Thursday, February 23, 2017

"Chocolate" Energy Bars


These energy bars are a variation on my Nut Free Energy Balls. Their very health ingredients help give a slow release of energy along with a tasty chocolatey hit. I've research Maca powder lately after seeing it in my local Aldi supermarket. Apparently it has a positive effect on our hormone levels, it's an energy booster, along with being very rich in nutrients. It's high in vitamin B, C, & E; and it has a higher level of calcium than milk.  I think I'm onto a new favorite in my health food cupboard, along with my raw cocoa powder and chia seeds.



I highly recommend making these, they are delicious and the kids love them. Perhaps too good as I've snuck to the freezer at least for four times today for a sneeky bite.



Ingredients

  • 9oz pitted dates
  • 4 oz raw almonds
  • 2 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp of maca powder
  • 1 tbsp of  raw cocoa powder
  • 1  tsp of salt
  • 2 tbsp of desiccated coconut 
  • 1-2 tbsp of sesame seeds




Method


  1. Pulse the almonds in a food processor until they are broken down.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and blender until the mixture forms a large dough ball.
  3. Turn out the ball onto a swiss roll tin lined with baking paper, and flatten out into a thin even layer.
  4. Scatter with the sesame seeds and transfer to the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up.
  5. Cut into squares and store either in the freezer or the fridge. (I like them hard and chewy out of the freezer).







Monday, February 6, 2017

Fig & Hazelnut Cake - The Perfect Weekend Indulgence



I made this cake back in October and it got rave reviews from everyone who ate it and I promised myself that I would make it again and blog it. Well October was ages ago, and between this and that I never got the chance. But this week was one hell of a week. We ended up staying in hospital for 3 days with my little small dude, Fionn. He's fine and home and everything, but it was a tough week. So on this cold rainy Saturday, Fionn is napping, Aoife's gone on a play date, and Alan is gone DIYing. So  for me the ultimate indulgence is light candles, turn down the lights, turn on some tunes and bake an awesome cake. For me baking is so relaxing! I love it. I decided I'd waited long enough to recreate that fig cake of October and I seized the perfect opportunity to bake.



The cake batter is a very simple one. I picked it up from Donna Hay. I have previously blogged a few different versions of this quick and simply cake, most notably my Quick Apple & Blueberry Cake.  I found figs are a great baking companion, and the hazelnuts are a match made in heaven. While the addition of the honey, while the cake is warm lends to the cakes sweetness and glossy finish. All in all, it's a great cake for an afternoon cup of tea, or equally warmed with a spoon of vanilla ice-cream for a yum dinner party dessert, cut and served at the table.




Ingredients

  • 225g self raising flour
  • 170g brown sugar
  • 125g soft butter
  • 125ml milk
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 3 fresh figs, sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 tbsp demerera sugar
  • 1 tbsp of runny honey


Method


  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and the butter with a hand held blender
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well. 
  4. Sieve the flour, and add the milk, and mix until combined
  5. In a 8inch diameter cake tin with a loose bottom, line with parchment and grease the sides with soft butter.
  6. Add the cake mixture to the tin. Top with the figs and the hazelnuts.
  7. Sprinkle the top with demerera sugar.
  8. Bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. While the cake is still warm, drizzle with the honey.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Mango & Raspberry Overnight Oats



There's nothing new about overnight oats!! Soak your porridge overnight and they're nice and creamy in the morning and more digestion friendly. Right!! My friend's mom has been religiously soaking her porridge in water overnight since I was a child. So what's changed???!!




Well for one thing Instagram/Pinterest happened. All of a sudden we are seeing porridge becoming increasingly trendy, with an explosion of photos of beautiful looking overnight oats, with all sorts of fruits, seeds, exotic powders etc. Healthy eating has never been more popular especially online. When I do a search of '#overnightoats' on Instagram's public posts there are more than 318,000 post.

So basically what are these new pimped up overnight oats?? Well, there is no one recipe. You can make them with what ever combination you like. The possibilities are endless. Here's a nice and fragrant one though that I like to make, It has a tropical and fruit vibe. It has chia seeds and pumpkin seeds that will super charge your body first thing in the morning. They are a great healthy make ahead breakfast, that is also very portable. The thought of a ready made tasty breakfast already made in the fridge, might make getting out of a warm cozy bed that much easier.



Ingredients

  • 50g of porridge oats
  • 50ml of water
  • 1 tbsp of chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp of dessicated coconut
  • 1/2 a fresh mango, cubed
  • 2 tbsp of frozen raspberries
  • 1 tbsp of pumpkin seeds

Method

  1. Place the oats in a jar or deep glass, add the water.
  2. Top with the chia seeds and coconut
  3. Top then with the mango, raspberries and pumpkin seeds.
  4. Cover and allow to sit in the fridge overnight.
  5. I like to serve mine with a spoon of Greek yogurt, honey, and milled chia seeds.


Monday, January 30, 2017

Prawn & Mango Red Curry - Quick & Healthy Mid Week Supper


When you are up against it, stir fries are a great speedy dinner option, not to mention healthy. Here's the fastest stir fry I've made in ages and tastiest. The sweetness of the mango with the prawns works so well, along with the spicy red curry paste.



Ingredients

  • 100g raw prawns
  • 1/2 a fresh mango cubed
  • 3 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion. thinly sliced
  • 1  lime, quartered
  • 10-15 fine green beans
  • 1 tsp red curry paste
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 1cm piece of ginger, diced
  • 3 tbsp of coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1 tsp of fish sauce
  • 1 tsp of soy sauce

Rice to serve




Method

  1. Put a wok on high heat, and heat the coconut oil. Fry off the onions, garlic, & ginger. Add the red curry paste, and cook it out for a minute or so.
  2. Add the mushrooms and the prawns. Cook until the prawn turn pink. 
  3. Add the mango cubes and the coconut milk and bring to a gentle simmer.
  4. To thicken the sauce, pour a tbsp of water into a container with a tsp of cornflour and stir to make a loose paste. Add to the gently simmering sauce and it should thicken. 
  5. Finally add the green beans to warm through, but they still retain their colour. To taste add the fish sauce and the soy sauce.
  6. For freshness and zing, serve with a wedge of lime and some brown rice.


Friday, January 27, 2017

Nut Free Energy Balls - Great for kids & post workouts


I love protein balls, they seem to be the on-trend thing to eat at the moment, up there with avocado!! My kids adore the balls I make for them, most of the time consisting of dates, almonds, and a nut butter.




 I recieved a healthy eating newsletter from their day care centre today and there was quite a long list of banned foods for safety, and to promote healthy eating. I realised that I couldn't send their normal protein balls in their lunch boxes as nuts are banned in the centre, for understandable allergy reasons. So today I set about making the balls using maple syrup as the core binding ingredient, and milled chia seeds and sesame seeds in place of my usual nuts.


 I'm sure it's easy enough to chop and change ingredients according to availability and preferences. For example tahini paste could be used in place of the usual nut butter. or maple syrup Anyway, these protein balls went down a treat. There was a spoon of cacao powder (which hopefully isn't frowned upon in the centre). This powder was gifted to me my a very dear friend when he came to stay with us during the summer. This is a highly prized powder from a chocolatier, Hazel Mountain Chocolate the Burren in Co Clare, so I use it very sparingly. It's chocolate in it's purest unrefined form.


Ingredients
  • 10-12 pitted dates (depending on size)
  • 1 tbsp of raw cacao powder Buy Hazel Mountain one here (not an advert, just adore it)
  • 3 tbsp of milled chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp of desiccated coconut
  • 3 tbsp of maple syrup


Method

  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth.
  2. Put the mixture in the freezer for 10 minutes to stiffen up.
  3. Roll the mixture into bite size balls, and then roll the balls in either extra sesame seeds and/or coconut.
  4. These keep great in the freezer and I recommend storing them there, to keep them firm, but not frozen.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Beef & Prune Tagine



This recipe is adapted from my Moroccan Lamb Tagine recipe from the archives. A recipe which I've mentioned before won a place in Rachel Allen's Kerrygold Community E-recipe book. A recipe I am very proud of.  I came up with this recipe as I was planning a dinner party,  and wanted a chilled out casual style party. You know, with mezze and pick n'mix style spread. I immediately thought of my lamb tagine, which is even better when made in advance. However my mother detests lamb. So that ruled lamb out, but not a tagine! There was an epic beef and prune stew on Rick Stein's French Oddessy recently on the UKTV Food channel, so I thought why not substitute the lamb for beef and the apricots for prunes. I did, and it worked beautifully. It was a really fragrant, spicy rich dish, and I added pomegranate seeds for freshness. It was I must say divine. I just added a simply cous cous, flatbreads, and yogurt and it turned into the heartiest meal we have eaten in ages.



Ingredients

  • 2 lbs diced beef
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp of maldon sea salt
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • one diced onion
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 4 carrots thickly sliced on diagonal
  • 4 tbsp of prunes
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 100g cous cous
  • 50g raisins
  • 1 tin of drained chickpeas
  • seeds of 1 pomegranate
  • 1 tbsp Kerrygold butter
  • Generous handful chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • pinch sugar
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 250g tub Greek yogurt (to serve)
  • 4 mini pitta breads (to serve)
  • lemon wedges (to serve)

Method

1. Combine all the spices, garlic and onion and rub into the meat
2. Leave to marinate, preferably overnight, although an hour should be sufficient.. In a lidded oven proof casserole dish, add the butter and olive oil on a medium heat.
3. Brown the meat, in batches if necessary.
4. Add all the meat back into the casserole dish, adding the carrots, tinned tomatoes, sugar, and tomato paste, salt and pepper.
5. Bring up to the boil and put lid on the dish and put in a preheated oven for 1.5 hours at 180 degrees.
6. Meanwhile, put cous cous in a bowl, add butter, rind of lemon, season with salt and pepper and pour over 150 mls of boiling water and cover for ten mins.
7. Fluff with a fork, adding half the chopped parsley, chickpeas, half the pomegranate seeds and the raisins.
8. Put prunes in a jug of boiling water and leave for 5-10 mins for them to re-hydrate a little and get nice and juicy, then cut in half.
9. Put the flaked almonds on a baking tray and toast in the oven, keeping an eye on them as they can burn in matter of seconds.
10. Remove the casserole dish from the oven and add the prunes and almonds and runny honey.
11. Return the dish (uncovered) to the oven for a final 20 mins to brown.
12. Put the pittas in the oven to warm through.
13. Remove the dish from the oven and present to the table in the dish adding the chopped coriander.

14. Put the cous cous, yogurt and pittas in bowls on the table and let your guests help themselves, Moroccan style! Enjoy. 


(sorry for the poor quality photos, a child feel ill, and we got distracted and never ended up photographing the food/spread. But, shur, another reason to do it all again.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Quick & Healthier Pineapple Fried Rice

Happy New Year everyone! New year, new resolutions. My new years resolutions is to blog more. Since the arrival of my second baby, I've found myself sometimes a bit swamped with looking after the kids, and running the B&B. The blog was falling further and further down the priority list. I don't want that to happen this year. I hope to blog way more than the last two years. So new year, new promises.



First post of the new year has to be a healthy one. I thought this recipe for pineapple rice would be a tasty choice. I discovered pineapple rice whilst backpacking in Thailand and myself and Alan became absolutely obsessed with it. There was this one place on Koh Samui Island called Eat Sense, that, hands down, has the best pineapple rice I've ever tasted. There is a place here in Killarney called Khao that actually do a nice Pineapple Rice. But my aim with this recipe is to use turkey mince in place of the pork and make this recipe healthier. But not only healthier, faster too, using microwave rice and spice purees. This really is something you can whizz up mid week after a day at the office, and have yummy leftovers for the following days lunch too.



Ingredients

  • 1 pineapple
  • 1 microwave rice pouch
  • 400g turkey mince
  • 1/2 a green pepper, diced
  • 3 spring onions, diced
  • 2 tbsp of chopped coriander
  • 2 tbsp of  raw cashew nuts
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of salt & pepper
  • 2 diced mushrooms
  • 1 tsp of thai red curry paste
  • 1 tsp of puree garlic
  • 1 tsp of puree ginger
  • 1 tsp of puree lemongrass
  • 1 tsp of chilli paste
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil







Method
  1. Firstly half the pineapple and scoop out the flesh using a spoon. Chop up the flesh into cube size pieces.
  2. With a wok on a medium heat, add the oil and cook off the turkey mince. 
  3. When the mince is browned off, add the garlic, ginger, chilli, lemongrass, curry paste, salt and pepper and mix through.
  4. Add the mushrooms, pineapple pieces, and green pepper and stir fry.
  5. Break up the rice and add to the wok. Stir fry well to incorporate.
  6. Add the cashew nuts, spring onions, and coriander.
  7. Tilt the wok to one side, with the rice mixture to the other side
  8. Break in the egg and slightly scramble it, before incorporating the egg into the whole rice mixture.
  9. Finish with a dash of soy sauce and spoon the rice into the hollowed out pineapple halves.
  10. The filling would feed 4 servings, add another pineapple (reserving the flesh of the second pineapple for something else) to feed four people.


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