Catering, Christmas, Cookery Classes, Cooking, Food, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Vegetarian

Happy New Year and all that …..

Happy New Year! I’m full of good intentions this morning – well who isn’t? 😉

2013 was exciting, if a tad stressful – the best bit being moving house and installing not one but two kitchens – one for me and one for Hey Pesto!
Now I have no excuses so  it’s time to start making plans for the year ahead……..

I want to :

  1. concentrate on the ‘cookery school side’ of the business – starting with my lighter cooking course on 14th January. I’ve been blown away by the feedback from my classes so far and I can’t believe how much I love doing them.
  2. continue to grow my catering business. I can’t believe it’s 9 years since I started Hey Pesto!
  3. blog more – I know, I know, I said that last year but there were far too many distractions. I also want to finally get round to creating a website (Stop laughing – yes you!)
  4. cook more for pleasure – now that I have a library for my cookery books I need to use them! (I shall also be looking for ‘guinea pigs’)
  5. enjoy lots of good food in the company of good friends and loved ones.

Another thing that I am very conscious of is the amount of food that is wasted. I tried to cut down last year but bad habits crept back in… So since Christmas I have trying to use up everything – I haven’t been food shopping since Christmas Eve and have managed to produce a number of tasty meals – ok I know we all overstock before the holidays but………

Of course I’m also going to be “super” healthy in 2014….well maybe I should start with healthier…….I even got a birthday present of gym membership (a less than subtle hint perhaps!)

So my first meal of 2014 is going to be a Vegetarian Crumble to use up all the sad vegetables still lurking in the pantry.

Vegetables

Spiced Vegetable Crumble

No Servings:         4 -6
Oven:                   180ºC/ gas 4     

What you need:

  • 1 – 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion,  chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1-2 cm fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 jar passata
  • Approx 750g mixed root vegetables, chopped
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 75g flour
  • 75g Kilbeggan Porridge Oats
  • 50g butter
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

What you do:

  • Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion for approx 5 mins. Meanwhile dry fry the cumin nad coriander seeds and roughly grind in a pestle and mortar (Okay you can use a spice grinder but think of the exercise!)
  • Add the garlic, spices and ginger to the onions, cook for another minute then add in 2 tbsps of passasta. Cook for another minute then add in the rest of the passata.
  • Add in the chopped vegetables – I used carrots, celery(not a root veg I know but it was in the basket), sweet potato and parsnips. I also threw in the half packet of chestnuts that were languishing in the fridge since I made turkey & leek pie.
  • Transfer the mix to a casserole dish and pour in your vegetable stock.
  • Make the crumble topping by rubbing the butter into the flour and oats. Add in the cayenne pepper – both for colour and seasoning. You could use paprika if you prefer.
  • Top the vegetables with the crumble mix and bake for 30-40 mins. until the top is golden and bubbling.

P1010994-001

My dish is ready to go into the oven but as it has stopped raining I may even attempt to go for a walk!  Looking forward to dinner later with a nice glass of red wine  – well it is still Christmas ….

Happy Cooking and Happy New Year!

PS What are you planning for 2014?!

This is how the Crumble turned out and if I do say so myself it was rather tasty!

Vegetable Crumble

 

Catering, Christmas, Cookery Classes, Cooking, Food, Recipes, Vegetarian

Vegetarians deserve Christmas too!

When I was in college and living away from home for the first time I decided I would become a vegetarian. I have to to say it was more from  economic than altruistic reasons … that and the fact I had a major aversion to handling raw meat!
This ‘phase’ lasted for about 14 years – and ended abruptly 3 days into my time studying in Ballymaloe Cookery School when I decided that if I was going to cook for a living I needed to know what everything tasted like  And yes it was a rasher sambo that ‘brought me back’ 😉

During my years as a vegetarian I drove my poor Mum mad every Christmas by refusing point blank to touch turkey or ham and insisting on cooking my own dinner down to the vegetarian gravy!

Over the years this nut roast became a Christmas favourite tradition and even my very carnivorous brother gave it his seal of approval.

So if you’re looking for a veggie option for Christmas Day then your search ends here……….

Best Ever Cashew Nut & Mushroom Roast

No Servings:         6
Oven:             180ºC/ gas 4/350ºF      

What you need:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  •  1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  •  8 oz/225g cashew nuts, roughly chopped
  •  4 oz/110g breadcrumbs
  •  1 egg
  • 3 medium parsnips, cooked and mashed
  • 1 tsp each fresh rosemary & thyme
  •  ¼ pt/ 150 ml vegetable stock
  •  Good knob of  butter
  •  8 oz/ 225g mushrooms, sliced.

What you do:

  • Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté onion for few mins, Making sure to add a pinch of salt. Add the garlic then cook until soft
  • In a large bowl mix nuts and breadcrumbs together with the beaten egg.
  • Add in the mashed parsnips and the herbs, followed by onion and garlic. Make sure you add all the cooking juices in to avoid any dryness in roast
  • Stir in the stock and season to taste. Set aside
  • In your pan sauté mushrooms in butter until soft. I always add a little sherry or vermouth at this stage…. it gives a lovely flavour!
  • Butter  and line 2 lb loaf tin. Put a line of your best mushroom pieces down the middle of the base – this will be the top of your roast when you turn it out so make sure they look good!
  • Then press in half the nut mixture. Cover with a layer of mushrooms and top with rest of nut mixture.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. When cooked remove from oven and allow to stand for 10 mins before turning out.
  • Serve it hot with all the usual Christmas accompaniments or have it cold with salad and chutney.

Note: You can half the recipe and use a 1 lb loaf tin if you want to cook this for 2-3 people

And if you’re looking for a delicious vegetarian gravy …….. all you need to do is put 1 pt/500ml water, 2 tbsp soy sauce and 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the jelly. Blend 2 tbsp cornflour with 2 tbsp orange juice and 1 tbsp sherry. Stir a little of hot liquid into cornflour mix, then add back into saucepan, whisking well to ensure no lumps! Simmer over gentle heat until slightly thickened. Season to taste. 

Enjoy!

Happy Cooking and Happy Christmas!

Christmas, Cookery Classes, Cooking, Recipes

Tips for the Perfect Turkey

It’s that time of year again. Time to plan the Christmas Feast – turkey, ham and all the trimmings.

I don’t know about you but I’ve always found  turkey rather dry  despite trying all sorts of methods including cooking it in buttered muslin, breast side down, basting………….Then last year on our Fáilte Ireland food trip to Canada I had my eureka moment when we were treated to a Thanksgiving dinner in the lovely Elmhirst Resort – Brining!

This is so easy to do and you won’t believe the difference this will make to your bird – ask anyone who’s been to one of my Christmas Cookery Classes 🙂

What you need:

  • ¾ cup  salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 large onion
  • ¼ cup diced celery
  • 2 large sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. black peppercorns
  • ¼ tsp. chilli flakes
  • ¼ tsp. fennel seeds
  • 7 litres of water

What you do:

  • Bring the salt, sugar and 1 litre of water to the boil, stir until dissolved, turn off the heat and add the remaining ingredients and 6 litres of cold water.
  • Add the turkey to your brine mixture and leave to brine for 24- 72 hours (make sure bird is fully submerged, place a plate on top to help)
  • Remove the turkey and pat dry
  • Cover the skin with softened butter
  • Cook as normal

This brine mix will work for up to a 16 lb. turkey.

I’ve changed the ingredients occasionally to suit what I have to hand. I did two turkey breasts last week using rosemary and pink peppercorns instead of thyme and black pepper and they were gobbled up (sorry I couldn’t resist!)

This year we’re having turkey wellington for Christmas Dinner . I’m going to brine a turkey breast for 48 hours, then remove it from the brine, split it in half (not going quite the way through ) and fill the ‘pocket’ with stuffing.
Then I’ll spread two sheets of puff pastry with cranberry sauce ; place turkey on one sheet and top with the second – sealing the edges together. To finish I’ll brush the pastry with beaten egg and cut a little cross in the top to allow steam to escape. My rule of thumb for cooking this is 20 minutes per pound plus 20 minutes.

This is one I prepared earlier !

Turkey Wellington

I’m still deciding on which stuffing to use on the ‘Big Day’ but at the moment hazelnut & apricot is looking good:

What you need: 

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 50 g butter
  • 50 g hazelnuts, chopped
  • 140g dried ready-to-eat apricots, chopped
  • 200g breadcrumbs
  • Handful parsley, chopped
  • Juice & zest of 1 orange

What you do:

  • Melt butter in frying pan and sauté onions until soft but not coloured (about 5-10 mins).
  • Add hazelnuts and fry until golden
  • Stir in apricots, breadcrumbs, zest, juice and parsley. Remove from heat.
  • Allow to cool completely before using to stuff your bird.

Happy Cooking and Happy Christmas! 

P.S. Here’s a few  tips for safe cooking this Christmas

  • Make sure when you’re brining your bird to keep it in the fridge or somewhere cold.
  • Take turkey out of fridge an hour or two in advance – it will cook more evenly from room temperature
  • Cooking time depends on size and type of bird – see link below for cooking chart
  • Use a meat thermometer if you have one, and test thickest part of breast and leg. You want the temperature to hold at 70 C for at least 2 minutes
  • If you don’t have a meat thermometer use a skewer in the thickest part leg and breast – make sure juices run clear.
  • Allow the turkey to rest – will stay warm under foil for up to 2 hours. Use this time to cook vegetables
  • Save yourself time and prep your veg day before!

You can get more safe cooking tips here:

http://www.safefood.eu/Publications/Consumer-info/Have-a-healthy,-happy-Christmas.aspx

Baking, Cookery Classes, desserts, Food, Recipes

Sammy the Spider

Have I mentioned that I love the variety of what I do -from catering to canapés to classes?

One of my latest ventures is Chocolate Cookery Classes at the famous Butler’s Chocolates.

So when they asked me to do a Halloween class I had to put my thinking hat on and Sammy the Spider was born …..

Meet Sammy!
Meet Sammy!

To make this cake and be the star of your Halloween Party just follow my instructions which I hope don’t ramble too much…..

The body of the cake is made using one of the most versatile chocolate cake recipes you’ll ever need. I was introduced to it about 10 years ago by Tess and Nicola when I worked in Wicklow and since then I’ve used it for cakes, muffins, mini cupcakes, sweet canapés …..and now spiders.

What you need :

  • 8oz/200g Self raising Flour
  • 9oz/225g Soft Brown Sugar
  • 2o/50g Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 pt/125ml  Milk (the full fat variety please!)
  • 1/4 pt/125ml  Sunflower Oil
  • 3 eggs , separated

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to at 180C /170 C  Fan/Gas 4
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  • Mix the milk and oil in a jug and whisk in the egg yolks.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they’re thick and glossy (as if you were making meringues).
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mix well and then fold in the egg whites – being careful not to knock out all the air.
  • And that’s it ! Now pour mix into baking tins – I used two 11.5 cm  and one 20 cm- you could make 2 large cakes or 4 small ones.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes, until firm to touch.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for about 5 mins then turn out onto a wire rack  and allow to cool completely.

Note:  It’s not worth halving the recipe to make just one small cake so freeze the extra cakes for     another day – or make a family of spiders!

Now comes the fun part – the decorating.

First you need some Chocolate Ganache:

To make this you simply heat 200ml  cream until simmering then pour over approx 125g dark chocolate chips and stir until melted. If you think it’s not thick enough you can add more chocolate but do remember it will thicken as it cools.

Place on of the 11.5cm cakes on your serving plate (you can do it on a turntable but you have to be very careful when transferring it to its final plate!)

Cover the body of the cake with the ganache then get ready to add the legs. I used wafer rolls for the legs though I think chocolate fingers might work as well. wafer rolls

You need 16 rolls – two for each leg to allow for the bend! Cover each roll in the chocolate ganache (Didn’t I warn you it could get messy!)

Stick 8 of them into the body of the cake to form the tops of the legs. Then carefully ‘glue’ on the bottom half of each leg (wafer) using more of the ganache. (I’ll repeat the picture so you can see what I mean – I hope!)

halloween 020

For the face you need some roll out icing – white for eyes, orange for mouth. Stamp out two white circles for the eyes, ‘glue’ onto the body and then attach an M&M’s to each circle with a little of the ganache.

To make the mouth cut out a smile from the orange icing and stick it on.

Et voila! Your Halloween spider cake is complete  and totally worth the mess!

Happy Cooking & Happy Halloween!

PS the best compliment I received on this was from my soon to be 3-year-old nephew – he wants a spider as his birthday cake 🙂

Cookery Classes, Cooking, Food, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Where’s the beef – an alternative burger

When I left college (a few years ago….) I could barely boil water – I though pizza and coleslaw were major food groups and takeaways were essential!  So when I found myself in paid employment I decided in the interests of survival to sign up for a cookery class, vegetarian of course.

The class was hands-on, given by a lovely girl in Ballsbridge. It was great fun and I learned lots – you have no idea how basic my knowledge of all things culinary was at that time.

My memories of the course include the couple who read 3/4 lb carrot as 3 to 4 lbs and then spent a class doing nothing but peeling carrots; my ‘landlady’ Siobhan waiting for me to come home with Wednesday night dinner  and a realisation that I did not like kidney beans!

One of the recipes from this course that I  still use is one for Black-eyed Bean Burgers . In fact we serve them as a vegetarian barbecue option.

Last Saturday I wasn’t really in the mood for cooking (I know, hard to believe) so I was delighted to find a few of these burgers in the freezer and I paired them with  the mango and pomegranate guacamole leftover from Friday’s book club – happy days!

The recipe was requested after I posted a photo of the dish on facebook . I know the original recipe included sautéed mushrooms but I  omitted those and from memory for this batch I added in some oyster sauce and used mixed nuts.  Thinking about it I might try adding red peppers and chilli sauce the next time……..

What you need:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 400g tin black-eyed beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp tahini paste
  • 1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
  • 50g/2 oz brazil nuts (or mixed nuts)
  • 100g/4 oz breadcrumbs (I prefer the panko ones)

What you do:

  • Sauté the onion in 1 tbsp rapeseed oil until softened but not coloured. Add the garlic after about 5 mins and cook for another minute
  • Pulse the beans in food processor with the nuts and approx 3/4 of the breadcrumbs (that’s 75g not 3 breadcrumbs!)
  • Add in the tahini paste (or peanut butter if you prefer) and the oyster sauce and the cooked onion and whizz together
  • If the mix seems dry add a little stock.
  • Using a chefs ring form into burgers, then ‘top and tail’ with the remaining breadcrumbs.
  • Bake in the oven (180 C/ Gas 4) for 10 mins until breadcrumbs crisp or if you prefer shallow fry them.

The original accompaniment to these was Sweet and Sour Sauce and Brown Rice – well it was the nineties! I serve them with a home-made coleslaw for barbecues but the guacamole really worked as well. It was a recipe from  Gourmet magazine that I picked up in Canada  – it’s already in the favourites folder!

I hope you like them !

Happy Cooking !

PS  The Chief Taster has requested that I point out he is not in favour of these vegetarian posts and could I please do a carnivore dish  for the next one.
Baking, Cakes, Catering, Cookery Classes, Cooking, Food, Recipes

There’s no chocolate in it honestly!

As you may have noticed  I  have a ‘slight’ addiction to cookbooks. I also have a tendency to collect recipes from magazines, newspapers etc  – I have a box of pages and clippings from various publications that I have garnered from numerous sources ………..

Some look tantalising when I’m in the hairdressers or in a waiting room but once assigned to the ‘box’ they never leave, others make it straight to the kitchen for testing and some even go on to become firm favourites.

One such find was a recipe for an Espresso Tart – I think it came from a Food & Travel magazine and my apologies for not acknowleding the original owner of this recipe but your details aren’t on my valued clipping.

I’m not really a dessert person but I do like this (must be the caffeine).  Almost everyone who tastes it is convinced there’s chocolate in it but as you’ll see there’s none.

This  tart is divine on it’s own but can be raised to another level if you serve it with a mascarpone sorbet. I often make it into individual tartlets to serve at dinner parties and it’s always well received

Individual Espresso Tart with Sorbet

I brought one of these tarts to Inishfood in May and I’ve been asked to share the recipe – so this is especially for Donal, Imen and Bríd.

Espresso Tart

Oven Setting: 180ºC/ Gas 4

What you need:

  • Sweet Shortcrust Pastry *
  • 125g butter
  • 250g muscavado sugar
  • 2 tsp espresso coffee (finely ground – I use Illy)
  • 6 tbsp Kahlua or Tia Maria
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 50g self raising flour, sieved

What you do:

  • Line a 24cm loose bottomed tin with your pastry and leave to chill
  • For the filling, heat butter and sugar until sugar dissolves, then ad the coffee, liqueur and eggs.
  • Gently fold in the sieved flour and pour the mixture into the pastry case.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 mins – you want a ‘squidgy, fudgy’ texture- be careful not to overcook!
  •  Leave to cool before serving.
* I use 1lb flour, 8oz butter, 1-2 egg yolks, 1 tbsp caster sugar and a little water to make my pastry – this should give you    enough for 2 tarts. You don’t need to blind bake the pastry for this recipe.
Espresso Tartlets
As I said this tart can be served as an excellent dinner party dessert with ice cream or créme fraiche but best of all with mascarpone sorbet which is not as complicated as it sounds – please try it as the taste combination is divine!

Mascarpone Sorbet

What you need: 

  • 250g tub mascarpone
  • 250ml  milk (the proper full fat type please!)
  • 150g caster sugar

What you do: 

  • Whisk the  mascarpone with the milk until thick, smooth and lumpfree. Then stir in the sugar.
  • If you have an ice cream maker, pour in mix and leave to stir until thick and creamy, then freeze until needed.
  • If you don’t have an ice cream maker then pour mix into tupperware box and freeze for an hour. Then whisk in frozen edges back into centre of mix to break up any ice crystals. Freeze for another hour then beat again. Repeat until sorbet is thick, creamy and frozen.

Now all you have to do is sit back and enjoy – and now you know there’s no chocolate in it, honestly!

Happy Cooking !

 

Catering, Chef, Cookery Classes, Cooking, Food, Recipes

Offaly Good Food!

After the fun and success of last year’s Taste of Offaly I was delighted when Midlands 103 invited me back for a second year!

We have SO much good produce in Offaly and it’s a privilege to be asked to come up with ideas to cook with this wonderful food.

I have to admit I was a little starstruck when I saw my name in the Sunday Business Post (thanks Vivienne and Gillian ;-)!)

This year we had a much ‘posher’ demo kitchen thanks to Flogas  – I could actually cook in the oven this year (last year we had to pretend the oven was working!!!)

The exhibition hall was hopping all through the day and it was great to catch up with all the food producers. Thanks to everyone who supplied the ingredients and I hope I haven’t left anybody out!

This year I also had the opportunity to watch the other demos and really enjoyed watching Feargal O’Donnell from the Fatted Calf and Numb from Bang Thai cooking with our local produce – it’s great to learn from other chefs!

Plus I owe a big thanks to Feargal for helping me out with frying pans, cheese etc (though I’m a bit peeved he didn’t share the fresh tarragon!) . The Fatted Calf is definitely on my ‘to visit’ list – if only to taste more of the smoked beetroot!

As promised here are the recipes from the day…..

Pigs on the Green Pork in Tullamore Dew Whiskey Sauce

 What you need:

What you do:

  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Cook the pork  pieces on one side for 2-3 minutes until golden-brown.
  • Add the butter to the pan then turn the pork over and cook for 1-2 minutes until browned on the other side. Transfer the pork to a warm plate and set aside.
  • Pour in the whiskey  to deglaze the pan,making sure to scrape up any bits of pork  on the bottom of pan. Reduce the heat and add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, until softened but not coloured.
  • Then turn the heat back up, add the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat again and leave the sauce to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until reduced by approximately half.
  • Pour in the cream and whisk in the syrup. Season, to taste, then add in another little dash of whiskey!
  • Add the cooked pork back into the sauce along with the tarragon, and heat through foe a few minutes before serving with rice.

Deverell’s Farm Direct Spiced Lamb Burger

What you need:

  • 450g/1lb Farm Factory Direct lamb pieces, minced
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Grated zest of orange
  • Handful fresh coriander
  • 1 tsp salt

What you do:

  • This is a nice easy recipe – you just mix all ingredients together in your food processor and then form into burgers.
  • If you have time, chill the burgers for a while – I think this helps them hold their shape
  • Cook the burgers for about 5 mins each side.
  • I served them in O’Donohue’s burger buns which Cathal kindly made for me, beautiful salad leaves from Lough Boora Farm and my own red onion marmalade.

Kilbeggan Oats Biscuits

I knew I was under pressure when I tasted the biscuits on the Kilbeggan Oatmeal Stand – they were seriously good!  Pat’s wife , Lily had made beautifully crisp cookies so we had a great chat about the differences in our recipes – the main one being the that I used the jumbo flakes whereas she uses the finer flakes. the recipe I use is a childhood favourite that my Mum always makes – I hope you like them!

What you need:

  • 6oz butter
  • 6oz caster sugar
  • 1 dsp golden sryup
  • 1 tsp bread soda
  • 6 oz flour
  • 8 oz Kilbeggan Jumbo Oats

What you do:

  • Melt the butter and sugar slowly over a low heat.
  • Add the golden syrup and remove from the heat. Stir in the bread soda
  • Fold in the flour and the oatflakes.
  • Make sure everything is well mixed before rolling out the mix. Stamp out into small discs
  • Bake at 180C /Gas 4 for 10 mins until golden brown.
an Offaly Version of Cranachan!

I never got to take photos of the mini banoffees made with Ballyshiel Dulce de leche;  mini meringues with compote made using Derryvilla blueberries and  Boozeberries blueberry liqueur; and decadent chocolate delight made with Coole Swan and Glenisk organic cream ………for some reason these all disappeared rather quickly……as did the cocktail sausages!! (If anyone has any pictures from the day I’d love to see them)

We really have an amazing wealth of local produce in Offaly – please support these dedicated food producers and choose local!

Thanks again to Midlands 103, all the food producers, everyone who came along to the demos and a special thanks to my Mum and James for being my assistants on the day!

Happy Cooking!

PS there’s another exciting local food project coming up – watch this space!

Cookery Classes, Cooking, Food, Healthy Eating, Recipes

A Healthy Start – to the Day and the New Year!

Once again I’m distracted away from cook book reviews………..well I was trying to be a radio star!!!

This week I was thrilled to be invited onto the Today with Will Faulkner radio program to discuss my favourite topic – food. I thought I was going in to promote my cookery classes in Hugh Lynch’s Pub but instead was given a  brief  to talk about Healthy eating for New Year .

Thinking about this I decided that the best thing would be to make small but effective lifestyle changes – starting with the most important meal of the day – breakfast!

I had to admit, when Will asked me about porridge and how to encourage children to eat it, that I CAN’T abide the stuff – I can’t even stand to look at it, never mind cook it or worse still eat it!  However I do appreciate the healthiness of porridge oats and I have no problem eating them in other forms – bread, granola or even my Mum’s famous oatmeal biscuits!

So as  ‘props’ to my interview I brought along my favourite breakfast  (and porridge alternative!) –  Granola &  Glenisk Greek-style yoghurt and oaty brown bread – all I was missing was the coffee!

Here are the recipes for same – except the yoghurt of course!

If you can get your hands on them – Kilbeggan Organic Porridge Oats are the best in these recipes!

Breakfast Granola

This is based on a Jill Dupleix recipe – I tend to add whatever seeds and dried fruit I have to hand. My Christmas batch had a lot of dried cranberries in it! Just watch the sugar content when you’re choosing dried fruit.

No Servings:       10+ 
Oven:                  150C/Gas 2            

 What you need:

  • 400g Kilbeggan  Oatmeal Flakes
  • 3 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp linseed
  • 100g flaked almonds
  • 100g hazelnuts or walnuts
  • 50g dessicated coconut
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg (freshly grated)
  • 100g dried fruit – cranberries, cherries, apricots….
  • 100g sultanas

What to do:

  • Mix oats, seeds, nuts and salt in a large bowl.
  • Heat  honey, olive oil and spices in small pan until just melted.
  • Pour liquid over dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Spread evenly over two lined baking trays.
  • Bake for 20-30 mins, ‘shaking’ once or twice, until nicely toasted.
  • Remove from the oven and add in the dried fruits.
  • Allow to cool and then store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
This is really delicious served with Glenisk Yoghurt – especially the Natural Greek Style one!

Margaret’s Oaty Brown Bread

This recipe comes from my friend Margaret – I love it so much I’ve asked her permission to share it.  I have substituted molasses for the egg that was in her original recipe . It only takes 5 minutes to put together – quicker than going to the shop!

No Servings:         1 Loaf
Oven:                     220C/200 C Fan/Gas 5

What you need:

  • 4oz /125g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 4oz/125g  oatbran
  • 4oz/125g  pinhead oatmeal
  • 4 oz/125g Kilbeggan oatflakes
  • 1 tsp bread soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 dessertsp molasses/treacle
  • 15fl oz/ 425ml  buttermilk

 What to do:

  • Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. (Make sure to sieve in bread soda)
  • Make a hollow in the centre and pour in buttermilk & treacle. Mix quickly & well. Pour into lined 2lb bread tin.
  • Bake in hot oven for 20mins then reduce heat to 170C/Gas 3  and bake for another 15-20 mins.
  • Turn out of tin and check for ‘hollow’ sound.
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Of course it’s not just for breakfast….

I hope you enjoy the recipes and thanks again to Midlands 103 for inviting me in – hopefully there will be more chances for me to rabbit on about all things food!

Happy Cooking!

PS there are still two classes left on the ‘Easy Entertaining’ course in Hugh Lynch’s …..