Celebrate St Patrick’s Day by making these delicious potato cakes which take just 10 minutes to make and are a great way to use up leftover cooked potatoes. They are as popular in this house as pancakes – delicious on their own or as part of a traditional Irish breakfast. This is what I call real fast food and I bet you have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now! The recipe that comes from a book that my mother had when she was in secondary school back in the 1950s called ‘All in the Cooking’. The pages are faded and falling out and unlike cookery books today there isn’t a single picture in it.
Makes 8 potato cakes Time: 5 mins preparation / 5-10 mins cooking
225g / 8oz cooked potatoes
15g / ½ oz butter (melted)
60g / 2oz plain flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Clarified butter* for cooking
How to make them
- Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl
- Sieve the cooked potatoes into the same bowl
- Add the melted butter
- Mix to a smooth dough
- Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin to a thickness of a ½ centimetre
- Cut into triangles (cut the circle of dough in half and then each semi-circle into triangles)
- Heat the clarified butter in a non-stick frying pan
- Add the potato cakes (4 at a time) and fry until golden on one side. turnover and fry gently on the other side.
- Add some more butter and repeat with the other 4 potato cakes.
*Clarified butter doesn’t burn which makes it much easier to cook with. Just melt some butter in the microwave and use the clear liquid (the whey will sink to the bottom and can be discarded)
This is just the job to warm you up on a freezing cold day – my last post was for a delicious comforting meaty stew however my good friend Liz has asked me for a vegetarian option and I think this would give a beef stew a good run for it’s money any day! One of the nice things about this dish is it is so quick to make plus it is a wonderful way of turning what are pretty much staple ingredients into a really tasty and wholesome meal. The name Ribollita literally means “reboiled”, in fact an authentic Ribollita takes about three days to taste its best – it was a way for thrifty Tuscan cooks to use leftover vegetables, bread and beans from the week.
This is what you and your family need right now on these cold, wintery days. Warm, nutritious and comforting and really easy to make. Adding spinach to the soup has two purposes – it adds nutrients and it also gives the soup a lovely green colour. The fried chorizo cubes lift this ordinary soup into something special – I adore chorizo but you could also use fried bacon pieces or if you want to make it fully vegetarian or vegan just leave these out and use water or vegetable stock instead of the chicken stock.
Preparation: 15 minutes. Cooking Time: 30/40 minutes
4 large leeks
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, chopped small
850ml chicken stock (or water for vegetarian / vegan option)
Couple of handfuls of baby spinach leaves (washed and trimmed of any tough stalks)
Chorizo – cut into cubes (or bacon pieces if you prefer – leave out for vegetarian / vegan option)
How to make it:
- Trim off the tops and roots of the leeks, discarding the tough outer layer
- Prepare the leeks by splitting them in half lengthways and slice them up quite finely, then rinse and drain them
- In a large thick-based saucepan melt the butter on a low heat then add the leeks, potatoes and onion, stirring them with a wooden spoon so they get a nice coating of butter
- Season with salt & pepper
- Cover and let the vegetables sweat over a very low heat for about 10/15 minutes – key a very close eye on them so they don’t burn or stick to the bottom (this has happened to me in the past I have to admit!)
- Add the stock and bring to a simmer, put the lid back on and simmer gently for approx. 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
- Add the milk and the spinach leaves and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
- Liquidise the soup using a blender.
Heat the chorizo in a dry non-stick pan for 2/3 minutes (it won’t need any oil as it will release it’s own) until it is nice and crispy to serve. Enjoy!
You have only to look at the colours in this dish to get a nice warm feeling and that it would fit the bill perfectly for lunch on a cold Winter’s day. I made this dish to bring to work for my lunch and I got two of these containers so 2 days’ lunches were sorted. I really like to try and bring my own food to work for at least 2/3 days a week from a healthy eating point of view and also from the cost point of view – I can easily spend €50 a week on good coffee and bad sandwiches! An added bonus is that the ingredients (apart from the fresh coriander) are either store cupboard ingredients i.e. coconut milk, tinned chickpeas or vegetables that have a good shelf life i.e. sweet potato, butternut squash, onion, garlic. These are ingredients that I would always have in the press because they are so versatile and can be used in lots of dishes. This stew is vegetarian and vegan so can go towards one of your weekly meat-free meals.
Preparation time: 10/15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 mins
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp curry powder
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
½ butternut squash, skin / seeds removed and diced
400ml vegetable stock
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Large handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- Place a large pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil.
- Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and sauté gently for 6-8 minutes until tender.
- Add the garlic, turmeric and curry powder and cook for a further 2 minutes
- Add the sweet potato and butternut squash chunks and stir until coated in the spices
- Pour in the vegetable stock, coconut milk and chickpeas
- Bring back to a steady simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender.
- Check the seasoning, stir through the coriander *and serve ( could also be served with rice to make a larger meal of it)
*If you are making this like I was to bring to work don’t stir in the coriander until you are re-heating it.
I just love my breakfast, always have, it’s one meal I never ever skip. I love to vary my breakfasts too so in any week I could have poached eggs, bacon & mushrooms (usually after my morning swim), scrambled eggs (with spinach or smoked salmon), porridge with fruit. At the weekend though I look forward to something even tastier. If I happen to have a ripe avocado I will have smashed avocado on sourdough toast with a poached egg and / or chorizo or a real treat for me is this delicious granola with Greek yogurt and fruit. It is so easy to make (you don’t need any cooking skills whatsoever) – basically toss all the dry ingredients (nuts, seeds & desiccated coconut) with olive oil and honey and bake in the oven for 20/30 minutes. Continue reading
Potatoes are something that I have to say I can really take or leave at this stage of my life. I am no longer interested and no longer need a big plate of ‘spuds’ ! Having said that I still have to cook them for dinner (as a dinner without a spud is not a dinner where Mr HFrTea is concerned!). This recipe is one I have been using for as long as I can remember. It is one of my favourite ways to cook (and eat) potatoes, easy, quick, needs no minding when in the oven and of course delicious. Continue reading
It’s all about green, white and gold today given the day that is in it, it feels like the right thing to do and an appropriate way to show support for our ‘boys in green’ as they play France in the Euros. This dish is another one to put on your list for your meat-free dinner day. It is easy to make as well as healthy, wholesome and really tasty as it contains a great combination of flavours. Many of the ingredients are ones that you can have in your store cupboard. Butternut Squash for example has a great shelf life – this particular one was in my vegetable drawer for at least a month! Feta cheese is also something you can have in your fridge as it has a long shelf life once unopened. To use the rest of a packet of feta you could make this Green Pea & Feta Cheese Omelette the next day. The other ingredients i.e. onions, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes in oil would always be staples in my kitchen with the only ingredient that I might need to buy being the fresh mint.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 40/50 minutes
1 small butternut squash
½ – 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, peeled & finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled & finely chopped
80g / 3oz sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained & roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds
100g / 4oz feta cheese, lightly crumbled
2 tablespoons of fresh mint, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 200°C / 400° F / Gas 6
- Prepare the butternut squash by cutting it in half lengthways and scooping out the seeds with a spoon
- Place the squash on a non-stick baking tray (or a tray lined with baking paper)
- Roast in the oven for approx 30 minutes or until the butternut is soft, cooked through and has a slightly coloured surface (a larger squash will take longer to cook)
- While the squash is in the oven heat the oil in a pan and add the onions.
- Sweat over a low heat for 4-5 minutes until they are soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes
- In a bowl, mix the sun-dried tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, crumbled feta, mint, cooked onions and garlic together.
- Remove the butternut squash from the oven when cooked and scoop out some of the flesh to make space for the filing. (Keep the flesh for another dish). Fill the squash with the stuffing mixture, then return to the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and serve with some green veg.
PS – this reheats very well so you can enjoy it the next day as well !
This is a really easy, comforting and tasty vegetarian dish – I adore the combination of ricotta and spinach in just about anything particularly in filled pasta like tortellini or cannelloni. Plus you get a whopping portion of all that iron (so essential for all us women) and nutritional goodness in the spinach particularly when you use frozen spinach. The average bag of fresh spinach weighs approx. 180g and there is 400g of frozen spinach in this dish so you get the picture. This is good for you! Don’t be tempted to leave out the nutmeg, it really does add something special to the overall flavour of the dish. Continue reading
It is no coincidence that this week’s recipe is quick, easy, with ingredients to give you an energy boost! My weekly post is later than usual this week due to work pressures however worth the wait I hope! These energy balls are delicious, made in minutes and quite addictive. They are full of good things and contain only natural sugars. I have been trying to cut down on sugar over the past year and I get my ‘sweet fix’ now from dark chocolate (74% cocoa solids), these energy balls and these sugar-free chocolate chip cookies from a previous post. (I am sure any goodness is negated however once you eat more than 4 of them in one go!).
This soup came about by accident when Mr ‘HForT’ came home with two punnets of mushrooms that were being sold for €1 – he does love a bargain! So mushroom soup had to be made. It is one of the easiest, tastiest and quickest soups you will ever make with just a few ingredients – a really simple recipe for anyone to try who hasn’t made soup before, or for children to make.
You will know by now that I am a great fan of soups – so handy to have in the fridge when people come in starving from school, college or work. My teenage daughter polished this off on several days this week when she came in from school. The trick is to leave the mushrooms for a few days before using them, they will be darker in colour and will have much more flavour. If you want to make the soup even tastier use some mixed exotic mushrooms sold in packs in most supermarkets. Also you can make the soup gluten free by substituting the plain flour with rice flour.