Tag Archives: Easy

Chicken Cashew Nut

Some day I will manage to recreate the perfection that is Koh’s Chicken Cashew nut, but until then I have to make do with my (more than) adequate stand in.

I’ve been adding to and modifying this recipe for about six months and I’ve finally reached a point at which it has become a regular dish on my dinner rotation. It’s very simple, and easily edited to suit mushroom lovers or chilli haters or people who think onion is the devil’s food. However, I’ve yet to discover a stand in for oyster sauce so, to the vegetarians out there, I ask you – what do you use?

Ingredients (Serves 2/3)

300g chicken
3 dessert spoons corn flour
1 teaspoon rice wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Vegetable oil
1 pepper
150g baby corn
1 onion

4 dessert spoons oyster sauce
5 dessert spoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large chilli, chopped finely
2 teaspoons black pepper
Chunk of ginger (6-10cm, depending on your tastes), grated
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
Half teaspoon sesame oil

Handful of cashews per serving
Cous cous/Rice

Steps to deliciousness

1) Chop the chicken into bite-sized chunks, and add the rice wine and corn flour.

2) Fry the chicken until fully cooked through with 2 dessert spoons vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil.

3) Remove the chicken from the pan.

4) Chop the vegetables.

5) Fry the onions until soft, add the corn and peppers.

6) In a bowl, mix 300ml of water with the oyster and soy sauces, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, chilli, black pepper, ginger, sesame oil and garlic.

7) Add chicken back into the pan, with the sauce.

8) Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes while toasting cashews in another pan – don’t add them to the sauce, or they get soft and mushy in your leftovers (if there are any!)

9) Serve with rice or cous cous – I always use cous cous, as there is a lot of sauce in this dish, and it soaks it up beautifully.

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Red Wine Stew

We are currently having one of the worst summers on record in Ireland. I try to avoid mentioning it when I write about restaurants but I’m usually dripping at the table, my trousers sodden and clinging to me with my jacket creating a small moat around my chair. What starts off as deceptively nice morning sun can become a torrential downpour with hail stones within hours. I’m surprised we haven’t been washed off this tiny island yet, as this seems to be the ultimate goal of whoever is determined to punish us.

With this in mind, I present one of the most comforting, tummy-warming foods I can make; a stew that is packed full of flavour with melt in the mouth beef. This never lasts long in my freezer.

My mother will tell you this should be served with floury potatoes… but I wholeheartedly disagree and highly recommend buttered fresh, crusty bread instead.

Ingredients (Serves 4/5)

500g beef (Some sort of braising steak, like stewing beef or skirt. It needs to have the fat and connective tissue which break down during the long cooking.)
2 onions
4 cloves garlic
5 carrots
2 peppers

1 tin chopped tomatoes (~400g)
1 tin tomato puree (~140g)
1.5 sprigs of rosemary
375ml red wine
2 beef stock cubes in 1 can of hot water (I use the chopped tomato can)
3 dessert spoons soy sauce
3 bay leaves
Salt, pepper, vegetable oil.

Steps to deliciousness

1) Coat the beef in some vegetable oil, pepper and salt.

2) Fry on a high heat until it is browned, and put aside.

3) Chop the onions and garlic. Saute in some vegetable oil until the onions start to wilt.

4) Chop the carrots and peppers, and add to the pan. Fry for a few minutes.

5) Add the beef back in and the rest of the ingredients.

6) The rosemary has to be chopped finely but he bay leaves should be left whole so you can pick them out at the end. Add as much pepper as you want – I usually just grind it in until my hand gets sore but I adore pepper. Follow your own heart.

7) Bring to a boil, and then turn down to a simmer for about 2 hours – You may need to add a little water during the cooking to make sure you’ve plenty of sauce at the end.

8) When the beef falls apart when you poke it with a fork, the stew is ready.

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Bacon Pancakes

Saturday morning is my favourite time of the week; the whole weekend stretching far out in front of me, full of opportunities and possibilities for eating. It is a magical time, a time when I come up with some of my most genius of ideas.

The follow recipe, I feel, I will never be able to top. This will be the pinnacle of my life achievements and I’m fine with that. If there was some way to eat this dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner without getting morbidly obese, I would do it.

It’s possible I’ll do it anyway – I could just Skype into work…

Ingredients (Serves 2 hungry people or 3 normal people – makes 8 thick handsized pancakes)

6 slices bacon/300g bacon lardons
300g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
500ml buttermilk
50g butter
Maple syrup

Steps to deliciousness

1) Turn on oven to a low temperature – 50 degrees.

2) Fry bacon in a little oil until half cooked, and remove from the pan. Shred – It is easier than shredding them raw. Put back into pan until fully cooked. (Or fry lardons instead.)

3) Wipe pan, or use a new pan and put the butter in to melt.

4) Sieve flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Add a pinch of salt.

5) Crack eggs into a measuring jug. Beat with a fork for a minute.

6) Add buttermilk to the eggs, and beat.

7) Pour most of the liquid into the dry ingredients while whisking. You will end up with a thick, sloppy batter and probably won’t use all the buttermilk/egg.

8) Tip in the fried bacon, and most of the butter, and mix well.

9) Put two/three tablespoons of batter into each pancake.

10) The bacon will prevent the telltale bubbles from rising to the surface, so keep a close eye on the bottom, and when golden brown, flip the pancake
If you are me, the uncooked batter on top will go everywhere.

11) When cooked, place on a plate and into your warm oven. Add a little more butter to the pan, and start on the next batch.

12) Serve with maple syrup, and a steaming cup of hot coffee – and enjoy your Saturday morning.

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The one, and only, Brown Bread

Passed down from generation to generation and finally, with the tweaks and additions that make it perfect, passed onto to me at the tender age of 25. Of the innumerable things my mother has given to me, allowing me to post this recipe on the internet ranks right up there with Snape’s sacrifice.

Or, for the less nerd-inclined of you, an extremely selfless act, and please go read Harry Potter.

This brown bread, fresh from the oven, is an enduring memory of my childhood. Eight in the morning, shoving spoonfuls of cereal into my mouth, watching with sleepy eyes as my parents spread it with marmalade to accompany the cup of tea that wakes and greets the day. Then, as my own taste palate expanded, dipping the bread with cheddar cheese into fresh vegetable soup straight from the pot, or making sausage and ketchup sandwiches, or simply smothering it with real butter as I could never, and still cannot, resist nabbing a slice while it’s cooling on the wire rack.

Dragging myself out of bed before noon on a Saturday morning, and with moderate adult supervision, I set about making my version of this family classic, in the hope that I wouldn’t royally screw it up and ruin lunch.

The pressure was on.

Ingredients (Creates one 9 inch circular brown bread, 4 inches deep)

Vegetable oil
300g wholemeal flour

30g sunflower seeds
30g sesame seeds
30g pinhead oatmeal
30g oatbran
30g porridge oats
(Or any combination of the above to make 150g)

A handful of sunflower seeds and sesame seeds
225g self raising flour
1.5 teaspoons bread soda
Half teaspoon sugar
Half teaspoon salt
1 egg
750ml buttermilk

You will need a some sort of a pot with a lid, rather than cake tins, as it needs to be cooked covered.

Steps to deliciousness

1) Oil the pan, and put in the oven as it is preheating to 200 degrees C.

2) Put a big mixing bowl on the scales, and add the wholemeal flour, the 150g seeds, salt and sugar.

3) Sift the self raising flour and baking powder into the bowl.

4) Beat the egg with two dessert spoons of oil, and add to the mix.

5) Add most of the buttermilk.

The baking powder and self raising flour will activate when you add the wet ingredients so you need to move quickly from here on in.

6) Mix well, and add more buttermilk until you have a sloppy concoction that just about holds a shape. If you add too much, even it out with a little wholemeal flour – this recipe is very forgiving, lucky for me.

7) Sprinkle sesame seeds and sunflower seeds into the oiled, preheated pan.

8) Add the dough, spread evenly to the edges with a fork.

9) Top with more seeds.

10) Pop on the lid and put in the oven.

11) Leave for 50 minutes/1 hour until the top is dark brown, and the bread sounds hollow when you tap the bottom.

12) Add butter, and enjoy!

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Not-Vegetarian Vegetarian Chilli

Today I would like to talk to you about my chilli.

It does hurt me a little to send this recipe out by itself into the big scary unknown, but I need to stop being so selfish. You deserve to eat good food, and I am here to assist you in that.

I don’t like mince – I can’t remember the last time I willingly ate it outside burger form – so this is a (mostly) vegetarian chilli.

I find it particularly good piled high with cheese, sour cream and served with taco shells, or with cous cous.

Somehow, I inevitably manage to make even the healthiest of recipes into a cheese and carb fest through my serving suggestions – ignore me at your peril however; certain foods are simpy worth the calories!

For example, Aldi’s specially selected vintage cheddar is just beautiful – tangy, crumbly, creamy and tart, all for a ridiculously low price (€2.79 the last time I checked). It never lasts long in my fridge, and it is absolutely worth the lifetime of long, fat burning walks and short, heart clearing jogs that await me.

And, on to the chilli! Due to the size of the tins, it’s difficult to halve this recipe. But it freezes fantastically well, and microwaves in a few minutes.

Ingredients (for 6)

2 peppers
1 onion
5 garlic cloves
2.5 teaspoons of squeezy chilli. This is equal to about 2 chillis – stick in more if you like it hot, as this is a mild.
3 dessert spoons of vegetable oil

1 tin kidney beans
2 small tins of corn (400g in total)
1 tin black eyed beans
1 tin butter beans
2 tins of chopped tomato
1 small tin tomato puree

2 beef stock cubes dissolved in a half tin of hot water – Use vegetable stock cubes for vegan chilli.
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of coriander
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
3 teaspoons of cocoa
2 teaspoons of black pepper
3 second “glug” of soy sauce

Steps to deliciousness

1) Chop the onions, peppers, and garlic,

2) Saute the onions in vegetable oil until softened. Then add the peppers, onion, garlic, and chilli.

3) Let this simmer away for a few minutes until the peppers start to look really bright in colour.
4) At this point add.. well, everything else!

If you’ve bought the tinned beans with the pull lids, washing them is so simple – Half open the tin and let it drain. Fill it with water and let it drain. Repeat, then dump in pan!



5) Leave simmering (bubbles lazily and slowly coming to the surface) for as long as you want. I generally cook for about 45 minutes before eating. It will reduce a little, and darken slightly in colour in this time.

6) I recommend eating half of it from the pot, as I normally do.

I do not have a nice picture of how I usually serve this, as “I don’t care, all over my face, as long as some of it gets in my mouth” is apparently not an acceptably classy serving method.

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Chicken à la King

Or, as someone who tried this recipe recently put it, “Chicken à la fookin’ delish”.

This is my ultimate comfort food – quick to make, tastes great with fresh bread, and absolutely packed with butter – A ‘recipe’ for success, if I ever heard one.

It’s the very first dish I learned to cook from the wonderful Mammy, as I loved it so much, and I make it every Christmas day for my family. It is gorgeously creamy, and can easily be made vegetarian by substituting the chicken for extra vegetables, and the stock for vegetable stock.

Ingredients (for 4)

3 Chicken breasts
1 or 2 peppers
1 or 2 onions
(These quantities can be changed, depending on your taste – I used 3 chicken breasts, 1.5 peppers and 1 onion, for 4 people)

Vegetable oil
50g Butter
Three/four dessert spoons white, plain flour
Three quarters of a pint Chicken stock (1 stock cube)
Half pint Milk
Three dessert spoons of mayonnaise
Pepper

Rice/Cous cous/bread/quinoa – whatever you want to serve it with. I love a little rice, and some crispy bread.

Steps to deliciousness

1) Chop the onions and peppers.
2) Sweat the onions in 25g butter on a low heat until the smell in your kitchen makes your mouth water (and the onions are transparent – this is clearly less important)

(Make sure to peek..)

And finally, they will look like this

3) Add peppers.
4) Chop the chicken, and fry in small batches in vegetable oil, as you are cooking the vegetables. You could bake these also, if you wanted to reduce the calories (PAH!)

5) Add another 25g butter to the peppers and onions, once the peppers are cooked (this is not exact – it depends on how much sauce you want – you could increase this, increase the flour, and increase the stock/milk mix to give more sauce. However, this will lead to you being incredibly impolite, and lifting your bowl to pour the remaining sauce into your mouth. It’s ok – I won’t judge)

6) Add flour until the butter is soaked up – generally, for my quantities, this is 3/3.5 spoons. The picture below will give you a good idea of what this looks like. Depending on the freshness of the onion/pepper, this changes a little bit from time to time. Do not stress about this – this can be fixed later!

7) Dissolve a chicken stock cube in three quarters of a pint of hot water. Add the half pint of milk.
8) Throw this into the pan with the vegetables, and stir with the joy that comes from knowing dinner is almost ready.

9) Bring to the boil, then back down to simmer to thicken. Add the chicken.

(My favourite moment of this recipe is when it turns from the picture above into the picture below)

10) If you didn’t add enough flour at 6), you can add a little more now (if the sauce isn’t starting to thicken up after a couple of minutes). You’ll need to be careful to avoid lumps, so use a sieve (Fishing around with a fork to break them up delays dinner which no one, least of all me, appreciates), and then bring back to the boil again to get rid of the floury flavour, and then straight back down to simmer.

11) Season with a good amount of pepper – there’s plenty of salt in the stock.
12) Finally, turn off the heat, and add your mayonnaise just before you serve. Depending on your taste, add more or less mayo – I use a good three or four heaped dessert spoons. Try adding two, and tasting to see how you feel about it.

Last year for Christmas, my plate looked so nice, I took a picture – This is the finished product, in all its tasty glory.

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