Ethna Reynolds is The Burlesque Chef. She describes her food as SexyFood, saying “It’s good food, made to be enjoyed and indulged in. It may be a healthy salad based meal or a creamy cheese based Pasta dish but its the home-made, quality and mood boosting feeling of satisfaction that is what ‘SexyFood’ stands for!” We sat down with Ethna to find out about what’s in her kitchen, and what inspired her culinary journey.
What has been the inspiration behind your food journey?
Travel has been a huge inspiration on what I cook, and how I cook. Every country has a signature cuisine, and some countries would depend on a handful of specific ingredients that maybe us here in Ireland wouldn’t be very familiar with. I love the simplicity of Vietnamese cuisine, and it’s very common to see restaurant staff and chefs buy the produce from the vendors set up outside on the sidewalk. Travel has also reminded my about the wonderful produce Ireland offers, and it’s always a gift to come home to good quality Irish food.
What are your go-to ingredients?
Almost everything starts with onion and garlic sautéed in butter, probably my most favourite smell in the world!
I love to cook with Brandy and Whiskey, especially in sauces as they add a rich depth that sometimes wine cannot reach.
Chilli is one of my signature ingredients, even though my poor body sometimes doesn’t share the same passion as my brain!
What food could you not live without?
Simply, Cheese. My beloved Cheese is always top of my list, and its versatility knows no bounds!
In particular, I have a huge adoration for Irish cheese, with Hegarty’s Cheddar, Cashel Blue, Gubbeen, Ardrahan and Bluebell Falls Goat cheese. The fact that there are so many flavours and textures in the cheese world means I never get bored or tired of this dairy delight!
What’s in your store cupboard, right now?
I think a well-stocked cupboard is the key to spontaneous meals, and mine is both well-stocked and impulsive!
It’s very common to see a lot of Asian ingredients in my store cupboard including Vietnamese rice paper rolls wrappers, Laksa & Tom Yum pastes for a quick fix and rice seasonings.
Coconut milk is one of my most desired additions to meals, it’s so affordable and delicious.
Some nice ideas are to add it to Porridge Oats for a tropical breakfast, as a substitute for milk in an Ice-Cream mix, or simply added to a Thai curry paste for a flavoursome meal.
Flavoured Teabags such as Fennel and Lemon & Ginger are a great warmer, but equally delicious made hot, then cooled and served with Ice as a cooling way to up your daily water intake.
I buy a lot of dried spices to add a quick bit of favour to meats and fish, I love Goodalls meat and fish rubs, Chinese pepper seasoning (hot!) and Celery Salt, which is amazing on Hotdogs.
There is always a jar of Maraschino Cherries and Angostura Bitters for sneaky Cocktails, and a couple of Vintage collectable Salt & Pepper shakers. I recommend ‘Irish Bee Sensations’ Amarena Cherries in Honey and Poitin added to a glass of Prosecco for a weekend treat.