Delicious Dishes with Imelda Tynan - cooking for others

Many people I speak to about cooking get very nervous at the thought of having to cook for other people.

Many people I speak to about cooking get very nervous at the thought of having to cook for other people.

I’m regularly asked about ideas for dishes for entertaining small groups or for larger occasions. People are usually looking for something fabulous that takes minimum effort and time. Try to pick something that can be prepared in advance. The most basic ingredients can be put together to create something that tastes fabulous and can be a real delight for your guests. The really good thing about this week’s recipes is that you probably have most of the ingredients at home already.

The red onion and goat’s cheese tartlets are very easy to make, even allowing for the time to cook the marmalade. It’s one of those recipes that when you try it once, you’ll find yourself going back to it again and again. They can be prepared in advance and cooked when you need them. You can use them as a starter, main course or they can be a vegetarian option if you need one. The ginger and cinnamon puddings with roasted pears and butterscotch sauce tastes divine and once made will disappear before your eyes. If you never make desserts please make this one, it is an old classic recipe and like the tartlet recipe you will find yourself using it again and again.

Red Onion & Goat’s Cheese Tartlets

4 Red Onions, thinly sliced

5oz Golden Brown Sugar

3tbsp Red Wine

3bsp Red Wine Vinegar

1tsp Olive Oil

Red Onion Marmalade

In a large saucepan heat the oil and add the onions and cook over a high heat until they begin to colour and soften, then add in the sugar and continue to cook. The sugar will soften and coat the onions, allow the sugar to boil and then add the red wine and red wine vinegar. Allow the mixture to come to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated, stirring frequently to avoid it from sticking.


1 Packet Puff Pastry, pre rolled

Red Onion Marmalade

5oz Soft Goat’s Cheese

12 Cherry Tomatoes

Fresh Basil Leaves

Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to 180. Grease a 12 cup muffin tray, and then lay out the puff pastry and cut out large discs with a biscuit cutter and place a disc of pastry in each cup. Place 1 cherry tomato, and some shredded basil leaves in the bottom of each cup, then add in one teaspoon of red onion marmalade, next place a slice of goat’s cheese on top and season with black pepper. Bake in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes.

Baked Ginger Pudding with Baked Pears

4oz Butter

6oz Flour

1 level tsp Baking Powder

1tsp Ground Cinnamon

1tsp Ground Ginger

½tsp Ground Cloves

2 Large Free Range Eggs

6oz Brown Sugar

2 dessertspoons Black Treacle

180ml Milk

Sieve the flour, baking powder and spices together, melt the butter and add to the eggs, treacle, brown sugar and milk, pour into the dry ingredients and mix to a smooth batter. Divide the mix into 8 greased ramekin dishes and bake for 20 minutes at 180 until the skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Roasted Pears

6 Small Pears

6oz Castor Sugar

Cup of Water

1 Cinnamon Stick

2oz Butter

Pinch of Brown Sugar

Peel and core the pears and place in a saucepan, cover with the water, and add the sugar and the cinnamon stick and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the pears and transfer to a baking tray, sprinkle with a pinch of brown sugar and the butter. Bake in the oven for approximately 10 minutes until they are sticky and caramelised.

Butterscotch Sauce

2oz Butter

2oz Brown Sugar

200ml Pouring Cream

Melt the butter and brown sugar until melting point and whisk in the cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with ginger pudding and roasted pears.