Category Archives: Dinner

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

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

Gubbeen Smoked Cheese, Bacon, Mushroom & Walnut Pasta

Gubbeen Cheese, Schull Farmers Market
Gubbeen Cheese, Schull Farmers Market

Gubbeen Smoked Meat, Schull Farmers Market

On Sunday I went with my family to the Famers Market in Schull, West Cork, which is always a nice trip as there’s always a great atmosphere and even better food. The Gubbeen Cheese stall has to be my favourite and I quickly bought a big chunk of their soft goats cheese and cranberry roulade, and also a small wheel of their Gubbeen Oak Smoked Cheese (my personal favourite). I have been working my way through the cheese since then and last night decided to try it in a pasta dish, so below is the recipe I dreamt up. The oyster mushrooms and bacon really compliment the smokey cheese and the walnuts give a nice little bite!

 Gubbeen Cheese has been a family favourite for years. We went on a tour of the Gubbeen dairy and smokehouse when we were small and the fascination has grown since then! There’s obviously a sense of pride that such a famous cheese comes from Cork, and it’s important to support our local producers, but more importantly it tastes amazing. Its a really good Irish cheese and you can get it almost anywhere, so I would definitely recommend giving it a try.

Gubbeen Cheese Pasta Dish
Gubbeen Cheese Pasta Dish

Ingredients (serves 2):

100g Gubbeen Oak Smoked Cheese grated

70mls milk

1 egg yolk

12 oyster mushrooms sliced

4 rashers (smoked or streaky would be best)

Bunch of scallions finely chopped

1 clove garlic finely chopped

Handful walnuts chopped

Pasta (I used spelt pasta but just use your favourite)

Salt & Pepper

Olive Oil

  1. Heat some oil in a pan on a medium flame, add the garlic and scallions. Cover the pan with a lid to sweat them to prevent them from going crispy.
  2. Cut bacon into lengths (approx 1 inch by 1 cm in shape) and add to pan and let cook away for 5 minutes. Put your pasta into a saucepan filled with boiling water, some salt and oil and let to cook away.
  3. When bacon is cooked, add the sliced mushrooms and walnuts and cover with lid to allow to sweat.
  4. When pasta is cooked, drain and add to pan with the bacon and veg.
  5. Mix the egg, cheese and milk and add to the pan- let it cook for about a minute or so (before the egg starts to cook!). Give it a good stir to make sure the pasta is coated evenly with your cheese sauce and the sauce is heated enough.
  6. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and serve in deep bowls! Enjoy!
Wheel of Gubbeen Cheese
Wheel of Gubbeen Cheese

 

Prep your Vegetables
Prep your Vegetables

Bacon and Veggies Cooking Away

Enjoy

Moules Mariniere

 

Enjoying the vino at L'Escale
Enjoying the vino at L’Escale
L'Escale, Schull Pier, West Cork
L’Escale, Schull Pier, West Cork

I am currently down in Schull, West Cork lazing around eating and drinking a few glasses of wine for the week. There is a pretty great posh fish and chip shop here on the pier called L’Escale where you get the days catch freshly served up to you. It’s yum. When we went we tried deep fried crab toes, monkfish and seafood lasagna and they were pretty tasty with a nice glass of white. Best of all you can sit out looking out over the pier as you eat.

 I got into a bit of a fishy phase after this and got the notion to make moules mariniere that night. I bought my bag of mussels from town and went about making this really easy recipe. You should be able to get fresh mussels in any fish shop in any town. Mussels are actually pretty cheap and despite people having a mental block over cooking shellfish, this is quicker and easier than any piece of meat you might want to cook. I serve mine with tartar sauce to dip the chips into. The recipe was adapted from Trish Deseines book Nobody Does it Better, which I would highly recommend as a really easy guide to French cooking. 

Moules Mariniere
Moules Mariniere

Ingredients (to serve two):

1kg mussels

30g butter

2 tbsp sunflower oil

1 garlic clove (finely chopped)

2 shallots (finely chopped)

1 handful of curley parsley (finely chopped)

1 ½ large glass white wine

black pepper

 

3 rooster potatoes (other potatoes are fine if you can’t get these)

Sea Salt (I find Maldon sea salt flakes the best)

 

For tartar sauce:

4 tbsp mayonnaise

Juice of ½ lemon

2 tbsp capers (chopped)

1 tsp vinegar (white wine vinegar preferable)

 

  1. The chips take the longest so put them on first. Heat the oven to 200C and cut the potatoes into fingers. Pat dry with kitchen paper and then throw into a baking dish and coat with some sunflower oil and salt. These will take about 30mins in total- while these are cooking prep for the mussels.
  2. Wash the mussels with a scrubbing brush removing all little “hairs” etc. With mussels there are only two rules. Firstly if there are any open mussels prior to cooking- throw them out. Only cook ones that are closed. Secondly, they should all open when cooked. If any remain closed after cooking- throw them out.
  3. Once the chips are cooked through (soft) then turn up the heat to about 220C (checking and turning regularly) so they crisp up a bit as the mussels cook.
  4. To make the tartar sauce to accompany the chips simply mix together the mayonnaise, capers, vinegar and juice of half a lemon.
  5. In a large deep pot heat the butter and oil, add shallots and garlic and let sweat with lid on. Add parsley, wine and black pepper and bring to the boil.
  6. Throw in the mussels and let cook for a 3-4 minutes. They are cooked when they are open. Turn mussels in pot once or twice when cooking.
  7. Serve in bowls or deep plates and ladle over the juices. Serve with chips and tartar sauce on the side.
Chop the Potatoes into Chips
Chop the Potatoes into Chips
Sweat the Garlic & Shallots
Sweat the Garlic & Shallots
Tartar Sauce
Tartar Sauce
 
Happy with my Feast!
Happy with my Feast!
Enjoy
Enjoy

Chorizo Baked Eggs

Chorizo Baked Eggs
Chorizo Baked Eggs
Break Into The Delicious Oozy Egg Yolk
Break Into The Delicious Oozy Egg Yolk
A Delicious Juicy Forkful
A Delicious Juicy Forkful
Chorizo, Egg, Tomato Sauce... I'm in heaven!
Chorizo, Egg, Tomato Sauce… I’m in heaven!

This recipe is inspired by a recipe I came across from Catherine Fulvio’s cookbook (Catherine’s Family Kitchen) which I’ve made countless times and tinkered around with as a result of experimenting and using what’s in my press. My dad got me the cookbook for Christmas, and while there are loads of good recipes in it, I cook this one most often as it is quick, easy and seriously tasty. Perfect for when you come home from work and you want something comforting to eat. I’ve also made it for a few friends and they all seem to like it too!

It’s essentially a bowl of baked tomato, chorizo, veggie goodness (almost stew-like in consistency), but with an egg cracked over the top and grilled. This is best eaten with crusty bread and you have to break through the nice yokey egg to get to the tomato chorizo mix at the bottom- so yum. While Catherine Fulvio used passata and vegetable stock, I simply blitz up a small punnet of cherry tomatoes with basil and add in whatever veggie bits I have handy. I also add in a little crème fraiche for a smooth finish and some tomato pesto for a little punch (but this is totally optional). It’s a good dish to use up leftovers by adding whatever veggies are in the fridge but you can put in or take out whatever you want. In the past I have added chopped courgette, aubergine, chickpeas etc. Don’t be put off by its slightly “rustic” appearance… I promise it is delicious!

Ingredients (serves two):

2 – 4 eggs (depending how hungry you are)

2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes

Pinch salt

Pinch cracked black pepper

Few sprigs of basil chopped

1 tbsp tomato pesto (optional)

2 tbsp creme fraiche

1 bunch scallions finely sliced

1 garlic clove chopped

1 handful spinach

1 red onion (finely chopped)

I garlic clove(finely chopped)

1 red pepper (chopped)

handful peas

small handful spinach

2 finger lengths of chorizo (chopped)

  1. Fry the chorizo in a large deep frying pan for a minute or two on a medium-high heat. Remove with a slotted spoon on to a plate.
  2. Add the scallions and garlic to the chorizo oil that is left in the pan and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Blitz the tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper with a hand blender until you have a chunky sauce. Add this to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes until it has reduced a little.
  4. Add in spinach and cook for another minute until just wilted. Add back in the cooked chorizo to the mix.
  5. Transfer the mixture into two deep ovenproof bowls and make a well in the centre of each bowl. Crack an egg or two into the well in each bowl and throw under the grill fora few minutes to cook about 3-5 minutes depending how runny you like your yolk.
  6. Remove and serve with crusty, toasted and buttered bread. If you have any leftover basil handy you can sprinkle it on top- if not, it doesn’t really matter.
Sauce Ready To Go
Sauce Ready To Go
Make A Well In Your Sauce For The Eggs
Make A Well In Your Sauce For The Eggs
Add The Eggs And That's It
Add The Eggs And That’s It
Chorizo Baked Eggs Hot From The Oven
Chorizo Baked Eggs Hot From The Oven
This Calls For Sourdough
This Calls For Sourdough