Chocolate Comfort with Neven Maguire & Flavoursome Fowl from Brian McDermott

Some chocolate comfort from ‘The Nations Favourite Food’ by Neven Maguire 

MacNean Chocolate Orange Truffles

This is on our Petits Fours section in the restaurant and we tend to change the flavour on a weekly basis, much to the delight of our customers. If you would like to experiment with different flavours, here is a selection that we serve in the restaurant. Try adding 2 tablespoons of Coole Swan Dairy Cream Liquer instead of the Cointreau or the same amount of Créme De Menthe also works well.

Makes about 35

You will need:

125ml (4 1/2fl oz) cream

finely grated rind of 1 orange

250g (9oz) plain chocolate, broken into squares (at least 70% cocoa solids)

125g (4 1/2oz) butter

4 tbsp Cointreau liqueur

For the coating:

225g (8oz) plain chocolate, broken into squares (at least 70% cocoa solids)

cocoa powder, for dusting

How to do it:

Place the cream and orange rind in a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, then whisk in the chocolate and butter until smooth and melted. Stir in the Cointreau and transfer to a bowl. Leave to cool completely, whisking every 20 minutes so that the butter is evenly distributed. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and chill for 2–3 hours, until set firm, stirring occasionally to present a skin from forming.

When the mixture is cold and set, use a melon baller to scoop it into 1.75cm (3/4in) balls. Make sure to dip the melon baller in hot water to give the chocolate mixture a better shape. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with non-stick parchment paper.

To make the coating, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave. Leave to cool a little, then dip the truffles in the melted chocolate and quickly roll in the cocoa powder. Place in the fridge to set.

To serve, arrange the truffles on a plate and hand around to guests while they are enjoying their coffee.

Neven’s Top Tip:

These truffles will keep well in the fridge for up to 1 week in an airtight container. They can also be frozen very successfully, but should always be left at room temperature to thaw out completely.

And … From Brian McDermott’s book ‘Reunite with Food’ – His Favourite Chicken Casserole

Chicken casseroles are delicious, easy, comforting and fabulous recipes to make ahead of time. This is a great meal to get people sitting together and chatting. I believe while we still all love roast chicken it is nice to have a change and this recipe does exactly that.  This is a very economical dish and will easily feed six people.

 Serves 4

You will need: 

1 Whole Chicken approx 1.5kg

50g Flour

2 Carrots

1 Onion

8 – 10 Mushrooms

2 Cloves Garlic crushed

400g Chopped Tomatoes

2 Tablespoons Tomato Puree

Olive Oil

100 ml Chicken Stock

100ml  Red Wine

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

4 Sprigs of Thyme

Fresh parsley


How to do it:


Preheat oven to 160°C. Dip chicken cuts into flour. Slice the onion, carrot, mushroom. Heat the pan with oil. Add the floured pieces of chicken and sear well then transfer chicken to casserole dish.Season with black pepper.

In the pan in which chicken was fried, add the onion, garlic, carrot, thyme, mushroom, and fry for 1 minute then add red wine and allow to reduce by half.

Now add tomatoes and tomato puree followed by the chicken stock.  Pour sauce in between the chicken pieces and not over the chicken as you want the skin to stay crisp.

Place in preheated oven for approx 50 minutes @ 160°C. Once cooked remove chicken pieces and leave to rest. In the casserole dish add chopped parsley.Garnish with sprig of thyme. Serve either plated or family style.

BRIAN’S TOP TIP: Serve with roasted potatoes & Add other vegetables like green beans and celery.