Monday, May 12, 2014

Breakfast Crostini - Roasted Balsamic Strawberries on Honeyed Ricotta

Stuck in a breakfast rut?! Fancy something sublimely different for a weekend brunch? Then tried out these simple to assemble breakfast crostinis. The balsamic strawberry combination is like a match made in heaven. The balsamic vinegar lends a hand to bring out the beautiful sweetness of the strawberries. That then coupled with the tangy creamy ricotta cheese......well its simply dreamy! You could actually make these crostinis for a drinks party also and they would go down a treat. 

This recipe is not paleo friendly by any means, but cheating a couple of times a week is allowed. But here's an idea, if you don't want to eat the bread, why not use thick cucumber slices cut on the diagonal as the base instead. I only made this yesterday for the first time and already I know I  will be making very often for my B&B guests.

  • 1 day old french baguette cut into slices, on the diagonal
  • 250g of hulled strawberries, sliced
  • 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of white sugar
  • 6-7 basil leaves, shredded
  • 1 carton of ricotta cheese
  • 2tbsp of honey, and extra to drizzle

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and place the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  2. Toast for 5-6 minutes, keeping eye they don't burn.
  3. Mix the strawberries with the sugar and vinegar and place in a oven dish and bake for 10 minutes in the oven. Then remove and allow to cool completely. You can prepare both the bread and strawberries a day in advance if you cool completely and store separately in air tight containers.
  4. Add the honey to the cheese and whip up with a fork.
  5. Spread a generous amount of ricotta over the crostinis. Add the shredded basil to the strawberry mixture and top the ricotta with the balsamic strawberries. Drizzle with a little more honey if desired.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Indian Sweet Potato Cubes with Garlic Curry Mayo - An Indian Take on a Spanish Classic

These potato cubes are gorgeous and can be eaten as a main meal or would be a fabulous side dish. They are a variation of my Quick Patatas Bravas recipe from Spain. By using sweet potato we are making this dish super healthy, and by boiling and baking the potatoes, we are continuing with our health trend. It's only when I add mayonnaise into the mix that the calorie content increases, so for the health concious, you can omit the curry mayo, however it's every bit as important in this dish I think. Use low fat mayonnaise if you want to be good.


  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tbsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp of oil, a flavorless oil
  • Ground black pepper

Garlic Curry Mayonnaise

  • 1 tsp of mild curry powder
  • 5-7 tbsp of mayonnaise
  • Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp of coriander paste

  1. Add the cubed potatoes to a saucepan of cold water and put on a medium heat. Bring the water to the boil and cook for 4 minutes.
  2. Drain the potatoes and allow the steam to escape for a few minutes. This helps the potatoes dry out a bit.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  4. Add the potatoes to a bowl and pour in the olive oil and sprinkle over the cumin. Stir to ensure all the cubes are coated. 
  5. Lay the cubes in a single layer on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  6. Grind over the black pepper and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the cubes are crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle.
  7. Meanwhile to make my garlic curry mayonnaise, simply combine the mayonnaise, garlic puree, curry powder and pepper. Mix well. Add the juice of the lemon and stir to combine completely.
  8. To Serve, scattered the potatoes in a platter and place the mayonnaise in a little bowl, alternatively you could pour the mayo over the sweet potato, bravas style.

Quick & Simple Healthier Patatas Bravas

There's this restaurant here in Killarney called La Rambla. It's my favorite place in town and everytime we go there, we always order tonnes of their patatas bravas. They are little bites of heaven, every mouthful is sublime. I'm not sure how they make them and what the ingredients to their bravas sauce is, but I have tried to recreate their patatas bravas at home, using a very low fat method of cooking them and a cheats bravas sauce, so simple, even the most kitchen-shy should be able to whip it up.


  • 2 potatoes,  peeled and cubed
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of smoked paprika
  • Ground black pepper

Quick Bravas Sauce

  • 1 lemon cut into wedges
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp of smoked paprika
  • 5-7 tbsp of organic low fat mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  1. Add the cubed pototoes to a saucepan of cold water and put on a medium heat. Bring the water to the boil and cook for 4 minutes.
  2. Drain the potatoes and allow the steam to escape for a few minutes. This helps the potatoes dry out a bit.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  4. Add the potatoes to a bowl and pour in the olive oil and sprinkle over the paprika. Stir to ensure all the cubes are coated. 
  5. Lay the cubes in a single layer on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  6. Grind over the black pepper and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the cubes are crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle.
  7. Meanwhile to make my cheats bravas sauce, simply combine the mayonnaise, minced garlic, paprika and pepper. Mix well. Add the juice of a 1-2 lemon wedges and stir to combine completely.
  8. To serve, place the potatoes in a platter and pour over the bravas sauce and throw a couple of cocktail stick into the potatoes.
This is my favorite potato dish and I have experimented with it recently to come up with Thai Potato cubes and sweet chili mayo and most recently Indian Sweet Potato cubes and curry mayo . I'm a sucker for the ole potato, and shure, why wouldn't I be, I'm Irish afterall!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Baked in 60 Seconds - Paleo Chocolate Mug Cake

I bake! I bake everyday and having started the paleo diet, not being able to sample my cakes and baking was a worry. You have to test everything you bake for your guests in the B&B, right?! Cue, husband! My testing guinea pig. But I do find it hard to resist a muffin, or brown bread, or dare I say it...Chocolate Cake.

 I went to the health shop today and bought some coconut flour, and wanted to put it to use without having to bake a whole cake. I remember a Chocolate Mug Cake trend from a few years back, and I thought why not. It will be made in literally minutes, I'll have road tested the coconut flour.....and I'll have that chocolate hit I've been craving.  Having researched a bit about regular chocolate mug cakes, I've made mine using subsitutes for non-paleo ingredients. It's not melt in your mouth delicious and it certainly isn't as amazing as it would be using regular ingredients, lets be honest! But in terms of maintaining diet and getting that guilt free chocolate hit, it ticks every box. Its really coconuty, which I love. If I was a rule breaker I'd dollop some ice-cream on top..... I made my batter in a bowl and then poured into the mug, to avoid making a mess.

Makes 1 mug cake


  • 1.5 tbsp of coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp of cocoa powder
  • 2 tbp of honey
  • 4 tbsp of almond milk
  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp of almond butter


  1. Beat the egg in the bowl, add rest of ingredients, except the butter, and whisk to incorporate everything.
  2. Pour the batter into your mug
  3. Place the almond butter in the centre of the batter
  4. Cook in the microwave for 60 seconds.
  5. Allow to rest for 30 seconds before digging in.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sticky Sesame Orange Glazed Chicken Wings

Whenever I have a crowd coming over for drinks I throw some chicken wings in the oven. They disappear almost instantly. Chicken wings are so versatile, with hundreds of flavour combinations on offer. Seeing as I am following the Paleo diet currently (you may have heard), I decided to come up with a Paleo friendly chicken wing recipe, omitting all paleo no! no!s.


  • Chicken wings
  • 1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1 grated piece of ginger
  • 1 tsp of chopped chilli
  • 1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1/2 a tsp of sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  2. Place the chicken wings on a baking sheet lined with baking paper
  3. Scatter the wings with the cumin seeds and grind with black pepper
  4. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes
  5. Meanwhile, add the orange juice, honey, ginger, garlic, chilli, vinegar, oil, and soy sauce to a saucepan, bring to the boil and reduce by half.
  6. Pour the 80% of the sauce over the chicken wings and return to the oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven, pour over the remain sauce and scatter the sesame seeds over the wings.
  8. Serve with lime wedges and garnish with corriander leaves. Serve with a side salad. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Paleo Friendly Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups - Bread-free Sambos

When taking on this new Paleo way of life, one of the main things I knew I would miss is my beloved bread!! I am addicted to sandwiches! When I used work in Galway I went to McCambridges on Shop Street EVERYDAY for my sambo at lunch. I used be morto when I used to go through the doors as the ladies behind the counter knew my order precisely. I live for sandwiches at lunch.

Even recently I've been having hummus on crackers for my lunch, both of which are a no! no! on the Paleo diet. I thought I would find it tricky but in fact, it's been fun eating outside my comfort zone for lunch. I bulk cooked and some of it lasted 3 days in tubberware in the fridge. I have to say, the body feels good without bread, bloat free. I must to admit I do still crave and miss bread however; but that's where my cheat meals at the weekend will save me.

Now on with this fabulous healthy, zingy and fresh lunch. I couldn't believe how full I felt after it, and I managed to stretch it for 3 lunches.


  • 250g of minced turkey meat
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped finely
  • 1 stick of lemongrass, bruised and chopped finely
  • 1 thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 red deseeded red chili, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of mint/corriander, freshly chopped
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 1 tsp of fish sauce
  • Juice of a lime
  • 2 tbsp of coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 large handful of spinach leaves
  • 1/4 of a peeled mango, diced
  • 4-5 leaves of baby gem lettuce


  1. Place the garlic, ginger, chilli, lemongrass, herbs and oil in and mini blender and pulse until liquidised to a paste.
  2. Cook the paste for a few minutes on a high heat in a wok/skillet.
  3. Put the turkey mince in the wok/skillet and stir fry until browned and loosened.
  4. Add the fish sauce, coconut and sesame seeds and continue to stir fry.
  5. Finally, turn off the heat and wilt in the spinach and finish with the lime juice.
  6. Arrange the lettuce leaves cup-side up.
  7. Distribute the mango pieces amongst the lettuce cups
  8. Spoon the turkey mince over the mango and finish with some more lime juice perhaps.

Note: Large pieces of iceberg lettuce leaves work well here too, use them as roll ups as you might use a flour tortilla wrap perhaps.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Breakfast Chia Spinach Smoothie - The Paleo Way to Start the Day

I have been absent from the blog lately for a few reasons; I'm so busy with a one year old and I'm also getting the house ready for our third Bed and Breakfast season. But on top of this I had run out of fresh ideas for health eating. I had gotten myself into a food rut, making the same foods day in day out; partly to please our daughter as I want her to eat the foods that we eat, and partly due to laziness.

I have been eating healthy for a time now, adopting the 5:2 approach. That is I was eating very healthy 5 days of the week and eating whatever I wanted 2 days of the week. Those 2 days were getting worse and worse though, becoming more of a little piglet each weekend. I decided a new approach was needed, a kick up the bum. So I got researching online, and decided the Paleo Diet is for me. (caveman diet). I'm a total carb and wheat junkie so this diet is going to be a tough one. I've allowed myself 3 cheat meals a week though to help me stick with it. Other than these 3 cheats, my meals eliminate ALL dairy, and wheat, grains and pulses. Bye bye hummus, no more sushi, and adios pasta! Instead my meals with follow (loosely) the diet of our paleolithic ancestors (hunter/gatherers) and consist mainly of meat/seafood, fruit vegetables, and nuts and seeds. One of the hardest parts of this diet with be the elimination of sugar and salt and my beloved ketchup.

In mentioning all these sacrifices, the gains are apparently awesome. No hunger pangs, big weight loss, and and renewed healthier body, with extra energy and greater immune system as a result. I've bought the Paleo Diet book by Dr Loren Cordain. He's a very strict guy. When researching Paleo recipes online there are lots of ingredients the Dr Cordain says no to. So as I said I'm following him loosely, buy still steering clear of the grains, pulses and dairy items.

Breakfast for me is rushed affair and with working in the B&B sometimes it's forgotten about until 11am. With this new diet, a hot cup of lemon water first thing is a must, along with a fish oil capsule. Then I have options of every meat under the sun, eggs, smoothies, etc. I am really looking forward to testing some Paleo friendly granola; but for now this smoothie is the perfect healthy quick start to the day. Don't let the colour put you off; it is absolutely delicious.


  • 1/2 cup of almond milk
  • 1/2 cup of water 
  • 2 handfuls of washed baby spinach leaves
  • 1 banana, sliced (frozen in slices if possible)
  • 1/4 mango, chopped
  • 1 tsp of chia seeds 


  1. Place all ingredients in the blender and whizz up for approx 2 minutes. (if your banana slices aren't frozen then add some ice cubes).

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