Cookery Classes, Cooking, family meals, Healthy Eating, Local food, Recipes

Tasty and Tempting ….

And not a takeaway in sight!

You know that feeling  – you’ve been out all day, you’re tired and hungry and you want dinner. NOW.

We’re not big takeaway fans here but I will admit I came very close to picking up the phone and ordering one last night.
Thankfully  I hesitated and did a quick audit of what we had on hand. The situation was much better than feared. Fresh haddock in the fridge, avocados and tomatoes in the vegetable basket , taco shells in the pantry.

The result –  fast fish tacos for supper – on the table in 10 minutes, Jamie Oliver would be proud of me!
Continue reading “Tasty and Tempting ….”

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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 …..

Chef, Cookbooks, Cooking, Food, Recipes

Flash Food – Laura Santtini

There was great excitement in Hey Pesto! this week when thanks to  Irish Food Bloggers Association I receieved a review copy of Laura Santtini ‘s new book Flash Cooking  from Quadrille Publishing.

This book is about ‘fast, healthful, easy-to-prepare, nutritious, flavour-packed meals, that look great, taste extraordinary and promote well- being’ ; in fact I would almost describe it as a lifestyle book rather than a cook book!

I loved the introduction and the definition of the concepts involved , for example ‘Flash Cooking (3) – show one’s culinary genius in public’!

What appealed to me most were the flavour tables for seasonings, glazes, rubinades, pastes, finishing bits, dressings etc. – they’ve opened up a whole new world of experimentation for my kitchen. And I’m delighted to say that, with a few exceptions, they’re all store cupboard ingredients.

Laura’s alchemist’s approach was definitely a ‘hook’ for me (once an engineer…) but don’t let this put you off !   The recipes are straightforward and easy to follow and most importantly, in the case of the ones I tried – they work!  Oh and the taste sensations – WOW!

The photography is stunning – my favourites are the antique cutlery shots. But I have to mention my pet peeve – there isn’t a picture of every dish 😦

My verdict – this book is NOT leaving my kitchen and I foresee lots more flavour experimentation in my future! 🙂

My advice – put it on your Christmas list! *****

There are so many recipes I want to try, including:

  • Tea-steamed Sea Bass with Vanilla Star Anise Olive Oil
  • Duck Breasts with Black Magic Elixir
  • The Dog’s Bolognese
  • Curried Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup

but this one caught my eye straightaway:

Flash Glazed Cauliflower Cheese Steaks

What you need:

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (plus extra for frying)
  • Sea salt & black pepper
  • 75g Feta Cheese
  • Pomegranate Vinaigrette to serve

What you do:

  • Preheat oven to 180 C/160 C Fan/ Gas 4
  • Cut 2 thick slices of cauliflower from the centre, from top down through to the stalk, to give two ‘flower steaks’
  • Mix the harissa paste with the olive oil and brush over the ‘steaks’ on both sides
Brush the steak with the harissa paste & oil mix
  • Heat some oil in frying pan and add the steaks – fry until golden on both sides
Fry until golden
  • Then brush the steaks with any remaining glaze and  transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Crumble feta cheese over the steaks and return to the oven until cheese becomes golden and starts to melt.

Laura suggests serving this with the Pomegranate vinaigrette and being delighted to find a use for the bottle in my cupboard I was happy to oblige!

  • To make the vinaigrette
  • mix 1 tsp of pomegranate molasses, pinch of freshly ground cumin, juice of half a lemon and lots of fresh mint.

When I tasted the vinaigrette on its own I found it rather sweet but this excess sweetness disappeared once it was mixed with the cauliflower steak and the feta.

The flavour combinations made my mouth zing!

Spot the difference!

This great recipe has already earned its place in my book of favourites! Thanks Laura!

I think the Lemon Halloumi recipe will be the next one to try……………

PS

  1. Delighted to see The Tasty Tart  mentioned in the credits – well done Tara!  
  2. Thanks to Mark from Quadrille Publishing for sending me the book!