Archive for March, 2009

:: Soft Boiled Egg with Home Fries

Even the most easy going people are always quite particular when it comes to how they like their eggs.  Scrambled, fried, over easy, poached, baked, everyone has their favourite. Sorry to get personal but I’m a soft boiled egg kind of guy, who loves nothing more than a drippy yolk and something to dip with.  These home fries are a delicious accompaniement to the perfect soft boiled egg.  I first tried home fries in Florida where it came as part of the pretty standard American breakfast, and although a little heavy to be eating so early on in the day, they are delicious.

Soft Boiled Egg with Home Fries

Home fries can easily be adapted to whatever you may have in your fridge, add some bacon pieces, some finely chopped red pepper, or even some mushrooms.  I generally boil the potatoes ahead of time the night before, as the whole process can seem a little more work for a breakfast meal when done all at once.

Serves 2 people.
3 large potatoes.
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
1 onion, finely chopped.
2 eggs.

Chop the potatoes in half and place in a large pot with a lid.  Cover the potatoes in water and bring to the boil over a high heat.  When the potatoes come to the boil lower the heat so the water comes to a steady simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the potato is nice and tender when poked with a fork.  Drain the potatoes and carefully chop into bitesize chunks.  Prepare the onion and gently fry in a large frying pan with a tablespoon of oil over a medium heat for about 2 minutes or until the onion softens and begins to take colour.  Add the potato pieces and fry on all sides for about 6-8 minutes or until the pieces are all nicely browned.  Place the two eggs into a small pot and cover with water and bring to the boil.  When the water begins to boil, set a timer for 3 minutes.  After 3 minutes drain the eggs under cold water and serve alongside a generous portion of home fries.

March 31, 2009 at 10:27 pm 10 comments

:: Homemade Paprika Roast Potato Chips

Homemade Paprika Roast Potato Chips

When it comes to snack foods, everyone has their weakness, mine just so happens to be these homemade potato chips. 

Makes enough for 4 portions, or one giant selfish one!
5 rooster potatoes cut into chips.
3 tablespoons of olive oil.
2 teaspoons of paprika.
1 tablespoon of ground black pepper.
1 tablespoon of sea salt.

Preheat the oven to 200oC.
Cut the potatoes into chips about 1cm in thickness.  Spread the potato chips evenly over two large non stick baking trays.  Try and give the chips as much space as possible, this will make them extra crispy.  Drizzle the oil over the chips and toss until they are all combined.  Sprinkle over the paprika, pepper, salt and toss again.  Place in the oven and roast for 40-50 minutes or until crispy and golden.
Serve straightaway as a tasty snack or alongside a main meal.

March 29, 2009 at 9:05 pm 7 comments

:: Honey and Sesame Duck

I absolutely love this combination of flavours, it’s sticky and sweet and everything I want on my roast duck!

Sesame Honey Duck with Broccoli

With just a few simple ingredients this is an easy dish to create and is really tasty.

Serves 2 portions
1 head of brocolli chopped into florets.
2 duck breasts.
1 teaspoon of sesame oil.
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds.
5 tablespoons of soya sauce.
3 tablespoons of honey.

In a small bowl, mix the soya sauce, sesame oil and the honey until combined. Place two duck breasts in a small roasting tray and brush over half the soya honey marinade. Place in the oven at 200°C for 25-30 minutes. In the last 10 minutes of the cooking time brush over the rest of the soya honey marinade, sprinkle with half the sesame seeds and finish cooking. When the duck is ready, remove from the roasting tray and allow to rest on a chopping board. Keep the roasting tray which should still be full of tasty duck flavours as this makes a great dressing for the broccoli, try to spoon off as much fat as possible. While the duck is cooking steam the broccoli for 4-5 minutes and remove from the heat. Tumble the broccoli florets into the roasting tray and toss gently until they are completely coated.  Slice the duck thinly and serve with the broccoli.  Sprinkle over some extra sesame seeds and enjoy!

March 24, 2009 at 8:00 am 10 comments

:: Spinach and Riccotta Stuffed Pasta Shells

This one goes down really well when entertaining! It’s an easy one to make ahead of time and stick in the fridge until you are ready to cook it.

Spinach and Riccotta Stuffed Pasta Shells

This is a delicious pasta dish, which is packed with fresh ingredients. It is a little bit tricky but the tastes are great and well worth the effort!

Serves 3-4 portions.
1 tablespoon of olive oil.
3 cloves of garlic chopped finely.
A good glug of red wine.
2 cans of chopped tomatoes.
A handful of fresh herbs chopped coarsely (Oregano, Parsley, Basil)
250g of large pasta shells.
250g of Ricotta cheese.
250g of steamed spinach.
A generous pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper.

Fry the garlic in the olive oil in a large frying pan for 30-40 seconds. Add the chopped tomatoes and and the red wine. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced and become thicker. Season with a little sea salt and black pepper and make sure to stir every few minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the pasta until al denté. While the pasta is cooking, mix the ricotta, herbs, steamed spinach, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl until everything is combined. Spread a layer of half the tomato sauce in a medium baking dish. When the pasta is cooked drain and allow to cool in a colander. Spoon a heaped teaspoon amount of the ricotta mixture into each one of the pasta shells and place in the baking tray. When you have added all the stuffed pasta shells to the baking tray, cover with the remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle over a handful of parmesan cheese and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese gets a nice colour.
Serve straight away with a crispy green salad.

March 23, 2009 at 7:00 am 9 comments

:: Mediterranean Roast Vegetables with Bulgar Wheat

I have to admit that I am a little bit obssessed with bulgar wheat at the moment, which is probably why you’re getting a second recipe using it here in two weeks. I have already raved about it’s health benifits, but have I mentioned it is so easy to make, and goes with practically everything? Well maybe not everything, but it still is one of my favourite ingredients! Have you tried it yet?

Mediterranean Roast Vegetables with Bulgar Wheat

Roast vegetables are delicious enough to be eaten on their own with just a little sea salt, but pair them up with some bulgar wheat and you have the makings a really delicious meal. You can use any roast veg here really, stuff like carrots, beetroot, or asparagus all work, but I really love the combination of aubergine, courgettes, red onion, and red pepper.

Serves 4-5 generous portions.
200g of bulgar wheat.
1 teaspoon of vegetable bouillon powder.
1 aubergine chopped into bitesize chunks.
2 courgettes chopped into bitesize chunks.
2 red onions chopped into bitesize chunks.
1 red pepper chopped into bitesize chunks.
2 tablespoons of olive oil.
A good pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper.

Place the bulgar wheat in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Stir through the vegetable bouillon powder, cover with a cloth or cling film and allow to sit for about 30 minutes or until all the water is soaked up. Preheat the oven to 200oC.  Add all the prepared vegetables to a large bowl and toss with the oil, sea salt and black pepper. Arrange the vegetables on a large non-stick low sided roasting tray, making sure not to overcrowd it, as this will make the vegetable pieces become soft. Place the roasting tray in the oven for approximately 40 minutes or until the vegetables become slightly scorched on the edges. Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool. Add the roast vegetable pieces to the bulgar wheat and stir gently to combine. You may want to season with a little extra sea salt and black pepper at this point. Serve the bulgar wheat as tasty side dish or a super lunch box filler.

March 19, 2009 at 9:55 am 12 comments

:: Swedish Cabbage Salad

I have a huge respect for the way people in Sweden view food. There is a major emphasis on eating well from a young age and also making the time to eat. While I worked as a chef in Gothenberg one of things that I was always impressed with was how, when lunch time rolled around, everything stopped and everybody working, from the kitchen porter to the restaurant manager, sat to eat a meal cooked by the head chef. The meals we ate were not just sloppy seconds, they were well thought out, healthy and delicious.

I’ve seen a similar emphasis on eating well being set in Swedish schools also, with fresh and healthy meals being produced for kids on a daily basis. When I went to school we were constantly served processed food with very few healthy options. I am aware that in Ireland many schemes have been introduced to teach kids about healthy options but it still does not seem to have a deep impact. In a world where we have more knowledge about food and it effects on the body than ever before, from what I can see our younger generations aren’t easily provided with healthy wholesome meals as standard. It can’t be hard to achieve and with with some simple planning this sort of eating can easily become common place. What do you think? How do schools in other countries approach healthy eating?

Swedish Cabbage Salad

In Sweden it is quite common for restaurants to provide diners with a salad buffet table to accompany any main meals ordered. This tangy salad is quite common and is one of my favourite Swedish side dishes.

Makes about 6-8 portions.
500g of Dutch Cabbage (About half a head of cabbage).
100ml of rapeseed oil.
4 tablespoons of malt vinegar.
1 tablespoon of sea salt.
3 tablespoons of ground black pepper.

Prepare the cabbage by slicing into thin pieces and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the rapeseed oil, vinegar, sea salt and ground pepper. Mix the cabbage until all the ingredients are combined. Taste a piece of cabbage, you may want to add another spoonful of vinegar or perhaps a little more black pepper. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge. It’s best to leave the salad for at least an hour or two or even over night. Serve cool as a tasty, healthy side dish.

March 18, 2009 at 2:55 pm 11 comments

:: Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Good Mood Food Irish Stew!

Happy Saint Patricks day!  If the Irish Brown Bread recipe didin’t whet your appetite try this delicious Irish stew which I posted back in November.  It was always the dish we traditionally ate on St. Patrick’s Day so try it out and enjoy! Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona dhuit!

Link: Good Mood Food Irish Stew!

March 17, 2009 at 10:57 am 6 comments

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