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Archive for the ‘Savoury’ Category

Christmas baking has taken my kitchen by storm, and I’ve already started testing recipes for preserves and chutneys to give as gifts. I’ve made red onion marmalade before, and it has always been very well received. A deliciously sweet, yet savoury preserve that is perfect in cheese sandwiches, or dolloped on your morning eggs.

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I own too many cookbooks. Ok, maybe not too many. (How many is too many?).

Maybe not as many as this guy. And certainly, I don’t create nearly as many delicious dinners as he does.

But last night, I vowed to make something from one cookbook I had never used before: Nigel Slater’s Real Cooking.

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It is not easy to take a good photo of soup.  The lighting (here, the coffee room in college) and quality of camera (not DSLR) play a big part in making soup look appetizing.  I need a better camera! But what this soup lacks in photogenic qualities, it makes up in the taste department 😀

Almost every Sunday I make a big pot of soup which I store in containers in the fridge, ready to take to college for lunch with a couple of slices of homemade brown bread. The soup is usually a mish-mash of whatever vegetables are looking a bit sad and neglected at the bottom of the fridge – soup is a great way to use up and get a bit more life out of vegetables. I often throw in some lentils, pearl barley, or even some chickpeas.  For this soup, I let the roasted veggies speak for themselves.

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I first tasted this dish about 5 years ago when I moved back to Galway after spending a year studying in Scotland. The flatmates in my new house used to cook dinners together quite regularly, and this was one of the veggie favourites. I had never encountered halloumi cheese before then – a solid cheese that holds its shape when fried, it has an almost squeaky texture. It was all a bit foreign and exotic after a year of pizza suppers and battered Mars bars. Still, I loved it from the beginning, and on a cold evening this is a lovely comforting dinner. Pasta in a creamy sauce, anyone? We’re trying to bring more meat-free days into our week, and this is a delightful (if not particularly low calorie) option.

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This month’s Irish Foodies Cookalong had the theme of budget cooking and using leftovers.  As I am the eternal student (I’ll finish this year, I swear) I have some experience on the budget side of cooking. Cooking from scratch and using cheaper cuts of meat are great ways to save money, but it takes a bit of practice and experience to get used to flavouring food, and picking good combinations of ingredients. Reading countless recipe books has helped me alot in my day to day cooking, but I still have a long way to go! I plan to post more savoury items this year. The only reason I haven’t done this before must be pure laziness, as I cook from scratch almost every day! Another resolution for 2011!

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The wind is howling outside the office today, and the River Corrib is rising.  Any more rain and the water will be edging towards us! This is comfort food weather. I made this pie last night with some leftover roast chicken, and it was so….damn…..good. Really, I surprised myself. A fabulous way to use up leftover chicken, and any veggies you have lying around could be thrown in: I used some leeks and carrots, but peas and even broccoli would work well. The addition of cream is optional, but, hey, it’s Thursday! 😛
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I honestly can’t believe I haven’t posted a slow cooker recipe on here yet.  I love my slow cooker, and in the dark dreary winter months I couldn’t live without it! It’s only fabulous to come home on a cold dark evening to the warming smells of dinner wafting from the slow cooker. Curries, chillis, ragus, stews – the slow cooker turns the cheapest cut of meat into a tasty meal.

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