Quick and easy veggie curry

IMAG1105 The weather has been so cold here for the last few days so we warmed up with this tasty curry. It is so easy and quick to prepare and its a healthier alternative for those of you who are fond of a takeaway curry! I’ll bet it tastes better than any takeaway too!

Ingredients:

1 onion

3 cloves garlic minced

1 inch piece ginger grated or minced

2 tbsp garam masala

2 tbsp curry powder (try to get one which is msg free!)

1/2 large butternut squash

1/2 head of cauliflower (separate the florets)

2 sweet pepper cut into strips

6 button mushrooms

1 tin chickpeas

1/2 tin organic coconut milk (or alternatively make your own :))

400 ml chicken stock

5 large tomatoes chopped

Method:

Fry the chopped onion, garlic and ginger in a saucepan with a little olive oil until soft. Do this over a low heat and take care not to burn.

Add the spices and stir. Add the squash, cauliflower, peppers and mushrooms and stir.

Follow with the chickpeas, tomatoes, and stock – give it a good stir

Simmer for 20 mins without the lid. Add 1/2 tin coconut milk and cook for a further 15 mins on a low heat.

I usually serve this with brown rice but we were all out, so today we served with basmati rice instead 🙂

This would be great with some spinach stirred in at the last minute – I usually add some but we are all out! Too much juicing 😉

Also of course this dish would work with chicken and lamb too.

IMAG1105 Enjoy!

Mothers Day Chocolate Pots with Meringues

IMAG1095 As it is Mothers Day, I decided that we should have a decadent dessert 🙂

Molten Chocolate Pots with Meringues and Ice Cream… 

This is a Rachel Allen recipe which I have changed a little to accommodate my children’s palates 🙂

Preheat the oven to 180 C (fan oven)

Ingredients:

100 g dark chocolate

50 g milk chocolate

100 g butter

3 eggs

3 egg yokes (I used up the whites to make the meringues ;))

75 g caster sugar

50 g plain flour

25 g cocoa powder

Method:

Firstly melt the butter and chocolate (I do this in the microwave!! I know, its bad, but my chocolate never burns or does it impair the flavour)

Whisk the eggs and sugar until they look like this IMAG1077

Fold in the chocolate and sieve in the flour and cocoa powder. Remember gently fold; do not whisk! We need to keep all of that lovely air in for a light mixture.

IMAG1081 It should look like this 🙂

Grease 6 ramekins with butter

You don’t have to be fussy about filling the ramekins in a pretty fashion, generally you won’t be serving in them in the ramekins, so if the mixture spills down the sides, don’t worry!

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Bake in the oven for 8 minutes.

My oven is really hot, you may need to adjust this time to suit your own oven. 8 minutes in my oven @ 180 and they are beautifully molten inside 🙂

Decorate your plates while the puddings are in the oven. When you remove them from the oven you will need to work very quickly to ensure that each one is molten when it reaches the table! If left lying around they will continue to cook!

Enjoy Mothers Day everyone x

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Tomato and Basil Soup

IMAG1044 This tomato and basil soup recipe originally comes from The Ballymaloe Cookery School Cookbook. I may not have it word for word as I seem to adapt every recipe I cook!

 I think they may use fresh tomatoes for their recipe though and as it is only March, we don’t have any growing in our cold little climate yet. But I will soon be planting my tomato seeds and crossing my fingers and toes for a good summer 🙂 When you say a good summer in Ireland, it does not refer to a good time; we are talking about the weather!!

Today I feel like tasting some sunshine while still keeping warm and cosy 🙂

Ingredients:

1 onion finely chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 quantity béchemal sauce

300 ml chicken stock

2 400 g tins tomatoes

1 large handful fresh basil leaves

salt

1 tsp sugar

black pepper

Béchemal Sauce:

25 g butter

25 g flour

200 ml milk

1 sprig fresh thyme

salt black pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan, once melted add the flour and mix over a low heat until the flour has cooked out.  Add the milk a little at a time whisking constantly. You may feel that you need a little extra milk at this stage if the sauce is too thick – that is ok! Add the thyme, salt and black pepper. Allow to sit on a low heat.

This sauce works great with fish too!

Soup:

Fry the onion until soft in a saucepan. Add the tinned tomatoes and sugar and stir.

At this stage I just add everything into the saucepan and stir, it couldn’t be more simple.  

Leave the pot to simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. If you have a stove, this is ideal, otherwise on a really low hob.

Do not allow to boil as the tomatoes only like a gentle heat… and this is best eaten hot, not boiling to taste the flavour! 

Blend and enjoy with some crusty bread 🙂

Friday Fish Supper

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This supper is really quick to prepare and I think it tastes great. I have used whiting here as it was on special at my local fish mongers, but monk-fish, or cod would work equally well.

Ingredients:

Whiting fillets

Smoked Paprika

Salt

Dressing:

smoked paprika

ketchup

mayonnaise

lemon juice

I want supper on Friday to be quick and easy to prepare. We all work hard during the week and when Friday comes we are tired and want to ease ourselves gently into the weekend!

You simply rub the fish fillets with smoked paprika and pan fry in a little olive oil. This size fillet only takes 2 – 3 minutes on a low heat each side. I also pop a slice of lemon in with the fish – I love how it becomes caramelised in the pan, and tastes delicious.

The dressing is so simple! I almost feeling like I am cheating!

Mix one tbsp ketchup, the same of mayonnaise and one tsp paprika, and last one tbsp of lemon juice.

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Enjoy!

We Love Cake…. Swiss Roll

On a rainy afternoon, when all the indoor games have been exhausted and all the stories read, and the mood is low with the children, we bake a cake!

It was a case of mid week, what ingredients do we have in the larder to make a cake. Chocolate being an obvious choice from my darlings was out as that was eaten by Monday!  So our second choice was Swiss Roll! One of our favourites 😉

 IMAG1035 Swiss Roll

Ingredients:

150 g caster sugar

4 eggs

2 tbsp milk (at room temp)

1 tsp vanilla extract

150 g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp granulated sugar

200 ml fresh cream

Preheat the oven to 180 C (Mine is fan oven)

Line a baking tray with baking paper and lightly grease with butter.

First step, whip up the eggs and caster sugar until thick and creamy        IMAG1029 mmmm this image reminds me of custard – might make some custard and stewed apple for dessert today……….. look at me, off on a tangent! Back to the recipe!

Once you have achieved this, stir in the milk and vanilla; gently!

Next step is to sieve in the flour and baking powder, it is probably best to do this in two stages. Gently fold in the flour with a spatula or metal spoon

Pour the mix onto your pre lined tray and bake for 10 minutes (yes only 10 minutes!)

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Allow to cool in the tray for about 7 – 10 minutes. While it is cooling whip up your fresh cream and what ever filling takes your fancy. We sometimes use mandarin segments and dark chocolate or strawberries when in season.

Lay out some baking paper and sprinkle with 1 tbsp granulated sugar. Put the swiss roll face down onto the paper and gently peel away the baking paper from underneath. 

Spread with the filling of your choice, in our case it was strawberry jam and cream and then roll firmly and quickly.

IMAG1035Now that will brighten up any rainy afternoon 🙂

  

My Homemade Brown Soda Bread

IMAG0992 A few people have asked me for this recipe over the years and I have always found it difficult to give it to them; Not because I don’t want to share the recipe, but because I feel that bread is something that cannot be measured in exact quantities. Bread is all about feeling. The mixture cannot be too wet or the crust will be too crispy, too dry and the crust will be too soft!

So, I have tried to measure quantities for you. I hope that your bread will be a success and you enjoy making it and eating it 🙂

Ingredients:

400 g coarse wholemeal flour

200 g plain white flour

50 g wheatgerm

50 g linseeds

25 g  sesame seeds

1 tbsp unrefined caster sugar

1 tsp maldon salt (or any type of salt really)

1 level tsp bread soda

1 level tsp baking powder

350 ml buttermilk

25 g butter

Pre heat the oven to 150 C

Place the wholemeal flour and salt into a large bowl. Sieve the other ingredients in and mix together.

Measure your buttermilk and add the egg and beat both the buttermilk and egg mixture together.

Make a little well in the centre of the flour mix and pour almost all of the wet mix in. Mix together with your hand. If you feel you require more butter milk just add it a little at a time. Remember its all about the feeling!!

This bread can be baked in a buttered loaf tin or alternatively, shape into a round loaf as I have done here and cut a cross down the centre.

Bake for 45 minutes, but check with a skewer or knife to make sure it is cooked.

Bake it in the middle tray of your oven and once out of the oven, wrap in a clean towel and turn upside down!

Enjoy 🙂

Falafel Burger

IMAG1021We try to have a couple of meat free days during the week. I don’t feel like I am missing out when I have something like this, it is so satisfying and filling! It took lots of attempts to get my recipe correct. This one works well for our family 🙂 

Ingredients:

75 g breadcrumbs (I use Nana’s recipe)

1 onion

2 garlic cloves

5 button mushrooms

bunch coriander

1/2 chili

1 tsp turmeric

2 tsp harissa relish

1 400 g tin chickpeas

1/2 tin sweetcorn

salt

pepper

 I just pop everything in the processor and whizz together.

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Shape into thick patties and pat with a little flour. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge until you are ready to use them.

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Pre heat your deep fryer (eeeek, this is not healthy!)

I have cooked these in the oven but they dry out so much, and they broke up a little too. So although the deep fry isn’t too healthy, they do taste better.

I cook for 7 minutes.

The dressing

1 tablespoon greek yogurt

1 1/2 tablespoon tahini paste

a little lemon juice

I serve this with a chunky slice of cheddar cheese and sliced tomato. I served a pea salad on the side, lightly dressed with some olive oil and lemon juice.

Enjoy 🙂