Catherine's Sesame Pork Meatballs with Pappardelle

The Italian side of my family might well tut tut for suggesting pappardelle with Asian-influenced meatballs, but they’re a cracking good combination.

Sesame Pork Meatballs with Pappardelle Pasta

Serves 4

For the pork meatballs:

  • 500g lean minced pork
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 100g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 30g sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sunflower oil
  • For the Pappardelle pasta:
  • 300g pappardelle pasta
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  1. Combine the pork mince, spring onions, garlic, breadcrumbs, sesame seeds, oyster sauce, mustard, beaten egg and salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Fry a tiny piece of the mixture and check for seasoning, adjusting the main mixture if required.
  2. Using wet hands, roll the mixture into 20 meatballs.
  3. Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
  4. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Add some oil and sauté the meatballs for about 10 minutes, until cooked through.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pappardelle according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and toss with the butter, sweet chilli sauce and sesame oil.
  6. Divide the pasta immediately between 4 plates and place the meatballs on top.

Catherine's Rhubarb Orange & Ginger Cheesecake

Rhubarb Orange and Ginger Cheesecake

Serves 12

 For the rhubarb

  • 150g fresh rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 5cm lengths
  • 80g Suicra caster sugar
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 70ml water

 For the base

  • 20 digestive biscuits, crushed finely
  • ½ orange, zest only
  • 120g melted butter

For the filling

  • 200ml cream
  • 1½ leaves gelatine
  • 400g soft smooth cream cheese
  • 70g Siucra icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped crystalised ginger
  • ½ orange, zest only

For the orange topping

  • 150ml orange juice
  • 80g Siucra caster sugar
  • 1½ gelatine leaves
  • Orange segments, to decorate
  • Candied orange rind, to decorate
  • Poached rhubarb, to decorate
  • Mint leaves, to decorate

To cook the rhubarb, place the rhubarb pieces into a large saucepan, sprinkle over the Siucra caster sugar and ground ginger and pour in the water. Carefully poach for about 10 minutes, moving from time to time until just cooked but the pieces are whole. Once cooked, leave too cool completely.  

To make the base, line the base of a 23cm spring form baking tin with parchment. Brush the sides generously with melted butter.    

Place the crushed biscuits and orange zest into a bowl. Pour enough melted butter to coat the biscuits and spoon this mixture into the base of the spring form tin, flatten with the back of a spoon.

Leave in the fridge to set for ½ an hour.

To make the cheesecake filling, warm the cream in a saucepan over a medium heat. Place the gelatine leaves into 100ml cold water to soak until softened. Squeeze the excess water from the soaked gelatine leaves and place into the warm cream and stir until dissolved. Leave to cool. Whisk the cream cheese, Siucra icing sugar, vanilla extract, crystalised ginger and orange zest together. When the cream is cold, whisk it into the cream cheese mixture.

Drain the poaching liquid from the cold rhubarb pieces, retain a few pieces for decorating with. Fold the piece into the cream cheese mix and spoon over the biscuit base.

Leave in the fridge for at least 6 hours to set.

To make the orange topping, place the orange juice and Siucra caster sugar into a saucepan and heat until just hot and the sugar dissolved. Place the gelatine leaves into 100ml cold water to soak until softened.

Squeeze the excess water from the soaked gelatine leaves and place into the hot orange juice and stir quickly until the gelatine is dissolved. Cool this down by placing the saucepan on some ice or in very cold water and letting the liquid thicken slightly before pouring over the top of the cheesecake mix.

Leave to set in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

To serve, run a warm thin palette knife carefully around the tin, unlock the tin, peel the wrap off and slide on a cake stand.

Decorate with orange segments, candied orange rind, pieces of poached rhubarb and mint leaves.

Catherine's Orange Caramel Drip Cake

Orange Caramel Chocolate Drip Cake
Serves 12

 For the cake

  • 260g softened butter
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 8 eggs
  • 420g plain flour, sifted
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 120ml milk

For the caramel

  • 150ml caster sugar
  • 75ml cream

For the filling cream

  • 125g raspberries
  • 1 large orange, zest only
  • 100g butter cream

For the butter cream

  • 550g softened butter
  • 1kg sifted icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp espresso coffee
  • 3 tbsp water milk or water

For the chocolate drip

  • 100g chocolate drops (70% cocoa solids)
  • 50ml double cream
  • 1 cake board

Daisies, to decorate

Sprinkles, to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Line 2 x 23cm cake tins with baking parchment.

To make the cake, place the butter into the mixing bowl of mixer, gradually add the sugar and whisk until fluffy and pale.
Add the eggs, all at once and mix well. Fold in the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Stir in the milk to form a soft cake batter.
Divide between the 2 cake tins and bake in the preheated oven for about 26 to 28 minutes. To check if the cake is cooked, insert a skewer in the centre and if it comes out clean the cake is cooked.
Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. When cold, remove from the tins, slice each cake layer in half lengthways.

To make the caramel, place the sugar into a saucepan and heat slowly until an amber colour, take the sugar off the heat and whisk in the cream. Pour into the jar and leave to cool.

To prepare the butter cream, place all the ingredients into the bowl of a mixer and whisk for 5 minutes until light and fluffy, spoon in the caramel and whisk again for 1 minute.

To assemble, mash the raspberries with a fork and set aside. Place one layer of cake on a cake board or cake stand, spread over some butter cream, half of the raspberries and zest half of the orange on top. Place on another layer of cake on top, spread more butter cream over and another layer of cake and spread more butter cream on top, add the other half of the raspberries and the orange zest. Finally place the last layer on top.
Spread more butter cream over the top and sides, smoothing it evenly around the sides and evenly on top. Leave in the fridge to set for 30 minutes.

Pipe an edge around the base of the cake.

To prepare the chocolate drip, place the chocolate drops into a sauce and add the cream and heat slowly until melted and smooth, keep stirring. Leave to cool just slightly but it still must be able to “drip”. Spoon into a piping bag without a nozzle and snip the tip of the bag. Pipe the warm chocolate around the top of the cake, leaving it to drip down the sides of the cake. Leave to set for about 10 minutes before piping swirls on top with butter cream and decorating with daisies and sprinkles.     

Mary's Brown Bread

This is a ‘fond memory’ bread which my mother made very often – and in two minutes flat we’d demolish it! It’s made in a Pyrex bowl. Something simple .... but there’s something comforting about the aroma of soda bread baking in the oven.

  • 225g plain flour
  • 225g wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp bread soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 40g butter, melted (about 2 tbsp), plus extra for brushing
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • 380ml buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6.

Brush a 900ml Pyrex bowl with melted butter.

Place the flours and salt into a large bowl. Sift in the bread soda and mix well. Put the molasses, melted butter, egg and buttermilk in a jug and whisk well. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix to form a soft dough.

Transfer to the prepared Pyrex bowl. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. To

check that the loaf is cooked, tap the base – it should sound hollow. Transfer to a cooling rack. If you want a soft crust, cover with a damp tea towel.

Catherine's Chocolate Roman Numeral Tart

Chocolate Roman Numeral Tart

Makes 23cm

This is a delicious rich chocolate tart. If you have a sweeter tooth than me (though I’m hard to beat), add some runny honey to the cream when mixing the filling.

For the pastry

  • 220g plain flour
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 100g cold butter, diced
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp cold water

For the filling

  • 60g butter
  • 200g chocolate drops
  • 3 tbsp rum
  • 80g cooked beetroot, pureed
  • 200ml double cream
  • 3 eggs, beaten

For the clock face

  • Cocoa powder, for dusting
  • White “roll out” fondant icing
  • Gold edible shimmer powder
  • Paint brush
  • Music notes and numeral cutters

Preheat the oven to 190°C/ Fan 170°C/Gas 5. Brush a 23cm deep loose-base tart tin with melted butter. 

To make the pastry, sieve the flour, icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl. Add the diced butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Beat the egg with the water and add to the flour and butter and mix until the pastry forms a medium dough.  Wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes before rolling out.

Flour a work surface with some cocoa powder and roll out the pastry slightly larger than the tin.  Line the tin with the pastry and lightly prick the base with a fork. Place in the fridge to rest for approximately 20 minutes.  Remove from the fridge, line with parchment paper and fill with baking beans or rice. Place in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until just baked. Set aside.

To make the filling, add the butter, chocolate and rum to a bain marie and melt gently. Set aside to cool.  Add the beetroot to the chocolate butter mixture and fold in the cream and eggs.

Carefully pour the mix into the pastry case and bake for about 20 minutes or until just set. Leave to cool completely and only add the clock face when you are about to serve.

To make the clock numbers, roll out the white fondant, paint with the golden shimmer and then cut out “12 / 3 / 6 / 9” in roman numerals.  Cut out two “clock arms” with a sharp knife – one shorter than the other and paint with gold shimmer and leave all to dry.

This is best done overnight or kept dry in a sealed container.  

When ready to serve, lift the tart out of the tin and place on a board or cake stand. Dust the tart with cocoa powder. Place the numbers on the tart.  Position the “clock arms” on the face – five to twelve and serve.

Fine foodCatherine FilvioGood living


Ballyknocken House & Cookery School
Glenealy, Ashford,
Co Wicklow, A67 X720
Ireland. Tel: +353 (0)404 44627
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