Category Archives: sides

Food Monday ~ Roasted Ratatouille

Roasted Ratatouille
Preheat the oven to 220°C

In a bowl mix

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves,
  • 1 handful fresh parsley
  • 1 heaped teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
  • freshly milled black pepper
  • 1 rounded dessertspoon salt

Chop in chunky dice

  • 2 medium courgettes
  • 1 small aubergine
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 each small red and yellow pepper
  • 1 lb ripe tomatoes skinned

Add to oil mixture and stir until well coated.  Using a slatted spoon, spread in a single layer on a shallow roasting tray.  Roast on the highest shelf of the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and tinged brown at the edges.
Serve with a baked potato or pasta and a side salad.

** When making this dish for one, I dice the potato and include it in with the vegetables and serve with a side salad.  A tasty lazy dish, just what I need today, 😀

Food Monday ~ Margo’s Roasted Vegetables

Margo’s Roasted Vegetables
Preheat the oven to 180°C

Sweet Potato
Butternut Squash
Red Onion quartered
Clove of garlic, chopped
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons of mixed herbs.

Cut all except onion into large chunks. Steam or boil and cook a few minutes.Drain and place in a large bowl with the onion quarters and a chopped clove of garlic.Add two or three tablespoons of olive oil, and some black pepper and two teaspoons of mixed herbs.

At this stage you can empty into a plastic bag and tie securely and keep in the fridge a day or two.  When ready to cook, spread in a single layer on an oven tray and cook for 35-40 minutes till wrinkly and tender.

Leftovers can be reheated next day.

Food Monday ~ Stuffed Tomatoes

Stuffed Tomatoes

Preheat oven to 180°C

  • 2 ripe thick-fleshed tomatoes
  • 4½oz fresh spinach
    1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
    Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt & Black Pepper
    Finely crushed croutons or breadcrumbs to garnish

Trim a ¼ inch slice off the top of each tomato and carefully spoon out the inside with a teaspoon.Pick over and wash the spinach, removing any tough stalks.Peel the garlic clove and skewer on the tips of a kitchen fork.Heat the butter in a frying-pan until it is golden brown. Add the spinach all at once. Stir immediately, with the garlic fork, add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and continue cooking for about 2-4 minutes until the spinach is bright green and quite tender but not shapeless. Drain off and discard any excess moisture from the spinach then pile it into the tomatoes.Top with the crushed croutons or breadcrumbs.
To Serve:
Put the stuffed vegetables on a baking tray and warm them in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.Garnish with fresh herbs

Food Monday ~ Warm Potatoes & Bacon

I know the other week I said that I never quite caught the ‘Potato’ excitement so common in Ireland.  I still eat them when a meal calls for them and the following is one way I like them.

Warm Potatoes & Bacon
This recipe serves 6

1kg small new potatoes, scrubbed
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon
2 tablespoons sesame seeds toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 spring onions, sliced


2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
125 ml sunflower oil
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Cook the potatoes in a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water until tender.  Meanwhile, grill the bacon until crisp.  Drain the bacon on kitchen paper and chop into small pieces.

To make the dressing, whisk the vinegar, salt, pepper and mustard together in a salad bowl, then gradually whisk in the oil.  Drain the potatoes thoroughly and add to the dressing with the sesame seeds and parsley.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Toss together gently.  Scatter the bacon and spring onions over the salad and serve while still warm.

Food Monday ~ Suggestions for Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes are simple to prepare yet extremely versatile and nutritious. They can be served as an accompaniment, or with a filling as a complete meal.

Select even-shaped potatoes and scrub. They can be baked in the oven, Microwave or a combination of both.

Oven Method

Bake the potatoes in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for 1¼ -1½ hours until tender.  Metal skewers pushed through the potatoes will reduce the cooking time by up to a quarter (for oven baking only).

Microwave Method

Scrub the potatoes, then dry and prick each one several times with a fork. Cook one potato (225g/8oz) for 6 minutes on full power (800W), turn half way through cooking. Allow to stand for 1 – 2 minutes before serving. If cooking more than one potato at a time you need to increase the cooking time accordingly.

Combination Method

If really short of time, par cook the baking potatoes in the microwave then finish in the oven at 200°C, Gas Mark 6 to crisp the skins.

You can rub a little oil & rock salt into the skins before baking to make them extra crispy. If you are baking the potatoes for a big crowd, increase the temperature to 220°C.  When they are cooked, make a crosswise slit in the top of each potato and squeeze gently to open out the cross.

Serving Suggestions

  1. My father liked nothing better than a knob or butter set to melt on his baked potato.
  2. A dish of soured cream mixed with a few drops of lemon juice and chopped chives allows everyone to help themselves.
  3. Top with cheese and place under a preheated grill for 3-4 minutes or until melted and lightly golden

For a tasty supper dish try one of the following accompanied with a side salad.

Leek & Cheddar

1 tbsp olive oil
200g leeks, sliced
2 tbsp mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
Dash Worcestershire sauce
50g Cheddar cheese, grated

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the leeks for 3-4 minutes.  Cut the potatoes in half lengthways, scoop out most of the cooked flesh and mix with the leeks, mayonnaise and seasoning and Worcestershire sauce. Place back in the potato jackets.

Salsa Spuds

4 tbsp Salsa relish plus extra for dipping
50g (1 3/4oz) Cheddar cheese or mozzarella, sliced or grated

When the potatoes are cooked cut them almost in half lengthways, spoon in the salsa relish, top with the cheese and place under a preheated grill for 2-3minutes until the cheese is melted.

Mushroon & Garlic

15g butter
2 Cloves of garlic, crushed
175g Mushrooms, sliced
2 x 15ml spoons Cream cheese
2 x 15ml spoons freshly chopped herbs
Salt & freshly ground pepper

After the potato has been cooking for about 1 hour, melt the butter, add the garlic and mushrooms and cook gently for 5 – 10 minutes.Stir in the cream cheese and continue cooking for 1 minute. Add the herbs and season to taste

When the potatoes are cooked cut them almost in half lengthways and spoon in the mushroom sauce.

Shrimp & Spring Onion

250g cooked peeled shrimps
150ml soured cream
150ml natural yogurt
A few drops of Tabasco sauce
4 spring onions, finely chopped

Combine the filling ingredients & season to taste.Cut a cross in the top of the baked potato and spoon in the filling.

Salmon & Soured Cream

250g cold poached salmon (or drained canned salmon)
300ml soured cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
25g flaked almonds, toasted for garnish

Flake the cooked salmon, removing skin and any bones.Mix the remaining ingredients and season to taste.Pile onto the baked potato and garnish with the flaked almonds.

Food Monday ~ Grannymar’s Emergency Chicken Crumble

We all have days where we are rushed off our feet or unexpected visitors arrive for coffee and forget to go home when it is time to make dinner.. So what do you do? Let Grannymar come to the rescue with this magic dish from the fridge and store cupboard. Even Paddy Bloggit could make this one 😉

Grannymar’s Emergency Chicken Crumble
Serves 6 190°C

4 large Chicken breasts chopped*
Onion chopped
Tin of Peach slices well drained
2 tablespoons milk
Tin Campbell’s Condensed Chicken Soup
Black Pepper
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Pinch of mixed spice
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash Sherry or wine
Mixed Veg.- Baby corn, Carrots, Beans &Mange-tout.
Ready made stuffing for topping.

Drain peaches of all moisture. Fry the onion until soft & remove from pan. Fry chicken for a few minutes until sealed. Blanch the vegetables. Mix soup with the remainder of ingredients. Spread chicken, onion, vegetables and sliced peaches in a casserole dish and cover with soup mixture. Sprinkle a thick covering of stuffing on top. Cook in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Serve with new potatoes, rice or champ.
* Cold precooked chicken may be used.


I hear the chorus already…. What is CHAMP?

Champ is a very popular potato dish here in Northern Ireland, but since it contains a dairy full of milk and butter I never make it!

125g spring onions, or 40g chives, chopped
300ml milk
6-8 potatoes
salt and pepper
75g butter

If using onions, simmer these in the milk until soft. Boil the potatoes in salted water until just cooked, then mash. Add the onions and their milk or the chives, if used, together with the milk which you have heated separately. Season to taste.
Let the butter melt over the finished dish.