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Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Since we started hosting on AirBnB we’ve come across the strangest (well to us) allergies and food dislikes.  I never knew people could be allergic to oranges?

Sometimes it can be a challenge to come up with interesting dishes that exclude ingredients that we would take for granted.  Imagine not using onions…. at all?

This past summer we had a family stay with us, where one member was allergic to dairy, egg and nuts.  Fine you say, BUT, they had a birthday during their stay.  Two adults (adult birthday), and 2 children (child allergic)…. so my challenge was to come up with a cake that everyone could eat and enjoy.

God bless ‘google’.

Dairy and egg free chocolate cake

Dairy and egg free chocolate cake

This cake then became a life saver again last week, when I was asked to bring dessert to a house with a similar allergy problem.  I think, but am not sure, that this would also actually qualify as ‘vegan’… maybe someone out there could tell me?

The amounts are a little odd, as the original recipe from Allrecipes in Australia was in cups.  So here’s my translation.

Ingredients:

  • 375 gr organic flour
  • 440 gr sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps Bread Soda
  • 50 gr Green & Blacks cocoa
  • 190 ml Sunflower Oil
  • 2 tblsps White Vinegar
  • 2 tsps Vanilla Essence
  • 500 ml Cold Water

Method:

Heat oven to 180 deg. Centigrade.

Line a 30 cm cake tin with parchment paper

Sieve the dry ingredients together.  Make 3 wells in the mixture, adding oil, vinegar and vanilla essence into separate wells.

Add water and mix really well.

Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes.

I iced the finished cake with a sugar and lemon juice mix…. literally mixing icing sugar and a tablespoon of lemon juice together until I had the right consistency.

We’re not big chocolate cake fans here… but this has been a hit with us and everyone we served it to.

Enjoy!

 

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I’ve been making our own ‘Cointreau’ style liqueur for the past couple of years, and was absolutely sure I had already shared the recipe on here…. but I hadn’t.

So here it is…. and full credit for the recipe must go to the late Paolo Tullio.

It is so simple and easy to make…. all it needs is time.

Home-made Cointreau

Home-made Cointreau

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • Half litre of vodka
  • 1 orange
  • String
  • Wide necked jar – we use a Kilner jar
  • Water
  • 150 g sugar

Method:

Pour vodka into your jar.  Thread string through the orange.  We use a wooden skewer to pierce the orange, then push a straw through the hole, and then thread the string through the straw…. hope this makes sense, but you will probably device your own method.

You may need the assistance of another pair if hands for this part.

Lower the orange into the jar until it is about a centimetre above the vodka…. holding onto your string at both ends.  Now close the lid of the jar to secure the string in place.

making home-made cointreau

making home-made cointreau

Put your jar somewhere safe for 21 days.

If you watch you will see that the alcohol evaporates, hits the orange and drops down, thus infusing the alcohol with the orange flavour.

After the 21 days, dissolve 150 grams of sugar in as little water as possible, and add it to your flavoured vodka.

That’s it.

I’ve put it in pretty little bottles as Christmas gifts too.

Or save it and enjoy yourself 🙂

 

 

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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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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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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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When Alfie’s daughter, Stephanie, was home from Australia in October herself and her partner introduced us to Laksa… a dish found in Singapore and Malaysia.  We loved it!  I’ve been dying to try to make it myself and finally got around to doing so a couple of weeks back.  It lived up to my memory.

We were also exceedingly lucky that Stephanie had brought us some Laksa Mix from Herbie’s Spices in Australia.  Has anyone ever seen such a mix here in Ireland?  I’m sure you could experiment as here’s the list of ingredients that go into the mix (it is an awful lot!) – coriander seed, cumin, chilli, salt, fennel, galangal, coriander leaf, turmeric, sugar, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, lamellae, lemon myrtle, pepper and cardamom.

Chicken Laksa

Chicken Laksa

Here’s Stephanie’s recipe:

Ingredients: (for 2 people)

  • 1/2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. Laksa Mix
  • Small red onion, chopped
  • 200 ml can of coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 pt. chicken stock
  • 2 chicken breasts (we buy whole free-range and Alfie dissects) chopped.
  • 1/2 small yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 small red pepper, chopped
  • Broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 1 Pak Choi, chopped
  • Rice noodles to serve

Heat oil.  Add Laksa spice to make a paste.  Cook for a minute or two to allow flavours to become aromatic and intensify.

Add the onion to the spice and fry gently.

Mix the coconut milk, stock and fish sauce together, add these to the onion and spice mix.

Bring the soup to a low simmer, add the chicken – cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the vegetables as you need to cook – depending on the thickness of the vegetable, i.e. broccoli first, peppers, pak choi, etc.

Cook your noodles separately.

To serve make sure everyone has some noodles and some vegetables.

Optional toppings include bean sprouts, finely sliced red chilli, squeeze of lime, freshly chopped coriander or basil.  We love the addition of finely sliced chilli and a squeeze of lime juice.

Enjoy!

 

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Rock Buns

Who else is of an age that the very mention of ‘rock buns’ sends shivers through you?

I think rock buns were the very first thing I made in Domestic Science class at school….. way, way, way, way back when.  Oh the memories, of struggling through wind and rain on the bicycle, with the bag of ingredients on the handle bars!!!

And rock buns, they left an indelible ‘yuck’ mark in my brain.

So, why you might ask are we talking about them today? Well the Lord only knows! I got a notion a couple of weeks back that I’d like to try making rock buns. Senility? Madness?  Who knows?

I made them folks, and they were delicious.  Nothing at all like my memory (or my neighbour’s either…. she called in for a cup of tea!).

Rock Buns reinvented

Rock Buns reinvented

Our conclusion…. we used crappy ingredients…. margarine, cheap horrible candied peel – remember how sticky and horrible it was?  This reincarnated version of rock buns is the business.  Try them and see!

Ingredients:

  • 225 gr. Biodynamic Organic White Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 125 gr. Butter
  • 75 gr. Caster Sugar
  • 125 gr. dried fruit, including candied peel (I got a gift of some home-made candied peel – amazing!)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons Milk
  • Granulated sugar for topping.

Method:

Preheat oven to 200 deg. C/400 deg.F/Gas 6.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Sieve flour and baking powder.  Rub in the butter until it looks like breadcrumbs.  Add the sugar and dried fruit.  Finally add beaten egg and milk.

Put small portions of mixture on tray about 1.5 inches apart.  Sprinkle some granulated sugar over each one.

Bake in oven for 10 – 15 minutes.  Leave to cool on tin for 5 minutes before transferring to wire tray.

Enjoy!

 

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What’s your schedule like on Christmas morning?  Since moving from the city to the country, our Christmas morning routine has changed quite a bit.

We now like to get all the animals and fowl fed early (meaning we can have a shower and stay in clean clothes for the rest of the day!).  Sometimes we might make it to church – more for social than a religious reasons – and then, it is time to call into the neighbours for an hour or so.

This all means that we may not have breakfast until we get back from the neighbours… and by then it has turned into brunch. 🙂

These days brunch would consist of our homegrown produce.  Even when we lived a less hectic city life, we would generally have gone for the brunch option on Christmas day.  Back in those days, before we were pig farmers, kedgeree would often have been on the menu.

Kedgeree seemingly was very popular in the days of the Raj with the British living in India.  I guess that makes it a kind of ‘posh’ brunch.  It was traditionally made with smoked haddock, but, hey, if we’re going ‘posh’ let’s go all the way and use smoked salmon!

I was asked by the folks at Quinlan’s Fish if I’d share a recipe using their Organic Irish Smoked Salmon.  I was delighted to… and had all sorts of plans involving sushi and homegrown horseradish, but then came back to this old favourite.  Time is very precious in this house in this week just before Christmas!  Last year, I remember saying I wanted a live-in chef for the week of ham shipments.

That didn’t happen…. but seriously this just took 20 minutes to prepare.

Give it a try…. you’re probably going to have smoked salmon in the house over Christmas, and this is so tasty and easy.  Serve it either as a brunch or supper, it works either way.

I made it for dinner this evening – just for two of us – but it’s easy to multiply the ingredients for more.

Kedgeree

Kedgeree

Ingredients:

  • 2 organic eggs – hard-boiled and quartered.
  • 6 oz. Organic Basmati (or long-grain) rice
  • large knob of butter
  • 1/2 organic onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 (large) clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 100 ml cream
  • 125 g. Quinlan’s Organic Smoked Irish Salmon
  • Large pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Coriander leaves
  • A couple of slices of lemon

Method:

Hard boil your eggs…. 5 minutes is usually enough…. draining the hot water off the eggs, and running cold water over them to stop the cooking process.  Leave them in the cold water until you are ready to peel them.

Cook your rice for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in another saucepan.  Add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry gently until translucent.

Add the cream to the onion, garlic and ginger and heat slowly.

By now your rice should be cooked and drained.

When the cream has heated through, add the cooked rice to this saucepan and mix well to combine all ingredients.

Pull your Smoked Salmon apart into slivers and add most of it to the rice.  Mix gently… you will notice it changes colour as it ‘cooks’ when it hits the warm rice.

Put the rice mixture onto a serving plate and top with a few reserved slivers of the smoked salmon, together with some coriander leaves and a generous dash of cayenne pepper.

Serve with slices of lemon.

Enjoy! 🙂

 

Disclaimer:  Quinlan’s Fish sent me the Irish Organic Smoked Salmon and asked me to post a recipe.  No money exchanged hands.  Their salmon is delicious and we enjoyed the resultant dish using their  organic salmon.

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