Christmas, Cookery Classes, Cooking, radio, Recipes, Uncategorized

Festive Food on the Radio

I love Christmas. I love everything about it – I can’t wait to get my tree and decorations up, wrap presents, catch up with friends and of course plan all my festive food.

This year I started my Christmas demos with Neff in early November and whilst by now I wouldn’t mind if I never saw turkey and ham again I’m still planning and making lots of dishes and goodies to share with friends and family .

So when the lovely Sinead in Midlands 103 asked me to share some festive ideas on air I was happy to do so ( though I suspect one of the reasons that I keep being asked back is that I bring food 😉

As promised here are some of the recipes that I discussed on air with Will Faulkner earlier today

For starters, or to serve with drinks try sausage truffles or prawn shots :

Sausage Truffles

What you need:

  • 125g plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp smoked jalapeno powder (or smoked paprika)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 lb sausage meat
  • 80g cheddar, grated
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 30 ml milk

What you do:

  • Preheat oven to 200 C
  • Mix your dry ingredients together then add in sausage meat, cheese, butter and milk
  • Mix well and then using wet hands form into approx. 24 balls. Chill if you have time
  • Place on lined baking sheet and bake for 20 mins until golden.
  • Serve hot or cold with a cranberry dipping sauce (mix sour cream, cranberry sauce and a dash of mustard)

 Prawn Shots

What you need:

  • 12 large (raw) prawns, peeled but with tail on
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • Juice of 1 limes
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  •  Fresh mint, chopped

What you do:

  • Split the prawns lengthways (making sure to remove the black vein). Then place them on baking sheet/grill pan, drizzle with a little (chilli) oil. Cook under very hot grill for 3-4 mins
  • Mix all the other ingredients together and divide between 12 shot glasses. Then Top each glass with a prawn.
  • Or alternatively pour the dipping sauce into a dish and arrange the prawns around the side of the dish

You’ll find ideas on cooking the perfect turkey and a vegetarian roast elsewhere in my blog so I’m going to head straight to dessert, This year, inspired by a Tom Kerridge podcast, my favourite is a festive cheesecake:

Christmas Pudding Cheesecake Pots

What you need: 

  • 150g ginger nut biscuits
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 200g Christmas pudding
  • 30 ml Cointreau
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 250g cream cheese (the full fat version please!)
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 80g soft brown sugar
  • 200 ml cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

What you do:

  • Crush the biscuits in a plastic bag using a rolling pin. Mix the crushed biscuits and melted butter together and press into the base of each shot glass (this mix should make approx. 24 pots)
  • Blitz the Christmas pudding, brandy and orange zest to a puree
  • Whisk the cream cheese, mascarpone, cream and sugar and vanilla extract together until smooth and creamy.
  • Carefully fold the pudding purée into the cream cheese mix. Pipe or spoon onto the biscuit base
  • Leave to chill before serving.

By now you should be feeling rather full so we’ll move onto what to do with your leftovers.

Potato cakes always make a good addition to Stephen’s Day and will use up leftover mash and ham

Potato & Ham Cakes

What you need:

  • 400g mashed potatoes
  • 100g Leftover ham, chopped
  • 1 egg  
  • Bunch spring onions, chopped
  • pinch of chilli powder or dash of chilli sauce
  • seasoning

  What you do:

  • Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Shape into cakes
  • Shallow fry or bake cakes in oven (180 C) for 15- 20 mins until cakes start to crisp

And then when you’re looking for ideas to use up the leftover turkey why not try this Mexican inspired dish ….

Festive Picadillo

What you need:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin  
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. flaked almonds
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 50g raisins
  • Jar Passata
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • Shredded Cooked Turkey

What to do:

  • Heat 1 tbsp. oil in an ovenproof casserole dish and sauté the onion until soft.
  • Stir in the garlic and spices and cook for another minute.
  • Then add in remaining ingredients – almonds, vinegar, raisins, passata & stock.
  • Bring to the boil and then leave to simmer for about 20 mins.
  • Add in shredded turkey and allow to heat through
  • Serve in tortilla baskets or with rice and topped with sour cream

This has been a rather rushed post so I hope it all makes sense. Once again my new year’s resolution will be to be more organised!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Cooking & A Very Happy Christmas!

Yvonne xx

If you’d like to come along to one of my cookery classes or book me for a demo then please click here  for details. 
If you‘d like details of our catering options then please click here or contact me directly on 087 2488124
Uncategorized

Dining á deux – Romance is in the air!

An oldie but a goodie – a suggested three course meal to impress your Valentine 🙂

Hey Pesto!

Romance is definitely in the air and what better way to celebrate than with a delicious dinner á deux?

This was my Valentine’s meal last year but looking at the dishes I think it deserves another outing……….. see what you think!

Starter : Seductive Scallops on a Pea & Mint Purée

According to my fishmonger, Jason, this dish cannot fail to stir the romantic juices! You can make the purée in advance and reheat just before serving. The trick is to have everything ready before you cook the scallops as they are best served immediately. Allow 3 scallops per person.

To make the puree – heat 125 g frozen petits pois, knob of butter, 50 ml chicken stock andseasoning in a small saucepan and alllow to simmer for 3-4 mins. Then whizz in food processor with a small bunch of mint (chopped) and Voilá!

To cook…

View original post 533 more words

Baking, Cakes, Cookbooks, Cookery Classes, Uncategorized

Farewell to Summer

What an amazing summer we’ve had – who knew outdoor living in Ireland could be so much fun! My barbeque was in constant use and I finally got to use all my garden furniture.

One of the bonuses of the sunshine is that my apple tree is laden down with fruit. Last time the harvest was this bountiful the Chief Taster and I carefully picked the fruit, wrapped them individually in paper and stored them in crates. This project did not have a successful outcome….. So I’m looking for ideas to use them up before the birds eat them. All suggestions welcome.

One thing I’m going to do is stew and freeze a batch of them so I can make one of my favourite cakes over the coming months. It’s a Sophie Grigson recipe that can be adapted for almost all fruit and it’s so simple you have to try it .
Continue reading “Farewell to Summer”

Uncategorized

Ice cream, you scream…..

When it comes to procrastination I could give Hamlet a good run for his money!
I have been threatening to do a blog post for months but strangely enough there was always something else that had to be done!

In anticipation of the promised heat wave I was on Midlands 103 this morning talking about how to make your own ice cream and Will Faulkner extracted a promise from me, on air, that I would post some recipes this evening.  Well you can’t break a promise, can you? So hence I have made myself sit at my computer and type. Oh look the sun is out, maybe I should go to the garden…..

No I’ll be good 🙂

Continue reading “Ice cream, you scream…..”

book review, Catering, Cookbooks, Cooking, Uncategorized

Cooking the books …. and some fish!

I have a confession to make – my name is Yvonne and I am a Cookbook Addict.

I was brought up in a houseful of books and book lovers so I’m not quite sure when my obsession with cookery books started . I know I used to leaf through my Mum’s Good Housekeeping book and wish we had exotic ingredients like glucose and peppermint essence!

Fast forward to college and I was given a present of ‘Monica’s Kitchen’ – an absolute gem of a book even for someone like me who could barely boil an egg at the time.

Monica and good housekeeping sepia
How it started

Continue reading “Cooking the books …. and some fish!”

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.
Chef, Cookbooks, Cooking, Recipes, Uncategorized

Apples, apples everywhere………….

Okay so I finally started a blog and decided on a theme – now my dilemma was which cookbook  got to open the show!

Thanks for all your suggestions and I will get round to them all I promise – even to Hugh (eventually….) !

The problem was solved by the amount of apples in my kitchen demanding to be used (thank you to all my wonderful neighbours). I decided to stew and freeze some of them and then remembered a recipe for a ‘sauce’ cake. Cue  Sophie Grigson’s Country Kitchen

This book was a Christmas present from my sister after my time in Ballymaloe Cookery School  and her inscription  ‘to the petite chef with the big ideas’ still makes me smile!  The splashed pages and the handwritten notes will convince you that this is one of the workers in my collection – I love the Rhubarb & Honey Compote, and her sweet & sour red cabbage is a Christmas must.

In the introduction the book is described as  ‘a record of a year’s cooking in a country kitchen – but with a modern twist’ . This is borne out in recipes such as ‘pot-roast pork with star anise, ginger. tamarind and port’ or ‘cauliflower with sundried tomatoes, garlic and capers’ .

The book is laid out by season with beautiful photographs and informative notes on ingredients. The recipes are well laid out and easy to follow and most importantly they work! My biggest peeve is that it doesn’t have a photograph for every dish – I like to know what I’m aspiring to!

My favourite and most used from this book is Sophie’s recipe for ‘Gooseberry Sauce Cake’ – simple and quick and adaptable for most fruits. I’ve tried it with gooseberries, rhubarb, plums and most recently with apples and the result is a lovely moist cake everytime!

So if like me you’re overrun with apples you should give this a try:

Apple Sauce Cake

What you need:

  • 10oz/280g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 40z/110g caster sugar
  • 40z/110g demerara sugar
  • 4oz/110g butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 pt/300ml stewed apples

All set!

the original recipe includes 1/2 tsp salt which I omitted as I use salted butter
What you do:
  • Firstly stew your fruit – I used a mix of sweet and cooking apples as I like the difference in texture. Peel, core and chop the fruit. Then stew with a little water over a low heat for 20-30 mins. I didn’t use any particular quantities as I froze the rest of the fruit in 1/2 pint portions for future cakes!
  • When fruit is stewed to your liking measure out 1/2 pt for your cake (btw apologies for any confusion and if I appear old fashioned but I tend to bake in imperial and cook in metric!)
  • Mix all your dry ingredients – flour, baking powder and sugars together
  • Fold in wet ingredientsFold in the lightly beaten eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract. Finally stir in the stewed apples.
  • Pour into prepared tinPour mixture into a lined 9″/23cm springform tin and sprinkle a little extra demerara sugar over the top.
  • Sophie’s instructions are to bake the cake at 180C/Gas 4 for 45 minutes. Having tried it on several occasions it takes 30-35 minutes in my oven at 170C Fan so I’d advise you to check it after 30 mins!
  • Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10-15 mins before turning out. Then there’s nothing left to do but serve it with some lightly whipped cream!
The finished product!
***************
There are lots more recipes in this book that I’ve earmarked to try and as this is the first year my pear tree has produced any fruit next up is Sophie’s  fresh pear relish……….
Cookbooks, Cooking, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized

Books, Books and more Cook Books!

I love books – I grew up in a house full of them – and one of my best childhood memories is going with my Dad to the bookshop to buy a new one as a weekly treat (and the row that ensued one week when I refused to pick ‘Robinson Crusoe’!)

I still consider buying books a present to myself and there are some that I’ve had for years that I could never get rid off.  And then there’s my cookbook collection…………

Those of you who know me on Twitter will know that I suffer from a ‘slight’ cookbook addiction and that cookbooks have a tendency to follow me home from shops!

Surely a girl can never have too many shoes or cookbooks?

I have approximately 200 cookbooks (well 188 to be more precise!). I know this because due to recent house-painting they all had to be removed from the shelves so allow the painters near the walls and I took the opportunity to count them!

The true number probably exceeds 200 as I found a few more today which had obviously been mis-filed! And then of course there’s the collection of booklets, food magazines, recipe files; not to mention the five lever arch folders from my time at Ballymaloe ( cookingisfun.ie)!

As I was re-filing them I noticed that while some were much thumbed and much-loved there were others had barely been opened but were sitting there like trophies (yes Gordon I’m talking about you!)

So then I had an idea – why not use my cookbook collection as the basis for my blog (with a few other bits & bobs thrown in of course!) . All those books that are sitting there looking pretty will now have to pay their way! I’m challenging myself to work through them and try a  recipe a week and give my tuppence worth on the book!

Now I need to examine my collection carefully and select the first star………………Any requests?


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Hamlet has nothing on me!

I could teach Hamlet about procrastination. I have toyed with the idea of blogging for a long time now but have managed to successfully avoid actually doing it!

I have gone to a WordPress camp with Margaret from A Year in Redwood to find out what was involved – I felt I had wandered into a strange country – without an interpreter!

I have joined the Irish Food Bloggers Associationwith all good intentions.

I have attended two Food Blogging Photography workshops – and I still use my i-phone!

I have even been at a food bloggers lunch hosted by the lovely Joanna from Smorgasblog.

So this is it – I’m taking the plunge! The catalyst – peer pressure fromMammy’s Kitchen, Nessa’s Family Kitchen and Paula’s Sweet Treats  on the train to the Irish Food Pix event last Friday (oh and a little ‘subtle’ encoragement from The Katz Miaow, Wise Words & Like Mam Used To Bake among others on Twitter!)

What to write about – well that surely requires more procrastination  – I could:

  • try recipes from my large collection of cookbooks
  • talk about my cookery classes
  • write about my catering business
  • justify dining out just so I can blog about it
  • village life
  • ……
More than likely it will be a mixture of all the above and more so please accompany me on my journey…and if I hesitate too much then feel free to give me a push!
Now before my courage deserts me I’m going to press publish – once I find the button….
PS my name is Yvonne, I used to be an engineer but now I run a catering business called Hey Pesto! and yes I’m mad about all things food!