I admit, not everybody will have eaten lamb today; lamb is relatively expensive to bu!. I’d bet though that if you did buy lamb for your Easter Sunday roast, you really don’t want to throw away any of that precious meat. This leftover lamb pasta recipe is especially designed for the itty bitty pieces that don’t come away easily when carving. They are perfect shredded into the sauce, browned until caramelised and cling to the pasta in nutty morsels.
This Easter Sunday we’ll all gather as a family; my siblings, our partners, our children, and my parents, and we’ll enjoy this classic roast lamb feast. When I say a classic roast lamb feast that’s not strictly true in the Irish sense of the term. The flavours and the food that we will eat together are a reflection of us as a family. The meal speaks to us of a time spent in the Middle East when Dad was serving with UNIFIL and the youngest of us was still in nappies.
It’s a meal that we will all contribute to. I’ve already been told I’m responsible for the vegetables, which is really my favourite part anyway. The biggest battle in my house will be to get all the vegetables chopped without the kids depleting the serving platter. The beauty of serving a roast lamb feast in this way is that everybody gets to pick what they like. Some family members don’t like cucumbers, some love peppers; everybody will fill their pitta bread and plates before we sit down together and celebrate Easter as a family. Read More
What do you put in your kids’ lunchboxes? Are you concerned with the contents of bought-in packets, or maybe you’re trying to lower the amount of plastic packaging within the lunchbox. These fruity lunchbox muffins are dual purpose. They have a healthy, yet stealthy portion of 1 of your 7-a-day recommended fruit and veg intake. The muffins also have a secret to reducing refined sugar in lunchbox treats that might surprise you.
Once a fortnight I make a batch of 24 muffins for the lunchboxes. I freeze what we don’t need immediately and simply take out what we need the night before school. That means the muffins are always fresh.
Ingredients Method Preheat your fan oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line 2 cupcake tins with muffin cases (24 in total). Make sure all the above ingredients are at room temperature. Put everything into a very large stand mixer or food processor. Yep everything (I’m serious). Switch the blender/mixer/processor on to low until the dry ingredients are combined with the wet ingredients. Once combined, move the dial to medium until you have a rich creamy batter. Turn off the machine. Use an ice cream scoop to portion the muffin mixture into the case. Sprinkle oats on top of the muffin batter. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes before removing from the oven and allowing to cool. Freeze as you need them.
Fruity Lunchbox Muffins
Preheat your fan oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line 2 cupcake tins with muffin cases (24 in total).
Make sure all the above ingredients are at room temperature. Put everything into a very large stand mixer or food processor. Yep everything (I’m serious).
Switch the blender/mixer/processor on to low until the dry ingredients are combined with the wet ingredients. Once combined, move the dial to medium until you have a rich creamy batter. Turn off the machine.
Use an ice cream scoop to portion the muffin mixture into the case. Sprinkle oats on top of the muffin batter.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes before removing from the oven and allowing to cool. Freeze as you need them.
Note: To make half the batch, half all the ingredients except for the eggs; use 2 instead of 3.
By covering the beef in an ale marinade you make your steak incredibly tender with a wonderful sweet malt flavour. Read More
I really love the fresh flavours in this salsa and I think that salsa is a great budget dish to offer guests to your home for celebrations. It promises fresh Summery flavours and I know (at the moment) the weather isn’t all that Summery at the moment. We can hope right? Read More
Did I get your attention there? Or maybe, like me, you rolled your eyes a little bit at the thoughts of stockpiling certain food items in advance of Brexit (in whatever form it eventually takes). Bear with me here though, because a fully stocked store cupboard is a thing of beauty and regardless of the UK imminently leaving the EU it’s a good idea.
What’s in my pre-Brexit store cupboards? It’s probably easier to list it out according to category:
- Beans – Black eyed, pinto, chickpeas (garbanzo), and butterbeans
- Seeds – Pumpkin, Sesame, Sunflower, Poppy, Nigella (onion seed)
- Sugar – Caster, Granulated, Soft Brown, Dark Brown, Demerara (did you know it’s not produced in Ireland anymore?)
- Flour – Plain, Self Raising, Strong, Type 00 (for pasta making), Wholemeal, Brown
- Tinned Beans (blackbeans, pinto, chickpeas, butterbeans, and baked beans)
- Tomato Puree
- Oils – olive, sunflower, rapeseed, peanut
- Dried Fruit – Raisins, currants, apricots, prunes, figs
- Pasta – spaghetti, lasagne sheets, and several different pasta shapes
- Rice – White, brown, basmati, pudding
- Bulghar Wheat
- Stock Cubes
- Loaves of bread
- Meat – chicken, beef, pork, lamb
- Pizzas (emergency use only)
- Vegetables – peas, sweetcorn, butternut squash
- Fruit – gooseberries, raspberries, bananas (skin off), strawberries, blackcurrants, blackberries, blueberries, apple purée (perfect for baking)
How do I build up my stores? I simply buy a little bit extra every week and factor it into my shopping budget, the maximum I spend each week is €5 on the extra items but store items like beans are extremely good value and I can get plenty for that amount of money.
The idea is, Brexit aside, that I should be able to feed the family from the freezer and cupboards for up to a month or more in the event of me running out of cash. I’d really only need to buy milk (which I know I can also freeze but I don’t have space) and eggs.
I have to emphasise here, I’m not a hoarder! I rotate my stocks and we will eat absolutely everything in the presses in rotation. Once I reach a set limit on my store levels I restock. I also keep an eye out for special offers and deals to stock back up.
Do you only buy what you need? Do you keep large stores like I do or do you just top up 1 item as and when it runs out? Might you change your shopping habits in the coming weeks and months?
It’s likely that there are some foodstuffs that are going to be more expensive in the next few months. However, buying locally produced seasonal food is always going to be more affordable. Think fruits and vegetables for example. The first of the Irish tomatoes left a farm local to me over the St Patrick’s Day weekend, and strawberries won’t be far behind, so keep an eye out in the supermarkets this week as choosing to buy Irish has a long-term impact on our local communities and economy.
Make Once Eat Twice
Week 4 Recipe 2
The second recipe in the series is another simple assembly job. If you intend on using the rice you used the night before you might like to read my tips for cooling rice quickly so that you don’t risk food poisoning.
Leftover pork can be a little bit bland and this is the reason why I pair the pork with a lime salsa. It’s extremely easy to make.
- Handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Red onion, peeled and diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl and leave to sit in the fridge for about 1 hour before serving.
To assemble the pork wraps, heat a dry pan to medium on the hob.
On a clean surface fill a wholemeal wrap with a tablespoon of rice, pork, and black beans, top with some salsa. Roll the wrap tightly and then toast on the dry pan until heated through. Enjoy immediately!
PS: In the spirit of being open and honest, my 7 year old declined the assembled wrap and instead had the below bowl of leftover pork, baby peppers, and wholemeal wraps for his dinner. I had the contents of the wrap, but not the wrap. The rest of the family enjoyed the wraps!
Make Once Eat Twice
Week 4 Recipe 1
My friend Karin is originally from Brazil and her rice and beans are a thing of legend. She’s pretty partial to our free-range pork so a variation of her rice and beans recipe with a roast pork shoulder is the perfect way to marry her Brazilian traditional food and our Irish ingredients.
For the Beans.
Karin recommends rinsing the black beans at least 3 times to remove dust/dirt/residue and then soaking them overnight. Once they have soaked for at least 12 hours you can boil the beans on the hob for 1 hour.
Alternatively if you have a pressure cooker (her method of choice) put the beans and water in the pressure cooker and bring to pressure cooking point. Cook for 10 minutes, release the steam and then allow the beans to cool before serving.
You can also use a tin of cooked black beans, strain away the water and rinse them well.
Take 2 large onions, peel and chop them finely. In a large frying pan heat a tablespoon of oil (I used lard from the pork but plain cooking oil is fine). Put the frying pan on a low heat and fry off the onions until they turn translucent. Season well with salt. Take half the cooked onion out of the frying pan and use for the rice (see below). Add 3 finely chopped garlic cloves to the remaining onion and cook for a further 5 minutes. Finally, stir in the cooked black beans and mix so that everything is coated in the garlic and onions and heated through.
For the rice
Put half the cooked onion into a saucepan with a lid. Put the saucepan on a medium heat and pour in the dry rice you’re going to cook. Stir the rice so that it mixes with the onion and becomes a little bit chalky. Pour hot water over the rice, so that it is about 2 inches over the height of the rice in the saucepan. Put the lid on the saucepan, bring the contents to a slow simmer for 12 minutes. Serve once cooked.
For the Pork
I have cooked the bone-in pork shoulder (weighing about 2kg) with the skin on for 4 hours at 150 degrees. All I did was sprinkle a little salt on top before putting the pork into the oven. That makes the skin turn crispy. That’s my lot.
If you have a piece of pork that is smaller, reduce the cooking time. If the pork doesn’t have skin or fat to protect the roast, cover it with tinfoil. Once cooked, remove the pork from the oven and allow to stand/rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.
The full meal can be served with plenty of fresh raw vegetables and green salad. We like grated carrot, fresh tomatoes, and rocket.
For the second meal don’t forget to keep at least half the pork, beans, and some rice to one side for tomorrow.
Make Once Eat Twice
Week 3 Recipe 2
If you made yesterday’s meal of Paprika Chicken with Vegetables you should by now have half of the vegetables along with the leftover chicken from the roast chicken.
This meal is now extremely simple.
- Pasta (I used spaghetti here but any type is fine)
- 1 bag of spinach
- Leftover roasted vegetables
- Leftover Chicken
Boil some water and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Make only as much as you need (so check the portion sizes on the packet).
1 minute before your pasta is ready, lash spinach into the boiling water with the pasta. It’ll only take a minute to cook.
Strain away the pasta and spinach, leaving the hob on. Return the (empty) saucepan to the hob and put the leftover vegetables and chicken into the empty saucepan. Pour the pasta and spinach on top. Stir well so that all the ingredients are combined and heated through. Serve immediately.
PS: Apologies with the slight delay in posting this. We’ve had an eventful day and I’m only just getting onto the sofa after the Raheny 5 Mile today. Cxxx
Make Once Eat Twice
Week 3 Recipe 1
Before I get started on the actual recipe for Paprika Chicken With Vegetables I want to ask you how many racks you have in your oven? Everytime I put a meal into my oven I hear my Grandmother admonishing me to make the most of the cooking space. In the past year I added a third rack to my (fan) oven which really makes a huge difference to what I can fit inside it to cook. Also, even with a fan oven you can still cook items on the bottom of the oven (yes seriously). Think of the bottom of the oven as a very warm spot which doesn’t necessarily have a reliable temperature so instead of cooking technical items like cake in the bottom of the oven, it’s ideal for slow roasting or comforting sweet dishes like crumbles.
If you think about it, once you put on your oven all that wasted space is wasted energy. With a little bit of organisation you can maximise what you cook and not increase your energy costs. Where can you get an additional rack? It seems that there isn’t much of an Irish market for them but you can definitely buy a spare rack from Amazon for about €13. However, if you have a grill pan in your top section of your double oven, or a grill pan that you continuously take in/out from your single oven you should just add that to your regular cooking racks to save money.
The secret to this week’s Make Once Eat Twice challenge is making the most of your oven space for a short period of time which will benefit you on the second day. Just in case you don’t have 3 racks in your oven there is another option when making the recipe, don’t worry!
- 1 medium chicken
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
- 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 large peppers, cut into chunks
- 7/8 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
For the Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (yes I know this sounds a lot but it has to go a long way!
Preheat your (fan) oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Combine the seasoning ingredients in a large bowl and set to one side. Line 3 baking trays with non stick baking paper. Get a large basin of hot soapy water and have it at the ready.
Take Tray 1: Put the chicken on the tray (do not wash the chicken). Take 1 teaspoon of the seasoning mixture and rub it onto the skin of the chicken. Use the soapy water to immediately clean your hands once this is done. Put Tray 1 in the oven immediately.
Take Tray 2: Put the root vegetables on this tray; butternut squash, carrots, and parsnips. Take 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mixture and pour it over chunks of vegetables. Mix the vegetables well so they are coated in the seasoning. Once again wash your hands!
Take Tray 3: Put the soft items on this tray; tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Repeat the steps with the seasoning mixture and washing your hands.
The Large Bowl: There should be a small amount of seasoning left in the large bowl. Take the potatoes and toss them in this mixture. If you don’t want roast potatoes with your dinner, just make mashed potatoes as normal and skip this step.
After Tray 1 has been in the oven for 30 minutes, open the oven and carefully spoon the coated potatoes into the baking tray beside the chicken. Put Tray 2 in the oven.
Let the trays cook in the oven for another 30 minutes. If you have 3 racks in the oven, now add the third tray to the oven.
If you don’t have 3 racks, skip and leave the 2 trays in the oven for 1 hour in total. Put tray 3 into the oven when you remove Trays 1 & 2 after 1 hour’s cooking time (1 hour 30 minutes since you put the chicken in the oven).
Remove the chicken and roasted vegetables from the oven and serve your roast paprika chicken.
As this is a Make Once Eat Twice meal, reserve half of Tray 2 & Tray 3 for tomorrow. And don’t forget to pick any leftover chicken from the bones as well.
Week 2: Recipe 2
Make Once Eat Twice
To make this simple and delicious meal of shakshuka (baked eggs) you’ll need half of the sauce made yesterday for the taco fries. Although to be fair you could make this first, and the taco fries second if you wanted to! I use small baking dishes for everyone in the family so each person gets a dish with sauce and 1 egg. However, if you don’t have these you can bake this meal in a large ovenproof baking dish and dole out the individual portions once cooked. Ingredients (serves 5 people)
- Half of the sauce recipe made yesterday
- 5 eggs
- Handful of fresh coriander
- 1 large lime cut into wedges
- Crusty bread or pitta bread
Method Preheat a fan oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Spoon the sauce into a large oven proof baking dish. Put the baking dish into the preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes (this allows the sauce to warm through). Using a large spoon make 5 pockets/dimples in the sauce and immediately crack an egg into each space. Cover the baking dish with a large saucepan lid or tinfoil. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Serve your shakshuka/baked eggs with torn coriander leaves on top, crusty bread for dunking into the sauce, and a wedge of lime on the side to give it an extra sour kick (this is my 7 year old’s favourite part). 4 recipes down, only 100 to go!!! Eek!
Week 2: Recipe 1
Make Once Eat Twice
I know I’m a week behind, don’t worry that will be fixed over the coming months! Unfortunately the entire family came down with the flu this past week and everything had to go on hold while I dealt with that. This week’s recipe is based around a vegetable and bean stew which I use to make a taco fries dish on day one, and day two will follow tomorrow. Once again this is a low fat recipe making it slimmer friendly, it’s high in fibre and protein. Remember this sauce will do you for 2 full sized family meals (family of 5) and it’s like a hug in a bowl this one. The kids love it; when I asked them which dish I’d make this week from the list this was what they opted for. The 10 year old wanted a vegetarian meal that he loves and the 7 year old (who doesn’t like cheese) said he wanted it plant-based. The biggest challenge is always convincing my husband that he doesn’t need meat to complete a main meal and the great news is he doesn’t feel hard done by with the taco fries.
Ingredients (for the sauce)
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 peppers, chopped
- 1 teaspoon each of salt, ground cumin, garlic powder, and paprika
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
- 100g split yellow peas or red lentils (either is fine or a combination of both works too)
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 tin of chickpeas (including the water)
- 1 carton of tomato passata
- 1 teaspoon runny honey
For the Taco Fries
- 1kg of baby potatoes
- 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
- 1 teaspoon each of paprika and onion salt (optional)
- 2 scallions/spring onions chopped
- 100g of grated cheddar cheese (optional)
- 2 limes
Method Place a large saucepan (which has a sturdy lid) on a medium heat. Into the saucepan add the olive oil, onion, and peppers. Stir for about 3 minutes so that they start to soften. Next add the ground spices and the tomato puree. Stir so that the puree starts to cook in the heat and coat the peppers and onions. Pour in the split peas and stir well so that they are also coated in the sauce mixture. Stir for another 2-3 minutes and then add all the remaining ingredients. Stir one more time and wait until the sauce starts to simmer. Cover the saucepan and turn the heat to low. Cook the sauce on low for 90 mins. After 90 mins, turn your oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Slice the baby potatoes into quarters. Toss the sliced baby potatoes in a large bowl with the sunflower oil and spices. Put the coated baby potatoes onto a non-stick oven tray and roast in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. To Serve Serve the cooked homemade potato wedges/fries, with spoonfuls of the sauce on top. Sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese and chopped scallions on top of the sauce, finally add a wedge of lime on the side of the dish and enjoy while piping hot. Don’t forget you should keep half of your sauce for the second meal the following day! The cheddar cheese is optional, if you are making this a vegan dish then leave it out.
Notes on storage: As this dish doesn’t have any meat or dairy in it, the sauce will store in a sealed container in your fridge for up to 4 days. Alternatively, you can freeze the sauce for another time and it will keep in the deep freeze for up to 3 months once it’s stored correctly. I use glass containers to store sauces in the freezer if that helps.