Tag Archives: Dinner

Cannelloni Nom

I always think Cannelloni is one of those dishes that takes too much time to ever bother doing, its really just as time-consuming as lasagne and is a really nommy treat if your normal routine pasta dishes are becoming a little tiresome.

This one is made with 1/2 pork and 1/2 beef, only because that’s what I had handy. And this recipe made two trays of the stuff, but leftovers are just awesome.

1kg of minced pork and beef (or the lot of one)

an onion

an egg

a handful of sage

salt and pepper

400g dried cannelloni tubes

Firstly get the meat mix ready by popping the minced meat in a bowl, with the chopped onion, a beaten egg, salt, pepper and the handful of sage that you will have chopped. If sage isn’t to your fancy, use a different herb, it just suited here with the pork. I had mince meat left over and made a couple burgers for extra nom.

Pork Beef Mince Mix

Then grab your mince mix and fill the cannelloni tubes. In retrospect I wouldn’t have filled them so densely, but would have instead half to three quarter filled them leaving gaps for some of the sauce to fill later, this would also alleviate the slight dryness I felt the meat had once cooked!

Cannelloni Tubes

Meanwhile get the bechamel sauce (although not the original as I use milk not cream!) going; 600ml of milk, 50g butter, 50g flour and some ground nutmeg. Whisk over a heat until butter is melted then slowly add sifted flour, whisking continuously so that the flour doesn’t go lumpy.

Line the trays with meat-filled cannelloni tubes and pour sauce over the tubes so that they are all well covered. Cover the top with some grated parmesan and pop in to the oven at 180 Degrees Celcius for about half an hour and until the cheese has crisped.

Ready for the Oven

Cannelloni Nom

Serve hot and fresh, as cannelloni is best that way!

Ready to NomDouble Nom

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Spiced Chicken Noodle Nom Nom

Reasonably often I have to whip up a quick lunch. I have often tried to leave some kind of seasoned or flavoured chicken in the freezer to make post-defrosting food making a little quicker. Here, I had my spiced chicken in the freezer and defrosted it overnight in the fridge. The chicken was previously cut into 1-2 inch long chunks and mixed with my spicey paste (salt, pepper, tablespoon of paprika, dried garlic, dried ginger and a dash of both ground cumin and coriander). Once I had left it marinading for a little while, I popped the chunks in a bag and froze them.

Marinated Chicken Nom


Here I had them defrosted and threw them into a pan with a little oil. Cook until brown or a little crispy outside and tender inside the chunk. The paprika makes everything a delicious red colour.

While the chicken is cooking, I got a packet of dried egg noodles and popped them in to a pot of boiling water. I cooked them for 10 minutes, because they were slightly thicker then your average egg noodle and I like them soft-ish. (But cook to whatever texture you prefer).

Oodles of Noodle Boiling

I then chopped up some spring onions and crumbled a load of feta cheese.

Spring Onion and Feta

When the chicken is cooked and the noodles are done, drain the noodles and pour in to the chicken pan. Add spring onions and feta and mix well. Eat. Enjoy. Eh-nom nom nom nom.


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Leek and Potatoe Soup with Chorizo

Winter time is nigh and with Halloween gone (the Halloween Pumpkin post will be coming soon, but first this one must be dealt with) it is getting bitter cold. There is nothing better on a cold crisp night than a warm bowl of soup and a slice of toast. This is a soup that the other half and my brother often request when the chilly weather comes a’ knockin’.

I grabbed two largeish leek and sliced them in to the circle discs that leeks are often slices in to and then popped them in to a pot with one or two onions sliced. Add a bit of oil if needed, but often I find there is enough water in the leek to not warrant the oil – that said these things are up to you. A flatmate of mine cooks her vegetables in water rather than oil for a healthier om nom, if you so desire.

While the leek and onion are softening and browning, peel and cube a handful of potatoes, I used as many as I felt was necessary, so about 6-8 medium sized ones.

When the leek has browned/softened bang the cubes of potatoe  in and get the kettle boiling. I use 2 litres of vegetable or chicken stock, whichever you prefer. Pop that on  to the leek and potatoe. Cook until potatoe cubes are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

When ready to serve, heat the soup well. In a saucepan fry up some chopped chorizo sausage, don’t use oil there is enough fat in the chorizo to keep it going. Scatter a few hot and crispy chunks of chorizo on top of the piping hot potatoe and leek soup. Serve with a slice of toast.

The best kind of warm om nom.

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Pasta Bake for Hungry Nomsters

I have moved out and without my parents glorious kitchen, without all the wonderfully large selection of pots and pans and knives and other kitchen gadgets I have found super cool cooking that bit tougher.

This is one of my (no joke) easy student dinners that is delicious.

Boil some water and get whatever pasta you want going. ~400g.

Get a 450g pack of good low fat content mince (please don’t go near that weird chuck mince stuff, Eww). When the mince is brown all round throw two cans of chopped tomatoe on top of it, a teaspoon of herb de provence and a teaspoon of oregano (both dried). Season with salt and pepper too. I usually add a squeeze of tomatoe puree, which is a cheaper way to get the delicious taste one would normally get from good passat. Let all the meaty goodness cook away until the sauce becomes a lovely dark rich red.

To add a naughty richness to the pasta bake I also use a heavier farmhouse cheddar, rather than a normal medium strength one. The extra tangy sharpness in the cheese only adds to the nom-factor.

Pour the cooked sauce down the bottom of a baking  tray, add the drained pasta and top with the nummy cheddar. Bake for 15-20 mins, or until the cheese at the top and melted and crisped.

Eat. Maybe whip up some homemade garlic bread while you’re at it.

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Easy Tangy Lemon, Rocket and Prawn Pasta

Monday night, the week has just started and you want something with a really nice kick to it – but it has to be easy to prepare. This is the business.

Grab whatever pasta you want to cook and get the water boiling. Whip out a pan and get some chilis and garlic chopped finely in it with a little oil. Have it at a nice medium heat so they brown quickly, but don’t burn them – there’s nothing worse than burnt garlic.

While the garlic/chili is browning make sure the pasta is on, and grab a bag of prawns from the freezer, (or have them previously defrosted -or fresh if you’re that cool). Pop them in some warm water, not boiling, until they are no longer frozen. Drain them and add them to the pan.

Add some chopped sundried tomatoes or sundried tomatoe paste – if you have it handy – or squeeze in some tomatoe puree. Pop one to two glasses of white wine on top of the cooked prawns and stir in the puree until the prawns are cooking nicely in a light sauce. Pour yourself a glass while your at it and stir occasionally.

Drain the cooked pasta and pop it back into the pot it came from. Pour all the delicious prawn-tomato-wine sauce over it, add a handful of torn rocket and the juice of a lemon and stir all of it together. Season with salt and pepper (mainly pepper, I find I don’t really cook with salt all that much anymore).

Plate it, making sure to give everyone prawns – they always hide at the bottom and if you dont get any there is trouble in our house! Add another few rocket leaves and some lemon zest to top off the dish.

Easy fix and now you can relax and finish off the bottle of white you opened earlier!

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Rabbit Stew

Rabbit? I know right? Who cooks rabbit? A good friend of ours was down the country hunting and was flying to Paris on their return to Dublin and offered up the wildlife. Being excited foodies and the opportunity to get a different meat I said YES!

Little did I know it would arrive whole. Thank god it was already gutted, but the experience of skinning and jointing a fluffy cute but reasonably large animal was an experience in itself. And while I’m never quite sure about the act of hunting myself – there was something about being responsible for the animal, for your meal from start to finish that was quite satisfying.

Following the jointing we used a very good farmer’s market recipe for rabbit stew. The stew uses cider and is light and a little acidic rather than a creamy gravy meaty stew.

Saute bacon in olive oil in a nice big casserole dish, until crispy. Remove the bacon and pop into a dish to be kept for later, keep all the bacon-flavoured oil and juices in the pot. Pop the rabbit joints in and turn them as each side crisps. Remove the rabbit joints too. Now cook carrots, shallots, garlic and a tablespoon or two of honey until they are all caramelised. Season veg with salt and pepper and add a couple sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf.

Pop the bacon and rabbit joints in with the veg, stir around and add a pint of cider to the dish. Pop it into the oven for two hours at 120 degrees celcius, with a lid on, checking occasionally so it doesn’t go dry.

Because I was feeding 5 people,  one rabbit doesn’t go too far. So I threw a load of sausages in the oven, cooked on all sides and popped them into the stew as well. Boys get grumpy in our house when there isn’t enough meat to go around.

Serve it with mash. Nom nom nom.

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Christmas Festivities and the New Year

I was slack in not getting this up in a timely manner, But i’d feel awful if the actual turkey never got to see the void that is the web! Christmas was delightful, a couple of kinks on the cooking front could have gone better. On a whim a family member decided it may be a good idea to include aniseed in the gravy. Let’s not do that again – but the rest was delish and everyone was full.

The pudding. Ah the Christmas pudding. I have a penchant for a good Christmas Pudding.We often have a couple in the house and would have one at Easter too if we felt like it. They keep for ages and must simply be neatly packed and sealed in a tupperware box, or in a fridge.

It’s quite a homey desert and the little brother makes the brandy butter and this year again a nameless family member made the custard. It split. BUT still tasted delicious and was gone before anyone could say “it split”.

There were a few cold shoulders about that custard. There is nothing like a creamy smooth custard on a fruity cake like a Christmas Pudding. That funny weird split consistency where no matter what you can’t get the curdled feeling to go – not great for a custard. That said the taste is usually just a delicious and the whole jug disappeared – who cares about a Christmas faux pas anyway!

Christmas day problems aside I actually prefer the POST-Christmas day foods that a fantastic turkey and ham can give you! I could live off cranberry and turkey sandwiches for life if I had too – there is something so nom about them it’s difficult to describe, but there is just very little that can beat a chunky slice of good bread, toasted with a very thin scraping of mayo on it, a teaspoon of cranberry sauce  and some left over turkey.

We are also big fans of the Turkey and Ham en Croute. It’s our adaptation of the Turkey Feuilletes that you see floating around. Using the old favorite Quick Flaky Pastry and preparing a turkey-ham filling. A couple of onions are browned at the bottom of a pot in butter, and chopped mushrooms, button, chestnut whatever mushrooms you like are thrown on top. A lot of people use bacon at this point, we decided one year why use a new pack of bacon when we have all this delicious Christmas ham floating around. Dice up 200-250grams of ham and add it to the onion and mushrooms. Add the turkey diced too 200-300 grams On top of this add a tablespoon of flour, add a little more if you feel its needed, and stir until everything is covered with a little bit of flour that’s now gone soggy in the meat, mushroom, onion and butter juices. This will thicken the sauce once you add the chicken stock next, 400ml,  in little quantities stirring the whole time. Let it simmer on the heat and pop in 100ml of creme fraiche. Add a cup of frozen peas to the mix and when they’re soft leave it to stand.

Roll out the Quick Flaky Pastry into one large square, about 5mm thick if you can, avoiding holes. Using a spatula spoon the mix into the center of the square of pastry and fold each of the corners inward. Bake in the oven at 180-200 degrees Celsius until golden brown on top and bottom. Slice and serve hot.

The New Year is all about those new year resolutions, I still haven’t decided on one, so I’ll hold off on that for the moment. In the middle of exams in college so we’ll see about the next update. It will most certainly be on the next project: Candied Crystallized Fruit

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The Mad Christmas Eve Food Prep

It sure is a super way to get most of the stress that the Christmas dinner can bring out of the way early. Get it done Christmas eve. The whole family is dragged down and we have a groggy embittered morning that turns in to a fully fledged cook-fest once we get in to the swing of it. Or once the coffee has been made.

First on the menu is the token Pineapple Basted Ham. Nom. 

Brown Sugar, Pinapple Juice and Chunks heat these until sugar is dissolved in the juice. Meanwhile, after having cut the skin off the ham (but leaving some fat to keep the moisture in) stir some dried Colman’s English Mustard powder in with a little water until you get a thick paste and smear all over the sides of the ham. Crush a tablespoon or more of cloves and throw it on top of the mustard paste so that the cloves stick to it. If the ham is falling apart, as they sometimes do – pop a skewer or two in to hold it together. Place it in a roasting dish with the pineapple/sugar sauce at the bottom of the tin.

Pop in the oven at 150 degrees celcius for 30 minutes, and then baste with the sauce. Repeat the basting process every 20 minutes until cooked, depending on the weight this can take 2-3 hours.

I’ve always found it hard to tell when a ham is cooked, the easiest way is probably to slide a skewer or knife through the thickest bit and ensuring there is no resistance. Nom. We’ve done this tonight so all it needs it reheating before the dinner tomorrow – and it leaves the oven free for the all important turkey! Slice and serve. Nom nom nom.

Dad has decided this year that while we will have brussel sprouts they won’t be the normal boiled or steamed ones. Instead he has made a Brussels sprout, bacon concoction with Lea and Perrin’s Worcester sauce. It’s exactly what it says on the tin.

Still tastes of Brussels sprout though. Nothing a bit of white pepper can’t cure.

The stuffing – also prepared the night before is another change to the menu. For the last few years we have collected edible chestnuts and roasted them in an ancient brass chestnut roaster on the fire. Yeah yeah, there was a song about it once etc. They are lovely though.

Takes me back to Switzerland at christmas when there were stalls at all the Christmas markets where you’d pay the equivilant of a euro and get a neatly folded cone of newspaper rolled up tightly holding a handful or two of roasted chestnuts. They’d be too hot to eat so you’d just warm your hands on them and then slowly peel the skin off and much on the hot nuts while walking through the snow.

We bunged ours in the oven. Then ground a loin of pork with sage and rosemary in the blender, added a load of onion and bread crumbs and some butter.  (Not a lot of butter is needed in this stuffing, unlike some other stuffings – the fat from the pork loin compensates so you don’t lose out on the moisture!) Chestnuts out of the oven and shelled. Grind them roughly and pop them into the stuffing, mix well and stuff into washed bird.

Or if you’re not keen on having the stuffing you’re going to eat in the bird, wrap it in tinfoil and cook. A little serving goes a long way on the day!

So that’s that. Tomorrow morning we need to get the turkey finished and in the oven, get the blini starter ready and the rest of the veg in already prepped and ready to go.

Nom nom nom. Nommy Christmas everyone!

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Pre-Christmas Lunch, Cheeses and Other Nibbles

Every year, we are lucky enough to have our parents take us out for a pre-Christmas lunch. Last year it was the Westin, this year they went all out and brought us to Thornton’s, Kevin Thorton’s restaurant on the first floor of the Fitzwilliam Hotel at St. Stephens Green. Definitely one of the top three restaurants in Ireland at the moment.  Second best meal of my life. EVER (The best meal of my life was probably Chapter One earlier in November this year, unbelievable.) 

So I couldn’t take photos of the food, I was a bit too scared for that. I had slow roasted quail, with a little brioche and bog oak sauce, with an added smokey poached quail egg served on the side! Also had was braised pig’s head and although I personally am very sceptical of anything to do with the head of an animal, (it was a rolled, braised and seared slice of pig cheek and jaw) it was delicious. I will definitely consider cheek or ‘head’ if ever on a menu in the future.

For the main I had peppered milk-fed veal with a fondant potato and broccoli mousse. Textures were interesting and the pepper somewhat overpowering but the meat was so tender it just melted in my mouth. Goose breast and John Dory were the other favourites at the table. My parents decided to pay corkage fees and bring their own wine a 2004 Puligny Montrachet and a 2001 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Chateau Payas, I think?). Unbelievable wines that just blew our minds, (and I don’t even understand them for what they really are, but I do appreciate that they are amazing).

I thought there was no question on the desert front – The lemon curd tart and raspberry sorbet was just divine, however the cheese platter was popular and a warm chocolate fondant and coconut something was amazing according to my brother. God I love when my parents cover costs for these kind of amazing experiences. That said the price was very very reasonable for what you were getting at €47 a head it was a steal in terms of quality. But it was the lunch menu, and lord knows I didn’t see the final bill!

So when guests come over, planned or unplanned the fridge is usually packed with cheese. Because, there is nothing like a fabulous plate of cheeses and some homemade bread or a selection of crackers. Add to that some wine and you’ve got a party! Recently I picked up these three cheeses, all raw unpasteurised  and delicious! They are from corleggy and I got one smoked cows milk cheese (Drumlin smoked), a hard goats cheese (Creeny) and a softer sheeps milk one whose name I’ve forgotten. And my little brother acquired this nifty bodum cheese/chocolate slicey thing, (see picture) one which you can sort of ‘mill/slice/scrape’ off a slice of cheese.

Anyway I am madly in love with the smoked Drumlin one, a slice of that with some relish on a burger is just the bees-knees after a long day!

But we are very open to many other cheeses, the Corleggy ones are from Cavan, Co. Ireland, but out fridge usually stocks a huge variety. Brie, St Agur, Comte and a load of different cheddars are staples in the cheese box and then we often have Manchego, Gruyere or Camembert floating around too. There is never enough cheese. Fact.

So cheese is a fabulous nibble to have when guests are around. We also love our mine pies, see an early post for why mine are the best ever mince pies! Nom. I love making hors d’oeuvre sized mince pies, the baby version. However they do take up much more time than the bigger ones, but there is just something cute and nifty about normal foody things that are small!

Mini-any recipe floats my boat – Nomnilicious.

The Christmas Dinner and Puddings are next.

Nom nom nom.

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A Nommy Food Journal Begins..

This will hopefully be a collection of recipes, dishes and meals made which I will both make myself and experience elsewhere in the world. My own personal relationship with food has always been important, and very much tied into the experience I get from it.
Food being somewhat of a necessity for most  of us has over recent years been highlighted for its flaws in our society, especially where health is considered. Recently both in my education and my personal life I have had to re-evaluate what kind of food one should value and how nutritional values can be upheld in the battle against financial, mass-production line processed produce and our own desire for fast-fixes.

Since we, my brothers and I, were  children we have loved cooking. My mother has always been exceptionally enthusiastic, passionate and extremely talented at putting together a meal that you’d be ready to fight a bear for. She’s also a perfectionist, although that obsessive streak has dulled over the years. I have however found it interesting to meet many people, children and adults alike who simply don’t enjoy cooking and don’t value, what I would term, quality food.

I was 12 years, or possibly even younger and suffered dreadfully from what I suppose you could call depression (having moved to Ireland  from Switzerland and left a very structured life with school, friends and hobbies and exchanged it for a world with little sunshine, and no snow). By 14 I had developed a extremely bad relationship with food, over eating when life’s stresses became too emotionally challenging. Weight loss programs, weight watchers, non-dairy diets and a variety of other attempts left me hovering on the overweight to obese line for most of my teens. I am still considered obese.

About 8 weeks ago I started a new program, but not only that it was a change of heart. I decided that for me, for my partner and future children, for my health , I would have to do something about this growing (outward not upward) problem. It was a decision that required me to take action against an emotional problem that has plaqued me for well over a decade, and at 22 that’s far too much time to have spent worrying, crying and being bullied for something that I was not mature enough to have dealt with alone.

While I have had support, especially from my parents, the real will to change had not yet come to me. I am on my way to a healthy weight, a better fitness and a much deeper understanding of the food we should be eating, what our world actually provides us on the average menu and ultimately a greater appreciation for the food I eat every day.

Nom nom and out.

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