Monday, 30 November 2015

Pan Fried Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary

Pan Fried Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary

Here is my modern twist on the everyday roast potato which is a firm favourite over the festive season. I am doing a series of recipes for Dairygold for their "Tomorrows Table", a modern take on everyday recipes we cook here in Ireland.
For more modern Irish recipes visit Tomorrow's Table

These bad boys are so fragrant and tasty they nearly become any meals main feature. They will go with any meat and feature in my kitchen once or twice every week. I honestly could eat them every day, they are so gorgeous.
Give them a go and jazz up the humble spud!

Serves 4:
1 kg baby potatoes
Sea salt
1 fat clove of garlic
1 sprig of rosemary
Olive oil
Dairygold butter

Method
Scrub the baby potatoes and cut them into quarters. Place them into a saucepan of salted water and put on a high heated hob. Bring to the boil and turn down for 5 minutes or until you can push a fork into them.
Drain in a colander in the sink and let steam off for few minutes.
In a pestle and mortar, pour in a teaspoon of sea salt and a clove of garlic and grind into a paste. Strip the rosemary and finely chop the leaves, add it to the paste and pour in a good glug of olive oil and mix all around.
Pour this mixture into a large frying pan on the hob on medium heat and add a knob of Dairygold so as not to burn the paste, then pour in the par-boiled potatoes and turn up the heat slightly. Toss it around insuring they all get coated with the mixture.

Shake them around every now and again on a medium to high heat for 20-25 minutes until coloured and crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
Serve with a knob of Dairygold on top for maximum comfort food delight!


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Spicy bean, Lentil and Beef Cottage Pie

Spicy bean, Lentil and Beef Cottage Pie

I am doing a series of recipes for Dairygold for their "Tomorrows Table", a modern take on everyday recipes we cook here in Ireland.

For more modern Irish recipes visit Tomorrow's Table
This is a new dish I have come up with, a twist on a regular cottage pie, already it is a firm favourite in my house. It has all the comforts of a really indulgent cottage pie but with some changes to make it quite lean and very healthy... we got sweet potato, lentils and beans, all high in protein and fibre... we got our healthy veg (and feel free to add in more varieties) and we have our spices full of antioxidants and ready to boost our metabolism ... all this with a really good hearty comfort dish that is just bursting with flavour!!!
If you wanted a vegetarian version and leaner again you could make it with Quorn instead of beef.

Calories per serving: 450
If made with Quorn: 319

Serves 4:                                                        
1 red onion
2 fat cloves of garlic
1 large carrot
1 large stalk of celery
1 large or 2 medium sweet potato
Low fat cooking spray
500g lean steak mince
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
½ teaspoon crushed black pepper
100ml beef stock
A handful of frozen peas
80g brown lentils
1 can (drained and rinsed) of mixed beans
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
A few dashes of tobasco sauce (to taste)
1 tablespoon of each soy, oyster and Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon of Dairygold butter
Sea salt and black pepper
A small grating or cheddar cheese


Method
Preheat oven to 180c.
Chop the onion and garlic, finely chop the carrot and celery, set aside.
Peel the sweet potato and cube it. Pop the sweet potato cubes into a steamer and steam for about 10-12 mins until easily pierced with a fork, take them off the steam and allow to cool and dry off.

Spray some low-fat cooking spray into a large frying pan at a medium/high heat. Sauté the onions and garlic for 3 mins until softened. Add in the carrot and celery and continue to sauté for a further 5 mins.
To this add in the beef and the spices, break it all up and stir it around until it has all turned colour. Add the stock, peas, the lentils and the beans and stir until all combined. Add the tomato puree, tobasco, soy, oyster and Worcestershire sauces, stir it all around and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 mins.

In a large bowl mash up the cooled sweet potato cubes with the Dairygold butter using a masher or a fork, season well with salt and pepper.
Carefully transfer the filling to an appropriate sized oven dish and add the sweet potato on top. Spread it carefully and evenly over the filling with a fork and grate a little cheese over the top. Pop this into the oven for 50-55 mins until bubbling and the topping has gone nice and crispy.


Serve with a fresh side salad or some garden peas.


Thursday, 19 November 2015

Cauliflower based Pizza

Cauliflower based Pizza

Here is a gluten free/ wheat free pizza that you can enjoy with the bare minimum of guilt!!!
I am doing a series of recipes for Dairygold for their "Tomorrows Table", a modern take on everyday recipes we cook here in Ireland.
For more modern Irish recipes visit Tomorrow's Table

Calories per base: 448

Cauliflower based Pizza


Makes 1 pizza:

1 medium head cauliflower (enough for 2 cups cauliflower rice)
1 egg                                               
1/2 cup parmesan
1/4 cup mozzarella
A tablespoon of Dairygold
Generous pinch of salt
Generous pinch of black pepper
1 garlic clove minced

Method

In a processor, blend up cauliflower florets. Steam cauliflower by placing in microwave in a heat-proof bowl -you don't need to add water or cover- and heat 7-8 minutes, stirring once. Allow to fully cool. (you can do this a few hours ahead of time, just cover with film.
Preheat oven to 180c.

Place 2 cups of cauliflower rice in the center of a piece of an old dish towel (Make sure that when you are done to shake out cloth fully and then wash as it can start to smell). Create a ball with the rice inside of the cloth and ring out the water. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP–IT WILL MAKE OR BREAK YOUR CRUST! You need to remove as much moisture as possible- continue to ring until water stops coming out of cloth.

Transfer to a bowl and mix will all other ingredients.

Spread out dough on a pizza pan, lined with parchment paper that has been greased with Dairygold.

Bake 9-12 minutes, until firm and cooked through. Remove from oven and add desired toppings, then pop it back into the oven for about 10 mins until cheese is melted.

Cauliflower based Pizza

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Spicy Bean. Lentil and Beef Cottage Pie

Spicy bean, Lentil and Beef Cottage Pie

This is a new dish I have come up with and already it is a firm favourite in my house. It has all the comforts of a really indulgent cottage pie but with some changes to make it quite lean and very healthy... we got sweet potato, lentils and beans, all high in protein and fibre... we got our healthy veg (and feel free to add in more varieties) and we have our spices full of antioxidants and ready to boost our metabolism ... all this with a really good hearty comfort dish that is just bursting with flavour!!!

If you wanted a vegetarian version and leaner again you could make it with Quorn instead of beef.

Spicy bean, Lentil and Beef Cottage Pie



Calories per serving: 450
If made with Quorn: 319
Serves 4:                                                        
1 red onion
2 fat cloves of garlic
1 large carrot
1 large stalk of celery
1 large or 2 medium sweet potato
Low fat cooking spray
500g lean steak mince
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
½ teaspoon crushed black pepper
100ml beef stock
A handful of frozen peas
80g brown lentils
1 can (drained and rinsed) of mixed beans
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
A few dashes of tobasco sauce (to taste)
1 tablespoon of each soy, oyster and Worcestershire sauce
Sea salt and black pepper
A small grating or cheddar cheese


Method
Preheat oven to 180c.
Chop the onion and garlic, finely chop the carrot and celery, set aside.
Peel the sweet potato and cube it. Pop the sweet potato cubes into a steamer and steam for about 10-12 mins until easily pierced with a fork, take them off the steam and allow to cool and dry off.
Spray some low-fat cooking spray into a large frying pan at a medium/high heat. Sauté the onions and garlic for 3 mins until softened. Add in the carrot and celery and continue to sauté for a further 5 mins.
To this add in the beef and the spices, break it all up and stir it around until it has all turned colour. Add the stock, peas, the lentils and the beans and stir until all combined. Add the tomato puree, tobasco, soy, oyster and Worcestershire sauces, stir it all around and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 mins.
In a large bowl mash up the cooled sweet potato cubes with a masher or a fork, season well with salt and pepper.
Carefully transfer the filling to an appropriate sized oven dish and add the sweet potato on top. Spread it carefully and evenly over the filling with a fork and grate a little cheese over the top. Pop this into the oven for 50-55 mins until bubbling and the topping has gone nice and crispy.

Serve with a fresh side salad or some garden peas.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Spaghetti with Avocado and Basil Sauce

Spaghetti with Avocado and Basil Sauce

Here is my modern-day take on spaghetti with pesto. I am doing a series of recipes for Dairygold for their "Tomorrows Table", a modern take on everyday recipes we cook here in Ireland.
For more modern Irish recipes visit Tomorrow's Table

This meal is so quick, tasty and very good for you. I use whole-wheat organic spaghetti here; you could also use gluten free spaghetti here too.
 I know the calorie count may seen slightly high but it is from the good fats in the avocado and olive oil, just what the body requires to extract all the goodness from other foods that we consume. Once a week is more than fine for a recipe like this.

Calories per portion: 662

Spaghetti with Avocado and Basil Sauce


Serves 2:
170g spaghetti
1/2 cup canned corn kernels, drained and rinsed
A knob of Dairygold butter
 1 ripe avocado, halved, seeded and peeled
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Method
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions, coming to the end of the cooking, add in the corn. Once cooked, drain well and place a knob of Dairygold butter on top and let it start to melt before tossing the spaghetti through.
In the meantime to make the avocado sauce, combine avocados, basil, garlic and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor; season with salt and pepper, turn on motor for 1 min; half way through stop the motor and scrape down the sides with a spatula. With the motor running again, add olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine pasta, avocado sauce, cherry tomatoes and corn.

Serve immediately.

Spaghetti with Avocado and Basil Sauce

Friday, 6 November 2015

Bacon, Egg, Lettuce and Tomato

B.E.L.T

This is my modern version on the classic B.L.T but with the added bonus of a runny poached egg, hence the addition of the ‘E’. I love this recipe for a Sunday brunch... heaven in a bap!
For more modern Irish recipes visit Tomorrow's Table



Serves 2:
2 free range eggs
4 rashers of bacon
A handful of cherry tomatoes
Oregano-dried
Sea salt
2 small crusty baps of your choice
2 tablespoons of Dairygold
1 little gem lettuce



Method

Poach the eggs but keep them soft. In the meantime on a medium/high grill, grill the rashers of bacon until crispy on both sides, remove and allow to drain off on kitchen paper.
Quarter the cherry tomatoes and in a bowl season them with oregano and sea salt
Assemble the B.E.L.T by slicing the crusty baps in half length-ways and spread both sides generously with Dairygold. Place on a few leaves of the little gem lettuce, divide the cherry tomatoes on top of the leaves, top with the crispy bacon and the poached egg.
Serve immediately for a beautiful filling brunch.






Thursday, 29 October 2015

Cider Vinegar and Honey Drink for Weight Loss

Cider Vinegar and Honey Drink for Weight Loss

The combination of apple cider vinegar and honey is an effective cure for a multitude of ailments, but it’s an especially powerful tool for weight loss. Apple cider vinegar is naturally highly acidic, but when consumed it turns alkaline, counteracting the effects of excess acids in your diet. Honey also becomes alkaline when consumed, and it has a low pH. It aids in the safe excretion of excess acids. Also, apple cider vinegar just tastes better when mixed with honey.



Apple cider vinegar has many amazing properties that will help you shed pounds. Let’s take a look at what they are and how they work.

  • Apple cider vinegar has organic acids and enzymes that increase your metabolism, enabling your body to burn fat faster.

  • It suppresses your appetite, helping you to eat less and look and feel thinner.

  • Apple cider vinegar hydrates and refreshes your body while discouraging water retention.
  • It also contains loads of potassium and fibers that keep your blood sugar low, which is essential to losing weight.
  • It contains essential vitamins and minerals, powerful enzymes, potash, pectin, acetic acid, amino acids, alcoholic acids, propionic acid, and many other beneficial acids, all of which help to speed up your metabolism and help you lose weight without losing vital nutrients.
  • Consuming apple cider vinegar before meals helps slow the release of glucose into your bloodstream, which, in turn, slows the digestive process, making you feel fuller longer. And when you feel full, your body doesn’t store fat.
  • It also aids in proper digestion, flushing out toxins and helping to remove stored waste from the colon and intestines.
  • Apple cider vinegar helps your body burn calories, lower cholesterol and feel more energetic.
  • Its natural antiseptic and antibiotic properties fight bacteria
  • The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar helps extract iron from food, and iron improves the flow of oxygen through your body’s systems, enabling it to function properly.



So here is  how to:

Mix 1-2 tablespoon’s apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon honey into 8 oz. warm water and drink it. (I make it also with cold water)
For best results, do this 2 times daily on an empty stomach.


You can also make this and put it into a water bottle for when you’re at work or just out and about to sip on.

Also, here are more uses for Cider Vinegar:


Monday, 26 October 2015

Overnight Oats

Overnight Oats

This couldn't be easier... spend a few mins the night before for a healthy and filling breakfast with slow release energy to bring you up to lunch time!



Calories 275
Ingredients
50g Porridge Oats
140ml Fat Free Yogurt
Fruit of your Choice
25ml Skimmed Milk

Method
Layer the porridge oats, yogurt and fruit into a pint glass the pour over the milk and leave in the fridge overnight.


Serve cold.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

COYBIG/Olé Olé Olé


What a huge day of Irish sport ahead.. not only do we have some County finals on the go but in Irish Rugby we are taking on the French to see who will finish top of the table in the group stages of the Rugby World Cup... whoever finishes second looks set to face the All Blacks in the quarter finals... so that is a huge incentive to beat the French and miss that feat.
Then right after that we have the Republic of Ireland facing the Polish to secure a spot in the finals at Euro '16... So as I say it will be a huge day in Irish sport. I'm sure there will be many's a hangover tomorrow regardless of any of the results!!

I myself will be staying in to watch all from the comfort of my own home... myself, Amy, the 2 pups and a roaring fire... what could be better??
Some good food... that's what could be better!!!

Here are some ideas for food if you are thinking of making it a family day in like myself...

Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip

Sticky Bacon Ribs

Caramelized Red Onion Tartlets

Bacon, Egg, Lettuce and Tomato (B.E.L.T)


Grilled Homemade Beef Burgers

Baked Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas

Healthy Cookies

Super Quick Banoffee Pie


Banana Ice-Cream (3 Ingredient)


Saturday, 10 October 2015

World Mental Health Awareness Day


Today is World Mental Health Awareness Day... What does that mean to me?    Nothing.
From my own point of view it means nothing because at the moment, it is just another day stuck in the struggle over the Dark Side.

Don't get me wrong, I do think that raising awareness is what it is all about, get rid of the dumbass stigma that is associated with mental health problems, however I would imagine that having an awareness day for Cancer (which I know there is, and I fully support as my Father died from it many years ago), but having that day and telling someone that is in the heart of treatment, I'm sure their reaction would be pretty much the same... so fucking what, it is just another day stuck in the struggle! And yes before the trumpets blare and the lynch-mob is called for I did compare the two illnesses...

I compared them because I often tell myself that depression/the black dog/the dark side or whatever you want to call it is in fact the Cancer of the mind... it stops you in your tracks... it affects your life and those around you, it takes a horrible toll on your mind (obviously) and your body and unfortunately it takes many many lives in our parishes, towns, cities, counties and country.

I'm sitting writing this with a crippling feeling within my head and body, I say I'm fine, I want to believe I'm fine but it is there... it's always there... at best it just hovers in the background like a mist that you know will stay a few feet away from you if you face the breeze... and for days-weeks even you are strong and happy enough to always face the breeze. But then some days you waken up and somewhere over the course of a few mins/hours maybe even days you have strolled into the mist, it is there all around you, nipping at you, choking you. If you stay low enough you can maybe escape its poisoning charm, but then you realise it has brought you to your hand and knees and the only slight relief is if you curl into a ball in the corner of your mind or even in reality in a lot of cases... its safety its security, but its not living!

You know if you want to go out the door, to go to work... go to town... even go out into your garden you gotta stand up into that mist and walk forward, despite the choking, the nipping, the negativity, the drama, the gut wrenching anxiety... and I can tell you right now from full on experience, that takes balls!

So maybe on this day or even over the weekend, take a few moments out, text someone, call them, visit... all it takes is a few kind words, a bit of reassurance, a chat over a cuppa... and its not being dramatic to say that you could very well save somebody's life... one way or another.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Melon and Yogurt Crunch Pots

I'm down with a bug this past few weeks... and every time I feel like I'm getting better I get hit again!! Possibly 6 years of non-stop work catching up with me... who knows! But here is a quick fire recipe with the goodness of comfort food in it...



Melon and Yogurt Crunch Pots

These are a super healthy, fast and delicious start to the day… and not a cooker in sight.


Calories 350 each pot
Serves 4:
1 melon or a melon medley pack
Natural low fat yogurt
A handful of bran cereal
A handful of seeds
Honey

Method
Slice the melon into eighths and remove the seeded middle and the skin, chop roughly into bite sized pieces. Divide them among 4 tumblers, pours some yogurt over the tops, top this with the cereal and seeds and finish off with a squirt of honey.


Serve immediately. 


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

30 Garlic Clove-Chicken Casserole

30 Garlic Clove-Chicken Casserole

 I know 30 cloves of garlic might seem excessive but once you taste this you will understand. Plus the health benefits from garlic alone are worth it.
This is a fantastic casserole to make if you are feeling under the weather, which I am at the moment!!

30 Garlic Clove-Chicken Casserole


Serves 2
4 chicken legs
Olive oil
2 medium red onions
2 tablespoons of plain flour
200ml dry white wine
200ml chicken stock
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
Sea salt and black pepper
3 bulbs of garlic
A small bunch of thyme

Method
Preheat oven to 200°c
Joint the chicken legs in 2 pieces between the thigh and drumstick. Get a large pan nice and hot and heat the oil. Brown off the chicken in batches, adding them to a large casserole dish when done.
In the same pan add a little oil and reheat, peel and quarter the red onions and fry off in the pan until slightly coloured all over, add in the flour and gradually stir in the wine and stock until smooth. Add the mustard and season with salt and pepper. Allow this sauce to simmer slightly.
Break up the garlic bulbs and count out 30 cloves and add them to the casserole dish, no need to peel them. Add in the thyme and carefully pour over the sauce. Place in the oven with the lid on and cook for 1 ½ hours.

Serve with some creamy mashed potatoes for the ultimate ‘feel good’ meal.

30 Garlic Clove-Chicken Casserole

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Broccoli and Leek Bake

Broccoli and Leek Bake

One day I was making creamy leeks but decided I wanted a bit more texture, so this was the result. This dish works well with chicken or lamb but any type of roast meat would work. I think breadcrumbs are something that everyone should have to hand, we all have times where bread has gone hard on us, especially crusty loaves or baguettes, so instead of turfing them out why not blitz them up and freeze them.


Calories 1519
380 per portion
Serves 4:
1 head of broccoli
2 large leeks
2 shallots
50g of butter
50g of flour
175ml semi-skimmed milk
100g low-fat cheddar cheese
Half a nutmeg
A vegetable stockpot/cube
Large handful of breadcrumbs
100g Parmesan cheese

Method
Cut the broccoli into small pieces and steam or par-boil them.
Cut and wash the leek then thinly slice. Finely chop the shallots and add them and the butter to a pan on a medium-high heat, sauté for a few mins before stirring in the flour. Once it is all absorbed add the leeks and sauté for another few mins until softened.
Stir in the milk a little at a time over a low heat until you have a creamy consistency, add in the grated cheddar and stir until dissolved. Grate in the nutmeg and add the stockpot or ‘crumb’ in the stock cube. Again stir until dissolved.

Add the steamed broccoli, give all a good stir then transfer it to a suitable sized oven dish. Level out the contents and add a layer of breadcrumbs topped with the grated Parmesan cheese. Place in a preheated oven at 200°c and bake for 25 mins until golden and crunchy on top and bubbling around the edges.


Sunday, 16 August 2015

Honey Glazed Ham

I love to make a good ham from time to time, I always make a bigger one than I need to so I'll have plenty of leftovers for during the week. I find that I can make a few meals out of the leftovers if I plan ahead... and of course there is nothing like a good ham sandwich too later that evening with a cuppa.

Honey Glazed Ham



Serves 6-8:
2kg unsmoked boneless joint
1 carrot
1 onion
2 sticks celery
A teaspoon of black peppercorns
A teaspoon of coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
Cloves for studding

For the Glaze:
200g Demerara sugar
25ml white wine vinegar
100ml dry white wine
200g honey

Method

Place the ham into a large pot and cover with cold water. Peel and chop the carrot and onion and roughly chop the celery, add these to the pot along with the black peppercorns, coriander seeds and bay leaves.  Bring the pot to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer for 2 ½ hours. Skim off any impurities on the water surface and top up with water if needed during the cooking time.

Carefully pour the cooking liquid away and allow the ham to cool slightly on a plate. Preheat the oven to 180°c. Place the ham into a suitable sized roasting tin. Carefully cut away the skin with a thin layer of fat leaving a layer on the ham. Score the fat with a knife in a criss-cross pattern and stud these with cloves.
To make the glaze, put the sugar, vinegar and wine into a pan and bring to the boil. Add the honey and bring to the boil again and remove from the heat.

Pour half the glaze over the ham and roast in the oven for 15 mins. Remove from the oven and pour the rest of the glaze over. Roast for a further 30-35 mins basting and turning the roasting tin a few times to get an even colour all over.

This ham can be made a day or 2 in advance of when you need it.




Thursday, 13 August 2015

Stuffed Pork Chops with Sage

So, who's enjoying my new recipes?? 
Here is one from the book, it's actually bursting with flavour and makes the perfect mid-week dinner!!!

Stuffed Pork Chops with Sage

This is my take on quite a regular weekly dinner for some. This version really ups the flavour stakes and will definitely leave you wanting more. Serve up on a large platter and let everyone dive in and help themselves.
Tip: The chops can be prepared the night before and left in the fridge

Serves 4:
1kg of floury potatoes, diced with skins left on
4 thick pork chops on the bone
1 bulb of garlic
200g packet of bacon lardons
24 fresh sage leaves
2oz of softened butter
4 dried apricots finely diced
Rapeseed oil
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper



Method

Preheat the oven to 220°c. Put the potatoes into a saucepan of salted water and bring to the boil. Boil for 4-5 mins; you only want to par-boil them. Drain them in a colander and let them dry off in the steam.
Lay the pork chops flat on a chopping board and insert a small paring knife in horizontally into the chop and make a hidden pocket making sure the tip of the knife does not come out either side.

On a clean board place the butter, dried apricots, a finely chopped clove of garlic, 8 chopped sage leaves and a pinch of both salt and pepper. Now mash all together with a fork making it into a flavoured butter. Push this butter equally into the pockets of the pork chops.

Take 8 leaves of sage and dress them in rapeseed oil and then dip one side down in some plain flour and push one flour side down onto each side of the chops. Set aside.

In a large oven dish pour in the potatoes along with the bacon lardons and the rest of the cloves of garlic, season and drizzle with oil. Place into the preheated oven. After 10 mins place a frying pan onto a hot hob and add a drizzle of oil, when the pan is really hot put in the chops and fry for 10 mins turning occasionally to get them nice and golden.

Remove the dish from the oven and add the chops on top in a layer, pop back into the oven for 10-15 mins depending on the thickness of the chops.




Monday, 10 August 2015

Homemade Pesto

Homemade Pesto

There are certain things that can be bought pre-made for our convenience that taste wonderful and eliminate the need to make ourselves. Then there are some things that, when homemade, would beat anything that mass production could even dream of producing hands down… Pesto is the latter.
Some things are worth a little time and effort. This is a very basic and standard recipe but once you make your own you will taste the difference.



Serves 4
¼ clove of garlic
Pinch of sea salt
An extra-large bunch of basil
A small handful of pine nuts
Small handful of Parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper

Method

On a small dry frying pan, lightly toast the pine nuts over a medium high heat, shake them around and don’t colour them too much.
Using a food processor, place in the garlic, salt and picked leaves from the basil. Give it a good blitz until finely chopped. Add in the pine nuts and blitz again.
Scoop out the contents into a mixing bowl, add in ¾ of the grated parmesan cheese and stir it in while drizzling in the olive oil, until you have an oozy mix. Add a generous pinch of freshly crushed black pepper and taste. Adjust seasoning if need be.

Add in the rest of the Parmesan and more olive oil until you have reached the consistency you desire. Continue to taste check, this is your pesto, it should taste how you like it.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Healthy Cookies

A few healthy cookies, and by god they hit the spot. Apple slices, some with peanut butter, choc chips and pumpkin seeds, the others with nutella, chopped walnuts and white choc chips. 

Averaging a tiny little 50 calories each.

Just pat dry the apples slices with kitchen paper before putting on the spread.

Its that simple... Enjoy!!!

Healthy cookies

Healthy cookies

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Super Smoothies

Super Smoothies

I personally think that Smoothies make a great breakfast; they can be really healthy (depending on the ingredients) and super quick to make if you are in a rush in the mornings.
There are so many combinations you can try and as always experimentation is key… Let yourself go, live a little!
 Here are 4 of my favourites…
**You can use coconut milk, almond milk etc
 here instead if dairy milk for an even healthier 
approach**

Breakfast of Champions

This has a great balance of Carbs, Protein and good fats to kick start your day.
1 glass of skimmed milk
1 ripe banana
30g porridge oats
1 tablespoon of drinking chocolate powder
1 tablespoon of peanut butter
1 tablespoon of honey
Blend until smooth


Cranberry and Raspberry Smoothie

200ml cranberry juice
100ml skimmed milk
100ml natural low-fat yogurt
150g frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon of honey
Blend until smooth


Beetroot Smoothie

A glass of skimmed milk
3-4 pre-cooked baby beetroots
1 banana
30g porridge oats
A squirt of honey
Blend until smooth


Green Smoothie

1 glass of apple juice
1 banana
A good handful of spinach
A handful of green grapes





Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Oreo chocolate cake

I know lately I have been harping on about the weather... but this picture I posted on Instagram just about sums up our Irish summer... 


So its Wednesday, mid-week, hump day... so here is a recipe that will cheer you up... maybe give you some inspiration for an indulgent treat at some stage soon...
This is a recipe that I made on TV3's Late Lunch Live back before Christmas... I'm only getting to post it now!


Oreo chocolate cake



Makes two 8” sandwich tins (20cm) or one 8x3 inch round cake tin
225g softened unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (optional)
4 eggs
190g self-raising flour
35g cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
A little milk if required at room temperature

For the ganache
225g dark chocolate
284ml double cream

For the Oreo buttercream frosting
375g unsalted butter softened
1teaspoon vanilla extract
750g icing sugar
1 single pack of Oreos



Before you do anything else, pre-heat the oven to 182 degrees C/360 degrees F/Gas mark 4_. Prepare two 20cm (8inch) sandwich tins by greasing them thoroughly and lining the base with non-stick parchment.
Place the butter in a mixing bowl and beat it until it is pale and light. Add the sugar and continue beating until it's light and fluffy. Break the eggs into a separate bowl and beat them lightly.
Add the eggs a spoon at a time to the batter mix, beating in each addition thoroughly before adding the next. This is so the mix won’t split.
Sift the self raising flour, cocoa powder and salt together. Use a large spoon, fold in the sieved flour to the egg and butter mixture. The mix should now be ready, however if it looks a bit thick, add in a drop of room temperature milk to loosen it
Divide the mixture equally between the two prepared tins. Tap the tins down gently to expel any large air pockets and level the cakes. Place into the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
When ready, cool on a cooling wire rack and remove the baking parchment.

For the ganache
Coarsely chop up the dark chocolate on a clean chopping board and place in a heatproof mixing bowl. Over a medium heat on the hob, heat the double cream in a saucepan until it starts to boil. Once it starts bubbling remove it from the heat and carefully pour it over the chocolate in the bowl. Stir until all the chocolate has melted and you are left with a glossy ganache.

For the buttercream
Gently soften the butter and start to beat in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and mix thoroughly. Sift in the icing sugar and continue to beat well until the mix is pale and smooth.
Remove the Oreos from the pack and set 3 or 4 aside for decoration. Remove the centres from the other Oreos and bash them up in a sandwich bag using a rolling pin. Pour the crumbed Oreos into the buttercream and mix through using a wooden spoon.




Sunday, 2 August 2015

White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake


It's Sunday, It's The 2nd August and we should be baking in sunshine... but instead we are looking out at a grey miserable day waiting on the clouds to burst open yet again. So to cheer myself and hopefully you good folk up, I have created this gorgeous little piece of food heaven... Enjoy, I know I will!!!


White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake

Serves 6-8:
1 pint of double cream
300g soft cheese
12 Digestive biscuits
6 Gingernut biscuits
4 oz butter
200g white chocolate
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
300g fresh raspberries

White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake


Method

Put all the biscuits into a large strong sandwich bag and bash with a rolling pin or put through a blender to crush up. Melt down the butter over a medium heat and pour over the crushed biscuits in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

Put the mix into a 8 or 9 inch loose bottom tin or a spring release cake tin and firm down to form a compact even layer (a potato masher is the job here). Place in a fridge for a half hour.

In a heat proof bowl melt the chocolate over a pot of simmering water.Add the vegetable oil and stir it well in, this loosens the melting chocolate into a nice smooth consistency. Once smooth and loosened, allow to cool slightly

Place the soft cheese and sugar into a bowl and pour in the double cream. Whisk this mix until it starts to firm. Add in most of the melted chocolate, keep some aside to pipe over for decoration, and fold into the mixture. Add in a small handful of the raspberries in and gently fold through so as to not break them up. 

Spoon the mixture over the top of biscuit base and smooth over with a small palette knife. Decorate the top with the remaining raspberries and pipe the remaining white chocolate over the top.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Bacon, Egg, Lettuce and Tomato (B.E.L.T)

Happy Friday, here is a recipe for a bit of a treat over the bank holiday weekend. It makes a wonderful brunch and would certainly help out a groggy hangover. Real comfort food at its best!!

B.E.L.T

This is my version on the classic B.L.T but with the added bonus of a runny poached egg, hence the addition of the ‘E’. Crispy bacon rashers work well here but every now and again I buy a bacon joint, cook it up and then add it to recipes like this just for a slight change and value for money.

Serves 2:
2 eggs
2 small Panini’s
4 rashers of bacon
1 little gem lettuce
Light mayonnaise
1 large tomato


Method
Poach the eggs but keeping them soft (Perfect Poached Egg). In the meantime on a medium/high grill, grill the rashers of bacon until crispy on both sides, remove and allow to drain off on kitchen paper.
Assemble the B.E.L.T by slicing the Panini’s in half lengthways, place on a few leaves of the little gem lettuce, and add a tablespoon of mayo. Thinly slice the tomato and add a few slices topped with the crispy bacon and the poached egg.




Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Ham, Brie and cranberry Ciabatta

I've a brand new recipe for the blog today, it is just a very simple but effective flavour combination.I'm trying to gear myself up for a run today but the weather outside is just making me want to stay indoors, cook and eat!!! But I'll tackle it head on, I always feel so much better mentally for having done it.


Ham, Brie and cranberry Ciabatta

This is an amazingly easy and tasty alternative to a regular old sarnie. Serve with some low-fat crisps and a small salad on the side.


Serves 2:
2 Ciabatta rolls
Olive oil
6 slices of good deli ham or ham pulled from a ham joint
About 80g French Brie
Black pepper
2-4 tablespoons cranberry sauce

Method

Carefully cut the ciabatta breads in half lengthways and drizzle the cut sides with olive oil. Lightly toast the cut sides under a medium/high grill. Remove from the grill and add the ham on one side, finely slice the Brie and place over the ham and season with some fresh cracked black pepper. Place back under the grill keeping a vigilant eye just until the Brie starts to melt and blister.
Remove from the grill, spoon over the cranberry sauce and top with the other half, serve immediately.




Monday, 27 July 2015

Stuffed Butternut Squash Three Ways

Its Monday 27th July and it looks like its a wet and windy November day outside, but as they say in Ireland... "Irish summers, at least the rain is warmer".
I have just about recovered from last week, I had gotten back into my Strength and Conditioning class for the first in 4 and half weeks and it nearly killed me, my legs where fucked completely... but I have kinda recovered, I'll do a recovery run this morning and get back to squats tonight!
I'm in training for the Dublin Marathon this November so needs must!!

Anyways I'll leave you with this fantastic recipe from the book, Butternut Squash 3 ways... feel free to play around with fillings, I know I do!!


Stuffed Squash Three Ways

This is a great accompaniment to a meat dish or I mainly have it as a lunch or night time flavour packed snack. There is no end to the variations you can have, it’s all about the combination of flavours used in the filling. Here are a few of my favourite ones. In my opinion there is no right or wrong way with flavours, it’s just about what works for you!  

Serves 2:
1. 1 large butternut squash
1 clove of garlic
200g goat’s cheese
2 teaspoons of chopped thyme
Half a red pepper
Tablespoon of honey
Sea salt & black pepper

2. 1 large butternut squash
3-4 rashers of streaky bacon
50g grated red cheddar
Tablespoon of chopped chives
2 tablespoons of peanut butter
Sea salt & black pepper

3. 1 large butternut squash
2 medium onions
1 clove of garlic
Half a yellow pepper
Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
Sea salt & black pepper

Method
To prepare the squash simply but carefully slice it down the middle lengthways. Spoon out the seeds and soft fibres and brush with olive oil.

1. Finely chop the garlic and thyme and finely slice the pepper. Pop these into the cavity in the 2 halves and place into a preheated oven of 190°c. Bake for 45-50 mins. Remove from oven and scoop out the filling along with about half of the flesh, mash it all together along with goat’s cheese and season well. Spoon it back into the cavities, spoon the honey over the top and bung back into the oven for a further 15 mins.

2. Put the peanut butter into the cavities along with half the cheese and bung into the oven for 45-50 mins. In the meantime fry the chopped up bacon for 2 mins until coloured and crisp. Mix the bacon and chives in with the soft squash when it comes out of the oven, season and top with rest of cheese. Pop the tray back in oven for 15 mins.


3. This time put the squash into the oven just brushed with oil. In a pan sweat off the sliced onion and chopped garlic. Add to this a finely chopped yellow pepper half. Pump the heat up full them add the balsamic vinegar and stir until the vinegar has all but disappeared. When the squash has been in for 45-50 mins take it out and mix the onion mixture with the soft squash flesh, season well and bung back into oven for 15 mins.


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