Pizza… revisited*

* I have updated this post following the Twizzaparty – which was great fun to take part in and gave me lots of fabulous ideas for toppings, thanks to Reindeersp, Dinner du Jour, Babaduck, Like Mam Used To Bake, Bibliocook, Joanna Schaff, Clare KleinedlerI Can Has Cook and of course our lovely judge  Lorraine at Italian Foodies!  The pictures  are my chosen pizza for the evening with parma ham, mozzarella, chilli oil and fresh basil (I put the basil on towards the end of cooking to avoid burning but in future I think I would just scatter on when the pizza is removed from the oven completely as basil tends to get too crisp).  One difference to my method was only part rolling the dough and then using my hands to shape and stretch the pizza.  This I found gave a slightly thicker, chewier crust whilst still keeping the base nice and thin – this is definitely the way I will make pizza in future. The more you make it, the better you will get.  I would still love to learn to spin it like the pros though! [Read more…]

BBQ Greek Lamb


This is a wonderful greek-inspired marinade that I tried out at a family barbecue a long time ago and have been using ever since.  I wanted something that would serve many, in addition to offering burgers etc, so I opted for a butterflied leg of lamb as it is easy to carve, contains plenty of fat to keep the meat moist on the bbq and it goes a long way.  The only thing to do then was make a marinade that would both add flavour and tenderise the meat.   The marinade, which I leave on the lamb overnight, is very simple and gives the meat a fabulous spicy flavour and a wonderful charred crust.  A great way to serve this is as a kebab – thin slices in pitta bread with salad and a mint and yoghurt sauce or aioli.  You can also use a boned fillet (top of the leg) and halve the marinade quantities if you want a smaller amount of meat. [Read more…]

Chicken Tikka

Chicken Tikka is a great for barbecues but can easily be cooked on a griddle or in a very hot oven (the chicken in the picture above was cooked in the oven but I much prefer the charred stripes from cooking on a bbq or griddle). This is a very simple marinade and the yoghurt  really tenderises the chicken. Unlike lamb, which benefits from a long marinade time, chicken only needs to marinade for an hour or two – any longer and I think it starts to go a bit ‘cotton woolly’. Because the chicken breast is cut in to chunks (approx. 2″)  the meat cooks fairly quickly. If you are cooking on a barbecue it is much easier to use skewers as this will speed up the turning time – otherwise you will have to turn each individual piece.  On a hot heat these should cook in around 10 minutes.  If cooking in the oven get your oven as hot as you can. [Read more…]

Crispy Bombay Potatoes

This is my take on Bombay Potatoes. These are a great side dish and very easy to make.  I love the combination of spiced crispy potatoes and caramelised onions and I would happily eat them with just about anything.  In order to get crispy potatoes you need to firstly parboil the spuds enough so that the edges can be fluffed up and then you need to get the oil in the roasting tray quite hot. [Read more…]

Zesty Coriander, Tomato and Cucumber Salad

This is my own summer salad recipe and I think it is so pretty and really brightens up the table.  It tastes so fresh and zesty and is the perfect accompaniment to a barbeque or a summery lunch or dinner.

The secret to the zesty flavour and also to the amazingly bright pink onions is to soak thin slices of red onion in lime juice for an hour or so and you will end up with wonderful tasting onions that add a really fresh touch to the salad. [Read more…]

Spaghetti Carbonara

This has to be the most simple, delicious and amazingly quick lunch or supper dish there is.  If you haven’t made carbonara at home I would love you to try it yourself – it is such a handy dish to know and I haven’t met a child yet that doesn’t love it.  I understand that cream is not an authentic or traditional ingredient in carbonara but I confess that I always use cream – not too much, just enough to give a silkier coating to the pasta.  I do recommend that you try to use a good brand of pasta if you can as it does make a difference –  I use De Cecco which is widely available. [Read more…]

Chow Mein

Chow Mein in restaurants or from take-aways varies depending on where you order it, some use thin vermicelli, some serve with an oyster and cornstarch sauce.  I like my chow mein with medium egg noodles and served ‘dry’ without any sauce other than soy.  The trick to stir frying noodles is to only partially cook them in boiling water – say about 75% cooked, they should still be slightly firm in the middle and this will stop them becoming overcooked when you stir-fry.  So if the packet instructions say cook for 4 mins, take them off the heat at just 3 minutes.  It is also important to have everything prepared and close at hand once you start cooking. [Read more…]

Potato & Spring Onion Croquettes


My husband really dislikes shop-bought croquettes, whether fresh or frozen, but he loves these.  I tend to vary the ingredients to include cheddar, herbs such as chives and parsley or even colcannon croquettes with cabbage and sometimes a little bacon too.  I make one large croquette per person, containing roughly the same amount of mash you would generally serve. [Read more…]

Roast Irish Pork Loin with Cider Gravy


This evening I cooked the remaining half of the fabulous loin of Irish pork kindly sent to me by Bord Bia.   I decided to cook a traditional sunday roast with rich cider gravy, served with oven baked carrots and potato and spring onion croquettes.

[Read more…]

Irish Loin of Pork – Char Siu Style


With much thanks to the lovely people at Bord Bia and the amazing Donal Skehan of the Good Mood Food Blog I was the delighted recipient of a parcel this week containing a wonderful big loin of Irish pork.

The loin was approximately 6lbs in weight and, as there were only 3 of us here this weekend, I decided to cut the loin in to two equal portions which enabled me to cook two very different meals – the first of which was an aromatic, sticky, deeply glazed, roast pork char siu served with noodles.  A 3lb joint will easily serve 4. [Read more…]