Friday, July 24, 2015

Zingy Lemon & Blueberry Scones - The perfect summer scone



Scones are an Irish Institution. I grew up on tradition fruit scones, slathered with butter and jam. What I've come to realize however is scones are quite versatile, be it cheesy savory scones or deliciously sweet scones.
These zesty lemon and blueberry scones are the perfect summer scone. They are an ideal snack for  for your daily elevenes and especially great for those side of the road picnics.
I love a big fluffy scones so I always use self raising flour as well as baking powder, so I get a good rise from my scone!

Ingredients

  • 900g of self raising flour
  • 175g of butter
  • a pinch of salt
  • 60g of caster sugar
  • 3 heaped tsp of baking powder
  • 550ml of full fat milk
  • 50ml of fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 200g of bleberries
  • 1 egg (beaten)





Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 230 degrees.
  2. Sieve the self raising flour, salt, and sugar into a large bowl.
  3. Rub in the butter until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
  4. Stir in the lemon zest.
  5. Combine the lemon juice and milk and make a well in the centre of the buttery flour mixture.
  6. Pour the milk in and mix until a soft dough forms.
  7. Once the mixture has come together, turn out onto your work surface. Make sure your work surface is well floured so the dough doesn't stick. Rub some flour into your rolling pin also.
  8. Roll out to one inch thick and stamp out the scones with a glass or cutter.
  9. Space then well on a lined sheet of baking paper on a baking tray and brush with the beaten egg to get a lovely golden colour.
  10. Bake in the oven for approx 12-15 minutes until beautifully risen and golden brown.
  11. Cool on a wire rack and then serve with some Irish butter and jam; or if you want some further indulgence some lemon curd and clotted cream.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Lemon Curd & Blueberry Tarts - The Fastest Tarts in the West



I had to think twice whether or not to post this recipe as it's nearly too easy, and hardly a recipe at all. But then I thought why not show how a bit of quick thinking can help transform just 3 ingredients into something truly scrumptious.

Shop bought ready rolled puff pastry is an absolute godsend! The possibilities for baking recipes are endless. Here I'm using my own homemade lemon curd, but you can just as easy buy a good quality jar of lemon curd.



 The lemon and blueberry flavours are a match made in heaven, but you could always subsitute the blueberries for raspberries if you wish.



I made these tarts this morning for my Bed and Breakfast guests. I'm usually up against the clock in the morning preparing the breakfast, but as these tarts require minimum effort, they were the perfect choice for early morning baking!

Ingredients


  • 1 sheet of ready rolled puff pastry
  • 12 tsp of lemon curd
  • 24 blueberries


Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  3. Stamp out 12 circles of pastry rounds
  4. Place 1 tsp of lemon curd in each pastry disc, followed by 2 blueberries.
  5. Pinch up the sides of the circle, so the lemon curd doesn't escape.
  6. Spread the discs out of the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 14-15 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack when baked.




Friday, July 3, 2015

Healthier Southern Fried Chicken



What could be more American than a big bucket of fried chicken!!!! So to celebrate the 4th of July tomorrow I decided to make some southern fried chicken for dinner to celebrate the occasion.

While I admit these fried chicken pieces are not something you should eat everyday, I have significantly reduced the calorie content of the chicken by baking the chicken rather than deep frying. Even though the chicken is healthier they are still finger licking good, and with a slaw accompaniment; in the words of Ina Garten, what's not to like???!!!





This recipe is based on 14 drumsticks. Here was I thinking that we will have the leftovers on our picnic to Dingle tomorrow, no such luck as my ravenous husband ate every last one of them. Oh well that's what they were there for!



Ingredients

  • Chicken drumsticks x 14
  • 8 tbsp of wholegrain flour
  • 2 tbsp of sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp of white pepper
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 tbsp of paprika
  • 4 tbsp of oil 
  • 250 ml of butter milk




Method


  1. Marinade the chicken in the buttermilk, either overnight, or for at least 4 hours. This really tenderises the meat.
  2. In a large plastic sandwich bag, add the flour, seeds, pepper, salt and paprika and ,mix well.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  4. Take the chicken pieces out of the buttermilk, shake off the excess and place in the flour mixture bag. 
  5. Seal and shake the bag well ensuring all chicken pieces are coated.
  6. Remove the chicken from the bag, shake a little to remove the excess coating and place on a plate ready to give them a gentle fry before baking in the oven.
  7. Put the oil in a non stick frying pan and heat to a high heat, then quickly fry the chicken until lightly browned.
  8. Place the browned chicken in a single layer on a baking dish and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, turning once or twice. The chicken should be a beautiful bronze colour when fulled cooked.
  9. Serve with a generous side of slaw and lots of napkins.


Happy 4th of July


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Fried Aubergine & Killarney Honey - A Spanish Tapa Killarney Style


I was chatting with a good friend of mine the other day about going on holidays and I was recommending the lovely resort town of Costa Teguise in Lanzarote as an option for her to go now that she has a young family. I went there 3 times in 12 months recently! The food there is amazing!! It is here that I discovered the Spanish tapa of fried aubergine with honey. I feel in love with it. Even my husband who is 'afraid' of every type of vegetable couldn't say no to these tasty morsels.



As I was reminiscing about all the wonderful meals we had in that resort, I remembered those gorgeous bite size aubergine slices and all of a sudden I got a mad craving for them. So instead of my usual salad for lunch, I decided to change things up today and make the fried aubergines.



We are incredibly lucky here in Killarney that  there are amazing honey producers close by - Killarney Honey. However, any really good honey will suffice to sweeten up these deliciosus treats.



Ingredients

  • 1 aubergine, peeled and sliced into round discs
  • Sea salt
  • Table salt
  • 1-2 tbsp of flour
  • Good runny honey
  • Good quality  balsamic syrup
  • 5-6 tbsp of rapeseed oil (or other flavourless oil)


Method
  1. Place the aubergine slices in a plate and sprinkle with the table salt and leave for 10 minutes.
  2. Using kitchen paper, press down on the slices to release and remove all the water that seeps from the slices.
  3. Put the oil on a high heat.
  4. Place the flour on a plate and dip each slice of abergine into the flour, making sure they are completely coated. Shake off the excess flour.
  5. Carefully place each disc of aubergine in the hot oil, and cook for 2 minutes, before turning and cooking for a further 2 minutes, or until golden brown.
  6. Remove the slices from the oil and place on kitchen paper to allow the excess oil to drain away.
  7. Place the disc of aubergine on a plate and drizzle generously with your honey, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and finally drizzle for balsamic syrup over the aubergine.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Super Fast Super Healthy Thai Beef Stir Fry



I'm  a huge Thai food fan, and luckily most Thai dishes are healthy! This dish is one of the healthy ones, perfect for guilt free dining mid week. You can really put any veggies with this dish, but I find that green peppers always pair beautifully with beef. There can be alot of calories in peanuts but a small amount are good for you and they help curb any 9pm hunger pangs that I sometimes experience with healthy stir fries.



Once you have all your ingredients prepped, this dinner can be made in a matter of minutes. Cut all your vegetables into even slices so they all cook at the same time.



Ingredients

  • 3 minute steaks, cut in strips
  • 1 carrot, sliced thinly
  • 5 mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 1 green pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 tsp of cornflour
  • Stir fry oil, for cooking


Marinade
  • 1 tbsp of fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp of light soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 lemongrass, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 thumb size piece of ginger, diced
  • 1 tsp of chili flakes
  • 2 tsp of sugar


To serve
  • 2 tbsp of peanuts
  • Wholewheat noodles
  • Lime wedges

Method

  1. First marinate the beef. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and pour over the sliced beef. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Cook the noodles and set aside.
  3. Put the wok on a high heat and pour in some cooking oil.
  4. Stir fry the vegatables for 1-2 minutes and remove.
  5. Drain the beef from the marinade, reserving the liquid.
  6. Add the cornflour to the liquid marinade and stir to dissolve.
  7. Add more stir fry oil to the wok and fry off the steak, this should only take 1 minute. 
  8. Pour in the marinade liquid and stir to heat and cook the cornflour out.
  9. Re-introduce the vegetables to the wok and stir fry for 1 minute.
  10. Serve with hot noodles, scatter over the peanuts and serve with a wedge of lime.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Feta & Beetroot Tabbouleh - The Perfect Summer Side



With summer here (mostly in spirit, not in weather at the moment), we tend to look to lighter, fresher meals rather than warming & comforting meals. This very healthy, light and filling salad is one such example of how I'm lightening up my meals. Forget mash potato and roast root veggies!! This gem of a salad has it all. The Bulgar wheat is low in GI, the feta cheese gives a salty cheesy hit, and the beetroot adds nutrition and a wonderful colour. Finally the typical salad ingredients that make up a tradition tabbouleh of cucmuber, onion, tomatoes and herbs (flat leaf parsley & mint) add a fantastic freshness. 



This salad can be the main dish of a meal, serve with some flat breads and natural yogurt, or it can be a great side dish for a tagine, roast chicken/lamb, BBQ, or as I did here, Moroccan Meatballs.

Ingredients
  • 100g Bulgar wheat
  • 400g of chicken/vegetables stock
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Half a cucumber
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp of fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cooked beetroot
  • 50g of feta cheese

Method
  1. Put the Bulgar wheat in a saucepan and add the stock. Cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes, or until all the stock has been absorbed. 
  2. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 10 minutes, before fluffing it up with a fork.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the salads. Half the cucumber length ways and scoop out the seeds. Then dice the cucumber. Quarter the tomatoes. Slice the spring onions very thinly. Cube the feta, and dice the beetroot.
  4. Add all the salad ingredients to the Bulgar wheat along with the lemon juice and chopped fresh herbs. Season well with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. 
  5. In my experience this tastes better when made ahead as the the flavours really develop.
 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Moist n' Sharp Blueberry & Lemon Curd Loaf



I made this loaf cake for my B&B guests, but I must confess there is only half a loaf left. WARNING: This cake is totally addictive. The buttermilk helps lift the cake to a crazy level of moistness!! And the lemon curd, gives the cake a super sharp hit. With summer upon us, this is the perfect breakfast/elevenses/afternoon tea/ any time cake!!! The blueberries and lemon curd are a match made in heaven.



When I asked my husband to test a slice of this cake and told him I made it up as I went along, he said 'you need to write down what you did immediately, and do it again!!' So here it is!




Note: You can use good quality shop bought lemon curd, but I made my own, using Clodagh McKenna's recipe from her book Homemade. My B&B guests swoon over that lemon curd. I'll post that recipe up shortly.




Ingredients

  • 225g plain flour
  • 110g blueberries
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 130ml buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 125g of butter
  • 3 tbsp of lemon curd
  • 1 tbsp of almond flakes
  • 1 tbsp of demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder



Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 165 degrees.
  2. Sieve the flour and the baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and stir.
  3. Melt the butter and add to the buttermilk. Break an egg into the butter/buttermilk mixture and whisk to combine.
  4. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredient and stir to combine. Add in the blueberries and stir just enough to combine.
  5. Grease a loaf tin and add half the mixture to the tin. Spread it evenly.
  6. Spread the lemon curd over the mixture and cover with the remaining cake mixture.
  7. Scatter the cake with the almonds and sprinkle with the demerara sugar.
  8. Bake in the oven for 55 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool completely in the tin, before turning out.

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