Constituency 11

Sammy Learns To Cook !!
Sammy was guest cook at the fun Broadisland event on Friday 1 September in Ballycarry.
Arlene Thompson, owner of the Bellahill Cookery School in Carrickfergus was in charge of the evening with Sammy as her ‘pupil’.  
The menu had an American flavour with loaded potato skins, Chili-con-carne (or is that Mexican)? And then good ole cookies as they say in the USA.
As yet we have not had the school report but everyone seems to have survived with all fingers intact.

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Cowboy Chilli

500g minced beef
250ml strong hot coffee
1 red onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
Olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 fresh bay leaf
2/3 fresh red chillies
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon treacle or muscovado sugar
1 tin kidney beans
Soured cream

 Peel and dice the onions and peel and finely slice the garlic. Deseed and slice the peppers
Heat a little oil in a large pan on a low heat, add cumin, paprika, oregano, bay leaves, red peppers and onions. Fry gently for 10 minutes until the onions and peppers have softened.
Deseed and chop half the chillies and add to the onion mixture along with the sliced garlic a pinch of sea salt and black pepper and cook for 1 – 2 minutes
Add the minced beef and cook until browned. Add the coffee, tinned tomatoes, kidney beans and treacle or sugar. Cook on simmer for around 30 minutes until reduced and saucy.
Serve with fluffy white rice and a spoonful of soured cream


175g Polenta
150g plain flour
½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp baking powder
50g soft brown sugar
1 tsp salt flakes
300ml buttermilk (room temperature)
2 large eggs
60g unsalted butter, melted
Butter for greasing

  Preheat oven to 180C/gas 4. Grease a large loaf tin and dust with polenta
In a large bowl, sift together the polenta, flour, bicarb and baking powder. Mix in salt and sugar
In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter and then combine with dry ingredients
Pour the batter into the tin and sprinkle over a little more polenta
Bake in oven for around 20 – 25 minutes or until a skewer in the middle comes out clean.
Once baked, remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Serve with plenty of butter

American Hot Chocolate Cookies

115g unsalted butter
325g dark chocolate
250g soft light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 teasp vanilla extract
25g cocoa powder
180g plain flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
225g dark chocolate, diced into ½ inch pieces
large marshmallows cut in half

 Preheat oven to 160C – Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water stirring constantly until just melted. Allow melted chocolate mixture to cool slightly
In a separate large bowl, add the brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat with a handheld electric mixer on medium just until blended for about 1 minute
Add the cooled chocolate mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined, about l minute
Add the cocoa powder, flower, baking power and salt. Beat on low speed just until combined, about 1 minute
Cover bowl with cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours or until dough has firmed up significantly. Divide the dough in half and roll into 3 thick sausage shapes about 2 inches diameter and cut each into 8 equal sized discs and place about 8 cookies on each baking sheet.
Bake the cookies for 10 minutes or until eggs and tops have just set
Remove baking sheets from oven, add 1 piece of dark chocolate to the centre of each cookie, pushing down very slightly just so it breaks the surface and sinks down
Place one marshmallow half on the top of each piece of chocolate on all the cookies pushing down very slightly so the marshmallow adheres
Return baking sheet to oven and bake for about 5 minutes or just until marshmallows have puffed. Don’t let them brown and don’t overbake. Cookies firm up as they cool. Allow cokes to cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before serving.

Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to one week. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Crispy potato skins

6 washed and unpeeled baking potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Prick each potato all over and rub with a little of the oil. Place them directly on the oven shelf and bake for 40-45 minutes until they feel slightly soft when squeezed, then leave to cool.
Cut each potato in half lengthways and then into quarters. Scoop out the flesh, retaining for another use such as mash and leaving a layer of potato at least 1/2 inch think on the skin.
Brush all over with the remaining oil and arrange in a single layer, skin-side down, on a wire rack set on a roasting tin.
Season generously and sprinkle over the rosemary if using.
Bake for 30 minutes turning half way through, until crisp and golden brown. Serve hot with salsa and/or guacamole.

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