recipes for healthy living

Tag: loss

Love at first sight

The proof of Love at first sight arrived last week. In to our family was born a beautiful little baby, briefly here but sadly now Gone. Not my beautiful baby so I am not going to write too much except to say that no matter the knowledge that this would be the only outcome it doesn’t make loss any easier and no matter the short life lived the impact has been enormous in our family and the most especially for Holly’s parents.

And so I have been doing the only thing I know how, which is feeding the ones closest to me…

Duck Raghu with Pan Fried Gnocchi

Duck Raghu V 2

Heart Warming Duck Raghu with Pan fried Gnocchi

There are a few steps to this recipe but it is worth it. Intensely flavourful, comforting heart warming winter meal. I roasted a duck the night before I wanted this dish and drained off the duck fat as it cooked which is now in the fridge for roasties. I use store bought gnocchi which after I cooked, I fried off for lovely crispy potato dumplings to accompany the raghu. This can be cooked and reheated the next day when it will be even better as it has time for all the flavors to develop.

1 Duck (If you are in Ireland, I love the range from http://www.Silverhillfarm.ie)
1 stick of celery washed and diced very small
2 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed
1 medium white onion peeled chopped and diced
3 carrots washed, peeled and diced very small
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
200ml each tomato puree and water or veg stock
3 tbsp tomato passata
1 tsp fennel seeds roasted and crushed
1/2 bottle wine
3 tbsp rape seed oil
salt and pepper

To serve
Grated parmesan
Crispy Duck skin

Roast the duck for about 2 hours
Peel some of the crispy skin off and reserve (If it isnt crispy enough put it back in the oven after you have cooked the duck and it will crisp up further). Remove all the meat from the bones and set aside to use in the raghu.

Heat 3 tbsp rape seed oil, add the garlic, onion, carrot and celery, stir to cover with oil, season well, reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for about 20 minutes until well cooked and sort
Add the passata and fennel seeds and cook for about 5 minutes
Turn up the heat, add the red wine, tin tomatoes, passata and water, briefly bring to the boil then reduce the heat and cook low and slow until you have a delicious sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning including a teaspoon of sugar if needed. Add the duck meat into the raghu and cook for a further 30 minutes or so until the meat and sauce are well incorporated.

To serve,
cook the gnocchi in boiling salted water, drain on kitchen paper then fry until golden brown in oil and butter. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Ladle the raghu into warmed bowls, stir in the gnocchi, top with some grated parmesan and some sprinkles of the crispy duck skin.

Sweet Potato Crescents

Indian Sweet Potato Crescents

Indian Style Sweet Potato Crescents

I used always love January as a month, a preparation month, getting the house spring cleaned, clearing the garden of the winter debris (ready for more winter debris), buying new notebooks for work and generally planning the year ahead around holidays and trips to be taken. Those of you who know me, will know the devastation that occurred in January nearly 14 years ago, when my beloved first husband died very suddenly, very young, on a skiing holiday. I spend a long long time wondering how life could have been so cruel and how I was still alive while feeling such pain, until gradually the light came back into my life and I found that not only had I the strength to go on, but also had found joy again, starting with small things like time with friends and family and ending up to where I am now, with new loves in my life.
So, while January still holds some sadness for me, tinged with lovely memories, I find I still have the need to spring clean and prepare for the year ahead. Cooking and baking always saved me during sad times and now is such a part of my life that it’s what I do when I need some time – like a little meditation almost, emerging refreshed and usually with decent food after a good session in the kitchen. These were the product of yesterday after a session in the kitchen, inspired by a recipe for Empanadas I have for about 20 years but done Indian style.

Spicy Sweet Potato Crescents with Raita
Makes 25

For the pastry
200gr chickpea (gram flour)
100gr juwar flour
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cuimin
1 tsp salt
200ml water
50 ml rapeseed / coconut oil

Oven at 170C
For the filling
200gr peeled and cubed sweet potatoes – steamed until tender
1 small red pepper diced finely
1 red chilli diced finely (seeds in if you wish)
2 cloves garlic, chopped and mashed
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Salt and pepper to season

Spoon the flours and spices into a bowl.
Make a well in the centre, add the oil and most of the water.
Bring together with a knife until it forms a not too wet dough
Turn out onto a floured surface, bring together with a knead or 2 and wrap in cling and into the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat some oil over a medium heat and tip in the garlic, pepper and chilli and cook until softened.
Add the cooked sweet potato and fry gently until incorporated.
Tip into a bowl, add the coriander, season well and leave to cool.

Roll out the pastry thinly
Using a 4” ring cut out circles of pastry
Fill with a heaped tsp of filling and fold in half and crimp the edges together.
Wash with egg or milk before baking on parchment for about 15 minutes.
Serve warm with Raita or other dip of choice.

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