11 Jul

Savoury Strawberry Salad – Ad

Did you know that a strawberry isn’t a true berry? You should store that little nugget of knowledge up for the next table quiz you’re at. True berries have their seeds held inside the fruit; a strawberry’s seeds are dotted along the outside with their characteristic little dot. This post has been sponsored by Bord Bia and if you’d like to get more information on how to celebrate strawberry season visit www.bordbia.ie/strawberries

My father in law sat down after dinner the other evening as he’d selected the best looking strawberry from the chip for dinner. With a little knife he gently lifted the seeds from outside the strawberry onto a piece of kitchen towel to dry. Every single seed will become a new strawberry plant with each delicate white flower on that plant resulting in a delicious strawberry. The life cycle continues. 

Normally associated with sweet dishes I like to eat strawberries in my salads. I hesitate to add too many ingredients into a salad with strawberries as they can sometimes be overpowered. The strawberries are a seasonal treat and I really want their natural flavour to sing! 

Savoury Strawberry Salad (serves 4) 

Ingredients 

  • 250g fresh strawberries, chopped 
  • 150g rocket 
  • 50g flaked almonds, toasted 

Dressing 

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • Fresh cracked black pepper 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 1 teaspoon honey 

Method 

Put the strawberries, rocket, and flaked almonds into a large bowl. 

Put the dressing ingredients into a clean jam jar, put the lid on top to seal and shake the jar well. 

Once all the dressing has been well combined, pour over the salad and serve immediately.  

This salad goes perfectly with a fresh goats cheese or poached salmon with lemon.  

10 Jul

Strawberry Pizza Pancakes – Ad

It’s a battle sometimes to get the kids to eat enough portions of fruit and vegetables in a day. I find myself having to resort to using every single Mam-trick in the book to convince them to add an extra portion into the day. 

They do however love strawberries and the beauty of this recipe is that the pancakes ‘look’ like a pizza but don’t have a savoury flavour at all.

This post has been sponsored by Bord Bia and if you’d like to get more information on how to celebrate strawberry season visit www.bordbia.ie/strawberries

My bigger problem though is making sure that the strawberries make it home from the shop without the kids snaffling them and munching them all on the way home. I’ve found this year that local strawberries need an extra day on the counter at room temperature to develop the perfect sweetness. I never keep my strawberries in the fridge because they are delicious when they aren’t chilled; the temperature they are when freshly picked is warm and that is the way they are meant to be eaten! 

Strawberry Pizza Pancakes (serves 5) 

Ingredients 

  • 250g (1 cup) plain flour 
  • 1 teaspoon bread soda/bicarbonate of soda 
  • 2 small-medium eggs (1 large egg should be fine either) 
  • 150ml buttermilk 
  • Optional 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil for frying/greasing the pan. 

Method 

Put the flour and bread soda into a large bowl and stir so that they’re combined. Make a well in the centre and crack in the 2 eggs, pour in the buttermilk (add the vanilla extract if using). Whisk until you have a batter. Don’t worry too much if you have small lumps, as these should disappear after the next stage. 

Put the oil in a heavy, shallow non-stick frying pan (see notes on frying pan below). Before you put the pan on the heat, spread the oil over the surface. I like to use a little bit of kitchen paper for this. Next, put it on a medium heat and allow it to come to temperature. This takes about 5 minutes or so. Once the pan is hot, give the batter a second vigorous whisk and you should see those lumps disappear (or at worst get smaller, they’ll be gone completely in the cooking process don’t worry). 

Using a ladle as a measure, pour 1 portion onto the frying pan. Once the bubbles begin to appear on the surface of the pancake, and the batter has changed colour from pale to slightly darker, flip the pancake using a non-stick spatula. Cook for a further 1-2 minutes, until the pancake turns golden on both sides. Lift and serve. 

If you want to wait for all the pancakes to be cooked before serving, pop them onto a heat-proof plate and cover with a bit of baking parchment/tin foil, then a heavy tea towel to stop them from getting cold. Lift the “insulation” everytime you cook another batch to add to the pile. 

Serve the pancakes with a generous spread of fresh yoghurt (whatever flavour you fancy), sliced strawberries, and some beautiful fresh mint which compliments the strawberries perfectly. There’s no need to sweeten this recipe; nature’s treats are sweet enough! 

02 Jul

Sugar Free Strawberry Ice Pops – Ad

As soon as the new strawberries start to appear in the supermarket it’s a sure sign that Summer has arrived. Even if the weather doesn’t quite agree, there’s nothing like the sweet scent of strawberries wafting around the kitchen. This post has been sponsored by Bord Bia and if you’d like to get more information on how to celebrate strawberry season visit www.bordbia.ie/strawberries

I just can’t resist buying strawberries every week for the duration of the season. I know I’m luckier than many with one of the best local fruit farms in the country only 5 minutes down the road to get my produce from. Regardless of whether you buy your strawberries from the farm or supermarket, when you buy this fruit in season you can be guaranteed it’s local, hasn’t clocked up food miles, and they’ve not been long picked either.

Gone are the days where we can go to the local farm and pick our own, but there’s nothing stopping me getting the delicious strawberries as fresh as I possibly can. Picked early in the morning, before the sun gets too high, the punnets are ripe for collection by 10am.

This is a great sugar free recipe for strawberry ice pops that is very handy for introducing new foods and flavours to picky eaters. It’s also handy to use up a glut of the most flavourful fruit.

Ingredients (makes 6 ice pops)

  • 200g fresh strawberries, chopped
  • ½ mango, peeled and chopped
  • 100ml fresh orange juice

Method

Blitz the ingredients in a food processor/blender until you have a fine pulp. Carefully pour into ice pop molds.

Freeze for 3 hours at the top of your freezer before eating, although ideally overnight.

To get the ice pops out of their molds, dip each into a mug of warm water for 20 seconds before turning upside down (handle facing to the ground) and pulling the mold off upwards. This prevents any breakages/leaving the ice pop behind in the mold!

Recipe notes: As there is no sugar or sweetener added to this recipe it’s suitable for all ages from weaning (after 6 months). I have a good few of these ice pops on standby in the freezer because they’re far cheaper and better value than buying from the ice cream van. They can also count as 1 of your 7 a day portions of fruit and vegetables!

29 Mar

Ale Marinated Steak Recipe

By covering the beef in an ale marinade you make your steak incredibly tender with a wonderful sweet malt flavour. Read More

26 Mar

Mango Salsa Recipe

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

06 Jan

Cottage Pie Leftovers Recipe

Week 1: Recipe 2

Make Once Eat Twice

Yesterday I made a braised beef with seasonal veg dish and using the leftovers I’ve now made a cottage pie.

I’ll keep it simple, because my recipes have to take little time in the kitchen. The only additional ingredients you will need are about 200g of frozen peas and sweetcorn, plus a small amount of grated cheese.

Shred the remaining beef from the previous meal and stir it into the leftover gravy.

Preheat your fan oven to 150 degrees Celsius.

Spoon the gravy and beef mixture into a large baking dish. Top with the frozen vegetables.

Spoon the leftover mashed potatoes on top of the vegetables and gravy mixture. Sprinkle grated cheese on top of the mashed potatoes.

Cook in the oven for 45 minutes, until all the food is warmed through and serve immediately.

If you want to, this meal is also perfect for freezing so once assembled, cover well and put straight into the freezer where it will keep for up to 1 month. Ensure it is completely defrosted before cooking in the oven.

05 Jan

Braised Beef With Seasonal Veg

Week 1: Recipe 1

Make Once Eat Twice

For the first in the recipe series I’ve gone back to a family favourite. Mam used to make this braised beef dish in a heavy casserole dish with a lid. The homely flavours come thanks to the veg that all comes from a local farm. It doesn’t get more Irish than this.

Ingredients
3 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1kg housekeepers cut of beef (note remove any string or elastic before cooking)
4 large carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1/2 small turnip (or swede) peeled and chopped
1 litre of vegetable stock (use hot water and 1 vegetable stock cube)
1 heaped tablespoon cornflour

For Serving
Mashed potatoes (make enough for 2 meals)

Method
For the braised flavour you will need to sear the onions and the beef. So first grab your casserole dish, put it on a high heat and fry the onions in a teaspoon of vegetable oil until they turn brown/charred. Remove the onions from the dish and put them on a plate.

With the dish still on high, sear all sides of the beef so that it’s dark brown. Add the onions back to the dish, the rest of the vegetables, and then the stock. Cover the casserole dish and reduce the heat so that the stock is on a slow simmer. Cook for 3-4 hours. Note the stock should reach a maximum of halfway up the piece of beef, it should not be covered in the stock.

Adapted for the slow cooker: Fry the onions and then the beef in a frying pan before putting them into your slow cooker. Add the chopped vegetables, stock, put the lid on top and cook on high for 5-6 hours.

Before serving, remove the beef from the dish/slow cooker. Remember you have to keep half for your second dish tomorrow so it may be easier to cut it in half and cover now before serving dinner.

In a small cup mix 1 heaped tablespoon of cornflour with a splash of cold water until you get a loose paste. With the vegetables and the stock still on the heat, quickly stir this paste into the mixture. It should thicken the mixture to a gravy instantly. Once again, half of this mixture is to be reserved for your second meal.

Serve the beef with the vegetables in gravy with mash on the side. I’ve served ours with buttered cabbage as I got some fresh from the farm yesterday and I love the vibrant colours.

One of the main reasons why I love this recipe so much is because all of the vegetables used here are Irish and in season. It makes it very budget friendly for what is a very frugal time of the year.

Cover the leftover food and chill the food when it reaches room temperature. I’ll have the second recipe for you tomorrow!

08 Dec

Make ahead homemade stuffing recipe

The beauty of this stuffing recipe is that it can be made well in advance. No more faffing around the day before Christmas, if you make this stuffing this week and lash it into the freezer then it’s all good to go on the big day.

Read More
20 Nov

Loaded French Toast Recipe

Breakfasts don’t have to be boring with this take on french toast that all the family will love. Guaranteed protein from the eggs, seeds, and fresh greek yoghurt, will keep you feeling fuller for longer and give essential energy for training sessions and school.

This is one of my kids’ favourite breakfasts. They pester me to make it for them every morning! Read More

22 Oct

Roast Chicken Pie Recipe

The beauty of the roast chicken pie is that you simply use up your roast dinner leftovers to make a second meal. It’s for this reason that I recommend you buy a medium or large chicken to roast for your dinner.

The recipe is below but even better again I’ve made another video to accompany it!

 

Roast Chicken Pie

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 3 Handfuls leftover roast chicken
  • Approximately 250ml leftover gravy

Vegetables of choice – leftover if available, or cooked fresh – I use all the vegetables from a roast chicken dinner so carrots, peas, turnip, potatoes, whatever is to hand.

Method

To make the stuffing mixture melt the butter on a medium heat in a large frying pan. Cook the chopped onions until translucent (this will take about 10 minutes). Stir in the fresh parsley and the breadcrumbs. Toast the breadcrumbs in the pan with the butter for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Preheat a fan oven to 170°C.

Take a large baking dish and pour in the roast chicken, cooked vegetables and gravy. Stir together. Sprinkle the stuffing mixture on top.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes then serve.

12 Oct

Chicken Noodle Bowl Recipe

I’m a huge fan of roast chicken dinners. Obviously they are a family-friendly meal and I’ve yet to have a day where one of the family turns up their nose to a roast dinner.  One of the reasons why they’re a favourite is because a roast chicken is so thrifty. Once we’re finished our meal, I strip any remaining chicken meat from the carcass and use it to make at least one other meal.

The beauty of this noodle bowl is that you can make it a day in advance and it keeps well in the fridge if you’re preparing in advance of a day’s training. With the new recommendations that you should be eating 7 portions of fruit and vegetables per day, this bowl has you covered for at least a 3 if not 4 portions. Read More

20 Sep

Roasted Tomato Pasta Recipe

It feels weird, to be writing recipes with a big race looming over me. I am obsessing about food in the days of the lead up to the race. I’ve found that easing off meat protein does help my stomach a little bit so I’ve started moving towards a more plant-based diet and move away from meat. Without my gallbladder I struggle to digest fatty proteins and certain sauces so it’s important for me to be careful with my meals so that I don’t end up in a bad way on a race day. This is one of my easy dinners because it’s so simple to make with minimal mess. Pasta and rice are my favourite carbohydrates the day before a race anyway so it fits the bill!

Saturday will mark my second half marathon this year and I’m hoping that I can at least better my first-ever time of 3:15:48. Even if I shave 48 seconds off that time I’ll come in under the cut-off time for the Dublin City Marathon. I’ve been training very hard the past couple of weeks, despite being laid low with a bad ear infection so I’m praying it all pays off on the day.

I’ll keep you posted!

Roasted Tomato Pasta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

The sweetness of the cherry tomatoes makes a delicious sauce and as an extra bonus, there’s no chopping in this simple vegan dish.

Ingredients

  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 300g spaghetti

Method

Preheat your fan oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Take a heavy roasting dish and fill with the whole cherry tomatoes, cloves of garlic, and olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper, then stir. Roast in the oven for 20 mins, then turn the heat off but leave the dish in the oven while you cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the roasting dish with the tomatoes and garlic. Stir well so that the pasta is coated in the oil and roasted tomatoes. Serve immediately with fresh thyme or basil.

If you prefer a meat based protein with this dish you could top with fresh mozzarella or grilled chicken. For a vegan option roast the chickpeas with the tomatoes (this is my personal favourite).

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