Almond and Red Pepper Sauce

No matter how healthy I eat, there is nothing that can stop my hankering for pasta when I’m feeling the effects of an alcohol-filled Saturday night with my girls. This weekend we celebrated the first girl of our group’s Hen Weekend, it’s hard to believe one of us will be walking down the aisle in a few weeks and oh did we celebrate!

So pasta was on the brain for most of today and as usual, I caved and fired up that fusilli. To ease the guilt somewhat, I decided to team it up with a healthy, homemade pasta sauce and I must say, I was pretty impressed with the end result. Adding almonds to the mix gave this sauce a really creamy finish and gave me the feeling I was seriously indulging in a cream-based pasta sauce when really it was nothing of the sort.

I’m really chuffed with this one actually and I’m sure you will be too if you give it a try. Very simple and really yum – here is my Almond and Red Pepper Sauce.

Ingredients

2 Red Peppers, deseeded and chopped
1 clove Garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
60 grams Almonds
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on a frying pan.
Once hot, add garlic and peppers to the pan and coo for about 2-3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let the peppers cool for about 10 minutes.
Add all of your ingredients including the garlic and peppers to a food blender, Nutribullet or you can use a hand blender and puree the entire mix until smooth and creamy.
Cook your pasta according to the packet instructions and drain.
Put cooked pasta back into the pot it was cooked in and pour in your pepper sauce.
Heat the sauce through until piping hot and serve.

This sauce can also be served as a dip too. I chopped up some carrots and had a dip and it was pretty delish!

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Bangin’ Blackbean Burgers

The idea for this recipe came from a few different sources over the past couple of weeks.

My sister and I visited The Happy Pear café in Greystones, Co. Wicklow a few weeks ago where they were being served and although I didn’t order one on my visit, I saw plenty of other people get them and they didn’t last long on their plates.

I’ve also been looking into ways to introduce new sources of protein other than chicken and turkey onto my plate and plant-based proteins and legumes kept popping up in my research.

This research also ties in with the new list of foods I can and can’t have due to my extensive food allergies and it ticks all the boxes!

Several Food Bloggers that I admire and take inspiration from have also tried their hand at this recipe so I figured I’d review several versions of this recipe and create my own.

 So I had the packet of black beans sitting in the pantry for the last couple of weeks and just couldn’t seem to find an appropriate time to try these bad boys out. The last few weeks and especially weekends have been pretty hectic for me with work and social plans and I wanted to dedicate my whole self to this experiment. The perfect opportunity came up at the weekend when a long lost friend made last minute plans for a flying visit and I decided to treat her to something special and homemade instead of heading out for dinner. I spent most of the Saturday morning prepping and tasting and setting and they were ready to cook just in time for my dear friend to arrive.

 We enjoyed the burgers with a lovely spiralized salad, sweet potato fries and a cool, crisp glass of white wine while we caught up with each other.

They were absolutely delicious if I do say so myself and I had a really strong feeling of fullness when I was finished, which is always a good sign!

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Ingredients

200 grams dried black beans, rinsed and strained
1 Litre of boiling water
Dash of Olive Oil
1 medium – large brown onion
1 clove Garlic
2 Carrots
½ cup almond flour, rolled oats, breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
1 Tsp. Ground Cumin
½ Tsp. Ground Coriander
½ Tsp. Chili Flakes
¼ Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
Salt & Pepper to taste

To Serve:
Sliced tomato, grated cheddar, gem lettuce leaves, red onion, burger bun or whatever other condiments you like to serve with a burger patty.

Method

Add rinsed black beans to a large pot on the hob, add water and cook the black beans according to the packet instructions.
While waiting for the black beans to cook, chop the onion and garlic very finely and place to one side.
Shred or grate the carrots and also place to one side separate to the onion and garlic.
Combine herbs and spices in a small bowl and mix together.
Heat olive oil on a frying pan and once hot, add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper.
Once the onion is translucent, add shredded carrots and spice mix and cook until carrots are soft.
Remove pan from the heat.
When the black beans are cooked, rinse and drain and pour into a large mixing bowl.
Mash the black beans using a potato masher and add the contents of the frying pan.
Also add the soy sauce and almond flour/rolled oats and combine the entire mix thoroughly and evenly.
Create 4-6 burger patties depending on how big you want them by taking a large chunk of the mix and forming the patty in your hand.
Wrap each patty in cling film and place in the fridge for about 1 – ½ hours or in the freezer for 30 minutes to set.
When ready, heat some oil on a frying pan again and cook each patty for about 4-5 minutes each side.
Once cooked and heated through, remove from the heat and serve as desired.

Innocent Ice Cream

I know this post is a bit late to the party as the weather has already begun to change on us but ice cream is nice no matter what time of year, let’s be honest!
I am a big ice cream fan, it’s one of the only deserts I actually considering ordering if I’m out for dinner and have any room left.
I have also been trying to brainstorm fun ways to get my 5 a day and to also adhere to my restricted food allowance.
As most dairy is now off limits for me, I thought I would use almond milk and banana as an alternative to yoghurt and regular ice cream and I was pretty chuffed with the results.
I am presently obsessed with pineapple and find myself buying a fresh one almost every week to snack on.

Pineapple is virtually fat free with 1mg of fat per 100 grams of pineapple and only 50 calories.
It is also high in fibre and Vitamin C which makes it an all-round good fruit to have.
When you combine it with banana and almond milk, you’re creating a pretty healthy and guilt free treat that tastes like it should be far naughtier.

So if you have 5 minutes to spare, why not give it a crack?

Ingredients

½ Sliced Banana, frozen
2 cups chopped Pineapple, frozen
½ cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

Method

Take banana and pineapple out of the freezer and let it soften slightly for about 20 – 30 minutes
Pop all 3 ingredients into the food blender, Nutribullet or use your hand blender (a recent phenomenon for me).
Combine all the ingredients until smooth and creamy – or until it resembles ice cream.
Scoop into a desert bowl and enjoy.

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Simple, quick and tastes amazing!!

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!

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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.

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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.

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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/

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Feature Fit Food #3 – Beetroot

It’s time again to break away from the usual recipe posts and give you guys the low down on another very important Superfood – Beetroot.

If you’re not yet a fan and think it tastes too strong to enjoy, have a read of this and maybe give them another try. I agree they are an acquired taste but they are well worth trying to introduce into your diet as their health benefits are far and wide and now that I’m used to them, I think they taste great too. Here’s hoping other beetroot eaters agree with me there!

 I started out having beetroot in my green juices just to get used to the taste when I heard how beneficial it was to have it as part of your 5 A Day. Once I got used to it (which wasn’t very long), I started to buy it raw and either steam or roast it to add to my meals. Now, beetroot is a staple in my diet and I don’t leave the vegetable aisle in the supermarket without it and get cranky if it’s not in stock. You will see it mentioned in some of my recipes already and I have many more recipes planned to share with you guys where I use it. One of my favourite recipes where I use beetroot is my “Beetroot, Feta and Quinoa” (https://clodaghscountertopblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/beetroot-feta-quinoa/) It is absolutely delish!

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 Anyway, down to the nitty gritty of it all. I wanted to write this post to share with you why you should include beetroot as part of your 5 A Day as it has a wide range of health benefits and nutritional advantages.

 Firstly, what beetroot is most commonly known for is it’s antioxidant super powers which counteract free radicals and their damaging effects in the body. As there are more free radicals than antioxidants in the body, we need to supply ourselves with extra antioxidants in order to neutralize the blood stream. Whether you add it to a salad or stir it into a soup or juice, beetroot is a great way to increase the antioxidant supply to the body.

 Beetroot also contains a nutrient rich property called Betalain that helps contribute to an increase in optimal health. Along with this, it is an excellent anti-inflammatory and also contributes highly to detoxification of the body. So. Many. Super Powers!!

Below is a highlight of all the nutritional properties of beetroot that will hopefully entice you to give it a try;

 Per 100 grams of Beetroot

Calories 43
Fat 0%
Cholesterol 0%
Sodium 3%
Potassium 9%
Carbohydrate 3%
Fibre 11%
Protein 3%

 To summarize the above, beetroot is naturally low in fat and high in fibre making it an excellent addition to a healthy lifestyle. Following that, it is also high in Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Magnesium adding to its richness in nutrients.

 So that’s the sales pitch, no doubt you can see the benefits of adding the Super food to your diet so if you haven’t already, give it a go and let me know what you reckon or drop me a comment if you have any recipe ideas or need some inspiration!

My New List of No No’s

I recently had a non-medical allergy test taken with the Amber Clinic in Westmeath (http://amber.ie/) due to my long term suffering from eczema and other skin irritations.Having lived in Australia for nearly 5 years, I was rarely bothered by this skin condition as the wonderful sun kept it at bay. However, since I’ve moved home this past year, it has been driving me crazy!The winter months were especially tough on my skin and it has taken months for the scars to heal with some spots like my shins being permanently scarred by the looks of it.

 I started doing some research into the different avenues of allergy testing available on the Irish market and decided to go with the Amber Clinic due to its extensive testing (950 foods) and good value for money.

I had a sneaky feeling that I may have developed some new allergies over the years from living in a different climate and undergoing periods of high stress and so on, possibly changing my body chemistry. Low and behold, the results from the Amber Clinic confirmed my suspicions – with devastating results! 

Being the Foodie that I am, I like to try out and use as many different foods as possible to create my recipes and feed myself well. From my previous posts you will probably notice a trend in certain foods that I use but unfortunately this will now all have to change.

The most prominent result from the test was that I have an extremely high level of yeast in my system causing my body to literally do nothing with any of the good, green and clean food I have been feeding my body with over the past couple of years. The yeast content in my digestive system is somehow blocking the breakdown and absorption of foods so in a matter of words, it basically means all my healthy eating and gym work has been in vain! I have to say as annoying as it was to find this out, it also gave me peace of mind as I knew there had to be something wrong when I go to the gym almost every day and I haven’t lost a pound!

 Other food allergies that have been causing my skin to become so irritated are all fermented food products. This was also a tough one as it pretty much rules out all dairy products. Included here also are mushrooms and eggs which is a huge blow to my diet as I pretty much live off eggs and yogurt for my protein source. The test also revealed tomatoes and all tomato based products as something I’m highly allergic to so as a clean cook, this is another huge blow. Tomatoes and mushrooms are staples in my diet so I’ll have some big changes to make to my shopping list.

 Due to my intolerance to all fermented foods, the test revealed I’m allergic to all alcohol except vodka and gin as they are distilled. No more wine! It is truly a sad day!

 There are several other foods that came up on the test as showing to aggravate my eczema and thus have to eliminate from my diet. The consultant also advised that there were more symptoms of these intolerances such as low energy levels, weight gain or stagnant weight, low food absorption levels and headaches, all of which I could relate to. As much of a shame as it is to have to eliminate so many of my foodie favourites, I’m also excited to see the results of eating the foods I’m supposed to.

 I wanted to share this with you all as I believe it to be important to know if you also suffer from any of these daily inconveniences. You will also see a change in my recipes as I will be using less of the foods I can’t eat anymore. However, for the sake of the Countertop, I’ll still be using some of the No No’s where I have to, I couldn’t let you guys down.

 So the next move is finding alternative sources to protein other than meat and figuring out new meal options. The list of foods I can eat consists mostly of raw, lean vegetables and lean meats with some grains, beans and legumes. The No No list consists mainly of starchy vegetables, most fruits, all breads, muffins, cakes, most dairy products, fungi, caffeine and sugars (both refined and unrefined). So you can see from this list, there is work to be done.

 I’ll be posting some pics and recipes of what I manage to come up with for my meals over the coming weeks as I learn more about what I can eat and how to create recipes using these ingredients. If you know of any good recipes, sites or tips that you think might help, feel free to share. I would really love any comments or emails you would like to share.

 If any of you are considering getting an allergy test or have been thinking about it at all, I would absolutely recommend the Amber Clinic. They were great value, so helpful and are available to test outside Ireland as they’re a mail-testing lab. Check out their website http://amber.ie/

 Thanks Guys!

 

Summer Favourites – Kebab Skewers

Summer Skewers are a bright, colourful and tasty way to jazz up those Summer evening meals or if we are lucky enough to get a dry day, they’re a great addition to any garden party. You can use an assortment of ingredients to put together your creations as almost any meat or vegetable can be used. There is a bit of time needed for the preparation of these guys but they are worth it, the end result looks and tastes great proving their popularity.

I played around with what I had in the vegetable drawer to put together my Summer Skewers and you will see below what produce I used but I will also list what other ingredients you can use as inspiration for your own kebabs. The list could be as endless as you want so I will just highlight what I believe are the best.

If you’re using wooden skewers, always remember to soak your skewer sticks for a few hours before you grill them as the wood will catch fire on the grill otherwise and nobody wants that! You might have some metal ones lying around from a barbeque set or something so see what you have in stock before you pick up a pack of the wooden ones. I personally prefer the metal skewers but these can be harder to come by and the wooden ones are much cheaper to buy in bulk.

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There’s not much of a recipe to Summer Skewers. All you need to do really is chop and season your ingredients, add them to your skewer stick and pop them on the grill. These guys cook best on the BBQ but because we cannot guarantee BBQ weather here in Ireland, I usually do mine under the regular grill. Skewers don’t take very long to cook so make sure to keep any eye them so that they don’t burn, the last thing you want is charred veg!

As I said, these are a great summer evening meal and will refrigerate well for a couple of days after so why not see what you have in the fridge and put some together this evening, let me know how get on. Enjoy Guys!!

Spicy Chicken and Pineapple

Dice up a chicken fillet and some pineapple and grab a few slices of red onion. Cover your ingredients with some olive oil and add some garlic powder and smoked paprika. Add a chunk of pineapple then some chicken and a slice of red onion to your skewer and repeat until all the ingredients have been used up. Pop on the grill and ensure to turn frequently until the chicken has been cooked through.

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Chili and Lime Haloumi

This is one of my favourite kebabs, it is seriously tasty and a great vegetarian option. Haloumi is high in protein so you will be left feeling nice and full after a couple of these guys. Top and tail a zucchini and slice into thick chunks. Dice up some haloumi and add both ingredients to a bowl of lime juice, olive oil and chili flakes and toss until the haloumi and zucchini are covered evenly. Pop on the grill and turn every couple of minutes until the kebabs are cooked through.

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Rainbow Veg

This is pretty much just mixed vegetables but it is so colourful and can look really great if you’re hosting. You can do it in order of the rainbow colours or mix it up, both look fab! For the full rainbow, you can use the following in this order; Yellow Pepper, Orange Pepper, Red Pepper, Cherry Tomato, Red Onion, Beetroot, Green Pepper, Zucchini For the purpose of this post, I just used red, orange and purple as I was using lots of yellow and green in my other combos but they still look great.

Other great combos that I didn’t get to try but will defo be creating in the future are;

Salmon and Lemon

Beef and Cherry Tomato

Caprese Salad (Cherry Tomato, Mozerella, Basil Leaf)

Lamb and Cucumber

Mixed Fresh Fruit

Cooking these was a lot of fun and eating them was even better. I hope you have just as much fun as me!

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Steamed Hake & Greens in Broth

We recently went to a beautiful seafood restaurant on Dublin Bay called The Bay (https://bay.ie/) and it was simply delicious.
I am a huge seafood fan and their menu was really great, there was so much I wanted to choose from but I settled on the old reliable hake and veg.
Little did I know I was about to have one of the nicest serves of hake ever and so today I wanted to recreate this gorgeous and seriously simple dish so I could relive how good the meal was but by adding my own twist.
This is a great meal to make if you fancy something light and if you have not got much time left in the day. It takes 5 minutes to prepare and 5 minutes to cook so it really does take no time at all to come out with a restaurant worthy dish that will leave you feeling really satisfied.
I hope you enjoy it and even if you don’t want to make it at home, you should check out The Bay as it’s well worth a trip out.

Ingredients

200 gram fillet of Fresh Hake
½ cup Asparagus, chopped in thirds
½ cup Bok Choi, Thinly sliced
½ cup fresh Baby Spinach
1 cup Green Beans
1 cup Mange Tout
500 ml vegetable stock
Salt & Pepper to taste
Knob of Real Butter
1 Tsp. Lemon Juice

Method

Add all your green vegetables to a pot and pour over the vegetable stock.
Bring the pot to the boil then reduce the heat and cook for 3-4 minutes – DO NOT OVERCOOK – The green veg can overcook very quickly and turn to a very unsightly colour so keep an eye!
(As you can gather, this has happened to me and it was devastating!)
While your veg is cooking, add your hake fillet, salt, pepper, butter and lemon juice to a microwave steam bag and pop in the microwave for 4-5 minutes.
I use steam bags a lot for cooking fish as it retains all the moisture and they are just so quick to use, they are well worth picking up in the store.
Drain the green veggies and add to your serving bowl.
Keep the stock that the veg has been cooked in and add the juices from the steam bag to the mix.
Add the hake fillet to your serving bowl also.
Allow the vegetable stock and juices to fuse and add some salt and pepper to taste.
Once you’re happy, pour the broth over the hake and greens and allow the ingredients to sit on the broth.
Serve and enjoy – I bet there won’t be a drop left!

Sunday Brunch -Sweet Potato Hash Brown

Sweet Potato Hash Browns are a fab dish to help make a yummy Sunday Brunch from home.
As always, they’re super quick and cost next to nothing to make so you can then add another dish to the list of meals you have conquered as a Healthy Cook.
I gave these a go for the first time on Sunday last and was nervous about the result.
I didn’t have the normal orange sweet potatoes handy but I had the smaller, white sweet potatoes as they are currently what’s in season.
What I like about these is that they are not as sweet as the regular orange potatoes and look more like regular potatoes so the trick to the mind that you’re having something naughty kicks in again.
They are still sweet enough that you know its sweet potato though which I like because I genuinely love the taste of sweet potato.

So my usual weekend breakfast is always poached eggs and then a little bit of whatever else I fancy. If I’m feeling extra clean, it’s poached eggs, wilted spinach and toasted porridge bread or sometimes I will throw together black pudding, haloumi and poached eggs which is seriously yum!

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So last Sunday I met myself in the middle and said I would have my usual poachies but with a something a little more weekend than spinach and toast.
These homemade hash browns are popping up all over my Instagram and Facebook feed so I said I’d give them a go myself and hope for the best.
And this is what I came up with;

Ingredients

2 small White Sweet Potatoes / ½ medium – large Sweet Potato
1 small bunch Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 small handful of plain Brown Flour
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil / Coconut Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Heat some oil on a pan on the hob.
While waiting for the pan to heat, peel the sweet potato and grate through a cheese grater into a bowl.
Add parsley, flour, oil and seasoning into the bowl and mix it all through.
Add a little bit more flour or a little bit more oil depending on the consistency of the mix, it needs to be sticky and binding so it will hold together.
Once you have the right consistency, take half the mix in your hand and squeeze out any air pockets.
Pack the potato mix firmly between both palms of your hands until you make a firm patty that will withhold the pan.
Repeat this step with the second half of the mix.
You can make smaller ones if you wish but I got two good burger-sized patties from the above measurements.
Slap both patties onto the hot pan and press down with a spatula.

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Cook on each side for about 4-5 minutes or when they start to turn golden brown.
I was unsure if the potato was fully cooked so I popped mine into the microwave for another minute just to be 100%.
You may not need to do this but it’s just a tip in case you’re unsure.
The hash browns are now ready to serve with whatever other breakfast ingredients you are in the mood for.
I had poached eggs with mine and the combo was really good together.
Let me know if you give them a go and what you have them with, I’m always looking for fresh ideas!

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Cheat Treat – MYO Bounty Bites

A healthy lifestyle and diet is all about balance. Unless you have military discipline, it can be almost impossible to have a golden week of healthy meals and let’s be honest, you shouldn’t have to. Life is all about enjoying it and I think that if you really want that last slice of cake then just go for it. Why deny yourself these delectable pleasures in life?
Now, in saying that I’m not encouraging you to go and eat the whole packet of biscuits or anything like that but just to be mindful that there is nothing wrong with treating yourself.
This post is a recipe for a super sweet treat that will satisfy your sugar cravings but also help you stay on track if you are keeping up a healthy diet.
As with all my recipes, they are quick and easy to make and taste really nice. There is little effort involved with this one so try them out and see what you think. They are a nice Saturday or Sunday afternoon activity that you can enjoy when they’re done with a nice brew.
They store well so you can make up a batch and have them on-hand in the snack drawer for when those cheeky cravings creep up on you during the week too.
It’s hard to go wrong with these little guys 🙂

Ingredients

4 Tbsp. Honey
110 grams Dark Chocolate
1 Tsp. Vanilla Essence
5 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
2 cups Desiccated Coconut

Method

In a mixing bowl, add the coconut, honey, vanilla and coconut oil.
Mix it all together evenly to make a big white, coconuty paste.
Using your hands, take a chunk of the paste and start to roll into a ball, squeezing out any air to make it nice and compact.
Continue to do this until all the mix has been used up.
Lay the coconut bites out on a tray, cover with cling film and leave to set in the fridge for about an hour or until they have solidified.
When you’re happy with them, start to melt your chocolate in a bowl until it runs nice and thin.
Pop each coconut ball into the chocolate and cover evenly. Transfer to the tray you used earlier.
Continue to do this until all the bites have been chocolified.
When they’re all done, pop the tray back in the fridge for another while until the chocolate has cooled and set.
Admire your creation and enjoy their yummy goodness.