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


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

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
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.

Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Feta and black pudding Cannelloni

Want to try something different with pasta? Cannelloni.
Cannelloni in dish with fish slice

Be warned though, it took me ages to get the filling into the dry pasta tubes using a teaspoon so an icing bag might be advised to speed up filling the tubes.  I spooned the filling in then used the back of the spoon to push it in and then the leg of the spoon along with fingers to push it right in.  It was tedious so next time I’ll be trying a piping bag.
crumbled black pudding, spinach and toasted pine nuts
Cannelloni being stuffed
Creme fraiche sauce before whisking
Creme fraiche sauce with whisk
Cannelloni with creme fraiche sauce before cooking
Cannelloni with cheddar cheese grated on top
cannelloni cooked in dish

The filling is delicious and simple to make.  Black pudding is having a bit of a moment as a ‘super-food’ and it’s always been a firm favourite in our house anyway.  What I love about this meal along with the taste is the speed of preparation, there is nothing to be chopped other than wilted spinach which is a cinch.  Another cheat is the creamy sauce, instead of labouring over a bechamel I combine creme fraiche, milk and mustard to pour over the cannelloni and then crumble over some cheddar, again super fast and easy, just what you want.
Cannelloni with knife and fork

Black Pudding & Feta Cannelloni.
Serves 4.
You will need:
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
Black pudding – 280g approx
100g spinach leaves
100g frozen peas
50g pinenuts
Block of feta cheese – 200g approx
Box dry Cannelloni tubes (16) – 200g
Creme fraiche – 250g
Milk – 200ml
1 tsp English Mustard
Cheddar – 50g
Pre-heat a fan oven to 180C.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan.  Slice the black pudding into rounds and fry for 3 minutes on both sides then place in a large bowl.
Add the spinach to the empty pan used for the pudding and add a little splash of water, cover with a lid for 1 minute to wilt the spinach.  Remove the spinach to some kitchen paper and squeeze away excess moisture.  Chop the wilted spinach and add to the pudding.  Use a fork to crumble the pudding and combine with the spinach.
Wipe out the pan and dry-fry the pine nuts until turning golden – watch carefully as they will burn easily.
Meanwhile place the frozen peas in a jug of boiling water.
Once the pine nuts have toasted mix in with the pudding and spinach.
Crumble in the feta block and combine the mixture with a fork.
Finally drain the peas and add into the pudding mixture and mix well.
Use a whisk to combine the creme fraiche, milk and mustard in a jug/bowl and set aside.
Fill the cannelloni tubes either using a piping bag or a teaspoon, packing the mixture right in.
Place the stuffed tubes in a baking dish, pour over the creme fraiche sauce and grate over the cheddar.
Bake in the hot oven at 180 for 20 minutes and then turn down to 160 for a further 20 minutes.
Great served with a simple green leaf salad.
‘Til next time, Sheila

Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Super Soups

For the cold months a warming soup is just what you need.  I love to make these up and have jugfuls in the fridge so I can have a nutritious and  filling snack instead of reaching for the quick hit of biscuits.
Super soups
The recipe I give here is for a beautifully spiced parsnip soup that is guaranteed to heat you up and leave you glowing.  It’s one of the recipes from my upcoming book ‘Enjoy!’.
Super Greens Soup
In the photographs the luciously vibrant green soup is packed full of goodness – it’s got onion, broccoli, green chilli and spinach.  The recipe for Super Green Soup is in February’s Red Magazine {& online here} from a feature they have on vegan recipes by Amelia Freer and her book is called ‘Cook, Nourish, Glow’.  Truth be told I like to serve this soup topped with grated parmesan or cheddar instead of the cashew butter that she suggests.
I like to have both soups nice and thick but you can water them down by adding more vegetable stock if you prefer a thinner consistency.
As I post this on ‘Blue Monday’ I do hope that know that the winter blues are almost behind us and we can look forward to warmer and brighter days and finally the sun came out for a while today so that’s promising.

Winter Warmer Peppered Parsnip, Potato & Leek soup
Serves: 4
You will need:
50g butter
2 small or 1 large leek
2 medium parsnips (approx. 450g)
2 medium potatoes (approx. 450g)
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 litre vegetable stock – from cube is fine
Fresh parsley to garnish (optional)
Top and tail the leeks removing the outer layer of leaves if very coarse or dirty.
Rinse under cold water tap, slice in half lengthways then thinly slice.
Melt the 50g butter in a large saucepan over a low heat, add the leeks and cover with a lid to sweat for 10 minutes.
Peel and cube the potatoes and parsnips then add to the softened leek with the ground black pepper and salt mixing well.
Add the stock then bring to the boil, reduce heat to simmer with lid almost covering for 30 minutes.
Blend well with a stick blender or in a food processor.
Serve with some finely chopped fresh parsley.
‘Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Risotto with green veg., bacon & parsley

Time.  Risotto requires a little time and patience not a lot of time or skill. Extremely budget friendly I estimate that I cooked for 8 of us at well under 20 euro – I doubled the recipe given here so you could cook this for four at around 10 euro.  Budget friendly, healthy, cooked from scratch, and given time and patience it is easy too.
Risotto in bowl close up
Risotto on platter

I think we’re all ready to park Christmas and the holidays and move on into the New Year.  The holiday period was a fabulous time to catch up with family and relax but the first week back is very hard.  I know that at the end of my first week I’m feeling tired and cranky – it’s been hard to get up early and I’m still not adjusted enough to get to bed a bit earlier too.  There’s also still too many sweets and biscuits hanging around to be embarking on any kind of health kick and with our incessant rain of late the least one can have is a bit of comfort in a warm drink with a sweet treat.  We’re not about to throw them out! It’s dark, it’s dreary and even though these pictures were taken at around 2pm today natural light was very sadly lacking.  The risotto was perfect for a day like today though, warming, comforting and indulgent I do hope you get to try it out.
Risotto in bowl
Risotto close up

Risotto with Green Veg., Bacon & Parsley
Serves 4.

You will need:
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
225g Arborio risotto rice
1 courgette
1 bunch asparagus
1 bunch fine green beans
950ml hot vegetable stock
125g bacon lardons or pancetta pieces
2 tbsp grated parmesan
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
Add the arborio rice , stir using a wooden spoon and cook for a couple of minutes then add the onion and garlic stir and cook for another couple of minutes.  You want them to begin to soften and not brown.
Meanwhile heat the other tbsp oil in another frying pan and cook courgette slices on both sides for a couple of minutes until golden but still firm – remove to a dish lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil.
While the courgette cooks add 2 ladles of stock to the risotto rice, stir well and leave until absorbed then add a further 2 ladles, stir and leave a couple of mins, continue in this manner until all stock has been added and the rice is beautifully plumped up, soft and creamy looking.
Meanwhile cook the asparagus in boiling water for 3-4 minutes and the same with the green beans – drain and remove to rest with the courgette until the risotto rice has all been cooked.
Cook the bacon lardons in the pan used to cook the courgette.
Once the risotto has had all stock added stir in the parmesan and parsley then add the cooked vegetables, bacon lardons and serve.
‘Til next time, Sheila