brewing Company in County Lisburn, Northern Ireland, the isles’ oldest independent brewery; O’Hara’s Carlow Brewing Company in Bagenalstown with tours on Friday afternoons; and Dungarvan Brewing Company hosting tutored tastings on summer Friday evenings. But the best way to get exclusive access to breweries not normally open to the public with tastings by the brewmaster—if you’re lucky—is on a five-day package trip taking in eight to ten breweries with Brewery Hops based in Dublin. Day trips are also occasionally offered.

  10. Irish Whiskey

    Irish whiskey is one of the fastest growing spirits in the world. There are nearly 200 whiskey expressions, including iconic brands such as Jameson and Bushmills, plus start-ups like Teeling Whiskey. Dublin’s Celtic Whiskey Shop stocks everything available, plus many rare bottlings, and you can sample some of them before buying. For a personalized, tutored tasting, allow whiskey expert John Moriarty at the Park Hotel Kenmare in Kerry to select your perfect lineup from the bar’s 200 selections.

    Learn about production and history on one of five distillery tours: the Jameson Experience in Midleton, Old Bushmills Distillery in Northern Ireland, Tullamore D.E.W. Visitor Center in Tullamore, Kilbeggan Distillery founded in 1757 in Kilbeggan, or Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin. You’ll see the copper stills, water wheels, massive wooden mash tuns, and cask warehouses. They offer tastings and often carry limited-edition bottlings available only at the distillery. For a more in-depth education, take the two-day whiskey school presented at least five times a year at Dingle Distillery.