Saturday, August 31, 2013

Spicy Monkfish Ceviche

Ceviche is a method of cooking fish in lime juice, no heating element required. This would make this a super dish for 'cooking' on a camping holiday or even on a picnic. However, you must ensure to use the freshest possible fish from your fishmonger.

Some people would have an automatic aversion to the thought of eating monkfish after just been soaked in lime juice. But once you taste the fish and experience the utter tenderness of the monkfish (when overcooked on heat can be chewy and tough), you'll never want to cook monkfish the conventional method again. 

This is a superb dish to cook as a starter for a dinner party, or simply for a drinks party using tortilla chips as you spoons.

Serves 2 as a starter

  • Monkfish, 2 portions (get fishmonger to take the membrane off and to fillet it)
  • 4 limes, juiced.
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced thinly (or red chilli)
  • 4 spring onions, diced.
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • Salt & pepper

To Serve
Chopped Fresh Coriander, extra limes and tortilla Chips

  1. Cut the monkfish into very small pieces and place in a wide shallow bowl.
  2. Add the lime juice, half the jalapeno pepper and half the spring onions. Also add the oil and pepper.
  3. Allow to marinate for 15 minutes and then drain to prevent further cooking.
  4. Place in a clean bowl, season well and freshen it up with the remaining spring onions and jalapeno pepper.
  5. Serve with fresh coriander, lime wedges and tortilla chips.

Seriously addictive!!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mussels & Chorizo in Irish Cider Cream

This dish is a favorite of mine and my husband and always reminds me of a little side lane bistro we had lunch in when we were in Paris. I love anything at all with chorizo in it as a I simply adore the smoky, spicy flavour it gives off; So pairing mussels with chorizo is, for me,  a match made in heaven. This dish is a main course for 2 people (hungry people), but it is also an awesome starter for 4 for a dinner party. There are only 5 main ingredients for this dish and the cooking time takes literally minutes. The longest part of this dish is preparing (cleaning and debearding) the mussels.

To prepare mussels simply, throw the fresh mussels into a sink and scrub them clean and ensure that they are all closed. If they are open, tap them gently on the counter. If the close, then they are ok, if they remain open, then discard. Use a butter knife to debeard the mussels and then put them in a bowl of cold water ready for using. My mussels were so fresh they even had a little crab wriggling around in amongst them. I freed the poor little guy, however I don't know how long he would survive outside. Poor guy! Wrong place, wrong time!

Once you have your mussels prepped then, cooking the dish takes hardly no time at all.


  • 2.5 - 3kg Fresh mussels, washed and debearded
  • 150g chopped chorizo 
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 500ml of bulmers cider
  • 200ml of pouring cream
  • Pepper
  • Lemon wedges
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil

To serve
Garlic bread & lots of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley.


  1. In a pan with a lid, on a medium to high heat, saute the shallots and the chorizo for a few minutes in the oil.
  2. Then add the mussels and the cider. Bring to the boil.
  3. Place the lid on the pan and cook the mussels for 4 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid and add the cream, pepper and parsley.
  5. Serve with lemon wedges and garlic bread.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chicken, Mango & Mint Fresh Spring Rolls

I don't know if I mentioned before that Vietnam is my favorite country in the world I've visited, partially because of the food and partially because of the people! Well I was introduced to so many new flavors/foods on my trip to Vietnam, but one thing that stands out from memory has to be fresh spring rolls!

I remember even exactly where I came upon them for the very first time. It was in a cute little restaurant in the little tailoring town of Hoi An. It was along the river and the restaurant came recommended to us by travelers we had met in our hotel. We had been in Vietnam 2-3 weeks at this stage and at every meal we always ordered spring rolls, the gorgeous small deep fried morsels of heaven!!! Here they asked did we want fresh spring rolls and to me that meant freshly made, not frozen. I remember being embarrassed when the fresh spring rolls and I ask why they weren't cooked!!!

Now I'm on the lookout on every Asian menu for fresh spring rolls!!! They are divine and not to mention so healthy. It's such a shame down here in southern Ireland there are no Vietnamese restaurants. But luckily my local supermarket just started to stock the rice paper wrappers, so now I can make them myself any time I want them


Makes 10 spring rolls

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into thin strips and poached. (or leftover roast chicken is great)
  • 1 mango, cut into thin strips
  • 100g of thin rice noodles (soaked in boiled water for 10 minutes)
  • 10-20 mint leaves
  • 10 rice paper discs

Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tbsp of peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp of hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tsp of chilli paste
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1 tsp of tomato paste
  • water to thin the sauce to desired consistency


  1. First make the sauce. Add all the sauce ingredients to a pan and bring to the boil, add water to give you the consistency you require.
  2. To assemble the spring rolls, have all your ingredients lined up assembly-line style.
  3. Drain the noodles well, and ensure the chicken is seasoned.
  4. Take a wide shallow bowl and fill it with water.
  5. Take 1 rice paper disc at a time, soak it in the water for 10 seconds or until it become pliable.
  6. Lay it on a flat surface in front of you.
  7. Add a strip of chicken, mango and some noodles to the bottom quarter of the rice paper. Top it with mint leaves and roll it away from you tucking the end under the ingredients wrapped. 
  8. Take in both sides of the roll to the centre and then continue to roll up till the end.
  9. Place on a plate and cover with wet chicken paper, whilst you repeat the process with the remaining 9 spring rolls.
  10. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.

Tip: You can use any fillings you wish, i.e prawns or pork and carrots or red pepper strips. Mix and matching is great!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Egg & Dairy Free Chocolate Cake

Because life's too short to be unable to enjoy cake!!!

When I had a guest at the B&B recently who told me that she had an allergy to eggs and dairy, I really wanted make something for her that she could enjoy. I had blueberry muffins and brown bread for other guests and I wanted my guest with the allergies to have the same sort of choice for breakfast as everyone else and not just have to be content with muesli soaked with orange juice.
Challenge!!! I told her for the next morning I would have a suitable breakfast choice for her. She told me that she likes coconut milk and almond milk and often substitute recipes with milk for these products.
I decided that banana pancakes would be possible using almond milk and a chocolate cake could possibly work well with coconut milk!!! Both were very sucessful. Here's the recipe I used for the chocolate cake. I must say every guest was enjoying them so much, I had to hide some back for the guest that they were intended for.

  • 170g of self raising flour
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp of cocoa powder
  • 230ml of coconut milk
  • 6 tbsp of sunflower oil
  • icing sugar to decorate.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Grease an 8 inch cake tin with 1 tbsp of sunflower oil.
  3. Sift the flour, sugar and cocoa powder together.
  4. Mix the coconut milk and the sunflower oil together.
  5. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  6. Spoon into the cake tin and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
  8. Turn out the cake onto the rack then turnover onto a serving plate.
  9. Cut into equal slices and dust with icing sugar.

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