Tag Archives: spices

Cauliflower Two Ways, kind of!

1 Jul

I love cauliflower, always have!

I’ve great food memories of eating it smothered in cheese sauce with mashed potatoes, roast lamb and gravy .. so tasty, a real Sunday dinner!

Recently I’ve been experimenting with roasting cauli in a little coconut oil with cumin seeds and some chilli, it works really well as long as you don’t over do it in which case it becomes really dry.

This recipe from My New Roots solves the over cooking problem as the tandoori yoghurt paste encases the whole cauliflower and it stays really moist and delicious inside. It also looks really cool!

If you don’t have all the spices (nor the inclination) to make the tandoori mix up yourself a pre-made spice mix or paste will work just as well. Pataks are readily available in both Ireland and Australia and are decent quality (Jamie Oliver recommends them doncha know?). Green Saffron is an Irish spice company whose mixes I used all the time when at home, available in Avoca, online and I believe now in some of the large supermarket chains.  I’m not an expert of any sort on Indian spices but I’d imagine this would work with any type of curry paste, I’d give it a go if I was in a hurry anyway.

tandoori cauli

I made this last friday and there was at least two thirds left over so I chopped it up the next day, made a quick cheesy sauce (sour cream, grated cheese, dijon mustard and drop of milk) poured it over and into the oven for about 10 minutes .. it was wonderful! The cheese worked really well with the spices and the result was comfort food at its best.

I often feel cauli is one of those vegetables that people either love or hate, perhaps childhood/school memories of it being over cooked into tasteless mush contribute to this? But its a veg I would reccommend you give another go, it works really well with indian and middle eastern flavours. Its packed full of vitamins, anti oxidants and other healthy stuff .. its cheap, it can be easily grown and its pretty like a flower … have I convinced you yet?

Do you have any other ideas for cauliflower? What’s your favourite way to eat it?

SJ x

 

*Photo from My New Roots site

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A moving feast ….

25 Sep

In the spring of 1987 as I was eating my breakfast before school,  my mother said to my 2 younger sisters and I “There’s a surprise coming in September, guess what it is?”

“A dishwasher!” I guessed

“Well, actually yes but that will be here before September there is something better coming too …” she said.

“Better than a dishwasher” I thought to myself. Unlikely, very unlikely!

I was delighted about the dishwasher because I had recently come to the conclusion that we desperately needed one ..  you see every time I wanted to go somewhere my Mam would say “after I have done the dishes” .. dishes were ruining my little life!

As for the other great surprise? That was a third sister, followed a couple of years later by a fourth. Although I am fond of them now I was fairly annoyed that my mother couldn’t have gotten us some brothers at the time. I remember that morning so well, it was a very cute attempt to get us excited about a new baby wasn’t it? Backfired with me though!

The dishwasher in 1987 didn’t change my life in fact it probably ruined it a bit more as small children are a good height for stacking .. especially when you have a very busy mother and a “work ethic” family .. However this week I felt the excitement all over again as we have moved house and there is a beautiful new fitted kitchen and (joy of joys) a dishwasher!!

There is also a lovely little yard where we will be attempting to grow some veggies, I may need some advice on this as the seasons, climate, varieties are all completely different to Ireland.

The past week has been spent moving, cleaning, sorting, unpacking, cleaning, losing everything, slowing finding things again, buying more furniture and even more flippin cleaning … I am exhausted!

When I read this recipe yesterday I knew it was just what I needed – I didn’t have all the exact ingredients but as my national school teacher used to tell us “Necessity is the Mother of Invention” and it was delish!

Ingredients

 

Rye bread instead of wraps, fresh coriander instead of dried, cherry tomatoes instead of “cooking” tomatoes (whatever they are?), button mushrooms instead of large, lettuce instead of spinach .. and a chilli for good measure!

tomatoes cooking

add paste and herbs

 

sweating mush and onions Sweating the onions, low heat & patience – usually I try to rush them resulting in burnt onions! But I’m wising up … a pinch of salt helps too!

coriander and chilli I added chopped coriander and chilli to the tomato sauce just before serving …

mushrooms and balsamic Added in mushrooms then balsamic … which btw adds an amazing flavour to the mushrooms, I’ll be doing this again!

mushies ready to go

toast

avo and toast This avo was very ripe so I just spread it on the toast but sliced would be nice too … a sprinkle of salt at this stage to bring out the flavour!


Ready for assembly ..

finished The finished dish .. it was really tasty and healthy .. if I was doing it in this form again I would poach the eggs, scrambled are perfect for a wrap!

 

Later on I had this … yes it is Nutella. A girl has to get her fruit you know!

SJ x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Station Street Markets, Subiaco

12 Sep

Almost every weekend since I’ve been here I’ve made the trek to Subiaco for these markets .. I love them!
From the outside it looks like nothing, maybe a warehouse or underground carpark but once you get inside its a hive of activity and I adore the buzz! I like to think I am a bit like my hero Darina Allen pottering around the English Market in Cork picking the best of everything … perhaps the sun really is getting to me.

There’s a superb health food shop called The Angry Almond where I buy porrige oats, basmati rice, dried apricots and lentils among other things from huge open metal bins. It is also a great place for spices, oils,  flours, yeast,  hard to find ingredients (just this weekend I got coconut sugar) and some good cheeses!

Angry Almond
There’s a branch of my favourite french patisserie La Galette de France, a florist, juice bar, milk bar, numerous restaurant stalls offering all sorts of delights but the largest part, and my favourite hands down are the fruit and veg stalls!!

The array of fruits and vegetables astound me everytime .. 5 types of melon, 6 types of tomatoes, 4 sizes of avocados (my addiction), fresh herbs in huge bunches, produce I don’t recognise, bright colours, fresh smells, choice, choice, choice!!

Kiwis

Potatoes Royal Blue potatoes are really good, they are white on the inside and sadly don’t keep their bright blue colour when cooked but taste really good!

Herbs

sprouts

fridge

Pumpkin

Eggplant

I have no idea what this is or what to do with it? Anyone??

corn

Chillies

peppers

uglyHow’d you like them (custard) apples??!!

Avos YUM YUM YUM!!

oranges and apples

There is better value to be had here compared with the large supermarkets, these eggs for example are about €6 in our local supermarket and since discovering these markets our food bill has decreased … however we also had to get a larger fridge for the amount I haul home every week.. five a day is no longer the aim but a minimum!

While in Ireland last month I treated myself to this new book from another one of my food heroes Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, I’m hoping to try lots of new vegetable dishes and salads suitable for the warmer weather while taking advantage of the huge array of fresh good quality product available here.

 

Station Street Markets are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and Public Holidays.

Thai Beef and Cucumber Salad

14 Apr
It’s Autumn here in Perth and the weather is warm and sunny (no complaints from this camp!) so here’s a summery recipe to get all of you at home in the mood for what’s ahead and help us here in the Southern Hemisphere hang on to the last of the lovely days. 
 
Cucumbers are a fruit (yip!) that I never had alot of time for, seeing them more as a filler in salad or a sandwich  for cricket players although I was quite happy to add it to jugs of Pimms!  My Mam makes a lovely cucumber pickle so when I came across this recipe and remembered having absolutely adored the salads while in Thailand I decided to give it a shot …. its been a staple ever since. Really delish as a salad to accompany cold meats or BBQ and even better with some yummy rare steak! 
Thai Beef and Cucumber Salad 
 
Ingredients (not strict quantities, all can be tailored to your taste) 
60ml fish sauce
60ml lime juice
2 x sirloin steaks (220g each)
2 cucumbers thinly sliced (with a mandolin type thingy or indeed peeled into strips with a veg peeler) 
4 spring onions sliced (very thinly sliced red onion is also good)
250g cherry tomatoes halved
1 tablespoon mint leaves
2 tablespoon coriander leaves
2 tablespoons basil leaves
1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic
1 chilli thinly sliced
 
Method:
1. combine 2 tablespoons fish sauce and 1 tablesp lime juice in a medium bowl, add beef and marinate for at least 3 hours or overnights.
2. Drain beef and throw out marinade. Cook beef in a griddle pan, grill or BBQ. Cook as desired (personally I am all about the RARE). Allow beef to rest for 5 min and then slice thinly.
3. In a large bowl combine cucumber, chilli, onion, tomatoes and herbs
4. In a screw top jar place the sugar, soy, garlic and remaining fish sauce and lime juice. Shake well to combine.
5. Add beef and dressing to salad. Toss salad gently to combine.
 
Lovely served with some steamed rice, baked potato or fresh crusty bread 
 
Enjoy 
 
SJ x 

What to buy for Christmas?? Buy Irish of Course!!

1 Dec

As it’s the first of December it’s ok with me now to talk about Christmas ..

When we were young I don’t remember the run up being so long, there always seemed to be months between Hallowe’en and Christmas. However I do remember standing on the table in our kitchen being helped into my pyjamas (All dressing was done on that table, until now I have never realised it might be odd!) and being so scared that Santa would look in the window, realise I was not good-as-gold and bring me a bag of coal!

Oh, the incredible excitement of Christmas morning, being barely able to get down the stairs with anticipation! While the presents were amazing, for me,  it was seeing had Santa eaten the mince pies and more so had Rudolph had the carrot! The half eaten mince pie and teeth marks in the carrot would bring squeals of delight from us. The year we found reindeer hair/fluff left on our fireplace was without doubt a highlight of my childhood. Imagining how magic Santa must be to not only get himself and all the presents down the chimney but also a Reindeer!! Santa truly is amazing but my parents must have loved Christmas Eve and morning a lot too, good thing there was the odd red cow among all the black & white ones eh?

I have listed below some Irish companies that I love and have purchased gifts from throughout the year as-well as for Christmas. I won’t be too specific with what I have bought for fear of ruining some surprises. It’s nice to have that Christmas morning anticipation even when we are all growed-up!

Slated.ie
Firstly, if you want a daily giggle follow Tara and her company on twitter or like them on Facebook. Trust me, you will laugh!
Beautiful slate products from coasters (which can also be used to serve butter!) to table runners, memo/chalk boards to plant markers. All functional,  pretty and reasonably priced they come beautifully packaged too.

Garrendenny Lane – I have loved this site and blog for a long time but only recently made a purchase. I sent this lovely map of Ireland to a friend living in Canada who won’t be home for Xmas. It was delivered straight from the site and arrived within a week! An ideal present for someone who won’t make it home this year.

Green Saffron – I adore these spice mixes! Sirak Masala (available online or from farmers market) and Murgh Tandoori are my favourites but the Balti, Rogan Josh and Tikka Masala have all gone down really well! Each pack comes with easy to follow instructions and tips.  I am looking forward to trying the Christmas Turkey Delight around December 26th.

Donegal Rapeseed Oil – Healthier than alternatives and tastes really good! There are other Irish rapeseed oils around now too which I have not tasted, we have no need to buy all foreign oils any more!

Sleek.ie – this might seem like a treat for yourself but once Lorna sorts you (or me anyway) out with some fantastic control underwear the sight of you in your party dress will be a treat for everyone’s eyes!! Great customer service and fantastic products.

Danucci Chocolates – Salted Caramels. Have to be tried to be believed

8Degrees Brewing Beer – Brewed in Cork by a Kiwi and an Aussie, a lovely present for a beer lover and a good addition to your christmas puddings, cakes, mincemeat or accompaniment to your cheese board (any excuse!).

Funky Christmas Jumpers – Lots of fun to wear one of these on the big day and also really popular for the annual 12 Pubs of Christmas fun!

Hairy Baby – T-shirts, aprons, bags and baby clothes with hilarious graphics and slogans! My Mam’s name is Mary so have been thinking of getting this one for Dad .. hee hee!

Cookbooks are always appreciated by cooks and food enthusiasts alike. Here are my favourites from this year.
Edward Hayden: Food to Love

If you are not familiar with Edward you are in for a treat! He is a lovely personable and really funny guy who I first met when I did a cookery course in Dunbrody House with my sister, Mam and Aunties,  everyone fell in love with him. I have since attended lots of his classes and met him at various shows. His book has lots of great recipes & ideas and I have used it many times since getting it for my birthday in September.

Niamh Shields: Comfort and Spice

A Waterford girl living in London cooking up a storm and making my mouth water on regular occasions with her blog. Slow cooked pork is her signature dish her book is not only beautiful but packed full of great recipes you will want to try immediately.

Lilly Higgins: Make, Bake, Love

This is one book I am hoping will be bought for me rather than me buying for someone else. Lilly’s blog is so aesthetically pleasing that I cannot wait to drool over the pages of her book, which she styled herself! WANT.

Only 24 more sleeps …

SJ x