Platter Black Eye Bean Meatballs

Black Eye Meatballs with loaded Spaghetti

Black Eye Bean Meatballs & Loaded Spaghetti

Platter Black Eye Bean Meatballs
We’ve gotten over  the holidays but still have a bit to go to see the other side of Winter which is hard.  Unless of course you live in Australia or other sunny climes.  Comfort food is a natural requirement in the cold but when you’ve had wall to wall chocolate for 2 weeks most of us are contemplating getting our jaws wired.

kale and brocoli
kale broccoli and lemon blitz

This recipe is a healthier version of spaghetti meatballs that will still satisfy even without the grease or the heavy sauce.  The sauce is ultra-lightweight and the meatballs leave much of their meat fat behind in the baking tray rendering them more healthy than usual.  I’ve used black eye beans for added non-meat protein.  The tins of beans I buy are pre-cooked and called black eye beans, on the tin it says they’re also known as black eye peas but I’m no expert!
The spaghetti gets ‘loaded’ up with extra nutrients in the form of blitzed and blanched kale and broccoli.  I’m loving my food processor lately and using it to speed up the cooking process of whatever I can.  Cooking the veggies in this way means minimal loss of nutrients as they are quickly blanched and ready to serve .
Bowl of Meatballs
Black Eye Bean Meatballs & Loaded Spaghetti
Serves 6.
(leftovers reheat well in the microwave.)
You will need:
2 x 400g packs round steak beef mince (800g total)
2 x 400g tin black eye beans
2 egg
1 red chilli (or use some dried chilli flakes)
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 red onion
Spaghetti
200ml creme fraiche
zest & juice 1 lemon
Handful Flaked Almond
Grated parmesan and lemon slices to serve
Method:
Pre-heat a fan oven to 200C
Use a food processor to blitz the red onion and red chilli then blitz in the eggs.
Place the minced meat and drained black eye beans in a large bowl.
Add the blitzed onion mix to the meat and beans along with the spices (cumin & coriander) and mix well, season with salt and pepper.
Shape into golf-ball sized meatballs placing them onto a baking tray (bit bigger than golfball!).  You should get around 24.
Put these in the oven at 200C for 15 mins and then reduce heat to 180C for 10 mins.
Meanwhile roughly chop the broccoli and blitz in food processor.  Place in large colander.
Blitz the kale and add into the broccoli and mix well, add in the zest of the lemon and mix through.
Boil a kettle of water and with the colander positioned over a large saucepan pour boiling water over the broccoli and kale to blanch it.  Press it with a spatula to squeeze out excess water and set aside.
Toast / dry-fry the flaked almonds and set aside.
Whisk together the juice of the lemon and the tub of creme fraiche in a jug and set aside.
Keep an eye on the meatball cooking time and at around 20 mins go ahead and cook the spaghetti.
When everything is ready, strain the spaghetti and reserve a cupful of the cooking water.
Put the spaghetti into a large platter, mix through the blanched kale and broccoli and the creme fraiche sauce with enough cooking water to coat everything well.
Place the meatballs on top, scattering over the flaked almonds.
Serve with grated parmesan and sliced lemons.
Enjoy!
Til next time, Sheila

p.s. I’ll be posting a video on my instagram and facebook pages over the coming days so check that out if you like!

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.

Food photography Marta Miklinska, Food Styling by Jette Virdi

Cranberry Croque Monsieur – Recipe 9 of 12 from Enjoy!

Cranberry Croque Monsieur
Look at this for a beautiful image, I can’t believe that it was photographed in my home.  It really shows how something very simple can be spectacular.  There is a misconception that because I am a food blogger with 2 published recipe books that the food in my house is always amazing. It’s not!  There are days when I am so busy with work that I don’t have time to shop or cook and there is always a frozen pizza or two in my freezer.  I am not a purist food saint.  Food made from fresh ingredients will always taste better than frozen food though and on one of the busy days I would definitely opt for this glorious croque monsieur over a pizza.   This will be an excellent use of any left-over baked ham and cranberry sauce after Christmas and that cheese, there will definitely be left-over cheese.

Food photography Marta Miklinska, Food Styling by Jette Virdi

Food photography Marta Miklinska, Food Styling by Jette Virdi

Cranberry Croque Monsieur
Serves 1
You will need:
2 slices of granary or multi-seed whole-wheat bread
Butter
Cranberry sauce
Cooked ham slices
Cheddar cheese slices
Rocket leaves
Red onion, thinly sliced
Method:
Heat the sandwich toaster. Butter both sides of the bread, then smear one side with a generous layer of cranberry sauce. Cover with slices of ham and cheese and a scattering of rocket leaves and sliced onion. Close the sandwich, toast until golden brown and enjoy!
‘Til next time, Sheila.

beef wellington

Cheat’s Wellington with Jameson Jus – Recipe 5 of 12 from Enjoy!

Cheat’s Wellington with Jameson Jus.
Want something really impressive that doesn’t require a whole lot of skill and even less time?  This is it!  I have seen Beef Wellington made numerous times but I have never made it.  I’m not willing to risk cooking a large fillet of beef to serve to a number of people whose tastes for rareness will differ and how can you please them all?  You could say I’m afraid.  I made one portion of this earlier on today to catch the best light for photography and this evening I cooked it again for 5 of us.  We’re in a very straggly phase of dining here with teens coming and going and the tardy boys will just have to cook their own later.
beef wellington
With ingredients that truly sing, this is a 5 Star dining experience at home that can be on the table in under 30 minutes leaving you plenty of time to pick an indulgent red wine to accompany.
The Jameson Jus came about, like many things do, because necessity is the mother of invention –Jameson was the only thing to hand to deglaze the pan, but it works wonderfully with the steak.
Beef Jameson

Cheat’s Wellington with Jameson Jus
Serves 2
You will need:
2 Irish beef fillet steaks
200g mushrooms
1 medium onion
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
50g salted butter
1 tsp dried thyme
White wine (optional)
2 large puff pastry vol-au-vent cases, frozen
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 Irish beef fillet steaks
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp Jameson whiskey
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, to garnish
Method:
Preheat a fan oven to 200°C.
Take the steaks out of the fridge and set aside.
Finely chop the mushrooms and the onion. Peel and crush the garlic. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over a low heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes to soften, then add the crushed garlic. Raise the heat to medium and stir to combine for 1 minute, then add the butter. Once it has melted, add the mushrooms and dried thyme with a good splash of white wine if you like. Mix well and leave to cook for 20 minutes on a medium heat, stirring occasionally.
While the mushrooms are cooking, place a baking tray in the hot oven for 1 minute. Take it out and place the frozen pastry cases on the hot tray. Brush the outer edges of the pastry with the beaten egg yolk. Cook the pastry cases according to the packet instructions, turn the tray halfway through the cooking time.
Meanwhile, heat a non-stick griddle pan or frying pan without any oil over a high heat. Place the steaks on a plate, drizzle them with the remaining tablespoon of oil and season with ground sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. As my steaks are generally quite thick, I like to cook them for 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare and then turn them onto the edges to sear the sides, holding them steady with a cooking tongs as I turn them all the way around. Once the steaks are cooked, transfer them to a wooden board to rest. For at least 5 minutes before slicing so they stay juicy.
Deglaze the steak pan by turning the heat to high and splashing in the Jameson and 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper. Turn the heat off but leave pan on the hob until you’re ready to serve.
Once the pastry cases are golden and well risen, remove them from the oven and fill with the mushroom mixture. Serve with sliced fillet steak, a drizzle of Jameson jus and a scattering of finely chopped fresh parsley.
Enjoy!
‘Til next time, Sheila.
p.s. 7 more recipes until Christmas!!!

red massaman chicken

Red Massaman Chicken – Recipe 4 of 12 from Enjoy!

Crushed peanuts are a great garnish for a massaman

Red Massaman Chicken
red massaman chicken
I made this for dinner the other night and it went down a bomb. Now you might think that something going ‘down a bomb’ was a bad thing but no, here in Ireland it’s the opposite. There are so many expressions that we use that, to be properly understood, require an insight into the Irish psyche. We do sarcasm and ridicule very, very well. For example if I was to say to you ‘I will yeah’ and you are an American you will probably think that I am in agreement about something but if you were to listen intently you will notice the lengthy stressing of the ‘yeaaaah’ and you will understand that in fact what is meant is that ‘I absolutely will not.’ Likewise if I were to say ‘I will in my hole’, that does not mean that I am retreating to some hidden cave to do something but in fact means ‘I have no intention whatsoever…’ We’re also great at the slagging (teasing) which can be harmless but if something is prefaced with ‘no offence but….’ you’re just about to be insulted. We don’t do compliments well, either in the giving or the taking and insults are hoarded like gold coins to be churned out ad infinitum and never forgotten.

Feeding people though, we’re good at that. On a visit to Canada in the summer as a young student I was well looked after by friends of my parents and friends of their friends in turn. Barbeques by a lakeshore with incredible steaks, foil baked roast potatoes and sweetcorn. Wherever you go Irish people will feed you. I’ll always remember when we called unannounced to a particular family who were just about to have dinner when the matriarch swiftly produced extra plates and effortlessly dished out plenty for everyone. ‘My mother always told me to put on extra potatoes,’ she said, ‘just in case.’ Which brings me to this massaman curry, the link being the potatoes and I can guarantee that you if you decide to throw on a few extra potatoes they won’t go astray but will soak up the delicious sauce and can be savoured reheated for lunch the next day.
As this is recipe No. 4 of 12 from Enjoy! before Christmas I’d like to suggest that this would be an excellent way of using up chunks of left-over turkey meat come the holiday season just substitute in your cooked turkey for the chicken and you’re set for some spicy comfort.
massaman chicken

Note on equipment: As this makes a large quantity, you need to have:

  • 1 large, wide frying pan to cook the chicken with the massaman paste
  • 1 large frying pan or griddle pan to cook the vegetables separately
  • 1 large saucepan to combine the chicken and vegetables
  • Mini-chopper and/or food processor  for the massaman paste  ( You could use with a fine julienne attachment or a julienne peeler for the carrots or simply make your own by cutting to matchstick size with knife)

Serves 8
You will need:
350g baby potatoes (approx. 8–10 baby potatoes)
1 medium onion
2 tbsp rapeseed or coconut oil
4 chicken breasts
Half a red pepper (second half will be used in paste below– no waste!)
4 spring onions
150g fine green beans
150g mangetout
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
250g cherry tomatoes
750ml vegetable stock
1 x 400ml tin of full-fat coconut milk
Handful of salted peanuts, roughly crushed, to serve
For the massaman paste: (You will Need:)
5 cardamom pods
Half a red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
Thumb-size chunk of fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp lemongrass paste (or 2 lemongrass stalks, finely chopped)
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp hot chill powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
Method:
Microwave the baby potatoes, skin on, with a splash of water for about 4 minutes, until firm but just turning tender. Cut in half and set aside.

Finely chop the onion. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, wide frying pan over a low heat. Add the chopped onion and leave to soften for 5 minutes. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces, then add to the onion and turn the heat up to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the massaman paste, bash the cardamom pods – a pestle and mortar is good for this job – to release the seeds and discard the husks. Use a mini-chopper or food processor to blitz all the massaman ingredients, including the cardamom seeds, into a paste. Add the massaman paste to the chicken, turn the heat up to high and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Cut the red pepper into thin slices, slice the spring onions and halve the green beans. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a second frying pan over a high heat and toss in the sliced red pepper, spring onions, green beans, rinsed mangetout, julienned carrots and whole cherry tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Put the semi-cooked chicken into a large saucepan and add the vegetable stock and coconut milk, mixing well. Turn the heat up to high, then add the cooked vegetables and the cooked halved baby potatoes. If necessary, add some additional vegetable stock to cover all the chicken and vegetables.
Once the massaman begins to just about bubble, reduce the heat to a low simmer and leave it to finish cooking with the lid on for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with fluffy boiled rice with a scattering of crushed salted peanuts over the top.
Enjoy!
‘Til next time, Sheila.