Hot Salmon Salad

I have been eating copious amounts of chicken recently so I wanted to switch over to something lighter for a change and I thus thought of salmon fillets. Salmon is one of the only fish I can now have on my new list of allowed foods so I wanted to play around with it a bit and not just steam it with some veg every day.
Salmon is such a great protein to put on your plate with its vast amount of nutritional value and super health benefits. Salmon’s high omega 3 content is one of its most notable attributes. Omega 3 fatty acids contribute to the healthy function of our brain with salmon being commonly referred to as “Brain Food”. This can also assist with the healthy function of the cardiovascular system, bone joints and an overall feeling of wellness.
Oily Fish that are high in omega 3 such as salmon are also said to contribute to the reduction of heart disease, cancer, depression, high blood pressure and arthritis.

Salmon is also crazy high in protein so it is an excellent choice when filling your plate with a healthy meal that will fuel you and keep you full for hours. There are 20 grams of protein in every 100 grams of salmon which is pretty awesome!
I have to say, in this recipe I cooked up 250 grams of salmon and had to divide the finished meal into two portions as I was absolutely full to the brim half way through! Anyone who eats with me will tell you that’s pretty hard to accomplish!

So with all my recipes, I wanted to get a bit creative but make sure I would be satisfied and full after I’d eaten. I also had to be mindful that I had to stick to the list of allowed foods to make this a dish I could share with you all but also enjoy myself as part of my diet.

The end result was my Hot Salmon Salad that was really delicious, easy to make, cheap to shop for and kept me full all evening – everything Clodagh’s Countertop is about! Hope you like it 😉

Ingredients

125 gram approx. fresh Salmon Fillet
100 grams dried Quinoa*
300 ml Vegetable Stock
1 ½ cup Frozen or Fresh Spinach
½ Fresh Red Chili
1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste

*I actually used the Tesco 60 second microwavable pouch of red quinoa and bulgur wheat for this and it worked perfectly but use the above size portion if you are cooking from scratch.

Method

In a pot, bring 300 ml vegetable stock to the boil and add the dried quinoa.
Cook quinoa in the stock as per packet instructions until all the water has been absorbed.
While the quinoa is cooking, steam the salmon fillet until cooked through.
I use the microwave steam bags for about 4 ½ minutes with some lemon juice but you can also use the more conventional method of using the steam pot on the hob.
To do so, add some water to a pot and place the steam pot over the water.
Carefully place the salmon fillet on the base of the steam pot above the boiling water and place a lid over the steam pot.
Steam the salmon fillet for about 5 minutes or until cooked through fully.
If using frozen spinach, add this to a pot of boiling water on the hob and cook through for about 3-4 minutes. Drain.
If using fresh spinach, also add to a pot of boiling water but only cook for about 1-2 minutes and drain.
In a bowl, add the cooked quinoa, salmon and drained spinach.
Add soy sauce and seasoning and toss until evenly mixed.
Thinly slice the red chili and deseed then garnish your salad with it.

IMG_1386

This can be enjoyed immediately and piping hot and can also be eaten later when warm or even cold – whatever you fancy!

Advertisements

Irish Soda Bread – Home Is Where The Bread Is

Irish Soda Bread is one of the definitive symbols of the Irish Kitchen.
It’s something that will remind you of your fair Irish mammy or will make you want a cup of tea or bowl of soup.
Irish Soda Bread is loved around the world and I can say this from personal experience.
When living in Australia, we would see signs outside some local bakeries “We sell Irish Soda Bread!” and I remember a housemate and I begging her mother to pass on her famous recipe so that we could try our hands with it ourselves and share this special food with our Australian colleagues.
Needless to say, the Ozzies were very impressed with our creation.
I even remember having a conversation with another Irish girl in Perth and the topic of food we missed from home came up. Obviously, Irish Soda Bread was discussed at length and true to this day, I met the same girl a couple of days later hurrying home holding a large bag of flour – off to make the bread that reminded her so fondly of home!
This simple recipe is a true family favourite and is far better for you than most breads you will find on the shelves.
If you are curious to know what all us Irish are talking about or are Irish yourself and fancy a small taste of home, give this recipe a go.
Remember to stay in the kitchen while the bread is baking, the smell is one of the nicest and comforting smells in the world!

IMG_1316

Ingredients

4 cups of good quality Plain Brown Flour
2 cups Buttermilk
1 Tbsp. Bicarbonate of Soda
60 grams room temperature Real Butter
1 Tbsp. Salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees Celsius.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and set to one side.
Sift your flour into a large mixing bowl and then sift in the bicarbonate of soda.
Add salt to the mix and then stir all three ingredients together with a wooden spoon.
Now to get your hands dirty, carefully rub in the butter to your floury mix until fully combined.
Using your wooden spoon again, stir the mix while slowly adding the 2 cups of buttermilk into the bowl.
When all the buttermilk has been poured in and stirred, use your hands again to mix the dough together to get a good doughy consistency.
Don’t worry if your hands are covered in gooey dough, this is the fun part!
Sprinkle some flour out on your countertop and roll out the dough to knead it with your hands.
Knead the dough for a couple of minutes, round it into a ball shaped loaf then pop it on the baking tray.
I always like to slit a cross shape on the top of the ball of dough before putting in into the oven.
Pop your dough into the oven and let it bake away, filling the kitchen with amazing smells for about 30-40 minutes.
Once ready, remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack so that it doesn’t sweat.
Boil the kettle while you are waiting and prep whatever condiment you want to have with your bread.
I am a fan of the simpler things in life so plain real butter is my go-to topping but golden syrup, jam, cheese slices or hummus all go ridiculously well with the bread.
Personally, I think this soda bread is best served fresh out of the oven or toasted but it’s up to yourself how you want to have it.
Either way it is going to taste incredible, remind every Irish person of home or make anyone else wish they were Irish.
Enjoy! xx

Chili Basil Chicken

This is absolutely one of my favourite Asian dishes of all time! Not only does it taste amazing but my first experience of this dish was in one of the most beautiful places in the world and whenever I make this dish, I am full of fond memories.
You might be thinking “another Asian themed recipe” but the reason for this is the speed and convenience of the prep and cooking and also how clean and healthy the ingredients are.
This recipe also ticks all the boxes for my allergy list too so if you are suffering same, as some of you have written to talk to me about, this is defo one for you to try out!
This quick dish looks beautiful and can be served in a lunchbox the next day at work or as a romantic meal for two on a Friday night, it’s totally versatile!
The aromatic smells coming from the pan will fill your kitchen with those holiday vibes and will make sure this dish doesn’t last long on your plate.
I am getting very excited about this recipe so I hope you guys love it as much as I do. I’d love to know your feedback.

IMG_1227

Ingredients

200 grams Skinless, Boneless Chicken Fillets, chopped
1 Scallion,
1 cup Fresh Basil Leaves
2 cloves Garlic
1 Red Chili
2 Tsp. Soy Sauce
1 Tsp. Sugar / Sweetener
2 Tsp. Water
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, sugar and water.
Add olive oil to a frying pan and heat.
Chop the garlic cloves and your chili finely and add to the hot pan.
Chop your scallion and add the white end of it and your chicken pieces to the pan to cook.
When the chicken starts to brown, add your sauce from the bowl gradually until the water starts to fry off and the sauce looks nice and shiny.
Once you’re satisfied that the chicken is cooked thoroughly, toss through the green end of the scallion and the basil leaves.
Give the whole mix a quick stir to let the basil leaves wilt slightly and remove immediately from the heat.
This dish can be served on its own or with some rice, it’s up to you what you’re in the mood for.

IMG_1228

Let me know what you guys think!

Fabulous Falafel

 Even before the allergists told me I can barely eat anything I love anymore, I have had a bit of an obsession with Middle Eastern food of late.
Luckily for me, most of the staple ingredients used in creating Middle Eastern dishes are on the list of foods I can have so keep an eye out for some Lebanese or Moroccan style flavours coming through the Countertop over the next while.
Hummus is one of my favourite foods ever and I eat it by the tub-full. A great accompaniment to hummus is of course Falafel and it just so happens to be quick, cheap and healthy to make.
A hummus and falafel dish with some side salad or grilled veg is such a winner of a meal and will keep you full and energised for hours.
I had it as my lunch last week and I was the envy of the office.
All you really need for this creation is a decent food processor and the oven so give it a lash and let me know how you get on.

Ingredients

400 gram tin of Chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 clove Garlic
1 sprig Fresh Parsley
1 Tsp. Ground Coriander
1 Tsp. Ground Cumin
½ Tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Regular Flour or Flour alternative
Dash Olive Oil

Method

If you want to bake your Falafels, add all the ingredients above to a food processor, Nutribullet or whatever appliance you use and whizz.
Preheat the oven to 200 Degrees Celcuis and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Take a small chunk of the falafel mix and squish it into a small patty or ball depending on your preference.
If it is not sticking together, add a bit more oil and give it another whizz but be careful not to add too much either.
When the oven is hot, add the tray to the middle shelf and let your falafels bake away for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and heated through.

If you want to fry your Falafels, add all the ingredients as above.
Heat some more oil on the pan.
Falafels cook better on the pan if they are in more of a patty shape than a ball shape so my advice would be to create a little Falafel ball and then press it down slightly to create a patty.
Pop your falafels on the pan and fry each side until golden brown and you’re happy the patty has been heated through.

As I mentioned earlier, Falafel goes great with hummus so why not try whizz up some homemade hummus too?!
You can find my recipe for this right here!

https://clodaghscountertopblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/homemade-hummus/

IMG_1244

Chili Salted Shredded Chicken

So the last two weeks have been spent clearing out my fridge, freezer and pantry with all the foods I can no longer have and replenishing the empty shelves with those that I can.
The first week was spent researching online looking at vegan and vegetarian ways to get enough protein in my daily meals.
It’s not that I don’t like meat, I certainly do but I also like to have at least two days a week that are meat free and at least one meal a day that is meat free.
This is where my eggs and yogurt played such a huge role in my meal plans and why I have had to look for alternatives.

This so happened to mean lots of legumes, grains and beans which I don’t mind at all but the impact this had on my tummy was quite severe the first week.
As I’m not used to consuming much starchy carbohydrates and usually try to stick to a plate of mostly protein and vegetables, the re-introduction of these types of foods made me feel tired, sluggish, fatigued and FAT!
I was probably eating a bit more than necessary anyway as I was cooking up batches of these grains and beans to experiment with different recipes but it definitely was a shock to the system.
But the second week wasn’t too bad at all, I’m digesting the new foods a lot better and my body isn’t missing the old foods as much. Of course it’s been lots of fun having to wing it and cook up these random ingredients with the hope I’ll make something tasty and appealing.

I decided to take the approach of picking my favourite meals to eat when I go out or am cooking something special and putting my twist on it as much as possible – my ethos all along really but just with a bit more extra thought now of what ingredients I can and can’t use.

The first recipe I am going to showcase is therefore my Chinese Fake Away – Salted Chili Shredded Chicken, a typical Sunday night choice that can now be enjoyed any day of the week without the guilt associated with getting a take out. One of my favourite Chinese take away dishes is Salt and Chili Chips in a Long Tray so I thought I could make this a full meal with a healthy protein too that would ease the pain of this ban on so many of my beloved foods. It doesn’t take too long to make and it’s pretty low maintenance. It takes as much effort to make as it would to call the Chinese and order it and I thought it tasted just as good. And no nasty MSG’s.

Give it a lash and let me know how you get on.

IMG_1225

Ingredients

200 grams Skinless & Boneless Chicken Fillets, chopped
1 medium-large Potato, washed
1 medium Brown Onion
1 Green Pepper
1 Red Chili
1 Scallion
2 cloves Garlic
1 Tbsp. Salt
1 Chicken Stock Cube
4 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
¼ cup Brown Flour
Olive Oil Spray
Salt & Pepper to taste

IMG_1224

IMG_1226

Method

Preheat your oven to 180 Degrees Celsius and line an oven tray with greaseproof paper.
In a bowl, mix the salt, crumbled stock cube and flour together.
Spray your chicken with olive oil spray and toss the chicken through the flour mix until fully coated.
Spray a little oil on the greaseproof paper and pop the chicken pieces on the tray.
Pop in the oven for about 20-25 minutes / until chicken is cooked through.
While the chicken is cooking, use any remaining flour mix to coat your potato chips and also add these to the oven to cook.
(I used my air fryer for 20 minutes but they can go in the oven for about the same time)
While you are waiting, chop up your red chili, onion, green pepper, garlic and scallion
When your chicken pieces and your potato chips have been cooked, remove from the oven and set to one side.
Heat some olive oil spray on a large pan and add the prepared vegetables.
Lightly fry what’s on your pan and gradually add some of your soy sauce and seasoning.
Add the cooked chicken to the mix and pour in the remaining soy sauce.
Toss all the ingredients through together and add your chips to ensure even coverage of seasoning and heat for a couple of minutes.
Your like-for-like Fake Away is now ready to serve, enjoy!!

IMG_1223