In season: Summer recipes

Irish homemade garlic & herb butter

Garlic butter is one of those things that is so easy make, can flavour up a lot of foods and yet is something we often just buy in the supermarket. And even though you can get a few different types in the supermarket (with peppercorns for example), there’s nothing quite like being able to be completely in control of the flavour and avoid having to add/eat any unnecessary unpronounceable ingredients. You can go creative and start adding bold flavours like kurkuma or cumin but you can also keep it basic with just a little twist. Not too long ago I hosted a big barbecue in my garden and on every barbecue I host, I always have loads of French bread with some garlic butter that you can either eat cold or grill shortly on the barbecue for an even better result. Even though I served it with some French bread, a lot of my friends also tried it on some of the barbecue meat and simply loved it!

Unfortunately it doesn’t look like there will be much barbecuing going on in Ireland any time soon, but not to worry: you can also use your butter for some garlic bread to go along with some spaghetti bolognese or to flavour up some pan grilled steak or even to slide into some oven grilled potatoes!

  
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Oven roasted fresh salmon with carrots, broccoli & green asparagus and a Mediterranean cream cheese sauce

There are plenty of benefits of living on an island.. but having fresh wild fish at your disposal really is a treat! There’s an abundance of fishing going on within the country but when it comes to salmon, there are very strict rules in place. Only a set amount of wild salmon may be caught each year and it is such a great product to use. Inland Fisheries Ireland: “Wild Atlantic Salmon is now available at fish counters around Ireland. This salmon comes from sustainably-managed traditional net fisheries on estuaries and rivers around Ireland, where the number of returning salmon allows fish to be harvested, while maintaining a healthy stock of spawning fish for future generations. Wild Irish salmon can be regarded as truly organic, having lived its life in the wild, fed on wild fish and krill, and travelling thousands of miles on its long ocean migration, ensuring firm flesh and high levels of healthy Omega-3 oils.Farmed salmon and organic farmed salmon is a very different product to wild salmon. Farmed salmon is widely available year round.”

  
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Birthday Celebrations

Today is my birthday! Although I was busy all weekend making new recipes I won’t be posting a new one today but instead I’m going to share some of my favourite Irish pieces that are perfect for any birthday celebrations.

Let’s start the day in style with a beautiful breakfast picnic from Avoca outside, or in bed if it’s pouring rain. Moving on to the best part of the day: CAKE! Served on this gorgeous orchid dinner set by Carraig Donn, absolutely stunning and ideal for serving some tasty muffins and cakes. After that we have a beech Shot board from Caulfield Country Boards to get the party started! You can use Meadows & Byrne’s artisan pitcher to serve your own homemade cocktails in, or maybe make it two, just so you don’t run out of drinks too fast.

  
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Fish Taco’s with battered hake, pickled carrots and cabbage, radishes, mango and a sour cream – avocado sauce

Back when I was living in Antwerp, I went to ‘Barrio Cantina – Food Truck Festival‘, where I not only met amazing people but also tasted some great food. At the recommendation of my best friend Pierre I went to try a fish burger at ‘Jean Sur Mer’ (anything that rhymes must be good, right?), which turned out to be pure heaven. I actually went home regretting that I didn’t eat another one and hoping I would one day be able to eat it again. But then I moved to Ireland and I never really got to taste that unbelievable crispy fish again. Luckily for me Jean has since then launched his own brand of fish batter, to make your own ‘kibbeling’, which is white fish dipped in batter and then fried.

After receiving the flour to make the batter, I knew right away what I was going to make with it: fried fish taco’s! I had never made it or even eaten fish taco’s but it’s something that I wanted to try for a while now. Now strangely enough I have been living her for over a year now without actually owning a deep fryer but luckily Elisah (Jean’s lovely wife) suggested I’d try it in a wok instead and the result was really great. I somehow felt it was a lot healthier as well instead of using fat I just used some good quality olive oil to fry my fish in.

  
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Book tip of the month August: Super Food Family Classics by Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver obviously needs no introduction on this blog, it’s no secret that this man helped me when I first started cooking and I still am a big fan of his recipes and cookbooks as well as his yearly ‘Food Revolution Day’ which I’m a big supporter of.

“Access to good, fresh, nutritious food is every child’s human right. It’s easy to agree with this, but the reality is an astounding 41 million children under the age of five are overweight or obese, while another 159 million kids are too short for their age. None of these children are growing healthily. Jamie is calling on us all to join a global Food Revolution in order to provoke debate and inspire real, meaningful, positive change in the way our children access, consume and understand food.

We want to shout about important food issues, encourage everyone to take part in impactful change and push governments to improve their food and nutrition policies. This is a space for us all – individuals, parents, policymakers, communities and businesses – to come together, make a noise, share our stories and debate the issues that can provide our children with access to good, fresh, nutritious food for generations to come. This is a global revolution – wherever you are, join us.”

  
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Silky Smooth Homemade Apple Sauce

When it comes to food, there are quite a few things I miss from Belgium and always look forward to eating when I go home, like Belgian fries with mayo, chicory with ham and a cheese sauce, vol-au-vent, beef & beer stew, meatloaf with cherries or smoskes to name a few, but one other thing I have grown to miss is our apple sauce. In my first month here in Ireland I was craving some roasted chicken with apple sauce, went down to the store and much to my surprise couldn’t find any jars of apple sauce.

Now I must admit I have seen it once since then, but it didn’t look all that tasty so I was left with massive disappointment. Luckily for me I came to realize since then that it’s such an easy thing to make yourself, and you can adjust so it’s exactly the way you want: the perfect balance of sweet & sour with a creamy thickness just the way you want it.

  
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The Foodie Forager

Ireland’s natural beauty is still something that takes my breath away every single day. I feel so blessed that I get to drive through these stunning green hills every day on my way to work and that I live so close to lakes, mountains, the ocean, forests and fields. Apart from being so beautiful, it also comes with some extra perks as a foodie to be able to live so close to so many natural resources; you can actually go foraging or pay a visit to a local farmer or fishermen for some fresh produce.

With those possibilities of course comes a tough choice: what do you bring on your foraging trip? I have picked out 4 must haves for your next trip: a basic egg basket, a wooden trug for your flowers & herbs, adorable milk bottles and last but not least: great pots to organize your tools, write down foraging dates to put with your produce and so on!

  
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Colourful roasted carrots and radishes

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to make oven roasted carrots, cause it is now by far my most favourite way of making them. Nothing fancy, just some carrots and radishes, basic herbs and spices like pepper, sea salt, thym and rosemary and a good drizzle of good quality olive oil. Finishing it off with some fresh parsley and that’s it, oa basic but flavourful and colourful meal. As this requires no skills or complicated things, it’s a perfect recipe for beginners as well, and you can pair it with all kinds of other ingredients. I had mine with some wholemeal spirelli and top quality Irish sausages but you can easily serve it with some grilled fish as well or eat it without any meat or fish and just have it with some pasta, potato or even couscous; the possibilities are endless!

  
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