If you lived with me for a day, you would realise fairly quickly food waste is one of my pet peeves. I literally find a use for every scrap of food in my fridge and constantly remind my housemates not to throw out food without asking me first; as more than likely it can be used. It actually kills me to see perfectly good food in the bin…a little part of me cries inside honestly…I know it sounds a bit mad!! At home in Tipperary, we have hens so I don’t feel so bad about food scraps as the hens get to feast on them and then supply us with eggs. Leftovers is another thing people always struggle with in the kitchen and this is where this recipe for a quick breakfast delight came about. I haven’t tried it yet but would imagine any leftover grain should do the trick here, I’m thinking brown rice could be a real winner too so get experimenting!
- 100g leftover cooked quinoa
- 2 tsp almond butter
- 1 tbsp milled linseed
- 1/2 banana
- 5 tbsp milk
- I would not recommend using a bowl here unless you have a lid for it, as I made the rooky mistake and had a bit of cleaning to do. So for the second batch I used a plastic resealable container and it worked perfectly.
- Chop the banana and place all the ingredients in the bowl/container. Mix well together and place in the microwave on high for 3-4 minutes until the milk is well absorbed.
- Serve with some berries and seeds.
Apparently this week 10-16 October is National Bread week and Monday was National Porridge Day. So, what better way to celebrate oats and bread than making my Oat & Seed Loaf. I always have a batch in the freezer portioned out into slices ready to go with some soup for lunch or as a quick after training option topped with hummus. This recipe can be adapted to suit all intolerances by simply replacing the oats with gluten-free oats and the yoghurt with a lactose-free version.
I must confess I am not the biggest fan of regular porridge but I adore oats and especially for breakfast; so here are some of my favourite recipes:
These little beauties are a twist on my Dark Chocolate & Cashew Bites.The date caramel is a real winner and works great simply drizzled over vanilla ice-cream or to make healthy caramel squares using my recipe for Fruit & Nut Caramel Squares. These brownies are also gluten-free so perfect for a fuss-free dinner party dessert for all served warm with some ice-cream or Greek yoghurt.
- 150g dates, de-stoned
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 overripe bananas
- 8 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 3 tbsp almond butter
- 400g tin butter beans, drained & rinsed
- 100g ground almonds
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 75g unsalted butter, softened
- 3 tbsp raw cacao powder or use 50g melted 70% dark chocolate
- 40g salted peanuts
- Preheat an oven to 170°C. Line a square sandwich tin with parchment paper.
- Place the dates & baking soda in a bowl, cover with bowling water & allow to soak for at least 20 mins to soften through.
- For the date caramel sauce: place the softened, drained dates in a measuring jug or blender with the bananas and melted coconut oil. Blitz until smooth, add the almond butter & blitz again. Reserve 3 tbsp of the sauce for the topping.
- With a food processor or electric hand beater (if using an electric hand beater, I would recommend you mash or blend the beans first), blitz all the remaining ingredients (except the cacao powder/melted chocolate & peanuts) with the date caramel together until smooth. Finally stir through the cacao powder/melted chocolate & 30g of the peanuts.
- Pour the brownie mix into the prepared tin, scatter the remaining peanuts and drizzle the caramel sauce over the top.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 mins until a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin, remove and cut into generous squares.
I know what your thinking…cauliflower… it’s not that tasty, I hate it, ugh how could you eat it?? Well I promise you, it’s not any of the above. Blanching and slow roasting, allows it to tenderise and burst with flavour. I learnt this cooking method whilst attending a course recently with the Dublin Cookery School and it’s been a constant on my weekly menu since! The cauliflower is perfect on it’s own as a side dish or add some salsa verde, carrot ribbons and sauteed cauliflower leaves for some colour and texture as a main dish. It also works great with a big juicy steak or roast beef.
- 1/2 whole cauliflower
- 8 inner cauliflower leaves
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 tbsp salsa verde
- 1/2 carrot
- 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and pre-heat an oven to 180°C.
- Peel the leaves off the cauliflower, roughly chop the inner paler coloured leaves for later. Divide the cauliflower into florets or wedges.
- Once the water is boiling, add the cauliflower wedges and blanch for 2 mins. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl.
- Add 1 tsp coconut oil to a large baking tray and melt in the oven. Add the blanched wedges onto the tray with the peeled garlic cloves and thyme. Stir to combine.
- Place the tray in the oven and allow the cauliflower to roast for 20-30 mins until soft through.
- Prepare the salsa verde. For the carrots, use a vegetable peeler to create long thin carrot ribbons, stir through the olive oil and apple cider vinegar until lightly dressed. Place both in the fridge until required.
- Once the cauliflower has roasted, remove from the oven and cover with tinfoil to keep warm. Place a pan on a medium heat and lightly sauté the roughly chopped cauliflower leaves.
- To serve: place a layer of cauliflower leaves, top with the cauliflower wedges/florets, spoon over the salsa verde and add the carrot ribbons to finish.
As part of the upcoming Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards final, Just Eat the sponsors of the Food & Drink category challenged all the shortlisters to “Discover Something New” from their takeaway menu. €20 to spend on food seemed like a fair deal for such a tough challenge. Particularly after the week I’d had with numerous highs and lows on the football field and supporting the Tipperary hurlers, whilst also organising World Physiotherapy Day in work….it was an emotional and hectic few days and I deserved a night off from the kitchen so this competition couldn’t of been better timed.
Since it was World Physiotherapy Day, I was feeling very international and decided to delve in the wonderful world of middle eastern food and sample what Jerusalem on Camden Street had to offer. Jerusalem is a restaurant more than likely anyone who has ever been out in Dublin has walked past but I had never stepped foot inside and tasted their menu.When I think of Middle Eastern food, hummus, flatbread, chicken shawerma, pistachio baklava, tabbouleh and herb salads come to mind. The Jerusalem menu has plenty on offer and I spent a good half an hour whittling my choices down. Eventually, I ordered a falafel platter, Waraq Enab (stuffed vine leaves), Fatayer El Sabanikh (spinach and herb pastry parcels), halloumi and a mixed char-grill….it wasn’t all for me, my housemate was on the ticket too.
Once the food arrived, I assembled a mezze from all the dishes in true Middle Eastern style and we dug in. The highlights for me were without doubt the hummus – creamy, moreish and smooth; the falafel – one of my favourites when it’s done well and Jerusalem know how to make falafel; the stuffed vine leaves – bursting with flavour and finally the char-grilled lamb – smoky flavour filled goodness.All in all, it was a great feast and I would certainly order again from Jerusalem. I would probably not order the char-grilled meat as for me it needed reheating and with a take-away you shouldn’t need to do that.
- Food quality: high excluding the salad garnishes
- Value for money: filled two hungry people well plus plenty for lunch the next day; the total did exceed the €20 but I happily paid it
- Temperature: the char-grilled meat was cold to be honest but still full of flavour
- Highlight: stuffed vine leaves & hummus – could eat them all day
- Lowlight: halloumi – would benefit from being marinated before grilling
I recently got a challenge from some of my friends to make a recipe using chicken and beans and this is the very tasty result. I’ve added a few more ingredients but they are things you will easily find in your cupboards at home. The tomato based sauce can be prepared ahead and frozen in batches or stored in the fridge. The sauce works great as a base for pasta dishes or mixed through some mince or shredded chicken for a quick and easy dinner. Serve the chicken with rice, mashed potatoes/vegetables or steamed green vegetables.
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano or mixed herbs
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/2 paprika
- 1 tbsp Tabasco or hot chilli sauce
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tin cannellini/butter beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 tin kidney beans, drained & rinsed
- 3 large handfuls spinach
- 3 rashers, chopped or 50g bacon lardons
- 5 chicken breasts/thighs
- Preheat an oven to 160°C.
- Over a medium heat, fry off the chopped rashers in a large saucepan. Once nicely browned, remove to the side and rinse the pan.
- Melt the coconut oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan. Sauté the onion and garlic until translucent.
- Add the cooked rashers, dried herbs, spices and tomatoes to the pan and continue to cook until the sauce begins to bubble. (At this stage you could place the sauce into a container, allow to cool and place in the fridge or freezer for future use.)
- Reduce the heat and stir through the beans and spinach before transferring to a large ovenproof dish.
- Rinse the saucepan and brown the chicken on all sides.
- Nestle the chicken breasts amongst the bean mix and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
In need of a little after dinner treat but trying to be good and stay away chocolate and cakes? Then this recipe is the one for you. Any stoned or cored fruit works great. Cinnamon would be a great addition for the winter months to really warm you from the inside out and keep away any colds. They take no length in the oven to bake, so pop them in whilst your cooking your dinner or just after you serve if you want them for a later treat. Pairing them with some yoghurt like the new reduced sugar Bio organic range from Glenisk is great as a light option and a simple way to reduce your sugar intake naturally.
- 1 pear
- 1 plum
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tsp granola
- 2 tbsp natural/Greek yoghurt (currently loving Glenisk Bio organic natural yoghurt)
- Preheat an oven to 160C.
- Halve and de-stone/core the pear and plum.
- Place skin side down in a baking tray or ovenproof dish.
- Drizzle the honey over the fruits and bake in the oven for 20 mins.
- To serve: divide the fruit amongst two plates, place a tbsp of yoghurt into the centre of the pear and sprinkle over the granola.
This salad doesn’t get much easier, it’ll be ready in three easy steps and demolished in minutes!! Salmon and avocado are packed full of healthy fatty acids so perfect for all diets and great for bone, muscle and heart health.
- 1 head baby gem lettuce
- 1/4 cucumber
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 cooked beetroot
- 2 radish
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 portion hot smoked salmon (substitute regular smoked/tinned salmon either)
- 2 tbsp Frenchie dressing
- Roughly chop the lettuce. Thinly slice the celery and radish. Cube the cucumber, beetroot and avocado.
- Gently flake the smoked salmon fillet into chunks.
- Divide the vegetables amongst the 2 plates, sprinkle over the salmon and drizzle with the dressing.
Recovery after tough exercise is vital for our muscles to repair and develop. A simple mix of both protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes is backed by evidence to provide the necessary nutrients to our bodies. This smoothie is light and easy to digest whilst being super quick to prepare. If I’m traveling some distance to training, I will blend up the fruit and oats with a little water at home and simply buy some milk after training to mix through so that the milk doesn’t sour in my gear bag. I’ve used blackcurrants here but any berry combination would be perfect!
- 3 tbsp oats
- 2 tbsp blackcurrants
- 1/2 medium apple
- 300ml milk
- Place all the ingredients in a blender or tall jar if using a handheld blender.
- Blend until smooth, add some more milk or water if you find the consistency too thick.