Irish Food Blog – easy recipes , this blog is full of simple recipes & sometimes travel – by Irish Food Blogger Sheila Kiely
Author: sheila kiely
Irish food & travel blogger & mother to six children, author of 'Gimme the Recipe' published by Mercier Press in 2012 and 'Enjoy' published by Mercier Press in 2016. Work in admin of our Food Safety Consultancy business - Industrial Management Systems with my husband Denis.
Snacks. In good times or bad times snacks are always a constant.
Eva opened a large bag of Mexican tortilla chips and a pot of Greek yogurt and then whipped up some guacamole for herself and Viv to snack on.
You will need:
2 Avocados 1 small red onion finely chopped 1 garlic clove Juice of 1 Lime 2 tbsp Greek Yogurt Fresh coriander optional
Combine the mashed ripe Avocados with finely chopped red onion and mix well. Add in the crushed garlic, lime juice and Greek yogurt and combine. Season to your liking with salt and pepper and add in some chopped coriander if you like it.
Eva liked to keep the guacamole chunky.
‘Mmm these are addictive,’ said Viv as she scooped up some guacamole with a tortilla chip.
‘Thanks for coming hon.’
‘Are you kidding me girl, sure where else would I be?’
And then there’s lunch, lunch is always a good idea…..
‘I know yeah, roll on the summer. Are you hungry?’
‘Starving, I skipped breakfast this morning and my stomach is speaking to me now,’ replied Viv.
Turning back to the menu and regretting her breakfast of cream cheese loaded bagel, Eva decided on the stuffed peppers with a side salad.
‘Stuffed Peppers’ (Serves 2)
You will need: 2 large red peppers 75g cherry tomatoes (4) quartered 2 cloves garlic crushed or finely chopped 1 medium carrot peeled 1 small red onion finely chopped 2 handfuls / 35g breadcrumbs (1 slice bread made into breadcrumbs) Handful fresh herbs such as parsley Olive oil 8 mini mozzarella balls (bocconcini or ciliegine) Small chunk / 35g parmesan grated.
Method: Preheat the oven to 190oC. Cut the tops off the peppers to create a cap and then de-seed them. Put pepper bases and tops into the hot oven, drizzle some oil and top and bake for 10 minutes. While they are cooking use the vegetable peeler to make carrot ribbons in a large bowl. Add in the finely chopped red onion, garlic, mozzarella balls and quartered cherry tomatoes. Season with salt & pepper. In a separate bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, chopped parsley and grated parmesan. Remove the semi-cooked peppers from the oven and spill out and discard any juices that may have gathered then fill the bases with the tomato mixture and top generously with the breadcrumbs. Return to the oven with the pepper tops on the side to cook for a further 15 to 20 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Serve with pepper caps on top and with a simple baby leaf salad and dressing.
As they ate lunch Eva brought up her plans to return to work.
Sure where else could a story begin but with breakfast…..
Glancing at the clock she saw that it was almost nine thirty and thought that they had better get a move on if they were ever going to get away for the week-end. Alan was still clueless and the thought of surprising him excited her as she rustled around the kitchen. Eva whipped up a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs made with real butter and cream, some diced crispy bacon and fresh chopped chives. Chunky brown bread smothered with butter and steaming hot coffee completed the lot.
‘Creamy Scrambled Eggs with Crispy Bacon & Chives’ (Serves 2)
You will need:
4 eggs, splash cream, knob real butter, 3 rashers of bacon, oil to fry, a few chives.
Method: Lightly beat the eggs and a little cream together in a bowl, using a fork or whisk. Chop the bacon into pieces using a kitchen scissors and fry until crispy in a little oil. While the bacon cooks melt the knob of butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, once melted turn up the heat a little and adding in the eggs keep stirring the eggs as they cook, using a wooden spoon or spatula to stop them from sticking.
Meanwhile fry up the rashers in a little oil until crispy. Once the eggs are cooked serve garnished with the chopped up crispy rashers and snipped chives.
‘Smells wonderful,’ Alan enthused as he entered the kitchen. He poured himself a mug of coffee, sat on one of the high stools at the counter and buried his nose in the sports section of the paper.
‘Did you notice anything Alan?’ Eva inquired.
‘Hmm, sorry what did you say?’ he replied speaking directly to the Munster Rugby captain in the paper.
‘I said did you notice anything?’ she repeated feeling slightly miffed now.
‘No,’ he said this time lifting his head. ‘Should I?Oh yeah, your hair is it? Did you get it done? Yes, it’s lovely.’
Eva smiled brightly as she said ‘Yes Alan, I did get my hair done, but that wasn’t it. Haven’t you noticed how quiet it is?’
‘What do you mean?’ he replied looking over at her more intently now as he raised a brow.
‘The kids, Alan. The kids aren’t here.’
‘Why, where are they?’
‘They’re at your mother’s for the week-end and I’ve booked us into SilverBirch House for a night of wining and dining and whatever else you fancy,’ she giggled with a coquettish smile.
‘Oh…., oh, great,’ he replied ‘fantastic, yeah,’ as he began to tuck in to a plate of the rich creamy scrambled egg speckled with chives and crispy bacon. ‘Yum,’ he said, ‘this is delicious.’
‘Glad you like it,’ Eva replied as she watched him consume a forkful of the sublime concoction. There was a satisfaction to be had from preparing and cooking good food and then watching it being savoured and enjoyed. His reaction to the surprise of a weekend away wasn’t quite as enthusiastic as Eva had anticipated though, but things had been sprung on him and Alan really wasn’t a spontaneous or excitable kind of guy. As he sat there enjoying the food she had prepared she decided not to tell him about the plans she had cancelled for the previous evening. There wasn’t any point now anyway and she didn’t want him to think that she had been disappointed.
Ras el hanout. It sounds exotic and it is. If you’d like to read more about this warming spice blend use the ‘Search by ingredients’ area of this site (in side-bar to right of this post if you are on a pc).
You’ll also find it in Tesco or a spice store and possibly other supermarkets where I haven’t found it yet. You can also make it too, again if you’re interested search in the ingredients box of this blog ->
….but you’re probably just here for the recipe.
Simple Salmon Supper:
Ingredients : Salmon Darnes Drizzle oil Good scattering of Ras el Hanout Method: Into hot oven for approx. 15 minutes
Ingredients: Mayonnaise Philadelphia Cream Cheese Tomato & Chill Relish Honey Ras el Hanout Method: Use your own excellent judgement to combine the above until you make enough sauce to dollop on your salmon. Check your fridge, other things that you can swap in to make great emergency sauce = yoghurt, creme fraiche, vinegars, lemon juice, sweet chilli sauce, hot sauce, mustard, pesto, capers etc.
When it comes to cooking you really don’t need to be spoon-fed line by line instructions, exact quantities and cooking temperatures. Trust your instinct, swap things in and out and your cooking experience will become simpler and faster. All you need is a rough idea of what ingredients work well together and the gist of the method. Gist, now there’s an underused and underrated word for you.
More often than not when it comes to food and especially the main meal of the day I just want to eat something simple but super tasty. After a day of work it is very difficult to turn around and cook something at all and much easier to throw on a pizza or pick up some fast takeaway but you know and need to remind yourself that cooking can be as simple and fast as that too. You do need to have done the shopping at some stage though! An empty fridge will not yield a tempting meal. So do yourself a favour and get a food shop in : lots of veg, your preferred protein and stock up on those things that will bring flavour – garlic, lemon, chillies, spices, honey etc.
Think about the flavours you like and put those things together – I love a combination of bitter & sweet, hence the sugar and vinegar of the pickle served with the sweet chicken strips on leaves is my idea of a simple & tasty meal.
Red Onion Pickle
Slice Red onion, sprinkle with red wine vinegar & sugar Leave to marinade while you cook the chicken strips Tastes even better the next day
Is Instagram not for photos anymore?
So what’s that about then? I generally just pick up on mutterings and snippets of things as they filter through the ether and don’t have time to explore on detail however what I’m hearing is that the Insta moguls are leaning in preference more towards video content than still images. What does that actually mean? When you search for something you’re going to be returned with moving pictures rather than still images perhaps. I don’t see that it will really matter. If it’s only pictures you want to see that is the content you will seek out.
So here is one of my recent Insta dinners & Insta recipes. I think the visual along with limited text should be enough for the time pressed. Be inspired then make it your way.
File 7 things (even if you just file them straight into the recycling bin)
Backup your photos [if it died or was robbed would you be able to access them somewhere – if not fix that!]
Back up your laptop / pc [if it died or was robbed would you be able to access the files you need somewhere – if not fix that!]
Check your utilities supplier is giving you the best deal and if not change it – if you are not the one who takes care of this kind of stuff check your phone network / deal is the best you could be on and if not change that
Cook or bake something that you have never cooked before
This is me today. We’d chicken yesterday, beef the day before and I’m not in the humour for pork so I’m thinking fish. Today I want quick, I want easy, and I want very little prep. so I’m going with the Tray Bake.
If you’re looking for some fishy ideas why not check some of these out (there are more fish recipes in the menu bar):
Links to the recipes pictured here are below each picture
Irish Cooking, what does it mean to you? My daughter asked me recently for a recommendation of something Irish to cook for her French flatmates and what immediately sprung to mind was bacon & cabbage, then brown-bread and then scones.
I’ve heard it said before that Irish cooking is a celebration of Irish ingredients rather than a cuisine in itself. But if you’re in France you’re not about to go sourcing or importing Irish ingredients to impress the frenchies. You’ll shop in the markets and you’ll use the best of French ingredients but to cook up something with a bit of Irish flair. So wherever you are you can cook Irish too.
May I suggest….
Cinnamon and Apple Honeyed Porridge for breakfast and a snack of Apple and Raisin Wholemeal Breakfast Muffins.
Maybe you’d fancy some Caramelised Red Onion Soda Bread topped with a local cheese.
Lunch could be a Winter Warmer Peppered Parsnip, Potato and Leek Soup.
Take our love of Cauliflower to create a Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Curry
Does a Creamy Cheese and Onion Potato Bake sound tasty?
How about the humble spud – try out one of my Eight Ways with Baked Potatoes
Then there’s Parsley and Thyme Stuffed Chicken with Red Cabbage
Sticky Sweet Roast Skeaghanore Duck Breast
Beef and Onion Hotpot
Irish Angus Fillet Steaks with Portabello Mushrooms
Cheat’s Wellington with Jameson Jus
Cranberry Pork Chops
Honey-Glazed Rashers with Lemon and Vegetable Couscous
Bacon, Cheese and Chutney Quesadilla
Potato Farls with Crispy Rashers
White Pudding with Pea Purée and Champ
Carrot, Parsnip and Bramley Apple Mash
Mustardy Mash (yes, we love our spuds)
Parsley Stalk Potato Salad
Pea and Garlic Crostini
Blackberry and Apple Chutney
and to finish how about some Rhubarb Crumble with freshly whipped cream
So what else do you consider to be Irish Food? I’d love to know what you think or what else you would suggest. These are all from Irish recipes from my cookbook Enjoy!
Here’s some of the finds from Irish businesses that I consider beautiful & worthwhile gifting. In order to make it even easier to find all these beautiful Irish brands when you’re doing your shopping online this year I’ve posted direct links to their sites & my suggested picks from them below the photo gallery:
(I’ll add more as I find them)
Here are the direct site links & my picks
Toris Totes – For a unique, one of a kind beautifully lined and expertly made tote bag – You’ll find Tori over on Instagram @toristotes
The world has gone fecking bananas. 7 months on and I’m still not used to it. Last night for instance I was out with a group of friends for dinner and no matter what we spoke about it always came back to COVID-19. At one stage mid-conversation I asked one of them is this real, are we really having this conversation and she was exactly the same, none of us are used to this and I don’t think we ever can be.
It is a waiting game. Time will pass. Everything will change again and it will all work out in the end – ‘How?’… you ask…. ‘I don’t know it always does’ … and if you’re unsure about that then I recommend you take the time to watch or rewatch ‘Shakespeare in Love.’
In the meantime it’s good to ground yourself with familiar and comforting things like these 9 bog standard basic dinners.
The Italians know what they’re at when it comes to food. They keep it simple and tasty. Fresh crusty bread, some mozzarella, juicy ripe tomatoes generously drizzled with fresh basil pesto. Incredible. A recipe that needs few words my one recommendation is that you use a food processor with a small bowl or a mini-chopper to combine the ingredients.
Ingredients for 350 ml of pesto 50g pine nuts
Large bunch of fresh basil leaves (25g)
50g Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves
200ml olive oil
Method: Lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry heated frying pan over a medium heat until they begin to take on a golden colour, then remove from the heat. (Watch them carefully as they burn easily.)
Rinse and roughly chop the basil.
Finely grate the Parmesan and peel and crush the garlic.
Combine everything with the olive oil in a food processor or mini chopper, and blend until smooth.
Store in a sterilised old jam jar in the fridge.
As the anniversary of Paola Tullio’s death approaches (5th June 2015) I’d like to celebrate and remember this wonderful man. It was his voice, his manner and his presence. All of that gently surfed and beautifully traversed the radio wavelengths into your kitchen or office or wherever it was that you happened to be when you had the pleasure to hear him. For me that was frequently in the car. Probably most often on my way to collect my kids from school I would catch Paola’s regular ‘Food’ slot with Sean Moncrieff on Newstalk. Listening to Paola was therapeutic, the fact that he was an Italian talking about food was a bonus.
Paola’s was a very distinctive, mesmeric voice, he reminded me of a softer version of Albert Finney, another beautiful voice.
I never got to meet Paola but I had the absolute joy of hearing him say my name and review my first cookbook with Sean Moncrieff on his radio progamme. Thankfully he liked it and declared ‘Gimme the Recipe’ a ‘very good book.’ Thrilled was a complete understatement at the time and now it is a very fond and cherished memory.
I don’t know if he had even seen my Carbonara recipe in that book but boy was I thankful that I had not included cream in mine, a complete no-no for Paola.
Paola you are missed and remembered and I will never put cream in my Carbonara.
Having played around with a number of Carbonara recipes, some with cream, some with wine and then pared them back and chopped and changed quantities, I eventually came up with this recipe which is simple and scrumptious. Not being a huge fan of pasta, this is one meal that has surprised me by how much I enjoy it. The heat of the pasta cooks the eggs as you stir them in and the Parmesan forms a smooth sauce with a little of the cooking water. This meal can be on the table in 20 minutes.
Ingredients – serves 4–5
400g dried spaghetti or any pasta
10–12 rashers or a packet of 10 slices of cooked ham* (approximately 300g)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
Small handful of fresh parsley to garnish
Boil a large saucepan full of water and once it is boiling put the pasta on to cook for 6-8 minutes (or according to pack instructions).
While the pasta is cooking, chop up the rashers or cooked ham and cook in a large frying pan with the olive oil for 5 minutes.
Next, peel and crush the garlic cloves and add them to the meat to cook for 1 minute.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl and grate in half of the Parmesan. Give this a good whisk together. Grate and reserve the other half of the Parmesan for later.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving about a cupful of the cooking water.
Take the frying pan with the cooked rashers off the heat. Add the cooked pasta to the rashers and garlic and then pour the Parmesan and egg mixture over this with enough of the cooking water to moisten it and mix well. The heat of the pasta will cook the egg as you stir it through the pasta.
Season with freshly ground black pepper.
Serve with the remaining grated Parmesan sprinkled on top, garnished with freshly chopped parsley and some garlic bread on the side.
Tip: Home-made garlic bread can be made very easily by mashing some butter with a crushed clove of garlic and generously buttering a baguette or ciabatta with it and then grilling it until the garlic butter melts.
* If you are using pre-cooked ham, it could be ham that you have left over from a cooked joint or slices of packed cooked ham. Frying it up with the olive oil and then adding crushed garlic as above will heat it up and enhance the colour and flavour.