Last weekend I went home to Cork for the weekend and went on a little shopping trip around the English Market with my sister. I love these little trips as I always stock up on enough goodies to keep me going for lunches and dinners for the following week. I stocked up on the amazing Toonsbridge buffalo mozzarella and Toonsbridge buffalo cream cheese with lemon and herbs. I also stocked up on fresh pizza dough, pesto and artichoke hearts and all week I have been enjoying them!
It was on this little food trip that I bought a bag of the most delicious Irish chanterelle, shiitake and brown button mushrooms and decided to make a mushroom tart for Sunday lunch. This was really good an everyone seemed to love it. I used this pastry recipe which has a lovely bite and crumb to it, and is really healthy. It actually is a very easy tart to make and you could make individual tarts if you wanted, or use a smaller tart tin if you wanted a deeper tart. This is a really easy dinner idea, and a lovely mushroom recipe for your repertoire- it’s always good to have a few vegetarian recipes up your sleeve. We ate ours with roasted vegetables but it would be equally nice with a salad.
I followed this recipe as I wanted a nice texture and crumb which this recipe gives from the wholewheat and oats. Alternatively you could use any other shortcrust pastry recipe, or just buy pre-made shortcrust pastry.
1 kg mushrooms ( I used a mix of shiitake, chantarelles and brown button mushrooms)
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme (Keep some extra thyme sprigs for serving)
15g (or 2 tbsp) grated Parmesan Cheese (keep some extra sprinkled Parmesan for serving)
Salt & pepper
If you are following this pastry recipe which I used, then when rolled out and pressed into a lined quiche/tart tin pop into the oven and let blind bake for 13 minutes. If you are using another pastry recipe or bought pastry, still put it into the oven for 13 minutes to blind bake and continue on with the following steps.
In a large heavy bottomed frying pan fry the mushrooms in the butter, cover to let sweat a little. Cook the button mushrooms for a minute or two first before adding the others as the chantarelles and shiitake mushrooms cook very quickly and you don’t want them to reduce down too much. Cook until tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
For the sauce heat the butter and flour in a saucepan on a medium heat to make a roux, when melted down and combined gradually add in the milk and whisk constantly to ensure it’s smooth. Season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle in the thyme leaves and Parmesan just before taking it off the heat. Pour the sauce into the cooked mushrooms and stir to coat the mushrooms evenly in sauce. Then tip the mushroom mix into your pie dish and cook for 20 minutes at 180C (turn down the heat if it browns too soon).
After 20 minutes sprinkle the top of the pie the extra grated Parmesan and pop it under the grill. Scatter the pie with a few thyme sprigs before serving.
Who doesn’t love chocolate?! I love chocolate and it’s rare that a day passes without me having at least one or two squares of the really dark, bitter stuff. Strangely enough I don’t usually buy or order chocolate cakes when I’m out unless they’re the flour-less, oozy, gooey kind as I have a special dislike for chocolate sponge cake. My problem with it is that it’s often a bit dry, not chocolatey enough and covered in an icky, sweet, non-descript icing. If I want to eat something chocolatey, it better actually taste of beautiful rich chocolate!
These chocolate chip muffins have changed my mind towards chocolate cakes though, as these double chocolate muffins are so moist and rich. Made with lots of buttermilk, butter, eggs, chocolate and cocoa these muffins will not disappoint you. I tinkered around with this recipe a few times until I got the right consistency. They’re so deliciously soft and moist that they feel really delicate when you first take them out of the oven, don’t worry though they won’t crumble or fall apart, just give them 5-10 minutes to cool slightly… if you can!
I love really dark chocolate so I used 75% chocolate chips in mine, but if you’re not a dark chocolate fanatic just use milk chocolate chips as this batter uses a lot of cocoa so they’ll still be rich enough anyway if you decide to use milk chocolate chips. Just go with your personal preference. Enjoy these chocolate chip beauties, and watch your popularity rise if you decided to share them with friends!
Ingredients (makes 12 muffins):
250g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
150g soft light brown sugar
120g butter (softened to room temperature)
200g chocolate chopped into chunks (or chocolate chips)
Preheat an oven to 180C and pop some paper muffin cases into a muffin tray.
Using a mixer (or spoon/whisk if you don’t have an electric mixer) mix together the butter and sugar until well combined. Beat in the eggs. Mix in the baking powder and half the flour, then mix in half the butter milk. Mix in the remaining flour and buttermilk. Finally mix in the cocoa.
With a spatula mix in just over half the chocolate chips/chunks. Then spoon the mixture into the 12 muffin cases.
Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chunks over the tops of the muffin batter and push slightly into the batter.
Pop into the oven and let bake for about 18 to 20 minutes (depending on your oven). These will be very soft at first when they come out of the oven, so don’t mistake this for them being underdone, it’s just because they are so moist. The usual trick of putting a skewer in the muffin to see if it’s done doesn’t really work here as they’re so packed with chocolate chips you’ll no doubt hit a melted chocolate chip spot, so don’t mistake this for uncooked batter. Muffins are meant to be super moist so don’t be tempted to keep them in the oven for an extra few minutes.
Let them cool for about 5 minutes before eating. Once totally cooled they will firm up a lot more.
This is the best breakfast I have ever eaten. In fact I feel bad that you’re reading this and not eating this. The only solution is to stop whatever you are doing and go make this immediately! I have been experimenting with baked oatmeal recipes for a few weeks and this last batch I made is true perfection, it takes like banana bread, but it’s actually healthy, nutritious and guilt-free. When I heard about people baking oatmeal, I instantly decided to try it as all my favourite breakfasts are oaty (porridge, granola, bircher muesli etc), and this is definitely the most delicious breakfast I’ve had and yet it is still a very healthy breakfast option. For people unfamiliar with baked oatmeal, think of it as a breakfast casserole of oats. Okay that’s an awful description… It’s like if a milky bowl of porridge and a soft delicious cake had a baby. I tried a few different varieties using different fruits, different amounts of eggs/milk, and tried various cooking times and this beauty is the result of much experimentation. Having said that feel free to add or subtract whatever spices, nuts and fruits you like, but I have found that the addition of the mashed/ puréed fruit makes this extra soft and mouth watering.
It’s really easy to make and keeps for up to four days in the fridge so if you make a batch you have just reheat individual portions in the morning before work very quickly. Some people have theirs with milk, but I thought it was just perfect with Greek yoghurt. I added four mashed bananas into my oatmeal mix which gave it the lovely banana bread effect, and I also threw in some raisins that I had soaked in juice (for extra juicy plumpness) and some chopped walnuts. I made some caramelised bananas to go with mine as I was making it for brunch at the weekend for others as a treat and thought they would be a decadent addition, but you can leave them out if you like as during the week before work they’re a bit impractical. This is so delicious, it tastes like it should be bad for you but its actually a really healthy breakfast and is packed full of fibre. If you make one thing from this blog, try my banana baked oatmeal!
Ingredients (serves 4 to 6):
2 cups jumbo oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
1 handful of raisins (try soaking in apple or orange juice the night before so they plump up)
50g chopped walnuts
1 tbsp dark brown sugar (or honey)
2 cups milks
4 mashed bananas
1 tbsp butter/ rapeseed oil/ coconut oil
Caramelised Bananas (optional):
1 large banana sliced into little discs
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp butter
Whisk the eggs and milk together well until totally combined (you don’t want lumps of egg in the milk as you want to avoid eggy bits in your baked oatmeal). Add mashed bananas and mix together.
Add in add other ingredients and mix well, pour into a pyrex baking dish lined with either butter or mild-tasting oil.
Pop into an oven preheated to 180C for 30 minutes. Don’t be tempted to overcook the oats as you want them soft, not dry. Once the oatmeal is set (not wobbly) it’s done.
To make caramelised bananas just pup the butter into a frying pan on a medium high heat. Spinkle the slices of banana with the brown sugar and fry in the butter for a minute or two on each side.
Serve a slice of the oatmeal with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and caramelised bananas if you made them.
I’m not the biggest chicken eater in the world, I guess I’m often disappointed as it can often be served in a very boring and plain way, whereas beef, pork and fish are more often bursting with natural flavour and require little work. However, these chicken skewers have me back on the wagon. I recently got a copy of the Rick Stein India cookbook which is incredible, it reminds me of the vivid colours and smells I experienced when I visited Mumbai a few years ago, the pictures in the book are are incredible and after trying a few of his dishes, I can say the recipes seem to be too.
I decided to make my own rice (not traditionally Indian at all) to go with it which I was really pleased with, it was bursting with flavour and colour, I’ll definitely make it again. I also plopped a dollop of yoghurt on top of my kebabs, as who can resist something little saucy? I’ve probable made the dish a lot less authentically Indian than Rick’s original recipe but I was working with what I had in my fridge and my own personal tastes. I was delighted with the results though, and ended up making the exact same dish again the following night!
I left out the coconut cream and double cream from Rick’s original recipe as I didn’t have it in the fridge, I also only marinated the whole lot of ingredients together for 30 minutes rather than he did in stages for a few hours, I’d say this would be ever better if marinated overnight.
4 chicken breasts diced into equal sized pieces
Juice 1 lime
75g grated fresh ginger
2 red chilis finely chopped
4 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Mango Fried Rice
1 to 1.5 cups of basmati rice
4 tbsp soya sauce
1 large mango diced
1 tbsp oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 handful of de-shelled and chopped pistachio nuts
Greek Yoghurt (1 tbsp per person)
Extra chopped pistachios
Mix the chicken, lime juice, chillies, ginger, yoghurt, salt, pepper and cardamom in a bowl either overnight or 30-60 minutes. (Rick suggested marinating the chicken in the lime juice, ginger and chilli first for 15 minutes before adding the yoghurt etc, this probably helps it soak up more flavour so I suggest trying that, I was just caught for time for threw it all together at once.)
Add your rice to a pot of boiling water and bring to the boil for a few minutes, and then reduce to simmer for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. When cooked drain and set aside.
Thread your pieces of chicken together on to a wooden skewer (I soak my wooden skewers in water first so they don’t burn), and place onto a piece of tinfoil on top of a baking tray, drizzle with a little oil and pop under the grill turning every 3-4 minutes. They should be cooked in around 12-15 minutes depending on the heat of your grill and size of your chicken pieces.
When your chicken is almost done, throw your rice into a frying pan with the lime juice, mango, pistachios and oil, and fry for about 5 minutes.
Serve your chicken skewers on top of a bed of the fried rice and top with a little spoon of yoghurt and some more chopped pistachios.