Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Buns!!

Happy Halloween! 
To celebrate I thought I would make my family some fun festive buns.
 So colourful to look at, fun to make and fun to eat!! 

They look great altogether, but these are my favourites:

Uova in Purgatorio

Uova in Purgatorio or Eggs in Purgatory is an old Italian peasant dish that is thought to have originated in Napoli. It is said that the white of the eggs represent souls that have been thrown down to purgatory and are being engulfed in the red tomato flames. Wooo spooky!
It has also been suggested that the dish was created as a tribute to Dante and his famous work The Divine Comedy, however I think I like the first story best!

I recently picked up a tiny frying pan, I call it my pixie pan, and it is absolutely perfect for making uovo in purgatorio (It's too small to make two eggs so it's ouvo and not uova! hehe). There are different variations of this recipe but I like to keep my really really simple, wafer thin slices of garlic, chilli flakes, passata or chopped tomatoes, an egg, torn basil leaves, salt and pepper.

Let blip away on the hob until the egg is nicely set and then eat with fresh, homemade toasted bread…yum! So much reward for such little effort and perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast or lunch.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Courgette, Coconut & Lime Buns

Recently I posted about a lovely savoury dish I made using a round courgette, however the longer versions work really well in sweet dishes too. I can't take full credit for this recipe, but I did tweek it a little, because as I've mentioned in the past I'm not terribly good at baking sweet things, however I could follow this one so easily and they worked out perfectly first time!

The best courgettes to use are the larger ones which you may not ordinarily use as they can be very watery, but the flavour is so mild that it works perfectly in a sweet bun. These buns taste great but they also are actually very healthy! They contain no sugar, wheat, oil or butter. Despite this they are lovely and moist and taste delicious because of the the coconut and lime. However due to the small amount of fat they contain, they taste best on the day they're made.

With a glass of milk, a spoonful of Greek yogurt or a dollop of homemade lemon curd they are a delicious and healthy treat. Also they're a great way to get another vegetable in without even noticing it (perfect for little ones (or big ones) with an aversion to veg)!

If you'd like to give them a go, here is the recipe to make 12 small buns:

2 large free range eggs
60mls or 1/4 cup of light agave syrup (or maple syrup)
The zest of 1 lime
200g of finely grated peeled courgette (about 1 large courgette)
150g of spelt flour
50g of desiccated coconut (puls more to sprinkle on top)
2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 capfuls of vanilla extract

1) In a large mixing bowl whisk the eggs until light & fluffy (a hand whisk is very useful here!) then add the lime zest, vanilla, agave and courgette

2) Gently fold in the flour, coconut and baking powder

3) Spoon in the mixture into a non-stick or silicone muffin tin (don't use paper cases as the mixture will stick) and sprinkle a little more coconut on top. Bake for 25-30 mins in a 180 C oven.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wonderful Autumnal Eats!

Oh my days's been too long! I'm really sorry for my break in posting, I've been very busy for the last few weeks but I have a bit more time on my hands now so I will be back to posting lots again :) yey!

I love this time of year, the evenings may be getting darker and colder but that just means snuggling up on the sofa, big cups of tea, fluffy socks, woolen jumpers, walks in the fresh crisp air and crunchy leaves under foot. We all know it's going to be a long and cold winter ahead of us, but the sunny autumn days (although as I write this, it's foggy and drizzly out) will make the transition a little easier.

This time of year my breakfasts switche from lovely fruits and yogurt or muesli to a steaming bowl of porridge and honey with seeds and LOTS of cinnamon! It's so hearty and gives you loads of energy to get you through a chilly morning..brrrr!

I also adore of the gorgeous fruits and vegetables that are in season at this time of year, in particular pumpkins, gourds and squashes! Use them in soups, casseroles, stews, breads, cakes, pasta dishes (ravioli in particular!) or simply just slow roasted in the oven, they are so versatile and delicious.

Pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and varieties are in all the markets and shops at the moment, but don't just buy them to carve spooky faces to keep the spirits away, cook up a storm with them!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Roasted Round Courgette

I recently popped to the Temple Bar food market with my friend Roisin and saw big basket of beautiful squash and round courgette and just couldn't resist picking some up. Farmers markets are fantastic for picking up veg that you wouldn't normally see in a supermarket and support small farms and lovely people!

It took me a little while to figure out what I wanted to do with it, it looked so beautiful sitting on the kitchen table, but last night Isaac and I decided to hollow it out, stuff it and roast it. In a pan I fried up some onion, garlic, the scooped out insides of the courgette, carrot, fresh herbs from the garden, chilli, lentils and tomato.

Roasted in a medium-high oven for an hour and then cut in half with a side of crunchy salad leaves. It could have done with a bit more time in the oven to soften the outside a little more as it was quite a large round courgette but the flavours all worked together gorgeously. It was a delicious hearty autumnal dish packed full of flavour. If you see some in your local farmers market you should definitely give it a go!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Banana & Peanut Butter!

I love small health food shops, every time you go in you spot new and interesting things. I was rather reserved on my last trip into my local health food shop and only bought 2 items. One of which was this delicious peanut butter, no salt, no sugar, no additives...just 1 ingredient - peanuts (I like the crunchy kind)! It wouldn't normally be something I would have in my cupboard, however we had a big bunch of bananas in the kicthen and out of the blue I got a craving for slices of banana with a small dollop of peanut butter.

Everyone knows the benefits of bananas, full of potassium, fiber, a small amount of sugar and a good source of vitamins C and B6. Another benefit of bananas is that they're a source of tryptophan, which can help in the production of serotonin and enhance your mood!! Yey!

Peanuts also have an array of health benefits, lots of fiber, vitamin C, load of polyphenols which are fantastic antioxidants and of course a great source of protein. They do contain fats, but they're the good kind, and we all need some fats in our diets. 

Together peanut butter and bananas make a delicious and healthy treat. It may not look the prettiest but it makes up for that in taste! If you've never tried it, give it a go, you'll be surprised how good it tastes!