:: Radio Interviews: Ryan Tubridy, Ian Dempsey, Beat 102-103

November 5, 2009 at 12:01 pm Leave a comment

:: Chocolate Pumpkin and Pecan Brownies

I promise no more pumpkin recipes up on the blog for while after today’s recipe!  But I did save the best till last!  These pumpkin brownies are so delicious, you just have to try them.  I didn’t manage to get my hands on pumpkin puree so I made my own.  I slowly roasted the pumpkin until it was soft, scraped out the flesh, then I puréed the mixture and passed it through a sieve.  Unfortunately my homemade purée didn’t have that authentic neon orange colour that you see in American food photo’s so you will have to allow me a little artistic creativity, as I did play around a little with the colours in the photos.

Chocolate, pumpkin and pecan brownies

Recipe from The Daily Mail

Makes about 20 squares
For the pumpkin mixture:
25g butter
75g cream cheese
100g caster sugar
1 egg
100ml pumpkin purée
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2tsp ground ginger
75g plain flour

For the chocolate mixture:
200g unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs
300g granulated sugar
2tsp vanilla extract
125g plain flour
Pinch of salt
100g pecans, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
Grease and line a rectangular baking tin, approximately 20cm x 30cm (8-12in) and 3-4cm (1 1/4-1 1/2in) deep, with greaseproof or parchment paper.
To make the pumpkin mixture, beat all the ingredients together until smooth. Keep to one side.
For the chocolate mixture, melt the butter and chocolate together, either in a bowl over a pan of simmering water or gently in the microwave.
In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract with an electric hand whisk until thick and creamy.
Mix in the melted chocolate and butter. Finally, stir in the flour, salt and pecans.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the lined baking tin and level off the surface.
Using a tablespoon, drop dollops of the pumpkin mixture all over the top, and then, using the back of a table knife, loosely swirl it into the chocolate mixture.
Place in the oven and cook for about 25 minutes, until the top is cracking and the centre is just set.
Leave to cool in the tin for 40-45 minutes before cutting into bite-sized squares.

November 4, 2009 at 6:55 pm 15 comments

:: Winner of the signed copy of Good Mood Food!

Big Congrats to Mary Donnelly who won the signed copy of Good Mood Food! The competition had a huge 264 entries so thanks a million if you entered. Due to the success of this competition I may just have to put another one up for grabs next month, so if you weren’t successful make sure to check back to try again!

If you just can’t wait to get your hands on a copy, the book is in all good Irish bookshops and for international readers you can purchase online via Mercier Press, Amazon UK, Amazon US, and Play.com Europe.

November 3, 2009 at 12:35 pm Leave a comment

:: Harumi’s Green Beans With A Sesame Dressing

I have recently been introduced to the amazing Harumi Kurihara, who is Japan’s answer to the UK’s Delia Smith or America’s Martha Stewart.  The lovely folks over at Octopus Books sent me a copy of her latest book “Everyday Harumi” to review and I can safely say I’m already hooked. If your a regular reader of the blog you’ll know that I have a thing for Asian recipes so it’s no suprise I am in love with this woman! Pssst….Don’t tell my girlfriend 🙂

From the sounds of things she is all set to make waves in the UK and Ireland and bring an authentic look at real Japanese homecooking. I think the beauty of the book is its simplicity and of course the brilliant recipes which inspire rather than alienate. Check out this delicious recipe from the book. Also stay tuned to the blog, there may be a new book competition coming your way this week! 🙂

Green Beans With A Sesame Dressing

I love using both white and black sesame seeds in my recipes, they add texture, aroma, taste and colour.  I use a lot of sesame when cooking, and preparing vegetables with a sesame dressing is very common in Japan.  I always prepare the dressing in advance and keep some in the refridgerator ready for use.  Sesame seeds should always be toasted before use, taking care not to burn them.  It gives them an extra special flavour and makes them easier to make into a paste.  If you cannot find sesame seeds or paste, you can use peanut butter or tahini as a substitute.  Please experiment with this dressing, try combining it with other ingrediens such as rice vinegar, miso paste or dashi stock to make new sauces and dressings.

Serves 4
200g green beans

For the sesame dressing
50g toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
1/2 tablespoon of mirin
1/2-1 tablespoon of soy sauce
salt- to season

Prepare the green beans, lightly cook in a pan of boiling water with a little salt, then drain and rinse under cold running water and pat dry.
To make the seame dressing: Put the sesame seeds into a mortar preferably a Japanese mortar with a grooved interior.  Grind the seeds until they are almost a paste then add the sugar, mirin and soy sauce and mix well.  Add a little salt if needed.
Mix the sesame dressing in with the freen beans and serve.
The paste can also be made in a food processor but care should be taken not to overprocess.

November 2, 2009 at 2:45 pm 3 comments

:: 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!

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! 🙂

October 26, 2009 at 8:00 am 9 comments

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