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Easy, cheesy soda bread

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This is a really delicious and easy Irish soda bread recipe and you’ll want to make it weekly once you try it.

Serves 4 


Oil, for greasing
500g (1lb 1oz) plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
75g (3oz) Mature cheddar cheese, grated. *Please grate your own, the pre-packaged stuff is gross!
350ml(1 1/2 cups)buttermilk
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

Heat the oven to 200°C , 400 F or gas mark 6. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Put the flour in a bowl with the bicarbonate of soda and ½ tsp salt. Stir in the cheese.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk. Quickly stir together with a wooden spoon, then tip onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly to bring together – don’t over-knead, and it doesn’t matter if the dough looks rather craggy.

Put the dough on the baking sheet and shape into a round about 8 inches, then flatten slightly. Sprinkle with the seeds. Make a deep cross in the centre with the handle of a wooden spoon or knife. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and the base sounds hollow when tapped. The cheese soda bread is best eaten on the day of baking.

Romesco Sauce

This flavorsome Spanish sauce (or dip) is tremendously versatile. It’s wonderful served with boiled baby potatoes served warm or at room temp, that you dip into the sauce and eat. It’s great with grilled prawns or chicken too.
Whole 30 compliant, vegan, non dairy and grain free, it’s a winner. It also lasts for up to 1 week in the fridge and the whole thing is done in the food processor.

 

MAKES 3 CUPS

1 x 16oz jar of roasted bell peppers
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted lightly
1/3 cup tomato purée
4 heaped tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 tbsp Sherry vinegar
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pulse the first 8 ingredients in a food processor until very finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly add the oil; process until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.

DO AHEAD: Romesco can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

A really great and easy BBQ sauce

This is a really simple and super BBQ sauce you can keep refrigerated for up to 1 week, so if you’re planning a BBQ party, this part of it, you can do well in advance. It’s easily doubled too.

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Makes about 2 1/2 cups

1/2 cup vegetable oil or any other oil ( don’t waste really good olive oil)
4 large cloves garlic, finely diced or minced
a good handful fresh rosemary leaves, stripped from the stalk, finely chopped (minced)
2 tbsp mustard powder
2 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp curry powder
4 tbsp sesame oil(toasted is nice too)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup store-bought BBQ sauce (yes, I really mean it!)
salt to taste

Place ALL the ingredients in a jar with a tightfitting lid and shake really well.
Use to brush on absolutely anything that you BBQ, mushrooms, chicken, meat, onions, fish…
Enjoy!

Cumin, avocado and corn salsa

This is delicious served with rice crackers or tortilla chips as an appetizer and also gorgeous on a dinner plate with a piece of sauteed salmon sitting on it. I like to roast my cumin, then grind it myself, as the oils are released and the smokiness of the roasting really adds something to the flavor. You can also add a can of drained and rinsed black beans to the salsa for extra protein.

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Makes about 3 cups and serves 6

3 ears corn, husks and silks removed. (I have been known to use the equivalent in drained, tinned corn, when pushed)
1 good sized Hass avocado
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp finely chopped jalapeno chili pepper
1/2 to 3/4 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the kernels off the corn cobs by using a sharp knife and transfer the kernels to a large bowl.
Cut the avocado in half lengthwise and remove the pit from the avocado and discard. Remove the flesh and cut the avocado into 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer to the bowl with the corn.
Add the cherry tomatoes, red onion, lime juice, chives, cilantro, jalapeno and cumin to the bowl, and toss together gently so as not to mash the avocado. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Refrigerate the salsa for about 30 minutes and bring back to room temperature before serving.

A beautiful caper vinaigrette to serve with fish

This is worth posting on it’s own as it is absolutely delicious on a salad or drizzled over a piece of hot salmon or halibut. It also keeps for a long time in the fridge

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2 egg yolks
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp Champagne or White balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup blended oil (1 part olive oil to 3 parts avocado oil mixed together)
2 tbsp capers, drained
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
salt and pepper

In a food processor or in a blender, combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, garlic and vinegar.
Slowly whisk in the oil. Remove from the blender into a bowl and fold in the capers, mustard and herbs.
Season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle over your seared piece of fish or a salad

Blue cheese potato chips

You will not be able to resist these from the “Food 52” website.

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Serves 4 to 6

1 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 bag sturdy potato chips, like Kettel Chips or Cape Cod
Chives,chopped finely to sprinkle over as you are serving
Black pepper

Turn your oven on to Broil.
Heat cream, milk, and blue cheese in a saucepan over low heat until the blue cheese just dissolves.
Spread the potato chips out on a lipped sheet pan — line it with a sheet of parchment paper or a silpat to help with cleanup later.
Pour the cheese mixture over the potato chips, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and broil in the oven until the sauce is bubbly and bronzed in parts. Sprinkle with the chopped chives,
Serve alongside napkins

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Dark chocolate and coconut truffles

As you have probably gathered by now, coconut is one of my most favorite ingredients. This is a recipe from several years ago from a food magazine that I resurrected and am so glad I did.

The higher the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate, the better for you it is. Go between 72% and 85%. Any higher than that is just way too bitter.

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This recipe yields 12 truffles.

1/2 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup lite coconut milk
3 1/2 tbsp Truvia Natural Sweetener or other natural sweetener
Dark Chocolate (72 % or higher)

In a bowl blend the coconut oil, lite coconut milk and Truvia with a hand mixer. Next, add the shredded coconut and mix well. Roll mix into 1” balls, set on waxed or parchment paper and place in fridge until they are firm. In the meantime, melt the dark chocolate very gently in a double boiler or in a bowl sitting over (but not touching) simmering water, stirring continuously.

Next, dip the coconut balls in the melted chocolate, coat well and place back on the waxed paper. I use either a fork or toothpick to dip.

You may also add some of the shredded coconut on the truffles before the chocolate hardens. Place the truffles in the refrigerator, they will taste better when eaten cold.

Crispy roasted kale

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This is the only way I really like kale, as it’s so crispy and crackly. It’s actually quite addictive, with the fleur de sel sprinkled over it while it’s hot.  This is an Ina Garten recipe.

2 bunches curly kale (about 2 1/2 lbs)
1/4 cup good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fleur de sel

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Arrange 3 oven racks evenly spaced in the oven.
Lay each kale leaf on a board and with a small sharp knife, cut out the hard stem. Tear the large leaves in half. Place the kale in a large bowl of water and wash it well.
Drain the kale and dry it in a salad spinner. Dry the bowl and put the kale back in the bowl.

Toss the kale with the olive oil,1 tsp Kosher salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Divide the kale among 3 sheet pans or roast them in batches.
If you put too much kale on one pan, it will steam rather than roast and will never get crisp.
Roast for 15 minutes, until crisp then sprinkle with fleur de sel and serve hot.

Homemade ginger-infused tartare sauce to serve with fish.

This ginger-infused tartare sauce is gorgeous dolloped on or alongside a fillet of broiled salmon, swordfish, cod or halibut. It can be made in advance which will give it time for the fresh ginger to reach it’s full potential.

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Serves 4
1/2 cup good mayonnaise like Best Foods or Kraft
2 tbsp chopped pickles or whole capers
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil,parsley,mint or cilantro sprigs
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1 tsp Worcester sauce
1 tsp your favorite hot sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours before using.

Avocado salsa to have with cold poached salmon

 

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Serves 4

This is gorgeous on a hot summers day with cold poached salmon.  The recipe is from Delia Smith, a British recipe book writer whose recipes are absolutely fail-safe. This is a cross between a sauce and a salsa and complements the flavor of salmon and it also looks really pretty with the color of the salmon.

1 ripe but firm avocado
2 large firm tomatoes
1/2 small red onion
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 rounded tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
A few drops Tabasco
Salt and freshly milled black pepper

Skin the tomatoes by pouring boiling water over them, then leaving for exactly 1 minute before draining and slipping the skins off when they’re cool enough to handle.
Then cut each tomato in half and, holding each half over a saucer (cut side downwards), squeeze gently to extract the seeds.
Now chop the tomato flesh as finely as possible.
Next, halve the avocado, remove the stone, cut each half into quarters and peel off the skin.
Chop the avocado into minutely small dice, and do the same with the onion. Finally, combine everything together in a bowl, adding seasoning, the lime juice, chopped cilantro and a few drops of Tabasco sauce.
Cover with clingfilm and leave on one side for an hour before serving to allow the flavors to develop.
Serve this salsa with grilled, poached or baked salmon salmon