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Sticky Honey and Garlic Meatball Salad

21 Aug


I am a big fan of a generous plate of tender meatballs smothered in a classic tomato sauce sitting atop a beautiful mound of fresh spaghetti but we all need a change sometimes and this recipe is perfect for that. The actual meatballs are quite basic but the sauce is just to die for, it is sweet and sticky and chock full of garlic. It uses all ingredients that everyone should have lurking around their cupboards and it would go beautifully with any sort of meat. I think it would be perfect for chicken in a wrap.


I serve these over a fresh, crisp salad instead of the usual pasta which makes the dish much lighter and ideal for Summer. It would also be great stuffed into a crunchy baguette if your feeling hungrier! I’m off to the beautiful Italy tomorrow so I will try to post while I’m there but if I don’t I will hopefully be back on Tuesday. It will be tough work but i’ll try to sample as many gelato flavors as I can to report back to you. A big task but I’m up to it, Ciao! 😀


Sticky Glazed Garlic and Honey Meatball Salad (Serves 2-3)

250-300g lean mince beef

1 small egg. lightly beaten

1/2cup breadcrumbs

1tsp mixed herbs

1/2 onion, finely diced

2tbsp Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper

For the Sauce:

1/2tbsp sesame oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup ketchup

1/4 cup honey

2tbsp soy sauce

For the Salad:

a handful of iceberg lettuce, shredded

1/4 cucumber, diced

1/2 pepper, sliced thinly

2-3tbsp tinned sweetcorn, drained

6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 small carrots, thinly sliced or grated

grated parmesan, to serve

  • Preheat the grill to high.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the mince, egg, breadcrumbs, herbs, onion, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper using clean hands preferably.
  • Shape the beef mixture into roughly 10 meatballs and place on a lined tray.
  • Cook under the grill for 6-8mins on both sides or until the meat is cooked all the way through.
  • Meanwhile make the sauce, heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat then add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2mins to soften. Add the ketchup, honey and soy sauce and bring to the boil, mixing continuously.
  • Turn the heat down to a simmer and let reduce for 5mins.
  • Once the meatballs are cooked add them to the pot with the sauce and toss to coat.
  • Toss the salad ingredients together then divide between bowls, top with meatballs and extra sauce and dust with a fine grating of parmesan.


Tuna Chickpea Salad with Honey Harissa Dressing

16 Aug


A quick salad packed with protein and other good stuff is always high on my list of favorite foods to eat, especially when I’ve had a hectic day and all I want to do is chill with a tasty dinner. This dinner is so quick and the harissa dressing adds bag loads of flavor with practically no effort at all. Me and mom just booked a last minute holiday to Florence, Italy for next week and I am so excited! Although it does mean there is heaps of last minute organizing to get sorted which is why I had no time for a fancy, elaborate dinner tonight.



Not only was time a benefit of this dish but it is super healthy too. I am watching what I eat between now and Florence because I am planning on eating pizza and pasta and gelato til I’m blue in the face because god knows when I’ll get such an amazing opportunity again. I’m planning on taking loads of photos, roughly half will probably end up being of food! If anybody has any suggestions of good places to either see or eat in while we are there, I would love your advice 🙂


Tuna Chickpea Salad with Honey Harissa Dressing (Serves 2)

1tbsp olive oil, plus extra for tuna steak if using

1/2 courgette, finely diced

1/2 red pepper, finely diced

1/2 yellow pepper, finely diced

2 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1 small beetroot, finely diced

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained

1 tuna steak or 1 tin tuna in brine, drained

 For the Dressing:

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2tbsp honey

juice of 1/2 lemon

1tsp harissa paste

salt and pepper, to taste

  • If using a tuna steak, heat 1tbsp oil in a large frying pan and cook for 4-5mins on each side for a well done steak or until it is no longer pink in the middle. Transfer to a cutting board and cut or flake into rough chunks. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients and set aside.
  • Heat the oil in  a large frying pan over high heat. Add the courgette, peppers, spring onions and garlic. Saute until softened 2-3mins then add the beetroot, tomato and chickpeas and cook for a further 1-2mins.
  • Divide between bowls, scatter tuna chunks on top and drizzle generously with the dressing. Serve with Corn on the cob or some steamed broccoli.


Crisp Sun Dried Tomato and Parmesan Polenta Triangles

13 Aug


I have always been curious about polenta and for the longest time I barely even knew what it was, but I decided it was time to expand my food palate. I always thought the look of grilled polenta looked much more appetizing then the soft version so I went searching for a tasty recipe and found this gem. It is flavored lightly with sun dried tomato and parmesan which brings it up to a whole new level and pairs beautifully with a simple ratatouille. This is a handy dish because is better if made the night before and quick grilled before serving. You could mix all sorts of flavors through this  or even make a sweet version.


Crisp Sun Dried Tomato and Parmesan Polenta Triangles (Serves 4)

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup polenta/cornmeal

3 sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

1/4 cup grated parmesan

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2tsp dried basil

1/2tsp dried oregano

1tbsp olive oil

  • Bring  the stock to the boil in a small pot.
  • Take it off the heat and add the polenta, sun dried tomatoes, parmesan, garlic and herbs and mix to combine.
  • Leave until the polenta becomes fluffy and all the stock is absorbed.
  • Grease a round/square baking tin or dish and add the polenta, spreading it out in an even layer.
  • Chill in the fridge overnight or at least 3-4hrs.
  • Cut into slices and heat the oil in a large griddle pan. Add the polenta slices and grill for 2-3mins on each side until crisp and lightly golden.


Peach, Tomato and Mature Cheddar Wrap

9 Aug


I have always loved pairing sweet fruit with savory, tangy flavors such as a sharp cheddar or feta cheese or even pickled onions. The sweet against the sharp just works to perfection and this wrap is a perfect example of how harmonious they can be. Peaches are in season at the moment and they are so amazingly mouthwatering and juicy that I’m trying to use them in just about everything to make the most of it.


A sharp, crumbly, mature cheddar is one of my all time favorite indulgences and I like it in basically everything from a simple grilled cheese to sprinkled on a crispy baked potato or just a chutney, cheese and crackers combo. It just never gets boring! This wrap is really healthy and makes it easy to incorporate fruit and veg into your diet.


Peach, Tomato and Mature Cheddar Wrap (Serves 1)

1 small wrap

a small handful of spinach leaves

1/2 peach, stoned and cut into wedges

1/2 small tomato, cut into wedges

a matchbox size of mature cheddar, cut into small cubes or grated

1/2 samll vacuum packed beetroot, cubed

1 spring onion (green part only) sliced on the diagonal

salt and pepper

  • Heat the wrap in the microwave for 10-15sec until warm and soft.
  • Place the spinach leaves in a flat layer on one side of the wrap then fan out the peach and tomato wedges on top.
  • Sprinkle with cheddar cubes/grated cheddar, beetroot and sliced spring onion. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Fold over and try and keep all the fillings under control while you eat!


Crispy Baked Ravioli

6 Aug


As I scrolled through the countless Pinterest pictures once again I spotted baked ravioli and a positively stunning photo to go with it. I was hooked, so I pinned it instantly then clicked in and browsed through the recipe to actually see what was going on. As I skimmed through the method, the words  “deep fat fry” stood out like a very sore thumb and I nearly changed my mind about the marvelousness of this recipe.


But I decided to change the recipe instead to make it healthy and not such a shock to my heart! So I swapped the deep fat frying for par boiling and tossing in a tiny bit of olive oil, much better. This is a fun way to change up your fresh pasta and gives it a gorgeous crunch that really add texture to the dish. These would be great served as finger food with a fresh tomato sauce or good quality pesto and some tooth picks to pick them up.


Crispy Baked Ravioli (Serves 2)

250g fresh ravioli of any flavor (I used mozzarella, sundried tomato and basil)

1/2tbsp olive oil

1/2tsp dried oregano

salt and pepper

3/4 cup tomato sauce (I used this Tomato Sauce recipe)

salad etc, to serve

  • Preheat the oven to 200°c/395°f and grease and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and add the ravioli, cook for 2 1/2 mins.
  • Drain and return to the pot, drizzle with the olive oil and spread out on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle evenly with oregano.
  • Bake in the oven for 8-10mins or until the ravioli are just turning golden.
  • Heat up the tomato sauce if not already hot and serve alongside the crispy ravioli, enjoy.


Cannellini Bean, Cabbage and Udon Noodle Broth

3 Aug


This is a real soul soothing broth and is perfect if your having a hard day or if you just feel like having food that nearly hugs you from the inside out. This is best if you have a homemade chicken stock which is so easy to make but it can also be made with a good quality shop bought stock if you are really pushed.


This is a veggie version but you could add chicken strips if you want. I love cabbage in a soup especially a broth because it really bulks it out and gives it a gorgeous green vibrancy. If you are looking for a clean, green and healthy supper this will suit you down to the ground. It is a great winter or summer dish because it is heart warming yet light so gives the best of both worlds.


Cannellini Bean, Cabbage and Udon Noodle Broth (Serves 2)

1 1/2 litres chicken stock, preferably homemade

1 red onion, sliced

3 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and cut into half coins

1 small/medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks

1/2 small sweetheart cabbage, washed and sliced across to form strips

3 rosemary sprigs, stalk removed

3 thyme sprigs, stalk removed

1 small bunch parsley, roughly chopped

1/2 x 400g can cannellini beans, drained

85g udon noodles

salt and pepper

  • Put the chicken stock in a large pot along with the onion, garlic, carrot, sweet potato, cabbage, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Place over a high heat and put the lid on.
  • Once it starts to boil, turn the heat down to medium and let bubble away for 8-10mins or until the sweet potato is tender.
  • Cook the noodles according to packet instructions.
  • Add the beans to the pot and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Turn the heat down to low and cook with the lid on for a further 3-4mins just until the beans are warmed through.
  • Serve the broth ladled over a bed of noodles and enjoy.


Healthy Cauliflower Pizza Base

29 Jul


This is my new health food obsession. I got the recipe for this off and I couldn’t actually believe that you could make pizza that is still scrumptious without the delicious but sinful doughy crust. So of course I had to try it out just to see if it was really possible.I was really skeptical while making it until the heavenly smells of melted mozzarella, ripe tomatoes and oregano came wafting out of the oven along with the most perfect looking pizza ever.


It was so yummy and it actually did taste like pizza although the texture wasn’t the same.It was more crumbly then normal pizza, so has to be eaten with a knife and fork although I think this is a very small compromise to make to have amazing pizza and know that you are eating healthy too. It was really easy to make compared to a dough base because there was no time consuming kneading or rising involved.


Try to not go too crazy on the toppings, as in don’t pile them high like I did on mine, not that it isn’t delicious but the cauliflower base isn’t as strong as a dough base so it can’t support as much. I will be making this on a very regular basis now and I think everyone should really try this even if you are skeptical like I was, you might be pleasantly surprised.


Healthy Cauliflower Pizza Base (Serves 2)

1/2 small head cauliflower

1 cup light shredded mozzarella

1 egg

1tsp dried oregano

1/2tsp dried basil

salt and pepper

sauce and toppings of choice (Make sure all your toppings are precooked as the pizza is only baked for 5-6mins)

  • Preheat the oven to 230°c/450°f and line a pie/tart tin or dish with a circle of baking parchment.
  • Cut the cauliflower into rough florets and whizz in a food processor just until it is all about the size of rice.
  • Mix 1 cup of the finely chopped cauliflower with the mozzarella, egg, oregano and basil in a medium bowl then tip out onto the prepared tin or dish. Spread out in a even layer using the back of a spoon.
  • Brush the top gently with the olive oil then bake in the oven for 15mins.
  • Layer sauce, toppings and a little extra cheese on top and put back in the oven to bake for 5-6mins until the top is golden.
  • Slice and serve hot with a crunchy salad.


Crusty No Knead Loaf

28 Jul


I always thought kneading was an essential part of bread making and to be honest, I love it that way. I know it is the focal point of many peoples bread making nightmares but I completely disagree. It is really therapeutic and and a great arm workout all rolled into one!


But for those of you that want to be able to create that crusty loaf with an airy, fluffy centre that looks like it belongs on the table of an Italian grandmother then this is the recipe for you. It involves (pretty much) no kneading and it tastes like something out of my most ambitious bread making dreams. There is only one draw back in this recipe… it has to be left to rise for 8-24hrs. I know this seems a bit of a task but really if you just plan a day in advance it is easy as pie.


I must say though the curiosity to see how it would turn out nearly killed me the first time! It is baked in a dutch oven, a big casserole dish with a lid or if necessary a baking dish covered with tin foil. I’m sure most people would have some sort of a casserole dish though especially in Ireland, sure the stewing pot would be perfect for this.


Crusty No Knead Loaf (Makes 1 loaf)

3 cups plain flour

2tsp salt

1tsp dry active yeast

1-1 1/2 cups warm water

  • In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt and yeast.
  • Make a well in the centre and pour in a cup of the water. Use a wooden spoon to combine it, adding more water a little bit at a time if necessary until all the flour is incorporated and you have a rough dough.
  • Tip it out onto a floured surface and gather it all up making sure  its all in one ball of dough. Give the bowl a quick wash and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
  • Return the dough to the oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel or some cling film. Leave in a warm place to prove for 8-24hrs.
  • Tip the dough out onto a floured surface using a spatula to scrap all the dough off the bowl. Knock the air out of the dough and knead briefly just so that you have a smooth ball of dough. Cover with cling film and let rest until the oven is ready.
  • Place your casserole dish or dutch oven in the oven and preheat to 230°c/450°f.
  • Once preheated take the casserole dish out of the oven and place a sheet of baking parchment on the bottom. Lay the ball of dough in and put the lid back on.
  • Bake in the oven for 30mins then remove the lid and bake for a further 7mins roughly just to brown the top.
  • Munch away on your amazing creation 🙂


Roast Sweet Potato and Beets with Red Rice and Tahini Dressing

25 Jul


I just wanted to show you guys how I used that delicious Tahini Garlic Dressing that I posted yesterday. This is a really clean, green and veg loaded dish that is what I would preferably eat on a daily basis if I was allowed! It is using really simple cooking methods but they do take a while like roasting and cooking the red rice. You will see how completely worth it it is when you taste the finished product especially when it is lathered with tahini dressing. 🙂


If you want some extra protein in there, you could try adding a tin or butter beans or some grilled chicken strips. I would recommend trying to get the red rice as it has an amazing flavor and unique chewy texture, also it adds lovely contrast and color to this dish. Brown rice or wild rice would also work though if your in a rut. This would be a great recipe to make extra of and have for lunch the next day, it tastes so good cold and keeps perfectly in the fridge overnight.


Roast Sweet Potato and Beets with Red Rice and Tahini Dressing (Serves 2)

1 medium/large sweet potato, peeled and cubed largely

2 medium beetroot, cubed

6-8 garlic cloves, skin on and bashed lightly

1tbsp toasted sesame oil

1/2tsp olive oil

100g camargue red rice or rice of choice

1/2 small head broccoli, cut into small florets

a handful of spinach, roughly chopped

1 x batch of Tahini Garlic Dressing

snipped fresh herbs and mixed seeds, to garnish

  • Preheat the oven to 200°c/395°f and combine the sweet potato, beets and garlic cloves in a large baking dish. Drizzle with the two oils, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Bake in the oven for about 40mins until the sweet potato is tender.
  • Meanwhile put the rice in a small pot with about 1 cup cold water and bring to the boil with a lid on then reduce the heat and let simmer, still covered, for about 35-40mins or until all the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
  • While that is cooking you can mix up the tahini sauce in a small bowl and set aside until needed.
  • When there is about 10mins left on the sweet potato and rice, you can steam the broccoli until tender but still with a bite.
  • When the sweet potato is cooked, remove all the garlic cloves and squeeze the tender flesh out of the skins. Discard the skins and mash up he cloves with the back of a fork. Mix the garlic paste back into the roast veg then add the rice, broccoli and spinach and mix to combine.
  • Spoon onto plates and serve with lashings of tahini sauce and sprinkle with sniped chives and seeds. I accompanied mine with corn on the cob and it was delicious.


Whole Wheat Garlic and Coriander Naan

21 Jul


I had never even considered making my own naan breads until we were having a guest over for dinner. I made a chicken curry (Post coming) and I thought I would make a bit more of an effort then usual and make homemade naan to boot. I originally found a plain naan recipe that didn’t use yogurt, egg, oil or whole wheat flour but I changed my mind and decided to challenge myself a bit.


I will have to give the other recipe a go sometime but this one was so good, I don’t know how I’ll be able to top it! It was soft and fragrant from the garlic and coriander and the seeds gave the top a slight crunch. It was actually surprisingly easy to rustle up and I will definitely not be going back to shop bought any time soon. They obviously work magnificently with a big curry, to soak up that amazing sauce but they would also be handy to use as a pizza base, open top sandwich or even topped with scrambled eggs for an Indian twist on breakfast.


Whole Wheat Garlic and Coriander Naan (Makes 6-8)

1/2 cup warm water

1tsp caster sugar

2tsp active dry yeast

2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup white bread flour

1/2tsp salt

1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup natural yogurt

1 egg

Toppings: dried coriander, poppy seeds, sesame seeds and minced garlic

olive oil, for frying

  • In a large bowl, mix together the water, sugar and yeast and let sit for 5mins.
  • Pulse the whole wheat flour in a food processor until it is quite fine.
  • Next stir in the two types of flours,salt, olive oil, yogurt and egg and mix until you have a soft dough.
  • Turn out onto a well floured surface and knead for 4-5mins.
  • Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let rise in a warm area for about 1hr until roughly doubled in size.
  • Knock the air out of it and knead for 1-2mins then divide into 6-8 even balls.
  • Roll each one out into a thin oval then sprinkle with a little bit of each of the toppings or whatever you fancy and press into the dough lightly.
  • Heat a tiny bit of oil in a large frying pan or griddle and over a medium/high heat and place about two naans on at a time. Flip once the bottom is golden cook on the other side.
  • Serve hot with a curry or as a pizza base etc.


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