Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘In an Irish Home Recipes’

 

 

A bowl of homemade sweet potato casserole, topped with granola and maple syrup

With more than twenty years worth of cooking under my apron, I’m always trying something new in the kitchen…but not when it comes to this sweet potato casserole. This incredibly “more-ish” recipe has been handed down three generations, from mother to daughter, and is perfect just the way it is.

What’s more? This recipe is easy to make, much simpler than Irish mashed potatoes, for example, and it freezes well. This really is the ultimate side dish for your holiday meal. Enjoy!

 

Sweet Potato Casserole

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 lbs sweet potatoes

60g/4 tablespoons butter

2oz/1/2 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Directions

1. Scrub the sweet potatoes well.

2. Place them in a large saucepan and add cold water until the potatoes are covered by 1-inch. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce to simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until a knife tip or skewer goes into the sweet potatoes easily.

2. Drain the sweet potatoes into a colander and peel immediately with a pairing knife while they are still hot {use a clean tea towel to protect your fingers, if necessary}.

3. While you are peeling the potatoes, put the butter into a saucepan and melt.

4. Place the peeled potatoes into a large bowl and mash. Next, add the brown sugar, cream, cinnamon and butter. Stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* To freeze, let the sweet potato cool completely, transfer to a freezer bag, remove any excess air, and store until needed.

** If you want to add a little crunch and saltiness to this dish, top it with my homemade granola {sans raisins}. And maybe add a little maple syrup too!

*** Curious to know the difference between a sweet potato and a yam? Here’s the answer from epicurious.com.

 

 

Read Full Post »

 

A large bowl of Irish mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving and Christmas

Today we’re making mashed potatoes in our Irish home. And not just any mash either. We’re making velvety, creamy, delicious mashed potatoes. The kind with just the right amount of butter and milk {or cream} and salt added in. The kind that makes you go back to the table for seconds, even when you’re full.

As well as being a seriously homey comfort food, this Master Recipe, forms the base of other well known Irish potato dishes like Colcannon and Champ. It can also be turned into tasty potato cakes with the addition of some grated cheese, herbs, and rashers {bacon}. When topped with smoked salmon or a poached egg, potato cakes make an ideal brunch or light supper.

This recipe freezes well too. Which means you can double batch it for Thanksgiving and reheat it for Christmas {which is exactly what we’re doing today}. To freeze, let the mashed potato cool completely, transfer to a freezer bag, and store until needed. Easy-peasy. If you prefer individual servings, you can scoop out tea-cup-portions of the cooled mashed potatoes onto a Silpat-lined baking sheet and place in the freezer overnight or until the potatoes are completely frozen. Then put the individual servings into a freezer bag and store in the freezer.

To re-heat frozen mashed potatoes, simple chose the method that works best for you: microwave, stove top, oven or slow cooker.

Velvety Irish Mashed Potatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 kilogram/2lbs unpeeled potatoes, preferably Golden Wonders or Kerr’s Pinks in Ireland or Russet or Yukon Gold in America

250ml/8oz/1 cup milk and/or cream {or mix half-and-half}

112g/8 tablespoons butter

salt and pepper

Directions

1. Scrub the potatoes well.

2. Place them in a large saucepan and add cold water until the potatoes are covered by 1-inch. Add a big pinch of salt to the water and bring to the boil over high heat.

3. Boil for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to medium-low, pour off about half the water, add a lid to the saucepan, and let the potatoes steam for another 20-30 minutes or until a knife tip or skewer goes into the potatoes easily.

4. Drain the potatoes in a colander and peel immediately with a pairing knife while they are still hot {use a clean tea towel to protect your fingers, if necessary}.

5. While you are peeling the potatoes, put the milk and butter into a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.

5. Place the peeled potatoes into a large bowl and mash by hand or use a potato ricer for quicker results.

6. Pour half the hot milk and butter into the potatoes and stir well. Add more milk and butter until you get the smooth potato consistency you prefer. {You may not need all that you have prepared or you might need a little more, depending on how dry the potatoes are}.

7. Season with salt and pepper. Taste. Correct the season as you like and serve.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* You may, of course, peel the potatoes before you boil them, but leaving the skins on during the boiling process gives the mashed potato an lovely flavour.

** Using a potato ricer or food mill will give your mashed potatoes a smoother, creamier, texture than mashing with a potato masher. Darina and Rachel Allen, of Ballymaloe, recommend placing them in an electric food mixer using the paddle attachment to mash them.

*** Never use a blender or food processor to whip your potatoes: you’ll be left with a gluey mess if you do.

**** If you have a composter, throw the peeled potato skins into it to help feed next year’s garden bounty.

 

Read Full Post »

Chicken Legs with Sweet Tomatoes in a big pot

In a world of fake news…it’s hard to know the truth. So it is with some skepticism that I write today that Jamie Oliver may be retiring. For years, Britain’s cheeky, yet charming, celebrity chef has been talking about wanting to spend more time with his wife and five children. Thus far, however, he’s continued turning out fabulous cookbooks and good tv shows, all the while teaching the world to eat more healthily and mindfully.

I have been a big fan of Jamie Oliver for years, partly because I love his ease with food and recipes and also…strange as it may seem…because he reminds me of my younger brother. Both men are kind-hearted, popular with women, great with kids, teachers of many, and they love to cook. Funny enough…about a year before Jamie Oliver made it big, I said to my little brother…”you should write a cookbook for guys…with all your talk of a handful of this, a bunch of that…you don’t measure anything…you cook from the heart”. Who knew this laid back style of cooking would take the world by storm?

Anyway, if the news is true, I doubt he’ll be gone from the spotlight for long. At 42, Jamie’s got a lot of years ahead of him to share his genius.

Speaking of genius…today’s blog post for Tender & Crisp Chicken Legs with Sweet Tomatoes is quite simply…amazing. It has been one of my go-to dishes for the longest time. What makes it such a star is how you literally, in Jamie’s words, chuck everything into a pot and whack it into the oven. Then you can go and do something for 90 minutes and when it’s done you’ll have a feast to feed the family.

This dish is so good, it doesn’t need tweaking and it is so beautiful that you’ll be proud to present it at a dinner party along side a crusty loaf of bread and a big garden salad. Some might say this is a summer-time dish, but I think it’s perfect on these cold, dark, winter nights. Enjoy!

Jamie Oliver’s Tender & Crisp Chicken Legs with Sweet Tomatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients

higher-welfare chicken legs, jointed

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

big bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped

big handfuls red and yellow cherry tomatoes and ripe plum or beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes halved, plum tomatoes quartered

whole bulb garlic, broken into cloves

fresh red chile, finely chopped {I use a pinch of dried chile flakes}

Olive oil

One 14.5-ounce/410g tinned cannelini beans, drained and rinsed, optional

handfuls new potatoes, scrubbed, optional

Directions

1. Heat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Season your chicken pieces all over and put them into a snug-fitting pan in one layer.

2. Throw in all the basil leaves and stalks, then chuck in your tomatoes.

3. Scatter the garlic cloves into the pan with the chopped chile and drizzle over some olive oil. Mix around a bit, pushing the tomatoes underneath.

4. Place in the oven for 1½ hours, turning any of the exposed tomatoes halfway through, until the chicken skin is crisp and the meat falls off the bone.

5. If you fancy, you can add some drained cannelini beans or some sliced new potatoes to the pan and cook them with the chicken. Or you can serve the chicken with some simple mashed potato. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins before serving. You could even make it part of a pasta dish – remove the chicken meat from the bone and shred it, then toss into a bowl of linguini or spaghetti and serve at once.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* For another delicious, easy to make, chicken dish…please see my friend Linda McCaffrey’s gorgeous chicken casserole. It’s another one pot dish I think you’ll love.

 

 

Read Full Post »

 

Puy lentil salad with grilled vegetables and a white plate.

Strictly speaking, we are not vegetarian in our Irish home. I am, however, a big believer in plant based+healthy+simple eating, so I serve a lot of meals with beans, lentils and/or vegetables as the main ingredient.

Over the years, this Puy Lentil Salad with Grilled Vegetables has become one of my go-to recipes. It’s easy to make, my family like it a lot, and it’s gorgeous enough to serve at a casual dinner party.

What’s more, if I double up the entire recipe, I can freeze half the lentils for another meal and keep half the veggies in the fridge for salads and sandwiches during the week!

Puy lentils with grilled vegetables on a white platter

If you’re not up for grilling outdoors, a cast iron grill pan on the hob {stove} works well too. And, don’t be frightened by the long list of ingredients: they don’t make for much work in the kitchen. Enjoy!

Puy Lentil Salad with Grilled Vegetables

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 x aubergine (eggplant), rinsed and cut into strips

1 x courgette (zucchini), washed and cut into rounds or strips

1 x red pepper, rinsed and cut into strips

a handful of green beans, rinsed

1 x yellow onion, cut into strips

1 x yellow onion, chopped (for cooking with the lentils)

350g/1-1/3 cup Puy lentils, washed but not soaked

1 bay leaf

1 whole clove

1 carrot, diced

few sprigs of thyme

2 garlic cloves, peeled

600ml/2 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon sugar

lettuce leaves (preferably something deep green or purple), rinsed

olive oil for drizzling

250ml/8oz/1 cup olive oil (for dressing)

125ml/4oz/½ cup balsamic vinegar (for dressing)

salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese shavings, as desired

Directions for Lentils

1. Place lentils in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, drain and rinse under cold water.

2. Return lentils to the saucepan and add chopped onion, bay leaf, clove, carrot, thyme, garlic, chicken stock and sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer until the lentils are tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes, adding water if necessary.

3. Drain lentils, if necessary. Discard bay leaf, clove, thyme and garlic. Season with black pepper and keep warm until ready to serve.

Directions for Vegetables

1. Drizzle vegetables in olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Heat up the grill. Cook vegetables over medium heat to your preferred doneness.

3. When done, turn off the heat and keep vegetables warm until ready to serve.

Directions for Dressing

1. In a jar with a tight fitting lid, mix the olive oil with balsamic vinegar, add salt and pepper to taste. Adjust, if necessary, to your own preference.

Salad Assembly

1. Put a few large leaves of lettuce on a platter.

2. Spoon lentils onto the lettuce, leaving a decorative edge on display.

3. Place the grilled vegetables over top of the lentils.

4. Dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

5. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* If you want to add meat, grilled, sliced steak is wonderful with this salad. Or if you’d like to try another Irish lentil dish, check-out this Avoca Handweaver Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew recipe.

** I use Ikea’s Förtrolig clear glass food containers for freezing extra lentils and storing extra grilled veggies in the fridge.

*** Are lentils a superfood? Martha Stewart says “Yes”!

**** Here’s an article saying why we should eat more lentils…from US News & World Report

***** And, finally, here’s everything you ever wanted to know about lentils from tasteinsight.com

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Yesterday was quite the day. Hurricane Ophelia battered the Irish countryside with wind gusts up to 170 km/h and heavy rain. Hundreds were left without water and power, many roads were blocked by debris, and three people lost their lives. Today a massive clean-up operation is under way.  Thankfully no harm came to those in our Irish home…and I hope the same is true for you and yours.

RTE Radio One and Met Éireann were fantastic company while the storm raged: entertaining and informing us all day long. Repeatedly we heard things like, “stay off the roads”, “secure your wheelie bins/trampolines”, “stay indoors {and watch The Lion King?!}”, “avoid coastal areas”, and “don’t swim in the sea”. Yes, there were some, dare I say “eejits”, out there swimming and kite surfing in the middle of the hurricane!

Overall, the news reporting was good, old-fashioned, practical. I love that about the Irish: as a whole, they rarely get hysterical and they mostly see the funny side of things.

Case in point…a woman called Joe Duffy’s Liveline yesterday to report “it’s windy here, Joe, good for the drying!”. Only an Irish mammy can be cute {smart} enough to turn a hurricane into a laundry drying exercise. My phone buzzed all afternoon with images sent by friends…thanks to Instagram’s #Ophelia.

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 4.41.44 PM

Between the fits of giggles and quick messages back and forth, I did manage to eek out a dinner of roast carrot and cumin soup, with a side of bread rolls made from leftover pizza dough {many thanks to thekitchn.com}.

Two white bowls filled with roast carrot and cumin soup

Cumin and roast carrots go beautifully together. In this soup, the cumin provides warmth and fragrant notes, while the roasted carrot adds a hint of sweetness and smokiness. This was and is the perfect stormy-weather meal.

Roasted Carrot and Cumin Soup

Serves 6

Ingredients

600g/1¼lb carrots, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

110g/3/4 cup onion, chopped

150g/1 cup potato, skin left on and chopped

30g/2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon cumin

1.2 litres/4 cups chicken stock

pinch of sugar

salt & pepper to taste

yogurt, crème fraîche or cream to garnish, optional

toasted almonds to garnish, optional

sprig of parsley to garnish, optional

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F.

2. Place carrots in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and season well with salt and pepper.

3. Spread carrots in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast, uncovered, in the oven for 20 minutes or until fully cooked and starting to caramalise. Watch carefully, a little color makes the carrots sweet…too much color and they will taste bitter. Stir occasionally. Remove from the oven and set aside.

4. In a saucepan, melt the butter. When it foams, add the onion, potato, cumin and sugar. Cover with a piece of parchment paper and a tight fitting lid. Leave to sweat gently on low heat for about 10 minutes.

5. Remove the lid. Discard the parchment paper. Add the roasted carrots and stock. Bring to the boil for 5 minutes.

6. Pour everything into a liquidizer (blender) and purée until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning.

7. Serve with a garnish of cream, crème fraîche or yogurt, parsley and toasted nuts.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* Fun carrot facts can be found here, here, and here.

** Growing carrots is easy. Learn how to grow them in your home… here.

***Gorgeous carrot photos (carrot porn!) can be seen over at Pinterest.

SaveSave

Read Full Post »

Looking for a delicious recipe for a busy mid-week supper? This Oven-Roasted Salmon may be your answer. It’s so easy to prepare, a child can do it. In fact, both my daughters learned to make this dish over the summer.

Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 9.47.37 AM

A quick wash of the salmon, a squeeze of lemon, a pad of butter, a dash of salt and pepper, pop it into the oven for 15 minutes and you’re done. If you have the time or energy to jazz it up, play with the herb and fat combinations: sometimes I replace the butter with olive oil {or use both!} or I sprinkle some parsley, dill, tarragon, or lemon zest on top.

Oven roasted salmon, boiled potatoes, and a green salad on a white plate.

If you need another reason to make this recipe, consider this: salmon is a superfood. In our busy Irish home, I’ll take every opportunity to get good nutrition into my family. Salmon contains significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids {which support heart and eye healthy}, and it is an excellent source of vitamin B-12, vitamin D and Selenium.

Oven-Roasted Salmon

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 x 3oz salmon fillets

1/2 lemon

4 pads of butter

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Pre-heat oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7. Place oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking tray with aluminium and top with a sheet of parchment paper.

2. Rinse the salmon, pat dry with kitchen roll (paper towel), and, if needed, remove any bones.

3. Put the salmon fillets on the parchment paper, skin-side down, and squeeze lemon juice over them.

4. Top each with a small pad of butter.

5. Salt and pepper, as desired.

6. Roast in the oven for approximately 15 minutes or until the salmon is cooked all the way through. Roasting times will vary depending on your oven and the thickness of the salmon.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* Most nights, we serve boiled potatoes and a simple green salad with our salmon dinners.

** Wild or Farmed Salmon? See what the Time.com experts say here.

*** If you’re interested, here’s an article on how Norway avoids antibiotics in fish farming from the World Health Organization.

**** Invasive pink salmon are found on Irish shores recently. Learn more in this Irish Times article.

***** Two more salmon recipes from In an Irish Home: Salmon Fillets with Pesto & Pecorino and Salmon Pesto Pasta.

 

 

Read Full Post »

A loaf of Irish porridge bread on a wooden cutting board.February is not Irish heart month {September is*}, but with the visual cue of hearts literally everywhere we go, it seems the perfect month to reassess how best to care for the hearts of my sweet family.

Up first…exercising more. The Irish Heart Foundation recommends thirty minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity fives times a week. In our Irish home even that miniscule amount of exercise can be hard to achieve, which is why I’ve started making physical activity a part of our family “talk-time”. Whether it’s my husband and me, one of us with one of our daughters, or the whole family together, we’re walking, biking, hiking and even dancing to the Wii while we are talking…laughing…and sometimes arguing and crying.  The upside of combining talking and exercise is obvious…we’re hardly aware that we’re being physical.

Next…stressing less. As my husband and I have moved into parenting teens, our lives have become more stress filled. What’s worse, as our kids have moved into their teen years…their lives have become more stressful too. Multiple studies have shown that extreme emotional distress is bad for the heart, no matter what your age. Stress triggers the “flight or flight” response, which in turn causes a surge of adrenaline in the body and makes your heart pump faster and harder. Not good…unless of course you’re running away from a man-eating tiger! To counteract stress we’re all doing some simple heart healthy activities, including sharing worries and woes with friends, journaling, listening to music, and allowing time to do absolutely nothing.

Finally…eating better. Over the past ten years, we’ve steadily reduced our intake of trans fats, saturated fats, sugar, salt and alcohol and increased our uptake of water, fruits, vegetables, healthy oils, and whole grains. Some of our perennial favourites include water with mint, 70% dark chocolate (Aine Irish hand made chocolate is the bomb), omega rich salmon, roasted broccoli, and porridge.

Porridge, also known as oatmeal, is not just for breakfast any more. Last September my friend Marguerite invited me over for an afternoon cuppa and a catch up at her beautiful home in Donnybrook. Instead of the usual side of biscuits {cookies}, Marguerite served Irish Porridge Bread. I’d never had porridge bread before and was delighted to give it a try. Truth be told, it was really good.

Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 11.00.59 AM.png

Oats are high in beta-glucans**, a soluble fibre, which can lower cholesterol by soaking it up before it gets absorbed into the bloodstream. Oats are also a rich source of magnesium, which is important in preventing heart attacks and strokes by relaxing blood vessels and regulating blood pressure. What’s more, for someone like my brother-in-law who lives with coeliac disease, porridge is, for the most part, considered a safe, gluten free, food***.

From our Irish home to yours, we wish you a happy heart month. What are you doing in February to take care of your heart?

Irish Porridge Bread

Makes One Large Loaf

Ingredients:

500ml/16oz/2cups natural yogurt

1 beaten egg

1 tbsp. treacle or maple syrup

300g/11oz/3cups porridge oats, plus 2 tbsp. more for topping

2 tsp. bread soda/baking soda

1/2 tsp. Salt

Method:

1 Place yogurt, beaten egg and treacle/maple syrup in a mixing bowl and stir well.

2. Mix the oats, bread soda, and salt in a separate bowl, add to the yogurt mixture and stir well.

3. Place in a greased or parchment lined 2lb. loaf tin, sprinkle with extra oats and bake at 180°C/350°F for 30 minutes.

4. Lower the oven temperature to 150°C/300°F and cook for another 30 minutes.

5. Lift bread out of loaf tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credits:

* Irish heart month coincides with the World Heart Federation’s World Heart Day, which is held in September.

** Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism

*** Anyone suffering with coeliac disease should proceed with caution when eating oats. Research suggests that for many coeliacs, oats are fine but for individuals who are particularly sensitive, they may be toxic.

**** For more research on the health benefits of eating porridge please see these articles (1, 2, and 3) from Harvard Medical School.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: