Sun, sea and salad – just a few of my favourite things about summer!!
Salad is one of the easiest things to make at home, you can create a really tasty meal super fast and with very few ingredients.
Transporting salads can be notoriously difficult and can end in a sad, soggy mess. Using a jar is not only great for the environment but also the ideal way to create a simple layered salad. So next time, keep a big one aside for your next salad feast.
When using a jar or lunchbox, the key is how you layer the ingredients. I prefer to put the messy ingredients – yes I’m looking at you tomatoes or beetroot at the bottom. Add a layer of grain on top followed by your remaining ingredients. Finish with the delicate leafy greens on top. Keep dressings separate in a small jar or tub and add when you are ready to eat .
- 1/2 large tomato
- sea salt
- 2 tbsp Curried Apricot & Raisin Couscous
- 1/2 carrot
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- black pepper
- 50g smoked mackerel
- 1 large fistful baby leaf spinach
- Dice the tomato and mix through a pinch of sea salt.
- Spoon the tomato into the bottom of the jar followed by the couscous.
- Create carrot ribbons using a vegetable peeler or mandolin.
- Add the vinegar and a pinch of black pepper to the carrots and mix well.
- Place the carrot ribbons on top of the couscous, followed by the mackerel and top it all with the spinach.
- Place in the fridge until ready to eat.
If you haven’t figured it out already, I love salads!! It’s not just because they are healthy but I love the texture of salads, the crunch of cabbage, the burst of flavour that fresh herbs add and the juicy sweetness of sun-ripened tomatoes. This recipe is a very colourful slaw that combines lots of vegetables, seeds and a simple vinagerette that will add a serious burst of colour to your plate.
- 200g red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
- 1/2 medium courgette, coarsely grated
- 2 tbsp pumpkin and sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley or coriander, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp water
- Place all the vegetables in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the seeds and combine well.
- Whisk all the dressing ingredients together until well combined.
- Combine the dressing, lemon juice and freshly chopped herbs to the vegetables and stir together until well coated using a fork.
Fuss-free dishes are my favourites; roasting vegetables is one of the easiest things to quickly add bucket loads of flavour and produce tender, melt in your mouth grub in no time!
- 1 small pumpkin
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup bulgur wheat
- 1 tsp vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- 2 large handfuls kale, de-stalked
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbsp pomegranate seeds
- Preheat an oven to 180C.
- Halve the pumpkin and spoon out the seeds. Slice the pumpkin into half moon shaped wedges.
- Wash the seeds in a fine sieve, place in a separate roasting tray and roast in the oven until crisp.
- Stir the honey, oil and cinnamon together in the bottom of a roasting tray before adding the pumpkin.
- Roast in the oven for 20mins.
- Whilst the pumpkin is roasting cook the bulgur wheat: place the bulgur, water and stock in a saucepan, cover with the lid and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer on the lowest heat until all the water is absorbed. Allow to cool.
- Roughly tear the kale with your hands and massage in the salt.
- To serve: mix the kale and bulgur wheat together in a serving dish, add the roasted pumpkin on top and scatter over the pumpkin and pomegranate seeds.
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.
These guys are the ultimate answer for those moments when you don’t know what you want to eat but you want it now!! The microwave is your best friend here to bake the sweet potato in less than 5 mins, to ensure you keep the hunger at bay. My favourite toppings are: cottage cheese with sliced beetroot, avocado or smoked salmon and hummus with grated carrot.
- 1 sweet potato
- toppings of choice
- Slice the sweet potato into 1 inch thick rounds (peel the sweet potato if you like, I personally like the skin left on).
- Place all the slices on a microwaveable plate and cook at the highest heat setting for 3 mins. Check the slices, if cooked through remove, if not soft in the centre, cook for another minute and repeat the check.
- Layer with your favourite toppings and enjoy!
This is the possibly the quickest dinner to russle up that delivers on taste, nourishment and style! Making your own pesto is an added extra but shop-bought works fine too. Prepare the chicken marinade the night before so all you have to do is pop it into the oven when you arrive in the door starving from the day. The pesto should keep fresh for at least 5 days in an jar in the fridge.
- 1 chicken breast
- 2 tbsp pesto
- 1 tbsp natural yoghurt
- 1/2 courgette
- 1 medium carrot
Almond & Basil Pesto:
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves & stalks
- squeeze fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- thumb length piece of Parmesan
- For the pesto: roast the almonds for about 20 mins at 180°C until the colour darkens but doesn’t burn! Add the roasted almonds, basil, garlic, lemon juice and 2 tbsp oil to a food processor and blitz until the almonds have broken down considerably, slowly adding the remaining oil. Grate in the Parmesan and continue to blitz until smooth. Add more oil if it is too dry.
- To marinade the chicken, simply place the pesto and natural yoghurt into a resealable bag, add the chicken, close the bag and mush it around until the chicken is well covered. If the night before, leave the chicken in the bag in the fridge.
- Otherwise, pour the chicken and contents into an ovenproof dish. Bake in the oven at 180°C for about 20 mins until the chicken is cooked through.
- Using a spiraliser/Julienne peeler/edgy knife, create thin long strands of the courgette and carrot.
- Place a large frying pan over a high heat, ensure the pan is hot enough by adding one veg strand and it should hiss once it hits the pan. Add the remaining veg and continuously toss ensuring they don’t stick.
- Reduce the heat and stir through some of the pesto juices from the chicken. Add more pesto and natural yoghurt if you want a more creamy sauce.
- To serve: slice the chicken into generous slices and serve on a bed of vegetables.
Hummus is a great snack at any time of day; serve with some celery sticks, layer on top of oat/rice cakes, a slice of sourdough or simply eat straight off a spoon! Any leftover roast vegetables could also be used instead of carrots. I tend to portion the hummus into little containers & freeze.
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 4 large carrots
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tin chickpeas
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Preheat an oven to 180C. Melt the coconut oil in a large roasting tray.
- Peel & cube the carrots, top & tail the garlic leaving the outer skin on. Add the carrots & garlic to the oil with the spices. Thoroughly mix together & roast in the oven for 20 mins until soft through.
- Drain & rinse the chickpeas. Add to a food processor or blender with the tahini, lemon juice with the roasted vegetables (squeeze the inner garlic clove out of the skin).
- Blend together with 2 tbsp of the oil. Continue to blend slowly adding the remaining oil until it forms a smooth consistency (add more oil or water if you feel it needs it).
This salad is perfect for your lunchbox, a quick lunch or dinner served with some salmon, shredded chicken or simply on its own. It’s great for using up any leftover roasted veg too. The tahini dressing also works great instead of mayonnaise in coleslaw.
- 100g quinoa/bulgur wheat
- 500ml water
- 1 pre-cooked beetroot
- 2 small carrots
- 1/2 small sweet potato
- 2 tbsp pumpkin/sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp dried cranberries
- 1/3 cucumber
- 1 spring onion
- 2 celery stalks
- 3 tsp tahini
- 1 tsp dried coriander
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp cottage cheese
- 4 tbsp water
- Rinse the quinoa & bulgur in a fine sieve whilst you bring the 500ml water to the boil. Once the water begins to boil, add the rinsed grains, place the lid on the saucepan, reduce to a simmer and cook until all the water is absorbed about 20mins. Take off the heat, remove the lid and allow to cool.
- Preheat an oven to 200C. Melt 2 tsp coconut oil in a roasting tray. Peel the carrots and sweet potato and cut into cubes with the beetroot. Mix the veg thoroughly with the coconut oil and roast in the oven for 20 mins. Once cooked, set aside to cool.
- Place the seeds & cranberries into a bowl and cover with boiling water. Strain just before adding to the salad.
- Finely slice the spring onions. Slice the celery stalks into rounds. Slice the cucumber in half and remove the soft centre before cutting into rounds.
- For the dressing: stir all the ingredients together until they are smooth.
- To assemble: place the cooled quinoa & bulgur into a large mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients and dressing. Stir to combine.
Christmas Day dinner is really all about the trimmings. Here are the recipes for my favourites!!
Honey & Cider Roasted Sprouts:
Braised Red Cabbage:
- 1/2 medium sized red cabbage
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 4 tbsp water
- 1 medium cooking apple
- Using a mandolin or sharp knife; thinly slice the cabbage.
- Place the cabbage, vinegar, water and sugar into a saucepan or cook with the lid on over a low heat for 20 mins until the cabbage softens.
- Peel, core and halve the apple and place on top of the cabbage. Cook for a further 10 mins until the apple is soft through.
Roasted Hasselback Potatoes:
Carrot & Parsnip Mash:
- 6 carrots
- 4 parsnips
- black pepper
- 1 tbsp butter
- Peel and cube the carrots & parsnips.
- Steam for about 20-30 mins until cooked through.
- Mash the carrots & parsnips together with some black pepper and butter.
Sweet Potato & Celeriac Gratin:
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 medium sized celeriac
- 2 tbsp garlic butter
- black pepper
- 200ml milk
- 100ml cream
- Peel and thinly slice the sweet potato and celeriac.
- Grease an ovenproof dish all over with the garlic butter.
- Place a layer of sweet potato in the base topped with a layer of celeriac and some pepper. Continue layering until you reach the top of the dish.
- Pour over the cream and milk.
- Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes until soft through and crispy on top.