My Favourite Quinoa

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For 4

150g quinoa
25g golden sultanas
1 red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
1 bunch of fresh mint, chopped
25g green olives, pitted and chopped
20g pine nuts
2 spring onions, chopped
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
Salt & pepper

Place the quinoa into a saucepan and cover with cold water.  Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.  While the quinoa is cooking, cover the sultanas with some boiling water in a bowl, to allow them to plump up.

Line a colander with 2-3 sheets of kitchen paper, and spoon the quinoa on top of this, spreading it out as much as possible.  Add some extra water to the saucepan and put this back on the heat, with the colander on top, and place the saucepan lid over the colander. Steam the quinoa in this way for about 10-15 minutes.

While the quinoa is steaming, saute the red onion in a little olive oil along with the cumin, until just starting to soften.  Take off the heat and keep to one side.

In a large bowl add the coriander, mint, olives, spring onions and pine nuts.  You can add the lemon by zesting it at this stage, but I prefer to slice it very thinly using a mandoline, as this results in little lemony bursts which really adds something special to the dish.

When you are ready to serve, drain the sultanas and add them to the other ingredients. Add the quinoa also, and stir really well before serving.  The colours of this dish are gorgeous, especially as the red onion turns a lovely pink colour when mixed with the lemon.

Optional: Try adding a couple of teaspoons of harissa to the onions while they are cooking for a spicy kick.


Categories: delicous accompaniments, detox delicious, family feasts, healthy food recipes, healthy grains, high protein, and quinoa.

My Favourite Fruit Compote

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1 fresh pineapple, skinned and cut into cubes
150g prunes (Agen mi-cuit, if possible)
85g dried apricots
1 large pear (or 2 small), cored and cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 star anise pod, ground in a pestle and mortar
250ml water

Place all the ingredients into a saucepan.  Bring to the boil and turn down immediately to a simmer.  Allow to cook with a lid on for 30-40 minutes or until most of the water has been absorbed and the fruit is soft.  When cooled, transfer into a container and keep in the fridge until needed.

Categories: detox delicious, healthy food recipes, and Sweet Treats.

Lemon Chicken Tagine

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Serves 4

1.5kg irish chicken portions (thighs and legs work well)
1 onion, chopped finely
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp paprika
seeds from 6 cardamom pods, ground in a pestle and mortar
600ml vegetable or chicken stock
1 large lemon, juiced
1 400g tin chickpeas
20 pitted green olives, halved
1/2 preserved lemon, chopped finely
fresh coriander to serve

Preheat the oven to 180ºc.

Heat some oil in the base of a high sided saute pan, or casserole suitable for the oven and the hob.  Brown the chicken on both sides for a couple of minutes, in batches if necessary, and remove from the pan.  Add the onion, garlic and tumeric and stir until combined.  Follow with the coriander, cumin, paprika and cardamom seeds and stir to mix well.  Allow the spices to cook with the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes and then add the chicken back to the pan.  Add all of the remaining ingredients, and bring to the boil.  Season well, remove from the heat and place in the oven for 1 to 1 ½ hours.

Sprinkle with lots of fresh coriander and serve with steamed quinoa or couscous.

Categories: family feasts and Winter.

Bean & Kale Soup

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Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into cubes
2 sticks of celery, washed and chopped into cubes
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 ½ tsp smoked pimenton
1 tsp harissa (I like Belazu Rose Harissa best)
1 x 400g tin cannellini beans, rinsed
1 stalk Kombu (optional)
750ml vegetable stock
6-8 stalks of curly kale
Salt & pepper
Sprouted seeds to serve (optional)

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the chopped onion, carrots and celery. Allow to saute gently over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes until softened. Add the sliced garlic and stir, allowing to cook for a moment before adding the beans, the harissa, and the smoked pimenton.  Keep stiring to combine the spices.

Pour in the vegetable stock and allow the soup to cook for at least 30 minutes, giving the flavours time to combine and the beans to cook. It’s a great idea when cooking with beans to include a stalk of dried kombu seaweed (available from deli’s and healthfood shops) which helps to soften the beans but also boosts the mineral content of any dish. If you include it, remove from the soup before serving.

Wash the kale well and cut out the stalks. Chop both the stalks and the leaves and add the stalks to the soup as they will take longer to cook. Add the chopped kale leaves to the soup 5 minutes before serving to ensure the kale leaves are not overcooked and are bright green in colour. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning as required. Ladle into bowls and serve sprinkled with mixed sprouted seeds.

Categories: all the veg, detox delicious, healthy food recipes, and Sustaining Soups.

Bakes Apples with Dark Chocolate & Cardamom

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Serves 4

4 large baking apples
Seeds from inside of 8 cardamom pods
8 fresh dates, stoned and chopped
2 tbsp Highbank Orchard Syrup (or maple syrup or honey)
Juice from ½ a lemon
60g dark chocolate, chopped into large chunks

Preheat the oven to 180º C.

Wash the apples and core them. Using a sharp knife, score a line around the middle of each apple to stop the skin from cracking in the oven when they expand during cooking. Place into an ovenproof dish.

Grind the seeds from the cardamom pods in a grinder or pestle and mortar and mix in a bowl with the dates, syrup, lemon juice and dark chocolate. Spoon this mixture into the centre of the apples, pushing down with the thin end of a wooden spoon to fit as much of the filling as possible into each apple.

Bake in the oven for approximately 25-30 minutes, watching closely to make sure any overflowing chocolate doesn’t burn.

Serve with natural yoghurt drizzled with some additional syrup.

Categories: Autumn, healthy food recipes, Sweet Treats, and Winter.