13 Aug

Simple Chicken Tray Bake Recipe

Trying to eat healthily when you’re short on time is difficult which is why I have come up with this recipe. It only takes 18 minutes to cook in the oven, tastes even nicer the second day for your lunch, and is packed full of colourful vegetables that will make you feel incredibly virtuous. The key to this recipe is not to stint on the herbs. Increase the quantities if you’re serving more than 3 people for a meal or if you want to batch cook for work or school the following day. The great news is I have a very simple recipe video for you to follow!

Note: Most of the ingredients here are roughly chopped. Don’t worry about fine knife-work, just make sure you have generous chunks for roasting. Read More

30 Jul

Quick Pickles – Quickles Recipe

My Nana was the first person I saw make quickles. I remember one day she had set out a platter of vegetables for a Summer Salad and she’d made some quick pickles with some button mushrooms on one side, cucumber on the other, and finally onions. My Grandfather was a divil for the pickles and strong flavours. He loved pickles and fresh peppery scallions with his salad for tea and Nana loved to make people happy with her food.

It’s only now I can appreciate how economical quick pickles are. Whatever you don’t eat is perfectly preserved and can be eaten over successive days cold from the fridge. I love my pickled vegetables with a crunch so this is the ideal burger topping I think. The secret to perfectly melty cheese on top of a burger (by the way) is to put the slices of cheese on top of the burger then cover the pan or grill for 1 minute before serving.

Here’s another simple video so you can see how simple they are to make and enjoy, messing optional…

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17 Jul

Super-Quick Salmon Noodles

Having spent the last 2 weekends presenting cookery demonstrations on a roadshow, one of the most important messages I shared was that parents need to put themselves under less pressure to cook the ‘meat and 2 veg’ dinner and instead embrace speedy cooking dishes. Especially now, as the weather has been so warm and tempers can get frayed in the heat, family meals that can be prepared with minimal fuss are the way to go.

As I was leaving Cork yesterday a guest at the demonstration came up to tell me that she loved this mentality and that spending so much time in the kitchen is over rated. This is a variation on a speedy noodle salad that I hope you will enjoy. If you look carefully you’ll see that there is little to no cooking in the recipe and the ingredients can be easily assembled. Read More

10 Jul

Cod Parcel Recipe

Turning a classic style restaurant dish of fish in a parcel (or en papillote to give it the technical term) into a meal that all the family can enjoy either from the oven or the BBQ isn’t complicated.

The beauty of this meal is that you can serve the cod and vegetables inside of the parcel they are cooked in and this reduces the cleaning up. I was only discussing this at a cookery demonstration last weekend; how adapting recipes to suit your family means that all the generations can get involved in preparing dinner. I’m the first to admit I am a control-freak in the kitchen and part of that comes from my desire to nurture my gang. However, this completely sabotages my need to take it easy on myself. Meals that don’t have much preparation, cooking time, or clean up afterwards are my Holy Grail when it comes to spending time at the stove.

To show you that I’ve put my money where my mouth is… here’s a video I made of myself preparing the recipe so that you can see just how simple it is.

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21 Jun

Beetroot and Feta salad

My biggest battle with food at the moment is finding a dish that’s simple to prepare and light to eat. The life of a freelancer can be a bit unusual in that I have to roll with the work when it comes in. The past couple of weeks has been particularly jam-packed in terms of jobs-on-the-go, and while I always have a slow cooker meal underway for the kids, eating a full meal after 8pm at night is always going to be a challenge for me.

In the past 7 days I’ve worked with 2 separate TV crews, and there’s more to film this evening with TG4. Tune into Nationwide on Monday evening for a peek at the allotments and my tiny kitchen (yes it is that small, and yes that is where all my recipes are developed). The work with TG4 I’ll let you know when the airing date is confirmed! Read More

08 Jun

Honey Roasted Pork Recipe

It’s barbecue weather in our house at the moment. Well I say it is but actually the rest of the family are off playing in sunny gardens and eating barbecue food with my Parents-In-Law. I, however, am in the home office working away. I’ve reached that point in the day where I can’t think straight for too long and I’m flitting from task to task to try to keep on going.

The problem with Bank Holidays when you’re self-employed is that they aren’t technically a day off. I’ve had to cram as much work as I could into four days this week and hence I’m working late. That could be why I’m feeling a little bit overwhelmed this week. It could also be down to the fact that I signed up for a half marathon next weekend; that impending Birthday, an exciting TV project, another food festival, or it could just be that I don’t have enough hours in the day.

Which is why easy and simple recipes are my go-to at the moment. I really don’t want to be spending hours in the kitchen. There are restorative cuddles to be had with the boys, I want to catch up with himself, and if I’m stuck at the hob cooking away then I’m missing out. This is one of my recipes that I fall back on no matter what the weather. It’s perfect with comforting baked beans in the cold weather but goes just as well with a light salad and wraps in the Summer. Read More

31 Mar

Classic Roast Turkey

Roast dinners aren’t difficult, in fact they are probably the easiest meals that I cook. However, turkeys don’t come in small sizes, so making a classic roast turkey dinner requires you to set aside a decent amount of time to be in the house to keep an eye on your dinner. Which is, I suppose, why roast turkey is reserved for big family occasions such as Christmas and Easter in our house.

There’s much more meat on a turkey than on a chicken. You can feed far more people at dinner time, and of course that means that the leftovers are particularly bountiful the following day. As always, once your roast cools to room temperature, strip the meat away and freeze it for another meal, then get the carcass into the slow cooker to make a flavourful stock. Read More

15 Jan

Spanish Fried Rice with Turkey Recipe

Let’s talk about leftover cooked rice. I’ve found it’s impossible to cook a pot of rice and not have some leftovers. Particularly when I’m cooking for a gang, it’s difficult to calculate who will eat what quantities. Monday may be the day that the 6-year-old will eat it all and ask for leftovers, but it could also be the day he decides to refuse the dinner point-blank.

Did you know that cooked rice when left at room temperature can cause food poisoning? This is something I’m very aware of when I cook too much rice or cook it in advance of making a dish like this fried rice dinner.

The trick when using leftover rice is to cool it down immediately once you’ve cooked it through. In this house it means rinsing the rice in ice-cold water for a few minutes until it’s cold. Then I pack it into a sandwich bag and put the rice into the fridge straight away. When reheating, the rice has to be cooked to a high temperature, which is why something like fried rice made in a wok or large pan fits the bill perfectly. Read More

10 Oct

Sweet And Savoury French Toast Recipe

Have you ever found a local shop that you hesitate in telling other people about because you’re worried it won’t be so special anymore?

That’s how I feel about The Lime Kiln in Julianstown. Now I know that the gastro-pub is fantastic, in fact if you’re interested to hear what I think you can read my review over on Flogastronomy. It’s one of our family’s favourite spots for a bite to eat.

Recently they’ve opened a local village store just beside the pub. It’s there that I could be lost for quite some time. Chatting to the staff (waves at Georgina) about local producers and great Irish food. It’s a haven for finding local food, particularly artisan local food (and drink). It’s there I pick up my cider vinegar from Stameen Farm, Dan Kelly’s cider (also from the same farm), Monéir Wine made from berries picked in Clarkes up the road in Stamullen, beautiful pillowy bread freshly baked, local fresh produce, and a brilliant selection of Irish spirits.

It’s hard to drive past without nipping in to pick up a few bits, and leave with our wallets decidedly lighter.

The best French toast is made with a stale decent crusty loaf, cut into decent hunks and soaked in local free range eggs blended with some salt and pepper. Read More

25 Sep

Mac & Cheese

Have you ever reached into the fridge and pulled out a carton of milk that is perhaps a day past it’s ‘best before’ date, and even though it smells okay you thought you should just pour it down the sink and be done with it? Providing your milk has been stored inside the fridge, and not on the door of the fridge (which is prone to temperature fluctuations), you are probably okay to cook with it.

The only way that I can combat the temptation to eat convenience food during the week is to plan ahead. There are weeks where I hate the planning and organisation; I really rail against the need to be methodical about what we’re going to eat. Then there are weeks where I have it licked.

Do I have it down to a fine art at this stage? Nope!

What I have learned to do is to cook more than 1 meal at a time. In other words I cook double quantities. A meal for now; a meal for another day. The pay off for cooking a family meal is that at another point in the future, I get a reprieve from cooking, with very little effort. Read More

19 May

Prawn Pasta Salad Recipe

When I cook pasta for dinner in the evening I normally cook a double-batch – far more than I actually need. This is because it can be used in meals the following day. The teenager likes to add boiled eggs, sweetcorn, and mayonnaise for her school lunchbox to a portion of pasta. I like to make salads with mine. If you do have leftover cooked pasta, cool it down immediately after cooking by rinsing in cold water, then once cold put it into a freezer bag or box and the cooked frozen pasta will keep in the freezer for up to a month.

This is a prawn pasta salad that is so easy to make. My father-in-law had it the other day and loved the fresh flavours in the salad. I use the cooked prawns from the chiller cabinet to make the salad but you can also use defrosted cooked prawns if you like (follow the instructions on the packet).

Once again I’ve a video recipe to accompany this blogpost, just click the box below to play: Read More

27 Feb

4 Flipping Delicious Pancake Recipes

It’s Pancake Tuesday tomorrow, or as the boys call it; Lá Féile Pancóga. When I was growing up there was a rule that we had to eat our dinner before we got pancakes which was clearly a clever ruse to stop us from having our parents at the stovetop for hours on end churning out the pancakes. There were 6 of us in the house (4 girls, my poor Dad), plus if we were lucky, Ma (my Grandmother) and my Aunt. Pancakes were always dredged with sugar and fresh lemon juice and sometimes with a drizzle of runny golden syrup from the Lyle’s tin. They were cooked in a little bit of oil with a knob of butter and our bellies would ache for hours afterward. Oh wow, the memories! Read More

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