20 Jan

Shakshuka – Baked Eggs

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!

19 Jan

Taco Fries

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.

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

08 May

Leaving Cert Energy Balls

When 6th year started last September it seemed like June was a lifetime away. We’ve had many a battle of wills about the 17-year-old’s eating habits. She leaves early in the morning which means I get to see exactly what she’s taken (or not) for lunch before I head out to work. There’s been a couple quite a few early morning phone calls to make sure she has enough food to get her through the day in school. She isn’t a fan of breakfast, and truthfully would skip it only for her Dad makes sure she eats every morning before going to school.

I can’t make her study, harder or otherwise. I can’t sit beside her helping her with her spellings or reading anymore. I can’t lead her by the hand to school, although somedays I wish I could.

In the evening, when she gets home from school, I’m here with dinner and a cup of tea. There’s a hug and a chat; a debrief of the day in school, discussions about all girls’ schools being full of wagons (it’s a Dublin term), answering technical questions about pie charts and languages, etc. Left to her own devices she would happily drink a vat of sugary coffee or minerals, with a side of doughnuts. That’s pretty much her ultimate study food. I’m at a point where I pick my battles, I am not going to tell her what to eat or not. We’ve had the chat about managing sugar spikes and subsequent crashes. The easiest way to combat the rollercoaster that is parenting a Leaving Cert teenager is to make sure there is plenty of food available when she needs it, and that there’s a more convenient healthier option than convenience food.

That’s where energy balls come in. I’m not going to go on and on about the health benefits because I’m not a dietician. These include oats for slow release energy, peanut butter and seeds for fats and protein, dried fruit for fibre, and cocoa powder for flavour. I use honey as a sweetener here but you can use maple syrup or agave, or another sweetener of your choice. The key thing is to smush it all together in a bowl (technical term I know) and roll them into balls which will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Leaving Cert Energy Balls

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 150g Oats
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 handfuls seeds (I use sesame seeds but use pumpkin, flaxseeds, or sunflower seeds if you like)
  • 2 handfuls dried fruit (I use raisins)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (smooth or crunchy whichever you prefer, why not try almond butter either?)
  • 50ml hot water
  • 2 tablespoons runny honey

Method

Put all the ingredients into a bowl. Stir well until the ingredients are combined. Take a ping-pong ball sized amount into your hands and roll until you have a compact ball. You can store these energy balls in the fridge for up to 5 days because there is no dairy in the mixture. For extra texture, roll the balls in dessicated coconut or even cover them in dark chocolate.

The verdict from the teenager? “They’d be lovely if you hadn’t ruined them with raisins.” Mind you, despite the fact that she detests raisins she still eats them. Just saying…

13 Oct

Courgetti With Pesto

Some days amazing things happen. Like getting a phone call asking me to demonstrate healthy recipes as part of the Navan #MyHealthyTown initiative. I had to pinch myself!

This was one of the most popular dishes I demonstrated in Navan for Morphy Richards last weekend. Everytime I heated the pan, it was like an advertisement for certain gravy granules and attracted a crowd. It seriously only takes about 7 minutes to put together. Thanks to popular request I’m sharing the recipe on the blog so it’s easy to find. I also shared it on my Instagram yesterday if you’re interested. Read More

04 Mar

St Patrick’s Day Pie

St Patrick’s Day Pie is made at a time of the year when the core ingredients are still fresh, seasonal, and local. I accept it’s also a cheesy/corny name for a pie, but with the green, white, and gold colours what else could I call it?

Apparently it’s “Pie Week” in the UK. There’s a week for pies now? I just had to redeem myself after the whole Leftovers Pie affair a few weeks ago.

St Patrick's Day Pie - Wholesome Ireland

You could eat this pie still warm from the oven, or you could wait for it to go completely cold, wrap it in a snug covering of greaseproof paper, then put it in the fridge overnight. Then, as I did, stuff a hunk into the bottom of your bag for lunch-on-the-go the following day. Some meals are best if you can resist eating them for a while. Read More

19 Feb

Warming Soup

After 5 days in a row at the allotment, I’m taking a break today. It has been great to get back to work, even if it’s a bit hard going at the start of the year. We’ve been adding to our raised beds, changing the format of the polytunnel, and much more. This warming soup has been on the go all week. I made a couple of batches. The gentle heat instantly starts working as soon as I have a bowl in my hand, and the fresh bitter greens along with citrus hit from the lemon is a real change to a classic thick blended soup.

The key to making the soup last is to add the greens just before serving, then a decent squeeze of fresh lemon juice. The base of the warming soup will keep for a little bit longer that way and you keep the fresh, vibrant green colours in the broth.Warming Soup - Wholesome Ireland - Caitriona Redmond Read More

24 Nov

Review: The Happy Pear Cookbook

In this book we hope to inspire you to eat more veg. That is it, plain and simple.

It’s a great introduction to a book that is packed with recipes from The Happy Pear in Greystones, Co Wicklow. Much more than that though, the book is full of the philosophy behind Dave and Steve’s journey to becoming vegetable evangelists, and retailers on a mission.

The identical twins (for the shop, and book, are a play on words) are the best advertisement for the way of life that the book espouses. While the recipes are at the heart of The Happy Pear cookbook, woven throughout are experiences of their family, employees, and customers. Read More

06 Oct

Dynamite Broccoli

We are slowly working our way through the Autumn vegetables from the allotment. Last week I used up the last of our own broccoli and I admit I’m a little bit disappointed that it’s all gone now. I’ve planted some other varieties of brassica (the vegetable family that our broccoli belongs to) for over the winter. It’s not as if we have no vegetables, it’s just that it’s one of my favourite vegetables. Recently the 15-year-old whispered over dinner that she actually liked broccoli when I cooked it. That is huge for a green-vegetable-hating-teenager let me assure you. Read More

31 Jul

Out Of Date Vegetables

When I go to the grocer’s I like to go to the rack at the back of the shop first. My local grocer has a big spiral stand-alone shelf near the fridge where he puts his out of date vegetables that have gone a bit squishy. There’s nothing wrong with the vegetables, just most people like to buy firm, crunchy veg and not things with a bit of give to them.

This week I got the selection above which was sweet potato, aubergine, red pepper, spring onions and garlic for just a few cents. I’m not a fan of hard work to get a meal to taste great so here’s 2 recipes for the price of 1 – a bargain I know! Both recipes are vegan, have no added salt or sugar, gluten-free, and paleo friendly. You can make both at the same time too.

Read More

24 Jul

Beetroot Roast Lemon Salad

It’s so hot I’ve considered (not for the first time this year) cooking biscuits on the car dashboard. Unfortunately I’ve discovered it’s not quite hot enough here so I’ll have to forget about that fantasy for another day, or a trip abroad perhaps.

I made the mistake of putting the boys to bed 3 hours late last night. We were out and about and by the time we got home they wanted a snack which pushed bedtime to 10.30pm. There wasn’t a hope of them lying on this morning though because the 2-year-old gave the household a rousing rendition of ‘The Wheels On The Bus’ at 6am. It was very kind of him I must say, considering it is his father’s least favourite song. When you drive a bus/coach for a living it’s the very worst song you can be woken up with.

Continuing with my not-well-thought-through streak, I decided to go for a walk to the bank in the 27 degree heat this afternoon, in a pair of jeans, pushing the buggy with 2 tired small boys. That ended. Well.

Today’s lovely lunch was the result of the boys pulling at the coriander in the front wilderness garden and walking in the house with a fist or two of coriander flowers. They are beautiful, so fragrant and delicate and perfectly edible. This beetroot roast lemon salad is low-fat and salt-free, as is the dressing. I’ve had a few friends enquire over the past week for recipes like this that are easy to put together and healthy!Beetroot Roast Lemon Salad

Read More

21 Apr

Garlic Beans

The teen swears that her all time favourite meal is my homemade baked beans. She is always happy with a slice of toast and a big ladle of goodness and I’m delighted that she’s eating well. Feeding hungry teens on a budget can be tricky! Read More

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