Tips on How to Buy Steaks

The average Irish person loves meat and it is usually a family favourite. My weakness is Steak. Some of my customers continually ask me what cut of meat would be best for a particular dish so I have decided to give some pointers on buying Steak and other cuts of Beef.

The number one tip I give customers is that a good butcher will be happy to answer any questions you may have, so ask! They should be knowledgeable about the various grades, cuts, how they should be cooked, and the provenance of the meat – was it reared on organic feed, grass-fed or factory farmed etc? The Grade of meat refers to the age, marbling, colour, and texture of the meat and will also be a determining factor in the price.

“We are what we eat” so another important factor a conscientious consumer might want to take into consideration is how the meat was reared? Know what the labelling means:

  • Grain-Fed: All cattle graze in the pasture for the first part of their lives, but grain-fed stock are then moved to feedlots where they’re fattened up on a concentrated mix of corn, soy, grains, and other supplements, plus hormones and antibiotics to prevent illnesses. Grain-fed cattle yield more tender (fatty) meat, and will usually cost less than organic, natural, and grass-fed, but you have to weigh the pros against all the other things they’ve ingested when choosing what’s right for you, and your family.
  • Natural: Means hormone and anti-biotic free. Much like an athlete who takes hormones to bulk up,  grain-fed cattle are given hormones to bulk them up faster for slaughter. This is done purely to increase the profit. Likewise, antibiotics are given to prevent illness – lessening the risk of having to put a sick cow down (and not be able to sell it). How many times have you heard your doctor say “you shouldn’t take antibiotics unless absolutely necessary, or you might become anti-biotic resistant when you really need them.” Do you really want to ingest them in your meat? There is absolutely no health advantage to you eating these chemicals, and there could quite possibly be health risks to you in the long term.
  • Grass-fed: Cattle graze entirely on grass as they were biologically meant to do. That means it’s better for the cow, and better for the environment. Grass is easier on their digestive system so they don’t emit as much ozone damaging methane gas, and less fuel is used in producing their feed.


Cuts of Beef
Finally, understanding the difference between the cuts helps in making your selection too, and this really boils down to personal preference.

Beef for Roasting – Sirloin, fore rib, fillet

Beef for Pot Roasting- Topside, silverside, brisket, thick flank.

Beef for Stewing and Braising – Chuck, shin, brisket, flank, neck, topside, silverside. (These cuts are also suitable for salting and boiling.)

Beef for Pies – Chuck, brisket, thick flank, shin (foreleg), shin or leg (hind leg).

If you want to serve steak you want to avoid all cuts that require a slow-cooking process to tenderize the meat. The most common cuts for steak are:

  • Fillet Mignon comes from the tenderloin, or most tender cut of beef. It also has very little fat, so it is a great option if you are watching your weight.
  • T-Bones & Porterhouse steaks are cut from both the striploin and tenderloin, so it’s like getting best of both worlds
  • Ribeye’s are a big steak house favourite because they have a lot of fat yielding flavour
  • Sirloin is another lower fat option, generally a more cost effective cut of meat with plenty of flavour, but can be on the tough side.

Beef is a great source of protein and iron. Making informed choices will help you decide what is right for you.

Roasted Garlic & Chili Rub

This versatile rub is an outstanding on any kind of beef, chicken, pork or shrimp. I sometimes find garlic already roasted at the store, which does save time, but it is very simple to do – just check out my note below. Any extra can be saved and used up to 5 days covered and refrigerated, but in my household it goes quickly.

Servings: 8

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes


Roasted Garlic & Chili Rub

  • 1 whole head garlic roasted and squeezed out of its paper like exterior
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil


Roasted Garlic & Chili Rub

  1. Squeeze roasted garlic out of it’s skins into a small bowl. Add chili powder, brown sugar, oregano and salt. Slowly add the olive oil, mixing into a paste consistency.

Serving Suggestions
Serve the rubbed and grilled beef, pork, chicken, shrimp or fish with mashed potatoes and simple grilled vegetables.

Heat To Eat
I like to rub my meat, poultry or seafood and store until I am ready to grill and eat; but you could also heat already cooked meats in the microwave on 50% power to heat without cooking further, for 3-5 minutes, turning midway to distribute heat evenly.

To roast the garlic: Preheat oven to 200°C. Cut a 4-inch square piece of foil and place on a sheet pan. Peel the papery outer layer of a head of garlic off, leaving the skins on. Cut 1/2-inch off of the top of the head of garlic. Place the larger piece of garlic on the square of foil on a sheet pan (save the rest for another use). Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the top coating well. Wrap the foil loosely around the head of garlic and roast in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the garlic is soft and squishy when you squeeze it. Store any excess garlic in an airtight container coating the garlic in olive oil for up to one week.

Poaching Eggs

Poaching eggs is one of the easiest, quickest, and lowest calorie ways of preparing eggs, as there is no added fat. Poached eggs make great additions to salads or sandwiches, or just served simply with toast and a little salt and pepper.


  • Fresh eggs
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons vinegar (rice vinegar works well) (optional)


1. Fill your saucepan with several inches of water, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil.

2. While the water is heating, crack your egg into a shallow cup or bowl, taking care not to break the yolk. Before you add the egg to the water, reduce the water to a simmer, then gently slide the egg into the water.

3. Generally speaking, cook your egg for 2 minutes if you like them runny, 3 minutes for medium firmness and 4 minutes if you like a firmer yolk. The flowing white strands are nothing to worry about.

4. Even if you like your yolk runny, gently touch a thicker part of the egg white to make sure it’s firm, as you lift it from the water. If it is not, sink it back in the water a little while longer. When cooked, remove the egg with a slotted spoon so it can drain and serve immediately.

Randy’s Top tips

  • Fresh eggs will be easier to poach (they’ll hold together better) than older eggs.
  • Vinegar is optional, it will help the eggs hold together, but if you don’t like the taste, don’t use it.
  • To help your egg keep its shape, try swirling the water to create a whirlpool effect before adding your egg.

Alternatively, the truly easiest way to make poached eggs is with an egg poacher.

For a healthy egg option, try poaching your egg and serving on toast, with bacon or on a bed of fresh asparagus for an extra treat!

In the restaurant we serve our poached eggs for breakfast with Burren Smoked Salmon, baby spinach and our homemade 5 seed rye bread. All these ingredients are fantastic super foods: Smoked Salmon is a great source of protein, the antioxidant vitamin E, vitamin B-12 and omega-3 fatty acids. Spinach is high in protein, high in Vitamin A, high in Vitamin K and a great source of folic acid. Click here to find out more about Super foods



How to cook the perfect battered fish….

This is an ideal dish for your guilt free Friday treat – Enjoy!

The secret of the bubbles – whether you prefer pollock or cod, with the skin on or off, everyone agrees that good batter should be light and crisp, which means getting some air into the mixture. There are two principal methods for doing so: adding a raising agent, such as baking powder or yeast, or making up the batter with a carbonated liquid, such as sparkling water or beer.

Perfect battered fish

Proper fried fish needs little in the way of fancy embellishments. Beer and raising agents, for flavour and volume, and good hot fat are all you need for pure, unadulterated happiness. (Oh, and a piece of fresh fish, of course.)

Serves 4

Dripping or oil, for frying
400g plain flour, put in the freezer for 15 minutes before using
3tsp baking powder
550ml very cold beer
4 pieces of sustainable white fish (I used pollock)

1. Heat the fat in a deep-fat fryer or chip pan to 185C. Whisk the baking powder into the chilled flour, along with ½ tsp salt, and then quickly whisk in the cold beer until you have a thick paste. This needs to be done just before you cook the fish.

2. Position the bowl next to the fryer or pan. Have a plate lined with kitchen paper ready. Dip your fish into the batter and then carefully lower it into the hot fat, and agitate the frying basket to prevent the fish sticking to it. This will also give the batter a more interesting texture. Do this one or two pieces at a time: don’t overcrowd the fryer.

3. Cook the fish for about 4–6 minutes, depending on size, keeping a watchful eye on it; it should be crisp and golden. Lift out of the fat and drain on kitchen paper then serve immediately.

Is battered fish an art best left to the professionals, or can you beat the efforts of your local chippie? Which recipe do you use, and what fish do you honour with it? And can anyone suggest a good recipe for proper mushy peas?

To market, to market…. and a simple Apple and Cinnamon pie recipe

Well this past weekend Randaddy’s attended our first ever market!  I know you probably won’t believe it, but we’ve never done anything like this before!

As it is the ‘off season’ we thought the market would be a great opportunity to get out there and meet people, and promote Randaddy’s…… just in case there are any folks who don’t know about us 🙂

We had no idea what to expect.

So we baked bread.  We made scones and cakes.  We whipped up some red pepper and leek hummus, and off we went to the Burren Christmas Family Fayre

What a great time we had!  Major thanks go to the team for all their help, to Majella and Patrick who worked tirelessly in the kitchen, and to Caitriona who manned the stand and has such a wonderful way with customers.   Thank you too to all you guys who came along and supported us, and gave us some wonderful feedback.  So thrilled that you all liked that Red Pepper and Leek Hummus….. there will be more made!

From a personal perspective, I loved meeting the people, I loved meeting other food producers and seeing just how much industry and activity is in the locality.

I totally enjoyed spreading the word about what we are doing at Randaddy’s and am so looking forward to welcoming new people to the restaurant in the new year.

And having been to one market….. I am off to another!  This time I will be on the other side of the stall though.  I am off to the Christmas Market at Doonbeg Lodge where I am hoping to meet lots of local producers, and maybe get some ideas for 2013.

What’s your favourite local market?  Should we be attending more?

Let us know what you think.

And to get those lovely aromas of Christmas going in the house, here’s a really easy recipe for Apple & Cinnamon pies.


  • 1 (17 oz/475g) package puff pastry
  • 3 large red baking apples
  • Small handful of walnuts, or chopped almonds or pecans
  • 75 g brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 beaten egg


  1. Thaw puff pastry according to directions on package.
  2. Peel, core and chop apples up coarsely.
  3. Combine apples with sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and nuts.
  4. Heat oven to 350°F/180°C = gas mark 4
  5. Flour surface lightly and cut pastry sheet into eight 3 in x 3 in squares.
  6. Divide the chopped apples between 4 pastry squares brush edge with beaten egg.
  7. Place second pastry square on the top of the already filled pastry to form a pocket.
  8. Press down border with fingers to seal and then press with fork to decorate the edges.
  9. Make a 1-inch L shape incision into each pie and fold back the pastry flap.
  10. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and brush each square with some beaten egg.
  11. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden.



Indian Spices

I learnt a great deal working in the hospitality business in India. It enlightened me why we westerners have such a love affair with curry in its many and varied forms: a good curry tastes so damn wonderful, whether hot, mild, spicy or a combination of the two – it’s as simple as that.

One whiff of those aromatic, heady spices and we are instantly transported into another world, an exotic world where unusual looking and brightly coloured vegetables fill stalls in loud, busy markets. Where cumin, ground coriander, turmeric and many other spices are piled loose on wooden tables, not in little glass jars on a supermarket shelf – fond memories.

As to picking a favourite, it is near impossible as there are so many. An obvious choice for a cold day would be the hot and sour Madras, or maybe a Vindaloo for those who like potato in the fiery sauce. But for excellent flavour without too much heat, the Rogan Josh offers the spice without the Gosh!

Originally a Persian lamb dish, it found it’s way onto the Kashmiri menu back in the days of the Mughals. Then they used de-seeded chillies for a milder flavour whilst giving the distinctive red tinge to the dish. Over time tomatoes replaced the chilli to produce a juicy and spicy curry still rich in flavour but without too much heat. Best Irish lamb lends itself perfectly to Rogan Josh. Juicy chunks of tender lamb accompanied by home made Nan bread and Basmati rice, cooked with cardamom and a pinch of turmeric, makes Rogan Josh a curry to die for.


Prep: 30 mins | Cook: 2 hours

• 1kg boned leg of lamb
• 1 tablespoon oil or ghee
• 2 onions, chopped
• 125g natural or Greek yoghurt
• 1 teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste
• 1 tablespoon ground coriander
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
• 3 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
• 1 (400g) tin chopped tomatoes
• 1 teaspoon garam masala
• chopped fresh coriander leaves
• 8 tablespoons lentils
• 225ml water
1. Trim the lamb or any excess fat and cut into large cubes.

2. Heat the ghee or oil in a large pot, add the onion, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in the yoghurt, chilli, coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, garlic and ginger. Add the tomatoes and 1 tsp of salt and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the lamb and stir until coated.

3. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 hour. Add lentils and water, stir well, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for another hour, or until lamb is tender and lentils are cooked.

4. Add garam masala to the curry and mix through well. Serve with steamed rice, sprinkle with chopped coriander.

Mussels For Home

Hi to all

Here is a mussel recipe to follow up my video from earlier this week that will work great at home for you to try.
(If you haven’t seen it, click here!


  • 24 fresh, small to medium-sized mussels
  • 3 tablespoons  100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ lemon to squezze over
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Hand full of fresh fennel herb


Place mussels with herbs in large skillet without water. Cover and cook over medium heat, removing the mussels to a warm platter as they open. Discard any that do not open.

Reduce liquid in the skillet to about 2 or 3 tablespoons. Return mussels to skillet. Sprinkle with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Heat for 1 minute.

Serve immediately with crusty bread for dunking.


Ah gnocchi

Ah gnocchi … little pillows of pasta mixed with potatoes and just about any other ingredient that you can get your hands on.

I remember the first time that I tried my hand at making homemade gnocchi I was in India. Your probably thinking what!! Well I had sold myself as a pasta maker to a school of culinary students in before i knew it, one of the teachers had volunteered me to do a demonstration for 250 students.. As you can imagine this was very intimating but never the less I pulled it off.

Now I am doing it again here at randaddys.We have just added wheat free wild mushroom gnocchi to the menu. It’s very simple and easy to make.All the ingredients can be found at the local shop.

Here is a simple recipe that you can make at home the kids will love it.

•3 large baker potatoes. Cooked mashed and cooled.

•1 egg

•About 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

•About 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced

•1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

•Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

•About 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Mix all together and roll out into a long snake like shape. Cut into 2cm pieces, place into boiling water for around 4-5 minutes  and top with your desired sauce..

With the left overs you can put in the freezer for a later time.

Have fun!!!

Spaghetti with Mussels: Spaghetti con Mitili

This is a delicious recipe using local mussels and is simple to make in less than 40 minutes.

With fresh mussels de-beard them and leave them in a bowl of water, then lift them out carefully to keep the sandy sediment at the bottom of the bowl exchange the bowl for a clean one and repeat the process a few times and this will filter most of the sand from them.

1 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, thinly diced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried red chilly flakes
5 rashers of extra streaky bacon
2 tablespoons salted capers
1 bunch Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped to yield 1/4 cup
2 pounds black mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
1 cup dry white wine ( for this I use New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc )
In a large stockpot, bring 6 cups of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and stir so they don’t stick.

Firstly grill the bacon until it is nice and crisp.
In a large stockpot , add the extra-virgin olive oil and lightly saute the red onion. When the onions are translucent, add the sliced garlic and chile flakes. Saute until fragrant. Chop bacon into small pieces and stir into pot . Add the salted capers, parsley, mussels and white wine, and cover quickly, so the steam cooks the mussels. Shake the pot after 1 minute, and again after 2 more minutes. Check the mussels, if they are open and plump, they are cooked.

Drain the pasta in a colander and divide between 4 warmed pasta bowls. Divide the mussels between the 4 bowls of pasta, and pour the wine sauce over, leaving any sandy sediment in the pot.

Winter time treats

While walking the streets all my scenes are alive, rain pours down, the smell of fresh coal burns in the air, and the chill of winter tries to set in. I can’t help but to think about a winter time menus.

 Every year seasons begin and end and with them lovely vegetables, seafood’s and meats have their certain time of year where they stand out in flavours.  Coming into the winter mussels become plump, root veg is taster than ever and game starts to come into play.The lovely robust dishes seem to be on the plates as they are bold, full of flavour, and almost irresistible.

My challenge to you is this. Come up with your own dish that you think would look good on the randaddys menu.Post it on the randaddys page or just below in the comments.

Let your thoughts run wild, your taste buds flourish and come up with something original. Who knows you might see your dish on randaddys menu.

September Fruits

September is here. This is the time of year that leaf start falling to the ground, the days are getting shorter, and you are picking the last of the tomatoes off the vines.

Now there is a few different things you can do with your surplus of tomatoes. You can jar them, pickle them and make a relish, bulk batch of tomato sauce and freeze it down, fresh tomato and basil soup is always nice. But my favourite thing to do is dry them and jar them. These little dried up tomatoes can pack quite a punch and can be used in many different dishes from salads to pastas, stews, sandwiches and almost anything you can imagine

Quarter your tomatoes, place on baking tray, drizzle  olive oil over them. sprinkle some salt and cracked black pepper along with a little roast garlic, oregano and fresh chopped parsley. Put in oven on low heat for around 4 hours or until half size. Take out and place on window ledge so the moister continually comes out. Place in a plastic container and keep refrigerated until the next time you need some love in your food.