May 28, 2012

Steak Sandwich with Salsa Verde

A steak sandwich falls into the 'Champion' category in the world of sandwiches. Do you remember being young and never being allowed order steak in a restaurant? Then came the day when your parents thought you were A) old enough to have the price of a steak spent on you and B) old enough to handle your own steak. 

Do you remember having your own steak and not having to share it with an older sibling? You always seemed to be the 'extra plate' that the was ordered along with a shared steak. I don't know why, but steak in any form always seemed so exotic on any restaurant menu. 

This sandwich is in honour of those 'other plates'. Not only do you get to have your own steak, but, you get to have it in sandwich form! Many things in sandwich form are great. To name a few: a steak sandwich, Christmas dinner in a sandwich and a breakfast sandwich. Anything sandwiched between two pieces of bread seems stellar!  

Salsa verde is a thick, rustic sauce ideal for spreading. Hmm, I wonder what I could spread it on? Eh duh, a steak sandwich. You may be creeped out by some of the ingredients in the recipe, anchovies and capers to name the culprits. I must insist that you leave them in. They add a salty element to the sauce that you just can't get from anything else. Without them, the sauce really loses its punch. They virtually turn to a paste once blitzed. And no, the sauce doesn't taste fishy! Did you know anchovies are one of the main ingredients in Caesar dressing? I'm sure you've eaten Caesar dressing. You're practically an anchovy pro without even knowing! 

Treat yourself to a steak sandwich. Your own steak sandwich. One per person please! No sharing, we're grown ups! 


Holly x

Basil, parsley, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, capers and anchovies for the Salsa Verde. 

Place all the Salsa Verde ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth-ish!

Drizzle steak with olive oil, salt and pepper. 

Once cooked, rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices relax in the meat.

Don't waste time with bad bread... for an awesome sandwich use good bread!

Mayo on one slice, salsa verde on the other...

...lettuce, sliced tomato and shaved parmesan.

Top with sliced striploin steak. 

Next Step: BIG bite!

Recipe, Serves 4

Salsa Verde

Bunch Basil
Bunch Parley
4 Anchovies
2 Tablespoons Capers
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1 Teaspoon Dijon mustard

Place anchovies, capers and mustard in the bowl of a food processor with a blade attachment.
Blitz to a paste.
Add the basil, parsley and lemon juice.
Blitz until well blended but slightly chunky. 
Place in a bowl until needed.

4 Striploin Steaks
8 Slices Good Quality Bread, sour-dough/ ciabatta/ vienna
Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper
1 Large Tomato, sliced
1/2 Head Butter Lettuce
50g parmesan, shaved

Heat a frying pan.
Drizzle the steaks on both sides with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Once the pan is hot lay the steaks in and turn the heat to medium. Do not move.
Turn the steaks after 2-3 minutes and cook for another 2-3 minutes for medium.
Remove from pan and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
While the steak is resting, spread one slice of bread with mayo and another with salsa verde (per sandwich).
Lay lettuce, sliced tomato and shaves parmesan on top of the salsa verde.
Once the meat has rested, slice thinly at an angle and lay on top of the parmesan.
Cut in half and serve with wedges*.


3 Large Potatoes
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Heat oven to 220°C.
Cut the potatoes in half lengthways and each half into four wedges.
Place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Roast for 20-30 minutes until lovely and crispy brown. 

May 26, 2012

Oven Roasted Sea Trout with Lemon Almond Butter

This dish was inspired by two things: the fabulous weather and the fast approaching ITICA (Irish Traditional Italian Chipper Association) National Fish and Chip Day  on Wednesday May 30th. 

I really wish I ate more fish. My two brothers don't eat fish so consequently we rarely eat fish for dinner. Or, if we do, we have to cook a separate dinner for them. Awkward much?! 

I get my daily dosage of Omega-3 from tins of tuna. I could easily stand in the kitchen and eat the tuna straight from the can. I remember living in New York, my friend Jesika would come  back to the apartment in the early hours of the morning after waitressing and eat a tin of tuna. Student living at it's finest right there! 

A golden opportunity arose yesterday - no brothers for dinner! One was at the beach and the other was playing golf. Living the life, right?!

 I headed to the fish monger in the afternoon to be 'inspired'. He had some lovely sea trout at a great price, so I bought it. It was so warm yesterday that I didn't want a heavy dinner or a dinner that was going to be time consuming. With this recipe, dinner is ready in less than 20 minutes- no exaggeration! A simple salad was perfect to serve with the fish. Although, we had to have bread to satisfy my father's need for a bit of 'carb-action' at dinner time! 

This is my version of Truite aux Amandes an old school classical French combination. Since I'm not French, we're having Trout with Lemon Almond Butter!

Two things to note:  

I forgot to the weigh the trout but we had one each. (Human error)
I added no dressing to the salad, the lemon almond butter was more than enough.

Holly x

Begin by toasting your almonds...

...try not eat them all!

Make a simple mixed green salad, whatever you fancy! 

Roast the trout for 10-12 minutes at 220°C.

In the same pan as you roasted the almonds, melt the butter,...

...once it begins to brown around the edges remove from heat and add the juice of one lemon.

Add the toasted almonds to the butter and spoon over the roasted sea trout.

Recipe, Serves 3

3 Trout
2 Tablespoon Butter
75g Flaked Almond
Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper


1/2 Red Pepper, diced
5-6 Mixed Cherry Tomatoes, halved
2 Spring Onions, thinly sliced
Handful Sultanas
Mixed Salad Leaves

Crunchy Bread, optional

Preheat oven to 220°C.
Lay the trout on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Place in the preheated oven and roast for 10-12 minutes. Once the fish flakes easily you know its done.
While the fish is roasting, mix your salad.
In a small dry frying pan toast the flaked almonds over a medium heat.
Remove and place in a bowl.
Once the fish is almost ready, after 8-10 minutes, melt the butter in the frying pan you toasted the almonds. 
Once the butter begins to brown around the edges, turn off the heat and remove. Don't let it burn. 
Squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon-watch for the sizzle and spit!
Add the toasted almonds back in, mix and spoon over the fish.
Serve with your salad and the bread. 

May 23, 2012

Roasted Pineapple with Toasted Coconut and Ice Cream

Its summer! Well, in Ireland anyway. We are having our annual week of sunshine and I must say, it is absolutely gorgeous. The sun really brings out the best in everyone. Everyone is in a good mood, streets are lined with people sitting outsides cafés and pubs, an outfit isn't complete without a pair of sunnies and I'm sure sunscreen sales have gone up. 

I've been working during the day this week and I couldn't have been luckier. All day long I'm surrounded by tall windows with sunlight streaming in! I get to leave work at 5pm-perfect time. People are emerging from dark offices, friends are meeting up for evening pints and there is a buzz around the heart of the city. It comes alive. When I walk to the bus, I don't bother with an iPod. The sound of the city on a warm evening is second to none. 

Roasted Pineapple with Toasted Coconut is a festival of flavour. What more would anyone want from food?! With the weather we're having this week- we gotta match our food to it people!! This Roasted Pineapple echoes flavours of the Caribbean. Ok, now I completely understand that Ireland is nowhere near a Caribbean-esque summer, but while we have sunshine, let's embrace it. 

The flavours that come from roasting pineapple are mind blowing. Literally, your mind will be blown! The sweetness of the pineapple intensifies, the natural sugars begin to caramelise around the edges and the juices ooze out and mixes with the sugar to create a sweet, tangy caramel syrupy sauce. The warm caramelised pineapple poured over creamy scoops of ice-cream, drizzled with sauce and sprinkled with toasted coconut will transport you to a hammock swinging between trees on a sandy beach.  

As good as it is over ice-cream, its awesome the next day, over Greek yoghurt topped with crunchy granola for breakfast. Warning- there may not be any left for this! 


Holly x

Quartered pineapple with the stalk removed. Don't eat the stalk, its gross and woody.

Slice into lengths...

...and chop into chunks.

Orange juice, muscavado sugar, ground cinnamon and golden syrup make up the marinade. 

The marinade ingredients all get mixed together...very simple stuff here.

Pour the marinade over the pineapple,  scraping all the sugar out. AAllow to marinade for 15 minutes.

Pour onto a baking tray and roast for 20-25 minutes.

Action shot! Look at that steam and all those lovely caramelised edges...Dreamy. 

A hot dry pan over a low heat with coconut... you toasted coconut. Who would have thought it??

Recipe, Serves 6.

Adapted from ShutterBean

1 Pineapple
1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Orange Juice
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 Tablespoon Golden Syrup
3 Tablespoons Dessicated Coconut
Pint of Vanilla/ Caramel Ice-Cream

Top and tale the pineapple, remove the skin and cut into quarters.
Remove the core from each quarter and slice lengthways into three.
Chop the lengths into chunks and place into a bowl.
Make the marinade by mixing together the sugar, orange juice, cinnamon and golden syrup.
Pour the marinade over the fruit and allow to marinade for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 230°C and line a baking sheet with parchment.
Pour the pineapple onto the tray and roast for 10 minutes, before flipping and roasting for another 10-15 or until it's slightly caramelised.
Remove from the oven.
Allow to cool cool as you toast the dessicated coconut.
Place the coconut in a dry pan over a medium heat and toss constantly until golden-about 1 minute.
Either serve the warm pineapple now over scoops of ice cream sprinkled with coconut or allow to cool completely before using.

May 20, 2012


I'm holding a competition!

If you have a Facebook account please follow THIS link and 'like' the Holly's Pantry Page. If you do not, leave a comment below with your name!

Details will be given once Holly's Pantry reaches 100 likes!

 Holly x

Rhubarb Crumb Pie

Sometimes it is the simple things in life that make all the difference! Simplicity makes for a calmer mind and a happier heart. One of life's luxuries is taking a few ingredients and creating a beautiful dish. Rhubarb, sugar, flour and butter make one of the best pies ever. A simple pie can be so humble. 

Sometimes a slice of humble pie is all you need to make everything OK!

When it comes to certain things, try not to  complicate your life. Don't try to make your own puff pastry -admirable and all as that is, you'll most likely end up pulling your hair out! If a recipe says white onions and you only have red ones- use them, if you're planning to make frosting, have your butter pre-softened - save yourself the heartache of having lumpy frosting. 

See what I'm saying here? Don't add unnecessary drama to your life.  Keep. It. Simple.

This Rhubarb Crumb Pie is so simple but rewarding.  Make the pastry in a food processor, pre-cook the rhubarb and make the easiest crumble topping, ever.

Simple Sunday afternoon knocking about the kitchen with a camera phone. Legit simplicity.


Holly x

Lined tart tin + docked pastry = thin crust. 

Rhubarb, caster sugar, cornflour. Simple. 

Tart case baked blind.

Sweet cooked rhubarb fills the tart case...

 ...and gets topped with an oaty, almond crumb. 



Recipe, Serves 8

1 Batch pastry from THIS recipe
1 Kg Rhubarb, 1 inch cubes
6 Tablespoons Caster Sugar, maybe more depending on how bitter the rhubarb is, just taste it and see.
1/2 Tablespoon Cornflour
1 Egg
Your favourite Ice-cream

Make the pastry following the recipe, chill.
Roll out to line a 9/10/11 inch tart tin with a removable base. 
Dock all over using a fork, cover with parchment paper and fill with baking beans.
Bake blind for 5 minutes only. 
Remove baking beans, brush with egg wash and bake for another 5 minutes. 
Remove from the oven.

For the rhubarb

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Top and tail the rhubarb and chop into 1 inch pieces.
Place in a pot and mix in caster sugar and cornflour.
Cook over a medium heat until softened- see above picture.
Pour into the cooked pastry case, top with crumb topping and bake for 10-15 minutes.
Serve with a scoop of ice-cream.

Crumb Topping

2 Tablespoons Plain Flour
2 Tablespoon Ground Almonds
1 Tablespoon Caster Sugar
1 Handful Porridge Oats
2 Tablespoons Butter

Place everything in a bowl.
Using fingertips, work the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly.
Sprinkle over rhubarb and bake for 10-15 minutes more. 

May 18, 2012

Oatmeal Pancakes with Fresh Strawberries

Pancakes. Pancakes=American Nostalgia. Round fluffy bundles of joy. I associate pancakes with breakfast time. Not my personal breakfast but that of Americans. They have it good State side don't they? Maybe I speak for just my family but pancakes were never a staple in our household, certainly not a breakfast staple! We had pancakes once a year- Shrove Tuesday a.k.a  Pancake Tuesday. These pancakes were more crêpe like in style, rather than  the small fat American ones.  

When I think of pancakes I think of a squishy Grandma (add Texas accent) cooking for her grandchildren or a busy New York Diner with pancakes the size of your face. I see them as a luxury! 

 Pancakes don't  seem to be part of our culture. We're all about soda farls and potatoes cakes! Good ole Irish.

I must admit, pancakes every once and a while are most definitely a desirable treat. They make for a yummy breakfast. They are cheap, easy and simple to make. The batter can be made the night before and there are endless varieties. You can't really go wrong with making pancakes. What's awesome about them is, you can make up a plain pancake batter and add all sorts to it: chocolate chips, sliced bananas, granola and fresh berries. I decided to add some oatmeal and the beans from a vanilla pod. You could opt to leave out the vanilla and/or oatmeal and add some fruit. It is totally up to you. Make a smorgasbord of pancakes! 

Feel free to top them with whatever gets you going! Lemon curd, Nutella, fresh fruit, bacon, maple syrup, sugar, jam, the opportunities are endless!

I can see these in your future...this coming weekend to be precise!


Holly x

2 eggs whisked with 300ml milk and beans from 1 vanilla pod. 300g self-raising flour, 5 tablespoons caster sugar, 2 handfuls oatmeal...

...all whisked together to a lovely batter!

Dollop in tablespoons of the batter, cook on one side until bubbles appear, flip and cook for 1 minute on the other side. 

Recipe, serves 4-6

300g Self Raising Flour
5 Tablespoons Caster Sugar
2 Handfuls Oatmeal
Pinch of Salt
2 Eggs
300ml Milk
1 Vanilla Pod, beans scraped out
50g Butter
Icing Sugar
Punnet of Strawberries, hulled and halved

In a measuring jug, measure out the milk.
Break in the eggs and whisk together with the vanilla beans.
In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt, sugar and oatmeal.
Add the wet mix to the dry mix and whisk until smooth. 
Heat a frying pan.
Place the butter in the microwave and melt.
Once the pan is hot, using the melted butter and a pastry brush, brush the pan with a little butter.
Dollop in tablespoons of the batter, cook for 2 minutes on one side or until bubbles appear, flip and cook for 1 minute on the other side. 
Repeat until all the batter is gone. 
Stack the pancakes on a baking tray and keep warm in an oven while you clean up and make a fresh pot of coffee! 

To Serve

Stack the pancakes on a plate, top with a mound of strawberries and a light dusting of icing sugar.

May 15, 2012

Carrot Cake Loaf with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot cake is my favourite cake. 9 times out of  10 if its on the menu, I'll order it. This goes for my good friend Maeve as well. We had a bonding experience over carrot cake in a New York restaurant. We share this understanding- carrot cake is the best! 

When I make carrot cake, I like to add some sort of nut: walnut/almond/pecan and a handful of raisins. Normally I would make a round carrot cake, but this time I decided to make a carrot cake loaf. This recipe makes two 2lb loaves. You could easily wrap one and freeze it and make half a batch of the frosting. I made two-and over three days and a busy weekend- the only thing left were crumbs! 

There is very little to say about this cake. It needs very little justification! Its a sweet, crunchy, tangy loaf, perfect for afternoon tea...or anytime! Honestly, it speaks for itself.

Join me and make this your new favourite cake!


Holly x

Line with parchment otherwise you'll be eating the carrot cake straight out of the tin!

Mix grated carrot, flour, cinnamon and salt.

Whisk the eggs, oil and sugar until light and fluffy.

Fold the carrot mix into the eggs. I added a handful of raisins to my carrot. This is totally up to you!

Mix until thoroughly combined. Coating the raisins and carrots in flour helps to prevent  them from sinking to the bottom.

Divide into the lined tins. Bake for 45 minutes at 170.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes in tins...I love that the top is sugary and crispy.

Cream cheese, lemon zest, juice and icing sugar for Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting...YUM!

Mix, mix mix, mix until super smooth. 

Spread the frosting liberally on top of the carrot cake loaves... doesn't matter if it drips all down the sides. This is 100% natural. 

I sprinkled some cooled toasted almonds the top. This is not an option, it is a must!

Recipe, makes two 900g or two lb loaves.

Adapted from Avoca Café Cookbook

400g Grated Carrot
1 Heaped Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
400g Self Raising Flour
 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
4 Large Eggs
400ml Vegetable/Sunflower Oil
400g Vanilla Sugar or 400g Caster Sugar and 1 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extra
Handful Raisins

Grease and line two 2lb loaf tins.
Preheat oven to 170°C.
Combine the grated carrots, flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and raisins if using.
In another bowl, combine eggs, sugar, and oil.
Using an electrical hand whisk, whisk until light and fluffy.
Fold the carrot mix into the egg mix until well combined.
Divide into the greased and lined loaf tins. 
Bake at 170°C for 1hour.
Remove from oven when a tooth pick inserted into the loaf comes out clean.
Place onto a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tins.
Remove from the tins after 10 minutes and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Frost with the lemon cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with  toasted almonds.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Juice and Zest 1 Lemon
350-400g Icing Sugar, sieved
175g Full Fat Cream Cheese, room temperature
100g Toasted Almonds

Combine cream cheese, lemon zest, juice and 350g of icing sugar in a bowl.
Using a spatula beat until super smooth with no lumps.
Add more icing sugar if the frosting isn't tight enough
Sprinkle with toasted almonds.