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Archive for the ‘All things food’ Category

I’ve finally found a breakfast cereal that I like!

Not that easy when you have to avoid wheat.  On a side note I challenge you to check cereal boxes across all the brands to find one that does not contain wheat. Even cornflakes contain wheat….. seriously.

And yes, I can hear you all saying, but but but what about porridge!

Here’s the thing folks, I HATE PORRIDGE.  It has to be the most disgusting food of all times.  It is a major source of amusement with Alfie, that I actually make really delicious porridge for others, but won’t touch it myself.

Okay, that’s out of the way.

The only way for me to go was to start making my own breakfast cereal… I chose to make granola.

This recipe is as flexible as you want it to be with regard to what ‘dry goods’ you put in, but the coconut oil and honey are a staple in this house anyway.

I haven’t checked the ‘use by date’, it doesn’t really last that long as guests love it too, but I would say it lasts 2 or 3 weeks in an airtight tin.

Oldfarm Granola

Oldfarm Granola

Ingredients:

  • 300 gr Oatflakes
  • 50 gr Linseed
  • 50 gr. Sunflower and/or Pumpkin seeds
  • 20 gr. Sesame seeds
  • 50 gr. dried fruit – current batch has diced mango in it, but I’ve used cranberries, and sultanas too.
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 40 gr. runny honey

Method:

Preheat oven to 150 deg. centigrade.

Line 2 x swiss roll tin with baking parchment.

Mix all dry ingredients together. Melt coconut oil and honey together, and pour over dry ingredients

Spread mix out on baking parchment.

Bake for 23 minutes.

Allow to cool and store in an airtight tin or jar.

This is how I had mine this morning 🙂

Oldfarm Granola with yoghurt and homegrown strawberries

Oldfarm Granola with yoghurt and homegrown strawberries

Enjoy!

 

 

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I had a disaster in the kitchen the other day.  I had an abundance of eggs, and thought I’d make some ice-cream.  In fact, I had so many eggs I was going to make a double quantity batch of ice-cream.

I make this ice-cream so often and it has never ever gone wrong on me!  However, last week it decided it was time to defy me.

The damned egg whites and sugar would just not whip up.  You know those minutes you keep looking at the whisk and thinking it is going to work…. but then it doesn’t.  As I said I had a huge amount of eggs so I was able to crack another 8 egg whites and make my ice-cream successfully.

I was so angry about the eight egg whites and sugar mix, I couldn’t bring myself to throw them out immediately.

I wondered would the dogs eat it.  I’d bet they’d have loved it.

I knew the pigs would love it.

I held my decision making until the following day, and decided there must be something I could do with them.  And, yes, there was…. coconut macaroons and white angel chocolate chip cupcakes.

Coconut Macaroons and Angel Cupcakes

Coconut Macaroons and Angel Cupcakes

You have to visualise the process that I went through…. weighing the egg and sugar mixture, dividing by 8, scooping out the sticky mess and making sweet treats!!  Crazy or what?

The macaroons were a major hit.  In fact, if I’m truthful they were addictive and I will definitely have to try to make them again.  The cupcakes???  I didn’t like them so much, but others did and they were all eaten. 🙂

Have you had kitchen disasters?  How have you recovered?

 

 

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Just had to share this recipe with you.  Seriously, seriously good.  I’ve made a second batch today.

It’s adapted from that book I’ve mentioned before Soups by Tonia George.  She uses two different variety of mushrooms, I just used regular field mushrooms.

I think what makes it doubly nice is the fact that we are using our own hazelnuts that we still have from last year’s harvest.

This quantity makes enough for four.

Mushroom & Hazelnut Soup

Mushroom & Hazelnut Soup

Ingredients:

  • 50 g butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 25 g hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 350 g mushrooms
  • 1 litre vegetable stock (or chicken stock)

Method:

Melt butter and add onion and garlic, cover and cook gently over low heat for 10 minutes to soften.

Wash and chop your mushrooms.  Add to the saucepan with the parsley, turn heat up and cook, stirring regularly for 10 minutes.  Add your stock and cook for another 10 minutes.

While this is all happening toast your hazelnuts and set aside to cool.

When soup is cooked.  Chop your toasted hazelnuts and add about half to the soup.  Either blitz with hand liquidiser or transfer to a liquidiser.

Serve with a sprinkling of the remaining chopped hazelnuts (and/or a dollop of cream).

Enjoy!  And do let us know if you’ve tried it.

 

 

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I know!  I know!  A recipe for quiche…. crazy or what?

Let’s not talk about how long I’ve been making quiches for.

We love quiche.  It is something I’d make when I want to clear out bits and pieces from the fridge.  It’s also a wonderful thing to whip up if you suddenly have un-announced guests as we’re lucky to generally always have our own eggs to hand.

Quiche was on the menu on Wednesday evening this week.  I have no idea why I decided to ‘google’ a recipe for quiche.  Come on, I’ve been making it for donkeys years!  But I did.

I did one of those list of ingredient type searches…. you know… I’ve got spinach, cheese, etc. etc.

Top of the results was Jamie Oliver’s Spring Greens Quiche.

And, yes, if you are a regular reader you’ll know that, of course I didn’t have all the ingredients… our asparagus and chives are long way from being ready to harvest ….. but hey, I’m the queen of improvisation.

I think Jamie himself will be impressed with the result…. we sure were and will definitely be doing something like this again.

As usual I made my pastry using my Mum’s recipe in the morning and stuck it in the fridge to chill.

Spring Greens Quiche

Spring Greens Quiche

My filling ingredients:

  • Small onion, chopped finely and fried.
  • 100 gr. frozen peas
  • 100 gr. fresh baby spinach.
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 slices lomo (dried pork), chopped – optional.  I only used these cos they were in fridge.
  • 2 duck eggs
  • 3 hen eggs
  • 2 extra egg whites
  • 50 gr. Brie cheese – sliced.

Method:

Cook your frozen peas for about 3 minutes, adding your washed spinach for the last minute.  Drain and rinse under cold water for a few minutes to retain the ‘greenness’.  Set aside.

Grease your quiche dish.  Roll out your pastry and line your quiche dish.

Sprinkle in your cooked onion onto the base.  Add your peas and spinach spreading out as evenly as possible.  Add in your scallions and meat (if you are using it)

Whisk your eggs together and pour into dish.

Top with sliced Brie.

Slice of Spring Greens Quiche

Slice of Spring Greens Quiche

(As an aside the only reason I was using 2 egg whites was that they were in the fridge… but they really did add a lightness to the dish, so do use them.)

We shared with an unexpected visit from a neighbour – served with baked potato and salad.  And even had a slice each left for lunch the next day.

It was still as delicious.

Try it and enjoy!

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We do an awful lot of bartering here.

I swap eggs for a haircut…. it works … don’t knock it.  We recently swapped pork for some line caught tuna, and we used to swap bacon for lamb.  However, our neighbour decided not to keep sheep/lambs anymore.  We were devastated.

I love lamb almost as much as I like pork roast.

There was only one thing to do, we’d have to start keeping sheep ourselves.  So we jumped in head first.  Neither of us have had any dealings with sheep, but figured our neighbour would be on hand if we ran into difficulties.

The only consideration really was that the area that would be best to keep the sheep in gets very wet and soggy in winter so the decision was made to be summertime sheep farmers.  (Oh, how nice it would be to be a summertime pig farmer!  Just saying.)

Decision made, we spoke to our friend Suzanna over at Zwartbles Ireland, and ordered 4 sheep from her – 2 for us, and 2 for another neighbour.

Handsome sheep

Handsome sheep

The sheep-herd number was applied for.  That is a laugh in itself, the amount of questions you are asked, it is quite hilarious.

In mid-May we picked up our 4 lambs.

These guys are so very friendly – that, of course, was a worry – were we going to become too attached!!!

Bosco - the jumper

Bosco – the jumper

They settled in well.  Three of them were really friendly, and came running the minute any human appeared.  I spotted lots of people who stopped to buy eggs from our honesty box, wander over to chat to the sheep too!  They became a bit of a tourist attraction.  Well, they are handsome sheep.

Every morning they would be lined up at the fence waiting patiently for me to appear and give them some grain.  I know we all say that the sound a sheep makes is ‘baa’…. well these Zwartbles it is more of a maa.

We didn’t name them all… there was Timmy Tag (the nervous one), and then there was the one I named Bosco.

Bosco was a hoot.  He learned to jump the wall.  Yep, he was a jumper.  He regularly jumped the wall… trotted along to our front gate, and settled in on the lawn – just on the other side of the fence to his brothers!!!  He never went anywhere else.  It was very much a case of the grass on the other side of the fence was sweeter.

Now that they have gone to pastures in the sky (or the freezer), I have to say that I do miss their bleating.  However, the meat is so totally delicious.  We will be doing this again.

There is nothing quite like knowing where you meat comes from, or better still growing your own.

 

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Do you buy food magazines?  I don’t usually.  I have in my time subscribed to some, but after a year I find I get fed up of them, or find that I’m lucky if there is a recipe a month that I will try.

However, I like to ‘treat’ myself to an occasional magazine which is what I did when we were travelling to France.  I bought Olive magazine at the airport…. I hadn’t bought it in years.  Folks, I can honestly say that within half-an-hour of sitting down with it I wanted to try so many recipes.  I currently have a list of 15 from the September issue I want to try.

We’ve already tried the smashed cucumber twice…. verdict? It is delicious.

There are two courgette recipes to try.

Now courgettes…. people either love em or hate em!  Well that’s the way it is in the house.  I quite like them, but you know who is very very ambivalent about them.

This year, I was really good and only planted a single courgette plant, but, of course, it has been quite prolific…. giving us lots of courgettes!

This brings me to the second recipe that we’ve tried  – Courgette Scarpaccia.

Courgette Scarpaccia

Courgette Scarpaccia

We had very nice AirBnB guests who were willing to be tasters when I tried it first. Thank you Adrian and Lilli.  We all liked it, but felt it could do with something else, and the extra something we decided was thyme.

Never one to let the fact that I am entertaining strangers deter me from trying new recipes, I made it yesterday varying the recipe a little.  I hope the team at Olive magazine will forgive me!

Here’s my version.

Ingredients: (makes enough for 6 as a starter)

  • 450 g courgette
  • 3 scallions
  • Olive oil
  • 75 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • Splash of milk
  • Few sprigs of thyme
  • 4 tbsp. Mossfield Organic cheese – grated (or your favoured cheese)
  • Lots of Black Pepper
  • Parmesan cheese – shaved

Method:

Slice your courgette really finely using a mandolin.  Put in sieve, sprinkle with salt, and set aside to drain for about 30 minutes.

Line a swiss roll tin with baking parchment and oil well.

Heat oven to 200 deg. C/180 deg for Fan oven.

Put your flour and baking powder into a bowl, make a well in the centre and break in your eggs.  Using a balloon whisk mix flour and eggs together…. add milk should the mixture be too thick.  (You need your mixture to be like a yorkshire pudding mixture.)  Add the cheese and black pepper, mixing in well.  Add the fresh thyme, and most of your sliced courgettes.  Toss the remaining slices of courgettes in olive oil and set aside for a minute.

Slice your scallions and place on baking sheet with a good dollop of olive oil.  Bake in oven for 3 minutes.

Remove your tray and pour in your courgette mixture, spreading it out as evenly as possible.  Now arrange the saved courgette slices on top.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes…. until golden brown.

Remove from oven and add the shaved parmesan.

This is delicious served warm.  And is equally delicious cold as a ‘picnic’ next day.

Enjoy!

 

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We’ve had a pretty crazy time lately with lots of people coming and going.  What I love about all of this is that we get lots of lovely foodie gifts.  Our friends know us so well!!!!

In the midst of all the friends coming and going I received an email asking me would I like to sample and write a recipe using some of the products from HolyArt. We always consider carefully any request like this, so looked at their range of products….. loved that they were organic and made by the nuns and monks.  I’m a bit partial to such stories, there is a family connection with Glenstal Abbey which is a story for another day.

We agreed to try the products, and to share a recipe.  Less than 24 hours letter we received our box of goodies.  That was on Good Friday.  Each of the products have been enjoyed separately, but this recipe combines the two.

You can imagine how bad I feel that I am only now getting around to sharing this recipe with you.  I told you it has been a crazy busy time.

Our gift box from HolyArt included a bar of dairy milk chocolate and a jar of marmalade…. a grapefruit and citrus marmalade to be precise.

Chocolate and Marmalade gift

Chocolate and Marmalade gift

We also had friends coming to stay over Easter… so it was time to get inventive.  I decided a dessert was what was called for as both, Lily and Alan, are quite partial to sweet things!

Somewhere in my brain, there was a memory of a Bread and Butter pudding made with ‘marmalade sandwiches’.  I also remember an absolutely divine chocolate bread pudding made by a friend years ago.  I decided to try to combine the two memories.  BTW we’d also had a visit from an old colleague now working in a bakery so he’d brought us loaves of low GI bread… not something we’d normally buy… but this was going to come in handy.

Chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding with home-made ice-cream

Chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding with home-made ice-cream

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices of brown or white bread (as I say I used the Low GI we’d been gifted)
  • Butter
  • Marmalade – Cedri & Pompelmi
  • 2 teaspooons finely chopped candied peel (I had some that was another gift!)
  • 2 ozs.  Trappisti milk chocolate
  • 2 ozs. caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 12 oz. whole milk

Method:

Grease an appropriate sized dish.

Preheat your oven to 180 deg. C

Basically you make four ‘marmalade sandwiches’…. yes, butter the bread, before you put on the marmalade.  Cut your sandwiches into pretty triangles, and place them ‘pointy’ side up in your greased dish…. I decided to leave the crusts on.

Sprinkle over the sugar and candied peel.  Grate the chocolate over the mixture.

Beat your eggs and milk together and pour over your sandwiches.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 35 minutes.

I served the pudding with some of our home-made vanilla ice-cream.

There was enough in this for 4 desserts and some people even had seconds for breakfast the following morning!

 

 

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