My top 3 Valentines Recipes…

I think the most important factors for valentines recipes is that they are quick, easy and light on the washing up, not that the washing up should be a factor on Valentine’s Day. It can be taken care of tomorrow.

First recipe up is what I call my date steak. One Steak can feed two generously. A lush juicy steak is given a quick fry then rest in the salad dressing, where it oozes some of it meaty flavor into the dressing whilst also taking on some of the flavors of the dressing. The steak gets sliced finely and then strewn over a messy tangle of salad. Delicious and only moments of work. Steak is always a real treat and even though this recipe takes very little time to make you would never know it. It is a quick feast.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Again, another quick and easy meal and of course you can have your lady and the tramp moment with this dish. It takes longer to eat than it does to make. By the time your pasta has cooked everything else will be ready to go.

If you want to get ahead of the cooking then try this Fabulous dessert, strawberries in Prosecco jelly. I make this in champagne saucers and it really just looks like a glass of champagne. It is a gently set jelly, the Prosecco retains the bubbles so the jelly has the most gentle light tingle in your mouth as you eat. To vamp it up even more for your loved one, whip some cream gently, scoop out a passion fruit and fold through the softly whipped cream.Dollop spoonfuls of the cream as you eat your jelly. I laugh at the cheesiness but I call this ‘’Quivering with passion jellies’’ and I think it sums up this day perfectly.

healthy chicken, broccoli and spinach pasta

January – The month of restraint

A bit late with this but, Happy New Year! I hope everyone thoroughly enjoyed the festive period. I am jubilant to be back fully in the kitchen recipe testing, filming, editing & writing. I have a few exciting new projects in the pipe line for 2020. Details on which will be coming shortly. We are firmly back to reality with what is for most the month of restraint and diet. Although, I do myself eat a little better in January this is mostly not a conscience decision rather it just seems to come natural after all the over indulgence of December. Below I have listed some of my favourite go to recipes when in this mood, that may aid you through January as well as some of my favourite vegan recipes for anyone opting to do Veganuary.

I firmly believe that the key to success in any diet is balance and avoiding bad foods. In my opinion there is only one food type that falls into this category of bad food and that is processed foods that lack in nutrients and usually in flavour too. Living with a strict diet that completely restrains you from eating foods that you desire would be an unbearable existence. A balance diet must always have room for cake. The recipe below is one of my favourites that I make so often.

What are you favourite January or Veganuary recipes?

Don’t forget to check out RadioX Life Hakx Sunday Evenings, were I will regularly be contributing with recipes and foodie life hakx. You can also catch up with previous episodes by checking out the podcast here.

Happy Thanksgiving

I would like to wish all my readers celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow a very joyful day. Thanksgiving is not celebrated here in Ireland making me incredibly envious of the celebratory feast that occur, and I miss out on. However, I would like to say how thankful I am for the continued support from readers across the globe and I hope that you may be able to alleviate some of the kitchen stresses this year with some of my shortcuts and hacks.

In the coming weeks there will be many more holiday inspired recipes for quick stress-free party foods, cosy bowl foods, seasonal cocktails, heart-warming comfort food that will aid you through the hustle and bustle on the lead up to Christmas, seasonal cakes & bakes and recipe for making the most of the Christmas feast leftovers.

Below is my recipe for salted caramel & apple Bundt cake which I wouldn’t want to celebrate any holiday without.

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Rocky Road Ice Cream Cake
Rocky Road Ice Cream
toad in the hole with onion gravy

Toad in the Hole with Onion Gravy

Toad in the hole is among one of my favourite cosy and comforting meals. It’s easy and quick. The oven does most of the work, it is a dish I do when I need cosyness and it is for this reason I came up with the easy simplified onion gravy. When I need the comforting, this dish instils I do not want to be standing over the stove for 20 – 30 minutes making an onion gravy, so since the oven is on anyways I put it to use a caramelise my onions in a pan with beef stock and vermouth meaning that I only have to thicken the gravy on the hob for a few minutes and slip off the onion skin and roughly but finely chop the sweet caramelised onions.

You can of course use red wine in place of the vermouth but, I always have a bottle of vermouth in the kitchen it prevents me needing to open a bottle of wine every time I need some.

Serve with mashed potatoes and peas for the ultimate comforting experience.

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Steak with Rosemary Potatoes

It’s hard to beat a good steak. Using this recipe, you will have meat and potatoes in next to no time. What more could I ask for mid-week?

Cast iron pans are excellent for cooking steak because you can get the pan extremely hot which will give your steak a great colour which imparts flavour. You could use a heavy based pan if you don’t have any cast iron pans. My favourite pans though are spun iron pans they are like a cast iron pan but much more lightweight.

If you don’t have any garlic infused oil you can cut a clove of garlic in half and rub the steaks with the cut side to impart a very gentle garlic flavour. Garlic oil is a fantastic short cut ingredient and if you would like to know how to make it click here.

Probably the most important steps in cooking your steaks are to make sure your pan is immensely hot before adding the steaks and that you use the kitchen paper to pat the steaks dry, this helps them develop proper colour. No one wants a grey steak that has braised in the pan in its own juices. Last but not least don’t be afraid to season well.  

Easy Crowd Pleaser

This is perfect for feeding a crowd. Although, that never stops me from making it for 2 to eat greedily, having many helpings. This is exactly the sort of thing I want to make when having friends over after a busy day. It requires very little work, chopping up an onion and stirring a few items together on the hob, then throw it into the oven, while you chill out and have a good time with friends.

 It is essentially a chicken and chorizo casserole with orzo.

Orzo is a pasta that looks very like grains of rice, it swells up when cooked in this fashion and makes the sauce become velvety silky and smooth. You will know exactly what I mean as soon as the first spoonful reaches your mouth.

You can modulate the heat easily with this dish if you like your food fiery use a hot chorizo and hot paprika. However, if you prefer it with a little kick use a sweet chorizo and hot paprika or if you like it very mild use both a sweet chorizo and sweet paprika, it will give you a smooth but still deeply flavoured dish.

I would suggest serving garlic bread alongside and why not it works well with it and the oven on anyways. You can find the recipe for my garlic bread here.

The Best Buttermilk Pancakes

This is exactly what weekend breakfasts are all about.

These are fluffy and spongy American style pancakes and the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten. I can already see the barrage of comments about those Japanese style pancakes and how light and fluffy they are but in truth I don’t see them as pancakes more as souffle and yes, they take as much work as a souffle to get right. I do love them, but they require as much work and attention as a new born baby. These pancakes are simple and delicious just a matter of stirring wet ingredients into dry and dolloping into a greased pan for a few minutes. To get even sized pancakes I would recommend using a quarter cup measure it makes the perfect sized pancakes. Enjoy warm from the pan with an ooze of maple syrup, crispy bacon or with lemon juice and sugar.

I believe it is also very important not to use a whisk to combine the batter as this over works the batter making a tough pancakes. Instead, simply fold the ingredients together with a rubber spatula until just combined you want to remove most lumps but if the odd one remains it will not affect the pancakes.

Breakfast on the go – Overnight Oats

Overnight oats were ubiquitous across the web. Every time I was online, I came across pictures of these oats in mason jars topped with fresh berries. Beautiful, as these images are, I thought I would never enjoy them, cold raw oats, no thanks. now however I am so happy that I did I love the flavour, creaminess and the simplicity. The night before it is just a matter of mixing a few ingredients together or adding all ingredients to a mason jar and shaking them together. Pop into the fridge and breakfast is good to go. The real appeal to me was that it meant I had breakfast ready to go and they do keep you full up for a long time. If I’m eating them at home, I just remove them from the fridge 20 – 30 minutes before eating. If on the go they will probably have reached room temperature by the time you have reached your destination. These are perfectly good straight from the fridge, but you can give them a blast in the microwave to take the chill out of them.

There is an unending amount of flavour variations for these oats. Below is my favourite or at least my favourite so far, apple and cinnamon I add a little maple to sweet and any eating apple for crunch I prefer Pink Ladies as they are both crunchy and sweet. Here are some other variations I do regularly banana, peanut butter and cocoa, strawberry and kiwi and orange and rose water. You can also add a variety of nuts and seeds to top these toasted flaked almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflowers seeds, chopped hazelnuts etc.

It’s Monday Treat Yourself – Dutch Baby Recipe

It’s Monday, they can be tough, so treat yourself to this delicious breakfast and start the week off right. Although, these are pancakes they look very much like a large Yorkshire pudding and like a Yorkshire pudding they need to be eaten straight from the oven as they do begin to deflate the longer they are out of the oven. These delicious aerated pancakes aren’t difficult to make and have a very American diner style breakfast feel about them. It is in this fashion I like to eat them with crispy bacon, poached eggs and maple syrup. But you could have them sprinkled with caster sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice as is traditional or try with berries and a good dusting of icing sugar. Don’t worry if your pancakes have puffed up in the centre and there is no hollow to fill with whatever goodness you want. When this happens, you will find when you remove them from the oven that the hollow is on the underside so simply flip over. Kids love these and they make a great afternoon treat as well served with cream or ice cream, some chopped fresh berries and a drizzled with chocolate sauce.