Pearl Barley Salad with Wild Garlic Pesto

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

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This storecupboard grain with its nutty flavour and chewy texture makes a great alternative to rice or couscous in this filling and delicious salad teamed with red onion, sweet juicy orange, ripe grape tomatoe and a wild garlic pesto. This salad make a great side dish for some roasted chicken or even main meal salad.
Barley comes in two basic forms: hulled and pearl. They are both nutritious, rich in calcium, minerals, iron and potassium and contains lots of soluble and insoluble fiber that supposedly helps with digestion.
Hulled barley has had the tough, inedible outermost hull removed but still retains its bran and endosperm layer. It's brown in colour and nuttier and chewier. The outer bran of pearl barley is removed and the grain polished to a pale, creamy-coloured grain, making it more tender to the bite and faster to cook than the hulled variety.

Wild Garlic Pesto
  • 250 g Pearly barley
  • 750 ml Water
  • 1 Red onion, diced
  • 1 Orange, peeled and diced
  • 120 g Grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp Wild garlic, chopped
  • 100 g Wild garlic leaves
  • 30 g Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
  • 1 clove Garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Lemon, zested and juiced
  • 30 g Pine nuts , toasted
  • 80 ml Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper
  1. Rinse and roughly chop the wild garlic leaves. Blitz the wild garlic leaves, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, garlic, lemon zest and pine nuts to a rough paste in a food processor. Season, and with the motor running slowly, add in olive oil. Taste, season and add in lemon juice. Transfer the pesto to a clean jar and top with the extra olive oil. Will keep in the fridge for two weeks.
  2. Place the pearl barley in a bowl and add enough water to cover the grain by 1 to 2 inches. Rub it with your fingers, drain the water, and repeat a few times. Transfer the grain into a mesh strainer and rinse under running water. Drain.
  3. Place barley in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes until the barley is al dente. Drain. Refresh under cold running water. Drain again.
  4. Place them in a large bowl. Add in red onion, orange, wild garlic and the pesto. Toss gently to combine.

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Sesame Rolls

Monday, May 10, 2021

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These sesame rolls are crispy on the outside and soft, chewy on the inside. The texture actually reminds me of bagels. They are perfect on their own, but also ideal to use as buns for sandwiches. I love it with avocado spread and it would be nice to go with some creamy egg salad too.

  • 250 ml Lukewarm water
  • 7 g Dried yeast
  • 380 g All-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Salt plus extra for the topping
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  1. Dissolve the yeast in water. Set aside for 5-10 minutes until frothy. In the mixing bowl of your stand mixer combine 1/3 of flour, salt, sugar, and dissolved yeast and mix until blended. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes. Add in the rest of the flour and knead until smooth.
  2. Grease a bowl or container, put the dough inside, cover with film and let rise until become nearly to double size, about 1 hour.
  3. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Set aside. Divide the dough into 6 even portions. Using the palm of your hand, roll each portion into a 40 cm long rope. Bring the two ends together, twisting to join them and form a circle. Place them on the prepared baking tray.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F fan-forced. Brush the rolls with the water and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and a little salt. Set them aside to rise for 30 minutes until they're puffy. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until nicely golden.

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Chocolate Peanut Pull-Apart Bread

Saturday, May 08, 2021

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The dough is a breeze to make, slightly sweetened with sugar and enriched with melted butter and egg. I used a mixture of dark chocolate, roasted peanuts and butter for the filling. You can replace peanuts with other nuts or simply use chunky peanut butter with cinnamon chips. Nutella and chopped hazelnuts would be great as the filling too. The bread is best enjoyed warm, while the chocolate still warm and fluid, but it still tastes wonderful after it cools.

DoughFilling & Topping
  • 180 ml Wholemilk, lukewarm
  • 25 g Fresh yeast
  • 1 Egg, medium
  • 35 g Butter, melted
  • 35 g Sugar
  • 1 Vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 370 g All-purpose flour
  • 1/3 tsp Salt
  • 80 g Butter, melted
  • 150 g Salted roasted peanuts, finely chopped
  • 30 g Butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 100 g Dark chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)
  1. Combine milk and yeast, stir and set aside at room temperature for 10 minutes, untill is gets foamy.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add in egg, melted butter, sugar, scraped vanilla seeds and yeast/milk mixture. Stir on slow speed to combine. Add in flour and salt and beat at slow speed for 5 minutes until the dough comes together. Increase the speed and knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
  3. Transfer to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it proof at room temperature, until it almost doubles its size.
  4. Grease and line a 30x11cm loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  5. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough into 50x30cm / 20x12 inch rectangle. Brush the rectangle with melted butter. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts and chocolate over.
  6. Using a very sharp knife or a pizza cutter, slice the dough vertically into 6 equal sized strips from top to bottom. Stack 6 strips on top of each other, and cut into 6 sections. Place them accordion like into the prepared loaf pan.
  7. Cover the loaf pan with a clean kitchen towel, and allow to rise again in a warm place for 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  8. Place the butter pieces on the top and sprinkle the brown sugar over. Bake the dough for 32-40 minutes in the middle of or until a deep golden brown. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes then place on cooling rack to cool completely.

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Spicy Asian Chicken Salad

Thursday, May 06, 2021

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A delicious and light chicken salad that ain't drowning in mayo and perfect for leftover roasted chicken. The fun part of this salad is the spicy sesame dressing, which would be good for soba noodle salad too. It is simple, tangy and so delicious! The salad is packed with flavour and high in protein that keeps you satisfied and keep the calories low.

SaladSpicy Sesame Dressing
  • 300 g Leftover roasted chicken, shredded
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers, cut into matchsticks
  • 4 Celery stalks, trimmed, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 Baby carrot, shredded
  • Fresh coriander or flat parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 Red chilli pepper, diced
  • 2 tsp Rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Roasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Minced ginger
  • 1 tsp Light soya sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Dried chilli flakes
  1. Shred chicken. Place in a large bowl. Add cucumber, celery, carrot, coriander / flat parsley, and chilli pepper.
  2. Combine rice vinegar, sesame oil,, minced ginger, soya sauce and chilli flakes in a jug. Stir to combine. Pour over salad. Toss to combine and serve.

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Almond Spelt Butter Cake

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

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This almond spelt butter cake, inspired by Pauline from Happy Retiree's Kitchen and Küchengötter, is a basic butter cake made with a few of ingredients – the key being the quality Irish grass-fed butter. It's quick, simple and the result is a moist and tender butter cake. All you have to do is to dump all the ingredients in your mixing bowl and beat until creamy and combined. Nothing gets easier than this recipe. Serve it however you like with icing sugar dusted over, crème Chantilly or lemon icing.

  • 150 g Kerrygold butter, softened
  • 3 Medium eggs, at room-temperature
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 90 ml Almond milk, at room-temperature (or regular whole milk)
  • 130 g White sugar
  • 50 g Potato starch (or cornstarch)
  • 50 g Blanched almond flour
  • 100 g White spelt flour
  • 3 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • Icing sugar, to dust
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F (fan-forced is not recommended). Butter and line a 22x11x8 cm loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Place all the ingredients, except the icing sugar, in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat slowly at first to combine, then increase speed to medium and beat for 4 minutes until thick and creamy.
  3. Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle some chopped almond over if desired. Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, then dust with icing sugar and serve.

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Butter Lettuce Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

Monday, May 03, 2021

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SaladLemon Tahini Dressing
  • 2 Head Butter lettuce
  • 1/2 Red onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp Pine nuts, roasted
  • 1 Nori sheet, crumbled
  • 150 g Cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh herb, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Tahini
  • 4-5 tbsp Lukewarm water
  • 2 tbsp Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp Maple syrup
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp Pink sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly milled pepper
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, 4 tablespoons of water, lemon juice, maple syrup, minced garlic, and salt until smooth.
  2. If the dressing is too thick, add more water, ½ tablespoon at a time, until it’s a drizzleable consistency.
  3. Cut the leaves from the stalk of the butter lettuce. Toss with a small amount of dressing and then rearrange the leaves on a serving plate, using the largest leaves on the bottom and the smallest on top, just like the orginal lettuce.
  4. Sprinkle with the chopped red onion. Crush a nori sheet with your hands and sprinkle some over the lettuce. Halve the cherry tomatoes and top the salad with them, finishing up with a sprinkle of the toasted pine nut,s, fresh herb and extra tahini dressing.

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Beef Carpaccio with Truffle and Parmigiano-Reggiano

Saturday, May 01, 2021

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Carpaccio is a traditional Italian gourmet appetizer consisting of raw beef sliced paper-thin, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice. The most commonly used cut for carpaccio is the centre of the fillet, but sirloin works just as fine.
Carpaccio was invented in the 1950s by Giuseppe Cipriani from Harry's Bar in Venice and it soon became very popular. It was named after Venetian painter Vittorio Carpaccio, known for the characteristic red and white tones of his work.
This carpaccio recipe with true 30-month aged Parmigiano-Reggiano and truffle practically melts in your mouth and is absolutely packed with flavour! A perfect starter to start your five star meal.

  • 120-150 g Beef fillet, organic and grass-fed
  • A handful of arugula
  • Truffle slices soaked in olive oil
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Lemon zest
  • Celtic grey salt
  • Black peppercorns
  • Pink peppercorns
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme, optional
  1. Wrap the beef in a plastic film and freeze for 30 minutes or until firm.This will make the beef easier to slice.
  2. Rinse arugula and spin dry. Brush 2-3 plates with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. To make carpaccio, remove the plastic wrap from the beef. Using a sharp knife, cut thin slices across the grain of the beef. Place each slice between two sheets of plastic wrap and, using a rolling pin, flatten the beef until almost paper-thin.
  4. Divide carpaccio slices in a single layer, slightly overlapping, on the plates. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with lemon zest, salt and peppers.
  5. Place arugula on the carpaccio slices. Shave Parmigiano-Reggiano over the carpaccio and top with a few slices of truffle. Garnish with fresh thyme if using and serve immediately.


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