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Archive for the ‘All things food’ Category

You’ll all have been blown away by the lovely photo of Molly and her babies last week.  Well I’m glad to say they are thriving :)

She’s even taken them to the pond…. scared the living daylights out of me.  There are cattle in the field too.  She took on two of the cows who attempted to get close to babies…. and she won :)

Lifeguard on duty

Lifeguard on duty

When we had our chick born here last year I enquired locally about buying chick feed – the technical term is ‘chick crumb’ – the smallest bag I could get was huge!  And was full of gm maize and corn so I resorted to making my own.

When it came to feeding the ducklings I didn’t even try to buy stuff, I just went on the old ‘google’ and did some research.  Ducklings can tolerate a slightly different feed to chicks.  So I will share the recipe I am using.

As an aside…. I am buying the seeds and dry fruits in our local Aldi store.  I am sure when the high powered Buyers and Marketeers sat down and decided to introduce this new range of seeds…. Duck Feed was not on their list.  I would love to know their reaction :)  It makes me giggle at the thought of them sitting there in their suits… thinking healthy breads and breakfasts!  Not Duck Feed!

Seed mix for ducklings

Seed mix for ducklings

Ingredients:

  • 200 gr  Rolled Barley
  • 200 gr Porridge Oats
  • 70 gr Sunflower Seeds
  • 70 gr Pumpkin Seeds
  • 70 gr Lentils
  • 50 gr wheatgerm
  • 50 gr sesame seeds
  • 20 gr linseed/flax seeds
  • Sprinkling of dried fruit

Method:

I know – I’m probably just being fussy – but I blitz down the first four ingredients…. the pumpkin seeds are the hardest to blitz.  Then just add in the rest of the ingredients.

When I made the first batch it lasted almost the entire week.  This week – there are 11 ducklings – I am making it every second day.  So next week I may resort to making a bigger batch at a time.

Have you guessed that I am a little besotted with these ducklings?

 

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Quick, before rhubarb season is over, get some and try this recipe.

Rhubarb Tart with Coconut Pastry

Rhubarb Tart with Coconut Pastry

It’s not so much that the tart is different…. it is, in fact, the pastry. I’ve been experimenting. Got this idea into my head and folks it works. You will all know my regular pastry made with butter and lard. This time though I thought I’d try it with coconut oil.

We’ve discovered Cocowel Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil in our SuperValu in Portumna…. and boy, is it delicious. We are using it in lots of different ways.

coconut oil

coconut oil

Now here’s the thing with this pastry…. you know the way they always say that you need ‘cold’ hands to make good pastry, with this mix it is quite the opposite. Your hands need to be warm as you need to be able to break the coconut oil down.

Ingredients:

8 oz. Plain white flour or spelt flour
2 oz. Butter
2 oz. Coconut Oil
Cold water
5 to 6 stalks of Rhubarb – washed and chopped
Sugar to taste.

Method:

Add the butter and coconut oil to your measured flour. Rub the butter and oil into the flour until all lumps are gone. Mix in the water a dash at a time, until the mixture comes together.

Wrap your pastry in cling film and leave in fridge for a couple of hours. (I find pastry is much easier to work with if you do this.)

Grease a dinner plate (this amount of pastry – makes enough for a tart made on any dinner plate) Divid your pastry in two and roll out, thinly, in two pieces. Add the chopped rhubarb and sugar to taste. Brush rim of pastry with water. Top with remaining pastry.

Bake in oven heated to 180 deg for approx. 30 – 35 minutes. Allow to cool a bit.

Sprinkle with caster sugar and serve.

Enjoy :)

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As I’ve said many times before here, we love salads of all descriptions in this house.  This one certainly brings colour to the table, especially so in the winter.

Noodle Salad

Noodle Salad

The original recipe was in the Avoca Cafe Cookbook (Book 1) – Oriental Bean Sprout and Egg Noodles.  However, and yes, regular readers will have guessed it has changed tons since then, as I wouldn’t have the ingredients needed.  For some reason bean sprouts are never available in this neck of the woods.

The one thing that always remains the same is the ‘dressing’ for want of a better description.  After that your imagination (or what’s in the fridge) will do nicely thank you!

The Dressing:

  • 5 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cm. fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped.
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce.

Method:

In a frying pan, gently heat your sesame oil…. be careful it has a low burn point. Add in your garlic and ginger and cook gently for 2 or 3 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from heat and add in the soy sauce.  Leave to cool.

The Salad:

  • Medium egg noodles – 1 portion per person
  • 1 stick of celery – sliced
  • 3 to 4 water chestnuts – sliced
  • 4 oz peas
  • 1 red pepper – deseeded and finely chopped
  • bunch of chives finely chopped.

Method:

Cook your noodles according to packet instructions.  Prepare you vegetables – as I say this is only a guideline – take whatever you have and chop up small – no need to cook, the crunch is lovely in this salad.

When your noodles are cooked drain.  Pop them into a bowl with the vegetables, add the ‘dressing’ and toss well.

This salad is lovely served warm, and even nicer, if you have leftovers, for lunch the next day.

We would serve this with chicken or duck, or even with some barbecued fish.

Hope you enjoy :)

 

 

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Yesterday….. Monday morning  (I had been away from the house all day Sunday) and there was no bread for breakfast!  Doesn’t bother me so much but drives Alfie mad!  He is very very partial to his toast and honey in the morning!

This was not a good start to the week.

A bit of quick thinking was required.

Last week Alfie was given a gift of some over-ripe bananas…. and immediately said, oh yum, banana bread…. but Renee in the shop said no, you’ve got to make banana pancakes.

Right we have bananas…. and we have eggs.  Quick thinking on a Monday morning??  Here goes!!!!

Banana Pancake

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas
  • 4 eggs
  • A little coconut oil for cooking.

Method:

Mash the bananas really really well.  Whisk your eggs separately.

Add the eggs to the banana.

Melt a little coconut oil in a pan.  Ladle about 2 tablespoons of the mixture into the pan and cook for 2 or 3 minutes each side.

This amount made about 6 pancakes…. probably enough for 3 people, or 2 very hungry people.

The wonderful part of this breakfast is it is healthy, gluten and dairy free!

We had them with a drizzle of honey.

Next time want to have them with some maple syrup.  Or can you imagine them with some fresh berries from the garden and a dash of natural yoghurt.

And the day (possibly the week) was saved. :)

 

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We had a blast of sunshine last week.  We are back to wintery weather again sadly!

However, when we had that lovely sunshine I was inspired to prep something nice and tasty for lunch…. and thought of Lily of My Mexican Shop’s delicious Huevos Rancheros…. folks she makes the best Huevos Rancheros.

Not having tomatillos in the house – here’s what developed.

And we got to enjoy it sitting in the sunshine outside

Poached eggs with Mango Salsa

Poached eggs with Mango Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 1 mango, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 green chilli, finely sliced
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

Method:

Couldn’t be simpler….. mix them all together.

You could serve with fried or poached eggs – our preference is always going to be poached eggs.

Enjoy :)

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Who doesn’t love sponge cake?  And yet it is so seldom seen as an option in cafes or restaurants.  I guess it is just perceived as too ‘old-fashioned’ but hey, sometimes old-fashioned is good folks!

Classic Sponge Cake

Classic Sponge Cake

When we were growing up …. sponge cake was a regular treat, especially for birthdays.  My Mum bless her never quite mastered sponge cakes – but then she did make the best pastry ever – so you can’t be great at everything.

Since we’ve had our own hens and ducks I have learned that sponge cake is made even more delicious when made with duck eggs…. the sponge is so much airier and lighter.

So here’s my recipe for a deliciously light sponge cake…

Ingredients:

  • 220 g/8 oz. spelt flour (or you could use self-raising flour)
  • 4 tsp. baking powder (if you are using self-raising flour just use half the quantity, i.e. 2 teasp.)
  • 220 g/8 oz. soft butter.
  • 220 g/8 oz. caster sugar
  • 4 duck eggs
  • a few drops of vanilla essence (optional)

Sandwich Filling:

  • Whatever your heart desires…. only limited by your imagination!  I generally use whipped cream and fruit, or jam.

Method:

Grease and line 2 x 9 inch sponge tins with parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 170 deg C/325 deg F/Gas Mark 3.

Sift your flour and baking powder into large bowl…. allowing plenty of air to get into the mixture.  Add the butter, sugar, vanilla essence and eggs whisking all the time until light and fluffy.

Divide the mixture between the two lined tins.  Level off the mixture and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack and gently peeling off the parchment paper.

When cool enough place one half on plate and dollop on your sandwich filling. Place other half on top, decorate or sprinkle with icing sugar.

Now time to go put the kettle on.

Sponge cake with whipped cream and raspberries

Sponge cake with whipped cream and raspberries

Enjoy :)

(And should you need to…. you can freeze this cake even with the filling in it…. I’ve been known to do that too.  It is not quite as nice as just baked but it isn’t bad at all)

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I miss my salads in the winter.

I love the colour of summertime salads…. adding nasturtiums and borage just adds such brightness to any meal.

This winter seems to have been particularly bleak and grey so I’ve been experimenting with some ‘not green’ salads but using quinoa and noodles.  We most definitely need colour in winter!  This quinoa salad is delicious with a spicy piece of chicken.

Greek-style Quinoa Salad

Greek-style Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 225 gr. quinoa
  • 3oo gr. cherry tomatoes halved (or quartered bigger tomatoes)
  • Handful of olives
  • Red onion – very finely chopped
  • 100 gr. St. Tola cheese, crumbled
  • A few chopped mint leaves (my mint is just coming on again!)
  • Zest and juice of half a lime
  • 1/2 teasp. olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Method:

Prepare your quinoa….. rinse it well under cold running water.  Place in saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil for c. 10 minutes.  Drain.  Set aside to cool.

Mix your prepared tomatoes, olives, onion and cheese in bowl.

Stir in your now cooled quinoa.

Mix in the chopped mint, zest and juice of lime and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with some spicy chicken.

Quinoa Salad with Spicy Chicken

Quinoa Salad with Spicy Chicken

This quantity is enough for 4 for dinner…. or do as there are only 2 of us, have some for dinner and enough left over for lunch the next day.

Enjoy :)

 

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