Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Sweet Potato Mash

Artsy mash

God, I love sweet potatoes. And this is a short and sweet recipe (hi-yo!).

Probably my vegetable of 2013, and showing no signs of slowing down in 2014 either. This was the first time I attempted to mash it, and I am pleasantly surprised.

I first ate sweet potato in mash form last summer in New York, accompanied by some absolutely delicious chilli con carne. So this is really a versatile side, perfect for roast chicken, but just as delicious when sidling up to some meaty Mexican dish.

You may find me, eating this by itself in a bowl, with a ton of salt. Don’t even think about judging until you’ve tried it.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Quick Blueberry Smoothie.

This is amazingly easy, adapted from my favourite smoothie from my favourite smoothie place. I may have had 4 of these smoothies last week. FOUR. And I have a few buy one get one free vouchers to use up this month, so I envision so many more. One of these days I will get a proper blender (birthday wishlist vibes..), but for now my little food processor will have to cope.

But since I can’t always be bothered to venture out of my house onto the metro to get one, I decided I had to learn to make my own. Especially because I was feeling a little bit in need of a detox today after a weekend at home (which equals a weekend of overindulgence!).

This is easy, so I won't dress up the method into anything more than it is: peel, pour, blend, drink.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Banana Bread (with cheeky chocolate chips)

Sliced up and ready to bring to work (with a few slices removed for home)

So, I have had two lonely, rapidy browning bananas sadly slumped in my fruit bowl for a couple of days now. 

Judging me.

I obviously wasn’t going to eat them, because bananas bore me slightly at the best of times, never mind the weekend. Plus, I have so many eggs to use!

So, I turned to my new favourite person ever, Mary Berry. I feel like I know her. And love her. She did not fail me, presenting me a beautiful banana loaf recipe which I bastardised with chocolate chips. AND I got to use my brand new loaf tin!

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Delicious Vindaloo

First off, don’t be put off by the name. This is as spicy as you want to make it. And the underlying flavour has depth and spice enough to compensate for if you prefer it slightly milder. As a general rule, 2 chillis = gentle underlying spice, 4 chillis = pretty spicy, and 6 may make your mouth cry but is also very tasty. 

Yes, some of the ingredients sound a little alien, but the spice aisle of your local supermarket will have most, and your local Asian foodstore will have the rest. They are infinitely reuseable so definitely worth picking them all up.

Heads up, it requires slight preparation and marinating, but once you’ve prepared it, cooking the next day is easy as pie. You might be panicking that there is no discernible sauce-ifying element. And you’d be right to notice- there isn’t. But it works anyway. Go with it. The chicken should be juicy enough on its own.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Chicken Satay

Full of peanut-y goodness.

I love this recipe. The first time I made it, I was convinced that it would taste like I mixed chicken with some melted peanut butter and tried to pass it off as a meal. Like a child would do.

Fortunately, it tastes amazing. 

There’s a subtle spiciness which you can increase by adding a sliced chilli pepper (deseeded if you like). It has a richness without feeling heavy or oily. My boyfriend, aka: my most honest critic, has said that this is better than the stuff you get from the actual Chinese restaurants. Win! 5 stars!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Chorizo Carbonara

Sriracha hot sauce in the background, standard.

This is so quick to make! I am genuinely surprised that this Jamie 15 minute meal literally took 15 minutes. I win at Countdown-clock dinner!

This is a perfect dinner for when you really can’t be bothered making food. Normally, I would throw bacon in there, but I had chorizo in the fridge that needed used up and I thought I would mix things up a bit. Dat bright orange oil.

I know that "real" carbonara does not contain cream, but really, we're striving for delicious here, not authentic.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Chocolate Mint Brownies

Oh my. 

So, I was sitting at home, on a weekend evening, browsing recipes online. Don’t you judge me. I happened to google two of my favourite things: “brownie” and “mint.” And look what came up! Something so dense and chewy and chocolately, but with a delightfully crisp and creamy mint centre. This is what I have been waiting my whole life for.

It is fairly similar to my favourite traybake, and actual favourite thing that I cook: Peppermint squares (recipe to come). I find this a quite Americanised version, with the dense brownie base replacing the more traditional (to me) crispy cornflake base, and it is just delightful.

You need this in your life.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Burgers and Smokey Baked Beans

Beans are hiding just out of shot. Burger is taking centre stage on this one.

I HATE baked beans from the can. Hate. They are my nemesis. So, halfway through this recipe, when I realised what I was sorta making, I got a little scared.

But it’s okay. These were delicious. They made a beautiful side to go with burgers, in the only potato-free meal I have ever made. The recipe for the burgers is partly stolen from my mum. 

But she won’t mind. 

The spring onions are so much milder than red or yellow onions while still giving great flavour, and the stock cube gives it a real earthiness. This dinner is a winner. (LAME)

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Veggie Pilaf

First announcement.. I got a new spice rack! My spices were all piled in a little cupboard before this, resulting in much cursing during cooking when I couldn't find the one I wanted at a crucial stage. I also mistook chilli powder for paprika a few times, so there was that. Bad times. Real issues.

But look how gorgeous now:

It's just so.. Beautiful. Organised alphabetically. My life is changed.

Okay, back to the serious business of food going in my mouth. This was one of the first Indian-style dishes I ever made. And I was hooked. I pretty much make this once a month at least. It can easily be changed to add chicken if you fancy that, just fry it off at the start. However, this is plenty flavourful without the addition of chicken. As so often happens with delicious, spicy Indian food, it is almost better as leftovers, and for making colleagues jealous at lunch the day after.

Good things about this meal: quick, easy, and delicious.

Bad things: NONE.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Classic Walnut Brownies

Packaged up for work

I have a confession to make. I am a bit crap at making brownies. It’s just one of my sticking points, like fudge (dear God, fudge haunts my nightmares). But every so often I get the urge to give it another go, because I am a bit stubborn like that, and brownies are so delicious.

I got the Mary Berry Baking Bible from my very thoughtful mum for Christmas and there are a few promising brownie recipes which I earmarked. One of which is the subject of this post. She hasn’t steered me wrong yet.

First of all, it is a gratifyingly simple recipe. Second, it has an amazing brownie ‘crust’ on top which I am ecstatic about. And finally.. It isn’t all goo in the middle! Rejoyce! Brownies: delicious. Me: successful. Winners all round.

Make these. Put whatever nuts you want in them. Eat them.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Sweet Potato Fries

First off, let me apologise for the radio silence over the last week. I had an interview yesterday so I have only just looked up from practicing questions while in my head yelling "like me, please!"

It took me so long to get these right. It’s not even an ingredient issue, it’s a technique thing. These will taste great no matter what you throw on them. The trick with these is to slice them fairly thinly and keep them dry. Think of these as awesome versions of frozen potato wedges. Not that much more effort, and so much more tasty. The flavouring can be adjusted too, garlic and rosemary would be great, and plain salt and pepper also works well. 

Due to their versatility, I basically use this as a side for anything. Burgers, fishcakes, fajitas, roast chicken, pie.. I’m Irish and we ALWAYS need a side of potatoes.


At least one kind.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Orange cake with white chocolate ganache

This cake is an absolute delight. It had the great honour of being first cake I served and ate of 2014 (got stuck into it straight after a glass of bubbly to toast the new year!) and it definitely was deserving of this. My mum got me the Mary Berry Baking Bible for Christmas, and so far I have not been disappointed with anything. It feels like stealing your grandmothers’ best recipes.

Back to this cake: it’s so simple to make, it’s light and zesty, and the ganache just gives it a richness which is not overpowering due to the citrus flavour of the cake.

In short: you need this in your life (and mouth).