Black Pudding and Cabbage Mash

This isn't really a recipe but rather a new creation. I'm not going to patronise you by telling you how to make mashed potato - you surely kno, right? If not, this Nigel Slater recipe is the best I've found. I wanted to jazz up spuds for a Sunday roast and seeing as it was St Patricks weekend, chucked black pudding and sautéed savoy cabbage into my mash. The result? You've guessed it a complete fecking taste explosion! This is not the prettiest thing you will make but the taste is worth it. Tip - the more butter the better!

Method
  • Grill some (depends on taste) black pudding slices, let cool slightly then crumble with fingers into freshly mashed potatoes.
  • Add finely shredded sautéed savoy cabbage, salt and pepper.
  • Combine well and sever with an extra dollop of butter.
I served this mash with roasted pork belly and roasted carrots and parsnips but I imagine it would also be awesome with white fish.





Paleo Chocolate, Beetroot and Walnut Brownies

These Brownies Will Surprise You!

I've been eating Paleo for a while now - not massively strictly or anything, mainly during the week actually (life is way to short for that many restrictions #yolo!). But, eating grain free does make me feel better and I actually don't miss sugar most of the time. Saying that there are times when I crave some dark chocolate with a cup of coffee. These brownies are the answer to those times - they aren't that sweet so you won't overeat and they are grain and sugar free so you can still feel virtuous and look down on sugar-eaters!

The strangest thing about these brownies is that one of the main ingredients is beetroot! Hear me out with this one - you can't actually taste the beetroot and it actually gives a lovely richness to the brownies without the calories. Sure you're practically eating vegetables! 

Ingredients
3 eggs
120g honey (the good stuff)
50g butter (use coconut oil if you are doing really strict paleo)
1oz cocoa powder
4oz ground almonds
3oz walnuts
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8oz dark chocolate (again, the good stuff - 70-85% cocoa)
2 cooked beetroots - puréed
2 tablespoons coconut flour
11/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Melt the butter, 5oz of the chocolate, honey and vanilla extract in a pyrex bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.
melt the chocolate and the butter

Chop the nuts and the remaining chocolate roughly. Add them to all the dry ingredients (make sure to sieve the cocoa powder and the baking soda)



When the chocolate has cooled a little, add the beaten eggs to the mixture.

Add the puréed beetroot to the chocolate mix, then add all ingredients together and stir well to combine. 

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes then remove and leave to cool in the tray for another 30 mins.
Makes about 25 small brownies. 




Smoked Salmon, Prawn & Crab Terrine - A Perfect Christmas Starter

I decided to have the family over last Sunday for dinner. What I had forgotten about was that I had already comitted to a big night out in town the previous evening. I needed to do as much prep as possible because it was feasible that I might be feeling a bit erm fragile the next day. I have wanted to do a smoked salmon terrine for ages but after an extensive Google search turned up nothing decent apart from a few 'Come Dine with me' recipies. So I came up with the recipie which, if I do say myself is actually pretty fecking good, and extra wonderful because I made it the day before so it was sitting in the fridge wating for me.

 How did the dinner go you ask? actually quite well considering I was hungover to shite and had a slight touch of the fear! Terrine for starters followed by roast leg of venison with all the trimmings and apple crumble. Safe to say I'm in the good books for a few weeks and will be making this terrine again for Christmas day starter.

Smoked Salmon, Prawn & Crab Terrine
800g large packet of smoked salmon
300g crabmeat
400g raw prawns
1 red onion, finely chopped
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1 lemon, juice and zest
6 sheets of leaf gelatine
300g of cream cheese
150g of creme fraiche


  • Butter a bread tin then cover in cling film.
  • Line the whole tin with slices of smoked salmon making sure some overlap
  • Soak 6 sheets of gelatine in some cold water, squeeze out the moisture then add the gelatine to a saucepan with the juice of the lemon.  Heat and allow the gelatine to dissolve then cool slightly.
  • Cook the frozen prawns and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper, allow to cool
  • In a bowl mix the cream cheese and creme fraiche. Add the crabmeat, red onion, lemon zest and spring onions, salt and pepper (you could also add parsley at this stage).
  • Chop the prawns and remainder of the salmon roughly and add to the mixture
  • Add the slightly cooled lemon and gelatine mixture
  • Pour half the mixture into the bread tin then add a layer of smoked salmon
  • Fill the bread tin with the remainder of the mixture then fold in the smoked salmon to cover.
  • Leave in the fridge to chill ideally overnight
  • Serve on a bed of leaves with a wedge of lemon and some fresh brown bread 






Dublin's Latest Food Trend - A Killer Sandwich

Bringing my lunch in during the week coupled with also not eating bread makes me very very (sadly) excited for my Friday lunch. Killer Sandwich have obviously realised this gap in the market for the indulgent Friday luncher who throws caution to the wind and feasts on whatever their hearts desire.

The concept is simple a fuck off (their words) sandwich every week, order it on a Wednesday through Twitter (how very trendy) and pick it up on Friday.  The sandwiches themselves are awesome and they use local breads and ingredients.  The first one I got was beef to the heel which featured a TAYTO crumb, yes tayto it was heavenly (I am a big believer of adding crisps to a sambo for extra crunch) Last week's one was just as spectacular with a special shout out to the gorgeous onion vlaa from Arun bakery.  Check out this promo video from the Irish Times that my goofy face appears in (cringe, I basically said the same thing twice)

Great concept, great food, great people, get yours at @akillersandwich



Beef to the Heel



The Roy Keane





Foodie Guide to London

I returned from London nearly two weeks ago, but am only now feeling up to writing about it.  Never in my life have I been so physically and mentally WRECKED from a weekend.  We went on the October Bank Holiday weekend, my lovely friend had gotten the trip for me as a birthday present.  Arriving at Dublin airport at 7pm we proceeded to neck a bottle of prosecco to get us into the mood for the trip.  We finally arrived at our destination in Clapham at 12, we were staying with my friend's friend who also had necked a bottle of prosecco and had to be woken up to open the door!

It might be worth noting that this was my first trip to London.  It seems like such an anomaly, I have been to most European capital cities, New York over half a dozen times but never made the short trip across the pond to London.  When I inform people of this fact they react (mostly) shocked and surprised "YOU haven't been to London, like YOU of all people would love it" I've been hearing this for so long that London had big boots to fill.

We had a jam packed itinerary which mostly consisted of eating and drinking which suited me just fine, I did insist that I wanted to see some touristy things and I was reassured that they had been included in the plan.

I could go in dept into everything that we saw, ate and drank but the fact is that we jammed SO much into the weekend that I would be here all day.

So without further ado here are a roundup of my London experiences. ( I LOVED them all)

Strolling down Northcote Road, popping into Gail's for a mini salmon and avocado roll and a camomile tea to start the day. 
Tasty Delights in Gails

Halloween Treats in Gails

Checking out these colourful beauties in Jamie's Recipease store on Northcote Rd.

                                    


Walking from Clapham through Battersea park on on to Chelsea where we picked up these bad boys..

Borris Bikes
                                 
Yes I did fear for my life at points - our tour guide (friend who we were staying with) is a menace on the roads - just trying to keep up was stressful but it was a great way to get around and I got to see loads and a great way to burn off all the extra calories. 

Kedgeree
                             
Lunch in Nicole Fahris, Notting Hill.  Definitely one of my favourite experiences, I was having menu anxiety but when I informed our friendly waiter that I was slightly hungover (the prosecco from the night before) he immediately told me the was only one cure for it - the kedgeree.  Am I glad he suggested this; it was a creamy, warming, spicy bowl of goodness that stuck to my ribs and regenerated me for the next leg of our mammoth bike trip.

Well there was to be a little more regeneration to be done before we got back on the bikes, in the form of dessert from Ottolenghi's.  We got it to take away and it washed down with a bottle of prosecco in the local pub, I know, we don't half love ourselves!

This is how we do it
Lemon Marscapone Tart and Chocolate Peanut Butter Smore
After all the touristy stuff and still (moderately) full of energy, we were taken to Brixton Village Market for dinner.  By night Brixton market houses tons of quirky pop-up restaurants and bars.   The place was literally buzzing and is definitely a foodie's mecca.  We ate at KaoSarn a Thai place in the market, it was certainly an experience - my mouth has never burned like it! Cheap as chips and BYO which was a good thing considering I drank so much wine to calm my flaming tongue.  We finished off the night at Hootanannys because we are gluttons for punishment.  Yes my friends all this was done in ONE day.
The Full Veggie
Brunch the next day was in Ben's Canteen in Clapham, I opted for the full veggie which was good and if you Instagram a photo of your food you get a free Bloody Mary - nice!
Band in Columbia Road Market
Next was the two-day camel trek out to Columbia Road Flower Market, which, in fairness was worth it.   We browsed the shops, listened to a band then yep , you've guessed it ate again.


This time it was a gloriously large seafood platter from this little place that was so tiny that I forget the name.  It wasn't on the menu but our friends had had it there before so we chanced our arm and the staff were happy to oblige. 
                                        
                                             Food Trucks Shoreditch











Street Art in Shoreditch (he looks how I felt after London!)

We walked from Columbia Road to the Hipsters Paradise that is Shoreditch, I could have stayed here all weekend, the atmosphere was electric and it will be top of the list for my return trip(s)
Hair of the dog
The weekend was finished with a little night cap in in Draft House Clapham - its a dogs life but someone's got to do it.  I'm actually knackered after writing this piece.  London you have my heart and you nearly had my life but I love you.

Obligatory Tourist Shot

Pretty much sums up the weekend

Brixton



Taste of Dublin

Well I made it through; 30 days of eating clean, no sugar, grains, dairy or alcohol and I actually did it! I'm not going to bore you with the health benefits and insist you do it yourself, just know this it works and I feel fantastic.  What better way to reward yourself after eating like a saint for 30 days than a trip to Taste of Dublin to indulge a little after living so parsimoniously.

We arrived for the 5.30 session on Saturday evening.  After a few brief tantrums the sun decided to grace us with its presence and as we walked in the gates it shone brightly - yes!

Did I mention that I haven't drank alcohol in 30 days? Yes its been long but actually surprisingly ok! That being said a glass of delicious prosecco was the first order of business for the day.  The prossecco complimented the scallops that I had from Brasserie Le Pont perfectly.  Beautifully cooked scallops with black pudding, artichoke puree and carmelised apple - I could have eaten ten of them!


Next it was time to wander around the stalls and take in the atmosphere. The organisers outdid themselves again this year as the whole event buzzed with food passion and good humor.  As we walked in we were entertained by a choral group singing uplifting tunes to put everyone in the festival mood. There were bean bags strewn around the vast lawns and everyone seemed so relaxed - a definite plus in my book for any festival.  Peckish again it was time to sample some tuna tostados from Diep Le Shaker.  These Asian beauties were the perfect balance of salty and sour and crunch, a thrill for the taste buds.



The theme of the day was defiantly fish and I only realised when I got home and looked at my pictures that every dish I picked was fish! Some of the other folks in my company had sow braised beef and I remember seeing some chicken curry but for me it was all about the fish.  I had heard about Rock Lobster and had been looking forward to sampling some lobster- that was until I went to the stand and saw the biggest queue for any stand there - was it worth it? I weighed it up in my mind and decided to go for it and thank GOD I did. The lobster roll was heaven, a warm butter roll filled with juicy lobster mayonnaise (washed down with a glass of Pinot Gringo obvs).  My friend had the half lobster and here she is embracing it!



















Finally as if all the food wasn't enough I finished with a shared cone of Fish & Chips from Dylan which was exceptional, the fish tender and juicy and the chips hot and salty.  After 30 days of eating clean I feel I have learned so much about nutrition and how food is so vital to being healthy that I can safely say that grains, dairy and sugar are going to be off the menu 90% of the time.  In saying that its days like Taste of Dublin where pushing the boat out and enjoying good food and drink are vital (for me) for a fulfilled social and culinary life. (plus its boring being good all the time!)




Whole30 Challenge

Hello Friends!
I am sorry to have been so quiet lately, loads of boring reasons that I'm sure no one wants to hear about! Never fail, I have been eating and drinking the CRAP out it it pretty consistently in my absence. Which brings me to my new challenge.  A Whole30 Challenge to be exact.  What is the Whole30 I hear you ask? Basically its a super strict 30 day food elimination 'challenge' that promises to nutritionally reset your body and 'change you life' (!)

Read more about the Whole30 here

So what can't I have? Everything really! Ok not everything but on the plan you have to eliminate grains, dairy, sugar, alcohol (I know!), soy and legumes, just pretty much everything fun!

 I turned 30 this year so I decided to take this challenge as part of my '30 Bucket List' and obviously to loose weight BUT the main reason I wanted to do it was to challenge myself not to drink for 30 days.  Like most of my friends, I am a bit of a wino and like nothing more that relaxing with a crisp cold glass of savvy darling! What is nicer?! Now I knew this was going to be hard as weekends seems to have drinking programmed into them, ESPECIALLY in the Summer with gigs, BBQ's and impromptu sunny sessions.

Let me tell you something...its actually grand! To be honest its really all in your head and once you turn down your first glass of wine its easy to do it over and over again.  Ok I'm only on day 11, I should'nt speak so soon.

Food wise its been fine, I eat three meals a day of whole, unprocessed food, I'm never hungry and the sugar cravings are a thing of the past.  The only thing I miss is the spontaneity of deciding to go out for lunch/eat a tangle twister in the sun/have a treat at the movies. Its all about planning, I need to know what food I'm bringing to work and I need to know what I'm going to have for dinner.  Luckily there are plenty for great paleo/whole30 blogs and recipes around to keep things from getting boring.  I hope to post some more of the stuff I've been eating and also prove that living like this isn't THAT much of a hardship.

Here's an example of a recent dinner, BBQ pork chop, root vegetable mash and courgette leek and spinach with garlic.





Example of eating for one day