April 29, 2013

Spicy Butter Chicken {Murgh Makhani}

My sister is bugging me to do something...So, this blog post is gonna be short and sweet! Quite appropriate actually as this spicy butter chicken is just that-short and sweet. After you marinade chunks of chicken in a myriad of spices for one hour or up to a day, this Indian dish takes no time to make. 

We're taking 30-40 mins max. Ideal mid week eats. 

April 21, 2013

S'mores Cake!

I love pictures of food. If you were to take my phone and swipe through the pictures on it 90% of them would be food related. The other 10%?...pictures of moustaches, men with beards, cool tattoos, the occasional bathroom selfie and pictures of friends and family. I have this habit of taking screen shots of things I like: outfits, tattoo inspiration,  desserts, smoothies-anything and everything I find appealing. 

On Instagram, I follow a catering company in LA, called Heirloom. Why does someone in Ireland follow a catering company in LA? Because the food pics they Instagram are UNBELIEVABLE-so full of life, earthy and mouthwatering. For the love of food, if you're on Instagram I suggest you follow them! You'll constantly like their pictures-I know I do!

About two months ago, I saw a picture Heirloom instagrammed of a S'mores Cake. Instantly I knew that come April, I would be making a similar cake for my younger brother's birthday. He and I love s'mores, as do my older brother and sister. S'mores are so tasty, like ridiculously tasty. If you can resist melty chocolate, oozy, crispy burned marshmallows smooshed between two crispy biscuits? Well, then you have extreme willpower! S'more.face.stuff. 

April 15, 2013

Muffin Doughnuts {mo-nuts/duffins}

Holly's Pantry turned one year old, three days ago, and I didn't even notice! For one solid year, I have been posting one recipe, maybe two recipes a week to my blog. At this stage, it has become natural. It has become a part of me and I cannot allow a week go by without blogging something. No matter how busy I am or how tired I am-I will always find a way to post something.

I absolutely love my food blog. I don't know what I would be like without it. I wanted a place where I could share my passion with others. Having a food blog has given me constant joy in my life. 

In less than two months I will be a fully qualified chef. I have worked in restaurants mainly on pastry and starters. I've done the 14 hour shifts in hot kitchens with a lunch and dinner service. I work in a cookery school now, while finishing my studies. Every once in a while I miss the adrenaline and fast pace of the professional kitchen. I learned and experienced so much in professional kitchens. But, I like the daylight too much, I need sunlight to feel happy. I like interacting with people and I like to have my own free time. Also, I'm quite a strong person, so I don't necessarily like being bossed around by unfriendly head chefs, although they're not all bad! 

I like to do things my way. If I have a vision for something I want to cook, I get up in the morning, cook it, photograph it and write about it without having to say 'yes chef', 'oui chef', 'coming chef'. I'm still young though,  at 22 I haven't made up my mind on many things yet. So, I might go back to a professional kitchen- time will tell! 

I have all these sheets of paper, memos and lists with things I want to cook and blog. I get ideas all the time and write them wherever I can. These ideas are very rough-more like flavour combinations rather than anything else. I am inspired daily. 


April 11, 2013

Homemade Pastrami (from scratch) and a Killer Pastrami Sandwich

Where do I begin ? I have so so much I want to tell you! I feel like I haven't spoken to you guys in a while, like I haven't been giving my all. I have been distracted, especially the last two weeks, I had a thesis to write, which I handed in on Monday. I have my life back and I feel like I can engage with you again!! 

Who decides to take on a two week project of turning beef to corned beef to pastrami...two weeks before their thesis is due?! This final year culinary arts student-I'm reckless...or crazy! In actual fact, it isn't at all hard to make. Yes, it takes time, yes, you have to follow a precise recipe but there is nothing too challenging. I will admit, I simplified the pastrami making process A LOT. Let me explain...(in my own words, with my own understanding of the whole process)...

Pastrami is a brisket of beef that has been brined or 'corned' for several days to make corned beef. This corned beef is then rubbed in a dry spice mixture and smoked over wood chips for hours. Low and slow, slow, slow, for up to 14 hours depending on how thick the beef is. After the smoking process, the pastrami is then rested for a day before being steamed for a further 1-2 hours or until it reaches a specific temperature. 

I'm not going to say this process scared me, but honestly I wasn't bothered with keeping to the traditional method as it was going to take a very long period of time. Not something I had during my thesis writing! After brining the brisket I skipped the smoking and steaming steps  and went straight to a slow cooking process in the oven that took only 6 hours in comparison to 14 hours.

A note on brining, you are preserving the meat and changing the flavour profile. In brining, there is a particular type of salt used called Pink Salt #1 or Pink Salt #2 which is also know as Prague Powder as well as regular salt. These curing or brining salts do two things: they help maintain the bright pink colour of the beef and help prevent the growth of bacteria. I did not use a brining salt in my recipe, I added extra salt instead. I didn't use a curing salt as I was comfortable enough not using one. However, if this is something that freaks you out, by all means buy some-you'll have to look around, ask your butcher, check Fallon & Byrne or buy some online. Just add 2 teaspoons to the brining recipe below. Since the curing salt also maintains the meat's bright pink colour, if you don't use it-like myself- your pastrami will have a pink hue, but more so be tan in colour. If you prefer, buy a corned beef from your butcher and go straight to step 2 below. 


April 02, 2013

Spaghetti w/a Creamy Pork Ragu and Roasted Butternut Squash

I cannot believe I have only ever posted one pasta dish on Holly's Pantry. To me, it just doesn't make sense. In our house it has happened that we have had pasta up to 4 times a week! We'll have pasta for dinner-spaghetti bolognese, carabonara, spicy chorizo and penne or a random combination of whatever is in the fridge. I love pasta...really love it! It's so versatile and hella easy to make delicious.

This dish is a bit of a ninja, a little stealthy. It takes very familiar flavours and turns the usual spaghetti  tossed in a meat sauce into something quite special. 

You may know by now (or not) that I like simple, accessible food with a twist. Taking ingredients that everyone is familiar with, using ingredients that are possibly already in your pantry or easily purchased. 

This recipe preaches to that: the only thing I had to buy was fresh sage from the vegetable shop. Minced pork-in the freezer, cream-in the fridge, onion, garlic and butternut squash-lying in the vegetable basket, tinned tomatoes in the press along with chilli flakes. This is a delicious filling dinner at a relatively low cost. What more could you want? Big flavour at a low price.

I have only one preparation picture for this recipe, I apologise. I was helping out a friend doing a photography project, he is putting together a 'look book' and wanted to add in a recipe. I forgot, to take step by step picture but the recipe has everything you need!

I have a feeling this pasta dish will now become a pasta staple in our house! Maybe yours too?


Holly, x

Everything you need for this dish.

I used spaghetti, but feel free to use your favourite type: penne, fusilli, papparedelle etc etc.

The only preparation picture I have, sorry! 

The recipe is below, but if you need anything, ask me in the comment section below and I'll get back to you!

Recipe, serves 5

450g Butternut Squash-1 small/medium one

1 Pound Minced Pork
1 Medium Onion
1 Tin Chopped/Plum Tomatoes
1 Garlic Clove
8-10 Sage Leaves
Pinch Chilli Flakes-more to your taste
250ml Single Cream
Parmesan Cheese, to serve
Olive oil, salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180C.
Cut the butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and chop into 1/2 cubes, removing any skin.
Place onto a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 25-30 minutes or until cooked and slightly coloured.
While roasting, begin your sauce.
Remove from oven.

Creamy Pork Ragu

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan.
Dice the onion and sweat, with a pinch of salt, for 5-7 minutes over medium heat until softened but not browned.
Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and add in the pork with a pinch of chilli flake. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
In the meantime, chop the sage. 
Turn the heat up and fry, to brown and crisp the onions and pork for 3 minutes.
Add in the tin of tomatoes-be careful this will bubble- and use a wooden spoon to scrape any meat/onions off the bottom of the pan.
~if you have used a tin of plum tomatoes, take a fork and mash the tomatoes up~
Pour in the cream along with the chopped sage and simmer over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until the cream and tomatoes have reduced slightly and formed a sauce. 
Cook your pasta according to the packet. 
Before draining, remove a mug of the pasta water.
Drain and toss with the sauce and roasted butternut squash.
Add in some hot pasta water if you feel you would like the sauce a little looser.
Top with an outrageous grating of parmesan and dig in!