Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Monday, June 27, 2016

[Events] Hooked by Aldi in support of Foodcloud

Over the last few years, Aldi Ireland have established themselves as a regular attendee at Taste of Dublin, which they cleverly use to showcase their range of Irish ingredients. Two years ago I dined on a steak feast inside a wooden hut, while last year's meal was enjoyed in a space decorated by Peter Kelly, better known as Weddings by Franc.

This year, the theme was Irish seafood, hence the moniker Hooked by Aldi, and the venue was a fun beach-style hut in bright blue and white. But the real innovation this year came in the form of support for Foodcloud. Established by Iseult and Aoibheann, Foodcloud is a social enterprise that connects businesses (like Aldi) who have surplus food to local charities. In other words, rather than throwing out unwanted or unsold food, Foodcloud ensures that it does not go to waste, but is used instead to feed people who need it.

I genuinely cannot stand food waste, and I feel terrible when I have to bin uneaten lettuce, veggies or meat from our fridge. Not only do I feel bad at the thought of throwing out food, and by default, all the effort that went into growing it, but I also hate the idea of literally chucking money in the bin. I suppose that I'm finally starting to take after my mother in earnest. (I'll be stockpiling jamjars soon). So it's a no brainer that I think Foodcloud is an excellent initiative and one that's well worth supporting.

All diners at the Hooked by Aldi beach hut could eat for free, but were asked to make a cash donation to support Foodcloud. A meagre €10 can facilitate 40 meals to people in need, and to give credit where it's due, Aldi has donated over 277,000 meals and promised to match the amount donated at Taste of Dublin 2016. If you want to show your support for Foodcloud, make sure to check out the "Get Involved" section of their website.

The chefs from the Hooked by Aldi event have provided some recipes inspired by the dishes that they served up at the event. Feel free to copy the recipes and put them to the test in your own kitchen, using Irish seafood.

Disclaimer: I was invited to dine at Hooked by Aldi, as a guest of Aldi, and it goes without saying, we did donate to Foodcloud. 
Dishes from the chefs at Hooked by Aldi
Aldi pan-fried sea bass fillets with creamed cabbage and bacon
Serves 4 

4 tbsp olive oil
4 x rashers of unsmoked streaky bacon, derinded and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
½ celeriac, peeled & diced
½ head of Savoy cabbage, core removed, finely shredded
200ml Clonbawn pouring cream
4 Skellig Bay Seabass fillets, 170 – 200g each
100g Kilkeely Pure Irish Creamery Butter, diced
½ fresh lemon
Small bunch of curly or flat parsley, roughly chopped.
Garnish: (optional)
2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp diced tomato, skin & seeds removed

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the chopped bacon and fry for few minutes, then stir in the carrot & celeriac. Cover with a lid, reduce to a medium heat and cook for a further 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the shredded cabbage and cook for a further 3 minutes, then pour in the cream. Simmer until the cream begins to thicken and the cabbage is tender. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Heat a large non stick fry pan & add the remaining olive oil. Pat the fish fillets dry with some absorbent kitchen paper, then season with salt & pepper. Once the pan is hot, add the fish, skin side down and fry for 2 minutes until golden brown in colour underneath.

Turn the fish over onto its other side and add the butter.  Squeeze over the lemon juice and once the butter begins to foam, add the chopped parsley. Spoon the butter over the fish and remove from the heat.

Place the creamed cabbage in the centre of four warmed serving plates topped with the bass fillets. Spoon any remaining pan juices over the bass fillets, garnish with the caper berries, diced tomato and serve.

Aldi pan-fried fillet of hake with asparagus chive hollandaise
Serves 4
12 asparagus tips
4 Fillets of  Skellig Bay Hake (180-210g)
25g Kilkeely Pure Irish Creamery butter

Chive Hollandaise Sauce:
3 large Healy’s Farm egg yolks
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice
225g Kilkeely Pure Irish Creamery butter - melted
2 tablespoons of boiling water (if required)
Sea salt
Pepper mill
Chives, chopped


Heat a large saucepan of water and keep on a slow simmer.

Place the egg yolks in a large bowl with the white wine vinegar or lemon juice. Place the bowl over the simmering water and continue to whisk until the egg yolks become light and creamy in colour and consistency. Be careful not to overcook the eggs and whisk continuously.

Remove the bowl from the heat. Continue to whisk the eggs whilst pouring in the melted butter very slowly. If the sauce is a little thick whisk in the boiling water to thin it down. Add the chopped chives and season to taste.

Cut the asparagus and drop into a large pot of boiling salted water, cooking for 2-3 minutes, until just tender.

Place the fish on a tray and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large frying pan and add the butter.
Lay the fish fillets skin side down on the hot pan. After 1 minute turn the heat down to medium and cook until the skin is golden brown. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and turn the fillets carefully. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. When fully cooked remove the fish from the pan.

Put three asparagus spears on a plate, place the fish on top of the asparagus and nape with a little of the hollandaise sauce. Serve immediately.

Aldi salmon rillette
300g Skellig Bay salmon
75g Specially Selected organic Irish smoked salmon - sliced into strips
60g crème fraiche/greek yogurt
35g Kilkeely pure Irish creamery butter, melted
30g chives, chopped
1 shallot, diced
1 lemon
20ml white wine
Salt and pepper


Place the fresh salmon in a pot of cold water with salt, pepper, chopped shallot, squeeze of lemon and 20ml of white wine and bring to the boil. As soon as the water boils, turn it down to a simmer and cook for 7-8 minutes. Remove the fish from the water and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Flake the salmon while still warm and add in the smoked salmon, chopped chives and a squeeze of lemon. Mix gently with a spoon, being careful not to break the fish into a puree. Now add the crème fraiche (make sure the mix is cool enough so as not to melt the crème fraiche) and melted butter. Slowly mix to incorporate all the ingredients and being careful not to over mix the fish. Season to taste.

The salmon can be pressed into a bread tin that has been lined with cling film or into ramekins. Chill for 8 hours or overnight before serving. Serve with some warm toast and some fresh cucumber pickle.

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