Garlic & Parmesan Cauli Bites

You may have picked up on it by now from some of my previous posts but I am a big fan of Cauliflower as a healthy alternative to many of our beloved Complex and Simple Carbohydrates. It is an extremely versatile vegetable that is packed with goodness and healthy stuff for our lovely tummies to feast on.

You will also know by now if you follow this blog that two of my favourite things in this world are Garlic and Parmesan. So whilst brainstorming for my Spring/Summer recipes, I landed on the idea of making Cauliflower Bites – something crispy and tasty that you can dip into your favourite sauce (I mixed ketchup with Franks Hot Sauce OMG) and snack on while watching some TV at the weekend or whatever. I also think they would make a lovely side dish alternative to the Sunday dinner instead of roast potatoes. I know the roasties are sacred but it’s just an idea 🙂

They were pretty easy to make seeing as I was making it up as I went along and I must say I was delighted with the result. They lasted a few days in the fridge and also reheated well in the microwave. If I were to give any tips, I would say to leave them baking in the oven for as long as possible – you really want to reach the core of the florette and also crisp up the coating as much as possible to maximise the flavours and the overall eating experience.
Any other tips I could offer is just to enjoy making them and of course, eating and sharing them!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 medium-large Cauliflower head
2 Eggs, whisked
¼ cup Plain Flour
1 cup Bread Crumbs of choice
¾ cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
¼ Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
Salt & Pepper to taste
Dash Olive Oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 190 Degrees Celsius.
Chop the Cauliflower head up into small florets and add them to some boiling water in a pot on the hob. Cook until they are just about tender (approx 4-5 minutes).
In a bowl, mix flour, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and seasoning.
In another bowl, mix the breadcrumbs or breadcrumb alternative and grated Parmesan Cheese.
In a third bowl, have your eggs whisked and ready.
When the Cauliflower has been cooked, pat dry and leave to cool for about ten minutes. You can run it under some cold water before drying to speed up the cooling process.
Firstly dip your Cauliflower floret into the bowl of flour and seasoning.
Then dip it into the egg and then onto the cheese and crumb bowl.
Ensure your floret is fully coated.
Place the coated floret on a lined baking tray and continue this process until all the cauliflower has been used up.
Drizzle the florets with olive oil and pop in the oven to bake.
Mine took about 15 minutes and then I let them stay in for another 5 just to crisp up that little bit more.
I mixed some Franks Hot Sauce and Ketchup together and the combination went great.

And there you have it, another simple, cheap and delicious healthy snack to keep you on the right track! Enjoy xXx

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Root Vegetable & Potato Bake

I thought this might be a nice recipe to share with you all now that it’s coming up to the biggest dinner of the year – December 25th. These days everyone is looking to put their own individual twist on the classic meal and I thought this was lovely way to cook your vegetable and one of your many potato side dishes. Lets face it, there is always about 3 or 4 different types of potato sides on an Irish Christmas Dinner Table.

Now the only advice I can offer with this one is that you should only commit to it if you’re ready to slice all those veggies and not lose patience half way through. I used my Slicer Dicer so I didn’t have that worry – use one if you can, it will literally halve your preparationn time.

Christmas is such a special time of the year and I hope you all have some family or friends at your dinner table to share the day with. Hosting the Christmas Dinner is no easy feat, I have only done two in my lifetime so far and no matter how many helpers or time you give yourself, we all know it is a serious day of preparationn and timing accuracy.

I look forward to Christmas dinner in my family’s home so much every year, my mother always does such a stand out job. My sister and I missed a few Christmas’ over the past number of years from living abroad and it meant so much for us all to sit around together last year for the first time in 5 years.

With the Turkey and Ham usually being the main event, I’m sure many of you will agree that the side dishes that come with the meat are crucial and have to be delicious and plentiful. No amount of roast potatoes will ever be enough on the Christmas table 🙂

This veggie bake is rich and indulgent and has a great Christmas taste to it with the hint of nutmeg. Any root vegetables or potatoes can be used for this dish once they slice thinly for you and are suitable for baking, below can just be a serving suggestion.

I have a few more Christmas side dishes to share with you between now and the big day so keep an eye out if you feel like doing something a little different this year. You can also eat more of these sides too seen as they’re on the “clean” side 😉

Ingredients

2 Carrots
2 Rooster Potatoes
2 Parsnips
1 large Sweet Potato
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
300 grams White Sauce*
70 grams Parmesan, finely grated
½ Tsp. Ground Nutmeg
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 190 Degrees Celsius.
Rinse and peel, top and tail your vegetables accordingly.
Using a good, sharp vegetable knife or a vegetable slicer (love mine), thinly slice each of your root vegetables.
Grease a medium sized oven dish and layer up all of your root vegetable slices.
Prepare your white sauce as directed in whatever recipe, jar or packet you are using.
Here are a few ways to make your own white sauce;

White Sauce:

https://clodaghscountertopblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/zucchini-lasagne/

There are a few white sauce alternatives you can use in this recipe. I also found this great link from another blogger’s website for lots of other white sauce ideas;

https://www.thehealthychef.com/2013/04/white-sauce-10-ways/

Just before you finish the white sauce, stir in the nutmeg, crushed garlic and desired seasoning.
Pour the white sauce over the layered root vegetables making sure it reaches all the corners of the dish.
Sprinkle the parmesan on the top.
Add the dish to the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked and the top layer is golden brown.
Serve the bake as a side dish to any main meat, poultry or otherwise and maybe some steamed greens.
This veggie bake is really rich and creamy and such a good comfort food, It works as a great accompaniment to roast chicken (that’s what I had it with) and I bet it would be a great festive side to serve up over the holiday season.
Enjoy All! xx

There’s No Taste Like Home

This weekend I decided to hide away at home and cook to my heart’s content (along with watching a scary amount of Gilmore Girls!)

I pretty much spent the last of this month’s pay cheque on a super long list of ingredients and fired up the oven. I’ve been preparing so many new Autumn/Winter recipes in my head the past couple of weeks so I thought it was about time I sat down and actually formulate, type and share them.

This recipe is one I use so often and have done for years. Like Irish Soda Bread, scones are so much more than a traditional Irish food. Their taste can bring you back to years gone by or remind you of that great afternoon spent with friends or family chatting with a pot of tea. There  is something about scones that make the Irish heart melt faster than the butter used with them. When we were away in Australia, tea and scones were a regular and love-filled treat that we would sit down and share together. A true reminder of home.

Scones can be made sweet, plain or savoury to name but a few and today I am sharing a savoury recipe as this is the one I love the most. I’m not much of a sweet tooth but will work on putting together a sweet version of this if you guys are happy with how these turn out.

Now the smell from the oven is telling me to wrap it up so I can enjoy one of these beauties with my cup of tea on this freezing Sunday afternoon. Enjoy folks!

 

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Ingredients

200 grams Plain Flour
1200 grams Brown Flour
2 Tsp. Baking Soda
50 grams butter
200 ml Buttermilk
Pinch of Salt
⅛ cup of Dried Herbs of choice (e.g. parsley, rosemary, thyme)
¼ cup of grated cheese (optional but delicious)

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 Degrees Celsius.
In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, butter, cheese, herbs, salt and baking soda and mix thoroughly.
Use your fingertips to rub in any unmixed lumps of butter until you have a fine mix.
Slowly pour in the buttermilk and mix until you get a dough-like consistency.
Add a drop of water if the mix is too dry.
Sprinkle some flour out on the countertop and transfer your dough from the bowl to the surface.
Gently knead the dough until it is holding strong.
Tear away small handfuls of the dough and roll into your scone shape.
Place the scones on a lined baking tray.
When all the dough has been used up, brush a small bit of buttermilk on each of the scones.
Place the baking tray in the middle shelf of the oven and bake the scones for about 15 minutes.
When the scones have turned a beautiful golden-brown colour and are cooked all the way through, remove from the oven.
Allow to cool and then serve.
I have enjoyed these with soup and ham and cheese too. Plain old butter will also do the trick, the choice is your own 😉

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The Slow Cooker Series – Parmesan Chicken

This dish can be made in the Slow Cooker if you’re lucky enough to have one on the Countertop or can also be done on the hob or even in the oven.
I will outline the alternative cooking instructions at the bottom of the post but the main method will be for the Slow Cooker.
Parmesan Chicken is a wholesome, comforting meal that will keep you feeling full for hours and satisfied.
Its healthy ingredients also ensure that you’re not straying far from your goals but also help you feel like you’re not eating too strictly either.
This dish is full of flavour and can be served with so many different sides that you can really make it your own.
It’s a great weekend dish and I made a huge portion so I was able to get a few lunches out of it too. All the ingredients came to less than €10 so you’re looking at about €2.50 a serve which is a serious bargain for such a wholesome meal.
Enjoy!

 

Ingredients

500 grams / 4 skinless, boneless Chicken Fillets
1 large Brown Onion, chopped
1 Clove Garlic, chopped
1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
500 gram Tomato Passata
1 cup Grated Parmesan
¼ cup plain flour/brown flour/almond flour/buckwheat (whatever you fancy)
1 Egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
6-8 Frozen Spinach cubes (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Turn on the Slow Cooker to the Low Heat setting.
Cover the base of the Slow Cooker with Olive Oil.
Spread out the onion and garlic on the base of the Slow Cooker.
In a bowl, mix the flour and parmesan together.
In another bowl, dip the whole chicken fillets in the egg and then dip the fillet into the parmesan and flour mix.
Place the coated chicken fillets on top of onion and garlic layer.
Pour the passata and chopped tomatoes over the chicken and throughout the Slow Cooker until empty.
Add some salt and pepper to taste.
Pop the lid on and leave to cook for about 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
At the last half an hour, add the frozen spinach and stir through.
Serve piping hot with your desired side dish (I had mine with whole-wheat spaghetti and it was insane!)

Regular Pot Instructions

Heat some olive oil in a large pot and add onions and garlic.
When the onions and garlic start to brown, add passata and chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper and stir.
Prepare the chicken fillets as directed in the above instructions without the egg.
Reduce the heat to a very low heat and add chicken fillets.
Cover the pot and leave to simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Check your fillets to ensure they have been cooked through and return to the pot to cook further if they still need a bit more time.
Add the frozen spinach with about 5-10 minutes to go and stir through.
Once you’re happy the chicken is thoroughly cooked, serve and enjoy!

Oven Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees Celsius.
Drizzle some olive oil on the base of a medium – large casserole or lasagne dish.
Cover the base of the dish with the chopped onions and garlic.
Prepare the chicken fillets as directed in the above instructions without the egg.
Place the fillets on top of the onions and garlic.
In a separate bowl, mix together your passata, chopped tomatoes and seasoning and then pour over the chicken fillets.
Place the dish on the middle shelf of the oven and leave to bubble away for about 30-45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Add the frozen spinach with about 5-10 minutes to go and stir through.
Once ready, spoon out your delicious chicken bake from the dish with your side of choice.

 

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The Salad Bar – Sweet Potato & Fig Salad

I ordered this salad in a bar in Australia a few years ago and have been obsessed with it ever since.
It’s such a simple combination of ingredients but I would have never thought to combine them and now I’m so glad I have because the taste is something serious.
With its sweet against salty combination, this salad will certainly satisfy your taste buds and also impress your friends at that Summer Barbeque.

Ingredients

100 grams Fresh Baby Spinach
1 medium Sweet Potato, diced
1 cup Greek Feta, diced
1 cup Dried Figs, halved
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 Degrees C and cover an oven tray with greaseproof paper.
Spread out the sweet potato cubes on the tray and spray with olive oil.
Pop the tray in the oven and roast the cubes until cooked through, about 20 minutes usually.
Remove the sweet potato from the oven and leave to cool for about 10-15 minutes.
While you’re waiting for the cubes to cool, add spinach, feta and figs to a large salad bowl.
Add the balsamic vinegar and toss.
When the sweet potato has cooled, add this to the salad bowl and give it another toss.
Pour yourself a glass of wine, grab a fork and sit out the back to enjoy.
Hashtag Summer 🙂