Monday, May 30, 2011

...AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.................Breakfast Pancakes!

I don't normally go for recipes requiring effort first thing in the morning, but these pancakes are a doodle to make, plus even better, they're extremely low fat!!!! I've adapted this recipe from my Weight Watchers cook book, so you know they're low in fat. WW say this recipe serves 4, though I disagree. You would have four hungry people if that'll all you served for breakfast. It is supposed to be the most important meal of the day, so don't be stingy with the food, double up if you have 4 for breakfast................or maybe I'm just a greedy guts!  There are endless ideas for pancake fillings, but as these are low fat ones, I'm using fresh fruit salad and runny honey, but feel free to come up with your own filling................nutella comes to mind (Bold!!!!).

Serves 2


  • 125g sifted plain flour
  • 1 medium egg
  • 300ml of semi skimmed milk
  • Fresh fruit salad chopped
  • Runny honey
  • Olive oil spray
  1. Sift the flour into a bowl
  2. Make a well in the centre of the flour
  3. Add the egg and stir to get a dry combined mixture
  4. Gradually add the milk, whisking to get as smooth a consistency as possible
  5. Heat a pan to medium heat, and spray with oil
  6. Add a ladle full of pancake mixture to the pan and swirl to cover the whole pan in a thin layer
  7. Wait for bubbles to form on the pancake, then you know its ready to turn
  8. Flip the pancake (I'm crap at this) and cook for a minute or so on the other side.
  9. Keep a plate in a warm oven and add the pancakes to keep warm until all are ready for serving.
  10. To serve, put the chopped fruit on the table along with the honey and let everyone help them selves.
  11. Bananas and blueberries work extremely well with the hot pancakes!! Also I used a tiny frying pan designed to cook one fried egg, and added a ladle of pancake mixture to that, making a thicker smaller pancake. 

These pancakes could be used as a dessert course also, add some liqueur perhaps, or some strawberries and ice-cream.............

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Low Fat Monkfish Fajitas

I just simply had to make fajitas after purchasing my new fajita skillet and tortilla box, but ever the calorie conscious didn't want to make beef fajitas or chicken. I'm leaving cheese and sour cream out of this recipe also, just adding some spicy tomato salsa. I thought that fish would go really well with the salsa and it wouldn't miss the cheese and cream terribly, although, it probably wouldn't have said no to them either!! Never the less, these fajitas are being served with corn tortillas, cajun potato wedges and a large jug of Captain Morgan's Mojitos so they aren't being totally neglected.

Serves 2


  • 2 portions of monkfish
  • 5 sliced mushrooms
  • Corn or flour tortillas
  • Tomato salsa
  • Cajun potato wedges
  • Salad of iceberg lettuce,strips of red pepper and sliced tomato
  • Mojitos


  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp dried oregeno
  • Juice of a lime
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper diced
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of chopped coriander
  • 1 finely chopped garlic clove
Tomato Salsa
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove finely diced
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 diced chili
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Finely diced red onion
  • tbsp chopped coriander
Cajun Potato Wedges
  • 2 large rooster potatoes, cut into large wedges
  • Cajun spice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea Salt
Captain Morgan's Mojitos
  • 12 mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • large volume of ice
  • Sparkling water to top up
  • 4 limes halved
  • 6 shot glasses of Captain Morgan's rum


  • To start mix all the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl and add the whole monkfish fillets and leave to marinate for 30 minutes
  • For the salsa, mix all the ingredients together and leave for the flavours to mingle for at least half hour at room temperature before serving
  • For the wedges, put the wedges in a pan of salted boiling water and boil for 6-8 minutes.
  • Drain the potatoes and leave for 5 minutes for all the steam to escape and for the potatoes to dry out a little.
  • Return the potatoes to the pan and sprinkle with the cajun spices and oil and shake the pan to distribute the oil and spice around all the wedges.
  • Lay the wedges on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper in a single layer and cook in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

  • For the mojitos, bash the mint leaves limes halves and sugar to release all the flavours, add the ice and rum and top with sparkling water. Bottoms up!!

  • Heat your saucepan/skillet to hot, fry off the mushooms and then remove from the skillet, and add the monkfish and sear for 6 minutes, turn over the fillets and pour over remaining marinade and cook until the monkfish is firm. Add the mushrooms back to the pan under the monkfish. Wait until cutting the monkfish until serving at the table for a more impressive effect.

  • Serve with the tortillas, salsa, salad and cajun potato wedges and wash down with a cool refreshing mojito! 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Chorizo Pasta

This pasta dish can be prepared all in the space of time it takes the pasta to cook. Its so simple, yet a really comforting dish, for those stressed out evenings after work. In my books you can never have enough pasta!!

Serves 2


  • 120g dried penne
  • 1 large spicy chorizo sausage, cut into chucky slices
  • ½ can of tinned peeled tomatoes
  • ½ glass white wine
  • 1 tbsp of low fat cream cheese
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley


  1. Put the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water and cook until al dente
  2. In a frying pan on a medium heat, sauté the garlic and chorizo, letting the pink oils run from the chorizo
  3. Add the white wine and allow to bubble for a minute
  4. Add the tomatoes and sugar and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes
  5. Add the cream cheese (I use Philadelphia Extra Light cause I’m a wuss) and the lemon juice
  6. Season with salt and pepper
  7. Add 2 -3 tbsp of pasta cooking liquid
  8. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce and sprinkle with the chopped herbs

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Baked Honey Mustard Chicken

I don’t have a Jeffery, but like Ina Garten, I too am constantly looking for new ways for chicken. Chicken is unbelievably versatile and takes on almost every flavour extremely well. Here I’m doing a honey mustard marinade that requires little marinating time, and I’m baking it in the oven to intensify the flavours. This is a simple dish that would go well with rice/potatoes and pasta.

Serves 2


  • 2 Chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp of wholegrain mustard
  • 1 crushed/grated clove garlic
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Some fresh thyme leaves


    1. Make slits in the chicken at regular intervals.
    2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a zippo bag and add the chicken breasts
    3. Allow to marinade for 20 minutes minimium
    4. Place the chicken on a lined baking tray and bake in a preheated oven (200 degrees) for 20-30 minutes, turning halfway through.

The result should be a sweet, smoky flavour with some heat kicking in from the mustard. A great midweek supper, just add your carb and veggies.Yummy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Serena's Medium Rare: Pesto Salmon and Tagliatelli

Serena's Medium Rare: Pesto Salmon and Tagliatelli: "This recipe can be served to the table in 15 mins, making it a winner in my books when you have that unexpected dinner guest. Serves 2 ..."

Rocket Pesto

I made this in a panic this evening, as when I went to the fridge to get my Salca basil pesto, I was disgusted to discover, it has gone off. With my pasta already down and my salmon near ready, I'd to think fast. I had no basil, nor any Parmesan in the house......determined to still make a salmon pesto pasta dish, this is how I came up with Rocket Pesto!!![as this was made in a panic my measurements are sketchy]


  • Juice of lemon
  • 2 large handfuls of rocket
  • 1 clove of garlic chopped
  • salt/pepper
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 small splash of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 oz of dry fried pine nuts
  1. Add lemon juice, oil, garlic, rocket, salt and pepper into blender and whizz until smooth
  2. Taste at this stage to check for seasoning, whether needs more oil, or juice
  3. Add the nuts and whizz again
  4. Add a small splash of balsamic vinegar to taste, and whizz one last time.
  5. This should keep well in the fridge for a week, though I doubt it will survive that long!!!!!

Stuffed Peppers with Bulgur Wheat, Feta & Mint

Back to yet another healthy week now of noshing after weekend of letting it go. Bulgur Wheat is supposedly a wonder food that cuts the fat and bloating over of other carbs and grains, so I’m experimenting here. I’ve used it once before and I think I must have cooked it wrong but this time, I actually followed the instructions on the packet and didn’t make up my own J

I’m making enough to serves two people, but I’ll put one portion in the fridge for lunch tomorrow.


  • 2 Peppers (I’m using mixture of red and yellow)
  • 100g Bulgur Wheat
  • 50g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 4 cherry tomatoes diced
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  2. Slice the peppers down the middle and remove the membrane
  3. Place the peppers cut side up in an oven proof dish in one layer.
  4. Add water from a recently boiled kettle to come up a quarter of the way of the pepper
  5. Bake in oven for 15 mins until softened
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the bulgur wheat according to packet instructions
  7. Mix then with the mint, feta and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper
  8. Stuff the holes in the peppers with the bulgur wheat mixture and bake for a further 10 minutes
  9. Serve with a crisp green salad or for something more substantial add a grilled breast of chicken, or some fish.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Scallops on Curry Dhal, with a Minty Yogurt Dressing

Scallops certainly aren’t an everyday buy for me, but on those special occasions, I like to splash out. They are one of Alan’s favourite seafoods, so when I feel he deserves a treat, I’ll always put scallops on the menu. For something so delicate scallops can really take strong flavours. I often serve them with a spicy Thai sauce, or Clonakilty black pudding, but I think its time for something new. So after my successful maiden attempt of yellow split peas the other day, I’m thinking that they would be very nice with a seared scallop on top. Well it would be my sneaky way of getting Alan to try the split peas………

Serves 2 (starter)


 For the Scallops
  • 6 fresh scallops, washed, dried, coral removed
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

For the Curry Dhal
  • 1 cup of yellow split pea lentils (cooked according to packet instructions)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp of chopped coriander
  • ½ diced red chilli
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 diced red onion

For the Minty Yogurt Dressing 

  • 3 tbsp natural yogurt
  • Juice & zest of half a lemon
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp finely chopped mint leaves


  1. Cook the split peas in boiling water for 45 mins
  2. Drain them and set aside
  3. In a dry pan, add the cumin seeds and coriander seeds and heat for 3 mins
  4. Transfer to a pestle and mortar and grind to a powder
  5. Add oil to the pan, and sauté the onions, garlic, chilli with the ground spices and curry powder and tumeric
  6. Add the lentils back to the pan and warm through, add water so the mixture isn’t too dry.
  7. Add chopped coriander. Set aside until required. This mixture can easily be reheated in the pan, adding water to keep the mixture wet.
  8. Wash and dry the scallops, and season with salt, pepper and oil.
  9. To make the yogurt dressing, combine yogurt, finely chopped mint, 1 tsp of honey, salt, pepper and half the juice of a  lemon. Refrigerate until required.
  10. To cook the scallops, put a dry pan on a high heat.
  11. Add the scallops to the pan in a clockwise direction.
  12. Turn after 90 seconds, and sear on other side for 60 seconds
  13. To plate up, put the dhal mixture in the centre of a plate, top with the scallops and drizzle over the yogurt dressing.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Food Fit for THE Queen: Roasted Monkfish & Sage Wrapped in Parma Ham

In honour of Queen Betty’s visit to Cork City today, I feel like I want to make something using ingredients from the English Market where she visited, and make something I would be confident (enough) to serve to royalty (eek!). So I came up with this roasted monkfish tail stuffed with sage leaves and wrapped in Parma ham. I’m attempting quite posh accompaniments also with my lemony white wine reduction, minted peas and crushed baked baby potatoes. It might be run of the mill fare for some people, but for me this is going above and beyond in the effort stakes.

Serves 2 (for example Queen Liz and Philip….)


For the Roasted Monkfish

  • 400g Monkfish tail, membrane and bone removed (ask the fishmonger to do this for you)
  • 5-6 fresh sage leaves
  • Sea salt &  white pepper
  • 6-8 Parma ham slices
  • Olive oil

For the Lemony White Wine Reduction

  • Juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp of butter
  • ½ glass of white wine
  • ½ tsp fresh chopped sage and oregano

For the minted peas

  • 200g Frozen peas
  • Chicken stock
  • 4 mint leaves, chopped
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tsp butter

For the Crushed Baked Baby Potatoes

  • 7-8 Baby potatoes
  • Sea salt & black pepper


  • To firstly prepare the fish, make an incision in the side of the monkfish, the full length of the fish careful not to cut straight through
  • Put the sage leaves length ways in the incision
  • Season the fish with salt and pepper and rub with a little oil
  • Lay the Parma ham slices length ways, overlapping them to prevent gaps
  • Place the monkfish on the edge of the ham, and roll it over the ham, covering the whole monkfish in the Parma ham
  • Wrap the monkfish and Parma ham in cling film and allow it to firm in the fridge for 20 minutes

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and once heated add the baby potatoes, washed and dried, to the oven on a tray to bake for 35 minutes
  • In a frying pan, add the oil and heat to medium
  • Add the monkfish fillet and sear on all sides for a minute, then transfer to an oven proof dish and roast in the oven for 10-12 minutes
  • Deglaze the pan of the Parma and fish juices with the white wine and allow to bubble continuously for 2 minutes
  • Turn the heat down, add the lemon zest and juice, herbs, and butter to the wine reduction and whisk briskly, set aside keeping it warm

  • For the peas, cook in boiling chicken stock for 4-5 minutes.
  • Drain and add salt, pepper, butter, and mint. Using a potato masher, crush 50% of the peas, stir and you should have a chunky consistency
  • Remove the monkfish when cooked (firm to touch) and cover with foil to keep warm
  • Using the same ‘technique’ for the potatoes as the peas, remove from the oven and smash gently with a potato masher for the ‘crushed’ look, season them and return to the oven for a final minute to get a crispy finish.

  • To plate up, in the middle of your plate, lay the minted peas. Cut the monkfish into 3 portions per person and lay on the peas. With a spoon, drizzle the reduction over the monkfish; serve with the baked baby potatoes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Way of saying thanks Honeycomb!

Here is some honeycomb I whipped up this evening for my visit to my good friend Laura's house. Though she's lucky she's getting any I've eaten so much of it whilst bashing it into shards. Oh and I stored the crumbs and powder in an airtight container for dessert tomorrow night, where I'm going just have it sprinkled over a huge bowl of vanilla ice-cream whilst unashamedly watching crap telly!!!!
For the recipe see an earlier post, where I dipped the honeycomb in melted chocolate for that real Thank Crunchie Its Friday feeling

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tracy's Bruschettas

I cannot take any credit for these Bruschetta, they are my lil sis' creation, and I ring her every single time I want to make them, because I always seem to forget something. They are fantastic for a crowd or as pre dinner nibble. Its best to bang them together last minute, but make the topping in a bowl a little in advance so the ingredients can get to know each other and mingle in their juices!!! Bruschetta are a great start to an Italian based meal, or just as part of a tapas/antipasti platter.

Serves a crowd


  • 2 large French baguettes
  • 4 tbsp good quality olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 10 chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 10 chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • sea salt/ fresh black pepper
  • 1 tbsp green pesto (I used the rocket pesto I made last week)
  • 6-7 large basil leaves, roughly torn
  1. Cut the bread, on the diagonal into bite size slices
  2. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  3. Combine all remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and cover for the flavours to mingle
  4. Put the sliced bread on a baking tray in a single layer and bake, till golden brown, then turn them to brown the other side
  5. At this stage the bread can wait until just before serving. I usually arrange the crusty slices on the serving platter at this stage, and then all you have to do just before serving is scatter the tomato mixture over and tear a few more basil leaves to decorate.
You can add whatever you wish really, but the idea is the same. Torn mozzarella is good with this, as is some spicy meats like chorizo or salami, or left over cooked chicken!!And they can be served warm also if you wish. But personally if the ingredients are fresh, then serving them fresh is best. I would definitely recommend sourcing the nicest, freshest tomatoes!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chorizo & Chickpea Tapa

This is a tapas dish that I recently made for a few friends visiting and I wanted a casual dining night, so I did little bowls of various tapas, twas all very rough and ready! My chorizo and chickpeas went down exceptionally well. It’s so fast to make, and the spicy and smoky flavours from the chorizo really get absorbed by the chickpeas, making the whole little dish really flavourful.

Serves 3-4


  • 1 medium chorizo sausage, chopped roughly
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • 2 chopped ripe tomatoes
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 1 chopped clove of garlic
  • A medium bunch of baby spinach/rocket
  • Salt & pepper
  • A small sprinkle of chopped flat leaf parsley


  1. In a pan on a medium heat, add the garlic and shallots and sauté for 2 minutes in the oil
  2. Add the chorizo and sauté until browned and the red smoky juices run out colouring the oil.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and puree and after a minute, turn the heat up to high and add the wine
  4. Once the alcohol of the wine has cooked off, add the chickpeas stirring to combine, until the chickpeas are heated through.
  5. Season with salt and pepper
  6. Just before serving add the spinach/and or rocket, allowing it to wilt for a minute.
  7. Sprinkle with a small amount of chopped flat leaf parsley
  8. This dish best served warm with crusty bread, is actually quite delicious at room temperature also.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Asparagus, Feta, & Beetroot Salad

I was quite surprised with the outcome of this salad, I started out just intending to have some grilled asparagus for lunch and before I knew it I had built a very colourful salad with lots of contrasting colours and textures. Pat on the back for me!! If you are trying to lay off the carbs for lunch time but find yourself stuck for lunch time ideas, this little salad is a winner. The sweet dressing really compliments the asparagus and the cheese also.

Serves 1


  • 1 small bunch of asparagus, woody ends snapped off
  • 50g feta cheese
  • 1 cooked beetroot, diced
  • 1 handful of washed rocket leaves
  • 1 tomato, quartered

  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp white  wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • ½ a grated clove of garlic


  1. Preheat a griddle pan until its smoking hot and put the asparagus one and let to char for a few minute before turning
  2. On a plate, arrange the rocket, tomato, beetroot and crumble the feta
  3. To making the dressing simply mix all the ingredients together in a cup, whisking to get a little emulsion
  4. Turn the asparagus until it charred all round
  5. Add to the salad and toss with the dressing liberally.

This would be a good salad for a BBQ, or as an accompaniment to roast chicken or lamb. For extra  protein, you could actually add a hard boiled egg, or some chicken, or even flaking some cooked salmon would be actually good here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Serena's Medium Rare: Honeyed Goats Cheese Crostinis

Serena's Medium Rare: Honeyed Goats Cheese Crostinis: "These crostini's were the product of an accident. Whilst making them for a drinks party at home I enlisted the help of my sister, and whil..."

Aromatic Thai Steamed Fish

I’ve not gone Thai crazy, but I’m also not one to let food go to waste either. I have great fresh ingredients leftover from making my Thai turkey balls and the Thai green curry, so it makes sense to make the most of them. I’m thinking something low in fat, so I picked up some fresh cod from the fish monger, and as I’m watching the calories again for another few days, I don’t want something heavy and saucy. So I’ve decided to steam the fish Thai style and serve it with steamed vegetables and new baby potatoes. Though this would be perfected if serve with some steamed jasmine rice, or some rice noodles.

Serves 2


  • 2 fillets of white fish (Pollack, cod, sea bass, coley etc)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 lemongrass , finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced
  • 1 thumb-size piece of ginger, finely sliced
  • Zest and juice of a lime
  • 1 tsbp of light soy sauce
  • Chopped fresh coriander


(This method is for those of us who don’t have electric or bamboo steamers [wish list])

  1. Put a pan of water on the boil and bring it to a simmer
  2. Place a heat proof plate over the pan of water and line with tin foil
  3. Place the cod on the plate, sprinkle with the aromatics, lime juice and soy sauce
  4. If you have room, place the vegetables beside the fish
  5. Cover and steam for 8-10 minutes ( this depends on the thickness of the fish, so judge accordingly)
  6. Scatter with the coriander and serve with vegetables and potatoes/rice/noodles

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Rustic Peperonata

Peperonata is a really great side for roast meats and especially fish. Though also fantastic as a sauce for pasta. There are tonnes of variations to peperonata, but this is mine, simple and classic!


  • 1 Quarter of red pepper and yellow pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 vine tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves, torn roughly
  1. Put a wok/pan on medium heat
  2. Fry the onions and garlic in olive oil and dried oregano
  3. Add the sliced peppers, fry for a minute or two
  4. Add the tomatoes and tomato puree
  5. Season with salt and pepper
  6. Turn the heat down and stew for 15 minutes, adding a drop of water if it goes too dry
  7. Add the splash of balsamic and stir to combine
  8. Add the torn basil leaves and dig in.
Serving suggestion:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thai Green Chicken Curry

Who doesn’t love a curry!!! I find that if you are having a large crowd for dinner, and trying to think of something that suits everyone, then you can’t go wrong with a curry really. It one of those go-to-dinners when in doubt. I had the opportunity to attend a cookery class during one of my trips to Thailand, and I learnt how to make an authentic Thai green curry from scratch. Much pounding later, and a really fresh curry paste resulted. This is another one now for those either seriously pee’d over with their day to pound the aggression out, or also for those looking to tone up those biceps!

Serves 4


  • 2 tbsp of green curry paste (from previous my blog)
  • 2 peeled a cooked firm potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 green pepper
  • 5-6 mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ Tin of coconut milk
  • Left over roast chicken, or chicken thighs, chopped
  • Chopped Coriander
  • Steamed jasmine/basmalti rice


  1. Put a wok on high heat
  2. Add the curry paste to cook out the spices
  3. Add the chicken thighs and fry off in the paste
  4. Add the vegetables and stir fry
  5. Add half the can of coconut milk
  6. Add the cooked potato and mix, bringing to a simmer. (if the sauce is too thick add more coconut, if the sauce is too thin add cornstarch [1 tbsp cornflour mixed with some water)
  7. Serve with the rice and sprinkle with the chopped coriander

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