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.

  • 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

  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.


  • 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


  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.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Parsley, Lemon, Caper & Garlic Seabass

Here's a gem of a recipe for a marinade that transforms a beautiful piece of fish into a tangy flavoursome dinner. This recipe is great as the ingredients for the marinade are very healthy, but also very tasty.

The weather for us here in the South of Ireland isn't quite there for us yet this summer in terms of BBQ time, but when the sun does start to emerge, this is a wonderful recipe for all BBQ fish dishes.


  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp of flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp of capers
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 seabass, gutted and scaled
  • Salt and pepper

To serve

  • Extra chopped flat leaf parsley
  • lemon wedges


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. In a mini blender, add the juice of a lemon, the flat leaf parsley, capers, oil, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and pulse for a few seconds.
  3. Cut 3 incisions in  each fillet on the fish. Cut the 2nd lemon into thin slices and place each lemon slice into the  the cut incisions on the fish, and divide the remaining slices into the cavity of the fish.
  4. Rub the parsley marinade into both the outside and the inside cavity of the fish. 
  5. All to marinade for 10 minutes. 
  6. Bake the fish on a baking tray for 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
  7. Serve with a scattering of chopped herbs and lemon wedges.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Asparagus, Feta & Serrano Pizza - A Shortcut to a Deluxe Pizza

Friday nights in our house is nearly always Pizza Night. But after a long week at work, sometimes making my own pizza dough is too laborious even for me. 

Thankfully there are some good quality shop bought pizza dough out there now which take all the hard work out of home made pizzas. Tonight was such a night when the efforts of homemade pizza dough was beyond me. Luckily I had a Jus-Rol pizza dough hidden in the fridge for such a dilemma. 


  • 1 good quality ready made pizza dough
  • 2 tbsp of tomato sauce
  • 4 asparagus spears, ends removed
  • 50g of fresh mozzarella 
  • 50g of feta cheese
  • 3 tbsp of carmelised onion relish
  • Pepper
  • 3 slices of Serrano ham
  • 2 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 wedge of lemon
  • Balsamic glaze

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Lay the pizza dough on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment.
  3. Spread the tomato sauce over the pizza dough.
  4. Scatter the cheeses over the pizza and lay the asparagus spears over the cheese.
  5. Dot the relish in between the spears of asparagus and liberally grind black pepper over the pizza.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  7. Divide the Serrano ham over the cooked pizza and scatter with some freshly torn basil.
  8. Serve with the lemon wedge and drizzle over the balsamic glaze.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Moroccan Lamb, Potato & Aubergine Stew

Although I've never been to Morocco, I adore Moroccan cuisine. My first taste of Morocco was in a small little family run restaurant in the heart of Paris; and I've been hooked ever since. I love slow cooked meats, and I love one pot wonders even more!!! This dish actually tastes better if made a day ahead of needing it. Moroccan dining is my way of eating, its about being social and sharing; lots of accompaniments and everyone just digging in. Super casual. it's not fussy nor posh.

I entered a Lamb Tagine recipe in a Kerrygold Recipe Book competition a few years back and my recipe was selected to be published in the recipe book. This Lamb, Potato and Aubergine stew is a twist on my traditional Tagine recipe Serena's Moroccan Lamb Tagine

This recipe is perfect to feed a crowd and can be easily doubled or trebled, and just supply more pittas and yogurt for scooping up the yummy sauce.

  • 1 lbs diced lamb
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 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
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 carrots thickly sliced on diagonal
  • 3 potatoes,peeled and quartered
  • 1 aubergine, diced
  • 2 tbsp runny honey

Cous cous to Serve
  • 100g cous cous
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • Generous handful chopped Coriander/flat leaf parsley
  • 50g of flaked almonds
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 250g tub Greek yogurt (to serve)
  • 4 mini pitta breads (to serve)


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 olive oil on a medium heat. Brown the meat, in batches if necessary.
4. Add all the meat back into the casserole dish, adding the carrots, tinned tomatoes, potato & aubergine.
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 the olive oil and the turmeric and mix well; season with salt and pepper and pour over 180mls of boiling water. Cover for ten mins.
7. Fluff with a fork, adding half the chopped coriander or flat leaf parsley.
8. 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. Once toasted add to the cous cous.
10. Remove the casserole dish from the oven and add the 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/flat leaf parsley.
14. Put the cous cous, yogurt and pittas in bowls on the table and let your guests help themselves, Moroccan style! Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Pistachio & White Chocolate Spread - The Indulgent Nutella Alternative

I first came across this spread whilst on holidays in Sicily. I mentioned before how we stayed in a Farmhouse B&B on our last night in Sicily. They made their own olive oil as well as growning pistachios. ( The breakfast was a real homely experience with everyone gathered around one big table with all the delicious baking and meats and spreads in the centre of the table, everyone helping themselves. I  must have eaten a whole bowl of the pistachio spread before asking our host, Ginevra, what exactly is was that I was eating. I thought to myself no wondering it tastes amazing.............Chocolate........White Chocolate!!!!

 When Ginevra explained that it was a type of chocolate spread made with pistachios and white chocolate, I was hooked. It tasted unreal and the vibrant green colour gives it a fantastic appearance.

My own tried and tested spread is simple to make, but I've found, very difficult to eat only a small portion at a time. I use coconut oil here, but you could use other oils,  like sunflower oil or groundnut oil.


  • 300g of shelled pistachios
  • 200g of good quality qhite chocolate
  • 4 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp of table salt


  1. Place the pistachios in a food processor and blitz until a wet crumb forms, could take up to 3 minutes.
  2. Melt the white chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the vanilla extract to the melted chocolate.
  3. Allow the chocolate to cool.
  4. Add the coconut oil, salt and melted chocolate to the pistachio crumb and blitz it again until to clumps together and ressembles a butter.
  5. Store in an airtight container, in a cool dry place. (Not the fridge, otherwise it will loose it's spreadability).
  6. It's delicious on toast, crusty bread, or on cupcakes, or as an alternative to cream in a victoria sponge perhaps.

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