Recipes

Metabolic Monday – Mexican Bean Chilli

This Bank Holiday Monday was about getting super productive in the kitchen for me. Trying to find the time and energy to cook up all the yummy ideas that have been swirling around in my head the last few weeks has been next to impossible so I promised myself I would take this Halloween Day and dedicate it to my darling little Countertop that I love so much.

It’s funny, I’ve missed being able to post fun photos and yummy recipes the past couple of weeks and I have had the best day just cooking away in the kitchen today, splashing sauce everywhere and stirring in all this love I have for cooking into the big pot on the hob.

It’s so great to enjoy something so good for you this much, I really do love creating and cooking these meal ideas and I especially love sharing them with you all. I’ve felt so guilty the last couple of weeks about how little time I could give to the Countertop so today really was a good day. I couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend the day off.

I wanted my theme of recipes today to keep us all hot and fired up now that “Winter Is Coming” 🙂 My grocery shop this morning had lots of chillis and peppers and metabolism-friendly vegetables and there was an array of yellows, oranges and reds covering my trolley – the perfect colour scheme for the last day of Autumn and of course, Halloween.

A cheeky weekend of fun and food requires a sincere apology to my gut-health and I thought what better way to say sorry but with a nice, spicy vegetarian chilli. Lots of plant-based goodness combined in a large pot with lots of spice and flavour – the digestive system’s dream!

If you fancy a meat free feast that will leave you all fired up then give this baby a lash!!

Ingredients

1 large Brown Onion, chopped
½ Red Chilli, finely sliced
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
50 ml Vegetable Stock in Water
½ tsp. Chilli Powder (personal preference here)
1 Tbsp. Tomato Puree
1 Tbsp. Paprika
1 400g tin of Chopped Tomatoes
1 400g can Red Kidney Beans
1 400g can Cannellini Beans
2 Carrots, sliced
1 Red Pepper, sliced
1 Yellow Pepper, sliced
Salt & Pepper to taste
Method

Heat the stock water in a large pot on the hob.
Saute the onion, garlic and fresh chilli in the stock water for about 5 minutes.
Add your tomato puree, paprika and chilli powder to the mix and stir for about two minutes.
Pour in the tin of chopped tomatoes, rinsed and drained beans and sliced vegetables.
Stir the whole lot until all the flavour are combined together.
Add some salt and pepper to taste to your liking (add more chilli if you’re like me and cant get enough).
Lower the heat on the hob, cover your chilli pot and let the mix simmer for about 20-30 minutes – until the veggies are tender.

This dish is absolutely packed with fiber and carbohydrate (don’t worry, it’s the good kind you get from your veggies) so I haven’t served it with anything – just chomping down on a nice big bowl of chilli here while I type this but if you do want to add a little something, I would recommend serving it with some brown rice.

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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!

Simple Sunday Tray Bake

This recipe occurred to me by total accident and extremely unfortunate circumstances last Sunday. I made it home to my home-house for the first time in months and was so excited about my mothers Sunday dinner. My darling mother could sense the anticipation and even made double the provisions so that I could take some leftovers back to Dublin with me for a yummy Monday lunch in work.

After our dinner, I soon hit the food-coma stage and decided I had better get on the road sooner rather than later before I get too lazy to go anywhere so I jumped into the car and headed home…FORGETTING THE LEFTOVERS!! By the time I realised, it was too late and words cannot describe the devastation I felt!

So, me being me, I had it in my head what I wanted for lunch in work on Monday and was adamant to replicate the Sunday dinner but in an easier (lazier) version as it would be late on Sunday evening after a busy weekend that I would be throwing this together and I wanted as little effort as possible.

While daydreaming about food (as usual), I took the wrong exit off the motorway and ended up outside a Supermarket that was open late, “it’s a sign” I thought so I ran in and grabbed some provisions for my vision!

I eventually got home, turned on the oven and the result was actually a masterpiece – and took little or no effort whatsoever! Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner – Literally!!

This one is barely a recipe but brilliant all the same so give it a go next Sunday and reap the rewards of a really yummy and easy Sunday dinner.

Ingredients

8 Chicken Thighs (on the bone is better for flavour but it’s up to you)
900 grams / 1 large head Brocolli
750 grams baby potatoes, washed
250 grams Basil Pesto (homemade or ready-made depending on energy/hangover levels)
Olive Oil Spray
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
In a large oven dish, place your chicken thighs and spray with some olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Place dish in the middle tray of the oven and leave to bake for 40-50 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown.
About 20 minutes into cooking the chicken thighs, take out the tray and pour the baby potatoes onto the tray, distributing them evenly with the chicken thighs.
Spray and season the potatoes and pop back in the oven to cook.
Put a pot of water on the hob to boil and add the broccoli florets to the water to cook for about 3-4 minutes.
Strain the broccoli and leave to one side.
When the chicken and potatoes are almost cooked with about 5/10 minutes to go, add the broccoli to the tray and pour the pesto over the whole tray.
Place the mix back in the oven and finish cooking for about another 10 minutes.
When you’re satisfied that the chicken and potatoes have been cooked through, remove the oven dish and serve!

Simple…As…That!


 

Honey Soy Chicken

So we are well into Autumn at this stage and I have lots of new recipes I want to share with you all. I’ll admit I have been a bit neglectful of my Countertop as life has been pretty hectic the last couple of weeks. But the dust has now settled and I am back sharing with you all my latest flavour favourites.
We all associate Autumn and Winter with big steamy bowls of stew and soup and as much as I love these kinds of dishes and have shared my take on some of these with you already, I thought I would take a little detour and share with you one of my top ten favourite meals. I know my Aussie readers will like this one as Japanese food is so popular on that side of the world and you guys are also just coming into your Summer months and wont be cooking any soups any time soon! We are not jealous at all over here are we??!! 

It’s clear to you guys by now that I am a bit obsessed with Asian food. The flavours are amazing and they’re usually very easy and economical to cook so for me, it makes so much sense to love this food!
Although I have yet to master Japanese dishes, this one I found to be so easy and just so good to taste! Honey Soy Chicken or Teriyaki Chicken upholds the Japanese cooking ethos perfectly with clean, basic flavours and ingredients that combine to give you an amazing fusion of flavour and taste with the finished product. I was so pleasantly surprised when I started researching this dish at how simple and minimal the ingredients were.

It makes for a great meal prep dish as it has a great balance of protein, carbs, fats and lots of veggies. I made 5 portions and froze them off, taking one out each night for a week of work and it was such a nice lunch! Plenty of envious faces in the canteen.

This is a good one for newbies at the meal prep game or even the Asian cooking game as the flavours are not too overpowering or spicy.

All in all its just a fab dish and you just have to try it out for yourselves!!
As always, I would love and feedback you might have or photos of your finished product so don’t be shy!

Ingredients

450 grams skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts
1 clove garlic, crushed
200 ml Soy Sauce
90 ml Honey
3 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds
2 cups Brocolli Florets
1 Green Pepper, sliced
1 Red Pepper, sliced
1 Brown Onion, sliced
200 grams Brown Rice, uncooked
100 grams Red and Black Quinoa Mix, uncooked
Dash Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

In separate pots on the hob, follow the instructions on both the brown rice and quinoa mix and cook both accordingly.
Heat the olive oil on a large frying pan or wok.
While waiting for the oil to heat, dice your chicken fillets into nice, bite size pieces.
Add the chicken to the frying pan and start to cook, stirring consistently.
Add the crushed garlic, salt and pepper to the chicken.
As the chicken starts to brown, add the soy sauce, honey and sesame seeds to the pan and stir to evenly distribute.
Continue to cook until chicken is cooked thoroughly.
Using a tongs, remove your chicken pieces but keep the honey soy sauce in the pan.
Reduce the heat to low.
Check your rice and quinoa, how are they doing?
Add your peppers, onion and broccoli to the pan and toss through the sauce to coat evenly.
If the chicken drank up a lot of the sauce, feel free to add a dash more of both the soy sauce and honey.
If the pan you are using has a lid, cover your pan and leave to steam/simmer for about 5 minutes.
If it doesn’t have a lid, transfer the whole mix to a pot that does have a lid and then steam/simmer for about 5 minutes.
The trick is to cook the veg for as little as possible to retain as much nutrition as possible.
As soon as they soften, remove from the heat.
Your rice and quinoa should be also done by now.
Add the quinoa with some salt and pepper to taste to the rice and mix thoroughly.
Quinoa and brown rice are a brilliant combination of carbs to keep you feeling full of fiber and energy.

The quantity of ingredients above should get you about 4-6 portions of this delicious dish.
Fill either your plate or lunchbox with ¼ rice, ¼ chicken and ½ veg and you have got yourself a well balanced and seriously tasty meal.

Saucy Spinach & Artichoke

If I’m honest, I actually created this sauce with absolutely no thought process at all. I came home from work last week and just pulled whatever I had in the fridge out and somehow this was the end result.
So when a colleague of mine asked me what it was the next day for lunch, I actually had to think about it and remember how I made it.
It just shows how robotic the daily grind can be I guess!

When I was trying to remember the thought process behind it, I remember thinking that I couldn’t face another bowl of wilted spinach – as much as I love a good bowl of spinach with my protein of the day, I have been eating copious amounts of the stuff these past few weeks to build up my immune system and overall greenness now that we are heading into Autumn.

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So instead of pouring the usual boiling water over my pot of spinach, I emptied a jar of artichoke hearts in olive oil in instead and sprinkled with some seasoning and crushed garlic.
I whipped out the hand blender and before I knew it, I was heating up a fabulous fusion of greens and garlic to pour over steamed salmon and new potatoes.
All I can say is that this meal did not last long on the plate and luckily I had used lots of spinach so there was enough sauce leftover for another two portions. This made me very happy.

The sauce keeps well in the fridge and can be reheated either in the microwave at work or on the hob at home, whatever you’ve got time for.
It goes ridiculously well with salmon but I also lashed it through some penne pasta (like a pesto almost) and it was uber delish!

It’s a really tasty way to get your greens in if you’re not their biggest fan but want to up your game.

If you do give it a go, let me know what you teamed it with for some inspo of my own!

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Ingredients

100 grams Fresh Baby Spinach
1 jar Artichoke Hearts in Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil from the jar
1 Clove Garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Strain the jar of Artichoke Hearts but save the oil as it can be reused.
Add all of the ingredients listed above into a large bowl.
Using a hand blender, blend all of your ingredients until it reaches the desired consistency,  I like to leave mine a bit pulpy or unblended for extra texture but of course, it’s up to yourself how far you want to go with it.
When you’re happy with the consistency, transfer the sauce from the bowl to a hot, oiled frying pan and stir quickly for a few minutes until it has been cooked through.
Pour this over cooked salmon or chicken or whatever way you like and enjoy a healthy serve of green goodness that tastes incredible and makes those run-of-the-mill dinners taste a whole lot better

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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

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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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.

Image result for pineapple ice cream

Simple, quick and tastes amazing!!

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!

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!