Corned Beef

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Corned beef is so handy, use this recipe one night and then leftovers for sandwiches, corned beef hash or corned beef cakes.

I serve it with mashed potatoes and cauliflower cheese, pop left over  cauliflower cheese in the freezer, left over mash can become potato scones, recipe to follow!

Ingredients

1.5kg piece of corned beef, my butcher does a girello cut

40g brown sugar

60mls red wine vinegar

6 peppercorns

1 onion, pealed and quartered

3 garlic cloves, peeled

3 bay leaves

Method

Pop your beef into a large pan. Add sugar, vinegar, peppercorns, onion, bay leaves and garlic.

Fill the pan with cold water to cover the meat. The meat will likely bob to the surface so put an old saucer,  not your finest, over the top to weigh it down and keep under the liquid.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 1-1/2 hours.

Once cooked it will be tender. Keep in the liquid until serving, can be served hot or cold.

Gluten Free Chocolate and Beetroot Brownies

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Now, trust me in this, these are delish! Yes, there is a sneaky bit of beetroot here but the kids will never notice and it really adds to the recipe.

I often bake for the boys but sometimes I fancy some baking for us as a family and that means it has to be gluten free for me. To make these non gluten free omit almonds, rice flour and baking powder and use 150g self raising flour instead.

I cook the beetroot when I have the oven on for something else, wrap the whole beetroot in foil, root tip, skin and shoots included. Depending on size it may take 1-2hours.

This mix makes 16-20 pieces depending on how you cut it up.

Ingredients

250g cooked, peeled beetroot, grated

250g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids

250g butter

250g sugar, granulated or caster is fine

3 eggs

100g ground almonds

50g rice flour

1teaspoon gluten free baking powder

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade. Grease and line  the base and sides of a 20 by 28cm tin.

In an oven proof bowl, combine the butter and chocolate, pop in the oven to melt. Keep an eye on it and stir a few times as it begins to melt. You could do this in a microwave or over water. Set aside.

Whisk the egg and sugar until light in colour and mousse like, this helps get some extra air in for the gluten free recipe.

Slowly add the chocolate mix, whisk well in.

Add the almond meal, rice flour and gluten free baking powder, fold in.

Add the beetroot gently and fold in.

Pour into prepared tin, level out and pop in the oven.

Bake for 40-50mins, I like my brownies on the gooey side.

Allow to cool in the tin then transfer to a wire rack to fully cool.

Serve on their own or have a wee treat, serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

 

Lentil Soup

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I love soup, a meal in a bowl served with bread, simple satisfying food.

This soup is loved by children, full of flavour and a few hidden carrots! It is also great for school lunches, lots of goodness packed in to their thermos!

This recipe makes 4 litres, enough to serve 10-12 depending on your bowl size and whether you choose to water it down a bit! I always freeze half, it freezes really well and gives me an occasional night off!

Ingredients

2 ham hocks

1 onion, chopped roughly

1kg carrots, peeled and chopped

splash of olive oil

400g/2 cups red lentils, rinsed and drained

salt and pepper

Method

In a large stock pot or pressure cooker, place the ham hocks and add 2.5litres water.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour if using a stockpot. In a pressure cooker bring up to pressure and cook for 30mins.

Drain with a sieve over a large bowl or jug to catch all of the stock.

Once the hocks have cooled, strip off the meat, chop finely and set aside.

In a large pan, a  6 litre pan works well, warm a splash of olive oil and add onions and carrots, cook until onions are soft.

Skim any fat off the stock, make the stock up to 3 litres with water, add stock to the onion and carrot mix, stir and add the lentils.

Add the hock meat and bring up to the boil, simmer gently for 30-40mins when the carrots should be soft and the lentils falling apart.

Allow to cool slightly and then, using a hand held blender, liquidize completely. If using a liquidizer let the soup cool right down, soup splashes really burn!

Season well, we enjoy lots of pepper in this soup.

Serve with some nice crusty bread.

For a vegetarian version, omit the hock and use vegetable stock, add 2 teaspoons ground cumin and 4 teaspoons ground coriander while cooking the onions and carrots.

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Roasted Pumpkin

Roasted pumpkin

 

If the oven is on for a roast why not roast some veg at the same time? I find it less time consuming and any leftovers can be added to salads, risottos and even soup. Serves 4-6.

Ingredients

1 small butternut pumpkin or any other that roasts well

4-6 cloves of garlic, skinned but left whole

a splash of olive oil

Fresh thyme leaves

Salt and pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Centigrade.

Cut the pumpkin into quarters then slice into 1cm pieces, arrange in you roasting tin.

Add the garlic to the pumpkin, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with thyme.

Mix well, hands are ideal!

Roast in the preheated oven for 40-60mins depending on thickness.

Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach

Often served alongside steak, creamed spinach has other uses too.

Liquidize and use as a “hidden vegetable” sauce on fussy children’s pasta or pop a poached egg on top  and you have eggs Florentine, delicious for breakfast or a light lunch. It can also be made ahead of time to save time when you are entertaining, just reheat gently.

If your spinach comes with roots get the kids to plant them out in the garden to give an instant veggie patch and more spinach in the future.

Serves 4-5.

Ingredients

600g spinach, stalks removed

400mls cream

nutmeg

salt and pepper

Method

Wash the spinach and place in a pan with a well fitting lid.

Cover and heat on a high heat for 3-5mins stirring once, the spinach should be completely wilted.

Drain spinach in a colander and then squeeze all the liquid out of it by hand.

Chop the spinach and return to the pan, add cream, heat over high-medium heat, stirring occasionally until reduced to a thick cream consistency.

Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Serve warm over steak.

If making for pasta sauce don’t allow to thicken quite so much and if hiding the vegetable liquidize or use a hand held blender to make a smooth green sauce.

Stir Fried Rice

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Fast food is essential in my family some nights, add to this the fact I seem to always have leftovers this is a great way to cover both bases.

Although not authentic this has a lovely mild flavour that kids love.

Ingredients

450g cooked white rice

2 tablespoons sesame oil

100g roast pork/ham, cubed

200g frozen peas

2 eggs

3 spring onion, sliced

50g baby spinach

Method

Take the peas out of the freezer to allow time to defrost.

Beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a wok or frying pan over high heat until the oil is smoking.

Add the rice and stir fry for 3-5mins, keep it moving in the pan to avoid sticking.

Add meat and peas, stir fry for 2mins.

Add the egg mixture, stir fry for 2mins.

Add spinach and spring onion, stir fry for 1min and serve.

 

 

Brown Sugar Meringues

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Two ingredients and a little patience really pay off here.

These delicious morsels are lovely on their own or serve with whipped cream and fresh fruit and did I mention gluten free too?

This is also a great way to use up left over egg whites, possibly left over from spaghetti alla carbonara.

Ingredients

4 egg whites

225g brown sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 110 degrees Centigrade and line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

In a large clean bowl beat the eggs until very stiff, a test of this is turning the bowl upside down, I like to threaten a child with it!

Add the sugar a dessert spoon at a time, beating well with each spoonful to the point where you cannot see any sugar crystals.

Once all the sugar is added spoon or pipe the meringue mix onto the prepared sheets.

Bake for 1hour and then allow to cool on the trays.

Store in an airtight container, the meringues will keep for 3 weeks.

This mixture will give you 12-16 large meringues using a spoon. I use a piping bag and tend to get around 50 meringues, these are the size of a 50c coin when they go in the oven.