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Pots of Gold

20140927-162903.jpg

Pots of Gold
Serves 4

Not quite the leprechauns’ pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but a little bit of foodie treasure nonetheless. Ireland produces such a terrific array of top quality cheeses, grilling them just makes them extra gooey and delicious.

Ingredients:
1 loaf of rustic bread (such as sourdough), sliced
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 bunches of red seedless grapes
4 small wheels of Brie or Camembert-style cheeses

Method:
Toast the bread slices on a medium grill or BBQ until charred with grill marks. Keep warm.
Lightly oil the bunches of grapes and place the whole bunches on a medium-hot grill until they start to burst.
Place the cheeses on a medium-hot grill until they’re charred and starting to melt.
Serve the grilled cheese hot with the grapes and toasted bread.

Ish Factor: I have a great love of cheese and one of my favourite jobs was judging the Irish Cheese Awards – not really work at all! With such a selection of excellent cheeses to choose from, it’s worthwhile spending some time trying samples at cheese counters and delicatessens.

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Pots of Gold

image

Pots of Gold
Serves 4

Not quite the leprechauns’ pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but a little bit of foodie treasure nonetheless. Ireland produces such a terrific array of top quality cheeses, grilling them just makes them extra gooey and delicious.

Ingredients:
1 loaf of rustic bread (such as sourdough), sliced
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 bunches of red seedless grapes
4 small wheels of Brie or Camembert-style cheeses

Method:
Toast the bread slices on a medium grill or BBQ until charred with grill marks. Keep warm.
Lightly oil the bunches of grapes and place the whole bunches on a medium-hot grill until they start to burst.
Place the cheeses on a medium-hot grill until they’re charred and starting to melt.
Serve the grilled cheese hot with the grapes and toasted bread.

Ish Factor: I have a great love of cheese and one of my favourite jobs was judging the Irish Cheese Awards – not really work at all! With such a selection of excellent cheeses to choose from, it’s worthwhile spending some time trying samples at cheese counters and delicatessens.

Pots of Gold

20140927-162903.jpg

Pots of Gold – melting cheesy deliciousness

Pots of Gold
Serves 4

Not quite the leprechauns’ pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but a little bit of foodie treasure nonetheless. Ireland produces such a terrific array of top quality cheeses, grilling them just makes them extra gooey and delicious.

Ingredients:
1 loaf of rustic bread (such as sourdough), sliced
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 bunches of red seedless grapes
4 small wheels of Brie or Camembert-style cheeses

Method:
Toast the bread slices on a medium grill or BBQ until charred with grill marks. Keep warm.
Lightly oil the bunches of grapes and place the whole bunches on a medium-hot grill until they start to burst.
Place the cheeses on a medium-hot grill until they’re charred and starting to melt.
Serve the grilled cheese hot with the grapes and toasted bread.

Ish Factor: I have a great love of cheese and one of my favourite jobs was judging the Irish Cheese Awards – not really work at all! With such a selection of excellent cheeses to choose from, it’s worthwhile spending some time trying samples at cheese counters and delicatessens.

A Month of Meals

MonthofMeals

Weekly Meal Plan Structure
This meal plan structure is years in the making, and there are certain core principles that form the basis of it. One of them is that you only plan five dinners a week and leave wiggle room to use up leftovers and also have a day off cooking if you choose. This will reduce the amount of food that you buy and possibly not end up cooking.

I’ve written my course and book to try and use seasonal produce as much as possible. Fruit and vegetables in season taste better and are more budget friendly too. So do try and think about seasonality and buying good local produce. Use the structure I’m giving you to compile a file of recipes that you can repeat every two weeks or month. That is plenty of variety and will give you a chance to manage your food shopping and supplies better.

Meat-free Monday
As the name suggests, this is a day when you don’t eat any meat, chicken or fish and cosy up to a delicious vegetarian meal instead. This has a myriad health benefits from lowering saturated fat intake, increasing fibre and amping up your vitamin and mineral intake. There are many fab vegetarian dishes from cuisines all over the world, so you won’t be bored and with my recipes you certainly won’t go hungry! I always include a little protein in the form of beans, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa or cheese to keep you fuller for longer. You don’t want to be hungry a few hours after dinner and raid the biscuit tin! Vegetarian meals are generally easy to prepare, so ideal for a Monday night, when you’re organising yourself for a week ahead. By all means feel free to allocate a second vegetarian day, but having at least one a week is essential. This is one habit that my students really take onboard and convert to. It makes meal planning so much easier and is an excellent start to the week.

Go Fish! Tuesday
Like the card game tells you-Go Fish! This is one of your recommended two seafood dinners each week, one of which will be based on oily fish. We all have great intentions, but unless you plan and commit to getting your fish based meals, it’s not going to happen! There is no problem in using frozen fish, prawns and chowder mix. I either use frozen seafood or get fresh fish from my fishmonger. Many supermarkets now have fish counters where you can select your lovely fresh fish. This is far better than the prepacked fish hanging out in the fridge. With good quality fish and my super easy and tasty recipes you’ll be hooked on fish dinners in no time!

Cluck Cluck Wednesday
Chicken is probably the favourite choice of meat for family meals. It’s easy to prepare, quick to cook and you can choose from a huge range of recipes. As a white meat, you can enjoy chicken more than once a week. Most people tend to buy the skinless, boneless chicken breasts. I think this is because it has no skin, so it is lower in fat and many people prefer the ‘white’ meat. I really do encourage you to try skinless, boneless chicken thighs instead. The meat is far more tender and the fibres are looser so the thigh meat absorbs flavour much better. This is essential for dishes like curry when you really want the meat tender and the flavours to permeate. Without the skin, chicken thighs are a low fat option.

Freezer Treasure Thursday
This is a day where you are either going to cook a meal based on minced meat or sausages. Or you are going to raid your freezer for components of meals. For example, I freeze cured chorizo sausage, tiger prawns, Parma ham, petis pois, smoked salmon, fish pie mix and bacon lardons. These ‘Freezer Treasures’ form the base of many a delicious weekday meal. If you choose Minceperation, you can use beef mince to rustle up meatballs, burgers, kofta, chilli-not just spaghetti bolognese! Why not try turkey or pork mince for a change? Sausage hotpots using really good quality sausages are another great idea for this theme. This is one day that you probably have family favourite recipes for already.

Fishy Friday
This is your second seafood day for the week. If you haven’t had your oily fish, now is the day to allocate a recipe for it. Fish actually cooks very quickly, most people tend to over cook it. So a fish based meal at the end of a busy week is ideal. At a push, there are really good traditional fish and chips shops that use excellent fish and decent, non hydrogenated cooking oil. Why not pick up a fish dinner takeaway and tart up the meal with a crunchy salad and guacamole as a healthy sauce. You can make your own baked sweet potatoes fries seasoned with Cajun spice and minty pea purée by blitzing just cooked frozen peas, mint and a little creme fraiche together. Sounds cheffy, but super easy to whip up!

Fridge Forage Saturday
This is a really important theme to allocate. Before you do your weekly grocery shop, you need to have a a good forage and use up all those bit and pieces of leftovers, veg, cheese etc. You can also use this opportunity to give everything a good clean out and make sure there are no science experiments mouldering away. One of the best ideas to use up leftovers is a frittata, which can do double duty as breakfast and lunch. Other dishes I routinely make are stir fries with all the bits and bobs, quesadillas, fried rice and noodles. If you make a habit of doing this, you will also see what items you are over buying-thinking that you will eat and then not. For leftover fruit, crumble is a great dish or a fruit sponge with the peeled and chopped fruit at the bottom.

Flintstone Funday Sunday

This is a reference to Fred Flintstone and cooking up big joints of meat on the BBQ or Sunday roasts. I grew up with a Sunday roast with all the trimmings, followed by a really good homemade dessert. Not on the scale of a Christmas dinner of course, but still a special meal that takes more planning and longer to cook but not difficult to do. Coming into Summer you may well choose to have a BBQ on Sunday. Or you you may be out and about and doing no cooking, a well deserved day off! Many keen home cooks use one of the weekend days to try out a new recipe. This is the time to do it when you have a little more time and no hungry family members hanging off you looking for their dinner. Whatever you choose, don’t feel under pressure. It should be relaxing and enjoyable for all, including the main cook in the house.

Weekly Sweet Treat

I believe it’s what you eat 80% of the time that determines your overall diet and wellbeing. Having one really good, homemade dessert a week is something to look forward to and is what I would consider moderation as far as treats go. The common practice of having a ‘treat drawer’ that you dip into daily can be a slippery slope. They may small treats, but how many are you snaffling? Growing up, we just simply didn’t have crisps, chocolates and treats on the house on a daily basis. A box of Vienetta would have been considered the height of luxury! But now I realise how lucky I was to have real food and that is the real treat. Not processed food in boxes and plastic wrappers.

I hope you print this article off and stick it on your kitchen notice board as a helping hand for your meal planning and grocery shopping.

To book a place on the Month of Meals course, log onto http://www.rozannestevens.com
Twitter: @RozanneStevens

Roasted Summer Veg Naan Pizzas

Rozanne-Roasted_Summer_Veg_Naan_Pizzas

Ingredients:

250ml tomato passata
4 tsp spicy ketchup
4 garlic and coriander naan breads
150g grated mature cheddar cheese
green salad, to serve

Roasted veggies:
2 courgettes, sliced into thin discs
1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 yellow pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 aubergine, sliced into thin strips
1 red onion, cut into wedges
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Serves 4

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. On a baking tray, mix the veggies with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20–25 minutes, until soft and caramelised.
  3. Spread 4 tablespoons of passata and 1 teaspoon of spicy ketchup onto each naan bread. Mix well with the back of a spoon.
  4. Pile a generous amount of roasted vegetables onto each naan pizza and sprinkle with a little cheese. Bake at 200°C until the cheese is melted and golden. Serve with a green salad.

Thai Red Fish Curry

Easy-Thai-Red-Fish-Curry-LR

Ingredients:
1 tbsp red Thai curry paste
2 x 400ml tins light coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 courgette, cubed
100g baby corn, halved
2 large or 4 small firm white fish fillets (cod, hake, haddock)
100g green beans or sugar snap peas
2 tbsp fresh coriander, to garnish
1 red chili, finely sliced (optional)

To serve:

2 cups brown basmati or
any brown rice, cooked
Serves 4

 

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Heat up the curry paste with a little coconut milk in a medium pot. Pour in the rest of the coconut milk, lime juice and fish sauce.
  2. Add all the vegetables to the pot except the green beans or sugar snap peas. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, covered. If the liquid evaporates, add some water.
  3. Gently place the fish on top of the curry, spooning over the sauce. Cover with the lid and poach for 7 minutes. Add the green beans and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  4. Lift the fish out of the pot and taste the sauce for seasoning. You may want to add more lime juice, fish sauce or a little sugar if the sauce is too spicy.
  5. Lift all the vegetables out of the pot with a slotted spoon. Keep warm in a serving dish. Place the fish on top of the vegetables. Pour over the sauce and garnish with fresh coriander and chili.