Category Archives: Healthy Recipes

The Best Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

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.

Delicious Mouth Watering Tomato Soup
Delicious Mouth Watering Tomato Soup
This Soup May Change Your Life
This Soup May Change Your Life
World's Best Tomato Soup!
World’s Best Tomato Soup!

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!

Tomatoes

Ingredients:

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)

1 onion

2 celery sticks

2 carrots

6 garlic cloves

1 large bunch fresh basil

Boiling Water

Salt & Pepper

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Peel your garlic and finely chop it.  Finely dice your onion and celery and grate your carrot.
  4. 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.
  5. Add in the roasted tomatoes and pour the hot tomato juice over the top. Chop up your basil and throw it in.
  6. 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.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Chop Up The Tomatoes and Sprinkle With Sea Salt
Chop Up The Tomatoes and Sprinkle With Sea Salt
After About 30-40 Minutes The Tomatoes Reduce To Soft Squidgy Deliciousness
After About 30-40 Minutes The Tomatoes Reduce To Soft Squidgy Deliciousness
Finely Dice Your Carrots, Onion, Celery and Garlic
Finely Dice Your Carrots, Onion, Celery and Garlic
Add In Your Basil And Blitz
Add In Your Basil And Blitz
Literally The Nicest Tomato Soup You Will Ever Try
Literally The Nicest Tomato Soup You Will Ever Try

Farmer’s Market Simple Summer Salad

You Might Be Thinking "How Can A Salad Look So Decadent?!"
You Might Be Thinking “How Can A Salad Look So Decadent?!”
Beetroot, Kale and Mozzarella Salad In All Its Glory
Beetroot, Kale and Mozzarella Salad In All Its Glory

This is a really, really easy salad. It’s just a ‘throw-everything-together’ kind of a recipe. Just a bit of chopping and massaging… Yes massaging. To be honest though, most nights during the week I tend to eat really easy dishes like this as it’s hard to find time to cook something complicated from scratch after a long day at work.

I bought most of the ingredients at the Temple Bar Farmer’s Market last weekend. The beautiful black kale and fresh beetroot are from McNally’s organic farm, the delicious apple balsamic vinegar is from Llewellyns Orchard,  the Irish buffalo mozzarella is from Toonsbridge Dairy (if you follow this blog you’ll see I use it ALL the time, that’s because it is the ambrosia of the Gods). I also got some macadamia nut oil from my local health food shop, The Hopsack (which is a real gem by the way), to massage the kale. Kale has a gorgeous texture and there’s no need to cook it if you massage it with a little oil. This softens it a little and you’ll visibly notice the colour become more vivid , I think it vastly improves the texture and flavour. You can use whatever oil you like but macadamia is packed with healthy fats and had a beautiful, subtle, nutty taste that’s perfect for salad dressings.

All in all this is a very easy, healthy and delicious salad, so get to it and whip it up!

Lovely Farmer's Market Ingredients
Lovely Farmer’s Market Ingredients

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale

1 large raw beetroot (okay I suppose you can use the cooked prepackaged ones if you must)

1 ball of fresh mozzarella

Balsamic vinegar

Macadamia oil (or other mild tasting oil like rapeseed)

Pistachios

  1. Rinse the kale. Remove the stalks/ribs of the kale (you can’t eat these, or at least without difficulty) and slice the kale into fine ribbons. In a bowl massage a tablespoon of oil into the kale leaves for about a minute.
  2. Wash the beetroot well and remove the roots. Slice finely on a mandolin and mix into your bowl of kale.
  3. Tear up your mozzarella and scatter on top. Drizzle with balsamic oil.
  4. Roughly chop your pistachios and scatter on top of the salad.
  5. Enjoy!
Slice The Kale Finely Into Ribbons... Hardly Rocket Science
Slice The Kale Finely Into Ribbons… Hardly Rocket Science
Massage The Kale Seductively With Some Macadamia Oil
Massage The Kale Seductively With Some Macadamia Oil
Slice The Beetroot Finely On A Mandolin
Slice The Beetroot Finely On A Mandolin
Throw Everything In a Bowl
Throw Everything In a Bowl

Dig In And Feel Virtuous

Green Goddess Broccoli and Feta Quiche

Perfect Healthy Little Dinner

Delicious and Nutritious Dinner

I’ve had quite the month of indulgent food, and I really need to step away from the bread and the chocolate and eat healthily for a while to restore a bit of balance. But the problem is I just love good food, I can’t resist something comforting and delicious, and a miserable cucumber salad ain’t my kind of jam.

I had a total craving for quiche last weekend, I just wanted something rich and comforting with a crumbly, biscuity crust. I decided to put my mind to it and make the most health freaky quiche that still tastes incredible… Sounds too good to be true, I know.

This quiche is filling and rich, yet surprisingly light (I know that makes no sense). Packed with green goodness but with enough sharp feta it packs a nice punch. The crust was the experiment and thankfully worked out great, you could definitely use it for sweet tarts too. This is the perfect summer dish if you’re trying to be healthy, but like me are a bit of a glutton at heart.

Lets Hope You Like Green Veggies

Ingredients:

Crust

1/2 mug oats

1/2 mug ground almond

3 tbsp melted coconut oil

Water

Filling

1 head broccoli (or a packet of tender stem broccoli)

1 bunch spring onions

1/2 courgette (optional, I just had some leftover in the fridge so chucked it in)

1 packet feta cheese

6 eggs

Milk

Salt & Pepper

  1. Blend the oats with a hand blender into a powder. Then throw in a mixing bowl with the ground almond, melted coconut oil and a pinch of salt, mix together with a spoon until it comes together. It will still be totally crumbly so don’t worry. Add in a few tablespoons of water and mix together more, this should help it come together so it’s combined.
  2. This pastry is not like a normal pastry so don’t worry that it will keep falling apart. Roll out between two sheets of cling film and then squish it into a quiche tin. I say squish because it will for sure fall apart, but you just need to squish the bits in and patch it up. Throw it into the fridge for 30 mins and it will harden up nicely (at this point you will feel much more confident that it won’t be a total disaster)
  3. Chop the head of broccoli into little florets and slice the courgette and spring onions finely. Throw them all into a large pot with a little coconut oil, salt, pepper and a splash of water with the lid on, stir occasionally. You basically just want to soften these for 10 minutes, the steam from the water should keep them moist and turn them a vibrant green, they shouldn’t catch on the base of the pan. When just slightly soft take out of the pan and drain any excess water if there is any.
  4. Whisk the eggs in a bowl with a splash of milk and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Sprinkle half your cheese on the base of the chilled quiche, then scatter your veggies and top up with the egg, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Throw into an oven preheated to 180C for 40 minutes.
  6. You can eat it hot from the oven with salad, or cold the next day for your lunch. Enjoy!

Chuck All Your Crust Ingredients In A Bowl

Mix It With A Fork Until It Just Comes Together

Roll Out Dough

Squish Your Crust Dough Into A Tin

Scatter The Chilled Crust With Feta Cheese

Fill In With Cooked Veggies, Egg and More Cheese

Green Goddess Quiche

Feels Naughty But Totally Nice!

Pomegranate and Quinoa Sexy Supermodel Salad

So Healthy And Delicious
So Healthy And Delicious
A Salad People Will Actually Enjoy
A Salad People Will Actually Enjoy

Ok so I have no idea what most supermodels eat (probably a packet of cigarettes and a diet coke), but I still live in hope that eating dishes like this will bring me one step closer becoming Miranda Kerr.

Maybe not. If not I won’t be too upset though as this taste so delicious, it’s one of those salads that doesn’t really feel like a salad. I like it best as a side with some fish, meat or quiche. It’s a perfect side for a BBQ. It’s full of all the good stuff especially quinoa which is a really high protein grain.

With the weather looking mighty for the rest of the summer (I hope I didn’t jinx that), this is definitely one worth banging out.

Little Bowl of Salad Heaven
Little Bowl of Salad Heaven

Ingredients:

1 mug dried quinoa grains

1/2 chicken or veg stock cube

2 peeled garlic cloves

1 large handful mangetout

1 bunch spring onions

3 tbsp toasted flaked almonds

Seeds of 1 pomegranate

Zest of 1 lemon

  1. Rinse the quinoa really well in a sieve under water. This is important as the coating of quinoa has a soapy residue so if you don’t rinse it well it will taste yuck. Tip the rinsed grains into a pot of boiling water with the chicken stock cube and garlic cloves. Bring to a boil and let simmer away for about 15-20 minute- until cooked through. It needs a bit, not to be mushy.
  2. Chop the scallions and fry in a little oil the set aside. Slice the mangtout and pop in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute, then remove and pop into a bowl of icy water. Strain and set aside.
  3. When the quinoa is cooked through, strain it and pop into a serving bowl. Add in the spring onions, mangetout, 2 tbsp of the almonds, most of the pomegranate seeds and most of the lemon zest.
  4. Stir it all together and to serve sprinkle with some more of the almonds, lemon zest and pomegranate.
  5. Serve immediately but this will keep well for a few days in the fridge.
Cook The Quinoa With Some Stock and Garlic
Cook The Quinoa With Some Stock and Garlic
Lovely Fluffy Quinoa
Lovely Fluffy Quinoa
Fry The Scallions Until Almost Soft
Fry The Scallions Until Almost Soft
Blanch Your Mangetout
Blanch Your Mangetout
The Easiest Way To Get The Pomegranate Seeds Out Is By Pushing It Inside Out
The Easiest Way To Get The Pomegranate Seeds Out Is By Pushing It Inside Out
Garnish And Serve
Garnish And Serve

Vegan’d to F@$% Chickpea Burgers

Delicious Chickpea Burgers
Delicious Chickpea Burgers

 

Now Vegans Can Part-Take In The Fun
Now Vegans Can Part-Take In The Fun

Life is tough for a Vegan. There are the obvious things like not being able to eat steak, pulled pork sandwiches, cheese, ice-cream and most chocolate (they can’t even buy Easter eggs without remortgaging their homes first.) Then there are the even tougher things: the social exclusion and ridicule. Be honest, have you ever met a vegan and inwardly not rolled your eyes (what kind of person forgoes carrot cake and other such delights out of choice?!) The everyday persecution of vegans is getting worse.

However I know one vegan who is wearing her vegan stripes with pride, cooking up all sorts of meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free dishes without a care in the world. She veganifies my recipes where possible and updates me as to her progress, however I don’t want her to struggle with her recipe recalibrations any longer. This juicy bad-boy burger is just for her and there is not a crumb of meat, cheese or egg in sight! But don’t get jealous and let the vegans have all the fun, try this out for yourself and enjoy a dinner that is “Vegan’d to F@$%”!

Vegan'd to F**k Chickpea Burgers
Vegan’d to F**k Chickpea Burgers

Ingredients:

Chickpea burger ingredients:

2 cans chickpeas

3 tbsp olive oil

3 Cloves of garlic crushed

1 bunch spring onions finely chopped

1 tsp cumin

Salt & pepper

Burger Fillings

Burger buns

Avocado sliced

Tomato sliced

Mixed leaves

Tomato relish

1. Through all chickpea burger ingredients into a blender and whizz until just combined and some of the chickpeas are still whole to allow for a bit of texture and bite. Its best to add the oil after whizzing as you may need more or less, you want the texture to be sticky and slightly rough… Definitely not smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Form the chickpea mix into patties by hand and dust with a little flour. They will be delicate so use a fish slice or flipper to move it from workspace to pan without them breaking.

3. Fry the patties in a little oil until golden on both sides.

4. Toast the buns and smear with relish (or a mint yoghurt is heaven… if you’re not vegan of course!), the cooked burgers, sliced tomato, sliced avocado and salad leaves. Enjoy!

Whizz Up All Burger Ingredients
Whizz Up All Burger Ingredients
Form Into Patties
Form Into Patties
Fry Until Golden On Both Sides
Fry Until Golden On Both Sides
Enjoy
Enjoy

 

Carrot, Clementine and Mixed Seed Salad

Delicious Carrot Salad
Delicious Carrot Salad

The sun is finally shining…. Hurray! I actually didn’t need to wear a big woolly coat at all the last few days and even managed to forgo my morning porridge for fruit and yoghurt. This is big news as for the the last 6 months in Ireland I may as well have been living in Antarctica. The excitement of the approaching summer has me craving fresher, lighter dishes in the same way that in winter I crave warm, hearty stews.

This salad is incredibly quick and easy to make, it only takes a few minutes but I find myself making it a lot as an easy side to go with lunches or dinners, any leftovers are always good in a sandwich or wrap the following day too. Make sure to try out this easy, tasty recipe and leave me a comment to let me know how you get on!

Carrot, Clementine, Mixed Seed & Raisin Salad
Carrot, Clementine, Mixed Seed & Raisin Salad

Ingredients:

3 large carrots

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp mixed seeds (I used sunflower and flax)

2 tbsp raisins

1 clementine

  1. Wash and peel the carrots and then dry them off. Take a vegetable peeler and peel the carrots lengthways in long ribbons.
  2. Peel the clementine  and then take the skins off the segments and roughly chop.
  3. Pop the carrot ribbons into a serving bowl and stir in the apple cider vinegar, seeds, raisins and clementines until evenly coated.
  4. Taste and add a little more apple cider vinegar if necessary. (Sometimes if I want it sweeter I add a squeeze of clementine juice also).
Carrot and Clementine Salad
Carrot and Clementine Salad

Irish Brown Dillisk Scones

Delicious Brown Dillisk Soda Scones
Delicious Brown Dillisk Soda Scones
Beautiful Brown Dillisk Soda Scones
Beautiful Brown Dillisk Soda Scones
The Perfect Lunch
The Perfect Lunch

This recipe came about as a result of a craving for brown soda scones and a bag of dried dillisk (dried Irish seasweed) in my press waiting to be used up! I had totally forgot about it until I recently read that John and Sally McKenna had released a book about cooking with seaweed (or sea vegetables as the more posh folk would say), and it reminded me that I had a bag to us up, so in it went to my last batch of brown soda scones. Seaweed of all different varieties adorn the Irish shores, and yet Irish people don’t eat it nearly as much as you would think despite it being such a nutritous food. However, seaweeds are becoming very fashionable again and I’m starting to sea a whole number of varieties on menus again. Seaweed has been used as a beauty treatment in Ireland for centuries, and many Irish cosmetic companies use it as their superstar ingredient, Voya being by far the best Irish luxury cosmetic company, harnessing seaweeds hydrating properties. So here’s to using what we have in plenty and finding fun and unusual ways of cooking and eating it.

I also have to mention Macroom Oats and Flours as I used them in this recipe, and I use their grains all the time. The Macroom mill is based in Cork and is run by a man called Donal Creedon. I haven’t met him, but he’s known in Cork as being a true artisan who has managed to make oats and flour a luxury artisan product. His oats are stoneground and lightly toasted and make the most delicious, luxurious porridge in the world. His wholemeal flour is ground in the same way and gives the most lovely slightly nutty texture to breads. I recommend seeking the products out, they’re available in most good independent delis and health shops around the country, but often times if they’re not you can just enquire at your local speciality store and they’re usually quite open to ordering unavailable products in.

These scones are savoury using the dillisk which has a lovely very slightly salty taste and beautiful texture, and a little parmasan cheese to give the scones a subtle kick. When they are fresh out of the oven the taste of the dilisk is stronger (the heat and moisture rehydrates the dried dillisk), however when cooled the taste is extremely subtle. However, these would be perfectly delicious without the dillisk or cheese, and the recipe can be used in exactly the same way and would be gorgeous topped with a little jam and cream.

Delicious Irish Ingredients
Delicious Irish Ingredients
Dried Dillisk
Dried Dillisk

Ingredients (makes 6-8):

225g self raising flour

180g coarse wholemeal flour

20g oats (if you don’t have any oats you can just use 20g wholemeal flour)

1 tsp bread soda

1 pinch salt

75g butter room temperature

2 tbsp grated Parmasen cheese (or any other cheese)

2 handfuls of dillisk (or other dried seaweed) chopped

300ml buttermilk

2 eggs

2 tbsp mixed seeds to scatter on top (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C and mix the flours, bread soda, salt, cheese and dillisk into a bowl.
  2. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until combined in.
  3. Mix together one of the eggs and the buttermilk and milk into the flour with your hand until the mixture is combined.
  4. Turn out onto a floured surface. This is a loose, wet mix, so spoon some mixture out trying to keep height of about 2-3cm height. (If you prefer a more structured scone that is less loose, then use 100ml less buttermilk, then you should be able to turn out your dough and use a scone cutter). There is a beautiful moist softness to the recipe above though, so I recommend doing it my way.
  5. Pop the scones into a tin on top of a greased piece of baking paper, you can use a little of the second beaten egg to wash the top of the scones and sprinkle the seeds on top.
  6. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, they are done when they are golden on top.
  7. Let cool completely on a wire wrack before serving.
Macroom Stoneground Wholemeal Flour
Macroom Stoneground Wholemeal Flour
Portion Out Dough
Portion Out Dough
Ready For The Oven
Ready For The Oven
Brown Scones Hot From The Oven
Brown Scones Hot From The Oven
Delicious Buttered Brown Soda Scones
Delicious Buttered Brown Soda Scones