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Sesame seared halloumi salad march 2020 howth cookery school
What to eat

A gluten-free feast from an Irish castle

Howth Castle Cookery School shares super fresh gluten-free recipes.


Impress the coeliac in your life with these recipes from the team at the Howth Castle Cookery School in Dublin.

The Howth Castle Cookery School must be one of the most historic in the world – it's based in an 18th century Georgian kitchen, though the castle itself dates from the 1400s.

Here, tutor Sarah Hughes shares three elegant dishes that just happen to be gluten-free. Serve them up in the garden, with a crisp glass of white wine.

Sarah Hughes of The Howth Castle Cookery School.
Sarah Hughes of The Howth Castle Cookery School.

Sesame-seared halloumi with roasted figs and a pistachio salad with pomegranate dressing

Serves six to eight


  • 2 blocks of halloumi, drained and sliced into five to six slices
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, scattered on a small side plate
  • 3 tablespoons honey, warmed in a small pot plus extra for drizzling on figs
  • 6 figs, cut in quarters lengthways
  • Good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 2 handfuls shelled pistachios
  • 4 handfuls rocket or watercress
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate syrup
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, finely crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Place the figs into a baking dish lined with baking parchment, then drizzle with some balsamic vinegar and honey. Season with black pepper. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  2. Combine the extra virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, lemon juice, crushed garlic and pomegranate syrup until blended and keep in a jam jar. Season to taste.
  3. Brush the halloumi with the warmed honey, then dip in the sesame seeds to coat on either side. Sear on a pre-heated frying pan with a splash of olive oil until golden on either side. Set to one side.
  4. Dress the leaves, plate up the roasted figs, pistachios and the seared halloumi. Finish with extra virgin and lemon juice.

READ MORE: Sweet potato rosti with halloumi and poached eggs

Wild rice pilaf with grilled courgette, fennel and apple, caraway seed dressing

Serves four to six


  • 120g wholegrain basmati rice, cooked to instructions then cooled under cold tap water
  • 30g wild or red rice, prepared in the same way as the basmati
  • 1 large courgette, sliced lengthways really thinly using a mandolin or sharp knife
  • 1 large red apple, skin on, cored and grated
  • Half a fennel bulb, thinly sliced - keep the fronds for plating
  • Small handful chives, finely chopped
  • Large handful mint, leaves loosely torn
  • 1.5 tablespoons caraway seeds, dry-roasted and slightly crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons French dressing


  1. Brush the courgette slices with oil, then sear them on a griddle or a very hot pan. Set aside.
  2. Combine the cooked basmati and wild rice with the chives, mint, caraway seeds, half the apple slices, half the fennel and half of the dressing. Pile in the centre of a large serving plate.
  3. Finish with the griddled courgettes, remaining apple, fresh mint, fennel fronds. Drizzle over the remaining dressing before serving.

READ MORE: Gluten-free Moroccan orange and almond cake recipe

Grilled side of salmon marinated in lemongrass, kaffir lime and basil oil, served with tzatziki

Serves six to eight


  • One large side of salmon, scaled, skin-on, pin-boned and tidied up by your fishmonger
  • 75ml olive oil
  • Zest of two lemons
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Handful each of basil, coriander and mint, roughly chopped
  • 4 spring onions, white and green parts, finely sliced
  • 1 large red chilli, finely chopped 
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, centre stalk removed and finely shredded (the frozen ones are best here)
  • 2 stems of lemongrass, rough outer leaves removed, finely chopped 

For the tzatziki:

  • 500g Greek-style plain yoghurt
  • 1 cucumber, cored and finely cut into small cubes
  • 1 handful chopped mint leaves
  • Large pinch of red chilli flakes
  • A good splash of olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely crushed
  • Juice of half a lemon


  1. Cut slashes into the skin of the salmon, being careful not to go too far through the flesh.
  2. Combine half of the fresh herbs and all of the remaining ingredients together in a bowl. Rub all of this marinade all over the fish, pushing some of the mix into the incisions on the salmon. Allow to infuse ideally for two hours, but 20 minutes will do at a push.
  3. Pre-heat your grill to its highest setting for five minutes until it’s seriously hot. Line the tray with tin foil and rub with a little oil and seasoning. Heat the tray in the oven for two minutes.
  4. Remove the bulk of the marinade herb mixture from the skin side and push to the underside of the salmon.
  5. With the skin side of the salmon facing up and not too close to the element, it should take about 10-12 minutes to cook depending on thickness. The skin should get nice and crispy and a little charred in places. You shouldn’t need to turn it, though it’s a very thick piece of fish, turn the oven off, close the door and let the salmon sit in the residual heat for another five minutes.
  6. To make the tzatziki, mix the yoghurt, chopped cucumber, lemon juice, mint, red pepper flakes and olive oil together. Check for taste and season well with salt and pepper. Return to the fridge until ready to use.
  7. Serve the salmon on a large platter with skin-side down, along with the cucumber yoghurt. Sprinkle with the remaining fresh herbs and red pepper flakes. Drizzle with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon a touch of salt.

READ MORE: Top tips for gluten-free baking

For more info on Howth Castle Cookery, click here.

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