Tag Archives: easy

My Easy Cheesy Orzo Bake

Orzo is probably one of my favourite pasta types. Hands down.

Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta that you can cook and serve in the same way you do rice. That is, you can boil it until the liquid is absorbed, cook it risotto-style, or bake it, which is what we are going to do.

Orzo Bake

And, because it is pasta, you can also cook it via the traditional pasta method where you drain away the excess cooking liquid after it is done.

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Banana Brownies

When you have too many bananas there’s only so much you can do.  Banana bread is the usual staple bake. It’s simple and cost effective.  And quick.  But this time I wanted to add more than the usual handful of chocolate drops into the mixture.  So I came up with this, equally easy,  but slightly more decadent recipe.

Bananas are the staple fruit of most households, and athletes.  when we go any major orienteering event there must be hundreds upon hundreds of bananas consumed. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and vitamin B6, fibre and carbohydrate, and supply some vitamin C. Since they have a lower water content than most fruit, bananas typically have more calories as well as a higher sugar content compared to other non-tropical fruits. This is good for those, like me, who will, no doubt be out on a mountain for quite some time!

Bananas are soothing to the digestion due to their high content of pectin – as soluble fibre that not only lowers cholesterol but normalises bowel function. The high fibre content of bananas helps you to feel full, another bonus if you will not see food again for some time.  No point being distracted from your running by a grumbling tummy!

The resistant starch in bananas also has a prebiotic effect, helping to keep gut bacteria happy by increasing the production of short chain fatty acids for digestive health. And you all by now know my obsession with healthy gut bacteria!

Banana Brownies

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My obsession with Pistachios continues….

I don’t really like nuts. In actual fact if I order a dessert and arrives with nuts (ALWAYS happens if you order a brownie), more often than not there’s an undeclared nut in it. Saying that, I have always eaten pistachios.  My poor Dad use to crunch his way down the drive if I had dropped any shells. This recipe ticks alot of boxes for me.

Chocolate √

Pistachios √

Smoked Salt √

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Pistachios, I fear, like pinenuts are going to be a thing of the past at some stage due to climate change. So maybe this recipe will have to change for the next generation. Makes me just a little sad. More than a little sad if the truth be told.

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Filled Brown Butter Cookies

Brown butter seems like such a cheffy thing.  It’s not.  Promise. And really gives a depth of flavour.  Mind you, you can’t leave it alone while browning, and it’s a little like caramel.  Turn your back on it for one second and it’s gone too far.

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My Chewy Chocolate Cookie Recipe

Even though everyone is probably sweeted out in January. A nice dark chocolate, Soft and Chewy, goes down very well with a nice coffee.

These are simple to make, and keep either cooked and frozen, or un-cooked and frozen.  Everybody needs a good cookie recipe in their repertoire.

The secret is the best quality chocolate and some leftover Christmas chocolate that noone really thinks they could/should eat.

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Chicken Thighs & Asparagus Recipe

I’m aware always of using ingredients that are

A) Seasonal

b) local, or at least national

But I’ve a bit of a grá (love in Gaeilge- and perfectly describes my love of this veggie) for asparagus.  Every now and then it’s just the epitomy of luxury for me.  My father-in-law grows some in his garden.  It’s perfectly delicate, and the entire crop would usually fit in the palm of your hand.  So I have to purchase.  And try to do this around June/ July, when it IS in season in this part of the world.

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Strawberry Heaven in a tart

Who doesn’t associate strawberries with Summer? I know you can now get strawberries all year round, but honestly, there is NOTHING better than in season, local strawberries.  And as my love of pastry is always lurking somewhere beneath the surface, strawberries+ pastry= strawberry heaven.

As much as I always love my favourite recipes and make them often, it’s nice to try new things.  I picked up “The Boy Who Bakes”- Edd Kimber while in the UK on a trip.  Although I follow him on #Instagram, I had never seen him on TV on the GBBO, or tried one of his recipes.  Until now.

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Easy Apple Berry Charlotte Recipe

This Apple Charlotte recipe is loosely based on a Russian recipe.  Classic Russian cuisine abounded in nifty quick recipes for unexpected guests. This puffy dessert requires only sliced tart apples, a few handfuls of berries and a simple batter.  However as it takes so long to cook it would really only be suitable to serve to guests if you have advanced warning.  If they just popped in unexpectedly I’d probably go with scones…. 😉

Easy Apple Berry Charlotte Recipe

Ingredients:
Apple Charlotte
100g butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan

40g plain dry bread crumbs

3 large eggs

60ml milk

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

280g caster sugar

225g plain flour

200g soft fruit

4 large firm tart apples—peeled, quartered, cored and thinly sliced crosswise

1 cup blueberries

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Icing Sugar for dusting

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180oC.

Butter a 10-inch oven proof frying pan and dust the bottom with the bread crumbs.

Apple Charlotte

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the milk, vanilla and 200g of the sugar.  Beat in the melted butter until well mixed, then beat in the flour until a thick batter forms.

In another large bowl, toss the cup of soft fruit with the sliced apples, cinnamon and the remaining sugar.

Apple Charlotte

Spread one-fourth of the batter in the prepared skillet and top with the apples and berries. Using an offset spatula, spread the remaining batter over the fruit in an even layer.

Apple Charlotte

Scatter the remaining 8 to 12 pieces of fruit on top and gently press them into the batter. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour, until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool completely, then dust with confectioners’ sugar. Slice into wedges and serve.

SERVE WITH

A dollop of crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.

Apple Charlotte

Apple Charlotte

Divine!

 

French Toast for Mother’s Day

I know I’ve posted a French Toast recipe before, but this Rachel Allen one is so beautifully simple. So simple that anyone in the family could take it upon themselves to make it for, say Mother’s Day….

French Toast by Rachel Allen
This is my go-to book for simple quick recipes that taste of the flavours you’d expect of the dish. And with “traditional” French Toast you need not add anything except the 4 main ingredients. Then you can add all the fancy blueberries and maple syrup afterwards.

Mind you if you try to look up “French Toast Recipes” there’s a myriad to chose from.  This Guardian Article is excellent and very informative about alternatives if you chose to follow a different path to mine- so to speak….

Rachel Allen’s Simple French Toast

Ingredients

25g Butter

2 eggs (as fresh as possible)

2 tablespoons of cream or milk- use the cream.

thick slices of at least one day old white bread
French ToastMethod:

Put a heavy frying pan on the hob to heat and add some of the butter. Whisk the eggs and cream together in a shallow dish big enough to take the slices of bread.

Soak a slice of bread briefly in the egg mixture then turn over to soak the other side.  Lift up to drain off the excess liquid then place gently in the hot pan.  You may need to turn down the heat.  Let it cook away until you start to see the bottom turning golden.

French Toast
Flip over onto the other side. Cook for a further 2  minutes then put on a plate in a low oven to keep warm while you cook the other slices. Add more butter to the pan as necessary.

French Toast

NOTE: I usually make twice this recipe! But we are always hungry at breakfast

NOTE2: as a disclaimer- my wonderful daughter actually made these, I just watched and photographed.  She insisted, it was my birthday after all!

NOTE3: On the day I treated myself to a dollop of cream, some raspberries and slices of banana.

French Toast

Divine!

Cauliflower and Macaroni Cheese

Pasta with cheese sauce casseroles have been around far longer than you imagine. In the 14th century in the Italian cookbook by Brian Liber de Coquina, one of the oldest medieval cookbooks, which featured a dish of parmesan cheese and pasta.  The oldest recorded recipe of a casserole with a cheese bechamel sauce, with pasta is from 1770.  But the doyenne of British cookery, Mrs Beeton, valued the dish so much that she put not one, but two versions of the now classic into her housekeeping book. Nowadays this type of cooking is classed as comfort food.  And there’s nothing at all wrong with that.

Cauliflower and Macaroni Cheese

Ingredients:

300g macaroni

1 medium cauliflower, washed and cut into florets

75g butter

75g flour

600ml milk

150g your favourite cheddar, coarsely grated

75g breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon of herbes de provence
Cauliflower
Method

Heat the grill to its highest setting and bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta for 4 mins, then add the cauliflower for a further 8 mins. Drain, reserving 100ml of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium pan over a low heat and stir in the flour. Slowly pour in the milk, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken. Bubble for a few mins, then remove from the heat. Add the cheese, the reserved cooking water and seasoning to taste.
Cauliflower

Tip the pasta and cauliflower into a large casserole dish and stir through the cheese sauce. Mix together the breadcrumbs and herbs and scatter over the top.
Cauliflower
Grill for 5 mins until bubbling.
Cauliflower
Divine!