Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The simplest dish you can make

I'm being totally, 100% honest. Your blind Uncle who has never cooked in his life could do it. Well maybe not but he could definitely do 80% of this meal. He might need your help with the poached egg but hell, if he doesn't feel like having an egg, he would be the chef!

So, who can tell me what this is? First one to write in will get a special pat on the back! I'm sure that you all know by now. Yep it's little old quinoa. That super grain from Peru. I have talked about it in the past here, but you know. When a girl falls in love, she falls hard! This is one of those times *swoon*. If you're a vegan you should include quinoa in your diet and with it being so versatile there really is no excuse! It's a complete protein and has managed to overcome one of the shortcomings normally associated with grains, it's high in fat. And that is good fat by the way. It's also got a pretty good calcium content so munch away people, munch away.

Aren't these colours amazing?! The minute I saw them in the shop I knew, deep down in my heart that I had to have them. Some people go for shiny pretty clothes, I go for pretty veggies. Bright colours that entice you and hold a wealth of goodness for our bodies. This is ruby and golden chard. Both yummy and without a huge variation in taste. Some people compare it to spinach, I my friends am not that person. I prefer, whole heartedly I might add, chard. I love it when the leaves are young and tender for salads, I love it when it grows tall and proud and it's great to cook with. We all know the benefits of eating a green and leafy diet, yes? Well chard, is one of those exceptional cases. It contains at least 13 different antioxidants, one of which is syringic acid. Now don't get scared by the name. This has actually be getting a heap of attention with researchers concerning the regulation of blood sugar levels…hip hip hooray!


50g quinoa per person
3 leaves of chard per person
1 egg per person
salt and pepper

Get your quinoa on first of all (in a pan cover the quinoa with water, get it boiling and the grains will start to go translucent. I like mine with a bite so try it and see if it's cooked enough for you). Meanwhile  put a pan of water onto boil for your poached egg and wash and chop the chard. Keep the stalks and leaves separate as the stalks will take longer to cook. Drizzle some oil into a pan and heat. Once hot add the chopped stalks and cook until change colour slightly, add the leaves and season. Drain the quinoa and let stand. Once the chard has cooked add the quinoa. Stir through on a low heat whilst you put your egg into the swirling water to poach. 
Poaching an egg: There is only one technique that works for me! A very fresh egg is needed and that is it. Boil water, stir to make a vortex. Crack egg into a teacup and gently lower egg into the vortex of boiling water. Cook till you are happy with it. 

Serve your quinoa/chard mix with a poached egg on top…enjoy the healthiness!

Friday, 13 September 2013

One last summer salad

With the 1st of Setpember came rain, wind and my mind wandering to sunnier climes. Can I cope in this climate for the next 6months? Will my feet cope with constantly being wet and cold and my body with the shivers?

Luckily enough, I managed to escape for a few days, to lands filled with golden sunshine and white beaches and although I feel invigorated I'm now back in the midst of storms, mist and rain.

This salad is a hommage to the last of the summer days. I'm quietly praying for an Indian Summer to come bounding into Ireland but if not, this is my last dish.

Beetroot is one of my favourite veggies of all time. I love how it leaves a reminder that it's been near you with it's purpley pink hue. I never wear gloves. I'm one of those people that love having something put their mark on me. As we all know veggies that are vibrant are better for us. This root veggie is great for improving stamina and contains vitamins such as potassium, magnesium and iron. Research has proven that beetroot can actually lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes due to the amount of nitrates it contains. Nitrates produce a gas called nitric oxide in the blood which widens blood vessels as well as lowering blood pressure.

I use red onions in this salad which compliments the natural sweetness of the beetroot. White onion would be fine, but not perfect!  Onions, particularly red onions are a great source of Chromium which helps control glucose levels which as we all know are related to insulin resistance. There has also been some talk that the outer layers are the most beneficial but there isn't a huge amount of research to prove this.

You can eat the skins of beetroot if you want, for this dish though I've taken them off but, if I was roasting them I would totally leave them on. Parsley is another ingredient and it is so good for your digestion. Please if you have bowl problems eat as much as you can. It will help no end!


6 small to medium beetroots boiled till a knife slides in and out easily
large handful of parsley, washed and chopped
1 medium red onion, sliced finely
olive oil
salt and pepper

Once your beetroot is cooked peel them carefully and cut into wedges. Slice your onion and add along with the parsley. Cover with a generous glug of good quality olive oil, salt and pepper and serve.

This dish would be great with the beets red hot and a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Honey Suckle Cordial

Summer is almost over. The 1st September appeared out of nowhere with bad weather to boot that said 'winter is a-comming'. This recipe is literally made of summer and will have you re-opening the sealed bottle for a whiff of sunshine. The colour of the cordial depends on the colour of the flowers you use so maybe make some of both colours, quickly, before the season is over.

Sent the flowers to make cordial for a shoot with these talented ladies I had to go foraging for extra and ended up with more pinky rose flowers which then turned the cordial into a sunset pink haze tinged with gold. Similar to the elderflower cordial I did a couple of months ago but inspired by this amazing blog, it is so easy and made me so happy. There are some things that are so simple but so beautiful and this my friends, is one of them.


4 cups of honeysuckle flowers
600g of sugar
24fl oz of boiling water
1 tsp citric acid
1 lemon sliced finely

Slice the lemon and put into a bucket/big pot with the honeysuckle flowers. Sprinkle the sugar over and pour over measured boiling water. This makes about 800mls.

Easy peasy.