Archive for October, 2009

:: Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

I’m in Sweden until Monday and I had planned a few more Halloween recipes to stick up on the blog, unfortunately the combination of loosing my power adaptor and lots of travelling meant that I didn’t get round to actually posting them.  Sweden doesn’t really celebrate Halloween and it is seen mainly as an American holiday but seeing as I grew up with the tradition of carving pumpkins, I thought it was high time my Swedish friends got their carve on!

Sofie and I spent the day yesterday searching for the perfect pumpkins to bring over to her little cousins who were very excited at the idea of gutting the pumpkins!  In fairness to Sweden they have a great selection of pumpkins on offer and it’s not all the generic ones we get in the supermarket in Ireland.

After a lot of searching and mini breakdown from Sofie, we finally found two big fat orange pumpkins!  It was lots of fun carving the pumpkins with Niklas and Jonas but my favourite part of the whole process is making these delicious toasted seeds!

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

These seeds are my perfect little alloween snack and they are far more healthy than your average Halloween treats!  Try experimenting with flavours, I have yet to make a sweet version of these but I’m pretty sure they would work good too.

Serves about 4 people as a snack
The seeds of 2 pumpkins
3 tablespoons of melted butter
2 teaspoons of chilli powder
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons of sea salt

Remove the seeds from the pumpkin, place in a colander and rinse with water until they are clean.
Shake off any excess water and place the seeds on a dry tea towel and pat dry.
Place the seeds in a large roasting tray and pour over the melted butter.
Sprinkle the seeds with the chilli powder, cayenne pepper and sea salt.
Toss the seeds until they are all thoroughly coated.
Place in the oven to toast for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool, though to be honest sometimes they taste the best straight out of the oven!  Just watch out for burned fingers!

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October 31, 2009 at 4:41 pm 8 comments

:: Pumpkin and Crispy Pancetta Risotto

Last month we stayed at Grouse Lodge, (the recording studios Michael Jackson used while he stayed in Ireland, don’t you know!) to record Industry’s new material which will be released in the UK. Now, when I’m “on the road” with the band I am usually fairly starved for foodie delights, however the lovely folks who own Grouse prepare the most amazing homecooked food! Not only that but they also have their own apple orchard, vegetable garden, and even a giant pumpkin patch. Not to mention the ducks and chickens which roam around keeping an eye on everything!

As you can imagine, I was fairly excited and spent every opportunity out taking pictures of the amazing garden! We had breakfast, lunch and dinner all freshly prepared, but one of my favourite meals was the delicious risotto which made a really tasty lunch. This is my version of it!

Pumpkin and Crispy Pancetta Risotto

I absolutely love this recipe, it is a real cosy dish, which leaves you full, satisfied and warm. Risotto may seem a little tricky, but it’s just a case of giving it your full attention and slowly incorporating the liquid, so give it a go! If you can’t get your hands on pancetta slices, use smoked streaky bacon.

Serves 4

850g pumpkin, cut into slices
A few fresh sage leaves
3 garlic cloves, roughly sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 slices of pancetta
1 litre of chicken stock
150g butter
1 red onion, finely chopped
300g risotto rice
75ml white wine
150g parmesan freshly grated
A good pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220oC/425oF/Gas Mark 7.
Peel and gut the pumpkin and cut into slices. Make sure to save the seeds they are super tasty roasted with a little butter and sea salt.
Place the pumpkin on a roasting tray with the garlic, sage, salt and pepper, toss together.
Cover with tin foil and bake until soft for about 50 minutes.
10 minutes before the pumpkin is ready remove from the oven, lay the pancetta over the pumpkin and place bake in the oven till crisp.
Melt 75g of the butter and the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the onion until soft for about 15 minutes.
Add the rice and off the heat stir through until it is totally coated with the onion mix.
Return to the heat, add enough stock to cover the rice and simmer stirring until the rice has absorbed nearly all the liquid.
Continue to add a little more stock at a time until it is all absorbed. This should take about 15 minutes, until the rice has a creamy coating.
Add the remaining butter, roast pumpkin, white wine, garlic and parmesan. Gently stir though.
Serve immediately.

October 27, 2009 at 1:02 am 7 comments

:: Good Mood Food Cookbook Competition!

To celebrate the official launch of my very first cookbook “Good Mood Food” last week, I have a signed copy up for grabs! The book is now available in all good Irish bookshops and online for international visitors, via Amazon UK, Amazon US, and Play.com EU.

Good Mood Food is a cookbook that I hope will change your attitude to food, offering over 100 delicious simple, healthy home-cooked recipes. Good Mood Food such as Broad Bean, Pancetta and Pea Shoot Salad, Cookies and Cream Chocolate Chip Oreo Cupcakes, Blueberry and Banana Muffins, and a tasty Aromatic Duck Salad.

In order to get your hands on an exclusive signed copy, simply fill in your details below and submit the answer to the following question:

What month did I first start posting on this blog?
A: January
B: June
C: July

Your Name
Your Email Address
Your Answer

A winner will be chosen at random from all the entries, one entry per person, and the competition closes 3rd of November at 12pm! Best of luck and remember you gotta be in to win! πŸ™‚

October 26, 2009 at 8:00 am 9 comments

:: Good Mood Food: The Big Book Launch!

Apologies for the delay in this post, I am still try to get over all the excitement.  The launch of the cook book took place on Wednesday evening and it really got a great turnout, I was so thrilled!  So now it’s official the book is finally launched!  I have to say a huge thank you to everyone who came along on the night, it was so lovely to meet regular readers of the blog, and of course all my fellow Twits who attended too! 

With the help my lovely aunt, we provided the nibbles, inspired by recipes in the book.  We had Lemon and Poppyseed Cupcakes, Swedish Cinnamon Buns, and Roast Vegetables and Feta Crostini!

Niamh Hatton from Mercier Press spoke briefly about the book and the other books they had coming up in the next few months, she was followed by Eoin Purcell who commissioned the book way back at the start of 2008 and spoke about working on the book!  Normally I prefer to speak off the cuff at these sort of events but there was so many people I had to thank, that I knew I had to write it all down!
Thanks to everyone who turned up, hope you like the pics taken by the lovely Aoife Nathan!

October 24, 2009 at 2:54 pm 8 comments

:: Winner Of Confit De France Products!

Big congrats to Ronan B who won a delicious tin of confit duck legs with thanks to Confit De France!

I have a competition which is very close to my heart coming up so stay tuned! πŸ™‚

October 23, 2009 at 11:21 am 2 comments

:: Hearty Minestrone Soup

I have a few winter warming dishes coming up but this recipe is actually taken from the book and was featured on Georgina Campbell’s Ireland Guide website. Plus I got a request in the comments section so I just couldn’t resist!

Hearty Minestrone Soup
This is a perfect winter meal solution, full of tasty vegetables, and filling thanks to the
pasta. I use wholewheat spaghetti, but feel free to add other shapes like fusilli or pasta elbows instead. If you don’t have any paprika, you can get a bit of spice by adding a dash of tabasco sauce, or a good pinch of dried chilli flakes.

Serves 4
1 courgette, chopped into small chunks
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 x 410g tins cannellini beans
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped into small chunks
2 litres/4 pints homemade chicken stock
75g/3oz wholewheat spaghetti, broken into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons of olive oil
A good pinch of paprika
A good pinch of sea salt

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and fry the garlic cloves and onion for 2
minutes or until they become soft.
Stir in the celery, carrots and courgette and cook for five minutes. Add the
chopped tomatoes and chicken stock, and bring to the boil, then reduce the
heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the wholewheat spaghetti, paprika and cannellini beans. Give the
soup a good stir and cover. Cook gently for a further 10 minutes or until
the pasta is cooked.
Season with a little sea salt and serve straightaway with a good chunk of
wholemeal bread and enjoy!

October 19, 2009 at 8:57 pm 8 comments

:: Good Mood Food on Radio!

The “Good Mood Food” book has been getting a great reaction so far, here are some of the interviews I did this week on Irish radio to promote it!

October 17, 2009 at 10:33 am 2 comments

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