First live demo done!

Thank you everyone who came out to my live demo this past Sunday! A huge congrats to Helen and Niamh for organizing a fabulous Bealtaine festival! And thank you to all the speakers who shared their stories with us. It was a wonderful, and such unique weekend to be a part of.

It was my first live demo, and yeah I was a ball of nerves the size of Texas, but it went well!I wanted to give my first demo on Bere Island, because it’s where I started writing and photographing my blog. There was a big crowd, about 30, much bigger than I anticipated. Once I got a little more comfortable and my nerves calmed, it was a fun hour! So I’ll be publishing my recipes over the next couple of days, so stay tuned!

Thank you again for those who attended. Hope you learned something new, and are inspired to use what’s on our front doorstep here in West Cork!

Coming up on the blog this week:

NETTLE SOUP

WILD GARLIC AND CHEDDAR SCONES

COURGETTI WITH WILD GARLIC AVOCADO CREAM

HOMEMADE YOGURT AND A BLACKBERRY COULIS

YYYYUUUUMMMM!!

 

It is certianly not the last demo I’ll be doing, so stay subscribed!

 

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Demo this Sunday!

What are your weekend plans?

Mark your calendars: the Celtic Festival of Bealtaine on Bere Island this May bank holiday weekend!

I’m giving a cookery demonstration on Sunday at 1pm, and it’s sure to be YUMMY! You’ll walk away with a print-out of my recipes, and try some samples!

All my recipes are going to be guilt-free, and the natural ingredients can be sourced from your back yard!

Details below, and hope to see some of you there:

Awakening Traditions: Bealtaine Festival on Bere Island

Sweet Potato Chili Boats

This a vegetarian take on chili, super easy and quick! It’s perfect for a rainy afternoon like today. A comforting hug in a bowl, well sweet potato!

It’s essentially a pantry clean out, so fairly basic ingredients, but the flavor is far from basic! I promise my carnivore friends, you won’t even notice there’s no meat! But mince beef or turkey could easily be added. It’s a great recipe to have on hand for dinner parties(quantities can be doubled easily), meal-prep, and you can add or take things away from it! I added carrots and courgette the next night to make it that bit heartier.

It’s vegan, gluten, dairy free(unless you top with yogurt or sour cream). The chili makes about 5-6 servings. You can roast 1-2 sweet potatoes per person, depending on their appetite.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 large white or red onion chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large: red, green, and yellow bell pepper

1 large can of mixed beans (kidney, pinto, chickpea)

1 large can of chickpeas (it can be any can you have though!)

2 large tins crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons The Laughing Oyster Seaweed sprinkles

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon chili flakes

2 tablespoons cumin

2 tablespoons dried coriander

1 teaspoon paprika

salt and pepper

2 sweet potatoes

1 avocado

1 tablespoon lime juice

Preheat oven to 220C. Scrub the sweet potatoes well, and pearce with a fork several times. Put on a lined baking tray. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until tender.

While the sweet potato is roasting, make the chili. In a large saucepan, sweat the onion and garlic until soft, in about a tablespoon of coconut oil, over medium heat. Add all the spices and seaweed sprinkles, give it a good mix. Add in the peppers (and carrots and courgettes, etc.). After about five minutes, add the beans. Then add tins of tomatoes. Cover and let it simmer for about 20minutes. Stir and add salt and pepper to flavor.

Dice the avocado, and in a small mixing bowl stir with the lime juice and even more seaweed sprinkles.

Take out the sweet potato and cut a slit in the middle. Pour the chili over the opening. Top with the avocado, and fresh coriander leave if you have them. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Featured recipe on KptnCook!

Ahhh I’m sooo excited-I couldn’t wait to post this any longer.

Holy shiitake! My recipe for Peanut Butter Curry is going to be featured on @kptncookapp TOMORROW! @kptncookapp is an awesome app that shares 30 minute meals everyday-makes healthy and wholesome cooking easy! Go download the app tonight and check it out tomorrow! Also, how gorgeous are these photos the Kptns took?!

 

kptncook
c.hall2015

Thai chili crab cakes

 

IMG_2895I can’t believe Christmas is next week and that it’s almost 2016! Where did the year fly to?! It might be a bit early to reflect on 2015 but 2016 really will be here before we know it.

2015 was definitely my most roller coaster year to date…well I think. I learned A LOT: in a kitchen and outside of a kitchen. I am very grateful for my job, a roof over my head, SO THANKFUL FOR MY BLOG FOLLOWERS, longer hair again, and shiny new accessories in my ankle even though they can be a bugger at times. I’ve promised myself 2016 is going to be my best year of cooking, I want to continue to push myself and my education. I’m a pastry chef by day, but there’s so many dimensions of the food industry and food blogging that I want to get my hands into. *And I have a RREEALLLY cool announcement on Friday-definitely subscribe and stay tuned!* We still have another couple of weeks of 2015 so that’s enough reflecting for now!

Anyways, I’m sure you will be going to AT least one or two dinner parties-maybe you’re hosting one?! I really think the appetizers and desserts are the portions of the menu you can have fun with and experiment because really the main course is all about the bird or ham!

These crab cakes are have a bit of a kick, sure to wow the crowd, and crab meat is such a treat! I served mine as appetizers and on a bed of dried seaweed, but they would also be lovely on their own or on a bed of salad.

Thai chili crab cakes, serves about 4-5:

Head to your local fishmonger and buy 220g of crabmeat #supportlocal

1 1/2 red chilis, deseeded and thinly diced

1 tablespoon ginger minced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 spring onions, pretty finely chopped

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon  rice vinegar

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup of crackers broken down in fairly small pieces, or breadcrumbs

about a teaspoon and a half of grated lime zest

2 tablespoons chopped coriander

salt and pepper

2 tablespoon coconut or seaweed oil

In a medium size mixing bowl, thoroughly mix all ingredients well. Alternatively, whizz everything up in a food processor! Form into patties(damp hands help!). Heat 2 tablespoons of oil up in a frying pan and cook the crab cakes until golden brown on each side.

Garnish with a lime wedge,  serve with soy sauce or like I did with seaweed! Easy peasy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chestnut, Italian sausage and sage stuffing

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c.hall 2015

 

Growing up in a house of seven kids meant the holidays were bound to be chaotic, exciting, noisey, and gift wrapping everywhere! Looking back I appreciate those somewhat wild Thanksgiving Christmas mornings. This year I’ll be spending Christmas Eve working but hopefully I’ll make it down to Bere Island for a feast with my sister, aunts, uncles and cousins. I’m missing my parents, siblings, and friends so much this season-homesickness pulled on my heart strings hugely last week on Thanksgiving-but I’ll be seeing everyone in SF soon enough!

Let’s get to the food now! Stuffing has to be on the top of my favorite sides. My Mom has always made the best stuffing, and it was always the side that was piled high and deep(I’m lookin’ at you Dave!). I decided to play around with a stuffing of my own, using a flavor that is sung about and roasted-CHESTNUTS. I picked up my appreciation for the flavor when I did my work experience last year in Italy. It was everywhere: sweet and savory. It’s such a seasonal treat, and your dinner guests will be wowed!

Here is my Chestnut, Italian sausage and sage stuffing: (Serves about 7-8)

1 and about a half cups butter

2 tablepoons seaweed oil (I LOVE this Wild Atlantic product)

1 large white onion roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, diced

3 stalks of celery sliced about half an inch

1/4 cup sage chopped

2 large sourdough loaves (pulse these 2 into breadcrumbs, and it should make about 9 cups of breadcrumbs)

1 pound Italian sausage (remove casings) roughly sliced and chopped

1/2 cup chestnuts roasted

2 large eggs

3 cups hot stock

Salt and pepper

To roast the chestnuts: Preheat oven to 200C. Using a small knife cut an X into the skin of each chestnut. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or foil, and bake chestnuts for 30 minutes, or until skins open. You can then peel the skin off the chestnut.

While the chestnuts are roasting, prep all your other other ingredients, pulse your loaves of bread into crumbs, chop, dice etc. Preheat oven to 175C. Put bread crumbs in a big mixing bowl. Have a deep baking dish set to the side.

Heat 1 cup of the butter (set aside the other half) and a drop of oil in a sauce pan, and saute onions and garlic(season with salt and pepper) until soft and just golden brown, then add the chopped celery until just soft, remove and put in the mixing bowl with the bread. In that same saucepan, cook off sausages until brown. When they’re brown, should  take about 8-9 minutes, add the sausage to the mixing bowl.

Melt that extra half cup of butter, add to breadcrumb mixture. Whisk the eggs, and pour over the breadcrumb mixture. Then add the stock. Season well with salt and pepper. Give the breadcrumb mixture a really good mix. Pour into a deep baking, cover with foil, and baking for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, uncover, and bake for another 20. Let the stuffing sit for 10 minutes before serving, and dig in!

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Spicy Peanut Butter Curry Sauce and Mint Infused Basmati Rice

c.hall 2015
c.hall 2015

This is a really quick curry to put together, with hints of a nutty satay flavor. You probably have all the ingredients in your cupboard! I made my sauce really spicy, but feel free to cut back on the spice for kids or if you want something a little more mellow. The mint infused basmati is a really refreshing contrast to the spicy curry. I used chicken, but for a vegetarian option use whole button mushrooms, a mix of peppers and courgette.

For the curry sauce: (Serves about 4)

1 onion roughly diced

1 garlic clove minced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced

2 teaspoon chili flakes

1 tablespoon tumeric

1 tablespoon cumin

3 tablespoons buckwheat flour (you can use white, gluten free or wholemeal too if that’s what you have!)

1 can of coconut milk

4 heaped tablespoons peanut butter

Salt and pepper for taste

In a medium sized pan, sweat the onion and garlic until soft in coconut oil.[Whether you chose to add meat or vegetables, add them at this time] Add the spices. Give it a good stir[you’ll want to make sure your chicken or veg is cooked through], and after about a minute, add the flour. Give another good stir, and it will seem a but clumpy, that’s totally normal.  After about another minute, add the coconut milk and stir stir stir! Bring the mix to the boil, and stir in the peanut butter, season with salt and pepper for taste, and simmer. I left mine to simmer for about 10 minutes.

Mint infused basmati rice:

Wash and drain rice really well. Measure rice-about 1 cup per person-and put in a saucepan with double the amount of water and a pinch of salt and about 4-5 mint leaves( roughly chopped). Simmer for about 12-15 minutes without uncovering. Fluff up with a fork, and garnish with more mint leaves. Serve with your curry!

Enjoy!

Cheddar and thyme risotto

c.hall 2015
c.hall 2015

Risotto holds a special place in my heart: it was one of the first dishes  I cooked for my family on Valentine’s Day a couple of years ago, that everyone was impressed with(myself included!); it was my first night in Ristorante da Fiore in Venice(if you don’t know, was named the fifth best restaurant IN THE WORLD!) and I was expected to cook risotto for a customer in 17 minutes-no pressure-I completed in, just over 17 minutes.

I decided to make this traditional Italian dish, but with a twist-I used Irish cheddar instead of the usual Parmesan (the guys at da Fiore are probably laughing at me!). It came out really really really nice, but really heavy-so a small bowl will do! I also made way too much of it but lunch and dinner over the next couple of days was sorted!

In some way, risotto is a labor of love, but I also find it quite therapeutic. You can totally forget about whatever stresses and worries you have over the stove.

Here’s the recipe for cheddar and thyme risotto: (Serves about 4)

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon oil

1 onion diced

1 clove of garlic

1 1/2  cups Arborio rice

1 cup dry white wine

3 cups of hot stock (I used vegetable, but you can use chicken, beef, etc)

3/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese (I used Carbery sharp cheddar)

1 bunch of thyme (remove leaves from stems)

In a medium saucepan, melt a tablespoon of butter and oil. Add onion and garlic, sweat until soft. Add the rice, give a stir so the rice is well coated (about a minute or two). Add the wine, and cook for another two minutes. Then add the stock, ONE CUP AT A TIME, allowing the stock to be fully absorbed. You’ll want the rice to be just tender and creamy (about 20 minutes). Add the thyme and grated cheese, and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, give another mix, and serve hot!

Enjoy!

Chickpea and corn burgers

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c.hall 2015

These vegan burgers are a great alternative to a meat or fish burger, but are equally filling and satisfying! They have a ton of protein and fiber, and are packed with flavor. A must-try! I topped mine with spicy guacamole, spinach, and juicy tomatoes but you don’t have to stop there! Next time I make these, I am going to make sure I have a batch of my BBQ sauce in my cupboard and use that on top of these burgers! (Check out my recipe for some awesome bbq sauce by clicking this link: https://cookinwithcarmel.wordpress.com/2015/05/16/crazy-good-bbq-sauce/)

Here’s what you’ll need for my super easy vegan, gluten free chickpea and corn burgers: (These quantities are enough for 2 patties)

225g(1 small can) chickpeas

180g corn

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon tumeric

1 teaspoon chili flakes (add more for a kick)

2 heaped tablespoons of a mix of herbs (I chopped rosemary, thyme and parsley)

pinch of salt and pepper

1 tablespoon tahini, and a drizzle of the oil from the jar

3 teaspoons of buckwheat flour

Drain the can of chickpeas. Pour chickpeas and corn in a food processor, and pulse until just mixed (a little broken down and only pulse for a couple of seconds). Pour broken down chickpeas and corn into a mixing bowl and with a wooden spoon, mix in the rest of the ingredients. Once mixed, shape into two burgers and stick in the fridge for about 30 minutes. When that thirty minutes is up, heat some coconut oil in a pan and stick those patties on! They take about 5-7 minutes on each side and should be golden brown. Top with your favorite sauces and such!

Courgetti with sundried tomatoes and grilled chicken (FEATURED IN WOMAN’S WAY)

c.hall 2015
c.hall 2015

With school starting up again, here’s a quick and easy dinner or even lunch idea. It was featured in the June 16th edition of Woman’s Way, and it’s a great go-to!

Courgetti with sundried tomatoes and grilled chicken(single serving):

1 courgette per person

1 garlic-minced

1 chicken breast

4-5 five sundried tomatoes

1 tumeric (adds extra benefits, but can be easily substituted for a Cajun or

any other spice mix)

dash of salt and pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil

Use a mandolin or spiralizer to make the courgetti (if you have neither,

the larger blades on a grater usually work just fine OR a vegetable peeler!)

and set aside. Sprinkle the tumeric, and salt and pepper on the chicken.

Heat olive oil or coconut oil in a pan. Add your garlic, and after a couple of

seconds, add the chicken. Cook through. Toss in the courgetti. Toss in the

sundried tomatoes. Top with pine nuts for an extra crunch.