Spring Recipes
Stuffed pork tenderloin with buffalo mozzarella, spinach, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes and basil
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Stuffed pork tenderloin with buffalo mozzarella, spinach, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes and basil

One of my favourite foods to order in a restaurant used to be pork tenderloin with some lovely potato croquettes. It’s not a very common thing here in Ireland though and I haven’t eaten it in over 2 years so I decided to just make it at home and to try something I had never done before: butterfly and stuff the pork myself.

I ended up filming it as well, to show people that if I can do it, so can you! It really was a lot easier than I thought it would be, it’s just a matter of making a cut at the top of the meat, at a distance from the top that’s the same as the thickness you want for your pork (don’t make it too thin or too thick) and then fold it open and keep slicing it along the bottom, making shallow cuts and rolling the pork open as you go. I did end up using a meat tenderiser too to make it thinner and bigger after butterflying the pork.

It took me a while to decide on the type of filling I wanted to use. There were just so many options but I decided to go with the seasons and go for some lovely mediterranean filling: buffalo mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, pine nuts and some basil. The result was smashing! I loved my filling so much I ended up saving some for my lunch to go on a sandwich with some chicken. It’ll go well with potatoes and pasta’s too so if you ended up with leftovers: no worries, there’s plenty of options!

  
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Rhubarb – Raspberry crumble with coconut (Gluten & Dairy-Free, Vegan)

Rhubarb season is still in full swing and judging by the empty boxes in the shops and markets, it’s very popular this year! I’ve made quite a few rhubarb recipes in the past already, like Rhubarb – Strawberry jam, Rhubarb Oatmeal Cookies, Rhubarb – Strawberry – Mint Limenade and Rhubarb – Plum tart but this time I decided to pair it up with raspberry for that lovely sweet touch.

Crumble is one of my favourite desserts to make when I have people over, as there’s not much that can actually go wrong, it’s not stressful to make and you don’t need any elaborate techniques or crazy ingredients and you can serve it with whatever you heart desires: ice cream, custard, fresh fruit, … My personal favourite is custard, especially now that I’ve discovered Alpro’s soy custard!

  
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Market Vegetarian by Ross Dobson
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Book Tip June 2017: Market Vegetarian by Ross Dobson

Each month I look forward to finding out what new books Ryland Peters & Small have released this time, as they always seem to hit the nail on the head! This month I discovered ‘Market Vegetarian’ by Ross Dobson and decided to make it my book tip of the month for June as I haven’t featured a lot of vegetarian books yet.

I’ve mentioned it a few times but when it comes to my every day meals, I try to bring some variety into it, sometimes it’ll be with meat, sometimes fish, sometimes vegetarian or even vegan. But I always find it hard to come up with good vegetarian meals that’ll still make you feel full and happy afterwards so this book is a great addition to my already quite extensive collection of books!

  
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Cork Dessert Festival
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Cork’s first Dessert Festival: June 26th – July 2nd

Festival Cork are people after my own heart. First they organised the hugely popular Burger Festival, then the Whiskey Festival and now 2017 is set to get another smashing festival: Cork’s Dessert Festival! I was lucky enough to get to try out two venues during the Burger Festival: Electric and Yellow Sub and had a fantastic and delicious time! I missed out on the Whiskey festival unfortunately but there’s no way I’ll be missing the dessert festival and I’m already looking forward to finding out which venues will participate and what they’ll have to offer to all the sweet toothed people in Ireland.

  
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Avocado Hummus
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Avocado Hummus

Last week I shared my first recipe of basic homemade falafel, but one of the things I served it with was another new recipe: avocado hummus! I’m an absolute sucker for hummus but I wanted to try something new, and decided to try it with avocado’s, another one of my favourite things to eat. It might not be very traditional, but hey I’m all for pushing boundaries!

You do need to make sure to find a great balance when adding spices, not adding enough might make it too boring, adding too much might take away the flavour of the avocado and chickpeas. I opted for just a few grinds of pepper, some good quality Irish sea salt and a tiny pinch of dried chili. By adding some lime juice I added another dimension to the dip, creating some extra freshness at the same time.

  
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Homemade Flavourful Falafel
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Homemade Flavourful Chickpea Falafel

I spent most of my life being completely unaware of how delicious falafel is, as I only discovered it around 3 years ago. I’ve been a huge fan ever since but I actually never attempted to make it myself, until last week and I can say for sure I will be doing this at least once a week. It’s an ideal lunch during the weekend, it’s so quick and you can experiment with the flavours then as well. You can make it more spicy for example, change the texture (make it less smooth) or use fava beans instead of chickpeas, grill them or pan-fry them instead of deep frying them.

  
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Traditional Antwerp Butter Cookies with Kerrygold butter and Guinness chocolate sauce
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Traditional Antwerp Butter Cookies with Kerrygold butter and Guinness chocolate sauce

Antwerp, an absolute must-visit if you ever find yourself in Belgium. There’s plenty on offer, there’s a gorgeous Cathedral, a medieval fortress ‘t Steen, which you can find along the river, plenty of museums (Reubens, MAS, ..), a street dedicated to antiques, a stunning central station, a zoo, an impressive opera hall and a fabulous shopping street to name a few.

But as with most cities in Belgium it’s also rich in food heritage and traditions. No matter where you go in Belgium you must always try two things: local beers and local food products. Belgium has many well known national dishes (mostly featuring fries) but when it comes to sweets there’s usually not a lot tourists are aware of. In Ghent for example there’s cuberdons (purple cone-shaped candy), in Geel you can try heart shaped cookies, in Geraardsbergen they have ‘Mattentaartjes’.

One of the traditional sweets you can only get in Antwerp are ‘Antwerp hands’, a butter cookie with a secret recipe, shaped into hands.

  
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Rachel Allen Recipes from my mother
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Book tip May 2017: Recipes from my Mother by Rachel Allen

With Mother’s day coming up in the majority of countries in the world, I figured there was no better book to share with you as my book tip of the month, than Rachel Allen’s new masterpiece: ‘Recipes from my mother’. The book is dedicated to both her mother Hallfridur and her mother-in-law Darina as both women shared wonderful stories and recipes from their mothers with her.

As you may now Rachel grew up in Dublin with her sister, Irish father and Icelandic mother and has always been proud of her heritage. “I count myself fortunate in that it was a very happy home with lots of good food. While my father made great brown bread and the best poached eggs in town, it was my mum who always cooked a delicious and nutritious meal for us all to eat at the end of the day.

  
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Spring is in the air
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Spring is in the air

Spring is here! You wouldn’t be able to tell from the extreme drop in temperatures we had here in Ireland this week though as it suddenly went below 0 again. But apart from this one week things have been looking good! I already put away my winter coat but now it’s time for the winter accessories in your home to be replaced with bright coloured decorations instead! It’s not that easy to pick my 4 favourites for this spring cause Spring and Summer are my absolute favourite seasons and each store has just so much to offer.

When it comes to inviting people over for dinner I find that most people end up going for the same style all year-round, but by introducing just a few elements related to the season you can really turn your dinner table into something special.

If you add some lovely scents to that in the background you’ll really have the ideal setting for a Spring/Summer barbecue or salad party.

  
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Pork, red onion and tarragon meatballs with courgette pesto, pine nuts, limes and olives
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Pork, red onion and tarragon meatballs with courgette pesto, pine nuts, limes and olives

One of my favourite dinners to both make and eat is anything with meatballs. Over the years I’ve come up with so many different types of meatballs as well as sauces, going from plain spaghetti meatballs to a meatball wrap with arrabbiata sauce. It was the first time I made meatballs without using panko breadcrumbs, as I can’t eat wheat anymore. Instead I’ve gone for Rice Krispies. Sounds weird but the result was smashing! I had tried using wheat-free bread before and turned them into breadcrumbs, but I really liked the result of the Rice Krispies a lot more!

Other than that I kept the meatballs quite basic, just some pork mince and red onion but I did also add some tarragon to give them more flavour. The bigger surprise in this meal was the pesto however, as I’ve decided to make a courgette pesto, which I had never tried before. I also kept this pesto dairy – free (and thus vegan) so vegans can use it for their other recipes without meatballs of course.

  
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