“I’ll go tomorrow” Porridge

How do you start your mornings? In Spain I started my morning with this, a big bowl of cherries from the fruit shop next door to the apartment, and a crusty roll from the bakery two doors down. Then I went for a dip in the Sea in 20C water. I think it wold be a lot easier to get up everyday if I lived in Spain.

Back home in Ireland I usually start my day with a bowl of cereal or toast and whatever fruit is left in the bowl never very exciting.

Sometimes I go for a run ( only sometimes)

Other days I role over in bed and come up with some excuse and not even these will work. On the ” I’ll go for a long run tomorrow” mornings, I make myself this porridge so I feel good about myself. I find porridge is so wholesome it almost compensates for the run, or lack of it.

Porridge My Way 

I make porridge with pinhead oatmeal a.k.a  steel-cut oats a.k.a Irish oats. They take longer to cut but I prefer the texture. You could over course use rolled oats just follow the instructions on the packet. I cook it with all water but again thats just a preference use all milk or half and half for a creamier porridge. I make a big batch of pinhead oatmeal refrigerate it and then heat it up through out the week with a little water. 

Ingredients

One cup of steel cut oats

Four cups of water

Put the oats and water in a saucepan over the heat. Bring to the boil then simmer on a lower heat for 20-25 minutes. When the oats are creamy and tender, remove from heat . Serve immediately or allow to cool before transferring into air tight containers in the fridge. In the morning, add a splash of milk or water and reheat in the microwave or on the stove-top.

Toppings

For a little variety I like to serve my porrige with toppings here are some suggestions.

Nuts for Bananas porridge

1/2 a banana sliced.

4-5 almonds and hazelnuts (toasted)

3 tablespoons of toasted dessicated coconut

drizzle of maple syrup.

Arrange the slices of bananas on the porridge. Scatter over the nuts and coconut. Then drizzle with the syrup.

Blueberry Bliss porridge

1/2 cup of blueberries (frozen is okay)

1/2 cup of flaked almonds (toatsted)

drizzle of honey

Gently heat the blueberries over a low heat or microwave them for about 45-60 seconds. They should be soft but still hold their shape. Place on top of the porridge and scater over the flaked almonds. Drizzle with honey for sweetness.

Peach Melba Porridge

One peach sliced into wedges.

3-4 tablespoons of natural yogurt

4-5 raspberries

drizzle of honey

Place the yogurt in the center of the porridge. Then top with peaches and raspberries. Drizzle with honey

Apple Crumble Porridge

One apple chopped up

2-3 tablespoons of coconut

2 tablespoons of flaked almonds

1 table spoon of sunflower seeds

Fry the apple slices over a low heat with a little butter or oil to soften them. Toast the coconut, almonds and seeds until just golden. Arrange the softened apple on top of the porridge and scatter with nut topping.

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Feel Good Chocolate Cake

I am leaving this rainy country for sunnier climate, I am off to Spain tomorrow. One week of Sunshine and beach… hopefully. Beach and sunshine also means bikini and my body hasn’t been so forgiving to the scones, cookies and cakes I have been filling it with. Before I go I would like to share this feel good chocolate cake. I spent a while coming up for a name for this cake, I didn’t want the word healthy in the title as that suggests some tasteless, dry chocolate cake, which this is not. It is decadent and fudgy cake almost like a brownie. The wholemeal flour adds a nutty flavour and the honey creates a light sticky sweetness. It is not a low fat, weightloss cake but more of a whole food cake you eat to feel good. Its decadent but you feel happy after eating it plus their is no sugar or white flour. Enjoy and adios por ahora!!

Feel Good Chocolate Cake

I created a new way for adding chocolate to the chocolate cake. I finely ground the chocolate in a food processor until it resembled powder almost like cocoa powder. It adds to the fudgyness of the cake. I also use wholemeal flour but feel free to subsitute it with all purpose flour,

45og of wholemeal flour

1 tablespoon of baking powder

3/4 tsp of salt

1/2 cup of oil

2 eggs

1 cup of honey

1 cup of yogurt/buttermilk

200g of chocolate powder (see above) or cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 170C degrees with a rack in the middle. Butter and flour an 20×20 square cake pan (I used a le crueset square stone dish 23cmx23).

Put the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Mix the egg, honey and oil in a jug. Add the yogurt and mix. Then pour the wet ingredients into the flour. Then add the chocolate powder and mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared dish and place in the oven for 40-50 minutes. The cake will be fudgy and slightly sticky so the skewer test wont work .Leave to cool and make the chocolate cream to frost.

Chocolate Cream

1 cup of cream

150g of dark chocolate

80g of icing sugar (omit if not using very dark chocolate)

Melt the chocolate. Whip the cream to stiff peaks (but be careful you want it thick and creamy but you don’t want butter) Pour the chocolate over the cream and stir it in until all the chocolate is incorporated. Then fold in the sugar.Top the cooled cake with the chocolate frosting and spread evenly over top. Use a n offset spatula to create little swirls on the top.

Flour Power

I love going into town (Dublin) on a lazy Saturday not to shop but simply stroll around. I love rambling around Temple Bar especially Cows Lane, home to the lovely Queen of Tarts. Temple Bar is described as the cultural quarter of Dublin. It comes alive at night with it’s tourist focused lively night life but I love it during the day with its medieval streets and quirky shops. I love the little markets that take place in the meeting house square. Temple Bar is our little Greenwich Village. The other part of town that I love is between Grafton street and Temple Bar. It is probably less well known to tourists but these streets are filled with little cafes and vintage shops that create a holiday vibe. Georges Street Arcade is filled with fun shops and cafes. I am a huge fan of Yogism a self serve frozen yogurt bar that gives you a free yogurt if you guess the correct weight ( I did ). As you can imagine my when I go into town with friends I don’t drag them from food shop to vintage shop instead we spend our time on Grafton Street or Henry Street shopping on the high street which I do enjoy but sometimes I like to get away from it all and go to on a “me” trip into town. Occasionally I drag Sister No. One with me. Last time I took her I dragged her from Vintage store to Food store. I took base in Falllon and Byrne where I spent an hour “looking at bags of flour” to quote my sister. I loved it, as my sister pointed out only I could get excited at a shelf that had  different types of flour.  I finally decided on buying rye flour, I had never used it before but heard of it’s health benefits and eaten bread made from it. I returned home from Dublin satisfied with my  two purchases a bag of bulgar wheat and and rye flour,  Oh and a  FroYo ( I didn’t guess right this time). I then looked for a nice sourdough rye to make with my new purchase but stumbled upon a pizza recipe form Green Kitchen Story  I subsituted the spelt flour for rye and voila we had yummy pizza snacks.

Rye Pizzette 

200 ml of lukewarm water
2 tsp instant dry yeast
2 tsp sea salt
250g rye flour (we used light)
2 tbsp olive oil

Tomato sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 can of tomatoes
1 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried oregano/basil
salt & black pepper to taste

Topping suggestions

  • 4 pre boiled potatoes
  • 250 g marinated artichoke hearts
  • 100 g kalamata olives
  • 1 courgette/pepper (cooked)
  • 1 aubergine(cooked)
  • 4 brown mushrooms, cut in quarters (cooked)
  • 1/4 fennel, thin slices
  • 300 g small tomatoes

Put the Rye flour in a bowl with the yeast make a well in the centre. Mix the salt and warm water in a jug and pour in the water until it comes to a kneadable dough. Knead for a couple of minutes, add additional flour if it sticks to your hands. Put the dough back in the bowl and drizzle it with olive oil. Work the dough until it’s completely covered in the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place for 1 – 2 hours.

Make the sauce by sauteing the onion and garlic in the oil. Then add the tomatoes and oregano. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes under a lid.

Preheat the oven to the HIGHEST temperature abour 270C if you have a pizza stone put it in the oven. Work the dough for about 1 minute, on a floured surface. Make 8 to 10 small portions. Stretch and flatten the dough until you get the desired size and thickness that you prefer and move it to a baking pan covered with parchment paper. Rye flour doesn’t stretch as good as wheat flour but if you work carefully and flatten it with the palm of your hand you will get it right. Brush the dough with 2 tbsp tomato sauce. Cover them with topping of your choice. Bake for about 10-15 min until the outer part of the topping and the edges are slightly burnt. Sprinkle with fresh goat cheese, a bit of olive oil, fresh aragula, salt and freshly grounded pepper. Serve immediately.

Be our guest … you’ll get pancakes

The bad thing about living in my house is I never get to be a guest in it. Mammy is a lot of things but one of her attributes is a wonderful host. Food plays a major role in her hosting skills. She buys and cooks everything and anything that the guest may or may not like. When you are staying in somebodies house getting feed well can change your whole opinion of the household, from somebody who went on Spanish exchange and only got one proper meal. This weekend we had two lovely girls staying in our house for Feile. A nationwide G.A.A competition for under fourteens. (Well done to Sister No. One and her team who made it to semi-final where they were beaten by a point to the eventual winners).  When people stay in our house we live by the motto “remember as far as anybody knows we are a normal family”, the house is tidied, new towels are bought to match the bed linen, (Mammy has a thing about new towels) and lots of yummy food is bought. The milk get served from a jug rather than the usual carton, sugar put in a sugar bowl and the butter is put on the table,  in a butter dish rather than the aluminum gold foil it comes wrapped in. I always think that breakfast is one of the most important meals to serve a guest but maybe that’s just because I am a breakfast lover. If I stay at somebodies house it just makes me all the happier to got a nice breakfast that morning. The Feile girls got pancakes, well technically they are crepes but the silky french crepes made it across the sea to Ireland before the fluffier american pancake. We have always called them pancakes unless they served in a French creperie of course. This crepe recipe is adapted from a Darina Allen recipe that has been used in our house every pancake Tuesday I can remember and other days in between. I didn’t want to scare the girls early in the morning with any buckwheat, rye or other brown healthy stuff, but the crepes would be lovely  if you replaced 75g of the plain flour with buckwheat flour.

Pancakes (crepes)

175g of plain flour

pinch of salt

2 eggs and 1-2 egg yolks

200 ml of water

225 ml of milk

Oil to grease pan
Put the flour  and salt in a food processor and whizz to sieve.  Beat the eggs and yolks in with the water and milk. Then with the processor still running slowly pour it into the flour. Leave to rest for a few hours or overnight in a fridge if possible, if not cook straight away. Remo ve from fridge and mix up the batter as it may have separated while resting. Grease a frying and pan and put it on the heat. Ladle in just enough batter to cover the base when you tilt and swirl the pan. Put the pan back on the heat; loosen the pancake around the edge with a non metal slice. Flip over, cook for a few seconds on the reverse side. Slide over onto a plate. Repeat until all the batter has been used up greasing pan every two or three.. Serve with toppings of your choice sweet or savory though I only ever serve them sweet
My serving  suggestions maple syrup, toasted nuts and banana, honey and lemon, berry compote and yogurt, nutella and banana, chocolate sauce and almond

Gay Pride Buns

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So it was Gay Pride week here in Dublin last week and the Gays and Lesbians of Dublin took to the streets and filled the City with colour.Image

 The theme of this years parade was show your through colours and that certainly happened on the streets of Dublin last week. The festival was a huge success. Dublin is said to have more gay or bisexual per capita. Although Ireland has come along way in the last twenty years we are still have a long way to go. Same sex marriage is not recognized in Ireland although Civil Partnership entitles them to similar rights as married couple. This reminds me of a slogan I saw on the subway in New York ” If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married”. It’sissues like this that make me embarrassed to be part of the Catholic Church who have a zero tolerance of gay rights. To celebrate how far Ireland has come on the issue of LGBT rights, and to hope we can go further to allow these men and women equal rights, I made multicolored buns (not cupcakes)

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Gay Pride Buns

makes 12 buns

I use imperial units as it is easier to remember for the buns

6oz self raising flour

6oz caster sugar

6oz of margarine

3 eggs

two to three drops of food colouring red, blue, yellow and green (I had no blue)

for the frosting

3 egg whites

280g of caster sugar

1 tsp of cream of tartar

Put 12 bun cases in a bun tin. Preheat the oven to 160C. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Sieve in the flour and mix well.  Divide the mixture into five bowls put more in the first bowl and less as you go down the bowls. In the first bowl put the red colouring, the second put yellow (or orange), third put green, fourth put blue and fifth make purple with blue and red. Put a small spoonful of red into each case then using your finger make a little hole in the base to put the second colour in, repeat with each colour until you get to the purple. Then put in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes. Take out and leave to cool on a wire tray.  Meanwhile make the frosting, Beat the sugar, cream of tartar and egg whites, in a heatproof bowl,unitl volumised ( I think its a word) and stiff. Then put it over a double broiler ( saucepan of hot water on the cooker) and continue mixing for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Then pipe on cooled buns.

 

Wholemeal pancakes to get you running

I love to run but there are some mornings when I get up and the last thing I want to do is put on my running gear and go running. It’s never as bad when I have left the house but for some reason. I saw a slogan saying “The hardest steps for a runner is the first one out the door” I completely agree. I have come up with a few methods of getting myself out of bed and out the door.

  1. Don’t think just do it. Make it part of a must do ritual like you wouldn’t start the day without brushing your teeth
  2. Don’t allow any excuses-its cold, I have blisters, I am don’t feel well …. They all mean I am too lazy
  3. Don’t think that one run won’t make a difference, it will make more of a difference than sitting at home.
  4. Tell yourself you will only go out for a short one, then once you are out their decide how long it will be. Your up and out now might as well make it count.

Though there are some times when I am half way round my run I start sucking air. This is when I have to chant to myself ” I don’t stop when I am tired I stop when I am done”. I know they all sound cheesy but they work for me.

Another tip is tell youself you will whip up a batch of these pancakes when you get home, or even better get somebody else to make them while you are out.

So go on get up and run then stuff yourself with these

Wholemeal pancakes makes 12 adapted from Lilly Higgins stuff I make bake and love 

125g of wholemeal flour

180 ml of buttermilk

2 tsp of baking powder

1-2 tsp of caster sugar

pinch of salt

1 egg

Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl Add the salt and sugar. Beat the egg with the milk and mix into the dry ingredients. Beat well making sure there are no lumps. Grease and heat a frying pan. When the pan is hot scoop spoonfuls of the mix onto the pan and turn down the heat. When the tops start to bubble flip the pancakes over and cook for 1-2 minutes on this side.  Serve straight away with maple syrup or dusted with sugar.