Thursday, August 23, 2012

Vegetable & quinoa warm salad...

Inspired by Roz Stevens recipe for Colourful Quinoa Casserole I made my own. One of the reasons for changing her recipe was lack of ingredients that she has used... I used what I had in my fridge and cupboard and it worked great! It was my first ever(!) time eating quinoa - and there are so many recipes out here using quinoa, everyone seems to be cooking with it! - so it was time for me too. Another factor contributing to making this dish was that I could pack it into my lunch box and take it with me tomorrow to work. So handy! Well without any further delay the recipe for my version of quinoa casserole is below. Hope you'll try it and... enjoy it! I know I did!
I don't know if it's a casserole (maybe because of the way it's done) but for me it's more of a salad (being it a warm or cold one), hence the title ;)

You can make it a completely vegetarian dish by switching chicken stock with vegetable one.

How to make it...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Knockanore Irish Farmhouse Cheeses...

"From the farmlands of the Knockanore valley to the pastures along the Blackwater river dwells a cheese company that is creating quality, artisanal cheeses.
These talented individuals have rediscovered what many believed was a lost art in Ireland. Through intensive study and a strong dedication to the art of cheese making, the Knockanore cheese makers handcraft distinctive cheeses to market for consumers to enjoy." - by

I'm always there to support good, local food. Local, natural and almost always a unique one. What's more - I just love writing about people with passion for food and Eamonn Lonegran is one passionate man. A man with a passion and vision, which both helped him create a fantastic product. There are 6, in total, different varieties of Knockanore cheese.
Generally I'm a big fan of Cheddar, a cheese which I've tried for the very first time when I came to live in Ireland. Unfortunately I usually find it way too salty for my liking. The Knockanore cheeses are salty, but just enough and I find that in all cases they have very nice, little sweet aftertaste.
You can definitely taste the full cream cows milk it's made from - something so rare nowadays! We should really get rid off all that skinny/skimmed stuff and stick to the full goodness of the mother nature. One has only one life and should use it to the fullest - and not to worry about all that 'fat free' crap that media try to almost literally push into our mouths!

Vintage White Cheddar
Very, very creamy, not too salty, nice smell and so versatile in cooking. Perfect on a sandwich - as simple as that! In my opinion it would also work great in a souffle or quiche. Simple, honest, real cheese - and sooo good!

Vintage Red Cheddar
Stronger taste than the white one. Very creamy, crumbly but not dry. Good quality cheddar, salty but not too much and has a little sweetness too. My Toddler loved this one! Perfect for a sandwich and/or shaved in a salad. I think it's my favourite one. It is one of the best cheddar cheeses we have ever eaten!

Garlic & Herbs
Not too overpowering with the garlic (you should be OK regarding the 'garlic breath' ;) ). Nice mixture of herbs. Perfect on the home made pizza! Also tried in a soup - sweet potato and cheddar soup. Smooth, creamy texture. Not dry, only a little crumbly.

Black Pepper & Chives
Nice kick from the pepper, chives is strong too. The general taste of this cheese is a little bit over dominated by the black pepper. Quite big chunks of pepper which can stuck between your teeth - the only small minus with this cheese. Tried in a soup: sweet potato and cheddar soup - worked brilliantly. Small piece will go a long way.

Garlic & Chives
Quite strong taste, but nice. Garlic is strong on its own but with quite sharp chives it is a combination I couldn't honestly enjoy alone. Will work great on a sandwich, quiche or pizza. My Hubby's favourite cheese of them all!

Oak wood Smoked Cheddar
Quite smoky! But I love it! Perfect on a sandwich with a company of some ham and sliced tomato. It's hard to find a good smoked cheese as lots of them taste 'fake. With Knockanore cheese you can 'taste the smoke' - you know it's a real deal! My Hubby's second favourite!

The cheese comes in a handy 150 g packets and is widely available in Ireland (most big supermarkets - Aldi, DunnesStores - and local delicatessen). It's also available in some local shops in UK and in artisan food shops around the world.
All the cheeses were great. I think that when you have a good quality ingredients (like that raw cream milk) the end product will always be good too. The different tastes of a humble cheddar are great change and bring that little something to your everyday food. You can be sure that it will be a frequent guest in my weekly shopping basket - especially since it's widely available in lots of local shops and supermarkets.

For more information about Eamonn and his fantastic range if cheeses can be found on

*I received a free sample of all the cheeses mentioned above from Knockanore. All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Baked beans and sausage soup...

This is something I make almost without thinking now. It's a kind of dish I just put together on those days when you need something comforting, warm, easy and quick to make. This soup is also perfect for those days when you have a little bit more than just a light in the fridge (or only a light...). We always have few cans of baked beans in the cupboard, and we also have few sausages in the freezer, onion will find its way to the chopping board too ;) It's also a soup that Baby J will eat - which is a huge plus, that we don't have to cook something different for her. Even though it's kind of 'frugal' soup it's one of my favourite too - I like that smokiness coming from fried sausages and smoked paprika, very comforting and very warming too :)

How to make it...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

In the kitchen with The Sopranos - Uova in Purgatorio (eggs in Purgatory)...

Another dish from The Sopranos cook book. I can't remember it from the series itself... maybe I just missed it.... well if you know when (and even if) this dish appeared on The Sopranos please Do let me know in which episode - thank you! I'm writing that it's a Sopranos' dish as I took this recipe from that particular cook book, but I know that 'uova in purgatorio' is quite a popular dish and well known amongst the Italians - and not only the Italians for that matter.
This is a perfect little dish for lunch. For those days when you don't feel like cooking too much but still want something nice to eat. I've read somewhere that it's a type of peasant food - as it was popular amongst farmers, who had plenty of their own tomatoes and eggs, especially in the summer. As it's summer now I've decided to finally make it myself - not to mention that the book from which I took it had its 'powers' in convincing me to cook it too ;)

How to make it...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Daring Cooks #22 Cornmeal... and the recipe for a cornbread...

Rachael of pizzarossa was our August 2012 Daring Cook hostess and she challenged us to broaden our knowledge of cornmeal! Rachael provided us with some amazing recipes and encouraged us to hunt down other cornmeal recipes that we’d never tried before – opening our eyes to literally 100s of cuisines and 1000s of new-to-us recipes!

I always, but always wanted to make a cornbread and now I finally found an excuse to do so ;) I found the recipe online on the Food Network website. I didn't know what to expect, what kind of texture it should have, how it should taste, nothing... Since I've baked the cornbread using the recipe below I found out that the 'real deal' is a little bit different than what I've end up with. I loved it anyway! And I choose this particular recipe as it had great reviews form people who are used to eating cornbread. The only main differences I found in opinions between the below version and 'real cornbread' are that mine was more like a cake than a bread in consistency and that it shouldn't have any other flour than the corn flour (the recipe below call for equal quantities of plain and corn flours). Well, the end result was great and I liked it.
I liked it so much that now I'm looking for a recipe for a 'real deal'... and that's where I have a question and a favour to ask of you: PLEASE DO SEND me a link to a good, checked recipe (or a recipe itself) for a REAL cornbread (or as close to a real deal as it possibly can be).

How to make it...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rozanne Stevens "Delish" (book review)...

by Rozanne Stevens

Paperback (194 pages)

Chapters: Foreword by Pat Kenny, The story of Ish, Pantry palls, Freezer treasures, Fresh friends, QR codes with top fruit, South Africanish, Irish, Thaiish, Frenchish, Italianish, Marrakeshish, Chineseish, Mexicanish, Greekish, Spanish, P(M)Sish, Kitchen kit.

I have to admit that after living on The Green Isle for over 6 years now I have never heard of Rozanne Stevens before... Well I'm glad I finally did :) Her book IS a good one. The style that it's written in is very easy and nice to read. Her recipes are easy to follow and the ingredients aren't difficult to get (most supermarkets, ethnic stores would stock them). Some of the recipes are just a simple marriage of everyday ingredients, a great combination that you may not necessary thought of before...
The recipes aren't over complicated, aren't 'chefy' (which I find in some of the cookbooks) just honest food. Everyone will be able to cook from this book and actually enjoy it too :) You'll find a wide selection of main dishes, sides, vegetarian meals and some desserts too. The book is nicely written, with good, easy to follow and checked recipes. Mouth watering photos and inviting description of dishes really encourage you to cook.
The book covers quite a selection of different cuisines (you get 10 on average recipes in each chapter). In my personal opinion I think that there could be less cuisines, but they could be covered better, a wider selection of recipes in each. I think that Roz wanted to show her personality and diversity in cooking skills, hence the big number of different cuisines from around the world.

Some of the recipes I've already tried:

Ginger sweet potato mash 
- 6 sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked and roughly mashed
- 50 g butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a pot, add the honey and gently fry the ginger. Add everything to the potatoes, season with salt and pepper and serve as a side dish.

About the author:
South African by birth, Rozanne has lived in Ireland for more than 10 years. Rozanne qualified as the youngest ever lecturer for the prestigious Cape Wine Academy. She then branched into complimentary therapy by studying iridology, herbal medicine and nutritional therapy. She combined these disciplines to treat clients in her Dun Laoghaire clinic, Green Living Health and Lifestyle Clinic. Her studies have enabled her to create delicious wholefood, healthy recipes without compromising on taste or enjoyment.
Today, Rozanne uses her extensive food and health knowledge to teach classes and also to give one on one lessons on cooking, menu planning and healthy lifestyle choices. Particularly popular are her ‘Kitchen Detox’ days where she revamps your kitchen cupboard with useful, tasty and healthy staples to help you whip up healthy meals in minutes according to her recipes and planned menus.
Rozanne is a keen baker and very knowledgeable about alternative grains such as spelt, rye, buckwheat etc. She believes in reigniting an interest in traditional crafts such as baking your own bread and bottling your own jams and preserves. She incorporates these skills in her ‘Kids In The Kitchen’ lessons, to encourage kids to take an interest in good food, where it comes from and different cultures. - by

I received a free copy of this book to review from Glenisk. All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sweet potato and cheddar soup...

I'm in love with sweet potatoes! I've never had them in Poland, and I've heard that even now they're quite hard to get there. Thanks God it's not the case here in Ireland. You can buy them very easily and cheap too. They're perfect for a mash or a soup. We use them quite often in a soup actually, as they cook very quickly, they're becoming very soft but they're not disintegrating as a normal potato could. This soup was inspired by a similar recipe in The Soup Book, but I've changed quite a bit so it's really more my recipe now than it is the one from that cookbook. I hope you'll try it. I recommend quite a strong cheddar cheese here, so that you can actually taste it. Strong cheddar or a flavoured cheddar - as I did this time round.

How to make it...

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Sopranos' food - Struffoli, little sweet treat (not only for Mafia members...) ...

I am a HUGE fan of The Sopranos. I just love everything about that fantastic TV series. I love the families, the plots, a unique sense of humor and of course the food which is a big part of the whole series. There's one dish, a dessert, in particular that is present through out all the seasons. The struffoli (honey balls). Tony eats it, Carmela eats it, Livia (Tony's mum etas it) well pretty everyone at some stage has eaten it ;) It's like 'Leave the gun, take the canolli' type of food :) A legend in itself!

It's very easy to make. Well it wasn't until I was making it myself the other day, that I've noticed it has the very same ingredients as a basic pasta! Well, only Italians could invented it! :) I hope you'll try it - if you're a Soprano fan or not - I'm sure you'll love this little sweet treat! But I warn you - it IS addictive! Oh, this recipe comes from The Soprano cookbook (of course I have it - what did you think!? ;) ).

How to make it...

Monday, August 06, 2012

Spicy turkey meatballs with sticky dipping sauce...

This is a dish, or maybe more of a starter or a great party finger food, that is very easy to prepare and quite a healthy one too. I found the sauce a little bit too hot for me, not even spicy, but pure hot - the hotness which came from the garlic and the ginger - next time I'll use less. You'll be able to make those meatballs from not only turkey or chicken meat, but also sausage meat (how handy is that?!). I liked this recipe straight after reading it (took it from a very nice cookbook by Rozanne Stevens 'Delish'), as I liked the idea of baking rather than frying the meatballs (something I've done for the very first time!). The meatballs itself are very light, crisp on the outside, but soft and delicate inside. Enjoy! :)

How to make it...