Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Healthy Summer Eating – Zhoug Freekeh & Summer Roast Vegetables

Zhoug Freekeh & Summer Roast Vegetables.
Healthy Summer Eating.
reekeh & roast veg

Greenwheat Freekeh -What is it?:
‘High in protein and fibre.  Greenwheat Freekeh is a nutritious toasted grain that makes a wholesome alternative to rice & couscous.’

freekeh

In the summer months you want something tasty, healthy and filling that’s easy to make and doesn’t have you tied to the heat of the kitchen.  Freekeh is perfect. I came across a box in my local SuperValu and was curious to try it out.

Delicious served hot as shown here and great the next day chilled and bulked up with some salad leaves and feta cubes.

freekeh cooked

Along with roast vegetables the flavour is being brought to this freekeh dish with a zhoug paste.
Freekeh and zhoug – two words I’d never encountered until 2015.  That is the amazing thing about food, there’s always some new exciting ingredient to discover and something equally different to do with it.

The zhoug paste recipe that I used was from the Irish Food & Wine Magazine – recipe by Garrett Fitzgerald of Brother Hubbard.

zhoug paste

NB: This makes a vast quantity of zhoug paste – 2 ramekins of zhoug paste, so I would advise halving the ingredients/quantities.  My pictures aren’t as vibrantly green as they should be as I’d no green chillies and used red chilli paste instead. Use zhoug paste as you would a pesto to ramp up any salads, pizzas, sandwiches etc.
zhoug paste 2

Zhoug Paste: (recommend you halve these quantities)
You will need:
50g fresh coriander
50g fresh parsley
2 x green chillies
2 cloves garlic
half tsp cumin
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp water
Method:
Combine all ingredients in a food processor.
veg to roast

Roast Summer Vegetables:
You will need:
1 Red Pepper
1 Courgette
1 Red Onion
Rapeseed or olive oil
Method:
Preheat fan oven to 200C
Chop the vegetables into bite-size chunks
Place veg on a baking tray and drizzle with oil, toss to combine
Roast vegetables in hot oven for 20 to 25 minutes until getting tender but still retaining some bite.

Freekeh:
You will need:
100g greenwheat freekeh
500ml water
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
Method:
Pour 100g freekeh and 500ml water into a saucepan with 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
Stir, bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Drain excess water.

Zhoug Freekeh & Summer Roast Vegetables:
Stir the roast summer vegetables through the hot freekeh along with 1 tbsp of zhoug paste and a little oil if needed.
reekeh & roast veg
Enjoy.
‘Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Carrot & Sesame Seed Salad

It’s almost upon us, warmer weather and the season of salads and outside eating.  When’s it going to come though?  There’s been promises for days of higher temperatures but my phone is telling me that we’re not going to rise about 15C anytime soon.  I’ve started making the switch already though and most meals are being accompanied by some type of salad.  I just can’t wait to be able to take my plate outside and enjoy it under a blue sky embalmed with a wafting warm air.

Carrot and sesame seed salad

Here’s an easy carrot and sesame seed salad and it’s even easier if you’ve a food processor with a grater attachment.

You will need:
5 medium carrots
2 small white onions
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp sesame seeds
Method:
Peel and grate the carrots and onions.
Mix the honey and white wine vinegar together and stir through the  grated carrots and onions.
Dry fry the sesame seeds until turning golden and sprinkle on top of the salad.
Enjoy.
‘Til next time, Sheila

Posted in What's for Dinner Mom?

Cannellini beans in classic basil pesto with roast cherry tomatoes & griddled courgette ribbons.

Cannellini beans in classic basil pesto with roast cherry tomatoes & griddled courgette ribbons.

This is what I’m all about, tasty food that’s easy to make and with ingredients that are easily obtainable from your supermarket because, let’s face it, that’s where most of us shop.
Cannellini Bean & Pesto Salad
Tinned beans are a superb standby and I highly recommend stocking up on a few different varieties.  If these are in your store-cupboard and you’ve a handy jar or squeezy bottle of pesto in your fridge then you’re always within reach of a super tasty and nutritious lunch.  Here I’ve upped the flavour stakes with cherry tomatoes that are bursting out of their skins with goodness and griddled courgette ribbons that are quick and easy to prepare.
Handy hint: when you’re rooting around in the utensils drawer and cannot lay hands on the speed peeler a cheese slicer makes an excellent substitute.
Cannellini Bean Pesto Salad
You will need:
250g cherry tomatoes
Rapeseed oil
2 courgettes
400g tin cannellini beans
2 tbsp classic basil pesto
Salt
Method:
Heat the fan oven to 200C / Gas Mark 7.
Place the rinsed cherry tomatoes on a baking tray, drizzle with rapeseed oil and roast in the oven until beginning to burst their skins – 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile use a speed peeler or a cheese slicer to make courgette strips/ribbons.
Heat a splash of oil in a large griddle or frying pan on a medium/high heat and quickly fry the courgettes to lightly brown on each side.
Set aside to drain excess oil on kitchen towel.
Drain and rinse the cannellini beans under cold water then place in a bowl and gently mix through the 2 tbsp of basil pesto.  Stir through the cherry tomatoes and courgette ribbons & serve.
Enjoy!
Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Events & Adventures in Food, What's for Dinner Mom?

Salad Days (….return of the butterhead)

Finalmente! A new post.  That word of Italian was one of the many gleaned from a beginner’s course that I’ve taken over the past year and it culminated in an exam last week so cramming was required hence the void in cyberspace that a blog post should have filled. (What do you mean you hadn’t noticed 🙂 ) And why Italian?  Well my youngest sister is marrying a Sicilian this summer and I’m hoping to communicate with a little bit more than pointing and smiling.
Butterhead Lettuce As well as being a beginner at Italian I’m also a beginner at gardening.  Up until very recently when conversation turned to gardens or gardening, mulching and cutting back etc. I would retreat quietly and blush inwardly.  It’s a low maintenance garden with grass, bordered with trees and a beech hedge .  Prize-winning begonias definitely do not feature.  Hardly surprising then that I approached the task of planting a raised bed in a somewhat cynical fashion.
Lettuce LeavesPlanting began indoors and seedlings were then planted out, in what most definitely was not my finest moment.  The inner wayward child emerged while I attempted to untangle flimsy roots and as the lettuce plants flopped over I turned my back on them and left them to fend for themselves.  Rain came, sun came and then really heavy rain came but somehow those weary looking lettuce leaves and flimsy carrots, parsnips, spring onions and strawberries, guzzled nutrients from the soil and began to bulk up.  The leaves are truly flourishing now and it is beyond satisfying to step outside in the morning to tear off a few leaves and stuff them into the children’s school sandwiches.  Again at lunch time I’ll nip off a few more and they’ll often make it to the dinner table too.  Growing stuff is BRILLIANT.
Ripe Tomato
First Tomato Picking
I’m in my second week of not buying or throwing away lettuce and there is no comparison between the  flavour of local and fresh VS chilled and well-travelled.
A true test I felt had to be that 80s classic salad plate, long since relegated in favour of more adventurous salads featuring sophisticated sounding leaves such as frissee, rocket and of course the baby variants of spinach and watercress.  Forks clashed  as we shredded leaves and mopped up salad dressing and the plate was cleaned with relish.
80s salad
Salad with Zingy Dressing
Butterhead lettuce is back people (you read it here first!).  Accompanied by my eldest son’s first harvest of tomato and good old hard boiled egg I dressed it up with a zingy salad dressing.
Zingy Salad Dressing
Zingy Salad Dressing
You will need:
3 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp mixed herbs (dried)
Method:
Simply mix all the ingredients together.
Enjoy.
‘Til next time, Sheila.