November 11, 2018

Apple Sausage Rolls

I made these sausage rolls for my brother and his friends a couple of weeks ago. They were going to a car show and instead of shelling out big bucks on crappy burgers from greasy food trucks, they asked me to cook for them. Don't get me wrong there is a time and a place for a greasy cheeseburger from a food truck with fried onions. But that can't be all you eat for a weekend! Even if you are a young buck in your 20's, that's a lot of fat! 

These apple sausage rolls were one of the things I sent with them. A lasagne too, curried chicken salad sandwiches, chocolate cookies and my breakfast bran granola muffins from last weeks post. I want to say they were the best fed boys at the car show?!

I only made enough sausage rolls for themselves, so had to snag an end piece from one of the rolls to taste and picture! I don't know who drew the short string on hasn't been said to me, so maybe they didn't notice! 

November 02, 2018

Breakfast Bran Granola Muffins

A slow weekend morning after a busy week is one of my favourite times. The ritual of making coffee, however you prefer to make yours.  I like to take my time over a proper French Press. Hanging around the kitchen listening to music or a podcast, catching up on social media/news, while my coffee brews. The slow-to-get-going decision of what's for breakfast, once you've had your first cup of coffee, of course. 

Maybe I've already been out and have picked up a fresh loaf of sourdough to go with eggs. Or some pastries to go with good butter and jam. Although, more times than not, I do not leave the house. Instead, leaving the excursion out of doors for good bread and pastries until later in the day, following a walk. 

Maybe I've decided to do some morning baking. Scones or pancakes are always high on the list. Muffins now top that list. Easy to do, so many varieties and a quick wet into dry ingredient method. After some weighing, a light whisking and a quick stir, you've got a batch of muffins ready for the oven. 

These muffins have a lot of great qualities. They take no time at all to make, can easily be customised and have granola in and on them. Use whatever granola is your favourite and try experimenting with different dried fruit/nut/granola combinations. They are perfect for coffee and can be dressed up with some butter and jam, once cooled. 

October 26, 2018

Ham and Root Vegetable Crumble

This started with a ham in the fridge that needed cooking! I knew I wanted to do something other than a boiled and glazed ham, which was eaten for dinner a few weeks ago. I wanted to do something other than the usual 'left over ham recipe'. Of course this does not imply denying the appeal of a ham and leek pie. But I had the afternoon and wanted to spend a little time in the kitchen. So I pulled out the vegetable basket and checked to see what was already in the house-a sweet potato, a turnip and onions. "Ok, root vegetables are going to be part of whatever I come up with for this ham", I thought to myself.

I'm not sure how I got to the crumble idea but I did. Once there, I was not turning back! Think off all the juicy fruits we put under a blanket of sweet crumble to bake into the perfect dessert. Could there be a savory version, I thought to myself. The answer? Yes. Yes, there can. And there should be. I'm sure there are savory crumble recipes out there but to be honest, it doesn't strike me as a popular recipe. Savory crumbles need more attention!

October 13, 2018

Simple Fish Pie with Lemon Mash

Half of my family eat the fish. The other half just cannot get on board. Maybe a garlic butter drenched crab claw here and there, out of politeness, but otherwise an expected 'no'. Which means that consumption of fishy dinners is a little light in our house. Tinned fish, absolutely and 99% of the time while dining out, fish will be ordered. And on the rare occasion of a take away from the chipper, fish and chips is a must with buttered white slice pan! 

With a 50/50 eating rate, it is a little inconvenient to cook for dinner as it means that two have to be whipped up. A little strenuous for anyone and an absolute nightmare for the non-fish eater, who will have to come in very close contact with raw fish! 

So on those occasions when some have found somewhere better to be around dinner time, the fish can come out! 

Fish pie can be quite a personal thing. There are endless combinations between fish, filling and topping. Filling with one kind of fish, a mixture, a mix between fish and crustaceans, a pastry topping, or a pastry bottom and a mashed top. So many options-all lovely and waiting to be discovered. 

For me, this fish pie is uncomplicated and delicious. It gives me everything I want from a fish pie. It's unbelievably comforting, filling, bursting with flavor and not the least bit demanding in terms of preparation. And it is filled with frozen peas-which is a must! Frozen peas are one of my favorite convenience ingredients. I adore them and use them every week. 

October 07, 2018

Chicken Stuffed with Apple, Blue Cheese and Almonds

I feel like I missed most of Autumn. Having been in Colombia for three weeks and having had a number of Indian summers, it seems to have come and gone. But while the leaves are still crunching underfoot, this recipe celebrates the flavours of Autumn. 

A favourite time of year for many, myself included. I love an extra layer, a lazy weekend walk and most of all, the cooking that comes with the cooler months. 

This stuffed chicken screams autumal flavours-apple, cheese and almonds. Apple and cheese-a classic combo in both sweet and savory autumn recipes. With the addition of texture from toasted almonds that release all their hidden flavour when raw.   

While making these stuffed chicken breasts I cooked one with no stuffing for a non blue cheese lover in my house! No incision was made. Instead I rubbed the chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper and put on a separate baking sheet.

It went in the oven at the same time as the stuffed ones and roasted along them on a separate baking sheet-for no blue flavour cross over!

Roasting the chicken this way with no stuffing is a lovely, quick and easy mid week dinner. Everything on one tray in the oven. You could season the chicken in so many different ways. Here's three ideas:

September 13, 2018

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Last weekI left you as I was going to a beautiful food market here in Colombia. Meatproduce, grains and  eggs as far as the eye could see. Any food imagined or desired seemed to be here! A further delight was the sprawling flower market just outside. Both markets were amazing-so much so that we are
making the trek there again, bright and early today, for my birthday breakfast! We're going to feast on fish soup, arepas with cheese and savory yuca pastries filled with rice, egg and meat. After that, some shopping for fruits for the week. And then... a well deserved nap! 

While I'm napping, maybe you would think of making this banana bread? Everyone seems to like banana bread. I mean, what's not to like? It is a rich, moist banana cake, cut into thick bread- like slices. You have utter control over how thick you cut this bread. What a honour! 

It can be be baked entirely with some simple spices or studded decadently with chocolate chips or dried fruit and nuts. There are countless versions that can be made. Here is a Chocolate and Pecan version I made a some time ago. The addition of chocolate makes it a perfect companion to a steaming cup of coffee. Or any hot beverage really. 

September 07, 2018

Vegetarian Lasagne with Cauliflower White Sauce

Hola de Colombia! Hello from Colombia! I arrived here on Monday and it has been amazing. The food here is incredible. The fruits! Oh the fruits! I'm making a list of things I have eaten and when I return to Ireland, I will be trying to create some new recipes using the exciting ingredients I have tasted. A cookie called 'cucas' is at the top of the list. This is a big cookie the size of your handmade from panela -unrefined cane sugar. Gingerbread- like in texture without the kick of spice, this biscuit is soft, toothsome and really good for dipping in coffee!

The recipe today though does not come from Colombia. I made it before I left home last week. It is especially  made for Aedin and James, following their request on Instagram for a vegetarian lasagne and a recipe for something with cauliflower

In response, I thought why not use as many vegetables as possible? And then came the idea of a cauliflower white sauce. It works so so well and gives the lasagne a lovely rich creaminesswithout being too heavy. The cauliflower is cooked in water and blended with milk, seasoning and some of the cooking liquid.

After the white sauce, I moved on to thinking about the vegetable ragu. I thought hard for a few days about what vegetables to use. I knew I wanted to make a ragu that had lots of flavor, a great texture and good body so that it would be filling and super comforting without being  heavy.