Butternut Beauty Soup

This bowl of butternut goodness is one of my all-time favourites when it comes to soup.
It’s cheap and easy to make, tastes delicious and is very kind to those trying to shift a few pounds.
Weight Watchers have been singing the Butternut’s praises for years and I must say I have to agree.

I’m already leaning very close to the autumn and winter dishes as the steaming hot and comforting meals associated with the season are some of the best out there! Stews, soups, slow cooker Sundays and one-pot wonders are some of my favourite kind of foods so I thought I’d start early to give you all some inspiration for the cold evenings to come.

It doesn’t take much to whip together a bowl of Squash Soup you’ll be glad to know. The only elbow grease required is the peeling and deseeding of the butternut itself but once that’s out of the way, you’re on the home stretch!

Tip: If you like a bit of spice like myself or want to help your metabolism, add a little extra chili to the mix, chili and squash go hand in hand in terms of flavour combinations! Sweet and spicy 😉

Ingredients

1 medium – large Butternut Squash
2 Carrots (optional)
750 ml – 1 ltr Water (depending on how thin/thick you like your soup)
1 Chicken or Vegetable Stock cube (whatever you prefer, both work great!)
1 medium Brown Onion
1 Clove Garlic
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. Toasted Pumpkin Seeds – you can use the ones from the Butternut when you deseed.

For Spicy Squash Soup:
½ Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
½ Tsp. Smoked Paprika
½ – 1 Tsp. Chili Flakes (personal preference here)

For Sweet Squash Soup:
½ Tsp. Smoked Paprika
½ cup fresh Parsley
½ 330 ml tin of Coconut Milk*

And for the best of both, add all of the above to the mix! Each option is just as fab as the other!

Method

Put the water for your stock onto boil in a large pot on the hob.
Heat olive oil on a pan on the hob also.
Chop the onion and garlic coarsely and add to the pan.
Cook until brown and aromatic and remove from heat.
When your water is boiled, add the stock cube and mix until fully dissolved/combined.
Peel, deseed and dice the Butternut Squash into small – medium cubes.
If you’re adding carrots, chop them at this stage too.
Add cooked garlic and onion to the pot of stock and then add the diced Butternut (and carrots).
Reduce the pot to a low heat and stir occasionally until the Butternut is half–way cooked.
Gradually add and stir in your seasoning.
*If you are adding coconut milk, do not add it until later on.
Continue to simmer your soup mix until your Butternut is fully cooked through – this usually takes about twenty minutes from adding it to the pot depending on how big you have diced the Butternut pieces.
When you are happy that the vegetables have been thoroughly cooked, remove the pot from the heat and whip out your hand blender!
Blend your soup mix to the consistency you like – I love my soup very thick so I don’t blend for too long.
Return the pot to the low heated hob and do a taste test.
Add any extra seasoning or water as desired until you reach the flavour and texture that you’re looking for.
*If you are adding coconut milk, you can stir it in at this stage, nice and gradually.
Leave to simmer for another couple of minutes, remove from the heat and pour into a warm soup bowl.
Sprinkle the toasted pumpkin seeds on top for some extra crunch.

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Sprinkle some extra smoked paprika along with toasted pumpkin seeds to serve
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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.

Spiralized Squash Spaghetti

I have had this recipe in my head for months now and I have finally gotten around to trying it out! I did give it a go a good while back but the way in which I cooked the squash did not turn out so good and I really didn’t like the end result. I had boiled the spiralized squash and then added it to the pan to sauté with the seasoning but it just didn’t work and the squash tasted mushy and yawk! So I dumped it and left this one on the side line for a while.

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So I picked up some squash last week as I was in the mood for squash soup (post coming soon) and thought I would give my squash spaghetti another go before I whizz it into a soulful bowlful of squashy goodness. I thought about my favourite way to eat squash usually and it was of course, roasted with some oil and garlic so I thought I would apply the same concept to my spaghetti. Let me tell you the result was simply gorgeous! I absolutely devoured the full bowl of squash spaghetti and had to go out and buy more for my soup! This is a really great way to substitute regular pasta and is so filling. As this is only the basic spaghetti recipe, you can vary the seasoning and other meal components to this once you have mastered the spaghetti part! I have visions of roast pepper pesto with chicken and sundried tomatoes tossed through the spaghetti or a rich mince Bolognese piled on top.

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I strongly urge you to give this one a go if you’ve got the Spiralizer or any other kitchen appliance that does a similar job like a Julien. If you do try it and put your own spin on it, I’d love to hear what you teamed it with and how you got on. Leave any comments or suggestions you like below.

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Ingredients

1 medium – large Butternut Squash
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 clove Garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste
Additional Seasoning if desired

Method

Preheat the oven to 190 Degrees Celcius.
Line an oven tray with parchment paper and grease with some oil.
Top and tail the butternut, cut in half from top to bottom, peel off the skin and de-seed.
Using your Spiralizer or Julien or whatever appliance you opt for, create your spaghetti.
In a bowl big enough to fit all the spaghetti, toss this through with the olive oil and seasoning.

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Spread the squash spirals out on the oven tray and pop in the oven to roast for about 15 minutes or until the squash starts to brown.
Give the tray a shake to turn the squash half way through yto ensure even cooking.
Once the squash is cooked to your satisfaction, serve it as you would regular spaghetti.
If you want to add any more ingredients like a protein, more veg or a sauce, you can do so at this point.
Serve and enjoy.

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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.

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

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!

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.

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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

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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!!

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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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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!

Chicken & Lentil Hot Pot

Last week was the week before pay day for me so there were slim pickin’s in the pantry.
I always to try to keep my budget meals as healthy as possible and not resort to giant bowls of pasta so I had a look at what I had and thought about what I fancied eating.
The result was this really hearty and wholesome hot pot or stew that I packed out with chunky veggies and lentils along with chicken thighs and it tasted great.
I used the right combo of ingredients to keep me feeling full for hours but I still found myself going back for more as it was just so yum.
This is a real Sunday kind of dinner or cold day dinner as it’s super comforting and full of flavour.
You can make up a bulk batch and freeze some off too.
The only thing I would say with this one is that it doesn’t keep for too long so decide before you start cooking what you’re going to do with the batch.
I would advise to keep it up to two days in the fridge or else freeze straight away after you’ve had you first serve.
Don’t be put off by this however as it’s highly unlikely the hot pot will last this long if you make it right, I even had it for breakfast the next morning!

Ingredients

400 grams boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs
300 grams Red Lentils, uncooked but rinsed
1 Brown Onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
1 Litre Vegetable or Chicken Stock or 50/50
3 Carrots, chopped
4 Celery Stalks, chopped
1 Tsp. Dried Ginger
1 Tbsp. Chili Flakes
1 Tbsp. Paprika
1 Tsp. Ground Coriander
Salt & Pepper to taste
(play around with your seasoning as much as you like, you don’t have to stick the above measurements)
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 handful of Fresh Coriander to serve

Method

Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the onions and garlic.
Once the onions and garlic are aromatic and starting to brown, add the chicken fillets to the pot and cook until seared.
Pour in the stock and add your carrots and celery.
Add your seasoning to taste and cook on low for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour in the rinsed red lentils and give the pot a good stir.
Leave the pot to bubble away on a low heat for another 10-15 minutes, doing taste tests along the way until your happy with the flavour.
(I wanted to go for a bit of an Asian flavour as it is Summer so see if you can get that too)
Once you’re happy with the taste and your chicken is thoroughly cooked, serve your stew with some fresh coriander sprinkled on top.
Delish!

Roast Garlic & Parmesan Quinoa

So you’re probably catching on to my obsession with quinoa but it’s just soooo versatile and ridiculously yum!
It’s such a good grain to use and is so filling so it’s a great substitute to other white foods you might be used to using like pasta and white rice.

This recipe is a good one as you can use it as a side to your protein for a main dish, have it as a snack or add some more ingredients to it to make it a main meal of its own.
Like I said, quinoa is a very versatile ingredient so don’t be afraid to get imaginative and see what you can come up with.

Ingredients

4 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
100 grams Quinoa, uncooked
300 ml Vegetable Stock
1/3 cup Grated Parmesan
1 Cup Baby Spinach, chopped (optional)
1 Tsp. Olive Oil

Method

Bring the vegetable stock to the boil in a pot.
Add uncooked quinoa and stir through.
Once bubbling, cover the pot and reduce the heat to simmer the quinoa for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the quinoa is cooking, heat the olive oil on a pan and add the chopped garlic.
Cook the garlic until brown and aromatic.
After the twenty minutes, remove the lid from the quinoa pot and leave it to stand for 10 minutes to absorb the remaining stock.
Use a fork to fluff the quinoa and then transfer from the pot to the pan with the garlic.
Heat up the pan again and add the spinach and parmesan and stir thoroughly until the mix has been cooked through.
Quinoa can be eaten hot or cold but this particular dish is best served hot.
You could maybe enjoy it with a grilled chicken breast or salmon darn and some steamed greens.
It’s all about personal preference for your serving suggestion!

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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