Posted in Baking Day, Recipes

Apple and Blackberry Pudding

Pudding.  There’s something about that word that conjures up comfort.  Something you’ll be hankering as Autumn envelops you bringing darker evenings, cooler air and while you sleep a sprinkling of frost may even be dusting your doorstep.  I can’t get enough of apple in desserts at this time of year; crumbles, tarts and yes oh yes please, pudding.  This would be epic after a long Sunday lunch or an evening of entertainment and something sure to send the recipients over that edge into blissful food coma.

Apple and blackberry pudding

There are some blackberry stragglers still clung to the hedgerows if you get a chance to look or you’ll find them with fruit in the supermarket and those cooking apples are still abundant and inexpensive.  The battery mixture of this almost forms a cake but with all the moistness of the fruit it will never dry into sponginess but will remain sumptuously soft and yielding.  As moist as it already is I do recommend that you take it to the next level and serve with some softly whipped fresh cream.
Apple and blackberry pudding

Apple and Blackberry Pudding : (Serves 9)

You will need:
175g unsalted butter
250ml carton whipping cream
225g caster sugar
3 eggs
400g cooking apples (2 large or 3 medium)
300g plain flour
300g blackberries
Butter to grease the dish
Method:
Preheat the oven to 180oC/Gas Mark 6 and grease a baking/pudding dish 25x25cm with butter.
Heat the butter and cream together in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Leave to cool a little.
Whisk the caster sugar and the eggs together for a few minutes until thick and set aside.
Prepare the fruit by coring, peeling and slicing the apples into rings, and washing the blackberries.
Add the butter and cream mixture to the eggs and sugar mixture, and whisk together.
Gently fold in the sifted flour to make a thick batter.
Pour the mixture into the baking dish and push in the apple rings.
Scatter the blackberries over the top and push some of them down into the batter.
Bake for 45–50 minutes and test the mixture with a skewer – if it comes away clean the cake is cooked.
Great served hot, straight from the oven, with some cream.

Enjoy! Sheila.

Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Berbere Baked Chicken

Berbere Baked Chicken
Sunday morning, he took two of the lads to football training and I jumped out of bed knowing that food had to be got for their return and a decent dinner made as the twin girls had a football match later in the afternoon.  No ordinary football match – a Senior County Final and a replay at that – so woe betide me if there were no food. (October 2018).  Off I went, fitting in a yoga class and then a flit through the supermarket.  On my return however they were back and my hero of a husband was already cleaning the kitchen with Niall having cooked for them all.  They had polished off scrambled eggs and black pudding and there was no panic for me to cook.  I didn’t mention that I had stopped off for a scone and a cappuccino in between the yoga and the shopping did I?  It’s an official habit of mine now, a scone with Irish butter and a cappuccino.  It’s usually accompanied by a catch up on my Instagram Feed and those stories can be very distracting!
This lack of time pressure made my foray into the kitchen so much more enjoyable.  It is so much nicer to cook when you yourself are not starving and the masses are not persistently inquiring as to the nature of the dish and ‘when will it be ready?’
Berbere Baked Chicken
I had intended on a quick cook dish though and proceeded with my plan.  Oven was preheated, vegetables quickly chopped and then tipped in a large baking dish with some berbere dusted chicken mini fillets.
Is Berbere new to you?  It is to me.  A recently discovered (by me!) Ethiopian origin spice blend similar to Ras El Hanout but with a really gentle warmth.  I found it on the shelves of my local Dunnes Stores and have been using it for the past week or so and it’s going down well with everyone.
Berbere
The Berbere baked chicken was accompanied by harissa spiced couscous with a little coriander mixed through and a good dollop of natural yoghurt spiked with lemon juice and topped with a sprinkling of Berbere for colour.
Harissa Couscous
Berbere yoghurt
Berbere baked chicken
Baked Berbere Chicken:
You will need:
A few baby potatoes
1 Aubergine
1 courgette
1 red pepper
1 red onion
Olive oil or rapeseed oil
Mini chicken fillets 400-700g (judge by how many you want to feed!)
Berbere spice blend
Serve with couscous made with tsp harissa paste and some coriander
Natural yoghurt spiked with lemon juice and dusted with berbere.
Method:
Preheat the fan oven to 200C
Microwave the baby potatoes for 5 to 10 mins until easy to cut through
Cube the aubergine and courgette
Deseed and slice the red pepper
Peel and slice the red onion
Scatter the vegetables in the base of a large baking dish
Slice the par-cooked baby potatoes and scatter on top
Drizzle some oil over the vegetables and then mix them around
Place the chicken mini fillets on top of the chopped vegetables, drizzle with some oil and dust with berbere.
Cook in the hot oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through – turning the chicken over midway through cooking and dusting with a little more berbere.
Enjoy! Sheila

Posted in Recipes

One Tray Fish Bake. A simple fish supper.

I have to share today’s triumph with you and YOU have to make it. I’m not commanding you, I’m simply imploring, I’m pleading because it is so simple and so tasty that I don’t want to be the only person in the world who has made this. Share this with me. Please.

You will know how many people you are cooking for so use your judgement in the amount of the following ingredients you will need. I’m giving quantities that cook for 5.

You will need:

10 baby potatoes

5 pieces of fish (I used hake)

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp tomato pesto

1 tbsp mixed herbs

3 large spring onion

2 handfuls baby spinach leaves

3 tbsp chopped sundried tomatoes

Lemon to serve – optional

Method

Heat a fan oven to 200C and follow the method in the following words and pictures. You will need a large baking dish and tin foil.

Note : test your fish is cooked through to the centre before serving. Smaller / thinner fish pieces will take less cooking time.

Note 2 : my previous microwave would have cooked baby potatoes in 5 mins, my current one takes 8 mins so that time will vary. (You could boil if you prefer)

Lots of pluses for this dish. Simple, tasty, healthy & minimal washing up. I do hope you get to give it a try.

Enjoy! Sheila

Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Spaghetti with Pesto, Bacon & Broccoli – Quick, Simple & Cheap

Spaghetti with Pesto, Bacon and Broccoli

Easy Food

What do you want to eat? Maybe the question should be what do you want to cook?  At this time of year with the seasons changing and a chill sometimes seeping in through any gap it can find, you may be looking for comfort in a bowl.  This particular bowl of comfort also has the added benefits of being quick, simple and cheap.  The latter of course depending on how in-season broccoli is for you, whether your pesto and parmesan are gourmet or own-brand and yes the humble rasher of bacon too could veer towards expensive if you are wont to artisanal produce.  Well each to their own on that front, only a food snob would judge you by your choice of ingredients and boy do they exist.  Regardless of provenance I guarantee that the end result will be delicious.
(Perfect for any students of any age in your life.)
Easy food

Spaghetti with Pesto, Bacon and Broccoli

You will need: (serves 4–5)
400g broccoli (1 small head)
2 garlic cloves
300g cherry tomatoes
400g dried spaghetti
10 rashers (approximately 300g)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp basil pesto (see next page for home-made recipe)
Grated Parmesan cheese to garnish
Method:
Fill up a large saucepan with boiling water and bring it back to the boil.
Prepare the broccoli by giving it a quick rinse and breaking it up into florets and set aside.
Peel and crush the garlic and set aside.
Rinse and slice the cherry tomatoes in half and set aside.
Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water for 6* minutes, while gently frying the rashers in a frying pan in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
Occasionally stir the spaghetti so that it does not stick together.
After 6* minutes, add the broccoli florets to the spaghetti and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the rashers and add in the crushed garlic and halved cherry tomatoes.
After a total cooking time of 8* minutes drain the spaghetti and broccoli, retaining about a half a cup of the cooking water.
Roughly chop the rashers in the pan and then stir the rashers, garlic and cherry tomato mix into the spaghetti and broccoli.
Stir in the pesto and enough of the reserved cooking water to moisten.
Serve hot with some extra pesto and grated Parmesan.
*you may need to adjust the cooking time depending on cooking time of your spaghetti so check the pack
Enjoy! Sheila.

Posted in Recipes

Chicken Biryani, a delicious creamy one pot curry

I love food. That’s a given. This is one of the best things that I have ever cooked. What that means is that this is a really good dish. REALLY GOOD! Okay, you get it, I like this Chicken Biryani. Let me count the ways though : It is easy. It is relatively quick. It is a crowd pleaser. It will feed a crowd (yes, these are two different points). It cooks in one pot. It is delicious. I like it. 7. There are 7 reasons why this is a really good dish! And you don’t care, you just want the recipe so move along there Sheila and share…

Couple of notes, if you are finding your way with cooking and exploring new things you may yet have come to use cardamom. Don’t be put off by ingredients that may be unknown to you. You will find cardamom pods easily in the super market and you will bash the outer husks using a pestle and mortar or a rolling pin to release the inner seeds. Another note I like to share is about fresh ginger. Keep it in the freezer and grate what you need straight from frozen using a microplane grater, there is no need to peel ginger.

Chicken curry

Chicken Biryani Recipe
Feeds 6 easily.
You will need :
250g frozen peas
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion chopped finely
spices :
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp Garam masala
2 tsp turmeric
8 cardomon pods seeded
Half teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tsp cumin
Chicken breast 500g
2 tbsp tomatoes purée
2 cups quick cook rice = approx. 350g
Tin coconut milk
2 cup veg stock = approx. 250ml
Flaked almonds to toast
Fresh Coriander to serve
Method:
Place 250g frozen peas in jug of boiling hot water and set aside
Finely chop the onion, grate the ginger, crack open the cardamom pods to release the seeds
Melt 1 tbsp coconut oil in large pan over medium heat
Gently fry the onion for 5 mins.
Stir in the following spices :
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp Garam masala
2 tsp turmeric
8 cardomon pods seeded
Half teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tsp cumin
Cook spices couple minutes stirring through the onion.
Add chopped chicken 500g and 2 tbsp tomatoes purée, mix to coat chicken with spice
Add the drained peas stir through
Add 2 cups rice stir through
Pour in Can of coconut milk and the 2 cups veg stock
Raise the heat until just begging to bubble, stir well reduce the heat to medium and cover with lid for 10 mins
(Check every so often with wooden spoon that nothing is sticking to bottom of pan if it is give it a stir and turn down the heat a little.)
Toast the flaked almonds in a frying pan
Chop the fresh coriander
Once the Chicken Biryani has simmered for 10 minutes remove the lid and test to see if rice cooked, if not simmer a little longer covered and add more liquid if any danger of sticking.Turn the heat up for a few minutes more until just bubbling again.
Serve with the toasted almonds and fresh coriander.}
Enjoy! Sheila.