Monday, 26 March 2012

5 uses for those leftover egg yolks and whites

If you're a baker, then oftentimes you'll be left with an extra egg yolk or two, or if a recipe needs just the yolks, you'll have a shellful of whites on your hands. Don't waste those eggy parts, here's 5 ways to use them up. 

Use the egg whites for:

  • Meringues
  • Macarons  (David Lebovitz)
  • Tuiles
  • Marshmallows - I'm working on a vegetarian version, shall report back!
  • Royal icing

And the yolks?

Friday, 23 March 2012

Sweet potato, chilli and lemongrass soup

I was pondering the soup possibilities yesterday with what I had in the cupboard. The giant sweet potatoes with the pink, woody skin seemed to speak to me. Add in the kick of a chili and the calming presence of lemongrass and we've got a killer soup. Not literally unless you add too much chili maybe. This is sweetly filling, serve white a white crusty bread. 


1 medium sweet potato,
3 shallots,
1 red chilli, deseeded,
1 lemongrass stalk, diced finely,
1 1/2 litres vegetable stock
2 tbsps olive oil
Salt to taste

Start by getting the oven on at 180C. Peel and cube the sweet potato and chop the shallots roughly. Add both to an oven-proof dish, drizzle over the olive oil and pop in the oven for 30 minutes or until just tender. 

Add the vegetable stock, sweet potatoes and shallots, chili and lemongrass to a large pot. Simmer gently for 15- 20 mintes and season to taste. Blend with a stick blender and it's ready to serve. A dollop of colloing Greek yoghurt is delicious on top

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Simply healthy: Yoghurt breakfast

This is a simple breakfast, but your body will thank you for the healthy kickstart to get going. The scents of the fruits alone were enough to wake me up and transport my mind to paradise beaches instead of grey skies. We can all dream. This will help keep the dream alive before you have to squash onto a packed train for the morning commute. Bonus is it won't take more than 5 minutes.  


Serves 1

1 bowl of Greek yoghurt
Pulp and seeds of 2 passion fruit
1/4 of blood orange, diced
1 tbsp honey

This recipe couldn't be any simpler. Slice the passion fruits in half and sccoop out the flesh and seeds and add to the yoghurt. Dice some of the blood orange and add that to the bowl. Drizzle over the tbsp of honey and swirl everthing together. You could also add some sunflower or flax seeds for extra crunch if you like.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Carageen Moss Pudding


A late treat for your Mother today, carrying on using Irish ingredients, using a Darina Allen recipe. Carageen is a type of seaweed that can be used in place of gelatine for us veggies. Its possible to go out during Spring at low tide to collect some yourself, but you should know what you're harvesting so maybe ask someone who knows or bring a book. Otherwise, you can pick it up in health food shops not too expensively.

This dessert is mild and milky with a very faint sea, not fish, aroma. Serve alongside a big dollop of jam like this rhubarb and cardamom, with a swirl of cream and some sugar or a little grated chocolate.

handful of carageen moss
800ml milk
1 egg
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Firstly, soak the carageen in tepid water for about 10 minutes, where it will expand in size. Drain the water and add to a medium pot along with the milk. Bring to the boil before turning down the heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. 

At this point, separate the egg into 2 bowls. To the yolk, add the sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk briefly and then with a sieve placed on top of the bowl, pour the milk and carageen mixture onto the yolk mixture. Whisk continually to incorporate well. Now you can mush and squash as much of the   carageen in the sieve, into the milk mixture. The carageenan is what will make the dessert set. Whisk again for a few minutes. Check to see if it will set by placing a spoonful onto a saucer. If it stays in one place and doesn't run down, then it will set. 

Next whisk the egg white in the other bowl to a stiff peak. Gently fold this into the milk mixture, to give a frothy top. Pop in the fridge to chill  and top with whatever you fancy.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Paddy's Day: Potato and wild sorrel cakes with wild garlic butter


Truth be known, it would be pretty tough trying to survive on a traditional Irish diet as a vegetarian. It's a cuisine packed full of parts of cows, pigs, fish and rabbits complete with a hefty portion of potatoes. While, I absolutely love potatoes, I often find I have to look further afield than Ireland to add a little colour and excitement to my dinner plate. Of course though, being the weekend of St. Patrick, I had to find something to tickle the tastebuds, of a more traditional kind. After going foraging in Howth, I'd picked up some fresh-from-the-ground sorrel and wild garlic, that I'd planned to put to good use.

This sorrel and potato cake is so easy to make, that it's a good one to do with the kids or in a rush in between nap times! The wild garlic butter packs quite a punch and you really don't need to use a lot.


Inspired by several Darina Allen recipes

3 medium potatoes
a handful of sorrel leaves of various sizes
1 (generous) tbsp of plain flour
4 tsp butter
1 handful of wild garlic
2 tbsp rapeseed oil

Peel and grate the potatoes by hand or in a food processor. Wash the sorrel leaves well and dry with kitchen paper. Remove large middle veins from the leaves and dice finely. Add to a medium bowl along with the grated potato and the flour and mix well.

Add the oil and 1 tbsp of the butter to a pan, over a medium heat and add the potato mixture. Spread out evenly in the pan and pat out to create a flat, even cake shape. Cook on one side until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes, before flipping over to the other side and cooking through.

Meanwhile make the wild garlic butter by creaming 3 tbsps in a small bowl. Wash the flowers and leaves thoroughly and pat dry. Dice finely, add to the bowl and mix well. Fold the butter out onto some cling film, roll into a sausage shape and secure both ends. Pop in the fridge to chill and harden. When it is ready, lavish it on top of the potato cakes and enjoy. Guinness is not vegetarian, so maybe skip that and go for a chilled cider instead. Flat cap, pipe and old beard are strictly optional. 

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Foraging in Howth


St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner and in honour of that, we decided to take a trip out to Howth. It's actually one of those places in Dublin that I never really take the opportunity to visit and that was my mistake. Climbing up the hill there are such stunning views that we often associate with far away places but, it's all right here on my doorstep.

Howth is still a fishing village, with a working harbour. The aromas of the days catch permeate the air and the streets are like a checkerboard of fish restaurants, along with more modern bars, mexican and asian restaurants and ice cream shops. But if you step away from all of this and chance to climb the hill, you'll find spectacular scenery and the freshest possible ingredients.  

I knew, that I wanted some sorrel for a St Patricks day recipe, but I also chanced upon some beautiful wild garlic, that will definitely be put to good use. Slow food Ireland has some guidelines here and here, for identifying and preparing both sorrel and wild garlic. Sorrel can be identified by it's citrusy, lemony taste and the wild garlic has a recognisably pungent, garlic smell if you crush the leaves or flowers in your hand. Fresh and free, what could be better.

And if you take a stroll around the harbour, watch out for the giant seagulls that try to steal your chips!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Mother's Day: Gift ideas for the foodie Mammy

Mother's Day is this Sunday and this will be my first as a mother, so it's extra special this year. Mothers certainly deserve a day to themselves, hopefully of rest and relaxation, because it's no easy job. In celebration of all the wonderful women, here's a gift gift for the foodies in your life.  

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Rhubarb and Cardamom Jam

Rhubarb season has arrived, and I'm taking full advantage of it with this ruby red jam. Slather it on a toasted bagel in the morning, or it would be perfect on a scone with cream, or like here, with a creamy mild cheese. It's tart, sweet and warm all at once, perfect Spring jam. 

400g rhubarb, washed
380g granulated sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon 
1 tsp of cardamom pods

(Makes 1 regular sized jar)

Remove the leaves and slice the rhubarb into 2cm pieces. Place in a bowl and cover with the sugar and lemon juice and leave to mascerate overnight. When you return, empty the rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice into a wide, low pot. Stir over a low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil until it reaches a set, but make sure that the jam doesn't burn. Test for a set by placing a saucer in the fridge to chill. Put a splodge of jam on the cold plate and pop back in the fridge for 10-15 seconds. If you can run your finger through it, and it wrinkles and doesn't run down the plate then it is ready. If if does run down the plate continue to boil and keep testing with the cold plate.

Meanwhile open the cardamom pods and crush the seeds in a pestles and mortar, the scent is citrusy and delicious.

When it has reached a set, remove from the heat, skim the surface of the jam and add the crushed cardamom. You can now leave it to rest for 10 minutes. Pour into hot, sterilised jars and cover. If you're feeling generous you could multiply the quantities here and share. 

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Kotijuusto: Homemade Finnish cheese


The idea of Mozzerella making popped into my head last week, but unfortunately, I had no vegetable rennet. So the suggestion was put to me instead to make this "kotijuusto" which literally means home cheese. It's easier to make and the result is mild and creamy with a crumbly texture, a worthy substitute! In Finland, it's eaten with cumcumbers and tomatoes, but a rhubarb and cardamom jam that I made, paired really well with the cheese. (Post to follow on the jam) It seemed a little strange to add eggs to cheese but hey, I went for it and it works. I found the recipe here


1 litre full fat milk
1/2 litre buttermilk
2 organic eggs
1 tsp salt

Add the whole milk to a medium pot and bring to the boil. In a separate bowl, add the buttermilk and eggs and whisk together until fully combined. Add to the pot with the boiling milk, in a slow, steady stream, stirring continuously before bringing back to the boil. When it has reached a boil, remove from the heat, add the salt and set aside for 30 minutes so that the curds and whey begin to separate.

When it has rested, line a large bowl with a muslin cloth. Pour the cheese in and then gather up the muslin and tie up high, to let the liquid strain through. Leave overnight. When you come back remove the cloth carefully and behold the milky round ball you have created. 

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

How to: DIY vegetable stock

This is a simple one, but good to know how, when you run out of the powered cubes. I've been there, where I started to make a soup or risotto, I reach for the handy stock cubes and ...whoops we're all out.

You can add really any selection of vegetables you want, though I've found to stay away from brassicas in a stock i.e broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage etc. They make the stock bitter and it justs tastes off. Other than that, you can throw almost any vegetable in there. If you make a huge pot, use what you need and freeze the rest, you won't run out again, and the taste is so much fresher. 


I found the tip for using prunes in Yotam Ottolenghi's book, Plenty. They really do give more body and a fully rounded flavour.

For this stock I used

2 carrots
2 sticks of celery
1 medium white onion
1 medium red onion
1 tomato
4 garlic cloves
2 prunes
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 sprig of thyme
1 small handful of parsley
1 tsp salt

Add everything to the pot with 1 1/2 litres of water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 1 hour. Let the stock rest for 15- 20 minutes before using so that it really absorbs all of the flavours.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Mind blowing Mud Pie


 The other day, the babies and me were watching "Up" and it got me thinking about what we did when we were kids. Often climbing up trees, going on mini adventures but especially making mud pies. So this was a little nostalgic, but this time a hell of a lot tastier! Not that we often ate the mud pies we made, but actually when I was a kid, that was probably one of the foremost things that gave me a love of food. Mud pies and desserts made with mashed up rose petals, daisies, dandelions and water. They weren't really a success either, but our hearts and our instinct for hunting for food were in the right place I think. Well roses and dandelions are edible anyway. 

With this mud pie, I have taken the best bits from many different sources* and the result is pretty charming. It's luscious as a drink from Willy Wonka's chocolate river, so only a tiny slice will satisfy the most deviant of chocolate cravings. It'll set you right up for eggs from the Easter bunny.

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