I’ve mentioned before that when I was a kid, my Mum wasn’t a great cook (I love you Mo, but we both know the truth). Dessert in my house was usually shop bought, and when I was really young one of favourites was tinned creamed rice with a big spoonful of jam.
Fast forward God knows how many years, and I taught myself how to cook. I was also lucky enough to go out into the world and try some amazing flavours. So I decided to try and experiment with some of my favourites. Coconut, ginger and lemon grass gives a new twist on this traditional dessert.
I like this chilled and served with mango or pineapple, but it’s also really good warm, and you can enjoy it with whatever fruit you prefer.
I used milk in this recipe, but you can substitute some of this with cream if want to make a really indulgent dessert. If you want to make a vegan version, swap cow’s milk for almond milk. I’ve tried both versions and they’re both delicious.
400 ml Can Coconut milk
250 Grams Pudding rice
40 Grams Sugar
500 ml Milk
1 Large stalk of lemon grass (kept whole but bruised)
1 Thumb sized piece of ginger
Cut your piece of ginger in half length ways, then smack your lemon grass with the back of a knife (or pot if you want get some frustration out). Bruising the lemongrass helps release the flavour. The ginger and lemon grass are kept big to make it easier to fish out when the rice pudding is cooked
Put all the ingredients in a pot with a lid and heat until just before the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over a low heat stirring regularly. Each type of rice is different, so cook until the rice is soft. (mine took about 30 minutes). Different rices will absorb different amounts of liquid so if you think the mix is looking too dry add a little milk/water
When the rice is cooked you can scoop out the ginger and lemon grass. The rice pudding can be served hot or cold. I like it served with fruit
I was doing another scan around my kitchen cupboards for something to make, and decided on samosas.
I love a samosa, those delicious little Indian flavour bombs are usually deep fried, but these are baked to make them a little healthier. This recipe is vegan, but you can use spiced lamb as a filling. I’ve used potatoes and peas, but you swap out the peas for green beans or spinach.
The first couple of samosas will probably look a bit wonky until you get into the way of making them. Don’t panic these will still taste great, and if you don’t want to serve them then they will be the cook’s perk!
For the pastry
225 Grams Plain Flour
2 Tbsp Oil or ghee
1 Tsp Onion (Nigella) seeds (optional)
For the filling
3 Large potatoes (peeled and cut into small cubes)
1 Large onion (finely chopped)
2 Cloves of Garlic (finely chopped)
Thumb sized piece of ginger (grated)
2 Chillies, (finely chopped, you can add more or less depending on how much heat you like)
4 Tbsp Oil
100 Grams Peas (I use frozen, and let them thaw)
2 Tbsp Coriander (finely chopped)
1 Tsp Salt
Add the oil, onion seeds, and flour to a bowl and gradually add luke warm water until you have a dough. Knead for 5 minutes, and then wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge
Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large frying pan, and add the shopped onion. Fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes, and then add the garlic, ginger, and chillies
Lower the heat and add the cubed potatoes, and a little water and simmer until potatoes are soft (you might need to add a little water as it cooks, but it should be a runny mix)
Add the peas, salt and coriander and check the seasoning before allowing to cool
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment
Once the pastry has rested, divide it into 8 balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the ball into a thin circle. Cut the circle in half.
Pick up the half moon shape and wet the edges with a little water. Make a cone by pressing the edges together and fill the cone with potato mixture. Press the remaining edges together to seal the samosa, ending up with a triangle shape
Continue rolling out the pastry and filling the samosas until you are finished, placing the samosas on the baking sheet. Brush them with the remaining oil and bake for 20 minutes until golden and crispy
I’m challenging myself to try and make better versions of stuff I haven’t been 100% happy with before, and use what’s in the house, (yes, I’m going stir crazy already).
I tried to make spicy carrot soups before and always thought the consistency was a bit weird. I think I have now cracked it. Adding a potato to the soup helps make it a much nicer creamier consistency. It’s still really healthy, and delicious served with big slabs of buttered soda bread (not as healthy given how much I enjoy butter).
1 Potato (cut into cubes)
4 Carrots (sliced)
1 Stalk of celery (chopped)
1 Onion (chopped)
1 Stock cube
1 Clove of garlic
1 Tsp Ground cumin
4-5 cm Piece of fresh ginger (grated), or 1 Tsp of ground ginger
1/2 Tsp Chilli powder (optional)
750 ml water
Salt & pepper
Heat the oil in a pot, and add the vegetables and dried spices, cook over a medium heat until the onion begin to turn clear
Crumble in the stock cube and add the water. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, add the garlic and fresh ginger if you are using it
Simmer for another 5 minutes, and check the seasoning
Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a blender, or do what I did and use a hand blender to blitz the soup until you have a smooth soup
I’m not a vegan or even vegetarian, but still enjoy a good meat free recipe.
This is a good way to get your 5 a day, and is quick and tasty, with a nice range of flavours and textures. I served mine with some avocado on top, and corn bread, but it’s also really good with rice or tortillas. You can also top it with sour cream or grated cheese if you’re not vegan.
1 Red pepper
2 Stalks celery
150 Grams Sweetcorn
400 Grams Cannelli beans (you can use whatever beans you have)
400 ml Passata
1 Tsp Ground cumin
1 Tsp Smoked paprika
1 Tsp chilli powder
2 Cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1 Tbsp Tomato puree
1 Tbsp Olive oil
Chop the vegetables into equal sizes (I like to keep mine pretty chunky)
Heat the oil in a pan, and gently fry the vegetables for 5-10 minutes until they have softened
Add the garlic, spices and tomato puree to the pan and cook for a few minutes before adding the beans and passata
Simmer over a low heat for another 10-15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened
This is a traditional Greek dip and is super easy to make and super delicious. I made this as part of a meze at our February supper club, and it was the most popular dish of the night.
While you can use it as a dip, I’ve also used this as filling in wraps and sandwiches along with salad and chopped vegetables and it was amazingly tasty. It’s also really good drizzled across roast vegetables. To be honest you could spread this on a flip flop and I’d eat it, it tastes that good. This is also vegan, so you can keep all the non meat eaters in your life happy with something totally scrumptious.
80 Grams Walnuts
40 Grams Breadcrumbs (I know I bang on about it, but one of my favourite kitchen hacks is making a big batch of bread crumbs to keep in the freezer, it makes recipes like this a 2 minute job)
1-2 Cloves of garlic, roughly chopped (I used 2 and it was pretty garlicky which I don’t mind, but adjust to your own taste)
2 Tbsp Red wine vinegar (Again adjust to your own taste, the first time I tried a the recipe out it was a bit too sharp for me, so I’ve reduced the amount of vinegar but have a taste and you can always add more)
100ml Olive oil
Add the walnuts to a food processor and blitz for a couple of minutes until the nuts are finely ground
Add the breadcrumbs, garlic, oil and vinegar and blitz again. The mix is meant to be quite thick, but if it is too thick for you, you can a small amount of water and and blitz until you get the consistency you like
OMG I love a spud (maybe it’s my Irish DNA). Just when I thought roast potatoes were practically perfect in every way. I discovered these.
Potatoes roasted with garlic and herbs in olive oil and lemon juice, are little flavour bombs. I could eat a bowl of these on their own. However, they’re also fantastic with chicken or fish. I have also been known to fry up left over ones (the only reason there were left overs was because I was physically incapable of eating any more) the next day and topping with a fried egg, yum!
750 Grams Potatoes
1 Lemon (juice only)
50ml Olive oil
1 Tsp Dried thyme
1 Tsp Dried oregano
1 Bulb of garlic
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees
Peel the potatoes, and cut into 3-4 cm chunks. Par bowl in salted water for 5 minutes
Put an oven proof dish in the oven
In a bowl, add the oil, herbs and lemon juice. Cut the bulb of garlic into four
Drain the potatoes, add the garlic, and oil mixture then transfer to the preheated dish
Put in the oven and bake for about 1 hour, mixing roughly every 20 minutes, until golden and crispy
I was having one of those nights when I came home and there was nothing in the fridge that immediately lept out at me for dinner.
I cobbled this together from what I had at hand, and it was amazing. Gorgeous with pasta, its also fabulous drizzled over roast potatoes, or use it as a spread to tasty up sandwiches. This pesto is really versatile, I stirred some through plain boiled rice and the freshness of the parsley and slight hum of garlic totally transformed it. This takes 5 minutes to make and will live in a jar in your fridge for 3-4 days (if it lasts that long)
100 Grams Almonds
25 Grams Parsley (stalks and all)
100 ml Olive oil
25 Grams Parmesan (you can use vegan parmesan if you have dairy free diet)
1 Clove of Garlic (roughly chopped)
Salt and pepper
In a dry frying pan toast the almonds until they are lightly browned and smell nutty
Add the almonds to a food processor and blitz until the almonds look like course sand
Add the rest of the ingredients and blitz until we’ll combined, check if it needs salt and pepper. Some people like it super smooth, but I prefer it a bit chunkier. Serve with pasta or roast vegetables, save any left over pesto in an airtight jar in the fridge
Shop bought granola can be expensive and sometimes a bit blah. This version is a feast of different tastes and textures. It’s also quick and easy to make, and tastes better than anything you can buy.
I like to team it up with some Greek yoghurt and fresh fruit for a quick and wholesome breakfast that will definitely keep you full until lunch. It also tastes really good sprinkled over ice cream for some crunch. This will keep well in airtight container for 10-14 days.
250 Grams Porridge oats
100 Grams Dessicated coconut
25 Grams Sunflower seeds
25 Grams Pumpkin seeds
50 Grams Pitted dates
50 Grams almonds
100 Grams Peanut butter
3 Tbsp Maple syrup
100 Ml Vegetable oil
Add all the ingredients to a bowl
Get your hands in and makes sure the peanut butter is rubbed thoroughly in the mixture
Transfer to a baking tray, and put in an oven preheated to 180 degrees
Bake for 30 minutes, half way through take the mix out and stir the mixture to make sure it cooks evenly
I love harissa, it’s fantastically versatile and can be made for a fraction of the price of the pre made brands. Visit your local Asian supermarket to buy your spices, and this will be even cheaper.
Harissa is great smeared on chicken or lamb before cooking. It’s also delicious mixed with yoghurt and drizzled over roast vegetables, or mixed with mayonnaise to add some zing to toasted sandwiches or burgers. This traditional Moroccan paste makes any tagine come alive.
This recipe will make a large jar of harissa paste that will live quite happily in your fridge for several weeks, or you can share with a friend. It also makes a nice gift for anyone who’s a foodie. This is quite firey, so use with care at first.
120 Grams Chilli flakes
1 Tsp Carraway seeds
1 Tsp Coriander Seeds
1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds
1 Tsp Salt
4 Cloves of garlic
3 Tbsp Olive oil
Cover the chilli flakes with boiling water, and soak for 30 minutes before draining through a sieve.
In a dry frying pan toast the cumin, coriander, and carraway seeds until you smell the spices. You can grind these with a pestle and motar. I don’t have one, so I used the end of a rolling pin which worked well
In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and whizz until the paste start to look smooth
Transfer to a clean jar and keep in the fridge for up to 4 weeks