ROOT UP THE HoLE sOup

Squash, Carrot & Parsnip with ginger, honey, curry & coconut  image

I’m rooting for the root vegetables at the moment. Especially when you roast them.. so naturally sweet and satisfying. The cold weather has landed bringing with it the unfavourable ‘head cold’ or ‘shnotty nose McGinty’ as I like to call it. If your nostril tap is running it’s generally a good indicator that you’re a bit run down hunzo. The snotty nose monster has detected a weakness in your immune system and has decided to set up camp in your nasal cavity. (This is why you get the tickle in your nose, he’s a hairy fella). When the drip kicks in it’s always a good time to try and catch up on some sleep, go to bed early, stay warm, take some vitamin C and try increase your intake of head cold fighting ninja foods. If you’re looking to give the Snotty nose monster a big ROOT up the hole.. then this is the soup for you. Packed with roasted roots- Butternut Squash, Carrots and Parsnips. And for A a double kick to the system- ginger, garlic, honey & leeks. My secret ingredient.. which is actually not a secret at all, is coconut milk. Gives the soup and smooth creamy edge. This soup is not just for invalids by the way. It aids able bodied people too. You don’t have to have the drippy nose syndrome or the ah-choo virus to enjoy it. In fact I would encourage all kinds of soup making.  It’s steamy soup season.. so stick on the immersion, get into a hot bath, get creative and get peeling.. Cause those vegetables ain’t gonna peel themselves. I wouldn’t advice making soup in the bath itself, you can peel the veg in there no problem though.

Ingredients
1 Butternut Squash
3 Large Carrots
3 Large Parsnips
1 Leek (Onion will work too)
Root ginger
Ground ginger
3-4 Cloves of garlic
Curry powder
Honey
1 tin Light Coconut Milk
Coconut Oil
Organic Bouillon (veg stock)
Sea Salt & Black Pepper

Method

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  • Half the butternut squash, spoon out seeds. Peel and chop the carrots parsnips. Get 2 baking trays, one for squash the other for the veg.
  • Put the squash on tray, insides facing up. Rub with coconut oil (olive will work fine too). Drizzle with honey and then sprinkle with curry powder.
  • Same for the carrots and parsnips, drizzle with oil. Add sprinkle of sea salt.
  • Put the squash on the top shelf of the oven first as this takes longer to cook. After 15 minutes add the carrots and parsnips to middle shelf. Cook for a further 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on them. Squash should soften and start to crisp on the top, same as the carrots and parsnips.
  • Take 3-4 cloves of garlic and chop finely. Take half a small ginger root and cut finely. Take 1 leek (or onion) and chop.
  • In a large pot heat some coconut oil (olive oil). Add garlic and ginger and simmer gently. Then add the leeks and let them soften.
  • Add 3 cups of water to pot and 1.5 teaspoons of bouillon (or 1 veg stock cube).
  • Cut the squash into chunks and add them to the pot along with the carrots and parsnips. Add a sprinkle of curry powder and dried ginger. If pot looks a little low on liquid, add another cup of water to make sure the veg is sufficiently covered. Turn it onto a medium/low heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Finally add a tin of coconut milk, stir and taste. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
  • Liquidise and Bon appetite!!

Caoimh’s Tips
~ Share! Nothing beats getting home and being served a hot bowl of soup.
~ Experiment. Make it your own.

 

Crumble-ing with Nostalgia

Blackberry, Beetroot & Apple

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My name is Caoimhe. I am 26 years old and I don’t have a favourite colour because I always change my mind. Today I went for a walk all by myself. The skies were blue and the sun was shining. I walked the whole way to the end of lane and across the fields. I was starting to get thirsty and I also realised I forgot to put a bra on before I left so I decided it was probably time to start making my way home. Along the journey home, I discovered loads and loads of blackberries growing amongst the hedges. It reminded me of all the times I used to go picking blackberries with my Dad. We would fill up our buckets and my Dad would use the blackberries to make jam. I wanted to stop and pick the blackberries but I had no bucket to put them in. Then I had an idea! I will fill my pockets with as many blackberries as I can carry!!  For some reason I had decided to wear my Mam’s jacket which has incredibly large pockets (seriously! the zips go all the way up to your nipples). So as I made my way home I began to fill my pockets with delicious blackberries, trying very carefully not to squash them. After a leisurely 20 minute picking my pockets became heavy and full- I knew then, it was time for me to go home. As I walked down the lane carefree and bra free I embraced a nostalgic wave of joy and I was filled with a deep appreciation for nature. I may not be making jam today but I’m certainly going to bake something! The last stop was the apple tree in my garden, to get the final ingredients for my Nostalgic Rustic crumble. A fruitful day indeed. It was nice to be 6 years old again. The End.

Ingredients
   For Crumble
Gluten Free Oats 3 Cups
2 Tbsp Ground Almonds
Almond Flakes
Date Syrup or honey
Vanilla Essence Optional
Cinnamon Optional
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp coconut oil.
   Fruit Filling
1 cup Blackberries
3 Small Apples
1 Large Beetroot
Lemon Juice
Date Syrup/Honey

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180^C.
  • Get 2 heavy based pan/pots. 1 for the fruit one for the oats.
  • In the oat pot, melt 2 spoons of coconut oil & 2 spoon of butter (4 spoon coconut if you want to keep it dairy free).
  • Add 3 cups of oats and stir until coated. Don’t let the pan get too hot otherwise your oats will burn, keep it low.
  • Add 2 or 3 spoons of date syrup (honey), sprinkle with cinnamon (optional), a drop of vanilla essence and 2 spoons of ground almonds and stir. Leave for another 2-3mins, then take off the heat.
  • Wash your blackberries and apples & beetroot. Thinly slice the beetroot and the apple. Put your other pot on the heat, put the apples in first, add 2 spoons of water. Turn the heat up and cover. Let the apples soften for a few minutes.
  • Add the beetroot and let it stew away for another few mins. Finally add your blackberries last along with 2 spoons of data syrup (honey) and 1 spoon of lemon juice. Let it simmer for a few minutes.
  • Grease baking dish with some coconut oil or butter.
    Into a separate bowl spoon out the fruit mixture. Take a hand blender and blend the mix slightly, breaking up any larger pieces so the mixture becomes soupy.
  • Add the fruit to the baking dish and spread evenly. Cover the fruit with the oat crumble, making sure it’s all covered and patted down lightly.
  • Sprinkle with flaked almonds and drizzle with date syrup or honey.
  • Bake in the oven for 10-15 mins, then transfer to the grill and cook for 5-6 mins, checking every few minutes.

Caoimh’s Tips

~ If you want to gauge how much oats you’ll need to cover your dish, fill your baking dish with oats before you begin to get an idea. Just remember that half your dish will be filled with fruit, you want enough oats to cover the top.
~ Because this is gluten free crumble I decided to pre cook the fruit. Technically the crumble is already cooked but I like to oven bake it for 10-15mins and finish it off under the grill just to get the crumble good and crispy.

2 Pancakes – 1 Sandwich {Deleuxe Dessert Edition} XXX-extra-naughty

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Sweet Potato pancakes with… Peanut butter, pumpkin seed butter, strawberries, blueberries, natural vanilla yogurt & date syrup.

I can’t imagine anything that wouldn’t taste delicious on these.

Warmed poached pear & blueberry with honey & yogurt was another one I made.

Oh how silly of me!! Add nuts!! Of course! Other things that are popping into my mind.. Melted dark chocolate and pecan. Sesame seeds, banana, honey and ice cream.

Pretty much anything you think is sweet and delicious….. DO IT!

SEE FLOG POST BELOW FOR PANCAKE RECIPE.

 

 

2 Spuds – 1 Feast *{Explicit Taste} XXX

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These sweet potato pancakes are the business! Egg and sweet potato..”th th th th th tha thaaaats all folks!” Now I have to admit, I ate 2 entire batches one after the other- savoury followed by sweet. But in my defence, one must immediately act upon a dessert idea before it slips away.. And.. one must explore the capacity of one’s gut when one is a food explorer. Generally when I’m cooking sweet potato I eat the entire thing, skin and all. I love the skin! But today I was using just the inner spud to make the pancakes and I felt bad cause I didn’t want to throw the skin away. The skins were still fairly intact after I had scooped out the inside and I thought ‘Ah bless! They look like cute little boats’. BRAINWAVE!! ‘I will build the biggest fleet of potato skin boats the world has EVER seen and I will sail across…’ I joke.. you see, sometimes grownups like to make jokes (Yes I am a grownup now. I no longer need parental supervision when handling the sharp knife). Anyway, getting back to the real brainwave I had- ‘I’ll use the potato skins to bake some eggs in’. This little experiment turned out very well and I was trés sásta with the results. For those of you who don’t speak Frirish- that means ‘very happy’. The planning of my dessert had already commenced before I had even finished my feast, because I realized these pancakes would make a delicious sweet treat too. So I politely finished my food, excused myself from the empty table where I was sitting alone and began to make a second batch of pancake batter. What happened next will appear in the next flog entry.. if you care to take a look. It is a pancake sandwich with- peanut butter, pumpkin seed butter, strawberries, blueberries, natural vanilla yogurt and date syrup! And I liked it… A LOT!

Makes 4 pancakes
*Note: for quick cook time, you need a microwave to cook the sweet spuds.

Ingredients
   For Pancakes
2 Small-ish Sweet Potatoes
2 medium eggs
salt and pepper

   For Egg Boats
2 sweet potato skins
2 medium eggs

Method

  • Preheat oven to highest temperature.
  • Get a sharp knife, pierce each sweet potato at least 8-10 times. Rinse under some cold water. Pop them in the microwave one at a time for 4 – 4.5 mins until soft, but not soggy. Otherwise your skins will be useless for baking the eggs.
  • Cut each potato in half. Careful and accurate cutting here- as you want your skins to remain intact so they will hold the eggs for baking.
  • Scoop out the inside of the potato into a separate bowl. Again, easy going on the spooning. You don’t want pierce a hole in the skin. I would also try a leave a thin little layer of sweet potato to protect the skin.
  • Get a fork and give the potato a good mash, to get rid of the lumps. Leave it aside for a few mins to cool. If you add your eggs straight away while it’s still hot your eggs will start to cook.. and you don’t want that.. just yet.
  • Add 2 eggs to the potato and beat until it turns in a thick batter. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
  • Heat some coconut oil in a pan. You want it hot but not too hot so that it won’t burn the mixture. Spoon out the mixture onto the pan- keep them on the small side as it will make them easier to turn. Let them cook for 4-5 mins.. But do check on them if you think they are cooking fast.
  • Gently flip them over. Give them another few minutes to cook on the other side.
  • Baking the eggs. I didn’t want the potato skin boats to tip over in the oven once I added the eggs so I built little tin foil supports for them. I just took to pieces of tin foil and crumpled them into boat shapes to house the potato skins.
  • Put the tin foil holders on your baking tray, add the skins. Now carefully crack an egg into either boat. One of my boats was slightly smaller so some egg white trickled out but that’s okay. Just make sure the yolk stays intact and in the boat. Here you can sprinkle with salt, pepper, herbs etc. Put the tray in the oven and bake for 8-10mins.

Caoimh’s Tips

~ If you don’t have time to make the potato skin egg boats.. Any kind of  eggs will work here. I made the pancakes again at the weekend and just fried 2 eggs and popped them on top of the pancakes.

~Carnivors- you could add bacon for added meat. You could add anything breakfasty really, mushrooms, beans.. Oooh cheese!

Happy Salad for Sad Tummy

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A busy Fringe Festival weekend at work inspired this salad. Burdocks chips and Difontains pizza- not to mention endless amounts of chocolate and more chocolate. Lads, I love you and I hate you. I woke up last Monday morning, with what can only be described as a food hangover. I was tired and achey and my belly felt like a little swollen red balloon- 99 of them to be exact. Not to be too descriptive of my bowel movements- but kind of like the M50 on a busy Monday morning.. Slow and backed up to the Red Cow Roundabout. I needed earth food- and stat! Vegetables, vegetables and lots of vegetables. 80-84.4% of time I eat relatively well. And 99.2% of that that time I feel pretty good. I have energy to work 2 jobs, I sleep well and my mood is moderately cool, calm and Caoimh. Having adopted a mostly healthy diet, I can now distinctly differentiate how my body/mind suffers when I indulge in shite food basically. These feelings I experienced on Monday morning were all too familiar. In fact, I think that is the way I always used to feel waking up when my diet consisted of fatty fries, takeaways, pasta, crisps and cereal. It would take me a good hour to wake up properly. I’m pretty sure I thought ‘this is just how you feel in the morning’. Which is a terrible lie because actually- I operate really well in the mornings! I would even go as far as saying that mornings are my favourite part of the day. Yes, I know. Outrageous. I do my best thinking, learning, exercising and just ‘being’ in the morning. I think what I am trying to say is that ‘what I eat- I become’. The weekend was indulgent- hey ho, whatever, no biggie, moving on, I won’t die and I’ll do it again no doubt….. But… I need to remember that this is going to affect – the mothership, my Caoimh Control Centre. For this salad I mainly wanted to cram myself with as much veg as possible but it actually turned out quite delicious.. Especially with the sautéed red onion in balsamic and honey. It definitely made my tummy feel better and then I (myself), Caoimh felt better about being better to myself, Caoimh.

Ingredients
1 ½ Red Onion
2 Cups of Spinach
Broccoli
Celery
Green seedless grapes
Dried Cranberries
Cashews
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Honey

Method

  • Preheat oven- for roasting the cashews. 165*C. Let the pan preheat in the oven. Spread the cashews evenly in the pan. You can lightly spray with oil and salt, but I didn’t bother. Leave for 15-20mins. Make sure to check on them.
  • Chop and slice 1 ½ red onions. In a heavy based pot heat the olive oil. Add the onions and simmer until the soften.
    Add two generous tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to the onions, followed by one spoon of honey. Lower heat and let simmer for a few minutes.
  • In a large bowl, add 2 or 3 cups of spinach. Cut celery, broccoli and grapes into desired sizes and add to the spinach.
  • Drizzle the salad bowl with olive oil and a tiny dash of balsamic.
    Finally add cranberries and the roasted cashews to the mix.
  • Time to plate up- get a spoonóg and cover your salad in the red onion sauce.