Friday, January 29, 2010

Chilli Con Carne

I really love one pot dishes and especially ones that taste better on the day after it is cooked. This is definitely the case with Chilli con Carne, the flavours in the sauce tends to develop when left refrigerated for a day. This sauce also freezes well. The quantity below is enough for 2 dinners in my house. On day 2 I generally use the leftover Chilli con Carne for wraps with some salad leaves, grated cheese and sour cream or mayo. These wraps are delicious and I serve them with some homemade wedges and salad. This recipe is based on a recipe from Rachel Allen's first book.
This dish is also quite nutritious especially with the addition of the kidney beans. Kidney beans work well in this dish and in any simmered dishes where they can absorb the flavours the other ingredients. They are an excellent source of fibre and are high in protein. Kidney beans are also a very good source of molybdenum, which aids in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.



Chilli Con Carne

Ingredients
2 large Onions
700g lean minced beef
5 cloves Garlic, crushed
2 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
2 red or yellow peppers, sliced
2 green or red chillies, finely chopped, seeds left in if you like your chillies fiery
1 tsp ground Cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 x 400g tin red Kidney beans, drained
1 tsp brown sugar

To serve
Boiled rice
125ml Soured cream
2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
4 tbsp Cheddar cheese, grated
Lime wedges

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a casserole, or saucepan and fry the meat until it changes colour - about 5-7 minutes. 
  2. Add the onion and garlic and stir for a minute or so before tipping in the tinned tomatoes,chopped chillies, peppers, and a good pinch of salt.
  3. Cover the pan and simmer for about an hour, until the meat is tender and the liquid reduced to a thick sauce. If it gets too dry during cooking, pour in a little more water.
  4. Add the cumin, ground coriander, kidney beans (and a little of the bean liquid,if you like) and the brown sugar. Simmer for a further 10 mins before serving with rice, a spoonful of sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, lime wedges and coriander leaves as a garnish. 

If you are catering for a crowd place each of these in separate bowls on the table for your guests to help themselves.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lemon Curd Cupcakes

I received this recipe for lemon curd cupcakes from Odlums about a year ago and while going through a stack of recipes, the other day, I came across it and tried them out. I simply love anything lemony especially lemon curd and I thought this recipe combining lemon curd with a bun mixture sounded delicious. They are quite easy to make and they do taste lovely, however I would recommend putting a small spoonful of bun mixture then the half spoonful of lemon curd then another small spoonful of mixture as I found the curd did tend to burn a little,even after covering the tin with some tin foil. Also when the cupcakes had cooled the tops slightly harden which made decorating a little difficult (The photos are from Odlums!!). All in all these cupcakes are definitely worth trying for any lemon fans.



Lemon Curd Cupcakes

Ingredients
125g (4oz) self-raising flour
125g (4oz) margarine or butter, room temperature
125g (4oz) caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
50g (2oz) ground almonds
rind of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons water
lemon curd
For Icing
200g (7oz) icing sugar (sieved)
2 tablespoons warmed lemon juice (approx)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
Few drops yellow colouring (optional)

Method
1. Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Line bun tin or cupcake tin with paper cases.
2. Put the butter or margarine and sugar into a bowl and beat until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, ground almonds, lemon rind and water. Mix well
3. Finally stir in the flour.
4. Divide the mixture evenly between the paper cases. Place 1/2 teaspoon of lemon curd on top of each one and roughly swirl in with the tip of a knife.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until risen and golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
6. While cooling make the icing: place icing sugar in a bowl, gradually stir in the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you have a smooth thick icing. Mix in the rind and colouring if used.
7. Pour or spread onto cakes and top with decoration of choice if liked! Leave to harden.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Multi-Seed Brown Bread



As I mentioned, I'm expecting my 4th child in March and I have found this pregnancy much tougher than any of the others. I'm not sure is this because it is my fourth or maybe I'm carrying a girl! Either way I'm completely drained and seem to have every pregnancy related complaint possible. My Vitamin B12 and my Ferritin (iron stores) are particularly low and even though I'm receiving injections for both, I'm trying to optimise my intake of vitamins and minerals in my daily diet. With this in mind, I came up with a recipe for brown bread which is packed with lots of nutritious sesame and sunflower seeds. These seeds are rich in beneficial minerals, especially copper,manganese and calcium they also contain high amounts of vitamin B1 and vitamin E and (importantly for me) iron. I also included milled linseed, which can be used to substitute some flour in any bread or cake recipe to increase their nutritional value. Linseed is the richest source of omega 3 fatty acids found in nature.The health benefits of linseed include anti cancerous properties reducing the risk of colon, breast or prostate cancer. Linseed also strengthen the immune system.
Soda bread only takes a matter of minutes to make and your own homemade version is much more nutritious than any you could buy in a supermarket. When I am making bread with the children in my cooking classes, I always use a recipe for bread that can be poured into a baking tin, however this recipe requires a little kneading. This bread is best eaten on the day it is baked but it is still good for a day or so after, especially toasted.

Multi-Seed Brown Bread

Ingredients
225g Plain Flour
75g wholemeal flour
50g milled linseed
1 teasp bread soda
50g sunflower seeds
25g sesame seeds{keep a few for sprinkling on top}
300mls buttermilk
1 tbsp runny honey

Method
1. Sieve all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the seeds and mix well.
2. Mix the buttermilk with the honey.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour all the milk at once.
4. Using 1 hand, with your fingers stiff and outstretched like a claw, stir in a full circular movement from the center to the outside of the bowl. The dough should be softish, not too wet and sticky.
5. When it all comes together turn it out onto a floured work surface. Wash and dry your hands.
6. Knead gently for a minute and pat the dough into shape
7. Grease a 2lb cake tin with butter. place the dough in the tin and cut a deep cross on the loaf and prick the four corners. Sprinkle with a few extra seeds.
8. Bake in a preheated oven at 190°C, 375°F, gas mark 5 for 40 mins or until cooked.
9. Tap the bottom of the bread , when it is cooked it will sound hollow. Cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Blueberry Bliss




For such a small fruit, blueberries pack a powerful health punch. According to the recent research, they beat 40 other fruit and vegetables in helping to prevent certain diseases! They provide a high concentration of antioxidants which means they may help to prevent cancer and heart disease. What’s more they may help to fight infections, boost memory and be anti-ageing.
I love this nutritious drink, full of vitamins, calcium and probiotics. It only takes a matter of minutes to prepare. In my house I promote this as a blueberry milkshake and my boys love it as a breakfast treat.

Blueberry Bliss

Ingredients
150g (5½ oz) fresh or frozen blueberries
2 bananas (sliced)
1 tsp vanilla extract
500g ml (17 fl oz) thick natural bio yoghurt (Glenisk) or yoghurt of your choice
300mls milk

Method
1. Peel the bananas and roughly chop.
2. Put them into the blender with the rest of the ingredients.
3. Whiz in the blender until the mixture is smooth, thick and creamy.
4. Pour into 4 tall glasses and enjoy.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Welcome to my Blog!

I decided to start this blog as I really love to cook and over the past few years I have tried out so many different dishes that I am constantly being asked by friends and family for recipes. I live with my husband, Diarmuid, 3 boys Jack 7, Tiarnán 4, and Fionn 2. I am expecting my 4th child in March. My Dad also lives with us and during the holidays we have a very special man called Nicholas who comes to stay (Nick has Cerebral Palsy and my parents had fostered him as a child). All in all a busy household with many different nutritional needs, likes and dislikes.
I qualified as a nurse at St.James's Hospital in 2000. Following that I completed a Bachelor of Nursing Degree at TCD. I worked in many different areas from A&E to paediatrics. I worked for 2 years as a practice nurse at a local medical center.
After the birth of my 3rd son in 2007 I decided to start cookery classes for children in my kitchen and Killachonna Cookery School was established. The classes have been a wonderful success and last summer due to the increase demand I ran my classes from the local secondary school Home Ec room.
Eventhough I am not a professionally qualified chef I have been lucky enough to attend the Ballymaloe Cookery School on a number of occasions and participate in many different short courses. It is always a wonderful experience and each time I leave with some extra knowledge and many recipes to try out.
Through this blog I would like to share some recipes that have been a success for me with my family and with my students who have been as young as 6.
That's all for now. Nessa.
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