Super Easy Satay Drizzle


I wondered what else I could title this post to convince you all to make this sauce! It is really easy and can be used for lots of things. A drizzle over grilled  chicken, a dip for satay sticks, a salad dressing or to finish off a stir fry. Even use it to dip vegetable sticks or a spoon 😊 – you will find no judgement here!


The recipe below makes about 150-200ml depending on how you thin it out and since it will last in the fridge you can certainly double it.

4 tblsp peanut butter (I use one without added salt, sugar or oil)

2tblsp rice wine vinegar

2 tblsp reduced sodium soy sauce

1 tblsp maple syrup

2 tblsp sriracha

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp garlic powder

pinch sea salt

warm water to thin, as required

Mix all ingredients carefully in a bowl until well combined and voila! Add water spoon by spoon until you get your desired consistency. I usually add 3-4 tablespoons, which thins it out nicely.

To make the chicken skewers, I marinated some fillets cut into strips lengthwise in some sriracha and soy. I then threaded them onto presoaked wooden skewers and grilled them until cooked through. Beware packing the chicken on to tightly or it will take longer to cook!


Chipotle Salmon Fishcakes

These little beauties came about from an ostensibly long list of ingredients – but bear with me! Most of them are storecupboard and then you really just need a pack of salmon darnes. I’ll even wager one of those packs of precooked hotsmoked salmon fillets  wouldn’t be the worst to use in a pinch either. The recipe will make about eight to ten  6 – 8cm cakes. The first time I made them we ate them in the small size with a dip and a beer, the second time I made them slightly larger with a salad for dinner. You can exchange the lime for lemon or use a mix of the two.  The recipe would feed approx three adults with sides.

2 salmon darnes (240-250g total)
1 shallot finely diced
a three finger pinch of dried chipotle chilli flakes
fresh basil and dill, finely chopped – a nice handful 😉
2 tblsp chopped capers
50g mayo
1 tsp lime zest
1 tblsp lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaped tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
50g panko breadcrumbs and more for coating the cakes
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying

creme fraiche mixed with lime zest and chopped fresh basil to dip

Begin by preheating your oven to 180c and lining a small tin with foil and a slick of oil. Season the darnes and lay them on the foil. Roast in the oven until just cooked, then set aside to cool.

Meanwhile mix the egg, breadcrumbs, capers, garlic, fresh herbs, mayo, lime zest and juice, spices and dijon together with some seasoning in a bowl. Add the cooled salmon in flakes and mix until combined.

Now shape them into cakes, they can be stored covered in the fridge until ready to cook.

When you are ready to cook, heat a few spoon of oil in a large frying pan until medium hot (not mad not or the cakes will scorch) place the remaining panko breadcrumbs on a plate and briefly turn each cake in the crumbs, pressing gently, before adding to the pan – you may have to do this in batches.

They should take a few minutes each side depending on the thickness – you can press each cake down slightly if you like. Keep them warm in the oven while you cook the rest and then serve with the dip and a cold beer!


Butterbean and Rosemary Soup

I am a sucker for a bowl of homemade soup and this is a fantastic solution for when you truly think you have nothing in your cupboard. You do! It’s ready in minutes and is so warming.

1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tblsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
knob of butter and a dash of oil
2 tins of butter beans, drained
1 litre of stock (I love Marigold boullion and always have it in my larder)

Melt the butter and oil in a medium pot and slowly saute the garlic and onions for a few minutes, without colouring them.

Now add in the rosemary (doesn’t it smell lovely?!) Add in the drained beans and stir, then follow with the stock. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, then blitz to a smooth velvety consistency.


I sometimes swirl a teaspoon of fresh pesto on top if I have some which adds a little color and a nice extra dimension, but it’s perfectly delicious on its own.

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.


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!

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!