Chorizo Hash

Schull Pier, West Cork
Schull Pier, West Cork
Schull, West Cork
Schull, West Cork

Weekends for me are all about brunch. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. There is something great about starting your weekend with something fun and new to eat that hasn’t come from a cereal box. If I have to eat something quick like toast, I feel cheated out of one of life’s simple pleasures!

A new dish that I tried out last week was my Chorizo Hash. It was amazing, the smell of the frying potatoes and chorizo wafting through the house definitely would wake you up. Give it a go, it’s really easy takes about 25-30 minutes and you’ll be skipping out the door with a smile on your face, ready for the weekend. I think a nice hearty brunch like this is perfect before a long walk, like in Schull, West Cork above!

I Wish You Could Smell This
I Wish You Could Smell This

Ingredients (serves two):

120g chorizo sausage (I used Gubbeen’s chorizo… heaven!)

2 potatoes chopped into chunks

1 red pepper chopped

1 onion chopped finely

Handful of chopped scallions (optional)

1 garlic clove finely sliced

1 tomato chopped

1 heaped tsp smoked paprika

Salt & pepper

2 free-range eggs

  1. Chop potato into small cubes and place in pan of boiling hot water on a medium-high heat until soft (test this by pricking with knife… don’t overcook, you don’t want soggy potatoes!!) Remove cooked potato, drain and set aside.
  2. Finely slice the garlic and onion add to saucepan. Slice tomato, pepper and scallions and add to pan, stirring until soft. Add chopped chorizo and paprika and stir until cooked (around 2 minutes), then set vegetables & chorizo aside.
  3. Add the cooked potatoes to the frying pan. Season with salt & pepper and fry until golden and crispy around the edges.
  4. Return vegetables and chorizo to pan and cook on a low heat.
  5. Fry the two eggs. I find covering the frying pan with a lid ensures that the top of the eggs are cooked nicely too.
  6. Serve your hash with the egg on top!
Boil the Potato
Boil the Potato
The Hero Of This Dish
The Hero Of This Dish
Add Chorizo to Veg
Add Chorizo to Veg
Fry The Potato and Egg
Fry The Potato and Egg
Chorizo Potato Mix
Chorizo Potato Mix
90% There
90% There
Plated Up and Ready to Go!
Plated Up and Ready to Go!

Carrot Cake

Divas Cafe Ballinspittle
Divas Cafe Ballinspittle
Divas Carrot Cake
Divas Carrot Cake
Eyeing My Prey
Eyeing My Prey
Diva's Deli & Bakery
Diva’s Deli & Bakery
Divas Bakery Cakes
Divas Bakery Cakes

One of my favourite spots in Cork is Diva’s cafe in Ballinspittle. My sister introduced me to this spot a few years ago on a trip down to Garretstown beach. It’s the perfect place to go after a walk or swim to reward yourself for your endeavours, or just to go for the sake of going. It’s a great alternative cafe and you feel like you’ve stumbled upon a real secret gem when you go there. The first time I went there I got the lavender and almond cake covered in Swiss buttercream, I think it was the best cake I have ever had! The last time I went there I was on the way to a wedding afters in the area and couldn’t resist a quick pit stop! It was late in the day so the cafe was shutting up shop, but thank god they spared us a slice of carrot cake! Yum! They also have a bakery/deli across the road that is amazing too- go to Ballinspittle willing to eat lots of good stuff and stock up your kitchen with goodies!

In the weeks following I had been dreaming of this carrot cake and decided to make one myself. As Divas don’t have a cookbook yet (I live in hope they will release one), I tried the Lily Higgins recipe which I think is perfection and super easy to make. Its so light yet moist and definitely a recipe to add to your scrap book! This makes two loaf tins but I made a giant one (using a spring form tin) for when a friend came over to dinner, and brought the rest in to work the next day. It made me quite popular that week!

 

Ingredients:

8oz self raising flour

6oz wholemeal flour

2 tsp bread soda

Pinch salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

13 fl oz sunflower oil

9oz caster sugar

4 free range eggs

3 grated carrots

Chopped walnuts

1 tub of cream cheese

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line your two loaf tins.
  2. Mix oil, sugar, egss, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in large bowl.
  3. Fold in flour, bread soda and walnuts.
  4. Add grated carrots.
  5. Bake for an hour or until a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Mix cream cheese with some vanilla extract and icing sugar and spread on top of cake, decorate with a few walnuts on top.
Quick Batter
Quick Batter
Slicing up my Cake
Slicing up my Cake
Finished Product
Finished Product
Now Enjoy!
Now Enjoy!

Three Cheese Spinach & Bacon Lasagne

Three Cheese Spinach and Bacon Lasagne
Three Cheese Spinach and Bacon Lasagne
Three Cheese Bacon and Spinach Lasagne
Three Cheese Bacon and Spinach Lasagne
It's All About The Layers
It’s All About The Layers

Last weekend I went home to Cork for the Taste of West Cork Festival. Lots of amazing food was eaten, copious amounts of blackberry jam was made and my sister and her boyfriend made me dinner! I was really impressed with this dish and decided to recreate it last night for a friend who was coming over to dinner. I have to say this is one of my all-time favourite comforting meals! This cheesy spinach and bacon lasagne was so comforting yet so tasty. My sister used Gubbeen Smoked bacon which was amazing, but I used cooked ham, and this dish is great to use up leftover cooked ham from the weekend if you’re having a traditional Sunday lunch. If you’re a vegetarian, leave out the bacon & it’s equally mouth-watering.

This dish is seriously tasty and seriously cheesy! Buying great cheese makes a great difference. I am I serious Toonsbridge Dairy fan, as most of my blog readers know, and used their Irish buffalo mozzarella and buffalo ricotta. I suggest buying fresh lasagne sheets as it does decreases cooking time (30 to 40 minutes instead of an hour!) I made my own pasta sheets as since getting a pasta machine, I’m playing away with it a lot. It makes such a difference, but it doesn’t matter too much if you used dried it will still be a winner. It’s best served with a salad. My dish was a small one and serves 4 comfortably, so just increase the quantities roughly if you’re feeding more people.  Leftover portions are great frozen for a quick meal the following week. Enjoy and let me know what you think! If you have any unusual lasagne fillings I’d love to hear them as I experiment with my pasta machine!

This Picture Honestly Just Makes Me Hungry!
This Picture Honestly Just Makes Me Hungry!

Ingredients (serves 6):

For the cheesy sauce:

500ml whole milk

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp plain flour

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

For the lasagne:

Lasagne sheets (enough to cover your dish for four layers)

200g cooked ham (thickly sliced) or smoked streaky bacon lightly fried

400g baby spinach

200g ricotta cheese

Handful pine nuts

½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg (more flavoursome than powdered nutmeg)

1 ball mozzarella

Extra grated parmesan for sprinkling on top

  1. Fry pine nuts in a dry pan for a minute until they brown and set aside. They burn quickly so keep your eye on them!
  2. Make the sauce first by adding all ingredients to saucepan except the Parmesan cheese over a medium flame. Whisk for about 3 to 5 minutes until its hot and thickened, then turn down heat, add Parmesan cheese and stir for a few minutes. Season with a little cracked black pepper. Remove from heat & cover with kitchen towel or foil to prevent skin forming.
  3. Wash spinach and dry. Place in a pan with some butter and salt. Stir gently until spinach is lightly wilted. Remove when cooked and squeeze out moisture (you may need to pat off excess water with a kitchen towel.) Add ricotta cheese and a half cup of the sauce, stir together and season with salt, pepper & nutmeg.
  4. Now it is time to assemble! Spread enough sauce to cover the base of your lasagne dish, then add a layer of pasta. Add a layer with half of your spinach mix. Then a layer of pasta sheets. Then a layer of sliced mozzarella and ham. Then a layer of spinach and pine nuts. Cover with pasta and pour the remaining sauce over the top.
  5. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes until golden. If your lasagne starts to brown too quickly, cover with tinfoil and pop back in to the oven. When cooked garnish with a little grated Parmesan and any leftover toasted pine nuts.
  6. Enjoy, preferably with a large glass of wine if it’s going!
My Fresh Pasta Sheets
My Fresh Pasta Sheets
Creamy Ricotta Spinach Filling
Creamy Ricotta Spinach Filling
Start Layering Up Your Lasagne
Start Layering Up Your Lasagne
Top Final Layer With Cheese Sauce and You're Done
Top Final Layer With Cheese Sauce and You’re Done
Hot From the Oven
Hot From the Oven
Delicious Cheesy Bacon and Spinach Lasagne
Delicious Cheesy Bacon and Spinach Lasagne
The First Forkful
The First Forkful

Homemade Blackberry Jam

Blackberry Bush
Blackberry Bush
Me Picking Blackberries
Me Picking Blackberries
Blackberry Picking
Blackberry Picking

Last weekend I went home to Cork for the Taste of West Cork Festival, which meant that I ended up spending lots of money on cheese, cured meat, chocolate etc! After a day of serious eating I went home to find ripe juicy blackberries growing everywhere in our area! With romantic memories of the days when my brother, sister and I used to pick them for our mum when we were younger so she could make her winter supply of jam, I decided it would be a shame to not pick some and give it a go.

Jam is ridiculously easy to make, and you can vary the flavours whichever way you like. It’s literally a case of just using equal quantities of berries and sugar. Blackberries are really ripe at the moment, and you can find them all over the country, so why not give it a go? I think its a nice little Irish autumn tradition! If you don’t have any blackberry bushes nearby, why not buy a carton of frozen berries and give it a try? Warning- you may experience blue fingers for a few days afterwards, but it’s worth it!

 

Ingredients:

1.5kg fresh blackberries (or you can buy frozen berries in any supermarket and let them defrost)

1.5kg sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1tsp nutmeg

 

  1. Carefully wash all berries to ensure there are no creepy crawlies still hanging on, throw into a pot and mash.
  2. Add sugar, spices and bring to a boil for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes.
  4. Pour into jars. Tada! You’re jam is made!
Pot of Blackberries
Pot of Blackberries
Mashed Blackberry, Sugar & Spice Mix
Mashed Blackberry, Sugar & Spice Mix

This makes lovely runny jam, it actually freezes quite well. I made about 8-10 jars and gave away a few to friends and family to keep me in the good books, and I froze about 5 which I can defrost throughout winter for when I am in urgent need of blackberry jam!

I enjoyed mine on some French toast, but as it is runny jam a spoon on top of vanilla ice-cream makes a nice dessert too!

Enjoy!
Enjoy!
Jars of Jam
Jars of Jam

 

Trout Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

 

Trout Salad
Trout Salad

This is yummy, and very quick and easy to make for lunch, dinner or whenever you feel like it. I actually made it with leftover trout from dinner the night before and had it for a picnic during a trip to Glendalough, Co.Wicklow. After intending on going on an hour stroll and ending up taking a wrong trail and doing a 3.5 hour 380 meter incline hike up the mountains, we were pretty glad for our salad to keep us going!

 

Hills of Glendalough
Hills of Glendalough

Ingredients (serves 2):

 

Trout (about 1 fillet per person)

Mixed leaves including rocket

Half a cucumber

Handful cherry tomatoes

Lemon

Pepper & Salt

 

Dressing:

Olive Oil

Dijon Mustard

Honey

 

  1. Lay sliced lemon on baking tray and lay trout on top, season with salt & pepper and drizzle with some olive oil. Bake at 190C for about 15-20minutes.
  2. Wash salads leaves. Chop cucumber into small chunks and quarter the tomatoes.
  3. Mix together 2tbsp oil with 1 tbsp of Dijon mustard and 1 tbsp honey. Stir until combined. Adapt to your taste- if you like it sweeter add more honey, if you like it sharper add more mustard.
  4. Take out trout when cooked properly and flake into bits. Mix salad leaves and vegetables in a serving bowl, drop the flaked trout on top, pour dressing over.
Honey Mustard Dressing
Honey Mustard Dressing

Note: I actually cooked my trout the night before so the trout was cold in the salad, if you would rather it cold also prepare the trout an hour or so before and let cool before adding to salad. Chopped avocado would be a nice addition too if you had one.

Eating My Salad
Eating My Salad
Glendalough
Glendalough
Wild Heather Covered Hills
Wild Heather Covered Hills
Hilly Glendalough
Hilly Glendalough

Homemade Fruit & Nut Granola

Easy and Delicious Homemade Granola
Easy and Delicious Homemade Granola
Beautiful and Fresh Healthy Breakfast
Beautiful and Fresh Healthy Breakfast
Healthy Fruit and Nut Granola
Healthy Fruit and Nut Granola

Breakfast is by far my favourite meal of the day, and if I miss it (which rarely happens as I would rather be late than be hungry) it really puts me in a bad mood for the day! My favourite mid-week breakfasts are porridge and granola but I often find if I’m  in a rush porridge takes too long, and while granola is quick,  most supermarket versions are packed with sugar and are very expensive.

My sister started making her own healthy granola recently and I decided to follow suit! This way you can put in only the nuts, fruits, seeds etc that you love and so you’ll enjoy it a lot more. The first time you make it, you will have to buy a few bags of nuts, dried fruits etc but they will last you for a good few large batches of granola so it works out pretty reasonably. Also this probably smells better than anything you will ever cook! I defy you not to start munching on this as it cooks! This really easy granola recipe is a very healthy breakfast that will keep you feeling happy all day long. I have given the ingredients in approximates as you may like yours more oaty or more nutty than me, so just add the quantities that suit your preferences best. Its really tasty and so good for you- a hundred times more nutritionally dense than your average cardboard cornflakes! And more importantly, it’s really delicious.

Healthy and Delicious Homemade Granola
Healthy and Delicious Homemade Granola
Delicious Batch of Fresh Healthy Granola
Delicious Batch of Fresh Healthy Granola

Ingredients:

6 to 7 cups of rolled oats

1/2 cup oil (I used coconut oil but rapeseed, veg or sunflower oil would all work)

1/2 cup honey

3/4 cups water

2-3 cups seeds & nuts (I personally used roughly chopped almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, chia seeds &  4 seed mix)

1-2 cups dried fruit (I used dried cranberries, chopped apricots and raisins)

1. Preheat your oven to 180C

2. Melt your wet ingredients together (oil, honey, water) until they are boiled, then leave simmer.

3. Add your oats, nuts and seeds together in an oven tray. Ideally a wide shallow tray would be best as the granola will cook easier. Don’t add fruit! Pour your liquid over the oats and stir until the oats are coated evenly.

4. Bake for about 45mins (depending on your oven) until the Granola is golden. Make sure to stir it every 5-10 minutes to make sure it is baking evenly.

5. Remove from the oven and let cool completely (this is important as otherwise it will go soggy if transferred straight from the oven in to a container).

6. When cooled, add the fruit, place in airtight container (it’s important the container is airtight to prevent it going soft).

7. Enjoy with yoghurt or milk and the fruit of your choice!

Chop Your Mixed Nuts
Chop Your Mixed Nuts
Stir In Oats And Liquids
Stir In Oats And Liquids
Healthy Homemade Granola
Healthy Homemade Granola
The Best Granola Recipe
The Best Granola Recipe

Steak, Squash, Coconut & Mushroom Curry

Jack Yeats
Jack Yeats
louis le brocquy
Louis le Brocquy
St.Stephens Green
St.Stephens Green

I love weekends to myself when I’m up in Dublin because I can get done all the things I never usually have time for! Last weekend I had the luxury of absolutely no plans and so headed off to the National Gallery (to see my favourite Jack Yeats paintings), chilled out in St.Stephens Green, did way to much shopping and broke the bank due to my All Saints obsession and ended it off with a cooking marathon! One of the dishes I cooked was one of my favourites- a really colourful curry that is absolutely bursting with flavour. I tend to cook it when I have time on my hand and make enough for about 6-8 people and then freeze a load of individual portions so when I know I will be working late I can just defrost a portion the night before and pop in a pot when I come home!

This takes a little longer than the other things I cook and that is why I tend to cook it when I have some time on my hands, and I tend to cook so much of it and freeze it. This recipe isn’t even remotely adapted by me, it’s totally robbed from Kate McAloon. It was too good to try adapt. She is a famous celebrity chef who specialises in healthy but really tasty, flavoursome dishes. You have to try this recipe- it’s amazing, but beware you need around an hour or so of time on your hands.

Steak & Squash Curry
Steak & Squash Curry

 

Ingredients:

800 grams steak (serves about 8… aged steak is best, you can get your butcher to chop into pieces for you to save time)

1 tbsp Coconut oil (or other oil)

1 Cup mushrooms (I used oyster for greater flavour)

1 cup onion (finely chopped)

1 cup carrot (cut into sticks)

1 cup red pepper (cut into sticks)

5 cloves garlic chopped

1/2 cup parsley chopped

1 piece lemongrass (slightly cut to release flavour)

1/4 cup ginger chopped

1 can coconut milk

2 tbsp red Thai curry paste

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp sea salt

Pepper (to taste)

1 cooked butternut squash cut in cubes

 

1. Cut beef in cubes, cut up veggies & herbs. Set aside

2. Heat coconut oil in large deep pan. When hot add beef and let cook until lightly brown.

3. Add veggies and herbs, let cook for another 2 mins.

4. Add curry paste and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring all the while.

5. Add Coconut milk, honey, salt & pepper. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 15 minutes, stirring often.

6. Reduce heat to simmer and add 1/2 of the cooked squash cubes (I find the fastest way to cook them is to steam them). Continue stirring and cooking for 10-15 mins, careful not to burn.

7. Mash the other half of the cooked squash and add to the pot and stir- this thickens the sauce and gives a lovely texture.

8. Check you’re seasoning and add more of what you like if necessary, remove lemon-grass.

9. Garnish with coriander and serve with rice or quinoa.

Prep your Vegetables
Prep your Vegetables
Lightly Brown Steak
Lightly Brown Steak
Add Vegetables
Add Vegetables
Add Coconut Milk
Add Coconut Milk

 

Et Voila
Et Voila