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.
Shepard’s Pie is one of my all-time favourite recipes. We used to have it all the time for dinner when I was younger, and there was nothing better than coming in the door from school and into a warm kitchen to a piping hot casserole dish of Shepard’s Pie. You don’t see people make it as much anymore as people are moving away from traditional food in favour of exotic foreign dishes, but I think that’s their loss. This is one of the best, comforting and wholesome dishes in existence.
The beans may sounds really weird if you haven’t already tried them. But trust me, adding baked beans to a Shepard’s Pie will be the best decision you ever make and you will never look back. My mum used always add a tin of beans to her Shepard’s Pie when we were small kids, but as we got older we wouldn’t let her make it without the layer of beans. As well as tasting delicious, they add more protein and fibre to your meal too.
7-8 large potatoes (local)
2 tbsp butter
1 tin canelli beans
1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp honey
1lb mince lamb
2 sticks celery
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 beef stock cube
1 tbsp tomato paste
Boil the potatoes for about 15 to 20 minute, until cooked through and soft. Peel and mash with the butter and a little salt and pepper until all is soft and well combined. Don’t over mash or it will lose it’s fluffiness!
For the beans… Crush the garlic and fry for a minute in some oil in a saucepan, add the tomatoes, beans and honey and let simmer away for about 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
For the meat.. Grate the carrots and celery. Finely chop the onion and garlic. Fry them all together in some olive oil for about 10-15 minutes until totally soft. Add the lamb mince and cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure it’s browned all over. Pop your stock cube into a mug of boiling water, when dissolved stir into your meat mix. Add in the tomato paste too. Season with salt and pepper.
Get your casserole dish out, line with a smear of butter. Layer in the cooked lamb mix, then layer in the beans then top with the mashed potato. Make a wave pattern with a fork on the potato, top with a little more butter. Cook in an oven preheated to 180C for about 40 minutes.
Serve with buttery peas and eat straight away!
This freezes perfectly, I often make a big dish of it and then portion up the pieces so I can have individual meals quickly during the week. You could add in herbs too, in fact I had parsley but forgot to add it in! Not necessary though.
When it comes to the simple pleasures in life, there are few things I love more than buttered bread hot from the oven, cake and chocolate. Thankfully this recipe is an amalgamation of all of those things! I’m a total bread fiend (hence working for free in a bakery last year) and have already waxed lyrical about my love of Spotted Dog when I made it earlier this year here. These Spotted Puppies are mini versions, like little scones, of the popular and traditional Irish Spotted Dog.
The Spotted Dog is basically a slightly sweet and fruity soda bread. I decided to pimp these puppies out with dried cranberries, chopped walnuts and dark chocolate chips. Sorry to be boastful, but they were incredible. Make sure to eat them hot from the oven slathered in salted butter… Delicious!
450g plain/cream flour
1 tsp bread soda (bicarb of soda)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
100g dark choc chips (I just chopped a bar into little chunks)
75g chopped walnuts
Preheat your oven to 220C. Sieve the flour into a bowl (I actually never sieve it because I am lazy, but it helps get more air into the mix), stir in the salt, sugar, walnuts, chocolate and cranberries. Make a well in the centre of the mix.
Your wet mix (buttermilk and egg) should make 400ml, to be safe pop your egg into the measuring jug and then add the buttermilk until you hit the 400ml mark. Give it a quick whisk.
Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and start bringing it together by using your hand (stiff like a claw) to bring the dry mix into the centre. Keep doing this until just combined. The most important thing with this, or any soda bread, is not to overmix it or it will become tough.
When just combined divide the mix into six portions and pop it onto an oiled tray. Put into the oven immediately, again if you leave it out before putting it in the oven it will loose it’s lightness.
After the first 5 minutes you can turn the heat down to 200C, then let them bake for another 15 minutes.
When cooked slice open and butter with generous helpings of salted butter immediately! No need for jam. it will just mask the flavours of your beautiful fillings.
This pasta looks the business doesn’t it? Well it tastes amazing too. In actual fact, it’s super quick and easy to make, and cheap as chips too. All you have to do really is cook the pasta and stir in everything else.
As this is a simple dish you’re relying on the lemon, basil, parmesan and black pepper to give it a bold kick of flavour, so be generous with each of them. Purple basil tastes the exact same as normal basil, so don’t despair if you can’t get your hands on it, this will turn out the exact same with the regular stuff. Whip this up for a fancy looking but super simple supper after work during the week to put a pep in your step!
Ingredients (serves 2):
2tbsp Grated Parmesan
Zest of 2 Lemons
Basil (purple if you can find it!)
Salt & Pepper
Boil the pasta in salted water according to the packet instructions. I take mine off a minute or two early so that it’s al dente. Reserve a little of the cooking water.
Roughly chop your basil and set aside. I use a good bit, about a handful.
Stir in the ricotta, parmesan, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Have a taste and adjust with more salt, pepper or cheese if needed. You may need to loosen it out with a little of the cooking water or even some olive oil for a silky finish.
Top with more grated parmesan and black pepper and an artistic sprig of basil! Enjoy.
I used to hate tomato soup. I mean really loath it. I think it was a result of having the tinned stuff forced on me in a friends house when I was younger… Shudder. So sickly sweet and salty at the same time- it turned my stomach. I’ve thankfully grown to love the stuff though after trying so many beautiful homemade ones over the last few years.
I was browsing the Temple Bar market last week and couldn’t but notice the most incredible juicy tomatoes of all different shapes and colours. I’ve probably mentioned the McNally Organic Farm stall before but wow, their produce is incredible. I bought as many as I could carry and starting thinking of all kinds of tomato based foods I could. The weather was pretty rotten so I decided the first thing I would make would be tomato soup. No joke this is absolutely incredible. Roasting the tomatoes brings out their rich natural sweetness, and the garlic and basil give it a big kick of flavour. Make this immediately and it will be on your recipe rotation all Autumn and Winter!
1.5kg tomatoes (if you can’t get fancy ones like above at least get vine tomatoes from your supermarket- the flavour is much stronger)
2 celery sticks
6 garlic cloves
1 large bunch fresh basil
Salt & Pepper
Chop up your tomatoes and sprinkle with salt. Throw into an oven preheated to 180C for 30 – 40 minutes, check them every 5 minutes and stir.
About half way through you will notice that all the juice will have run out of the tomatoes. Pour this juice out into a jug for later (this will be your stock) and continue roasting your tomatoes. Once the juice is removed they can wilt down and sweeten.
Peel your garlic and finely chop it. Finely dice your onion and celery and grate your carrot.
In a big soup pot fry your garlic on medium heat in a generous glug of olive oil. After a minute add the onion, watch the heat and make sure they don’t burn. Then after a few minutes add in the carrot and celery. Stir it around and let it cook for about 5 minutes until softened.
Add in the roasted tomatoes and pour the hot tomato juice over the top. Chop up your basil and throw it in.
With a hand blender blitz the soup until totally smooth, at this point it will be really thick like passata so just add enough boiling water to reach your desired consistency. I like mine a little thick so I didn’t add too much water in. You don’t need stock cubes, if your tomatoes are nice then just use the water as the stock cubes will distract from the beautiful natural sweetness of the roast tomatoes.