I am obsessed with breakfast, it’s quite literally what gets me out of bed in the morning. While I have long been devoted to my original granola recipe (which is incredibly delicious, if I do say so myself), recently I have been cheating on it with an altogether different but equally delicious granola.
I’ve been experimenting with buckwheat a lot over the last few months, and was happy to discover that when roasted it makes a delicious alternative to oats for granola. There are also tonnes of health benefits associated with eating buckwheat, but I won’t bore you with them today. This particular granola recipe is bound together using a delicious gingery banana sauce that gives the whole recipe the most incredible flavour. Best of all, it takes less time to cook than my usual granola recipe. If this doesn’t have you bounding out of bed and down the stairs in the morning, I’m not sure what will!
1 kg Buckwheat Groats
200g Seeds (I used pumpkin and sunflower)
100g Coconut flakes
2 tbsp Coconut Oil
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Inch Fresh Ginger, grated
In a large bowl mix together your buckwheat, pecans and seeds.
In a saucepan melt the coconut oil and add the grated ginger and honey, let it simmer away for about two minutes. In another bowl break up the bananas and mash until liquid, if you have a hand blender than use that- it will be much quicker. Add the ginger/oil/coconut mix to the bananas and stir through.
Mix the wet banana mix to the bowl of buckwheat, nuts and seeds and mix together until all the dry ingredients are well coated.
Grease a deep baking tray with some more coconut oil and spread the granola mix on top. Pop into an oven preheated to 180C for about 30 minutes, or until golden. Make sure to stir the mix every few minutes to ensure the granola is evenly baked.
When baked, stir in the coconut flakes. Let the granola cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
I have been enjoying this in the mornings with berries and almond milk, but it’s delicious with any type of milk or yoghurt. Enjoy!
Despite being a meat lover, I find I feel a lot better after eating a plant based meal. Especially in the evenings, I find them lighter and easier to digest. I decided to try and make my first vegetarian curry last week, this is absolutely brimming with so much flavour, it will convert even the most loyal of carnivores.
It passed the main test; my Dad ate it without asking where the chicken was! I’ve cheated a little using a korma spice mix, I’m in love with the Green Saffron spice mixes. They import fresh spices from India and blend them into perfect little pouches, which make curries so much easier and hassle free to put together. This is filling, wholesome and incredibly tasty. Definitely something to make if you want to spice up your week!
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
3 onions, sliced
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 bag spinach
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp honey
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 korma spice mix
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
1 can coconut milk
1 can tomatoes
1 can chickpeas
Brown rice to serve
Flaked almonds to serve
Slice the onions and sweat them down in a little coconut oil for about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute or two.
Add in the spice mix and cook for a further minute or two, the aromas will be amazing! Then add in the tomatoes and honey and allow to cook away for another five minutes.
Add in the tin of coconut milk and two cups of water along with the cubed squash. Allow the liquid mixture to reduce as the squash cooks, which should leave you with a nice thick sauce after an hour. Add in more water if you need to.
5 minutes before serving add in the cherry tomatoes, chopped coriander and spinach.
Serve in a bowl with brown rice and sprinkle with some of the reserved coriander and almonds.
I have many vices, but they all seem to come in the form of either cake or chocolate. Carrot cake, banana walnut bread and orange chocolate brownies, I am powerless before. Similarly, put me in front of a box of Leonidas and I won’t stop eating until I have a pain in my tummy.
However, despite being such a chocolate lover, I’ve never really bothered making my own, despite regularly satisfying my cake cravings by baking pretty little cakes. I decided to try my hand over Christmas at making my own little chocolates, and after a few variations, I think I have cracked the ultimate after dinner or tea time chocolate. This has so many complementing flavours going on, the spicy cinnamon, zesty orange, roast honeyed hazelnuts and dark chocolate make the perfect, most indulgent treat.
Make this once and you’ll never look back, they’re unbelievably easy to make. Just take my word for it when I say that they won’t last long!
200g 70% Dark Chocolate
100g Hazelnuts, whole
100g Candied Orange Peel, chopped
First things first. Place the hazelnuts on a piece of tin foil within a baking tray. Drizzle with a tablespoon or two of honey and then generously dust with cinnamon. Pop into an oven preheated to 150C and roast for 5 to 7 minutes. Check regularly, you don’t want to burn the nuts or they taste awful. When they’re done, take them out and let them cool. They’ll probably stick together when they cool, that’s okay- just crack them apart again.
You can use a bain marie to melt your chocolate, but I never bother. If your pot is heavy bottomed enough and the heat is low enough, you should be fine to heat it directly in a pot over a low flame. That’s what I always do (mainly because I love cutting corners). Stir the chocolate continuously until it’s all just melted, then take it off the heat.
Lay out a grease proof piece of paper on a large, flat and even chopping board or surface. Drop about a tablespoon of melted chocolate at a time onto the sheet, leaving plenty of space in between each chocolate disc.
Then place a few nuts and about a teaspoon of candied orange on each chocolate disc. Make sure that each topping is touching the melted chocolate or it won’t stick when the chocolate hardens. Finally, sprinkle all the chocolates with some more cinnamon.
Leave to cool for an hour or two and then when they’re hard, peel them off the greaseproof paper and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Something I’ve wanted to make for ages has been turkey meatballs. Apart from roast turkey at Christmas dinner, it’s not something we ever really cooked at home. However, being on a huge health kick this January (such a cliche, I know), I decided to give them a go. Turkey is obviously a great source of protein, but it’s also an extremely lean meat so it’s often suggested to people who are trying to eat healthily.
These meatballs are jam packed with veggies for an extra nutritional hit and flavour, and I used almond flour instead of breadcrumbs for a change. They taste absolutely gorgeous and this recipe makes about 30-40 small meatballs, so I tend to make a big batch and freeze smaller portions of them to defrost throughout the week for a quick and easy meal.
These taste completely decadent and are so comforting despite being really healthy. So if you’re getting sick of eating chicken salads as you try and get healthy, these are just the thing for you.
2lb turkey mince
1 bunch basil
2 large carrots
2 sticks celery
1 large onion
1 – 2 eggs
50g ground almond
1kg vine tomatoes
6 large shallots
4 large cloves garlic
1 bunch basil
For the meatballs- grate the carrots and celery and very finely dice the onion. Finely slice the basil as fine as you can get it. Set it all aside in a bowl and add the mince. You may not need both eggs to bind the mix (depends on their size) so add one first and if it doesn’t hold together add the second egg. Add in the flour to help further bind the mix (again, if the mix is too wet, you can add more ground almond).
On a baking sheet lay out the washed tomatoes and the peeled onion and garlic cloves (just remove their outer skin). Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Throw into an oven preheated to 180C for 20-30 minutes.
Using your hand, roll your meatballs together into whatever size you please. I kept mine a bit smaller than a golf ball. This will make 30-40 meatballs so you can freeze the ones you won’t be cooking straight away. Fry the meatballs in some olive oil on a medium high heat until they’re golden all over. If they’re sticking to the pan you could add some stock instead of oil as they continue to cook. They’ll take about 10-15 minutes, depending on size. Add your spaghetti to a boiling pot of water when the meatballs are looking close to being ready.
When the vegetables are ready (the tomatoes will start to split and the shallots and onions will be soft), pop them all into a large bowl and blend with the other bunch of basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. It’s that easy!
Add some of the sauce to the pan and let the cooked meatballs stew away in the sauce until the pasta is ready.
Drain the pasta when cooked and serve on a plate with a heap of meatballs and grate some parmesan cheese on top!
Chia Pudding is probably not for everyone, well on first glance at least. Despite it’s slightly tadpole appearance, it’s really tasty when mixed with interesting flavours and is a blank canvas to experiment with whichever way you like.
I decided to go with two of my favourite flavour combos, coconut and chocolate. The important thing with chia pudding is to jazz it up with fresh berries, nuts etc. This is one of the healthiest things you can eat in the morning as this super seed is jam packed with omega 3s, protein and is a high source of fibre. Having this pudding for breakfast is the ultimate morning health kick!
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
80g chia seeds
1/2 can light coconut milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp cocoa powder
Stir together your seeds, cinnamon, vanilla and your coconut milk. At first they’ll float around but within a few minutes they’ll start to swell, stir again 10 minutes later so they don’t clump together. It’s best to do this step the night before so it’s ready for the morning. Just make sure to stir a few times and as it thickens you’ll need probably need to add more water.
With a hand blender blitz up the banana and the cocoa powder until it’s a smooth chocolatey sauce.
Layer up a jar one third of the way with chocolate and then fill the rest of the jar almost to the top with the chia pudding just leave a little space for the berries. You could also top with crushed nuts, yoghurt or bee pollen like I did.
Porridge gets a bad rep. Despite being one of our most traditional and much loved Irish breakfasts, many people perceive it as boring. I guess most breakfasts that don’t come with a side of pulled pork are considered boring these days. Porridge is one of my favourite things to eat (I couldn’t imagine a world without oats in it, seriously) and if I’m having an incredibly lazy day, I’ll sometimes even make a bowl for dinner.
Porridge is great because not only is it really nutritious, cheap and quick to make, it also is open to endless flavour varieties. You can add in pretty much any fruit, nut, seed, spice, milk or sweetener. While I usually have mine with some berries I decided to go a bit decadent today with a version that tastes like your favourite banana bread with lots of gooey banana and caramel flavours. Read on to see where you have been going wrong all these years…
Ingredients (serves 1)
1/2 cup oats
1 cup water
1/2 tsp Cinnamon (or a full tsp if you are a cinnamon monster like me)
Mix your oats, water and cinnamon in a pot- you can add a pinch of salt but I never find it makes a difference. If you can soak your oats overnight, all the better. It just makes the porridge more creamy. This is definitely advisable if you use jumbo oats.
Put the pot under a medium- high heat and stir vigourously. Non stop until it cooks. Many people walk away from the pot and let their oats boil in water which ends up in truly manky porridge- please don’t do that.
While the oats are cooking slice your banana into a frying pan on a medium heat with a tsp butter and a tsp brown sugar. Cook for a few minutes, flipping over halfway through until the bananas are golden.
When your oats are almost done (it should take between 5-8 minutes) and in a splash of milk and stir again until combined. Pour your porridge into your bowl.
Sprinkle your porridge with brown sugar (this is the traditional Irish way) and let the sugar melt into a nice caramel on top. Do this before you add anything else so it can melt, if you add the milk first it won’t melt. Then place your bananas on top, then add another splash of milk (or cream if you have it), a sprinkle of almonds and maybe even a drizzle of honey if you’re feeling decadent and in need of a sugar hit.
Enjoy in the knowledge that you have cooked and are eating porridge like a boss.
Every now and then you just need a little weekend indulgence. Porridge or poached eggs on toast sometimes just doesn’t cut the mustard and you need a little “yippee I made it to through the week” food.
In the spirit of all things OTT and way too decadent for breakfast, I decided to make this Chocolate and Coconut Stuffed French Toast. This is really simple to make and if you have someone over for brunch, they’ll think you’re a real whizz in the kitchen! You don’t even have to make the chocolate sauce, you can use Nutella… Simple!
Ingredients (Serves 1):
2 slices good quality white bread (I used cranberry white spelt)
Chocolate (I used dark but you could just use nutella instead of making the sauce if you have some handy)
Break 2 squares of chocolate and place in a heavy bottomed pan with 2 tbsp of coconut milk. Let it melt over a really low heat, taking it off the heat every now and then so it doesn’t curdle. Mix together until totally melted into a sauce.
Whisk together your egg, 2 tbsp coconut milk and some cinnamon in a bowl. When mixed through place on a big plate.
Slather both slices of bread with coconut yoghurt, then drizzle the chocolate sauce over the coconut yoghurt. Squish the two slices of bread together and place it on the eggy plate.
Let the stuffed sandwich sit on the plate for a minute absorbing all the egg and then turn on to the other side to do the same.
Place a little coconut oil onto a hot frying pan and when melted place the eggy bread on top. Cook for about two minutes on each side, make sure the pan isn’t too hot.
When cooked slice in half and serve while marvelling how beautifully the coconut and chocolate oozes out the sides.