Fermented Fun – Beginner’s Red Cabbage And Carrot Purple Pickle

Deliciously Sour And Juicy Fermented Purple Pickle
Deliciously Sour And Juicy Fermented Purple Pickle

I did a day course on fermentation in Ballymaloe a few months ago, and ever since I’ve been fermenting and pickling foods until the cows come home! Despite fermentation coming hugely into fashion in the last year, it’s an ancient form of food preparation with massive health benefits. Fermented foods are great for the gut, so anybody with digestive issues (or people with healthy guts who want to keep them that way) should try incorporating them into their diets.

I’ll admit, the term ‘fermented foods’ doesn’t exactly get most people’s mouth watering if they haven’t tried them before, however once people try them and realise that fermented vegetables, breads (like my sourdough) and drinks don’t taste like old socks, they usually become hooked.

I love slightly sour tasting foods and anything bursting with flavour, so this particular recipe is a favourite of mine. If you’re new to fermentation then try this recipe, it’s the tastiest, cheapest and easiest to make. I like to eat a few spoons of it as a side with lunch or dinner. It’s also a tasty sandwich filling (especially in a Rueben). Pop your fermentation cherry (sounds so wrong but tastes so right) today and you won’t look back!

Chuck In A Kilner Jar & Let Nature Work Its Magic!
Chuck In A Kilner Jar & Let Nature Work Its Magic!

Ingredients:

800g Red Cabbage

500g Carrot

300g Onion

8tbsp Maldon Sea Salt (table salt just won’t do)

  1. Coarsely grate the cabbage, carrot and onion. If you have a food processor you’ll make quick work of this step. Don’t grate them too finely, you want to retain some bite to your veg.
  2. Put all the grated veggies into a huge bowl and sprinkle all the salt on top. Mix it all together and squeeze and scrunch the veggies between your hands. Do this for about 5 minutes until some liquid starts coming out of the vegetables.
  3. Put the veg and their juice into a 2 litre, sterilised Kilner jar. Pack the veg right down to the end of the jar with your fist, the juice should rise above the top of the veg. Get a glass weight (like a tea light holder) and place on top of the veg- this keeps the veg down and a little liquid above the veg which prevents mould from forming. Close the lid of the jar. If you can’t find a weight, then check on the jar a few times a day and push the veg back down if necessary.
  4. After 5 days in a cool dry space (out of direct sunlight) the mix should be perfectly sour, but not too sour. Taste a little spoon each day though to ensure it’s to your taste, you may prefer it after 3 days or 7 days etc. When you’re happy, put the jar in the fridge where it will keep fresh for months!
  5. Enjoy everyday with whatever you fancy!
Simpe Ingredients That Are Cheap As Chips
Simpe Ingredients That Are Cheap As Chips
Shred Your Cabbage... Easy
Shred Your Cabbage… Easy
Grate The Carrot... Also Easy
Grate The Carrot… Also Easy
Toss The Cabbage, Carrot, Onion & Salt In A Bowl And Start Squeezing
Toss The Cabbage, Carrot, Onion & Salt In A Bowl And Start Squeezing
Chuck In A Kilner Jar & Let Nature Work Its Magic!
Chuck In A Kilner Jar & Let Nature Work Its Magic!
This Lovely Fermented Purple Pickle Goes Perfectly With Avocado Toast!
This Lovely Fermented Purple Pickle Goes Perfectly With Avocado Toast!

Summer Fruit Oat And Nut Crumble

A Summer Fruit Oaty Nutty Crumble
A Summer Fruit Oaty Nutty Crumble

Last week I mentioned that I’m having an awful time with my psoriasis and eczema recently. I’m getting flair ups almost every day, even water against my hands is causing sensitivity. I’m trying everything from acupuncture to homeopathy after finding only temporary relief from traditional treatments. In a bid to try and rid, or at least reduce, the flair ups I’m making a big effort to clean up my diet a bit more.  I’m usually a healthy eater anyway, but I recently read a few articles stating that anti-inflammatory diets can give relief to skin complaints, so I decided to give it a go.

Anti-inflammatory diet, eh?  Sounds about as appealing as cabbage soup and mouldy toast at first, I know, but in fact it all seems pretty straight forward. From what I’ve read, it just advocates eating more fresh fruit, veg, whole grains, fish, anti inflammatory spices (like ginger and turmeric), nuts and healthy fats while cutting down on processed foods, sugar, red meat, eggs and dairy. The key take away point of it though seems to be the more fresh fruit and veg in your diet, the merrier! Apparently it helps people with the symptoms of a whole host of inflammatory diseases including arthritis and psoriasis. I decided to give it a go because, well, what the heck. It’s nothing outlandish anyway, it just really touts knowledge and food principles we’ve already heard a thousand times… More veg, fish, nuts and less biscuits, burgers and cheese on toast. Got it.

How Could You Resist This Mouthwatering Fruit Crumble?!
How Could You Resist This Mouthwatering Fruit Crumble?!

I have a massive sweet tooth, and thought that would be the aspect of the diet upon which I would crumble (pun 100% intended), so was delighted when I successfully whizzed up this recipe and it was received by my guinea pigs with thumbs up. The fruit mix has an incredible flavour thanks to the ginger, orange zest and vanilla, while the crumble topping has a far more wholesome and nutty crunch than the usual flour and butter mix. Despite cutting out eggs, wheat and dairy, this is still at least, if not more, delicious than the average crumble. Hopefully you’ll whizz this up for yourself and be pleasantly surprised that something so good for you can taste so heavenly!

Every Bite Of This Fruit Cumble Is Pure Heaven
Every Bite Of This Fruit Cumble Is Pure Heaven

Ingredients (Serves 4-6):

3 Large Pears

1 Orange (remove zest and set aside before peeling)

1 Cup Mixed Berries (I used frozen… Cheap and cheerful)

1 Inch Fresh Ginger, Grated

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Powder/Extract (I like Nua Naturals)

1 Cup Oats

1 Cup Almonds

1/2 Cup Walnuts

6 Tablespoons Coconut Oil (rapeseed works too)

Coconut Yoghurt, to serve

  1. Chop the pears and add to a pot with the grated ginger, orange zest and a splash of water. Put a lid on and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes until the pear pieces are softened.
  2. Chop the orange and mix into the pot of pears along with the mixed berries.  Stir in the vanilla powder. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes so they’re all mixed together nicely.
  3. Spread the fruit mix into a small/medium baking dish.
  4. Pop the nuts in a food processor and blitz until they’re roughly chopped (or you can just chop them by hand). Mix in a bowl with the oats and melted coconut oil until all is well mixed.
  5. Spread the oat and nut crumble mix over the fruit mix.
  6. Pop the crumble into an oven preheated to 180C for 35 minutes.
  7. Serve with a dollop of coconut or greek yoghurt and enjoy!
Chop Up Your Pears And Throw Into A Pot With A Little Water
Chop Up Your Pears And Throw Into A Pot With A Little Water
Add Your Fresh Ginger And Orange Zest And Let Simmer Away
Add Your Fresh Ginger And Orange Zest And Let Simmer Away
Add In Your Berries, Orange And Vanilla Powder
Add In Your Berries, Orange And Vanilla Powder
Stew For Another 5 Minutes To Allow Everything Mix Together Nicely
Stew For Another 5 Minutes To Allow Everything Mix Together Nicely
Blitz Your Nuts Until They're Roughly Chopped
Blitz Your Nuts Until They’re Roughly Chopped
Mix Together Your Oats, Nuts And Melted Coconut Oil Until Combined
Mix Together Your Oats, Nuts And Melted Coconut Oil Until Combined
Spread Your Delicious Fruit Mix Into Your Dish
Spread Your Delicious Fruit Mix Into Your Dish
Top With Oat And Nut Crumble And Whack Into The Oven
Top With Oat And Nut Crumble And Whack Into The Oven
Dig Straight Into This Virtuous Fruit Crumble!
Dig Straight Into This Virtuous Fruit Crumble!

Zingy Poached Salmon And Rice Noodle Salad

Zingy Poached Salmon And Rice Noodle Salad
Zingy Poached Salmon And Rice Noodle Salad

With the weather heating up recently all I’m craving are lighter and fresher meals (well, most of the time!). This poached salmon and rice noodle salad is so unbelievably tasty, yet still light and healthy.

I have pretty full on psoriasis and eczema on my hands, so I’m becoming much more conscious of what I eat at the moment and am trying to boost my Omega 3 intake by eating more oily fish. Thankfully this recipe can be whipped up in 10-15 minutes and is as nice cold as it is hot, so it makes eating more salmon very easy. So easy in fact, that I’ve been making this every week (when I fall for a new recipe, I fall hard!). The zingy lime, ginger, garlic and chilli gives it a nice kick, and despite being a nutritional powerhouse, this recipe really feels like a treat!

Poached Salmon And Rice Noodle Salad
Poached Salmon And Rice Noodle Salad

Ingredients (Serves One):

1 Fillet Salmon

1/2 Bunch of Spring Onions

1 Red Chilli (more or less depending how much heat you can handle)

1 Piece Fresh Ginger

1 Large Clove of Garlic

Fresh coriander

Toasted Sesame Oil

Soy Sauce

1 Lime

75g Rice Noodles

  1. Half fill a pot with boiling water. Add in about 2 tbsp soy sauce, the juice of half a lime, 2 crushed garlic cloves and 3-4 slices of fresh ginger, let it boil away for a few minutes before adding your salmon fillet. The salmon will take between 10-15 minutes to cook so keep an eye on it.
  2. Your rice noodles should only take about 5-10 minutes to cook, but check the packet instructions to be sure. You want them to be cooked just before your salmon.
  3. Slice the spring onions and chilli diagonally, finely chop the ginger and finely dice a few slices of fresh ginger. All them all to a medium heat frying pan with a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil. The toasted sesame oil will give this a delicious, nutty tasty. Fry for about 2-3 minutes. You don’t want these to go totally soft.
  4. When the rice noodles are cooked, drain them (reserving a few tablespoons of cooking water) and add them to the pan of veggies. Stir them in with a few tablespoons of soy sauce, a squeeze of lime juice, about a tablespoon of chopped coriander and some of the reserved cooking water if needed to loosen the mix out.
  5. When the salmon is done, serve the noodles on a warm plate and place the salmon on top. Serve with a squeeze of lime juice over the salmon and another drizzle of the toasted sesame oil. Garnish with some fresh coriander
Poach Your Salmon in Seasoned Water
Poach Your Salmon in Seasoned Water
Slice Up All Your Veggies And Herbs
Slice Up All Your Veggies And Herbs
Lightly Fry Your Veggies For A Few Minutes
Lightly Fry Your Veggies For A Few Minutes
Stir In The Rice Noodles, Soy Sauce And Coriander
Stir In The Rice Noodles, Soy Sauce And Coriander
Poached Salmon And Rice Noodle Salad
Poached Salmon And Rice Noodle Salad

Leftover Roast Chicken Noodle Soup

A Tasty Bowl Of Fragrant Chicken Noodle Soup
A Tasty Bowl Of Fragrant Chicken Noodle Soup

Do you, like me, often suffer the boredom of trying to use up leftover chicken after your Sunday (or whatever day) roast? There’s only so many chicken sandwiches a person can eat! Last Sunday when faced with a mountain of chicken and a perfectly lovely carcass, I decided to make an Asian inspired chicken noodle soup for a change.

As a huge fan of the gorgeous and talented Hemsley sisters, I have rediscovered the joys of a good homemade stock (“Boil Your Bones” as they so eloquently put it). Now I can scarce look at a chicken bone without imagining what to do with the nutritious stock I plan on squeezing out of it. A good bone broth is packed with amazing health benefits, so get boiling them bones. Even if you’re not bothered about your health, you still need a good homemade stock for this recipe, the cubed stuff will taste awful. This soup is based around a light and fragrant broth, so make the effort here and you’ll reap the rewards!

A Damn Fine Chicken Noodle Soup
A Damn Fine Chicken Noodle Soup

This is really filling due to the vermicelli noodles, but also really light due to the fragrant broth base. No ingredients in this recipe are fried, so you get a great fresh flavour. While this is best eaten straight away, it lasts happily for about 3 days in the fridge.

You Just Need A Few Fresh And Tasty Ingredients
You Just Need A Few Fresh And Tasty Ingredients

Ingredients:

1.5 Litres Good Quality Homemade Chicken Stock

Leftover Roast Chicken (as much as you have but at least a good cup or two)

150g Vermicelli Noodles

Fresh Ginger

5 Cloves Garlic

200g Shiitake Mushrooms

1 Bunch Spring Onions

1 Red Chilli

2 Limes

1 Handful Fresh Coriander

Soy Sauce

Toasted Sesame Oil

  1. Put your stock into a large, heavy bottomed pot. Peel a good inch of ginger and slice it into long pieces, peel the garlic cloves and smash slightly with the back of a knife. Add to the stock (you’ll fish them out again before serving) and let simmer on a medium heat for 30 mins.
  2. Slice your mushrooms and chilli finely and add to the broth. Chop or tear your chicken into strips and add to the pot. Let it cook away for another 10 minutes.
  3. Add the vermicelli noodles to the pot (check the packet instructions, some need to be soaked in cold water first) and cook to until soft, about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Add about 4 tablespoons of soy sauce and the juice of two limes to the broth. Chop up your coriander finely and add it in. Slice the spring onions diagonally and add to the pot to cook for about 5 more minutes.
  5. Just before serving, fish out the chunks of ginger and garlic and taste the broth, add more soy sauce or lime juice as you need.
  6. Serve in warm bowls and garnish with some fresh coriander and another squeeze of lime if you have it. Finish with a generous drizzle of toasted sesame oil.
Chuck Those Bones In A Pot And Boil!!!
Chuck Those Bones In A Pot And Boil!!!
A Light But Deliciously Flavoured Chicken Noodle Broth
A Light But Deliciously Flavoured Chicken Noodle Broth
Add In Your Noodles And Let Them Soften In The Broth
Add In Your Noodles And Let Them Soften In The Broth
When The Noodles Are Soft Serve Immediately
When The Noodles Are Soft Serve Immediately
There's No Better Way To Use Up Your Leftover Roast Chicken
There’s No Better Way To Use Up Your Leftover Roast Chicken

Silky Smooth Homemade Chocolate Truffles

Delicious Rich And Decadent Homemade Chocolate Truffles
Delicious Rich And Decadent Homemade Chocolate Truffles

With Easter coming up it seems we all have chocolate on the brain! Well at least I do; it’s the one day a year I can indulge my chocoholic tendencies without judgement or guilt.

While giving friends and family gifts of Easter eggs is the norm as we celebrate this holiday, I think it’s a nice touch to make some homemade chocolate truffles instead of a shop bought egg. Despite these truffles looking the bee’s knees (if I do humbly say so myself), they are stupidly easy to make. This is a great recipe to add to your repertoire as a box of these bad boys always makes a thoughtful gift.

Best of all it only requires a few simple ingredients and you can use your imagination for the toppings. So put your apron on, get into the kitchen and channel your inner Juliette Binoche!

Absolutely Mouthwatering Homemade Hazelnut Chocolate Truffles
Absolutely Mouthwatering Homemade Hazelnut Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients (Makes Approx 24):

400g 70% dark chocolate

175ml cream

Whiskey

Toppings:

Cocoa powder & Cinnamon (equal amounts of each)

Crushed Roasted Hazelnuts

Desiccated Coconut

Your Own Homemade Box of Chocolate And Whiskey Truffles
Your Own Homemade Box of Chocolate And Whiskey Truffles
  1. Break up all your chocolate into little pieces and place into a large bowl.
  2. Heat your cream in a saucepan and just before it comes to the boil take it off and pour it over the chocolate pieces. Stir the chocolate and cream together continuously until it combines.
  3. Add a splash of whiskey (I’ll let you use your judgement on this! Even if you’re not a whiskey fan I still advise adding a shot as it just adds a great depth of flavour rather than a strong whiskey taste. Don’t add more than 2 shots of whiskey though as the mix needs to be thick enough to set). Keep stirring until totally combined.
  4. Leave the mix in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours until it sets. When set, take it out and take a spoon at a time and roll between your hands until they form into ball shapes, do this quickly or they will melt from the heat of your hand. Don’t worry about them being perfectly circular. I advise wearing rubber gloves for this or your nails may go black!
  5. Set up bowls containing the toppings and roll the truffles in each until they’re well coating in either your coconut, hazelnut or cocoa cinnamon topping.
  6. Put into a lined box or tupperware and make sure to keep in the fridge until ready to eat. They will keep for up to a week, but my experience is that they all get gobbled up within a day or two!

Happy Easter!

Break All Your Chocolate Into Little Pieces
Break All Your Chocolate Into Little Pieces
Pour The Hot Cream Over The Chocolate
Pour The Hot Cream Over The Chocolate
Stir Continuously As The Chocolate Melts
Stir Continuously As The Chocolate Melts
Add A Nice Generous Splash Of Whiskey
Add A Nice Generous Splash Of Whiskey
Roll The Set Truffles Into Their Toppings Et Voila!
Roll The Set Truffles Into Their Toppings Et Voila!
Your Own Homemade Box of Chocolate And Whiskey Truffles
Your Own Homemade Box of Chocolate And Whiskey Truffles

If you’re looking for other homemade chocolate recipes, try these completely delicious (and easy) Spiced Orange and Roast Hazelnut Chocolates.

Gingery Banana And Pecan Buckwheat Granola

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!

Mouthwatering Tray Of Banana And Pecan Buckwheat Granola
Mouthwatering Tray Of Banana And Pecan Buckwheat Granola

Ingredients:

1 kg Buckwheat Groats

200g Pecans

200g Seeds (I used pumpkin and sunflower)

100g Coconut flakes

3 Bananas

2 tbsp Coconut Oil

1 Tbsp Honey

1 Inch Fresh Ginger, grated

  1. In a large bowl mix together your buckwheat, pecans and seeds.
  2. 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.
  3. Mix the wet banana mix to the bowl of buckwheat, nuts and seeds and mix together until all the dry ingredients are well coated.
  4. 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.
  5. When baked, stir in the coconut flakes. Let the granola cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
  6. 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!
Mix Together All Your Dry Ingredients And Set Aside
Mix Together All Your Dry Ingredients And Set Aside
Your Coconut Oil, Honey & Ginger Mix Should Look Like This When Done
Your Coconut Oil, Honey & Ginger Mix Should Look Like This When Done
Then Add In Your Gooey Liquidised Bananas
Then Add In Your Gooey Liquidised Bananas
Then Lob In The Banana Mix To The Dry Mix
Then Lob In The Banana Mix To The Dry Mix
Mix It All Together Until All The Ingredients Are Well Coated
Mix It All Together Until All The Ingredients Are Well Coated
Spread Out On A Tray And Try Not To Eat It All Before Cooking
Spread Out On A Tray And Try Not To Eat It All Before Cooking
At This Point Your House Will Smell Glorious And You'll Probably Be Munching Fistfuls of Granola
At This Point Your House Will Smell Glorious And You’ll Probably Be Munching Fistfuls of Granola
Mouthwatering Tray Of Banana And Pecan Buckwheat Granola
Mouthwatering Tray Of Banana And Pecan Buckwheat Granola

Easy Peasy Vegetarian Squash And Chickpea Curry

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!

Top Class Vegetarian Squash and Chickpea Curry
Top Class Vegetarian Squash and Chickpea Curry
All These Fresh and Tasty Ingredients Will Put A Pep In Your Step
All These Fresh and Tasty Ingredients Will Put A Pep In Your Step

Ingredients:

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 5 minutes before serving add in the cherry tomatoes, chopped coriander and spinach.
  5. Serve in a bowl with brown rice and sprinkle with some of the reserved coriander and almonds.
Add The Squash And Chickpeas To The Pot
Add The Squash And Chickpeas To The Pot
The Squash Should Be Cooked Through Before You Add The Spinach
The Squash Should Be Cooked Through Before You Add The Spinach
Dunk In The Green Goddess Ingredients
Dunk In The Green Goddess Ingredients
Ready To Serve!
Ready To Serve!
Delicious Vegetarian Korma
Delicious Vegetarian Korma
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