Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Comfort & Mash

Comfort & Mash.

Have you turned on the heating yet? I have. We’re having thermostat difficulties but I’ll get over it. Every single year without fail I have heating problems. Last year we installed a new boiler (gas) and it has proved to be a lot more efficient than the previous beast with our bills are greatly reduced – though that might have something to do with the thermostat difficulties. Sigh.

So yes, comfort and all things mash are called for. One of my favourite vegetables to mash is parsnip, I love it with carrot or with apple and here I have it with some buttery softened leeks – delicious.

Parsnip & Leek Mash

Besides the chill factor there’s also the teen factor and this week has been particularly precarious – there are 6 of them aged from 13 to 18 – and to suffice it to say that this week we have been far from the Waltons. I watched a movie recently (so dreadful I can’t remember the name) that had one scene that struck a chord, a man contemplating imminent fatherhood asked his friend what parenthood was like and he replied that it was ‘Awful, awful, awful and then something happens that is so beyond amazing that you think yes, this is what it’s all for….. and then it reverts again to awful, awful, awful.’ Ok so it’s not that bad and I do remember the angst and frustration of being a teenager myself but there have been moments where parenthood has been just awful!

So besides heating you up internally I find that a bowl of delicious mash comforts and warms you up emotionally. A bowl of delicious mash is your friend.

Parsnip & Leek Mash:
You will need:

Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the rinsed and finely chopped leeks to soften for around 5 minutes.
Meanwhile peel, chop and boil the parsnips in a saucepan of boiling water until tender enough to mash.
Drain the parsnips and mash with the buttery leeks and some more butter.
Season well with salt and pepper.
Serve on its own or as pictured with a side of pork chop, red onion gravy and a mashed potatoes.
‘Til next time, Sheila
p.s. Voting continues for another couple of days for the Irish Food Blog Awards so a gentle reminder to VOTE FOR ME please! Just click here… vote for Gimme The Recipe to reach to Irish Blog Awards 2015 Finals

Posted in Baking Day, Food & Health, Recipes

Chocolate Tartlets {sugar is not your enemy}

Chocolate Tartlets.

Chocolate tartlet bitesize close-up
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again it doesn’t matter what you eat it’s the amount you eat that matters if you want to reach and maintain a healthy weight.  I’ve witnessed people on ‘diets’ wolfing down tubs of cottage cheese and seen the triumphant tweets as another milestone few pounds are shifted on a diet that awards points to food.
Chocolate tartlet

Diets are not sustainable.  Variety is the spice of life so have variety. Do not restrict your diet, do not cut out anything but do cut back, just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to eat all of it now – you can have some more tomorrow. Be sensible.
Chocolate tartlets

Change your portion size at dinner – palm size of protein (palm does not include your fingers!), fist size of carbs (yours not Mohammad Ali’s), and have vast amounts of vegetables.
Tartlet tins

If you need to lose some weight then stop eating after 6pm and do some extra exercise until you shift the pounds, then maintain your healthy weight by moderately exercising and watching your portion sizes.
Chocolate tartlets upside down

Stop eating the kids leftovers. If you go out tonight and have a three course meal then dinner tomorrow should be vegetable soup or something light. It’s about balance and moderation. Be sensible.
Chocolate tartlets bitesize on platter

The latest food war being waged is against sugar, this in a world that has shifted from dissing butter, fat, eggs and salt.

Sugar makes things sweet and I like sweet things. Sweet things are for treats and desserts, they are for occasional indulgence. Sugar is not your enemy. Be sensible.
Chocolate tartlets bitesize side-on

Desserts in restaurants are huge so share them – you don’t really want to feel bloated do you, you just want to feel satisfied.

These chocolate tartlets contain butter, sugar, eggs & chocolate.  All real, good foods but too much of it will make you fat.  You don’t want to be fat so just have a little piece.
Chocolate tartlets bitesize from side

I would make these for a special occasion where there are lots of people around to share and cut each tartlet into bite-size morsels.
Chocolate tartlet bitesize close-up

When I’m cooking I think I’m like most people and regularly hurried and without the luxury of time to wait for things to set or rise etc. In this recipe I use a small quantity of shortcrust pastry to make a light biscuity base for the tartlets. Shortcrust pastry should really get to have a little rest in the fridge before it’s rolled but here I don’t and you know what it works out just fine.

Chocolate tartlets:

You will need {for the pastry base}:
6 tartlet tins with push up bases, pie weights
100g plain flour
50g butter (cold)
10g caster sugar
1 egg yolk {keep the white for the chocolate mix}
1 tbsp cold water
Method {for the pastry base}:
Pre-heat the fan oven to 180C.
Use a food processor to mix the flour and cold butter together until breadcrumb texture then add in the caster sugar, egg yolk and water and mix until comes together into a dough ball.
Lightly flour a work-surface and rolling pin.
Roll out the pastry and invert your tartlet tins to cut out pastry to their size.
Line each tartlet tin with a pastry base, don’t worry if it doesn’t reach all the way up the sides.
Use pie weights – I put them in a cupcake case – and then bake the pastry bases in the hot oven for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and reduce heat to 170C .

While the cases bake make the filling for the chocolate tartlets:
You will need {for the chocolate filling}:
125g chocolate (70%+)
75g butter
100g light brown sugar
3 tsp water
2 egg yolks
3 egg whites {use the 1 left-over from the pastry}
Pinch salt
Method {for the chocolate filling}:
Pre-heat the fan oven to 170C.
Break the chocolate and roughly chop the butter into a bowl and melt together in the microwave.
Place the light brown sugar in a saucepan, add the water and bring to the boil stirring to create a syrup over a high heat.
Use an electric whisk to add the syrup in to the melted chocolate and butter, keep whisking until smooth.
Whisk in the 2 egg yolks then place the bowl in the fridge to cool while you whisk the egg whites.  Whisk the 3 egg whites with a pinch of salt until beginning to thicken and hold soft peaks.
Remove the chocolate mixture from the fridge and use a spatula to gently fold and stir in the egg whites until all is well combined but without beating.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the semi-cooked pastry cases and return to the oven to bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow the tartlets to cool in the tin.
I suggest slicing each tartlet into 6 bite-size pieces.
‘Til next time, Sheila.
P.S. Voting for the Irish Blog Awards 2015 opens on 7th September for 2 weeks and I’d love it if you’d vote for ‘Gimme The Recipe’ to reach the finals of the Food & Drink category.

Posted in Events & Adventures in Food

Gimme The Recipe 2 – The Photoshoot

It’s been a busy week chez Kiely with the photoshoot for Gimme the Recipe 2 taking place from Sunday through Wednesday. 4 intense, whirlwind days have just whizzed by. It’s been an amazing experience to work with a professional food stylist (Jette Virdi), photographer (Marta Miklinkska) and graphic designer (Sarah O’Flaherty) while I did the cooking. My team in the kitchen were my twin daughters Daire & Eimear and my eldest daughter Ellie was on-hand for the food stylist and photographer.  There is no way that I would have survived the 4 intense days without their help as non-stop cooking meant it was essential to have counters constantly cleared, wash-up on the go and ingredients sought out with ultra efficiency.  Organisation was everything and each evening I typed out the list of the next day’s recipes with notes and instructions on the food styling. Ingredients were weighed and measured in advance and as much advance preparation as was possible to do was done. In the course of the four days 58 recipes from the book were shot – some as groups but mostly individually. I didn’t believe it was possible to do so much so quickly but I guess this is what professional chefs do all the time.
I’ve worked in professional kitchens as a student.  I worked in the MaryRose cafe in Cork city making sandwiches and clearing tables, I worked in Hotel Alfa at Place de la Gare in Luxembourg under two French Chefs doing food prep. and I worked in Obadiah’s kitchen in Nantucket as dishwasher and food prep. and in The Starlight Theatre & Cafe in Nantucket as restaurant hostess. Some chefs handle stress better than others and in one of the establishments the chefs would be throwing frying pans and barking at the waiters until service was over then they’d disappear out the back and eventually come floating back in for clean-up magically mellowed…. hmmmm. It is very stressful and hats off to the chefs who can handle the stress and still be civil to those around them.
All this cooking means that my freezer is now full and I can’t see myself doing any real cooking for at least a week. Phew.
Here’s a few pictures from behind the scenes and I can’t wait to share the finished article – Gimme The Recipe 2 {to be published with Mercier Press} – with you all in Spring 2016.
Board Setup
Eimear & Daire eating setup in background
Eimear helping
Ellie & Pavlova
kylie on shoulder
Kylie's had enough
Sheila & Johnnie
Sheila Kiely
Sheila stuffing chicken
‘Til next time, Sheila.
& p.s. the blog has made the Longlist for The Blog Awards Ireland 2015.