Today is the beginning of a slightly new departure for my weekly columns. On the first issue each month, together with Ciara Leahy, my long-term friend and food and consumer editor at Irish Farmers Journal, we will have ideas for family and friends celebrations, sometimes it will be a dinner party, other months it may be a match day or a seasonal celebration.

Ciara and I will also be chatting about the meal over video chat and Ciara will be giving her wine pairing suggestions. It will be on and I hope you will enjoy it.

Today has a very Spanish theme. I have always loved Spanish food and earlier in the year I was able to visit Majorca and Menorca to record my new TV series for RTÉ. It required a lot of arranging but we were able to do it and abide by all of the COVID-19 requirements. I met a lot of great producers and chefs. All went well and the series begins soon on RTÉ One on Wednesday 8 September at 8.30pm

This piri piri prawn starter is one that I cook often. It is a beautifully tasty way to begin a meal. It is delicious with rice or with sour dough bread. Get the best prawns for this at your local fishmonger if possible.

In the Balearic Islands, I ate their version of chorizo – a local delicacy which goes by the name sobrassada. Try it if you get a chance.

I always enjoy sampling the regional variations of food. The chicken and chorizo rice bake is a tasty one-pan dish that will go down well with family and friends any time. It is packed with vegetables and full of flavour with the juices of the chorizo going into the rice. This recipe also works well with chicken breasts.

The dessert today is a Spanish version of the well-known French crème brulée. It uses milk, not cream, and is easier to make. This recipe has the delicious Spanish citrus fruits, oranges and lemons, to take away the sweetness of the topping. It is a light and delicious way to finish a meal. You need time for this dessert to cool so it is probably best to make it the day before and have it ready with just the sugar to carmelise on the night. I hope you enjoy this meal and do look out for Ciara and I chatting on

Happy cooking,



Piri piri prawn and chorizo skewers

Piri piri prawn and chorizo skewers. \ Food styling: Janine Kennedy. Photography: Claire Nash

Serves four to six

For the dressing:

2-3 Italian grilled peppers

½ tsp organic harissa spice

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 clove garlic

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp caster sugar

150ml extra virgin olive oil or the reserved oil from the grilled peppers

Fresh basil

Sea salt & ground black pepper

For the prawns

2 x 200g packets of Wild Atlantic jumbo prawns, peeled and with tails still intact

1 x Spanish Chorizo Ibérico De Bellota, cut into 1cm-thick slices

2 tbsp olive oil

Bamboo skewers

  • 1 Mix all of the dressing ingredients together in a mini chopper/blender.
  • 2 Transfer to an airtight jar if you are not using immediately.
  • 3 Place the prawn and chorizo pieces on the skewers – 1 piece of chorizo followed by 2 prawns, repeating that pattern again and finishing off with another piece of chorizo, as can be seen in the photo. Alternatively, you can place a piece of chorizo in the bend of the prawn and place it on the skewer together.
  • 4 Heat a griddle pan until smoking hot (cook in batches if cooking large amount).
  • 5 Gently place the skewered prawns on to the heated griddle pan and drizzle over the olive oil.
  • 6 Cook for two to three minutes before turning over. Once turned over, smear a spoon of the prepared dressing over each of the skewers.
  • 7 Turn off the pan to prevent over cooking if you need to and continue to turn over to finish cooking.
  • 8 To serve, place the skewers on a serving plate and serve a small dish of dressing alongside.
  • Cornfed chicken & chorizo rice bake

    Cornfed chicken & chorizo rice bake. \ Food styling: Janine Kennedy. Photography: Claire Nash

    Serves four

    2 tbsp of rapeseed oil

    25g butter

    8 Irish chicken thighs

    1 large onion, peeled and sliced

    2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

    100g Spanish chorizo, sliced

    350g long grain rice

    2 tsp turmeric

    150ml dry white wine

    600ml chicken stock

    100g frozen peas

    2 tbsp roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4).
  • 2 Add 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil to a large casserole dish with a lid. Add half the butter and place on the hob to heat.
  • 3 Season the chicken thighs and add to the dish, skin-side down. Cook for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Turn over and cook for another minute or so until sealed. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • 4 Add another 1 tbsp of oil together with the remaining butter, then tip in the onion and garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes until softened but not browned.
  • 5 Add the chorizo, rice and turmeric and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring regularly until the chorizo has begun to release its oil and all the rice grains are well coated.
  • 6 Pour the wine into the dish, stirring to combine. Then add the stock.
  • 7 Arrange the chicken on top, pushing the thighs down into the rice. Add in the frozen peas.
  • 8 Cover with the lid, place in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and the chicken and rice are cooked through and tender.
  • 9 Scatter over the parsley and place directly on the table to serve.
  • Catalan crème pots

    Catalan creme pots. \ Food styling: Janine Kennedy. Photography: Claire Nash

    Serves six to eight

    6 egg yolks

    150g (5oz) caster sugar

    25g (1oz) cornflour

    1.2 litres (2 pints) milk

    1 cinnamon stick

    Finely grated rind of 1 lemon

    Finely grated rind of 1 orange

    3 tbsp demerara sugar

  • 1 Place the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl with the sugar and, using a hand-held whisk, beat for 5 minutes until thickened. Tip in the cornflour and mix well to combined.
  • 2 Place the milk in a pan with the cinnamon stick, lemon and orange rind. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for five minutes.
  • 3 Strain the milk, discarding the cinnamon stick, lemon and orange rind and then gradually whisk into the egg and sugar mixture. Place in a clean pan and slowly return to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook gently until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat.
  • 4 Leave to cool, then pour into four individual dishes or ramekins and chill for at least four hours (or overnight is best) to allow the custard pots to firm up.
  • 5 When ready to serve, sprinkle the tops evenly with the demerara sugar and caramelise with blow torch or under a preheated hot grill. Arrange on plates to serve.