oliveoilandlemon

recipes for a healthy life

Tag: paleo

Christmas Chocolate Bark

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When I was growing up the purple Cadbury’s wrapper was an iconic symbol of chocolate. My mum’s best friend Auntie Bernadette used to call over and we always knew she would bring a big bag of chocolate bars. Seeing as there were 6 of us, this wasn’t a regular event. There was always a race to get to the bag early in the queue otherwise there was a danger of being left with the Cadbury’s fruit and nut – something you definitely wanted to avoid. I don’t think I knew any kid who liked fruit and nut in chocolate. If you were unlucky in this old style version of hunger games, you had to pick out the nuts and fruit in order to have a decent bit of chocolate.

I have changed since then and regularly combine the two. Here are my two favourite kinds of chocolate bark recipes – although I have noticed Eva has a preference for picking out pieces with more marshmallows.

Chocolate Bark with Dried Fruit and Nuts
200gr semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used 80% but you may prefer less bitter)
100Gr less bitter chocolate say 53%, chopped
4oz chopped mixed nuts (I used pecans almonds hazlenuts walnuts)
4oz mixed dried fruits – I prepare more cranberries in my mix – chopped if there are any large pieces.

Combine all but 30gr of the chocolate into a heat proof bowl and melt gently over a pot of simmering water.
Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate until it is all melted. This is a simple method to give you a bit of a snap in your chocolate. (It isn’t quite perfect tempering but will work pretty well – always keep aside 10% of you amount of chocolate)
Line a baking tray with parchment paper
Pour the melted chocolate over the paper and spread out to form a rectangle not too thin.
Sprinkle the nuts and fruit over the chocolate.
Set aside for 2 hours until firm. Cut the bark in slabs and serve at room temperature.
Store in an airtight container.

And for the kids……
Chocolate Bark with Toasted Coconut and Marshmallows
Same as above but replace the fruit and nuts with
toasted Coconut chips and small marshmallows.

Autumn Salads

These 2 salads are perfect for Autumn weather, just starting to get wet & cold but not quite there yet. I gave a big tub of the butternut squash one to my husband last week for when he was on a course and someone told him he was eating ‘Posh Salad’… Posh salad it is so!

Roast Squash Salad

lentil goats cheese peach salad


Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash Warm Salad with Pecans and Bacon

Serves 4
1 small butternut squash, peeled and 3/4″ inch diced
1 medium sweet potatoe, peeled and 3/4″ diced
2 tbsp good quality olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
4 ounces mixed leaves (rocket and lambs lettuce work well)
1/2 cup pecan nuts toasted
4 slices back bacon

Dressing made from twice as much oil as white wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

Oven at 180C
Put the butternut squash and sweet potato into a bowl and toss with olive oil and lots of salt
Place on a baking tray and roast for about 15 minutes until tender, turn them once.
Add the cranberries and roast for about 5 more minutes.
Meanwhile toast the pecans for about 8 minutes.
Cook the bacon in the oven on a flat sheet while you are cooking the vegetables.
When the vegetables are done, add them to a large bowl, throw in the pecans, slice the bacon and add to the bow.
Gently toss the salad leaves with the veg, spoon over the vinaigrette and serve.
This is best served immediately – if you want to save some for another day, let it cool and don’t add the lettuce leaves until just before serving.

Puy Lentil Salad with Goats Cheese and Peach
This is a really quick way to make a substantial and filling salad. I use tinned Puy lentils as a quick cheat as well as one of my favorite goats cheese from Fivemiletown here

Serves 4
1 Can Puy lentils rinsed and drained
4oz goats cheese of choice (I love the creaminess of boilie with peppercorns)
1 Red apple cored and sliced thinly
4 Handfuls of lettuce leaves of choice

Dressing
Combine 3 tbsp sherry vinegar 3 tablespoons olive oil, and minced garlic in a jar with a lid and shake until blended.

Tip lentils into a bowl, add lettuce leaves, apple slices and dress with the dressing
Arrange on flat serving plate and top with the goats cheese
Serve!

Summer in the City

A quick trip to NYC to visit my sister in law was a real treat, summer had arrived there, our little one was safe in the care of her Auntie and we were free to wander the streets, enjoy great restaurants, explore the city, meet some mad locals, enjoy drinks at any hour of the day or night and generally feel like we were free and single again.

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Now home, summer has arrived here and eating outdoors is my greatest treat. The butcher in Fallon and Byrne has introduced me to Bavette which is a great cheaper meat option for cooking on the griddle or Barbie. Marinate overnight and carve against the grain this delicious cut of meat has become a favourite in our house. Serve with a Tomato Salad with Basil Pesto or my favourite Bloody Mary version and you have a super easy meal full of summer flavour.

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Herb Marinated Bavette / Flank Steak
1 bavette or flank enough for 4 (ask butcher to leave in 1 piece)
1 handful each of fresh rosemary and thyme chopped
100ml olive oil
3 cloves garlic chopped and mashed

Mix the herbs oil and garlic
Lay the meat in a shallow dish and pour over the marinade ingredients
Into the fridge, preferably over night
Cook to desired donenes, Cut into slices and serve with tomato salad

Bloody Mary Tomato Salad
1 cup finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar, divided
2 cups small tomatoes of choice halved
1 cup chopped celery (young inner stalks)
2 tbsp capers
1 Tsp horseradish paste
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauces (I use Frank’s)
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 tsp brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix onion and 1 tablespoon vinegar in a large bowl. Let macerate 10 minutes, tossing often. Add tomatoes, celery, and capers.
Whisk remaining 2 tablespoon vinegar, horseradish, worcester, hot pepper sauce and fennel seeds. Slowly whisk in oil. Season Add to bowl with tomato mixture; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and the brown sugar as required.

Simple Summer Veg

This is the 3rd year that I have harbored dreams of growing our own, of being able to say ‘These veg?, oh yes they came from garden, dreams sadly almost dead , dashed thanks to the army of slugs which attack my little patch every evening, multiplying themselves by factors beyond my mathematical ability and seemingly immune to the pots of beer and slug pellets I try dispel them with. I’m inundated with suggestions but I do draw the line at the person who suggested I go out each evening with a garden scissors and snip the buggers – even I couldn’t bring myself to do that.

So, instead I shop and bypass the more wintery vegetables in favour of lighter summer styles which are in abundance right now – (someone has solved the slug problem and I just need to know their secret). These recipes are full of summer flavours, light and easy to eat whether with fish or meat. Perfect outdoors eating and quick to prepare so you can get out in the garden after work. The spice butter and pomegranate molasses are staples in my house and they are great to add a little interest to salads and vegetables. And so, while I don’t have any produce from my own garden,I did at least get the chilli from my plant on the windowsill which the slugs haven’t worked out yet how to reach.

Griddled Bok Choi with Spiced Butter
Serves 2-3 people
2 Heads of Bok Choi – wash and keep root intact
2 oz butter
1 tbsp Ras El Hanout spice mix or any dried spice mix you like to use
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt and pepper

Trip the top leaves from the bok choi, roll up like a cigar and shred, then set aside
Cut the remaining bok choi into 1/4’s keeping root intact so it does not fall apart
Mix the butter, oil and spice until it is soft and spreadable
Season the cut sides of the bok choi then spread with the spice butter
Heat griddle pan until very hot (Open all the windows)
Place the bok choi cut side down on the pan and cook until lovely and golden, with griddle marks then flip over and continue to cook on the other side until almost tender with a little
bite. Remove from the pan to a service plate.
Add the shredded leaves with a drizzle of oil and flash for a minute on the pan then remove to the serving plate.
A final dash of seasoning and serve.

Tomato and Green Bean salad with Pomegranate dressing

4 ripe tomatoes deseeded and finely diced
1 red onion finely diced
1 red chilli deseeded (if you wish) and finely diced
2 handful of green beans, blanched for 3 minutes and chopped into small pieces

Dressing
1 tsp sumac
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Combine all the dressing ingredients and mix well.
Add all the vegetables to a bowl and cover with the dressing and leave for about 15 minutes for the flavour to develop. Taste and adjust for seasoning then serve.

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chilliplant

Spiced Halibut

This is such a simple way to serve fish and any firm white fish will work equally well. Baking and basting the fish in melted butter adds a delicious richness to it and the heat from the Harissa is a perfect balance. I used Haddock and it stood up to the flavour very well. A simple supper dish which could be on the table in 30 minutes.

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Spiced Halibut
Serves 2
2 oz unsalted butter
2 tbsp harissa
juice of half a lemon
1 large halibut fillet, trimmed and boned and cut into 2 pieces

Oven at 180C

Melt the butter in small pan, stir in the harissa and lemon juice
Season the fish and place into an oven proof baking dish
Pour over the butter mix and place in the oven for about 20 mins depending on the thickness of your fish, basting it at intervals
Serve the fish topped with the butter juices and some green beans.
Delicious!

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