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Savoury Sweet Potato Mash

I’m baaaacckkkk! It’s only been a few years!

Just a quick explanation of why I left and why I’m suddenly back. I stopped doing this blog as I felt pressured, from myself, to have something to publish every week and my life wasn’t in a place where I could do that and I felt guilty. To be honest, my life still isn’t in a place where I can do a weekly post but I’m actually okay with that now. I have loved writing this blog, creating recipes and sharing ones that I love and, so, I missed it over the last 3 plus years. The reason I do this blog is because I love cooking and I want to share what I love with the small corner of the internet which wants to see what I cook and because I met a lovely community that I missed connecting with (“hi, again” to Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook, Elaine @ Foodbod Sourdough, Gretchen @ Feeding My Three Sons and Angie @ Fiesta Friday). You can read more about this and me here.

So, here I am, for better or worse. Well, life has changed a lot since my last post in April 2017. I am now renting an apartment on the other side of the city which I share with a lovely Italian girl and a lovely Polish girl. I have two more nephews who are just as adorable as the rest of their siblings. I’ve travelled a lot for weddings – I’ve been to Italy, France, Germany, Poland and the USA – in fact, I even have a new brother-in-law. I’ve travelled to Tanzania to visit my sister and her family who were living there for a little over half a year, back in 2019, and I went on safari. So, I hope you enjoy this recipe, this post and reconnecting after a very long time.

Onwards and upwards!

I love sweet potato but it’s not one of the most popular vegetables in my family. A few years ago my mother and sister did a sweet potato diet and after less then two days they were sick of it! However, they do still love the brown sugar, buttery, marshmallow sweet potato that we traditionally have over Thanksgiving. Thank goodness!

This dish was the result of a happy accident a couple of years ago. I had sweet potato and as I was mashing it, I decided to throw in some cheese and as the Cashel Blue was needing to be finished, that was the one I went with. My aunt makes these wonderful potatoes with raw garlic and so, thinking of that, I threw some in as well. A few more tweaks and this was born! It goes really well with any meat and I, personally, love it with baked salmon or pan-fried duck breast.

I really hope, though , you will maybe try this at your Thanksgiving celebration. And on that note, Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Savoury Sweet Potato Mash

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 tsp salted butter
  • small matchbox size, maximum, of blue cheese (I use Cashel Blue)
  • small matchbox size, maximum, of feta
  • 1 garlic clove (you will use it raw)
  • 1 small bunch parsley
  • 1 small bunch coriander
  • sea salt and black pepper, freshly ground

Method

  1. Chop your sweet potato into small pieces, I usually do about bitesize, but it doesn’t really matter as you will just be mashing it.
  2. Rinse and then place in a pot of water that just covers the sweet potato. Bring to the boil and continue to boil until tender. The length of time will depend on how big you cut your potato – I find it takes about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, mince your garlic, parsley and coriander and set aside. Keep the garlic separate from the herbs, though.
  4. Dice your cheeses and set aside.
  5. Once the sweet potato has boiled, drain and mash with the butter, salt and pepper.
  6. Then, using a fork stir in the raw garlic, feta and blue cheese.
  7. Finally, add the herbs.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Fiesta Friday #169 Leftover Aubergine Rarebit Wrap

“How can people say they don’t eat eggplant when God loves the colour and the French love the name? I don’t understand.”

~ Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet

Recently, I shared my Aubergine Rarebit recipe, and now I’m sharing a leftover idea. I’ve used this for lunch (and breakfast) quite a bit recently and it’s really tasty. It’s also easy and while it does pack a punch calorie wise (especially on this Blood Sugar Diet), it’s really filling and overall pretty healthy.

I really like Tesco’s Caramelised Onion Hummus but you can use whichever one you prefer or leave it out. I’ve used BF’s gluten free wraps as well as their Quinoa and Chia Seed Wrap. The gluten free wrap is 99 calories but the quinoa one is around 110, so if you are calorie counting, it’s something of which you should be aware. Overall, I prefer the Quinoa one – I find the texture of the gluten free one strange. As you all know, avocado is one of my favourite foods and it’s not a stranger to this wrap. In fact, if you don’t use the hummus, you need the avocado which adds a lovely creaminess to the rest of the ingredients and pairs so well, as always with the roasted tomatoes.

Originally, the first few times I made the wrap, I didn’t include the olives or coriander but they’ve been a wonderful addition. I had a jar of black olives that needed to be used and some leftover coriander (I like adding fresh coriander to soups) and I popped that in one of the days. Let’s just say that what had been a highly enjoyable lunch became a topnotch one!

Anyhoo, I ‘ll leave you go – it’s late and a Sunday night so I’m sure everyone is tired and getting ready for the work week (in Ireland it’s a public holiday on Monday, so I’m getting a three day weekend – but I’ll do my best not to rub that in your faces!).

I’m sharing this recipe at Fiesta Friday #169 hosted by the lovely Angie and her cohosts for this week are the ever lovely Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Elaine @ FoodbodAlso, a huge shout out to Elaine – her post on aubergine recently was what inspired me for my aubergine rarebits. So, thanks, Elaine!

Leftover Aubergine Rarebit Wrap

Approximately 300 calories

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • BF Quinoa and Chia Seed Wrap
  • 1 tsp Hummus  (I used Tesco Carmalised Onion Hummus), optional
  • Handful of spinach, washed and spun-out
  • Aubergine Rarebit, 1 serving
  • ¼ bell pepper, diced or sliced (I prefer red or yellow)
  • ¼ avocado, diced
  • 4-5 black olives
  • ½ tbsp chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
  • 1 scallion, chopped (optional)

Method

  1.  Depending on whether this is something you are eating straight away or if it’s something you are bringing into work for lunch you have two options:
    1. If eating immediately,  heat the leftover aubergine rarebit up under a grill/broiler on the lowest setting for about 5 minutes.
    2. If bringing into work for lunch,  you don’t need to heat them up. Just keep add them to the wrap as in step 4, and then from when you leave for work until you eat it, leave at room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the wrap up on a frying pan for a few seconds on each side.
  3. Smear some hummus on the wrap and then layer spinach on one side of the wrap.
  4. Top the spinach with the aubergine rarebit, and then sprinkle on the remaining ingredients
  5. Roll the wrap, burrito style and enjoy or wrap in tinfoil and bring to work.

In My Kitchen – April 2017

Well, I didn’t quite make last month but I am excited to share my kitchen with you this month, although it isn’t hugely exciting. Can you believe Easter is only a week away? How did that happen? This time, I know the answer – I’ve had solid work since the end of January. Which is great! Even better, I’ve been cooking and experimenting a little more, thanks to doing Michael Moseley’s 8 week Blood Sugar Diet. Admittedly, not everything is Instagram worthy, nevermind actually sharing the recipe!

Anyhoo on to what’s in my kitchen:

In my kitchen is this Microplane Spiral Cutter. My sister has a Microplane grater which I love to use at her house so this really caught my eye. I’ve experimented a little but haven’t made anything at all interesting so far. I just love making spirals. I got a gift voucher at Christmas for one of the big departments stores in Dublin and so far this is what I’ve both. I’ve a bit left on the voucher and I hope to go back soon to browse the kitchen ware again.

 

Also in my kitchen is this lunch box which I can’t believe I haven’t featured before! My mom got me this in America when she went with my sisters and my sister’s family a few months ago – in fact it’s about 6 months ago. It’s great, especially since it’s collapsible. The lid also has a compartment for the spoon/fork.

Halloumi and aubergine are fast becoming two of my favourite ingredients. I love just tossing some halloumi in the frying pan with some spices and other ingredients to have a yummy bowl and I love eating these Aubergine Rarebits by themselves or as part of a salad (recipe coming soon…). The best thing about the Blood Sugar Diet has been the experimentation. 

On the diet I haven’t been eating carbs (being on 800 calories per day means it’s too hard to eat them!) but I’ve been reintroducing them occasionally. Although I don’t have any intolerances nor do I suffer from Coeliac disease but these BFree  wraps have been a life saver as they are much lower in calories than my usual wraps. I’ve also introduced Ryvita as each slice is only 41 calories.

So that’s it for my kitchen. Not very exciting I’m afraid. In My Kitchen is hosted by the lovely Liz from Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things Blog. Unfortunately, due to her every increasing schedule she is handing over the baton after this month. So, please head on over now to her blog to read up on all the other In My Kitchen entries and to follow the instructions for next month’s posts!

Thank you very much Liz, and to all our previous hosts for your wonderful attitudes and this delightful get together every month. Also, a huge thank you for always welcoming the increasingly forgetful me – somehow the 10th of the month rolls on before I even realise it!

Happy Easter, Everyone! x

Fiesta Friday #165 Aubergine Rarebit

“Cheese has always been a food that both sophisticated and simple humans love.”

~ M.F.K. Fisher, How to Cook a Wolf (1942)

Hello, fellow Fiesta Friday-ers! And everyone else who reads this blog – despite the fact I haven’t posted anything in weeks! Thank you for sticking with me because I certainly don’t deserve it. It only hit me this week (after almost a year of teaching) that I actually have more free time in the evenings than I’ve realised and more than I had in Korea. Even when I walk home and especially when I am teaching groups of teenagers because I tend to just need to adjust or adapt lesson plans rather than needing to completely start from scratch. I don’t know why it took me so long to realise this but it did. However, as a result, I’ve finally, properly, been testing a recipe. Until now when I was recipe testing I’d do a bit here, a  bit there and then nothing for weeks and then it would be months until I posted a recipe. Hopefully, this new-found free time will mean more kitchen time. Let’s hope I’m with teenagers for quite a few weeks yet!

Well, on-wards and upwards to the recipe! As you may know, if you follow me on Instagram, I’ve been doing the Blood Sugar Diet. Basically, you eat 800 calories a day, avoiding carbs but indulging in fat and protein – so woohoo for the butter and the pork chops! Boohoo for the potatoes, rice and pasta. I found it really hard in the beginning but thanks to the fact that all the women in my family, living in Ireland, are doing this together it made it easier to keep at it. I haven’t been great at it – in fact from the 15th -22nd March I was diabolical and ate everything in sight. My excuse? My dad’s birthday, St Patrick’s day and my baba sister came to visit all in the same few days. However, I went straight back to being good when she left. I’m a bit hit and miss at the minute as I did enjoy some French Toast and half a potato waffle this weekend but I’ve noticed that I just don’t need or want as much carbs as I once did. Also, even better, I actually have lost weight. My sisters didn’t feel that they really did in comparison so perhaps I DO have high blood sugar.

I will admit most of the meals I’ve had have been pretty great and fresh tasting but overall nothing special that one would really share. I don’t even really even use a dressing on my salads instead trusting to avocado or beetroot to provide a more natural dressing.  However, one recipe that I’ve made recently has become a firm favourite for me. I made it originally a couple of weeks ago but wasn’t 100% happy with it. I did some testing last week to see how I liked the aubergine and once I decided on the method, I then worked on the “rarebit” part. My mom and my brother were my testers, and I’m really happy with their very constructive feedback. My mom just tested today’s batch (and also kept on today’s second batch as I was at The Jam’s 6th birthday. Happy Birthday, kiddo! )

One of my family’s favourite recipes that we all love to make and use quite frequently (at least the meat eaters in our family) is this Chicken Rarebit recipe that’s available on the BBC Good Food website (click here). It’s amazing and if you eat meat and want something that will wow your friends and doesn’t take too much preparation or cooking time look no further. It’s a firm family favourite for a reason.  A few times, particularly in the last year I’ve been thinking about a vegetarian version and I’ve finally come up with an adaptation that I just love and am so excited to share with you.

This recipe isn’t the lowest in calories but if you stick to the portion size suggested you’re looking at approximately 135 calories for around 4 big rounds, and 6 small rounds. So, if you are like me and generally stick to 200 calories each for breakfast and lunch and 400 towards dinner, you are still in a good place.  Unfortunately, these wee aubergine rarebits are so good that it’s hard to resist and remember that you are trying to be good and not eat all of them in one go! I suggest that you use a cast-iron griddle pan to brown the aubergine before placing in the oven with the toppings but if you don’t possess one of those, you could also broil/grill the aubergine on both sides. We have a top grill (if you don’t know what I’m talking about click here), and I’ve browned them there on the lowest heat setting. I’d suggest browning all the aubergine first and then add them to an ovenproof dish before dividing the cheese mixture between them. That way you won’t add too much cheese to one batch and then run out when preparing your second batch (which happened to me today). While cherry tomatoes on the vine are preferable, I’ve also used piccolo tomatoes and baby plum tomatoes, so feel free to experiment. However, don’t use the common tomato but stick to the small versions. If I had some different coloured tomatoes I would have definitely tried that out as well.  As the tomatoes brown, they release their juices a bit and mix with the cheese to form a lovely sauce. If some of this sauce spills off the rarebit into the ovenproof dish, scrap it out and use it on your potatoes or in your pasta for some extra oompf.

Well, that’s way more chat than I meant to give ye, so without any more ado, you will find this recipe shared at Fiesta Friday #165 which is hosted by the ever lovely Angie and her co-hosts this week are Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes. You should check out their blogs as well as Fiesta Friday – do join the party it’s always great fun and you can get so many wonderful ideas there. Here’s the recipe:

As you can see, way too much cheese was put on some of these rarebits. Still delicious, though!

Aubergine Rarebit

(adapted from BBC Good Food)

Approximately 6 servings (4 big rounds or six small rounds  per serving)

Approximately 135 calories per serving

Ingredients

  • 2 aubergines, sliced into rounds (you should have somewhere between 30-40 rounds between two aubergines)
  • Table salt
  • Olive oil (approx 1 tablespoon)
  • 100g Kilmeaden Mature Red Cheddar, or other strong red cheese
  • ½ tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 3 tbsp whole milk (I use Avonmore)
  •  1 cherry tomato per round (or other small tomato like piccolo)

Method

  1. Put the aubergine rounds onto a chopping board and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the mixture – grate the 100g of cheese into a bowl. Then, add the mustard and milk and mix together. Set aside.
  3. Rinse the cherry tomatoes and set aside.
  4. After 30 minutes, rinse the salt off the aubergine rounds and then place between paper napkin and pat dry. If using a cast iron griddle pan, brush some olive oil over the pan and place over medium heat. You may need to adjust your temperature, to prevent the pan from smoking.
  5. Brush each round with olive oil and then place in the griddle pan. Let them cook for a couple of minutes until lightly browned, and then turn them over, cooking for another few minutes If you are using a broiler/grill after brushing the rounds with oil, place under the grill on low heat and then turn over after then are nicely browned.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare an ovenproof dish by brushing oil with oil, and pre-heat your oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. When the aubergine are all browned, add to the ovenproof dish. You may need to do two batches or use a second ovenproof dish. Divide the cheese mixture between all the rounds and then place a cherry tomato on top.
  7. Pop in the oven for between 20 to 30 minutes or until the cheese and tomatoes are a little browned.
  8. Serve immediately as best eaten hot.

Tips

Leftovers: If, like me you have leftovers, you can throw them under a grill/broiler on low heat to warm up. You shouldn’t need more than 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can use them in the next recipe which is absolutely delicious and a great way to enjoy leftovers.

In My Kitchen – February 2017

Happy New Year, everyone!

2017 crept up incredibly fast and the 10th February even faster! The last few weeks of 2016 I spent with my sister’s family helping out as she’s been a wee bit under the weather. I’m getting lots of nieces and nephew time.

So, how was everyone’s Christmas? Unlike last Christmas I didn’t get many food related items. In fact, besides chocolate, the only food related item I got was a gift of lunch at the prestigious Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Which, in fairness, is a pretty epic present. I haven’t decided who to bring with me and when to go. Hopefully in the spring, though! My actually Christmas presents included Harry Potter themed pyjamas (these along with the Shelbourne may have won Christmas for me). My squeals of delight were all that my sister who gave it to me desired. For my birthday she also gave me HP related Christmas decorations, a paper craft, a reading lamp for bed that you wear around your neck. This is so handy for me as I love reading in bed but hate having to get up to turn off the light so instead I usually watch TV…no more!

shelbourne

(photo credit @ K O’Driscoll – I wasn’t able to take this photo so my sister very kindly helped me out)

However, we had lots of goodies to eat. Here are some of them! I made a couple of cheese boards over the Christmas. This one was to celebrate Nollaig na mBan or Women’s Christmas as Three Kings Day is known here. It featured hummus, paté, gorgonzola, edam, cheddar, chorizo and salami as well as some crisps. Below are my mom’s almond slices. I love when there are almonds on top. We also had her peanut butter balls and peppermint balls (not pictured). I believe some people call them buckeyes?  These tartlettes were incredibly yummy. I ate about 4 by myself! The crisps didn’t taste like their description but I’m not sure what they tasted like! They were pretty good, though.

christmas-treatsFor my birthday, from my sister’s family I got a myriad of food related gifts, which more than made up for Christmas: apricot chocolates, peanut sweets and a jar of Ya Kun Kaya Toast. It’s basically a coconut jam that’s very popular in Singapore. I’ve never had it before. Has anyone ever tried it? If so, did you like it? I haven’t tried it yet – saving it for a special occasion.

peanut-apricot

(photo credit @ K O’Driscoll – I wasn’t able to take this photo so my sister very kindly helped me out)

ya-kun-kaya

My other sister made me my own hobbit hole cake. I first read The Hobbit when I was about 7 or 8 and LOTR when I was about 10. To this day they are some of my favourite stories. Isn’t it adorable?

birthdaycake

I also received this beautiful cookbook from my aunt who was visiting. I am in love! This aunt is the one who introduced my sister to the More-with-less  and Extending the Table cookbooks. I love Extending the Table and you can find two recipes adapted from that cookbook on this blog: Kusherie and Nepalese Spiced Tea. I am sure that this cookbook will also be excellent. Does anyone else have it?

ginnys-present

(photo credit @ K O’Driscoll – I wasn’t able to take this photo so my sister very kindly helped me out)

When my aunt was visiting, she asked me to make some Korean food for her. I made my version of gimbap and adapted a bibimbap recipe of Maangchi’s. Maangchi is one of my favourite Korean food bloggers. You should check her out.

koreannight

I also participated in Fiesta Friday’s Healthy Recipe Challenge. We had to incorporate two ingredients in a recipe: pineapple and a leafy green. This was my contribution (click the picture to bring you to the recipe)moms-chicken-pasta-salad

In my kitchen, I have some fruits, or rather cookies, from my baking labours! The big picture and the bottom right are slightly different versions of the same cookie. The ones on the top right are my Grandma’s Christmas Fork Cookies. I made these for a cookie exchange at the beginning of December.I’m not a confident baker but that’s my goal for this year: (technically it was also last years goal but I got sidetracked!) to increase my knowledge about baking and to bake more often. Most especially, not to be afraid of disasters. To that end I hope to share some stories about my baking adventures over the next year with my first post coming in a couple of weeks.  How about you all? Any resolutions cooking related? Blog related? Obviously, for me it’s to post more recipes and to participate more IMK and Fiesta Friday 

cookies

And that’s all folks. Please check out  for the other entries in this month’s In My Kitchen posts at Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Thins and if you are interested in joining us, let her know.Thanks for hosting, Liz.