Sweet Potato Ginger and Coconut Soup

Sweet potatoes seem to be everywhere lately.  Jamie Oliver recently espoused their greatness, citing them as a major contributory dietary factor in the longevity of life and wellness enjoyed by the residents of Okinawa in Japan.   They’re utterly packed with vitamins A, B and C as well as minerals such as manganese.  Personally, I love them.  They’re pretty versatile but I find they’re particularly good in soups as they have an innate smoothness (a bit like George Clooney but oranger).  This recipe has just five ingredients and is a cinch to make.

Ingredients:

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks

1 400mls tin coconut milk

a good handful fresh coriander (cilantro) leaf, chopped

200mls water

Method:

  1. In a large-ish saucepan, heat a little sunflower or rapeseed oil.  Sauté the onion for a couple of minutes and then add the ginger.  Sauté for another couple of minutes.
  2. Add the sweet potato and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Add the coconut milk and water and cover.  Let it simmer away on a low heat for 25 minutes before adding the coriander and blitzing with a stick blender.  Add a little more water if the soup is too thick.  Check the seasoning and adjust to taste.  Serve with a few coriander leaves scattered over the top.

image

Advertisements

Thinking Outside the Lunchbox

We’re now heading into the fourth week of school and many of us are struggling to come up with healthy, inventive, appetising lunch box meals for our little ones.  Sandwiches are the safest bet but can be pretty tiresome.  It’s really hard to strike that perfect balance of healthy and appetising, a total minefield when even the smallest of children can have the most diverse of tastes.  My 5 year old is a pleasure to pack a lunch for as he adores all (and I mean all!) fruit and vegetables AND is an adventurous eater.  The 3 year old is a different matter entirely.  No fruit passes his lips, ever.  I have tried all manner of disguises but he will not be duped.  “Cormacs don’t eat fruit”- direct quote, I kid you not. He is currently attending Montessori two mornings per week and I have tried and tested a number of lunches with mixed success.  I think the key is to keep putting different things in that little Star Wars lunchbox until we have built up an arsenal of healthy lunches that he will actually eat.  Trial and error I suppose.  One thing he is sure to gobble up is hummus.  Most kids love to dip and this ticks that box.  I usually toast some wholemeal pittas and slice them into soldiers along with cucumber sticks.  I like to slice the cucumber lengthways and scrape out the watery seeds as they can be come soggy and unappealing after sitting all morning in a plastic container.  Bonus feature: the anti viral properties of the raw garlic as well as the vitamin C from the lemon in the hummus help their little immune systems ward off coughs and colds during the Winter months.

ingredients:

1 tin chickpeas drained

juice of one lemon

2 cloves minced or finely chopped garlic

3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)

1 tablespoon natural yoghurt

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Method:  place all of the above in a food processor and blitz until fairly smooth.  Season to taste with salt and black pepper.  The hummous will hold for about 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

image

The next recipe is not really a recipe, more a tip than anything.  Children tend to like pastry and little golden parcels with different fillings have been popular with my little boys.  Get a roll of pre made puff pastry from the supermarket, from the fridge or freezer.  (Bear in mind you’ll need to thaw the frozen one- no renditions of “let it go” now please!)  I like to cut the pastry into squares and lob a big spoonful of my filling of choice into the middle.  Next, brush the edges with egg wash, fold one corner over to meet the other corner and press to seal.  Brush over the triangles with egg wash.  The filling could be ham and cheese, chopped spinach and cream cheese with a pinch of nutmeg or whatever you (or your children) fancy.  This is also a great way of using up leftovers such as chicken curry or roasted vegetables.  Bake in a preheated oven (180 degrees celcius) for about 15 to 20 minutes or until puffed up and gloriously golden.

image

“Do you know the muffin man?”

“The muffin man?”

“THE MUFFIN MAAANN!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

One of my favourite parts of Shrek, the interrogation scene with the the Gingerbread Man.  Anyway, muffins are a great way of sneakily getting fruit into people.  Here’s a recipe for wholesome blueberry and apple muffins.  You can substitute with different fruits of choice, maybe blackberries instead of the blueberries or you could just do an all Apple variety, just use 2 grated apples instead of one and omit the berries.  Throw in a pinch of cinnamon with the apples while you’re at it.

Ingredients:

175g plain flour

100g wholemeal flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch salt

85g blueberries

1 large apple, grated

275mls milk

75mls sunflower oil

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Line a bun tray or muffin tin with cases.  2.  Place the flours, salt and baking powder into a large bowl.  (You can sift in the plain but not the wholemeal flour as it’s too coarse).     3. In another bowl, add your eggs, sunflower oil, milk and vanilla extract and with an electric mixer or whisk, beat until frothy.  4. Add the wet mixture to the bowl of dry ingredient and stir carefully until just incorporated.  Stir in the grated apple and blueberries.  5. Spoon mixture into cases, being careful not to over fill.  Bake in your preheated oven for 25 minutes or so or until a skewer comes out clean.  Depending on the size or your bun cases/ muffin cases, very large muffins will take longer ao add on another 5 minutes.  Allow to cool in tthe tin for a few minutes before putting onto a wire rack.  If you’re not run ragged and heading to work post school run,  be sure to have at least one muffin aside for yourself for that hard earned cup of tea.

image

Eggs.  My children are big fans.  We regularly have eggy breakfasts such as omlettes, pancakes, French toast or the trusty frittata.  You can add lots of things to a frittata; tomatoes, ham, peppers, cooked bacon, cheese, mushrooms or finely chopped spinach.  My favourite is broccoli (leftover, steamed from dinner the night before!) and cheese.  Preheat your grill and be sure to use a smallish, non stick frying pan.  You want your frittata to be thick, like a pastry-less quiche and it will get lost on a larger pan.  In a large jug or bowl, gently whisk 4 medium eggs, a splash of milk and a good handful of grated cheddar.   Season with salt and black pepper. Throw in your broccoli.  Heat a little oil on your frying pan and add the mixture.  The egg will start to cook very quickly and when the bottom part starts to set and take on a nice golden colour, use a fish slice to gently lift it up and let the runny, uncooked part slide in under to cook.   After a few minutes, most of the egg will be cooked, apart from the very top.  Pop your pan under the grill to finish that off, adding an extra little sprinkling of grated cheese to the top if you wish.  Allow to cool a little before eating/ slicing and placing in lunchbox.

image

“Bressie’s Top 5 Tips for Positive Mental Health”

Wellanicity

Niall BreslinThis weekend myself and three of the girls travelled to Dublin to attend the inaugural “Wellfest” health and fitness festival that took place in the leafy, affluent, suburbs of Herbert Park. I had intended that my post this week was either going to a recipe, which I had already drafted, or was going to revolve around my trip to Paris last week. Instead, after hearing Bessie’s talk about his own mental health issues and how he once broke his own arm in an attempt to avoid playing a rugby game, I felt compelled to share what he had to say on a topic which frankly, is more interesting, and important, than my current obsession with Halloumi or my recent over indulgence in French pastries!

View original post 586 more words

Apple and Pecan Muesli with Warmed Maple Milk

I’m always messing around with muesli combinations and when I hit on this one a few days ago I was a very happy lady.  The blend of nutty pecans, fresh apple and maple syrup are an unquestionably harmonious trio.  Bring them together with some warm milk (a taste sensation reminiscent of  being a child on a cold school morning, thawing gradually whilst huddled up against a roaring solid fuel cooker) and then add some sweet maple syrup.  In my mind, all of this makes for a breakfast experience akin to a great big hug where you feel snug and loved and secure and happy.

image

Ingredients (for one):

50g porridge oats

half an apple, grated

15g raisins

30g pecan nuts, roughly chopped

Step one: throw all of the above into a bowl!

Step two: In a small saucepan on a medium heat, place 150mls milk, 2 capfuls of maple syrup and a pinch of cinnamon.  Warm through.

Step three: Pour milk over muesli and enjoy!

Lemon and Lime Madeira Cake

image

Summer is in it’s final days and many of us on this fair island are seeing it out with a foreboding sense of disappointment.  Without being too glum, it’s fair to say that Summer didn’t really arrive at all this year.  According to Met Eireann, it has been one of the coldest since records began.  Lovely.  Here’s a little recipe that might inject some citrussy sunshine into your day.  The weather might be atrocious but there’s nothing quite as nice a as a big slice of cake while you look out the window at the wind and rain. Wash it down with a big, steaming mug of tea.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

90g butter softened

90g margarine softened

175g caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 eggs, lightly beaten

zest and juice of 1 large lemon and 2 limes

225g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

For the Icing:

75g icing sugar

Juice of one lemon and one lime

  1.  Grease and line a loaf tin with parchment or baking paper and preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
  2. In a large bowl with a food mixer, add the butter, margarine and sugar and beat until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and then add the eggs a little at a time, beating well in between each addition.
  4. Add the citrus juices and then sift in the flour and baking powder.  Fold it in, taking care not to over mix as this will make the cake too heavy.
  5. Put the mixture into the loaf tin and place on the middle shelf of the oven for about 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.  Once out of the oven, allow it to cool in the tin for a few minutes before removing and peeling off the parchment paper.  Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. To make the icing:  in a small bowl, combine the icing sugar and lemon and lime juices.  Stir well and spread over the cooled cake.

10 Sneaky Ways to get your Children to Eat more Fruit and Vegetables

IMG_2147

We’ve all been there; you lovingly prepare a beautiful, cooked from scratch meal and you’re thrilled with yourself.  The children are seated and starving and you present them with a wholesome, delicious dish (that has left the kitchen look like a bomb went off).  Then, the whining starts and they pout as they push the food around their plates.  Mere minutes later, your positivity has turned to dust and you’re frazzled; big time.  Your smile is so strained it’s hurting your face and you’re talking through gritted teeth “just try it please!!!!”  You want to run upstairs and scream into a pillow but you power through and by the end of it, you feel as deflated as a Christmas balloon on the 6th January as you scrape most of it into the bin you ask yourself why you bother at all.  Yet you do, and you try again and again. Sound familiar?

We all want what’s best for our children; for them to be nourished and healthy but mealtimes can be an unmerciful battleground.   Throw into the mix their individual palates so what one child will gobble up, another will shun.  My own kids have very different tastes with the smaller one being especially fussy.  I’ve come up with a few ideas that I’ve roadtested with varying degrees of success; some work a treat and others not so much but hey, what doesn’t work for one parent just might work for another.

1. Soup.  My small guy loves it, he’s reared on the stuff.  He will not eat a vegetable on a plate but once they’re pulverised into a smooth, silky soup he unknowingly consumes the following; carrots, broccoli, peppers, courgettes, spinach, turnip, celery, onions, asparagus and so on.  Whatever veggies are on special offer, whatever veggies are looking lonesome at the bottom of the fridge go into soups so I have no single, definitive recipe for basic, vegetable soup.  It can be hard to make soup tasty however, and the ready made soups in the supermarkets can have a lot of salt in them.  To make your soup delicious be sure to sauté plenty of onions at the beginning in a little oil and a good knob of real butter.  Allow the onions to brown and caramelise; it really makes a difference to the end flavour.  Adding garlic helps too.  Also, use some fresh herbs and chicken stock (vegetable stock if you’re vegetarian); it takes the taste to another level entirely.

2.  Different shapes.  Vegetables and fruits that are in a variety of shapes are more appealing to kids.  Bonus points if you can turn them into funny faces or characters.

3.  Ice lollies.  Yes you read correctly.  You can buy those ice lolly mounds and make your own by boiling up some mixed fruits with a little sugar, allow to cool, fill and freeze. If you’re using berries just remember to strain out any seeds through a sieve before filling the moulds.

4. Juices and smoothies; perhaps not too many as they can be high in sugar but they can certainly help.  If you happen to own a juicer or food processor with a juicing attachment you can blend veggies too.  Kale and pineapple taste great together (honestly!) as do carrot and orange.

5.  Pastas.  You may need to go to a gourmet food store but you can get pasta with spinach or tomato already in it.

6.  Minced beef is your friend; it can disguise a multitude of covert vegetables.  If you’re making shepherd’s pie or spaghetti bolognaise then very finely chop some carrots and peppers and throw them in.  When the pieces are tiny enough they blend seamlessly with the bits of meat, their disguise enhanced further by the sauce you add.

7.  Sauces.  My basic, tomato sauce that I make for pastas and pizzas has secret carrots, courgettes and peppers tucked away in there.  Once the sauce is liquidised, CSI wouldn’t be able to find a trace of them.

8.  Meatloaf.  Similar to the minced beef theory, the very finely chopped veggies  fly under the radar of suspicious children.  It can be eaten cold or hot so can leftovers can be added to the lunchbox the next day.  Search online for  plenty of recipe options.

9.  Presentation.  We eat with our eyes, first and foremost.  While you don’t need to be a Michelin starred chef adding fancy foams and edible flowers, if a meal looks appetising then you’re off to a good start.  I have a few little ceramic dishes and jars that I put peas and messy veggies into and place these on the plates. I find they eat more veg this way rather than chasing random veggies around a plate.  I stack carrot batons, homemade wedges and chips  so they look a bit like a game of Jenna and they love that too.

10.  Involvement.  It’s been said so many times over but it’s true; getting your kids to help with cooking will make them more likely to try different foods.  It gives them a sense of ownership over the process and instills an understanding of the work involved in creating a healthy meal.  I read an article once about a top chef, Michael Voltaggio, who runs one of the hottest restaurants in Los Angeles; he was the pickiest eater as a child so never give up hope!!!

 

Coconut Citrus Flapjacks

image

I have always been forthcoming about my oat obsession.  I can’t help it and I believe it’s because I was a horse in a former life.  I will eat anything with oats; muesli, porridge, cookies, cakes or flapjacks.  Flapjacks have enjoyed renewed popularity in recent years and there’s no denying their deliciousness.  I love them with a cup of tea and they are an easy to make, wholesome lunchbox filler for little people.  Flappjacks have been around for quite a while however, since at least the 17th Century.  The bould Willie Shakespeare himself was a divil for the flapjacks.  He even wrote about them in Act 2, Scene 1 of Pericles, Prince of Tyre.

” Come, thou shan’t go home, and we’ll have flesh for holidays, fish for fasting days, and moreo’er puddings and flapjacks and thou shalt be welcome”

Flapjacks typically require a lot of butter in their making and while I love butter (almost as much as I love oats!) too much of it can make your flapjacks oily and heavy.  I wanted to come up with a lighter alternative and wracked my brains until a big, shiny lightbulb went off over my head and I came up with coconut oil.  I recently started using it when cooking in a bid to be a little healthier and it’s versatility has been a revelation.  It works brilliantly for things like stir fries as it has a high smoke point but it’s fantastic for baking too.  This flapjack recipe also uses eggs, which I find helps make the flapjacks rise a bit and give them a lovely, chewy texture.

Ingredients:

125g oats

85g desiccated coconut

100g caster sugar

70g coconut oil

juice and zest of half a lemon and half a lime

pinch salt

2 eggs, beaten lightly

1.  Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius and line a large baking tray with grease proof paper.  2.  Using a bowl in the microwave or in a small pan, gently melt the coconut oil at a medium heat.  3. In a large bowl, place all your dry ingredients and mix.  4. Add the eggs to the dry ingredients, along with the lemon and lime juice and zest and the melted coconut oil.  5.  Mix really well (the mixture will be quite wet).  6.  Place large spoonfuls in big blobs on the lined baking tray and bake on the middle shelf for about 15 minutes, until golden.  7.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy xxx

Eat like an Italian!

I have a great fondness for Italian food.  I think it has an integrity to it, an honesty that celebrates the provenance of it’s origins and this is something that all food producers should take seriously.   My husband and I spent a few years travelling and working overseas on cruise liners before we got married, docking many times in different Italian ports.  We have great memories of indulging in spectacular food and wine, all served up with a passion for good cooking and good quality, local ingredients.  When Paul and I decided to get married abroad, Italy really was the only option for us.  We exchanged vows in the tiny 17th century chapel of San Pietro in Positano, perched on the edge of a rocky cliff overlooking the Bay of Naples on Italy’s stunning Amalfi coast.  The venue for our reception was the exquisite Ristorante Caruso in Sorrento, where Paolo Esposito and his amazing crew took great care of us.  Course after course of divine indulgence saw us and our 40 guests celebrate the occasion in true Italian style and the meal went on for well over four hours!  To this day (almost nine years later) our guests comment on the food that day.  A real testament to fantastic cooking and the wonderful memories it can bring.   Cooking Italian food at home is something I enjoy doing and our children are big fans of it too.  Some day we’ll bring them to visit where Mam and Dad got married but in the mean time, we will have to bring Italy to our own kitchen table in Ireland!    Authentic Italian food and ingredients can be tricky to come by in this part of the world so imagine my delight when I recently encountered http://www.ufuud.co.uk   They stock REAL Italian food, everything from oils to pastas, cheeses, meats, all manner of condiments and more.  They ship all over Europe and last week I was the excited recipient of some gorgeous pecorino cheese, aged Parma ham, pasta and an intriguing little jar of creamed white truffles with porcini.  Here are my ideas for bringing a little bit of Bella Italia to your kitchen!

Breakfast
Steamed Asparagus and aged Parma Ham with a Poached Egg

Ingredients (per person)
4 or 5 spears of asparagus
couple of slices of Parma ham
1 large poached egg
Seasoning

1. Put a small pot of water on to boil for poaching your egg and get your steamer on.
2. Trim the woody ends off your asparagus and steam it for 4 to 5 minutes. Try not to overcook it, soggy asparagus is horrific! It should still have a good bite to it.
3. While the asparagus is steaming, poach your egg. I do this by gently cracking andd dropping the egg into barely simmering, salted water. If the water is bubbling too much, the egg will break up
into pieces. Poach for about 4 to 5 minutes, ensuring it’s ready about the same time as the asparagus!
4. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove your poached egg and pat dry with some kitchen paper. Take up your asparagus and arrange on a plate with the Parma ham and egg. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil if you wish. Serve with a mug of decent coffee or tea and enjoy.

image

Pasta
Spaghetti with Pan Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Basil and Pecorino

Ingredients (per person)
100g to 150g dried pasta/ spaghetti (how much depends on how hungry you are!)
10 to 15 of the juiciest, best cherry tomatoes you can get. Quality is important, especially as there are so few components in this dish.
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped or minced
Few gluts of olive oil
100g of the best pecorino cheese. I got some gorgeous stuff, encased in ashes with the most wonderfully deep flavours. It’s on the UFUUD website http://www.ufuud.co.uk
A few fresh basil leaves, torn
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

1. Put a pan of salted water on and bring to the boil. Add the pasta. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, making sure it’s “Al dente”, meaning there should be a little bite to it.
2. Heat some olive oil on a pan and add the garlic and cherry tomatoes. Toss to avoid the garlic sticking and burning. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes and set aside. Grate the pecorino cheese.
3. When the pasta is cooked, drain but keep in some of the pasta water. Add most of the grated pecorino and mix through the pasta and water. This will create a sauce. Add the tomatoes and plate up. Tear the basil leaves and scatter over the pasta with the remaining pecorino and a few good twists of freshly ground black pepper.

image

Pork Fillet with mushrooms and a White Truffle Cream Sauce

This dish was road tested on my beloved older sister who was a truffle Virgin and doesn’t really like pork.  A bit of a challenge I’d say! She was very quiet all the time eating away and when I looked over at her at the end of the meal, she was licking her plate.    To say she liked it is an understatement so I’m thrilled to be sharing this recipe.  It’s also very, very easy thanks to one spectacular little ingredient in the form of this.

image

This stuff is amazing.  It has that intense, distinctive aroma unique to white truffles that swirls up out of the jar to greet you the second you open it.  I pan fried some pork fillet which I cut into 2 cm thick medallions, seasoned just with salt and freshly ground black pepper and did them for about 2 minutes each side in hot olive oil and a knob of butter.  I finished them off by placing them in a roasting dish, covered in tin foil in a preheated oven (170 degrees Celsius) for 8 to 10 minutes.  The pan frying has the effect of sealing the meat and getting some delicious, golden colour on the meat and the oven gently finishes the meat off by steaming it in a way.  The result is juicy, moist pork.  While the pork is finishing off in the oven, make your truffle cream sauce.  All you need is:

about 1 level teaspoon of La Tartufata per person

a few sliced button mushrooms (about 4 to 5 per person)

single cream/ cooking cream (about 100 to 150mls per person)

some finely chopped fresh parsley to serve.

Using the pan you cooked your pork in (you want to incorporate the lovely meat juices into the sauce), heat a little more butter over a medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5-6 minutes.  Add the cream and La Tartufata and mix through.  Add a little of the fresh parsley (about half a handful).  Season to taste.  Serve over the pork medallions with the remaining parsley scattered over alongside potatoes and vegetables of your choice.

Asparagus and Pecorino Tart

For the shortcrust pastry base:

200g plain flour

120g butter or margarine and a little extra for greasing

pinch salt

100-150mls cold water

The base can be made ahead of time, which is really handy.

Filling ingredients:

8 asparagus spears, woody stems removed and washed.

3 large eggs

100mls milk

125g pecorino, grated

half a red pepper, chopped into chunks and roasted (optional)

1. To make the pastry, add the salt and flour to a large bowl.

2. Next, rub in the butter or margarine into the flour using the tips of your fingers.

3. When it resembles fine breadcrumbs, add a little water.  Use a knife to mix through to make the dough.  Add a little water at a time until the pastry dough comes together without being wet.  Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.  Grease a flan dish or quiche tine with butter.  The dish should roughly be the diameter of a fairly large dinner plate.

5.  Steam the asparagus for about 3- 4 minutes (you only want it partially cooked so it doesn’t over cook later when it’s continuing to cook in the tart).

6.   In a large jug, combine the milk and eggs and season well with salt and black pepper.  Whisk well to combine.

7.  Once your pastry has chilled, remove from the fridge and cling film and on a floured surface, roll out until it will fit the size of the dish.  Carefully peel it back from the worktop.  I find it helps to do this draping it over the back of the rolling pin.  Fit it into the dish, tucking the sides in.  Remove the excess pastry draping over the sides using a knife.

8.  On the pastry in the dish, place a sheet of baking paper/ grease proof paper, smooth side down.  Place baking beads (if you don’t have these then dried peas or beans of even rice will do!).

9.  Place in the middle of the preheated oven for 7-8 minutes.  Remove the paper and beads and bake for another 5 minutes.

10.  Remove the dish with the pastry case from the oven and scatter the pecorino cheese over the base.  On top of this, arrange the asparagus spears in the shape of a wheel.  Pour over the milk and egg mixture and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the middle of the tart is set and no longer wobbling.

Serve with salad, hot or cold.  The tart is lovely for supper or lunch and if you’re picnicking or dining Al fresco, all the better!

image

Roast Moroccan Lamb with Yoghurt and Mint Dressing

Spring has sprung, the clocks have leapt forward, daffodils are in abundance and Easter is here.  Time for an excuse to cook up a seasonal feast of monumental proportions.  Lambs frolicking in the fields mean they are at their tastiest at this time of year (sorry vegetarians) and I always associate Easter dinners with lamb.  Last Sunday saw me test drive a new recipe incorporating some exotic Moroccan flavours into the meat and it proved very popular.  My mother in law (who ordinarily shuns lamb) couldn’t stop eating it so that’s endorsement enough for me!  I used a lamb leg fillet, which happily fed 4 adults and 2 small boys but you could double the marinade quantities if you’re cooking a full lamb leg for a larger audience.

Ingredients:

lamb leg fillet (approx 1.2 kilos)

2 cloves garlic

3 heaped teaspoons of Ras Al Hanout spice blend (I got mine in an ethnic food shop but in the absence of this just use 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin, coriander and cinnamon).

1 teaspoon honey

juice of half a lemon

half teaspoon salt

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

For the dressing combine the following and season with salt and black pepper:

200g natural yoghurt

1 tablespoon mint sauce (from a jar is fine)

1.  To make the marinade, finely chop the garlic and combine with the rest of the ingredients.  Rub all over the meat a few hours before cooking if possible.

2.  To cook the meat, place in a preheated oven (200 degrees) uncovered for the first 20 minutes.  Then, turn the heat down to.180 degrees and cover with tin foil for the remaining cooking time.  Allow 45 minutes per kilo plus an additional 20 minutes.  This will give you slighty pink meat.  Add another 15-20 minutes if you want brown meat!

3.  While the meat is cooking, prepare whatever accompanying vegetables and some roast potatoes.  I went with some steamed green beans, creamed carrot and parsnip, boiled baby potatoes and roast potatoes (which I like to do in beef dripping).

4.  Once your meat is cooked, allow it to stand for at least half an hour before serving with your dressing and sides of choice.

Happy Easter!

image

Wholemeal And Oat Blueberry Scones

It’s no secret that I love oats and oat flour has been a bit of a revelation for me. I have used it to make bread, cookies and cakes and reveled in the fact that it’s a little bit better for you than the white flour alternative. It’s simple to make, just whizz up some porridge oats in a blender or food processor and that’s it.   Store it in an airtight container until you’re ready to use it. When you use oat flour in baking it adds a satisfying, nutty dimension which I adore. I recently used it to whip up some  scones which I had for breakfast a few mornings smothered in butter and my mother’s blackberry jam.   They were gorgeous if I do say so myself.  They made for a tasty change from my usual morning meal but they would be fab with afternoon tea as well.  They’re a great way of using up those blueberries lurking about that are a little bit withered and not terribly enticing (but you don’t want to throw out!).

This recipe will give you 5-6 medium sized scones.

175g wholemeal flour

175g oat flour

1 level teaspoon bread soda

pinch salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar

50g butter, cold and cut into cubes

125 g blueberries

200mls buttermilk

1 egg, lightly beaten for glazing

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.  Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. Rub in the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3.  Add the blueberries and give a little stir through.

4.  Make a well in the centre and add the buttermilk.  Stir.

5.  Do not over mix the dough.  It will be quite wet and sticky so coat your hands in some flour before patting it into a 2 inch thick slab on a surface dusted with flour.

6.  Lightly dust a baking tray with some oat flour and place in the oven for a couple of minutes.

7.  Cut the dough into round shapes using a cutter dusted with flour or into triangles with a very sharp knife.

8.  Place on the warm baking tray and brush with the beaten egg.  Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until well risen and golden.  Allow to cool a little before placing on a wire rack.  Serve with butter and jam and if you’re having a decadent afternoon tea, top with some whipped cream.

IMG_1671.JPG