Sweet potato pita with smashed avocado, prosciutto & cherry tomato

sweet potato-pita-smashed-avocado-prosciutto-cherry tomato

Sweet Potato Pita with smashed avocado, prosciutto & cherry tomato

This recipe is one of my favorite lunch time treats, it takes no time at all and uses only natural ingredients including spelt flour.

Spelt is wonderfully nutritious and ancient grain with a deep, nutlike flavour. It is a cousin to wheat and has recently received renewed recognition for many of its benefits which comes from its broad spectrum of nutrients. Spelt can be used in many of the ways wheat is used, including pasta and bread making. Spelt is high in protein and fibre and is perfect for those who are wheat intolerant, however spelt does indeed contain gluten and should not be eaten by anyone who is gluten-sensitive or has celiac disease, but the presence of gluten does not make spelt wheat. The gluten in spelt behaves differently than the gluten in wheat in cooking. It is possible that the greater solubility of spelt protein makes it easier to digest than wheat.

Undoubtedly, most people have had much less prior exposure to spelt than to wheat resulting in less opportunity to become allergic to spelt. Whatever the reason, there are many people who suffer allergic reactions after eating wheat but do not react to spelt. I am one of those lucky ones! To read more about what the FDA have to say on the subject read  here .  Both Doves Organic Wholemeal and Odlums Wholemeal spelt are among those I have tried which are now widely available in our Irish stores so you can get baking!

Ingredients:

1 Medium sweet potato grated
1 Natural or greek yogurt 125g (yoplait or glenilen farm)
1 Yogurt tub rapeseed oil or 125ml
2 Yogurt tubs full of organic wholemeal spelt flour(extra for rolling) or approx 250gm (Doves or Odlums)
1/2 to 1 teasp paprika
Pinch Salt
Fresh parsley small handful chopped
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 teasp baking soda

Depending on the size of your sweet potato it will determine how much flour you will need, the consistency you are looking for is that of pastry, if it is too wet add a little more spelt flour.

To prepare:

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well, flour & baking soda last. When the mixture comes together it is ready to knead only slightly (don’t overwork), then divide into approx 3 balls, then press down on a floured board and roll into a round shape. Remember these will not rise much so the depth you make them will be what you get, too thin and they will crumble and too thick and they will not cook well and will be too heavy. To give you an idea 5mm is about right. Place onto a flat baking tray which has been sprayed lightly with rapeseed oil which will help avoid sticking.

To Cook:

Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins
preheat oven 180 C

sweet-potato-pita-wild-red-salmon-salad

Sweet potato pita with wild red salmon & salad

For the filling:

Open the ripe avocado and smash it to your liking in a bowl.  Cut some ripe cherry tomatoes and dust with a tiny sprinkling of salt.  Set aside on a board with your prosciutto ready for filling.  When cooled slightly cut along the side of the pita and fill as desired.  You can eat straight away  but you can also save them till the next day. I like to wrap them up when cooled in parchment paper and tin foil to keep them fresh and when just pop them in the toaster the next day and they taste freshly baked again 🙂

I have also tried wild red salmon mixed with a little mayo and some spinach, tomato and spring onion which is handy when your avocado decides it is not ready to be eaten yet.. which often happens me!

Another classic I love is prosciutto with brie and salad or Tuna with sweetcorn and mayo…the possibilities are endless.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do 🙂

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Smoked Haddock, Cod & Salmon Chowder with white wine, shallot & turmeric cream

smoked-haddock-cod-salmon-spinich-shallot-white-wine-tumeric-cream

Fish Chowder

Ingredients:

200g Smoked Haddock
200g Salmon
200g Cod
2/3 Large potatoes
2 Carrots
2 Large shallots
Large handfull of fresh baby spinach
400ml Chicken Stock (1/2 cube)
100ml White wine
200ml Fresh cream
5 tsp Oyster Sauce
1/2 tsp Turmeric
small handful of freshly chopped parsley
drizzle of rapeseed oil
Kerrygold butter 2 knobs
Pinch salt & black pepper

To Prepare:

Having everything chopped in advance is the key to a good chowder! So get chopping. Potatoes should be pealed and diced into large cubes, carrots diced fine and shallots diced into tiny cubes. Prepare the fish by making sure there are no bones and all skin is removed. Dice into large pieces. The reason they should all be about the same size is so they will cook evenly. Ok, boil the kettle and you are ready to go!

Diced Fish

Smoked Haddock, Cod & Salmon

To Cook:

Get a large stainless steal pot and heat the oil and one knob of butter leaving the other until the end of cooking and slowly sweat the shallot for about a minute, then add the carrot and potato. Mix with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes. Add the stock and boil for about 5 minutes with the lid on until the vegetables are al dente, ensuring they are not completely cooked through. Then add Fish and the remaining ingredients and leave to simmer on a low heat for the further 4-6 minutes making sure you cover with a lid. If you have muscles or uncooked fresh prawns these would be an ideal addition. Add some salt and pepper to taste and you are ready to eat!

fish-chowder

Fish Chowder

I recommend serving with fresh Irish brown soda bread and Kerrygold butter for a really satisfying winter meal that will serve 2-4 people depending on how hungry your family are…mmm mine are piglets!

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Quinoa Salad with Lentils & Butternut Squash

There’s a reason quinoa, pronounced “keen-wa”, has been making headlines and leading healthy-eating trends. Related to swiss chard and beets, quinoa is a fantastic food to add to your diet for many reasons. With power foods like quinoa and lentils in one dish, just one serving of this salad gives you plenty of protein, fibre, folate and Iron. Just another reason to enjoy your delicious lunch…

quinoa-salad-with-lentils

Quinoa Salad with Lentils

Ingredients:
170g quinoa
100g green lentils (soaked in water for 30 minutes, drain and boil for 20-30 minutes)
100g red lentils (soaked in water for 30 minutes)
1/2 large butternut squash
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
small bunch of freshly chopped coriander
small bunch of freshly chopped parsley
1 large carrot
1/2 orange bell pepper
1 stick celery
2 shallots
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp. rapeseed oil
dash black ground pepper
1/2 pint stock (chicken stock works best for flavour/ for vegans or vegetarians use vegetable stock)
handful of spinach

To prepare:
Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve, drain and boil in a medium pot for approx 12 minutes and add a pinch of salt (similar cooking instructions to rice). Boil the green lentils for about 20-30 minutes until soft, then drain them in a colander. The red lentils only need draining as these will cook much quicker and don’t require prior boiling. Peal and chop the butternut squash into 1 cm square cubes and boil for 10-15 minutes until soft but still retaining their shape (par boil), drain in a colander. Dice the carrots, celery and orange bell pepper.. Finely dice the shallots and garlic.

lentil-butternut-squash

Lentil & butternut squash

To cook:
In a large non-stick pan heat the rapeseed oil and sweat the shallots and garlic for 1 minute, then add the carrots, celery and pepper. Add the cooked butternut squash, green lentils, red lentils and then the coriander, cumin and ground black pepper. Gently stir all ingredients for 1 minute before adding the stock. Add the fresh herbs. Simmer on a medium heat with the lid on for a further 5 minutes or until the lentils have absorbed all the liquid.

To serve:
Serve on a bed of washed spinach, place the quinoa on top of the spinach and then top with the lentil salad.

Enjoy!

Learn more about quinoa…

organic-quinoa

Organic Quinoa

Many people think that quinoa is a grain – like wheat or rice. But really it’s a vegetable seed. For vegetarians and vegans, quinoa is an excellent source of protein that contains the nine essential amino-acids your body needs to function optimally. Quinoa contains around 20 percent protein, which is higher than rice, millet or wheat. Adding quinoa to meals in the form of salads, sides or main courses can ensure that your body receives adequate protein to build and rebuild tissue. It is packed full of Riboflavin (B2) and Magnesium which is shown to help increase energy and reduce the occurrence of migraines, as well as helping cells function optimally.

Meanwhile, magnesium helps to prevent hypertension by relaxing the muscles around your blood cells. It is low calorie, gluten free, low GI and high in fiber to keep you fuller for longer as well as lowering cholesterol. It is also a good source of Iron, lysine and Manganese. Having the proper balance of iron in your diet helps your muscles function properly to supply oxygen to the brain as well as regulate body temperature and enzymes. By ensuring an adequate intake of lysine, your body can repair tissues quickly. And the anti-oxidant manganese helps to protect mitochondria and red blood cells from damage.

For me the best reason to eat quinoa is for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. Consumption of quinoa has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in animal studies – including a reduction in obesity by lowering levels of fat tissue. By including quinoa in your diet you are also promoting healthy growth of bones by assisting the absorption of calcium and the development of collagen.

Quinoa can be used in bars, to replace oatmeal for breakfast, in salads or granola, in soups, or even in homemade veggie burgers and can also be found in flour form for pancakes, baking and other treats. The possibilities are endless and best of all, it tastes really good!

Parma ham, smokey mushroom and mixed bean salad

Parma-ham-smokey-mushroom- mixed-bean-salad

Parma ham, smokey mushroom and mixed bean salad

Have you ever wanted to love salad but it always tastes so bland and leafy or maybe you love salad and you want to try something new?

You need to try this taste sensation!

Ingredients:
2 Iceberg lettuce leaves (torn)
Handful of baby spinach leaves
2 Slices of parma ham
6 Red seedless grapes (halved)
6 Slices of sweet red pepper (halved)
1 Large flat cap mushroom
1 Teaspoon rapeseed oil
1/2 Teaspoon smoked paprika
1/3 Tin mixed beans..dutch brown beans, chick peas and haricot beans (Sweet Harvest/Aldi)
1 Tablespoon of light french dressing (Bramwells/Aldi)

To cook:
Chop the mushroom into large pieces like you would a pizza. Heat the rapeseed oil in a small pot and add the chopped mushroom and smoked paprika. Cook for 2 minutes until golden.

To prepare:
Toss the torn iceberg lettuce leaves, baby spinach, sweet red pepper in a bowl with the light french dressing. Add the mixed beans making sure you rinse and drain them first. Rip the parma ham into pieces and scatter on top. Add the grapes next sporadically and then add the cooked smokey mushroom.

The addition of a few crumbled pieces of feta cheese adds a new dimension to this dish!

Tip: It is easy to store in a container to bring to work or for a picnic at the park. Just make sure you keep the dressing separate. I often put some kitchen roll in the container to keep the leaves dry and crunchy but please don’t eat that 😉

Gluten-free turkey burger

gluten-free-turkey-burger

Gluten-free turkey burger

Ingredients:
300g of Turkey breast mince
5 drops of Tabasco
2 drops of Worcestershire sauce (optional as this is not gluten free)
A pinch of salt
A pinch of white pepper
A dash of garlic salt
1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil

Inside the gluten-free Bun:
4 thin slices of cucumber
2 cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon of ballymaloe jalapeno pepper relish
1 teaspoon of light mayo or dairy free mayo (optional)
1 slice of port salut or lactose free cheese (optional)

To Cook:
Mix all of the ingredients with the turkey mince and split in two parts, pat each part into the shape of a reasonably sized burger. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until fully cooked through and the outside has a nice golden colour. Cut the bun in two, spreading the jalapeno relish on one side and mayo on the other, put the burger on top, then the cheese and salad.

Not only is this low fat, it tastes so good that you think it’s bad.

Enjoy!