The Harvest Meal

Wild Salmon Carpaccio served with Amazonnaise

I’ve mentioned my friends Alan and Colette before on this blog, usually in connection with Come Dine With Me.  Not only are they fabulous friends, but they share our enthusiasm for food, fine wines *ahem* and music.  So it’s pretty easy to see why we get on so well.

Recently, Alan gave me the most wonderful gift of a copy of the absolutely FABULOUS Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen.  Last Friday night, myself and Alan took over himself and Colette’s  lovely (HOIGE) kitchen to team-tag cook a Harvest Meal for Niall and  Colette.

Our aim was to include at least one ingredient from Alan’s backyard veg patch in each course, as well as some produce from his brother’s farm.  We stuck mainly to Darina’s book for recipe inspiration and by gum, did we have a feast.

From Darina’s book, we followed the recipe for our Roast Lamb as well as the Wild Salmon Carpaccio with Brown Bread and Mustard & Dill Mayonnaise.  You MUST buy this book.  Even if you don’t actually cook anything from it, just reading through it is an education in itself.  Honestly.  Go forth and buy it.

In the end we designed a seven course menu – with two cheats’ courses of shop-bought Sorbet and Cheese Plate – and picked a wine to go with each course.

My personal favourite of the night’s was our Wild Salmon Carpaccio from Darina’s book.  I’ve included the recipe below with the aim of inspiring you all to get a copy of this really wonderful book.  The brown bread you see in the pics is a loaf that I made using her fool-proof recipe – it was my very first solo batch and I was really proud of it.

What you need for Darina Allen’s amazing Wild Salmon Carpaccio for 4

1 or 2 fillets of Wild Salmon

  • Wild Salmon is pretty expensive.  What I did in the end was get 1 fillet of Wild Salmon (around €6) and 1 fillet of Organic Salmon (around €3) from Kish Fish.  In fairness, one fillet might have been enough for us, but it was so delicious that between the four of us we scoffed the lot.  You’d definitely need 2 fillets for more than four people so it’s up to you whether you want to go Wild or Organic.  Darina  strongly urges you go for the Wild Salmon but stresses that the most important thing is to get the freshest fish possible.

Olive Oil

Fresh Lemon Juice – 1 lemon

Ground Pepper

A few slices of Brown Soda Bread, as fresh as possible

For the Mustard and Dill Mayonnaise (re-named Amazonnaise by Alan)

I thought this was going to be a disaster but apart from hurting my arm a bit, this recipe was kick-ass and it was my biggest triumph of our Harvest Meal – making my own mayonnaise for the first time.  Win!

1 large organic egg yolk

2 tablespoons French Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon white sugar

150ml groundnut (sometimes known as Peanut Oil) or sunflower oil

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped

salt and freshly ground white pepper

Firstly, put your salmon fillets in the freezer for 30 minutes before serving.  This will make it firm and help you to finely slice it.

Now make your mayonnaise, which will keep for a day or two at least.

  • “Whisk the egg yolk with the mustard and sugar, then drip in the oil drop by drop, whisking all the time, then add the vinegar, fresh dill and seasoning.”

The whisking part took around 5 minutes.  Adding the oil little drop by drop is important to stop the whole lot splitting, as far as I know.  So although it’s tempting to throw the whole lot in, try not to as the pain is worth the gain of home-made mayo!

I popped that in the fridge until ready for serving.

Once your salmon has been in the fridge for 30 minutes, take it out and with a very, very sharp knife, slice off the thinnest slices you can manage.  Alan did this job admirably well and we ended up with a huge plate of lovely and thin salmon pieces.  We added a squeeze of lemon juice all over as well as the cracked salt and pepper.  We garnished it with a lovely Mint plant flower from Alan’s garden.

We served the whole lot on a big platter so everyone could tuck in together, with the bowl of Brown Bread and our Mustard and Dill mayonnaise on the side, with some nice Spanish Albirinho white wine.  Total winner, definitely my favourite course of the night.

Such a win.  Here’s our menu in full:

First Course: Pea & Mint Soup

Pea and Mint Soup with Pancetta and Cream (using fresh mint from Alan’s garden) more or less following this recipe.

Second Course: Tomato and Basil Bruscetta (using cherry tomatoes from Alan’s garden).

Third Course: Wild Salmon Carpaccio

Wild Salmon Carpaccio with home-made brown bread and Mustard & Dill Mayonnaise.  Using a mint flower from Alan’s garden for garnish :)

Fourth Course: Palate Cleansing Sorbet – from M&S :)

Fifth Course: Leg of Lamb with Seasonal Vegetables

Roasted Leg of Lamb with amazing Semolina coated roasties and lovely roast carrots, mint sauce and an accidental cauliflower sauce.  All of our vegetables were from Alan’s brother’s farm.  Delicious.  Please excuse my rubbish presentation!  I didn’t even realise I’d made a Sesame Street style face with my food of scrumptious grub.

Sixth Course: Catatrosphic Cherry Clafoutis (with cherries from Alan’s garden)

Having wine with each course no doubt had something to do with my extreme pudding fail.  Well, the fact that I was sloshed by the time I was making my tried and tested Clafoutis was unaided by the fact that I weighed it by eye.  Never a good idea.  Instead of a deliciously light and spongy clafoutis, we ended up with a sweet omlette.  Although that sounds nice, it was completely inedible.  I was gutted as Alan’s cherries were so delicious – sadly, they went to Dessert Hell.  What a waste :(

Thankfully, Colette had picked up some lovely Chocolate Chip Ice-cream.

Seventh Course: Cheese, grapes & Dessert Wine

And I’d cook/eat it all again in a second :)

Categories: Dinner


  1. Great snaps Aoife. The salmon was my favourite course too, I haven’t been able to eat bland ol’ jarred mayonnaise since. The bread was superb too.

    Bring on the Halloween Banquet!

  2. I think I need to visit Alan’s garden. And now will be getting said book. Looking it up now :D

    • Seriously – ask him for advice about it over on twitter @coillfhada. He has a lovely garden but it’s only small and it’s in the outskirts of the city. He just has green fingers and has been able to get an awful lot out of a relatively small space!

  3. So … when is your next dinner party?

    I was just thinking of this book today and wondering what it might have to say about canning. I’m assuming it has a section on that?

    • Hee hee! Well, I might have to take it easier on the 7 course dinners since we started our Food Bloggers’ Weight Loss Program :)

      Seriously, it’s a fantastic book, so inspiring and just FULL of amazing recipes. There’s definitely a section on perserving but canning I haven’t noticed yet. It’s probably in there though. You should get it regardless though, it’s just a great, great book!

  4. That all looks amazing.

  5. Great job, nice post.

  6. Hey Aoife – oh my god what a feast – lucky collette and alan. That mayonaise looks amazing – I have some dill in me garden that is just asking to be mayo-ed. Shame about the dessert – can’t win them all I guess

  7. Hi Lottie – thanks a mill!

    Hi Charles – thank you!

    Hey Lucy – twas a feast all right. Really, it was lucky Niall and Colette as Alan and I did all the cooking :) Good team work. The mayonnaise was really yum actually – made up for the dessertisaster!

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  10. this looks absolutely scrumptious. I agree with Darina that wild salmon is the way to go the flavor is just simply better.

    • Thanks a million and thanks for visiting the blog. The salmon carpaccio was my favourite part of the meal, so amazing. And you don’t need much to feed four people, we would have had enough with just our one wild salmon fillet, so it’s worth paying extra for as served like this as a starter it goes a long way! So beautiful.