Archive for November, 2007

Butternut squash and pine nut risotto

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

Butternut squash and pine nut risotto

I really like risotto but you have to keep trying different recipes to make it more interesting. This is one I made up myself although it is by no means ground breaking. I love Gruyere cheese and I thought it would go well with the nutty squash and pine nuts. The basic risotto recipe is from Jamie’s Italy.

Serves 6


1.1 ltrs chicken stock

3 tblsp olive oil

knob of butter

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

2 sticks celery, trimmed and finely chopped

400g risotto rice

2 wineglasses dry white vermouth or white wine

salt and freshly ground black pepper

70g butter

1 small butternut squash

1 tsp ground cumin

100g pine nuts

115g Gruyere finely grated

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade. Peel and chop the butternut squash into 1 inch size pieces. Toss them in a tbslp of olive oil, the cumin and salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast in the oven until soft.

Heat the stock. Add the onion, garlic and celery into a frying pan with the olive oil and butter and gently cook for 15 minutes. Add the rice and turn up the heat and fry for a minute or so. Add the vermouth and stir until absorbed, then start adding the stock a ladle at a time, letting the rice absorb it after each addition. The heat should be turned down to medium so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding the stock until the rice is cooked, which should take about 15 minutes.

Just before the rice is cooked dry fry the pine nuts until golden. Keep an eye on them as they colour very quickly once up to temperature. Remove the rice from the heat and add the squash, Gruyere, pine nuts and a knob of butter. Stir together, put a lid on and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

Steamed pudding, hmmmm!

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

Steamed ginger and orange marmalade pudding

I love winter, it’s my favourite time of year. I really enjoy snuggling up when it’s really cold outside and the wonderful colours in the garden, but it’s also an excuse to get cracking with some warming winter puddings. I spotted this steamed orange and stem ginger pudding whilst rummaging through and cataloging my vast collection of food magazines.

Serves 6

100g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

100g caster sugar

3 medium eggs, room temperature

60g stem ginger, finely chopped

1 heaped tblsp plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

3 tblsp freshly squeezed orange juice

125g fine cut marmalade

150g fresh breadcrumbs

1 heaped tsp freshly ground cinnamon (I just used powdered)

For the dark ginger sauce

210g caster sugar

4cm piece of fresh root ginger, finely grated

juice of 1/2 lemon

Grease the pudding basin, which should be about 1 to 1.3 ltr capacity. Mix together the butter and sugar until fluffy and then add them one at a time beating after each addition. Mix the stem ginger with the flour and in a separate bowl mix together the baking powder and the orange juice. Add these both to the butter sugar and egg mixture with a pinch of salt and the remaining ingredients. After mixing well, spoon into the pudding basin and level the surface. Grease a piece of foil and fold a pleat into the middle. Place greased side down over the top of the basin and tie tightly with a piece of string. Put the basin into a deep pan of boiling water that comes two thirds up the side of the bowl. Cover and simmer for 1 and 1/4 hours until the pudding is firm to the touch.

To make the sauce put the sugar and 135ml of water in a wide saucepan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and simmer without stirring until it turns a dark caramel colour. Add 135ml of water slowly and stir to get rid of any lumps, simmer for five minutes, then add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Once the pudding is turned out onto a plate pour the sauce over to soak in before serving with some thick cream, with a dash of alcohol if you like.

Sausage and tomato bake

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

Sausage and tomato bake

It was the other half’s turn to cook last weekend and he picked a very blokey dish of sausage and tomato bake. It isn’t a dish that I would’ve picked, probably because purely by looking at it I could hear the distant groan of my jeans as I try and force my sausagey bulk into them. The other thing is that it is a very simple dish and I sometimes struggle to do simple, thinking that complicated is more impressive. Having said all that the dish was lovely and just served with crusty bread and a glass (or four) of red wine it went down very nicely. The recipe is out of Jamie Oliver’s latest book Jamie at home.

Serves 6

  • 2kg ripe cherry tomatoes, all different colours if you can get them
  • 2 sprigs each of fresh thyme, rosemary and bay leaves
  • 1 tblsp dried oregano
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 12 good quality Cumberland sausages or course Italian pork sausages
  • extra virgin olive oilbalsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Centigrade. Place all the tomatoes, herb sprigs, oregano, garlic and sausages in one layer in a roasting tin and drizzle well with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Mix this all together, making sure the sausages are on top and roast for 30 minutes. Take it out of the oven, give the tin a shake, turn the sausages and then bake for another 15 to 30 minutes depending on how golden you want the sausages. Remove the sausages from the tin and if the sauce is a bit thin boil it up on the hob until it is the consistency you want. Serve with warm crust bread and lashings of red wine. Real man food, but something for the girls to enjoy too. Grrrrrr!!

Food of the Gods

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Cinnamon ice cream

I wanted to do something from Kieran’s list at Ice cream Ireland and I decided upon cinnamon ice cream.

I love cinnamon with it’s warm wintery taste and aroma and I love ice cream, as does most of the civilised world I imagine. I do like ice cream on it’s own but I prefer to have something with it. Crumble of any sort is one of my favourite desserts, and I thought apple crumble would be the best accompaniment to the cinnamon ice cream.I have made quite a lot of ice cream, but have never made it in this way before. The idea of adding the whipped cream after the custard is made is a stroke of genius as the texture is so light and soft. The ice cream is also very easy to remove from the ice cream churn and softens up quickly when taken out of the freezer, so no waiting hours before you can eat it.

Apple crumble and cinnamon ice cream

Ingredients for apple crumble:

  • 800g cooking apples, peeled and sliced into 1cm thick slices
  • 2tblsp Dark brown sugar
  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g butter cut into small cubes
  • 75g caster sugar or light brown sugar

Make the crumble topping by blending the flour and butter in a food processor until it reaches a breadcrumb like consistency. If you don’t have a food processor rub the butter between your fingers and thumbs lightly. Take the breadcrumb mixture and stir in the sugar. Sprinkle the crumbs with a tblsp of water and mix lightly with a fork but don’t overmix; you want to have a few larger crumbs to give the crumble some texture. Lay the apple pieces into a baking dish and scatter over the crumble mix (don’t pack it down). Bake at 200 degrees centigrade for about 35 minutes or until the top is golden and the apples are cooked through. Serve and top with the cinnamon ice cream.

Serves 4

Spiced sweetcorn soup

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

Spiced sweetcorn soup

This simple concoction was originally intended to be a plain sweetcorn soup, but the only bread I had in the house was naan bread and I thought adding a hint of spice might compliment the bread very well. The soup is cheap, easy to make and reasonably healthy so it probably ticks most peoples boxes.


  • Two 400g tins of sweetcorn, try and get good quality stuff that hasn’t had salt and sugar added. Leave a tblsp aside to decorate
  • Two large potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch dice
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli pepper, deseeded if you like, and chopped
  • 1 litre of chicken stock
  • 4 heaped tsps of cumin seeds
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tblsp yoghurt to serve
  • a small sprig of parsley or coriander to garnish
  • naan bread


Heat a small pan on a medium to high heat and dry fry the cumin seeds until they release their aroma and slightly colour, (keep an eye on them so they don’t burn) then grind them with a pestle and mortar. Heat a small amount of oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat then add the onion and garlic. Fry for a few minutes until slightly softened then add the potatoes, chilli and ground cumin. Stir for a few minutes then add the chicken stock and simmer for about 15 minutes before adding the sweetcorn and cooking for a further 5 minutes. Check the potato and onion are soft ,then take off the heat and blend until smooth. It is quite a thick soup but if you find it too thick add a little water. Season the soup and then ladle into warm bowls, with a spoon of yoghurt, a small heap of sweetcorn and a sprig of parsley on top. Serve with warm naan bread.

Serves 4

I’m back!!

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

Winter warmer

I was a bit stressed when I realised that my blog had gone toe up, mainly because I had no idea how to fix it and also because I had nothing backed up (silly!!) so may have lost all my stuff. It is, thankfully, now well on the road to recovery and I have a back log of things to talk about and some yummy pics but in the meantime I will ease my stress with a hot whiskey, which will frankly cure just about anything (I generally prescribe one or two a night for a cold).

Simply squeeze the juice of half a lemon into your favourite mug, add a heaped teaspoon of honey, scatter in as many cloves as you like, a cinnamon stick and fill nearly to the top with hot water before adding a generous slug of whiskey (the more generous the better).

There, all better ;-)