The Mixing Bowl

Chicken Casserole

Chicken Casserole, but this is no ordinary chicken casserole.  You might call it ‘Chicken Thighs Braised in Cider with Sweet Potatoes’ because that’s what it’s actually named by the chef Neven Maguire!
Chicken Casserole
I ran with my friend Deirdre this morning and we were blown to bits by the wind and came home absolutely saturated from the rain. I am well and truly demented with this weather. – forgive me, I’m Irish and it’s an obsession.  It’s mid April but it may as well be mid November and thus this type of comforting food is called for.  My kids and their cousin Kate all devoured this dish and have demanded that I make this again.  Neven is a chef and owner of a renowned restaurant however his recipes are always accessible. Granted I did not have redcurrant jelly (I could have easily bought some) but chose to use cranberry sauce instead as a half jar of it langours in the fridge waiting to be used up.
The recipe is one that Neven Maguire has contributed to ‘The Mixing Bowl – Second Helpings’ cookbook produced by ‘Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services.’  More than just a cookbook, each recipe gives a lovely snapshot or anecdote relating to the people who contributed recipes.  All these people are connected in one way or another by the services of ‘Our Lady’s Hospice’ and it is a beautifully varied collection.
The Mixing Bowl
Chicken Thighs in Cider
From Seafood Chowder, Buckwheat Galettes, Chinese Sweet Pork Chops to Kebabs Robana Bhorat, Fig Pudding and Granny’s Oat Cakes you can tell that this is not fixed into any one style or trend of cooking.  I’ve just flicked onto a page with a recipe called ’21st Century Bread and Butter Pudding’, replacing the bread with hot cross buns, panettone or brioche, this is a clever recipe to have on standby after Christmas or Easter when those baked goods are about to go past their best.
Perhaps if we get to bask in a few of the rays that have been promised by the Met Eireann weather service over the weekend I might have a go at the Parsley Lemonade Liquor for when I’m parched with the thirst but for now I’ll be turning the heat up and looking forward to ‘second helpings’ of Neven’s ‘Chicken Thighs Braised in Cider with Sweet Potatoes‘ (click the link for the recipe) or if you can please think about buying the book.  It would make a wonderful gift for someone and in a tremendously good cause. (again please click this link for details – The Mixing Bowl – Second Helpings Cookbook).
‘Til next time, Sheila.

quinoa

Quinoa with beetroot & feta

Quinoa with Beetroot & Feta.

Triple Quinoa is a mixture of white, red and black seeds that fluff up when cooked.  This salad can be served hot or cold and would be perfect with some chicken or lamb for a substantial meal. I cook the quinoa with some halved garlic cloves for flavour and never one to throw things away these get added to the salad too as a lurking surprise for the lucky recipient.
quinoa with feta and beetrootQuinoa with Beetroot & Feta.
You will need:
150g quinoa
500ml chicken stock
2 fat cloves garlic
Fistful pinenuts
1 lemon (juice of)
Rocket leaves
Block of feta
Cooked beetroot (i usually buy this vacuum packed)
Method:
Rinse the quinoa under cold water in a sieve and then place in a saucepan with 500ml chicken stock and two fat garlic cloves peeled and cut in half.  Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 mins.  Keep an eye on the liquid level and top up as needed.
Once cooked drain off excess liquid and set aside.
Dry fry the pinenuts until golden brown.
Cube or crumble the feta and cut beetroot into bitesize cubes.
Place the quinoa into a serving bowl and stir through the juice of a lemon then roughly chopped rocket leaves followed by the cubed beetroot and feta. Scatter the toasted pinenuts on top and serve.
Enjoy!
’til next time, Sheila.

Food photography Marta Miklinska, Food Styling by Jette Virdi

Red Onion Relish – Recipe 10 of 12 from Enjoy!

Food photography Marta Miklinska, Food Styling by Jette Virdi

Food photography Marta Miklinska, Food Styling by Jette Virdi

Simple to make.  Just add time!  As below in the picture you can see how a dollop of red onion relish can lift a simple crostini.  Great in any sandwich or even as a pizza topping and perfect on a cheese board, a jar of this would make a very welcome gift for the foodie in your life.

Caramelised Red Onion Relish
 You can store caramelised red onion relish in a jar in the fridge for a couple of weeks to use whatever way you fancy.
Makes 2 medium jars (2 x 350ml Kilner)
You will need:
6 medium red onions
2 tbsp rapeseed or coconut oil
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar (or any dark brown sugar)
Method:
Peel, halve and thinly slice the red onions. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a low to medium heat and gently soften the sliced onions for 35 minutes.
Raise the heat to medium and add the balsamic vinegar and muscovado sugar. Stir well and cook for 3–4 minutes, then set aside to cool before spooning into sterilised jars.
Enjoy!
‘Til next time, Sheila.

seabass veg precook

Sea Bass Parcels – Recipe 8 of 12 from Enjoy!

Sea Bass Parcels
We’re getting there!  Week by week inching closer to the revelry and indeed you may be contemplating some in-house entertainment in advance of the festivities yourself.
In need of a no hassle but grown-up dinner party recipe?  This is it.  No-one wants to be entertained by a flappy flustered chef who is so bothered with timings and enslaved to stirring that they don’t get to sit down and enjoy the company.  Don’t be that chef.  Be prepared!  Make a couple of dips/hummus etc. the night before.  Get in a good selection of cheese and crackers for your cheese-board, a delicious box of good chocolates – no-one needs or wants a heavy dessert – and of course some amazing wine and you’re sorted apart from the mains which I guarantee you is easy.
Note:  Cooking everything as described below in a parcel is obviously the easiest but be warned the green beans will be super al-dente, so if you have an audience of veggie lovers this won’t be a problem if however they are heathens you may wish to cook them separately.

veg for seabass

A little bit of prep. Baby potatoes par-cooked in the microwave

seabass fillet

Fold in the edges of the baking paper to stiffen them up

seabass veg precook
seabass parcel
parcels precook
parcels post cook
parcels opened
seabass and wine
Sea Bass Parcels

Serves 4
You will need:
250g baby potatoes
4 sea bass fillets
100g slow-roasted cherry tomatoes (deli counter or just use sun-dried tomatoes if cherry not available), drained and chopped
100g fine green beans
4 spring onions
4 tbsp Sauvignon Blanc or any white wine that you like to drink
Method:
Preheat a fan oven to 200°C. Cut out four 30cm square sheets of baking paper.
Par-cook the baby potatoes, skin on, in the microwave for 4 minutes and set aside.
Place the four sheets of paper on the worktop and place a sea bass fillet in the centre of each one.
Slice the baby potatoes and place them close along one side of the sea bass.
Scatter the drained, chopped slow-roasted cherry tomatoes over the potatoes. Halve the fine green beans and finely chop the spring onions and scatter them on top of the sea bass fillets.
Pour 1 tablespoon of white wine over each fillet.
Fold the edges of the paper in by 1cm all round to stiffen the paper. It should still be a large square. Bring in the two opposite sides to meet and fold them together, then fold in the top and bottom ends. You want a little room in the package for steam to circulate but not escape. Place the parcels onto two baking trays, two parcels per tray.
Cook in the hot oven for 10 minutes, then swap the shelves and turn the trays around and cook for 5 minutes more.
Bring the parcels straight to the table for your guests to open themselves.
Enjoy!
‘Til next time, Sheila.

harissa hummus

Dips & Chips

I love crisps and sometimes instead of buying them I try to make a healthier option at home when I can.  These chips are simply wholemeal pita breads cut into triangles, drizzled with oil and dusted with something spicy like chilli powder or paprika or whatever you fancy and then baked on a high heat for five minutes .
harissa hummus
The hummus is another 5 minute job and loving all things spicy I love this harissa version from my new cookbook Enjoy!

harissa hummus

Harissa Hummus
You will need:
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp rapeseed oil (or olive oil)
1 tbsp harissa paste
1 tbsp tomato puree
Method:
Drain and rinse the chickpeas and then use a food processor to blitz all the ingredients together adding more oil if you prefer a smoother consistency.
Enjoy with home-made pita chips.
simple!
‘Til next time, Sheila