Three favourite family meals to take refuge in

Nothing soothes more than a nice dinner at home. Here are three classics chez Paul Flynn

I can’t imagine having a partner who didn’t care about food. It simply wouldn’t have happened. I spotted my wife’s potential immediately, but to be sure, I took her out to my favourite restaurant at the time, Kensington Place. Rowley Leigh was the head chef, a much esteemed cook and food writer. I loved the place. It was boisterous, perennially packed and super-cool. The food was modern British with Italian influences. There was none of the staidness of French haute cuisine, with its whispering dining rooms.

A lunch there with friends was deliciously hedonistic, hours passed in a flash, all laughter, gossip and clinking glasses. We all worked in the industry. KP, as we affectionately called it, made us feel as if we had achieved something simply by being there.

The new Irish stuck together, but this time not in Kilburn or Cricklewood. All of London was ours to be had. We were ambitious and we weren’t afraid of hard work. Máire, my young soon-to-be-wife, embraced the food and our profession and moved over to London to be with me shortly afterwards. I’ll always be grateful.

Many years later, food is still our refuge. After a hard week in the restaurant, there is nothing that will soothe us more than a nice dinner at home, and these dishes are some of my favourites.


The most technical thing here is the onion tarte Tatin, but it’s not really complicated once you put your mind to it. The reverse-sear steak is a revelation. It was my first time ever cooking it this way. It is unconventional; the trick is to cook it backwards. First it is slowly cooked in a very low oven. This ensures minimum shrinkage and maximum tenderness. Then it is flash-fried, to get a deep caramelisation. You will need a meat thermometer to get this right. If you do, then it will melt in your mouth like beautiful beefy butter.

Recipe: Reverse-sear côte de boeuf, red onion tarte Tatin, horseradish butter

Recipe: Chicken in cider cream

Recipe: Cod baked with butterbeans, olives and smoked paprika