January 28, 2013

Simple Tuna Pâté

I was thinking of making a crab pâté the other day having had an open crab sandwich in Galway a few weeks backs. However, I was flicking through the TV stations and ended up on  Food Network-no surprise, it's all I ever watch! I caught the last few minutes of 'Ina Garten's: Back to Basics'. She was making something in a blender with tinned tuna fish, black olives and capers. I didn't get to see what else went into it but she called it 'tuna tapenade which suggests it was the tuna blitzed with black olives, capers, lemon juice, anchovies, olive oil, salt, pepper and a few other ingredients. 

I figured I'd experiment and make a tuna pâté instead, since everybody probably has a tin of tuna fish in their kitchen press and it's cheaper than buying fresh crab! I kind of made up the recipe as I went along! I love cooking (with and without heat) freely... opening the food presses and fridge to see what jars, tins and packets are there to be used! Ina, (yes we're on first name terms!) used black olives. I didn't have any-I had green, so I used them with a combination of lemon, rosemary, garlic, Dijon mustard, hummus and crème fraîche to make it creamy and delicious. I toasted up some slices of baguette and served the pâté with green leaves tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. 

This is absolutely ideal for nibbles with drinks, a light lunch, supper or spread generously on an afternoon bagel!


Holly, x 

Chances are you'll have a few of these ingredients in your food press and fridge  to make this pâté: tuna, rosemary, garlic, lemon, crème fraîche, green olives, hummus, Dijon mustard.

If you don't, fret not-be creative. Change the rosemary for thyme, the hummus for more crème fraîche or sour cream, the green olives for black ones or capers! 

Blitz the garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, rosemary, salt and pepper to a paste.

Add in the tuna, crème fraîche, hummus, Dijon mustard and olives and blitz to make a pâté. 

Done. Finished. Simple, Delish!

Recipe, inspired by Ina Garten

1 Garlic Clove
Juice and Zest of 1 Lemon
1 Teaspoon Fresh Rosemary
2 x 400g Tins Tuna, in brine
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Crème Fraîche
2 Tablespoons Hummus
1 Heaped Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
2 Heaped Tablespoons Green Olives
Salt and Pepper

Place the garlic, lemon zest, half the lemon juice, rosemary, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food blender .
Blitz to make a paste.
Add in the tuna, hummus, olive oil, crème fraîche, Dijon mustard and olives.
Blitz twice or three times to make a Pâté (blitz more/less to make a smoother/chunkier Pâté-depending on your personal taste)

Taste for lemon juice, salt and pepper.

To Serve:
1 Toasted Baguette
Salad leaves tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese.

January 18, 2013

Brie, Shredded Chicken, Artichoke + Jalapeño Quesadilla // Simple Guacamole+Salsa

If you know me or are a good friend of mine, you'll know that I love sandwiches. I appreciate them immensely. A sandwich-something delicious sandwiched between a vessel such as bread-white/brown, a bagel, a burger bun, a tortilla, focaccia, so on and so forth. You're getting the picture, right? I'm looking at 'the sandwich' in its fantastic wide variety of  forms. There are so many options-all super!


Tell  me you like something and I'll make it for you if you come to my house. Tell me you love chocolate/pineapple/tomatoes/eggs or Brie and I'll make something delicious for you using that ingredient. 

I met my friend's new (boy)friend the other day and he said that he loves Brie and how he loved this sandwich. I told him I'd work on something with Brie. I couldn't think of what to make. Another friend-Karen, was telling me about a quesadilla she was making. So, I thought yeah, lets make a quesadilla with melty Brie all up in it! The final product: a Brie, shredded chicken, artichoke, jalapeño, sundried tomatoes quesadilla with a simple guacamole and salsa. 

There's a lot of deliciousness going on here. In my opinion, maybe I'm biased but, this is a solid tasting quesadilla and since a quesadilla is Mexican, I made a simple guacamole and salsa to go along. 

Look, just do me a favour and make this?!

Holly, x

Artichoke hearts, jalapeños, tortilla, Brie, shredded chicken, sundried tomatoes: quesadilla is under way!

Load up one side of the tortilla with shredded chicken.

Arrange sliced jalapeños, artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes on top.

Cover with a few thick slices of Brie.

Place in a cold pan, place over a medium heat and toast until melty, golden and delicious.

Recipe, makes 1 quesadilla.

For this recipe, I'm not going to give you quantities just an ingredients list for you to work from because your tortilla might be bigger/smaller than the 8 inch one I used! Add as much/little of the ingredients as you like!

1 Wheat/Corn Tortilla
Leftover Shredded Chicken or 1 Chicken Fillet Poached and Shredded
Marinated Artichoke Hearts
Sundried Tomatoes
Brie Cheese

Pile the shredded chicken on one side of the tortilla.
Roughly chop the marinated artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes and pickled jalapeños.
Sprinkle over the chicken. Finish with a few thick slices of Brie.
Fold the tortilla over and place in a cool, dry pan.
Turn on the heat to medium and toast the quesadilla until melty on the inside and golden, crispy on the outside.
Serve immediately with the guacamole and salsa below.

Simple Guacamole

1 Ripe Avocado
1/4 Lime, Juiced
Salt and Pepper

Cut the avocado in half, remove the stone and scoop the flesh into a bowl.
Mash with a fork, add in the lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Simple Salsa

1 Medium Ripe Tomato
1/4 Red Pepper,
1/4 Medium Red Onion
Salt and Pepper
Few Dashes Tabasco

Quarter the tomato, remove seeds and finely dice.
Finely dice the red onion and red pepper.
Place into a bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and hit with a few dashes of Tabasco to taste.

January 07, 2013

Banoffee Cupcakes

This post is a tiny bit different than my usual ones. It still is about food, it still has pictures, it still has a recipe, it still has light banter (hopefully!), but, it is missing my usual step-by-step picture guide! Don't worry, it'll be back next week, promise.  

Want to know why I don't have step-by-step pictures this week? You must be curious! I'll be quite frank-I had absolutely no intention of blogging these cupcakes. I was going to the shop, told my brother I'd bake him something and that I could pick up ingredients if he told me what he wanted quick enough.  He said banoffee cupcakes before I could even make a suggestion. So, we have Sam to thank for these! I started baking them in the evening and had no natural light to take pictures beside the big window in the kitchen. 

So I held back a few cupcakes and decorated them the next day. The reason I decided to blog them? They were a bit of an experiment and they turned out pretty darn well! Sam said bannoffee cupcakes and I made a mental note, before I went to the shop of what is in banoffee-biscuit base, caramel, cream, banana and cocoa powder. In some shape or form all these elements are in the cupcakes: a biscuit base, a banana and chocolate chip cupcake with a caramel centre and a caramel buttercream. They are big, bold and beautiful! You could change the caramel buttercream for a big dollop of whipped cream if you fancy. They'd still be delish!

I will tell you one thing, something I was a little disappointed in myself about-I ate this cupcakes with a...fork! That's how large they are!


Holly, x

Recipe, makes 15 cupcakes

Biscuit Base

10 Digestive Biscuit
75g Butter

Line a cupcake tray with 15 cupcake liners.
Bash the biscuits and melt the butter.
Stir together and divide amongst the cupcake liners, pushing into the base.

Banana and Chocolate Cupcakes

125g Unsalted Butter, diced and softened
250g Caster Sugar
2 Large Eggs
250g Self Raising Flour
4 Very Ripe Bananas
100g Dark Chocolate, cut into chunks
15 Teaspoons Caramel, I used Carnation Caramel

Preheat an oven to 180°C
Mash the bananas and chop the chocolate into chunks-set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sieve over the flour and using a spatula fold the flour in until it is half combined.
Add in the banana and chocolate chunks and fold until well combined.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of cupcake batter in on top of the biscuit base above, followed by 1 teaspoon of caramel.
Repeat this until you all 15 cupcake liners have caramel.
Take another 1/2 tablespoon of cupcake batter and spoon it over the caramel.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Caramel Buttercream

100g Caramel
100g Butter, softened
500g Icing Sugar, sieved

Beat together the caramel, butter and 250g of icing sugar for 3 minutes.
Add the remaining icing sugar and beat for another minute.
Add a little milk if the butter cream is to thick.
Spread/Pipe on top of the cooled cupcakes.


2 Ripe Bananas, thinnly sliced
2 Digestive Biscuits, crumbled

For a little something extra-garnish the top of the iced cupcakes with a few slices of banana and a crubling of digestive biscuit!

January 01, 2013

Shredded Brussels Sprout Coleslaw

HAPPY NEW YEAR! To new beginnings and all that..or.. continuing on with your life exactly as it has been! It's been exactly a week since Christmas Day and yesterday, I found a rogue bag of Brussels sprouts in the vegetable basket. They were looking a bit sad-the outside leaves were a bit yellowish-but, they were still good! All I had to do was peel back the first few layers of outer leaves and hey presto underneath I had perfect sprouts. I would think that 9/10 households have a bag of sprouts somewhere knocking about the kitchen!

If you have non-sprout eaters in your house, trust me-they'll eat this (provided you don't tell them what's in it!). It's super good-mustard dressing, fresh crunch and sweet bite from the sultanas! 

Make it and eat it on its own or as part of a buffet style lunch. I'm sure some households still have to have family over for dinner or gift giving. A big bowl of this won't last too long in the middle of the table!


Holly, x

If the Brussels sprouts are a bit old looking like mine were, (on the left), just peel back the first few layers of leaves and remove them. 

Finely shred the Brussels sprouts and cabbage but coarsely grate the carrot.

Stir together the mayo, sour cream, Dijon mustard, celery seeds, salt, pepper, milk and...

...mix through the Brussels sprouts with a large handful of sultanas!
Recipe, makes 1 big bowl serves 8-12

1 Bag Brussels Sprouts
1 Medium White Cabbage
3 Medium Carrots
100g Mayo
50g Sour Cream
50g Dijon Mustard
Pinch Celery Seeds
4 Tablespoons Milk
Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
Large Handful Sultanas

Remove any yellow leaves from the outside of the Brussels sprouts and then wash.
In a food processor or with a very sharp knife finely shred the white cabbage followed by the Brussels sprouts. 
Place in a bowl
Coarsely grate the carrot. and place in the bowl.
Mix together the mayo, sour cream, Dijon mustard, celery seeds, salt, pepper and milk.
Pour in on top of the cabbage, Brussels sprouts, carrot and add in the large handful of sultanas.
Mix until well combined.
Cover and allow to sit in the fridge for at least 3 hours-overnight if possible.