Curried Sea Bass

Summer looks like it is here (for now!) which makes me want to eat light evening meal. I don’t know what it is but the sun is out and I want fish and greens. Fish in general is full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, all a great for the body. When purchasing your fish though, make sure it is sustainably sourced – talk to your fish monger or read the labels. It doesn’t feel like it makes a difference but in the long run it will, we need to care about our environment as much as we care about our own bodies. Sorry to go all eco on you but it is something I do feel passionate about.

Ingredients 

Paste

1tsp Lemon Juice

1tsp ground ginger

½ tsp chili flakes

1tsp gram masala

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp double cream

 

2 fillets of Sea Bass, skin on20170522_200257

 

2 White Potatoes

1 Clove Garlic

1 Spring Onion

2 tbsp Olive Oil

 

3 florets of broccoli

4 large handfuls of Spinach

 

Coriander

Mango Chutney

 

Method

In a bowl mix together the all the ingredients for the paste and stir together until smooth. Spread evenly over the two fillets of fish, place on the baking tray and set aside.

Chop the potatoes into quarters or bit sizes pieces. Place into a large pan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook for approx. 15 minutes or until tender. Drain (but keep the water) and leave to steam dry. This is useful to get them to a crisp on them later.

Heat up the oil in a frying pan, add the potatoes, garlic and spring onion and fry. Cook the broccoli in the potato water, approx. 7-10 minutes. With the spinach place in a large pan with 2tbsp of water onto a medium heat, place the lid on and cook until wilted.

Meanwhile, heat the grill and place the seabass underneath, cook for around 6-8 minutes, until tender. Be careful to not overcook it or catch the paste!

Time to plate up – sprinkle over the coriander and a dollop of mango chutney! Enjoy

Classic Peanut Butter and Cacao Bites

This is a super easy, simple snack – only five ingredients! So I am keeping this post super simple too…

These are perfect for a little pick me up and last about 1 week in an airtight container. Not only are they simple to make there is hardly any washing up! Win win in my eyes!

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Ingredients

90g Oats

35g Honey

70g Crunch Peanut Butter

15g Cacao Powder

2 tsp Sesame Seeds

 

Method

Begin by placing all the ingredients a bowl. Give it a good stir, add two tablespoons of water to loosen up the mixture. Keep mixing until the mixture comes together.Screenshot_20170518-180336

Take a tablespoon of the mixture (approx. 20g) and roll into a ball. Continue doing this until all the mixture has finished, it should make around 12.

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Munch away! These are also perfect with a cuppa 😉

 

 

Cold Brew Coffee Recipe

It’s been one of those weeks at work…long and stressful. And I’m sure I’m not alone in this but when I am stressed I just don’t sleep. This just makes the days longer, harder and more stressful, it becomes a vicious cycle. So I have a lot of Help Beverages – aka COFFEE!! As The Boy would say, I have a slight addition but hey it’s social acceptable to drink coffee so it doesn’t count.

The problem is my job has been active, making me hot and bothered, coffee doesn’t help so along came the bright idea to make cold brew…

Cold Brew has (apparently!) more caffeine in than your regular cup of Joe. Between this and the fact that it was cold I feel like I’m on to a winner here. It took 24 hours from start to finish but it’s a super simple 24 hours.

I went for the 1:7 ratio of coffee to water.

I used coarse coffee grounds, the ones I used are the same level of coarseness as my French Press.

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Ingredients

100g Coarse Ground Coffee

700ml Cool water (not super cold), think room temperature.

Method

Weigh and mix the water and coffee in a large bowl or jug. Leave to soak for 24hours.

Strain through a muslin cloth or coffee filters to get separate the coffee and your cold 20170420_150220brew. I left mine to hang overnight. You don’t have to but I like to make sure I get out every drop possible

Bottle and refrigerate – told you it was simple! It keeps for up to two weeks!

When drinking dilute your coffee with water 1:1 ratio. You can have it black with or without ice, with milk, regular or nut, or even add syrups! Basically play around with it and have it your way!

Also don’t forget you can use your used coffee grinds as face scrub or as compost! Don’t go wasting them!

Adult Brownie Scotch Eggs

Many things led to this recipe! I’ve lived in Dublin now for 7 months (SEVEN! Wow, time has flown by!) and I realised I hadn’t cooked or baked with Guinness. This is poor on my side, one: I live in the home of Guinness and two: The Boy works for them, which has meant we have a lot of Guinness in the house! Plus Easter is just around the corner so we all need a good themed Easter recipe in our lives. Also, why should kids get all the chocolatey goodness…

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Ingredients

Brownies

130g Butter

200g Caster Sugar

3 Eggs

125g Plain Flour

½ tsp Baking Powder

150ml Guinness Extra Foreign Stout

Buttercream

150g Icing Sugar

300g Butter

60ml Baileys

2 tbsp Cocoa Powder plus extra for dusting

 

6 Crème Eggs

 

Method

Pre heat the oven to 160°C (fan)/180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line a 25x19cm tin.

Melt the butter in a medium sized bowl and stir into the cocoa until it forms a paste. Slowly add 100ml of Guinness, it will foam! Slowly mix together, this is why you need that medium sized bowl! Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until nice and pale. Add the flour and baking powder and fold together until smooth.  Repeat with the cocoa powder and remaining Guinness.

Bake in the oven for around 20-25 minutes. They should be soft to touch but baked all the way through, insert a skewer to check they are done. Set aside, and leave to completely cool.

Whisk together the icing sugar, butter and baileys until light and fluffy. Take about a third of the buttercream and place in another bowl. Add the Cocoa Powder and whisk until smooth to make your cocoa buttercream for the outside of the scotch eggs.

If you have a food processor, place the brownie in and pulse until they look like breadcrumbs. If you don’t, don’t worry! Break up the brownies into small ish chunks, using your electric whisk, on the lowest setting whisk until they break up and again look like breadcrumbs.

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Mix the brownie breadcrumbs with Baileys buttercream! Using your hands separate the mixture into 6 balls, approx. 135g each. In your hand, flatten one of the balls, place the crème egg in the middle and fold the brownie mixture around the egg. Squeeze together until you have a smooth ball. Repeat with the other crème eggs.

In a bowl add some cocoa powder ready to cover the scotch eggs

Now it gets messy…

One at a time – using a palate knife, cover the ball in the cocoa buttercream. Place in the bowl of cocoa powder and light roll around until they are completely covered. Repeat until you’ve finished all six!

ENJOY!

 

(N.B –  remove the alcohol and this is great to make with kids – you can even cover in sprinkles instead of cocoa powder!)

Recipe – Cucumber and Mint Cordial

20170305_100213It’s still raining here in Dublin and I’m very much dreaming of sunny days! I can’t wait until I don’t need to wear extra layers or a waterproof every time I go out. As I can’t magic the weather better, or afford to leave the country, I decided to bring summer into the house. What’s more summery than cucumber and mint? I can now sit in the house, with the heating on, dreaming of picnics and sunshine with my Cucumber and Mint Gin and Tonic!!

 

Ingredients

2 cucumbers

3 large handfuls of mint

300 ml water

300g granulated sugar

20ml lemon juice

 

Yields 700ml

 

Method

20170305_100232Chop 1 1/2 cucumbers into cubes and remove the mint leaves from the stalks. Place into a large bowl and blitz with a hand blender until smooth.Strain through a muslin cloth into a bowl. Leave overnight (or at least 8 hours!). Don’t squeeze the bag, as tempting as it might be.
Measure out 500ml of the juice. Adjust the recipe if you don’t yield enough liquid. This does sometimes happen if the cucumbers are a little dryer. Place into a heavy bottom pan with the water, sugar and lemon juice. Simmer on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and then for a further 15 minutes. Stir the mixture occasionally.20170305_100247

While the liquid is on the heat, turn on the oven onto the lowest setting to sterilise your jar. Place it in the oven for around 15 minutes, until warm to touch.

Remove from the heat. Skim off any scum that is on the surface, and re strain through your muslin cloth. Pour into your freshly sterilised, warm bottle and seal.

This cordial can be drunk in many ways! With water, lemonade, gin and tonic! Using a potato peeler, create ribbons of cucumber using the remaining half. Place this with a sprig of mint and drink! J

Keeps for 6 month unopened, once opened keep refrigerated consume within 4-6 weeks.

 

 

Homemade Brownies – the ultimate treat!

Having a good baking week, marshmallows last week and now brownies!

So with winter seem to be wanting to stick around you can’t go wrong with lots of baking!! I’m sure you’ve just realised I am not good with the cold, and I’m very much a summer baby. I think in a previous life I could have been a bear, they seem to have the right idea of hiding from the winter cold and hibernating until spring. Everyone knows when I think it’s time to hide as the space boots (aka winter, furry, warm boots) come out and the brogues go into hibernation too!

My go to sweet treat is Brownies…the soft gooey, just holding their shape ones! That with a cup of tea is my perfect evening, oh and I guess the boy being there makes it nice too. This is my favourite recipe for brownies; they are versatile so you can add a topping or ingredients in them if you want to jazz them up. They make a great dessert for dinner parties too. Cut them into smaller squares and layer them with cream and berries in a nice glass!

I know a lot of people will see this and go “No real chocolate! These can’t be that good!” but trust me they are. Good quality cocoa powder can work wonders. Don’t use drinking powders as that has additional sugar in which won’t give the same depth as a rich good quality powder.

I did these ones in an 8”x12” Riess enamel tray! Depending how thick/big you want them you can do them in anything from an 8” square tin to 9”x13” just adjust the cooking time – thick ones will take a lot longer!

Ingredients

4 Eggs

450g Caster Sugar

Add to Sugar

150g Plain Flour

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

135g Cocoa Powder

150g Butter

 

Method

Pre heat the oven to 160°C (fan)/180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line an 8”x12” tin.

Melt the butter and stir into the cocoa until it forms a paste and set aside. Whisk the eggs and sugar until it is pale and ribbons form. Add in the vanilla extract and whisk again. Add the flour and whisk until smooth followed by the cocoa paste.

Bake in the oven for around 30-35 minutes. They should be soft to touch and when a skewer is inserted it won’t come out completely clean as you want them to stay gooey.

Either serve straight away or cold later on. If you decide later on you want them warm, you can wrap individual pieces in cling film and place in the microwave for 30-1 minute, until warm and gooey again.

 

You can top with the following if you fancy it –

Marshmallows – nicely sprinkle over evenly about half way through your baking time

Salted Caramel– swirl and drizzle onto the brownie before baking

Nutella – melt approx. 150g so its thinner and drizzle over the top

Crunch Peanut Butter – 100-150g chopped roasted salted peanuts, mix some into the mixture and sprinkle some on top!

 

Almond and Vanilla Marshmallows

It’s cold and dreary outside which has meant a lot of hot beverages in the Young-Isard household. I’m currently addicted to almond milk hot chocolates! I was sat on the sofa and was getting annoyed that we never had marshmallows in the house to accompany my lovely hot chocolates. So instead of buying some (way too easy an option!) I ran to the shops and picked up some gelatine to make my own!! So here are my Almond and Vanilla Marshmallows…

If you don’t like almonds, don’t be put off, just replace the extract with another flavour of your choice or do all vanilla!

Enjoy!

 

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Ingredients

60g Icing Sugar

60g Cornstarch (or potato starch)


Pink Almond Layer

60ml water

½ tsp almond extract

2 sachets of gelatine (26g)

¼ tsp red food dye

170g caster sugar

175g golden syrup

Pinch of salt

60ml Water

 

White Vanilla Layer

15ml water

½ tsp vanilla paste

1 sachets of gelatine (13g)

85g caster sugar

90g golden syrup

Pinch of salt

30ml Water

 

Optional…

100g dark chocolate

50g flaked almonds, finely chopped

 

Method

In a small bowl sift the sugar and cornstarch together. Using a pastry brush coat a 28x18cm tin with vegetable oil (or an oil with no flavour) and sprinkle over the icing sugar. Tip the left overs back into the bowl and save for later.

Start with the almond layer. In a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer!) add the 60ml water, ½ tsp almond extract, 2 gelatine sachets and ¼ tsp food dye and leave to stand. While this is setting, in a saucepan add the 170g sugar, 175g golden syrup, pinch of salt and 60ml water. Place on a medium heat and give a quick stir. Place in a thermometer; I’ve got a digital one it makes life so much easier. Though it is not essential a normal sugar thermometer will do the job. Heat the mixture to 115°C (240°F), remove from the heat immediately. Turn on your mixer (carefully if you’re using a hand mixer) and slowly drizzle the sugar mixture into the gelatine gradually. Once it is all in turn the speed up and whisk for about 10 minutes until the mixture is fluffy and still slightly warm. Grease up your spatula with vegetable oil and spoon the marshmallow into your tin.  Spread it out evenly. Once it’s all flat, tap the tin on the surface. It will release the air bubbles.

Clean your equipment ready to make the white vanilla layer.

Repeat the process with the Vanilla ingredients.

In your bowl add the 30ml water, ¼ tsp vanilla paste, and 1 gelatine sachet and leave to stand. While this is setting, in a saucepan add the 85g sugar, 90g golden syrup, pinch of salt and 30ml water. Place on a medium heat and give a quick stir. Place in your thermometer. Heat the mixture to 115°C (240°F), remove from the heat immediately. This will happen a lot quicker than your almond layer as there is a lot less mixture. Turn on your mixer and slowly drizzle the sugar mixture into the gelatine gradually. Once it is all in turn the speed up and whisk for about 7 minutes until the mixture is fluffy and still slightly warm. Grease up your spatula with vegetable oil and spoon the marshmallow over the pink layer.  Spread it out evenly. Once it’s all flat, again tap the tin on the surface.

Dust will your icing sugar/cornstarch mixture. Leave to set for at least 1 hour!

You now have options! Either cut them into small or large squares, covering in the icing/starch mixture and leave them plain. Or if you cut them into larger squares you can dip them in dark chocolate and then into chopped almond flakes or just leave them as dark chocolate! To do this, melt the dark chocolate with in a glass bowl over simmering water in a pan or in the microwave on 15 second bursts. Chop the nuts and place in a small bowl. First dunk the marshmallows into the melted chocolate, about 1/3 up. Either place onto some baking parchment to harden or into the almonds. Leave to set.

Now snuggle down with a hot chocolate and your marshmallows and watch the world go by!