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Chickpea, spinach and onion curry (Vegetarian, but don’t tell anyone.)

10 Apr
Curry sunbathing

Curry sunbathing

I really like this recipe. It’s very easy. Secondly for those of us who like to pretend to be healthy every once in a while, this isn’t the wort recipe in that regard, it’s actually pretty good. And if it isn’t please don’t shatter my illusion.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few weeks in Doha, and the spices down here are brilliant, so whenever I cook here I like to use them wherever possible.  Also the red onions are fantastically sweet and are a joy to cook with. They lack the harshness that most raw onion has at home. I used a curry powder mix that you can buy in the Souq here. It’s cumin/chilli/coriander etc. As always use whatever you can find easily. Or you could make up your own, there are plenty of recipes online.

Ingredients: (Makes three very generous portions- 4 normal ones.)

2 tablespoons curry powder mix

1 tablespoon Garam Masala

oil of your choosing- enough to make the spices into a loose paste

1 red onion

1 tin chickpeas

1 tin tomatoes

1 bag of fresh spinach

Method:

Heat a pot, before adding the oil, fling the spices in and let them toast for a short while. Probably best to stir them around a bit so nothing catches. When you start getting their aroma, add in the oil. (The proportions above make a punchy curry. Feel free to reduce or increase the spices.)

Before this mixture catches, which can happen very quickly, throw in your chopped red onion. Fry this at a gentle heat until it softens, you don’t want it to get too much colour. Then add in the chickpeas and toss them in the spicy oniony goodness. Add in the tin of tomatoes and let it bubble away gently. It’s not a bad idea at this point to scrape the bottom of the pot for any of the spices etc that may have stuck during the frying stage.

I left this bubble for about 15/20 minutes while some brown rice cooked. With about 5 minutes to go I flung in the spinach and let it wilt.

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Chocolate and beetroot brownies

29 Mar
Swear I didn't eat them..

Swear I didn’t eat them..

 

Recently the nice people in Green & Black’s got onto me to let me know about their easter egg range. Even nicer, they sent me a few bars from their product range to sample. Rather than eat them all myself, I thought I would make some brownies and treat my friends. In my house, my sister makes the best brownies- so to rival them, I needed to do something a little different. I had heard chocolate and beetroot went well together so I thought I would give it a whirl. As we have someone who eats gluten-free in my house, I was also seeking a recipe with a low flour level so I can adapt it for them in the future, without too much hassle.

 

Ingredients:

250g Green & Black’s dark chocolate

250g softened butter

3 eggs (room temperature)

250g Caster sugar

100g self-raising flour

Pinch of salt

50g ground almonds

250g grated cooked beetroot. (Not pickled. Fresh preferably!)

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a suitable baking tray with grease-proof paper.

Over a pot of simmering water, place a glass bowl and melt the butter and chocolate.

While they are getting to know each other, beat the eggs and the sugar until they get creamy.

While this is all going on grate the beetroot.

When the chocolate and butter have melted whisk it into the sugar and eggs mixture. After they have combined, sift in the flour and add the ground almonds- fold them in gently. Lastly add the grated beetroot and gently combine it into the mixture.

Bake for about 40 minutes. After 30/35 check how they are getting on to avoid the brownies over-cooking. Stick a skewer into the brownies, it shouldn’t come out completely clean but equally it shouldn’t be liquidy.

Mussels with garlic and chorizo

13 Jan
Mussels after a nice relaxing bath

Mussels after a nice relaxing bath

Some of you know this. I used to be a fishmonger. Long summers smelling like last week’s haddock, a car interior smelling like last week’s cod baked in the summer sun all day, fish scales in the most random places you can imagine (or maybe  best not to.) There was an upside to this, access to the very best of fresh fish. I still have a man on the inside and he never steers me wrong. So on a recent spin out to Howth I picked up some mussels. This is a recipe I love- 4 ingredients, sheer simplicity. I find the smokey flavour of the chorizo works really well with the sweetness of the mussels. Plus it’s nice to go for a tomato based sauce sometimes, mussels tend to be constantly subjected to wine, cream etc. Apologies about the photo not representing these delicious morsels as best it could. Manic dinner time, hungry people to feed- this food blogger chose survival over food-gawker.

Ingredients:

about 3 inches of chorizo. skin removed and cut into discs, then quarters.

1 tin chopped tomatoes

3 large cloves of garlic. Crushed.

1 kg mussels, cleaned.

Method:

Take the chorizo, peel the skin off, cut into smaller pieces so that after a brief fry they will crisp up and give off their delicious chorizo flavour! You don’t even have to add any oil as the chorizo will render down all by itself.

Once they have crisped up, add the tin of tomatoes and the crushed cloves of garlic. Don’t be afraid to give this a good bit of hob time so that it reduces down. The juices/water in the mussels will thin out the sauce. As this bubbles away, clean your mussels. Take off their beards, and give the shells a good rub with your thumb to make sure anything loosely attached will come off. I do this under running cold water as it makes it a little easier. Any mussels that do not close after a good tap, bin them. Any ones that don’t open after cooking- bin them also. It’s just not worth it.

Add the cleaned mussels to the sauce and put a lid on the pot. Turn up the heat and let them bath in the sauce until they open up wide. I stir them around once or twice as they open to make sure the sauce gets everywhere.

Enjoy.

P.S. Fiftieth blog post, time flies eh?

Roasted red pepper soup

19 Dec
Soup with some peppercorns scattered in a jaunty manner.

Soup with some peppercorns scattered in a jaunty manner.

Why did I cook roasted red pepper soup?  I was under dentist’s orders to eat something soft after a filling and it was a cold day. Thus the idea for a warming soup was born!

Ingredients:

2 Ramiro peppers

4 red Bell peppers

5 cloves of garlic

olive oil

4 medium potatoes

25g butter

1.25 litres of vegetable stock

salt and pepper

yoghurt (optional- go wild)

Method:

Throw your oven on. 200 degrees celsius should do it. But I’m open to suggestion.

Wash and de seed all the peppers. Cut them into quarters or thirds and place them in an oven tray with the cloves of garlic- you don’t need to even peel the garlic at this stage. Scatter a little salt and pepper and a drizzle of oil over them.

Roast at 200 degrees celsius for about 40 minutes.

While they are in the oven, peel and chop the potatoes into chunks.

Melt the butter, add a splash of olive oil and fry the potatoes of for a few minutes until they stop looking starchy and disgusting. Then add the stock, the peppers, the (now peeled) garlic and let it bubble until everything is tender.

Blitz with a hand blender until it is smooth. Serve in warmed bowls with an artistic drizzle of yoghurt and olive oil.

Goodall’s Modern Irish Cookbook

24 Oct

Over the summer, the lovely people at Goodall’s put together a cookbook with 50 recipes from Irish food-bloggers/ food enthusiasts/ food fanciers and chefs. And so was born Goodall’s Modern Irish. As stated on their website the book is:

” A modern Irish Cookbook…. 50 great recipes all inspired by traditional Irish cooking & ingredients, but updated to reflect the way we cook today.”

Why I am I telling you about this book? Well, I’m in it (P97 if you’re wondering.) I was delighted to be included and that my apple and berry compote was deemed worthy to grace the pages of this publication.

The book is on sale here. You can download it for €2.99 or purchase a hard copy for €12 plus P&P. The profits will be split between Cork Penny Dinners and Dublin Food Bank, so please buy a copy if you can and support these worthwhile causes. In addition to this, the book is absolutely brilliant, it has loads of great recipes and is beautifully designed.

Goodall’s launch (Photo: Nick Bradshaw)

It was launched last Thursday in the Merrion, where we were all treated to a fantastic lunch. (I really felt for the chef- can you imagine feeding 50 food-bloggers?)

It was a great event- food was good, wine flowed, and also because I got to meet a lot of fellow bloggers, some of whom I would speak to on a daily basis on twitter etc- but have never met before. Yes, I talk to strangers on the internet and then meet them at book launches. I’m fairly certain I was warned against this in primary school.

On its holliers….

The funny thing about this book? It likes to travel- here it is in Doha, the very next day after the launch..

Finally, thanks to Goodall’s and all involved for putting this publication together- it has been fantastic fun to be part of it.

 

 

 

 

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