Friday, 28 October 2011

Panna Cotta

This is an easy dessert to make and looks great this recipe should make 6, it will last up to 4 days in the fridge depending on the freshness of the cream and milk used of course.

1 Vanilla Pod
400ml Light Cream
(or you could use 300ml light cream, 100ml whole milk)
100g Castor Sugar
2 Gelatine Leaves


  1. Line 6 moulds with cling film
  2. Soak the gelatine leaves in COLD water (until soft)
  3. Pour the cream into a pot with the vanilla pod and the castor sugar
  4. Bring to the boil
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, remove the vanilla pod
  6. Squeeze off the excess water from the gelatine
  7. Add the gelatine to the cream mix
  8. Strain and put into the cling moulds 
  9. Leave to set in the fridge for 2-4 hours
  10. You could serve with some fresh berries and some lemon shortbread, even some coulis alongside 

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

What's For Dinner? - Chili Con Carne

I love making this dish, it is great if you have no time at all, it can be made the night before and to be honest it has more intense flavours if it is made in advance. You can edit the spices in it to make it hotter or milder, you can serve this with just boiled or steamed rice or with some cous-cous. As it is a night before dish it means you could bring this for your lunch, if you didn't have lunch facilities or if you want something more substantial. Serves 6

Chili Con Carne

1 Green Pepper
1 Red Pepper
3 Chillies
1 Red Onion
4lb Lean Steak Mince
1 Tin Of Red Kidney Beans
1 Tin Of Tomato Puree
1 Tin Of Chopped Tomatoes
Cumin (Ground)
Chilli Powder
Cayenne Powder
Crushed Jalapenos (Optional)
Crushed Chillies (Optional)


  1. Dice the peppers and the onions and fry off in a large deep pan, when they are softened add the mince and cook throughout.
  2. Add the chillies (diced, de-seeded, cut carefully!!!) add the palm-ful of cumin, chilli powder, a pinch of cayenne, palmful of basil and oregano.
  3. Add the tin of tomatoes and the tomato puree, the kidney beans and allow to cook for 40 minutes at a medium temperature.
  4. Allow to marinade over-night, and serve with warm tortillas and a fresh leafy salad.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

What's For Dinner? - Spiced Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks

This dish is is great, it really hearty food, full of flavour, and they way the meat is cooked means it just is so tender and comes so easily off the bone. This recipe would serve 4. With this i would serve mashed potato or the spinach and mustard mash.

Spiced Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks

4 Lamb Shanks
1 Tsp Coriander Seeds
1 Small Dried Red Chilli / 2 Tsps Fresh Chilli
 1 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary
1 Tsp Marjoram / Oregano
1 Tbsp Flour
1 Clove Of Garlic, Finely Chopped
1 Large Carrot, Quartered And Finely Sliced
6 Sticks Of Celery, Quartered And Finely Sliced
2 Medium-Large Onions, Quartered And Finely Chopped
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
170ml Dry White Wine
6 Anchovy Fillets
800g Tins Of Plum Tomatoes
1 Handful Of Fresh Basil, Marjoram, Flat Leaf Parsley Roughly Chopped


  1. Season the lamb with the sea salt and the black pepper.
  2. Smash the coriander seeds and dried chilli and mix with the chopped rosemary and dried marjoram.
  3. Roll the lamb in this mixture, pressing it in well.
  4. Dust the lamb with flour.
  5. Heat a casserole pan, add the oil, brown the meat on all sides then remove from the pan.
  6. Add the garlic, carrot, celery, onions and a pinch of salt and sweat them until softened.
  7. Add the balsamic vinegar and allow it to reduce to a syrup.
  8. Pour in the white wine and allow to simmer for 2 mins.
  9. Add the anchovies and then the tinned tomatoes, kept whole Shake the pan and return the lamb to it.
  10. Bring to the boil, put on the lid and simmer in the oven at 180 degrees / gas mark 5 for 1 ½ hours, then remove the lid and cook for a further half hour.
  11. Skim off any fat and taste for seasoning.
  12. Finally, stir in a handful or roughly chopped basil, marjoram and chopped flat leaf parsley.

Monday, 24 October 2011

The Basics - Chicken For Saute

Cutting up a chicken for saute is handy to know- its sometimes cheaper to buy a whole chicken for 6/7 even 8 euro and then cut it up, when you do you get: (13 pieces)
2 breasts
2 fillets
2 thighs
2 wing
2 drumstick
2 pieces of the crown
1 carcass

By getting a whole chicken and cutting it up yourself means you get a variety of means brown and white on the bone and off as well as the carcass and wing-lets you could use for making the chicken stock. In most shops/butchers 6 chicken fillets or 4 breasts of chicken will cost 6 euro if you buy a whole chicken you can reduce how much you spend on meat! This video is from the Culinary Arts course in DIT (Dublin Institute of Technology)

Sunday, 23 October 2011


I'm just going to say this now and I wont say it again, although i know in this economic climate it isn't a time to just go out and buy new things. But your knives its makes prepping; even at home, chopping some vegetables much more difficult and time consuming if you don't have sharp knives. I have a selection of knives from ones that are well known brand from Global to Wushtoff to a generic brand that was on offer in a Supermarket. Yes the knives are made of different materials but if they aren't sharp they are pretty much useless!

To sharpen your knives I would tell you to buy a tone if you are in dire need other than that a steel should do just fine. I would sharpen my knives at least once a week depending on the usage, it also helps to give your knives a longer shelf life - if your cutting with a blunt knife you can risk chipping it and if its chipped badly you may not be able to get it back. If you injure yourself with a blunt knife it can be much more serious than with a  sharp knife, so to be safe - sharpen them!

If  I really need them sharpened I will head to my local butchers and leave them in to be sharpened, and as they told me "if it doesn't cost us anything, it won't cost you anything". But I don't know if everywhere offers the free service. That's it I said and I won't say it again.

Friday, 21 October 2011

What's For Dinner? - Meatballs

For todays dinner we have Meatballs in a chili and tomato sauce with wholewheat pasta. This sauce recipe isgreat you can make a large batch of this and freeze it, so you wouldn't have to make it the next time. It can be a bit spicy with the chili but don't worry you can change it to a plain tomatoe sauce if you want. This serves 4
500g Good Quality Minced Beef
60g Mozarella Cheese
Salt and Papper
1/4 Of a Green Pepper Finely Chopped
1 Egg
1 Tin of Tomatoes
1 Tin of Tomatoes and Chili
Handful of Basil Leaves
Pinch of Sugar
Salt and Pepper
  1. Make the sauce first and let the flavours come together, heat a small saucepan and add the salt pepper and sugar and the basil leaves when they start to sizzle add the tin of tomatoes and allow to reduce, check the seasoning and leave to one side.
  2. For the meat balls make bite size pieces and roll in flour this hepls to keep them together on the pan.
  3. I like to cook mine in the oven at gas mark 6/200 degrees for about 40 minutes which means you don't have to watch them on the pan, when they are almost cooked about 30 minutes I add the sauce and I allow it to reduce for the final 10 minutes. When you have added your sauce you could cook your pasta that way everything s ready at the same time.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Cauliflower Soup

This soup is great during the winter when your hungry but not starving, it is a filling dish with great flavours. Serves 6-8

Cauliflower Soup:

3 large heads of cauliflower
1 small-medium white onion
Knob of butter
500ml-1 litre of chicken stock
Curry powder


  1. Floret the cauliflower heads and place in a large saucepan with a knob of butter, the white onion and place on a tight fitting lid and allow to steam until the cauliflower is completely cooked – even overcooked. 
  2. When the cauliflower is cooked puree with a little chicken stock and pass through a fine strainer to eliminate the grainy texture and make it a much smoother soup.
  3. At this stage you can add the remainder of the chicken stock and return the soup to the heat.
  4. This soup it quite filling, the way the cauliflower is cooked retaining all of its nutrient and giving it a creamy consistency without adding the extra fat you can jazz it up a bit by adding an extra flavour to the mix you can add a tiny pinch of mild curry powder just to the individual serving and mix through creating a nice mix of flavours.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

What's for Dinner - Fillet Steak with Spinach and Mustard Mash, Green beans and Glazed Carrots

Yes before I start I admit it is fancy, but you deserve a treat every once in a while. This dish compliments itself really well and it quite quick to do - well depending on how well organised you are, how hungry you are (it makes a difference) and how you like your steak cooked.

With fillet beef treat it well, it's the best quality of beef you can get and if you have it nurture it don't attack it with a meat hammer!

1 Fillet of Beef
3 Turned Carrots
8 Green Beans
400g Mashed Potato
100g Spinach
15g Wholegrain Mustard
Salt and Pepper

80ml Red Wine
10g Butter
Salt and Pepper
Pinch Sugar


  1. Get the prep work out of the way, turn you carrots, top and tail the green beans. 
  2. Make the glaze by putting a pinch of sugar a small amount of water and some butter in the base of the pan and steam the vegetables, bear in mind the sugar will caramelise just don't let it burn. It is difficult to do glazed vegetables in a small quantity but I love a challenge! To cook the beans just cook in boiling salted water then place in ice water they can be heated with the carrots later.
  3. Mash combine the spinach, potatoes, seasoning and mustard and heat up before serving.
  4. Have a heavy based pan on high heat preferably a grill pan (that gives the nice grill lines to the steak)
  5. Season the steak and put it on.
  6. In another pan add the wine and allow to reduce, add the seasoning and the sugar, before serving add the butter to give extra richness, the wine should reduce well to a sticky jus (well reduced intense flavored sauce) 
  7. Finish cooking your steak, turn it over and finish in the oven please do not burn the bottom of the pan making a well done steak put the oven at gas mark 6/200 degrees and finish it in the oven for 10mins.

Plate up and enjoy!

I know what you are now thinking she doesn't have any carrots in her picture I know I got home and all the carrots were gone so i decided to quickly cook them on a grill pan with no oil just to soften them a bit, I chose; red pepper, green beans, mangetout and mushrooms.

Monday, 17 October 2011

What's For Dinner? - Lamb Burgers

I love burgers; they are a quick dinner, and tends to suit everyone. This could also be a good alternative to a Friday night take-away. In this recipe you can make your own substitutions; add lettuce, cheese, tomatoes to your burger (I like mine pretty plain, but with a side salad). In this recipe I have lamb burgers I bought from a quality butchers but sometimes I have the lamb mince in the freezer. This recipe serves 4.

4 Lamb Burgers
4 Baps (Plain or Wholewheat)
2 White Onions
2 Red Peppers
1/2 Cucumber
1 Carrot
8 Green Beans
1 Beetroot (Optional)
1 Green Pepper
Salad Leaves (I tend to use rocket and spinach leaves)
8 Maris Pipers Potatoes


  1. We are gonna start with the vegetables, reserve one of the red peppers to go with the sauteed onions for the burger.
  2. Chop the vegetables to the sizes you desire and add to a bowl with a small bit of fresh lemon juice, this keeps them fresh and adds some flavour when you add to the salad leaves later.
  3. Next prep the potatoes for the chips pre-heat the fryer to 150 degrees when the chips are cooked blanch them until they can be broken in half, they won't really turn brown as Maris pipers are specifically for chips. You can turn the fryer up to 180 later to finish cooking the chips.
  4. Now I have a George Foreman Grill, I don't know what you use, but I would start cooking the burgers now.
  5. While the grill is heat up slice the remaining red pepper and the onion, heat a pan at a high heat without oil at first and begin cooking the vegetables, season and add a little drizzle of oil and finish cooking. 
  6. Cook your burgers and finish cooking your chips while all of this is going on, heat some plates in the oven and get your salad ready, toast the baps and then begin assembling your plate. 
*The key to making a quick dinner is being organised, if you are any meal can become a quick meal but if you are dis-organised it not drags out the cooking time but can turn people off cooking altogether. 

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Basics - Beef Stock

Beef Stock:

1.5kg Beef Bones
200g Sliced Carrots
100g Chopped Onion
250ml White Wine
1 Celery Stalk Thinly Sliced
6 Tomatoes Peeled, De-seeded and Chopped
150g Button Mushrooms Thinly Sliced
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Bouquet Garni


  1. Brown the bones in the oven, add the carrots and the onion and cook for 5 mins in the oven. Remove and place in a large pot, remove fat from the roasting tray and de-glaze with white wine. Reduce by half and then add 3 litres of cold water and bring to the boil.
  2. Skim, simmer for 10 mins and then add the rest of the ingredients, simmer for 8 hours skimming regularly.
  3. Strain and reduce the stock by one third OR reduce by half for a glaze (which can then be added to sauces to enhance the flavour)

Friday, 14 October 2011

The Basics - Chicken Stock

My freezer is full of this, i use it all the time! for homemade; sauces soups even cooking rice or cous cous to get the added flavour. You don't have to use a chicken carcass you could always go and buy the cheap cuts such as the wing-lets and make a chicken stock from them. There is a difference in flavour between the homemade stock and the store bought. The latter tends to have more salt which isnt great for some dishes as when you add other ingredients it can become too salty.

Chicken Stock

1 Chicken Carcass
200g Carrots Sliced
2 White Leeks Sliced
1 Celery Stick
1 Onion
150g Button Mushrooms, Thinly Sliced (Optional)
Bouquet Garni

Put the chicken in a pot and add 2.5 litres of water, simmer for 5 mins and then skim, add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 4 hours, then allow to cool and strain

Thursday, 13 October 2011


Soufflés have a reputation for being difficult this recipe is actually easy, it’s a cold soufflé which means the method is the rising part not the cooking in the oven and unlike the hot soufflé it won’t collapse! 

Cold Sweet Soufflé – Soufflé Milanaise

225g caster sugar
5 eggs – Separated
2 large lemons juiced and grated zest
28g leaf gelatin
280ml semi whipped cream


  1. Surround an 8 inch soufflé bowl with a high collar of double greaseproof paper, secure with string and set aside, soak the gelatin in cold water. place egg yolks, 113g sugar and lemon juice in a large steel bowl, whisk over a bath of hot water to reach ribbon stage, add the softened gelatin and whisk for a further 5 minutes taking care not to overheat as the eggs may scramble – the mixture should be double in volume.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool, whisking occasionally.
  3. Place the remaining sugar on a tray heat in a hot oven for 5 minutes, whisk egg whites and add hot sugar, continue whisking until a firm meringue is achieved and the mix is cold.
  4. Add half the meringue mix to the cream carefully avoiding splitting, fold the mix into the sabayon mix and finally add the remainder of the whites making sure that it is fully incorporated throughout.
  5. Fill lined moulds 1½ inches above the rim, chill and set.
  6. To serve remove paper collar, decorate accordingly, serve with an appropriately flavored sauce NB Variations of this recipe are possible and may include the use of alcohol in place of or with certain fruit types



This dish is really fast to make, in the time the cous cous cooks you would have all of the vegetables prepped and then all you have to do is put it all together. This is a great side dish for chicken tagine or on it's own for a vegetarian option or a nice addition to a salad. I just love it, it is so refreshing and full of flavour. I'm not going to put a serving value on this or ingredient amount as it varies to the amount of people who are eating or what the purpose of the dish is.

Hot water
Red peppers
Red chili
Green beans
Salt and pepper
Fresh Coriander
Fresh Basil
Lemon zest and juice
Lime zest and juice 


  1. Cook the cous cous following the directions provided on the box/packet
  2. Prep the vegetables; thinly slice the chillies, finely chop the peppers, slice the carrots, green beans and mangetout combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Add the lemon and lime juice and zest, the grated ginger and season
  4. Add the cooked cous cous.
  5. Add some roughly chopped herbs and you're done!

*sometimes I roast my peppers of I have time it adds a nice flavour to the dish.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

What's for Dinner? - Chicken Tagine

I made this while I was making another dinner, the Tagine is so much nicer if you make it the day before, and any leftovers can be perfect for lunch. With this dish you could serve cous-cous or steamed/boiled rice. This serves 6.

6 Chicken Fillets
Tagine Spice Mix
1 Red/Green Pepper
1 White Onion
1 Tin of Tomato Puree
Salt and Pepper
Pinch of Suagr
1 Tin of Tomatoes (With Chili)
1 Tin of Tomatoes (Plain)

Tagine Spice Mix: Equal quantities of each approx 3 Tbsp

  1. Cumin 
  2. Turmeric
  3. Paprika
  4. Chili Powder


  1. Add some of the spice mix to the Chicken and allow to marinate for an hour or two.
  2. Cut the peppers and onions and gently saute on a gentle heat, add some of the spice mix and set aside.
  3. When the chicken has been marinated, cook on a high pre-heated grill pan (no oil) and seal on both sides about 3 minutes on each side. The chicken will fully cook in the sauce so don't worry if the chicken is still pink.
  4. Add the chicken to the vegetables and add the tins of tomatoes and season with salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar.
  5. Allow to cook on a gentle heat for 30 minutes, add the tomato puree and some fresh coriander if you have it.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

What's For Dinner? - Quick Duck Salad

This is one of my 30 minute meals, expect i made this in 25 minutes - Jamie Oliver eat your heart out! Some ingredients I had in my cupboard; noodles, vegetables, chili and I have fresh herbs growing on my kitchen window. This recipe makes enough for 1 dinner and a small portion for lunch the next day, which is perfect if you have no time.

1 Duck Fillet
1/4 Red Chili
1.5 Blocks of Noodles
1/2 Green Pepper
1/2 Carrot
5 Green Beans
4 Mangetout
6 Florets of Broccoli
1 Packet of Szechuan


  1. The duck fillets was skinned already so there was no prep to do, I wanted to keep it as healthy as possible so I didn't use oil at all in this recipe. If you have a hot enough pan you don't really need oil.
  2. Pan a griddle pan on a high heat and have the kettle boiling for the water
  3. When the pan is hot put the duck on the pan, add the boiling water to the noodles.
  4. Chop your vegetables and set aside.
  5. Turn you duck to cook on the other side
  6. Once it is cooked take off and set on a board to rest - you need to rest your meat to make it easier to cut.
  7. While the duck is resting using the same pan, quickly cook your vegetables, I find with stir-fry it is better if the vegetables are al dente (a bit of a bite still in them). 
  8. Add your packet sauce
  9. By this stage you noodles would be cooked, drain and add them to the pan with the vegetables.
  10. Toss the pan a few times to make sure everything is incorporated
  11. Add the duck and serve, 
  12. Garnish with some fresh herbs


Monday, 10 October 2011


Hey Guys!
I haven't had my blog up for long and I have received some feedback already which is fantastic, I plan on taking these comments on board and to try my best to implement them!;

  • 30 Minute Meal options; in relation to this I'm planning a What's for Dinner? section I hope to update as often as I can.
  • I have had some other feedback about vegetarian options and if I haven't mentioned it already I am not a vegetarian but what recipes I do have I will make sure to put them up.
  • I will also be putting up lunch ideas, as well as stuff that you can make in advance to make your life that much easier. Any hints that I have I will share them with you - ask me anything!
Please contact me if you have ANY queries about recipes, or ANY cooking/food related matter!


Monday Blues!

The weekend is over, that start of a new week and the weather couldn't be more depressing so in an attempt to brighten up the day I am posting a fun recipe; cookies - Who doesn't like cookies? These are great , loads of colours great with a nice cup of tea after a hard day of work

Smarties Cookies

These are great, I'm such a kid! they look great perfect for parties or just a little treat, I seem to have this frozen dough in my freezer from time to time and they make a great addition to food/gift hampers.

115g Butter
115g Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Golden Syrup
1 Tbsp Vanilla Essence
175g Self Raising Flour
85g (1 Tube) Smarties


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees/ gas mark 4.
  2. Cream the butter and the sugar.
  3. Add the syrup, vanilla and the smarties.
  4. Fold in the flour. ( i tend to make sure i have a deep bowl and put all the flour in while the machine is off, put a towel over the bowl and turn it on full - it seems to work)
  5. You could just make them out roughly into cookie shape or you could roll into a cylinder shape and put in the fridge to make them easier to cut. It is at this stage you could freeze them if you want. 
  6. Cook for 20 mins, or until golden - every oven is different.
  7. Allow to cool


Saturday, 8 October 2011


I don't know what it is like where you are but here is grey and dull and windy I don't know if it is due to the  disappointing result in the Ireland V Wales for the Rugby Semi-Final,  its the kind of weather you want something hot and filling, so that what I went for with for today's recipe.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

I love soup, but tomato has to be my favourite, this recipe is roasted red pepper and tomato soup but if you just want the spice of the peppers don't roast them. Sometimes i add some dried chili flakes for an added kick. This recipe would serve 2-3 People.

10g Butter            
200ml Chicken Stock
Fresh Basil and Oregano   
2 Red Peppers
Black Pepper Corns           
2 Tbsp Tomato Puree
2 X 400g Tinned Tomatoes


  1. Roast the peppers in the oven until charred
  2. Add the butter, tomatoes and the puree to a hot pan and reduce
  3. Mix in the seasoning, and the chicken stock
  4. Finally add in the chopped fresh basil and oregano and mix well, allow to simmer for 25 minutes
  5. Add the cream to serve and garnish with fresh basil or pesto
This soup has texture if you want a smooth soup you could blend it with a hand blender and pass through a strainer.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Lemon Shortbread

I love the idea of having cookies in a jar, its not really a thing in Ireland to have homemade cookies its more of an American idea but I love it, and shortbread is great as its light and you can add it to your desserts. This recipe can be made in advance, the mix can be stored in the fridge and can last up to 4 weeks uncooked and wrapped in the fridge.

225g Plain Flour
112g Cornflour
112g Icing Sugar
225g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
2 Lemons, Zested


  1. Sieve; flour, cornflour and icing sugar into a bowl.
  2. Rub in the butter and lemon zest.
  3. Mix until a dough is formed.
  4. Roll into cylinders and wrap in cling film.
  5. Leave to harden in the fridge to make it easier to slice.
  6. Bake at 165 degrees/ gas mark 3 for 8-10 minutes.
  7. Cool, and serve.


I hope to try and put up recipes or cooking or solutions (if there is any questions) up as often as i can. I would like to give people some ideas that - "oh that looks good, i'll try that" feeling. Most of the recipes i have tried - so they do work, which is a problem i usually find with getting new cookbooks or recipes online is that you don't know how its going to turn out. I have tweaked the recipes slightly, my sister hates it! as if she goes to make something from a cookbook but i do my own version i'm always getting told "can you not just leave it?" the answer is NO! i like making things my own and adding a twist to some things. There are some dishes ie; the classics i don't tend to mess with as they are classics for a reason, but feel free to mess with anything here!

Fruit Crumble

This recipe is great it makes one portion it can be edited easily if you want to add some mixed berries which is great with the sweet and sharp flavors of the apples its compliments really well. its a quick recipe.

Fruit Crumble 

75 g Plain Flour
30 g margarine/ Butter
20 g Caster Sugar
1 Eating Apple
1 Cooking Apple
25g Muesli/ Oat flakes
Cinnamon - Optional

  1. Peel and slice apples, sauté in pan, add some castor sugar and leave to cool. 
  2. Rub butter / margarine into flour to create a breadcrumb texture then add sugar, oat flakes / muesli and cinnamon. 
  3. Place apple in dish and the add crumbs. 
  4. Cook in a hot oven at 180’c / gas mark 4 for about 20 mins 
In the picture i have just lined a small Yorkshire pudding/tart mould with some sweet pastry and then blind bake for 7 minutes at 180/gas mark 4 than dded my ingredients topped with the crumble mix.  I then used a piping bag and piped out a design, added some berry jam and the custard sauce and dusted with icing sugar, a simple dish yet it looks like its complicated. Perfect for dinner parties!

Sunday, 2 October 2011


I wanted to start a blog for ages, it had to be revolved around my passion and my passion is food. I hope to inspire and to be inspired throughout this experience; i will be posting recipes and pictures of some of my food and if anyone has any ideas i will try my best to do them/research them. this will be an interesting learning experience and i just can't wait to get started!