Superfast Chicken Fillet Burgers


These burgers are the kids’ current favourite. They are very quick and easy to make and can be varied with different toppings. If the chicken breasts are large, you can butterfly them and serve half per child. Plates are cleared every time I rustle them up here and they are requested often – a firm favourite!

To make two burgers:

2 small chicken fillets

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 tblsp olive/rapeseed oil

2 brioche burger buns (we love the ones from Aldi)

mayo/ketchup/tomatoes/lettuce/onions/pickles/your choice of burger topping – the possibilities are endless!


Preheat the oven to 190c. Mix the oil and spices together with salt and pepper in a small dish/cup. Put the chicken breasts between two pieces of clingfilm and flatten/bash them with a rolling pin – you want to make them a bit flatter so they cook evenly.

Heat up an oven proof pan – I have a chargrill one I use. (If you are making more than will fit in the pan, you can sear them and finish them off in a foil covered tin in the oven) While that is heating, brush the fillets with the seasoned oil. When the pan is hot, put the fillets on. Sear them on one side for a couple of minutes, then flip over. Cover loosely with foil and pop in the oven to finish cooking – mine took about 15 minutes, but it will depend on the thickness of the breasts – make sure they are cooked through. Remove from the oven and let them sit for a minute – turn the oven off and pop the buns in for a minute to heat.

When ready, load the buns up with the fillets and your favourite fillings and enjoy!

Almond Crêpes


This was a lovely breakfast idea I spied in Goodfood Magazine a while back – and so easy! It can be made per person or per crêpe and so it is even doable on a midweek morning. It’s lovely and filling and can be used as a vehicle for healthy or not-so-healthy toppings. The crêpes tend to stick a little and don’t behave quite like the tradtional ones, but I was prepared to accept that once I tasted them! With a little greek yoghurt and fruit, it does feel like a treat.

Per crêpe:

1 large egg

1.5tblsp ground almonds

1 tblsp water

I decided to be novel and gave the kids a jar to each shake their own (I know!) but feel free to beat the ingredients in a bowl, unless of course you’d like to do that too!

Heat a medium pan with a spoon of oil and when the pan is medium hot, pour the beaten egg mix in and swirl it around to coat the pan. Don’t let the pan get too hot. Now leave it set for a minute or two, then it is done (no flipping this one!) Turn carefully out onto a plate and eat with your favourite accompaniments.

We have tried berries and coconut yoghurt (Glenisk is yum), diced apple and raspberries or cherries with a dash of maple syrup, and blueberries with greek yoghurt swirled with a spoon of lemon curd. All delish!

Halloumi with Balsamic Cherries and Lentils

This is another quick one which is a very handy starter or light meal, borne out of my purchase of the previously mentioned crate of cherries. It’s ready in less than 20 minutes and is just a little bit different. I used about 2/3 of a pack of halloumi for two light suppers but you could make a pack stretch to a starter for four. I just love halloumi – it’s so very tasty, moreish, fast to make and a pack can lurk in your fridge as a staple. In fact much of the ingredients below are store cupboard except for the fresh ones so it’s not a bad back up plan to have. I used the smoked garlic paste from Tesco and the chargrilled peppers were from a jar (Aldi) in the fridge. The puy lentils were of course my fav staple from Merchant Gourmet and the halloumi was from Tesco but widely available.

Ingredients to serve two as a light supper/starter

8-10 cherries, pitted and diced

2 tblsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp butter

1-2 tblsp oil

1-2 tblsp diced red onion

1/2 tsp smoked garlic paste

150g approx halloumi cheese sliced lengthways into six slices

1-2 slices of chargrilled peppers, drained and sliced

few leaves of thyme

1 pack of puy lentils

1-2 tblsp balsamic dressing (to taste)

some rocket leaves


Heat the butter in a medium sized pan. When melted, add the cherries and after a minute, the balsamic vinegar. Let it bubble down on a medium to low heat – keep your head away – the fumes are very unpleasant!!

Move the cherries around the pan, and don’t let them go entirely dry. Decant to a bowl and set aside for now.

Wipe out your pan and heat a tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion and smoked garlic paste and soften for a couple of minutes. Add the thyme leaves. Now add the pack of lentils and the peppers and heat through. Remove and keep warm.

Wipe pan (last time I promise – but you’ll only have one pan to wash!) Heat remaining oil in the pan and now fry the halloumi for 1-2 minutes each side on a medium heat. Now stir some dressing through the warm lentils to taste. Get your plates ready – it’ll all be ready fast – put some rocket down on the plate and spoon the lentils over. Place the halloumi on top and spoon the cherries and their juices over. Serve and enjoy.


Cherry Buttermilk Cake


I saw this lovely crate of cherries in the supermarket today and had to have them. They are my daughter’s favourite fruit although my two kids will easily clear a large bowl each in a single sitting – their hands look like a bloodbath afterwards. I had other plans for these little bursts of sunshine though.

It was fate as I scrolled through and saw the Smitten Kitchen recipe for Raspberry Buttermilk Cake appearing and I thought I would try it with the cherries and it was yummy – done in no time at all and just the perfect everyday or rainy Thursday kinda cake. Feel free to use the raspberries though, as in the original. Deb Perelman is one of my food heroes and she can do no wrong as far as I am concerned!

Ingredients to make one 8.5 to 9inch cake

1 cup (130g) of plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

56g butter (Deb used unsalted and added salt; I just used salted)

2/3 cup golden caster sugar (146g) plus 1.5 tblsp (22g), divided

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp lemon zest (Deb notes it’s optional – I used it and it was lovely)

1 large egg

1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk

1 cup cherries, pitted and halved.


Preheat oven to 200c and prep a 9inch (mine was 8.5!) round loose bottomed tin. Beat the 2/3 cup sugar and the butter in a stand mixer until it is nice and fluffy. Add the vanilla, zest, egg and beat well making sure to scrape the sides down so that the batter is well mixed.

Mix the flour and baking powder and baking soda together and add to the mixer bowl in three lots, alternating with the buttermilk and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined. Spoon the batter carefully into the cake pan and smooth the top. Scatter the cherries or dot them over the top of the batter – I put them gently into the top of the batter and the baking sank them ever so slightly into the cake.

Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes until a cake tester pierced in the centre comes out batter free. Mine was done after 22 minutes.

Cool for 10 minutes in the tin on a cooling rack and them turn on to a plate – serve with warm with whipped or pouring cream.

the dip to end all dips


I first came across warm dips when we were living in Toronto a number of years ago. There and then dips were, well, pedestrian. I, however, was transfixed! When going to parties and gatherings, people brought all variations of these DIPS. This is a version of my favourite. The warm artichoke dip. It has truly never met a carbohydrate it didn’t get along with, or a glass of wine for that matter. Serve it with any manner of breads, crackers, breadsticks, crudités and your favourite beverages. It certainly starts conversations! You can get tinned artichokes in brine (Epicure) in Supervalu, Avoca and Nolans in Clontarf. I haven’t tried it with the artichokes in oil – I’d imagine they’d be very oily. I’m now on the lookout for frozen artichokes…..!


Warm Artichoke Dip

1 tin of Artichokes in brine
1 cup (250ml) of mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup (250ml) of grated parmesan
black pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 170C . Drain the tin of artichokes. Chop roughly and place in a bowl or a pyrex jug (I find the jug handy for the immersion blender). Add mayonnaise, garlic and some black pepper to taste. Blitz with a handheld immersion blender until reasonably smooth, but leaving some texture. Add most of the parmesan, retaining a couple of spoons for later.

Decant the dip into an oven proof dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.

Bake uncovered in the oven for 20 minutes, until the top is golden and bubbly. This will keep warm for a while no problem just as long as you can keep away from it. It’s very forgiving if the guests are late!

Serve with aforementioned delicious things to dip-in-the-dip!

Chopped Asian Salad with Lime and Coconut Chicken

This is a tasty dressing that is lovely mixed with a chopped vegetable salad and grilled chicken or prawns. It’s just perfect for the warm weather we are having right now. I like to make it up in a jar and it will happily sit in the fridge ready to be used. I paired it here with an old Good Food hack for a pack of mini chicken fillets. It turns them into something interesting! We ate this warm and also cold for lunch too. Gotta love a dish that keeps on giving.

I chopped up a whole mix of veg – salad leaves, mint, coriander, carrots, peppers, sugarsnaps, scallions, some broccoli and mixed it with quinoa too. Anything goes.

Asian dressing

1 tblsp shallot, minced/diced very finely

3 tblsp rice wine vinegar

2 tblsp dark brown sugar

1 tblsp wholegrain mustard

pinch maldon salt

pinch cayenne

1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tsp sesame oil

80 ml olive oil or rapeseed oil.


Mix the shallot, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, cayenne, ginger and garlic together and leave for a few minutes. Then gradually whisk the oils in. Season to taste, if necessary. Keep in a jar in the fridge for a few days.

Lime and Coconut Crusted Chicken

Pack of chicken mini fillets or 3 chicken fillets

zest and juice of 2 limes

2 tsp curry powder

pinch chilli powder

75g dessicated coconut

Preheat the oven to 180C. Slice the chicken fillets (if using). Mix the chicken with the zest, juice, curry powder and chilli powder in a bowl. Place the coconut in a ziploc bag. Line a baking tin with foil and a slick of oil.

Once the chicken has sat for a few minutes, then place it in the bag so that the coconut sticks to it and shake it around making sure the chicken pieces are coated.

Place them carefully on the tray and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through and toasted, turning once. Serve with the chopped salad and asian dressing.




Breakfast Pancakes

Pancakes are a favourite weekend breakfast here (and sometimes midweek if I am feeling motivated!) They are very easy to make and you can incorporate all kinds of fillings and toppings to please everyone! The recipe below would be a nice hit this Sunday (hint hint!) These are US style puffy pancakes as opposed to the crepe style ones and are especially yummy with maple syrup and your favourite fruits, or even bacon if you are going to come over all Canadian! Best place for purchasing maple syrup is Aldi or Lidl – it’s the best value and pure 100% with none of that maple flavour golden syrup rubbish, which I am sure is a crime somewhere.


Pancakes (makes roughly 12- 16 depending on size, which serves about 2 adults and 2 kids who aren’t totally ravenous!)

1 and 1/2 cups plain flour (I sometimes use half plain and half fine wholewheat, no-one notices and I feel virtuous)

1 tblsp sugar

pinch salt

scant 3 tsp baking powder (i.e. use just under the third teaspoon)

1 large egg beaten

1 and 1/4 cups milk

2 tblsp melted butter, plus extra for the frying pan

Ideas to add to the pancakes: A mashed banana added into the batter after it rests, before cooking (maybe a few choc chips!) … some blueberries … my fav – very thinly sliced apple with a little sprinkle of cinnamon placed on top of the uncooked batter in the pan just before you flip it over … toasted nuts … I could go on but you get the picture!


Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk the milk and egg together and gradually add into the dry ingredients and mix well. Don’t worry too much about the lumps, but do make sure there’s no flour lurking in there.

Leave this mix to sit for 10 minutes – use this time to prep the fruit you’ll serve.

Now whisk in your two spoons of melted butter (and mashed banana if using). Heat a little butter (with a touch of oil to stop it burning) in a large pan to medium/high and pour about 2-3 spoons of batter in per pancake.  (When they have set a little, then is the time to carefully place your really thin apple slices on top if using) They will be done on one side when little bubbles rise to the surface of the batter, so flip over and cook through for a minute or two more.

Keep the first batch warm (or feed everyone while you make more!)

Serve warm with maple syrup and any fruit of your choice. Also serve with lots of coffee if it is Father’s day and you are up making this breakfast very very early!

Simple Moroccan Chicken with Olives and Lemon


Another week, another menu plan! We were away at the weekend so I am sort of starting this week on the back foot – yuck! It’s nice to have a quick recipe like this one to hand when you are feeling less than inspired of a Monday! Feel free to add extra chicken – the recipe is quite forgiving in that regard. Oh and if you are 7 years old, scrape all the olives and mint off first before eating.

Ingredients to serve 4

8 chicken thighs (skinless and boneless)

2 tblsp plain flour

3 tsp ground cumin

good pinch salt (Maldon is great)

2 tblsp olive oil

250ml (1 cup) chicken or vegetable stock (I use Marigold Bouillion)

Juice of half a lemon and about 1/2 tsp of zest (or to your taste)

50g (1/2 cup) sliced black olives (I use the jarred ones in brine)

small handful of mint, chopped


Get a large ziplock bag and add the flour, cumin and salt. Seal and shake to mix. Add the chicken and seal and shake to mix again, coating the chicken with the cumin mix.

Heat the oil in a wide pan (with a lid for later) and add the chicken lifting it out of the bag with tongs, gently shaking off the excess flour before adding it to the pan. Brown the chicken until golden, 3-4 minutes each side. Now add the hot stock to the pan, together with the lemon juice and zest and stir gently. Bring to a gentle simmer, then put the lid on and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Check again, stirring in the olives and mint and letting simmer for the last 5 minutes. Check the thighs are cooked through. Serve with cous cous or quinoa (our fav!) and vegetables.

salmon and veggies with lentils

Our favourite go-to is salmon. There are lots of easy ways to elevate this already tasty quick accessible item into something special, even if you are serving it up on a rainy Tuesday. I happen to do this on a lot of rainy Tuesdays after football – it’s 20 minutes in the oven and the lentils, serving two are microwavable in a pouch, which makes it handy and even faster than a takeaway and healthier to boot. We are also a teeny little bit obsessed with roast sprouts these days. Roasting imparts a deeper nuttier flavour and any dinner that means one tray or dish gets a thumbs up from me. I say the following recipe serves 2 – I eat a fillet of salmon and my better half eats 2 and takes leftovers to work for lunch the next day. You would certainly serve four serving one fillet each and upping the quantity of vegetables.

Roast Salmon and veggies with a side of lentils
Serves 2 -ish!
4 fillets of salmon
1 net of brussel sprouts
1 large red pepper
Schwartz Perfect Shake Italian Garlic and Herb
1-2 Tblsp olive oil

Preheat your oven to 180C. Prepare your roasting tray by covering with foil.
Prep the veggies by cleaning and chopping to even size pieces (see the picture) Drizzle with 1 tblsp of oil and sprinkle with a small amount of the herb shake.
Roast the veg for 5-8 minutes in the oven. You will then add the salmon into the hot tray (careful!) sprinkling same with some of the shake and a drizzle of oil. Carefully mix the veg while you do this. Return the tray to the oven for 15 minutes. Salmon should be done when it is firm to the touch and pale through.
I served this with a pouch of the microwavable puy lentils – they also work really well cold in a salad – the possibilities are endless!

Goat Cheese Salad with Apples and Almonds


This is a super quick starter to make – it’s on the table in a matter of ten minutes and is super tasty. We had it on Friday with a cold glass of white – very welcome prelude to a tasty steak dish which I will post about later! There’s nothing like low effort high reward food at the end of the week and once you’ve a few bits in the fridge it all comes together very quickly. I used a small packet of goat cheese from M&S – the rind holds it together when it’s baking in the oven, it easily cut into three generous slices.


Ingredients (serves 2):

Goats cheese with rind, a small log sliced into 1 inch slices

2-3 tblsp of chopped almonds

1 egg, beaten

1/2 red onion, sliced into very fine rings

1/2 apple, either green or golden delicious, sliced into matchsticks

couple handful of lettuce leaves of your choice (I used red gem)


2 tblsp olive oil

1 tblsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp dijon mustard

2 tsp maple syrup

salt, pepper and snipped chives to serve

Set up your small baking tray, lined with a little foil or parchment and preheat oven to 170C. Whisk the egg in a small bowl. Place the chopped almonds on a small saucer and working from one side to the other dip each cheese slice firstly in the egg, then the nuts gently pressing them in to stick, then gently on the tray. Bake in the oven for 7 minutes approximately. Watch them closely. They will go from sturdy to melted in a nanosecond! Prepare the salad. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. (You can do this before the cheese goes in the oven if you like) Plate up the (washed!) leaves, onion and apple sticks. Drizzle the dressing over. Place the baked cheese on top and sprinkle the snipped chives to serve. Arrange to eat in the sunshine if you can!