Recipe ideas from Michelle Darmody

Chillies add spice and flavour to cooking.

The capsaicinoids that give the chillies their unique eye-watering abilities are good for clearing the sinuses and helping ward off colds.

I do not think a day goes by without me using chilli in The Cake Café kitchen in some way or another, either making up a batch of our very popular chilli jam that people smear on their eggs, or chopping some into a fiery salad dressing with a crack or two of black pepper or adding a pinch of dried chilli to our beans on toast.

They form a great back note to most savoury cooking and they also work well with dark chocolate deserts.

I tend to use fresh red chillies, mainly as I prefer their slightly sweeter taste than their green counterparts. Chilli flakes and the more common powdered chilli are good to have in the cupboard and are great substitutes in the fresh variety are not available.

It was Christopher Columbus who brought chilli pepper to Europe from the America’s in 1493.

From Mexico to India the over 400 different varieties of chillies have shaped the diets of nations and are now consumed all over the world.

Piri piri salmon

2 tbs of olive oil

Zest of two limes and juice of one

1 tbs of cider vinegar

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tsp of chilli flakes

1 tsp of dried or 2 tsp of fresh oregano

1 tsp of smoked paprika

4 darns of salmon

Add all of the sauce ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. Add the salmon darns and rub the sauce all over them. Allow to sit covered in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Place under a hot grill skin side up until it is crisping, about three minutes. Turn the salmon over and spoon any remaining sauce over the top. 

Grill for just over a minute if you want it a little pink in the centre or a little more if you like it more well done. I would usually serve this with basmati rice and selection of pickles or chutneys.

Chilli chicken wings

Recipe ideas from Michelle Darmody

1 ½ kg of chicken wings

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

A dash of rapeseed oil

2 tsp of chilli mild powder

½ a red chilli, finely chopped

3 tbs of honey

3 tbs of cider vinegar

A bunch thyme, removed from the stalk and chopped

Toss the chicken wings with all of the other ingredients and some seasoning and spread them out on a baking tray. Bake in an oven heated to 180 degrees.

After 20 minutes toss the wings.

Bake for another 10 minutes.

Then turn the heat up to 200 degrees for another 10 minutes of cooking. Make sure they are cooked through.

These are great served with a big green salad full of roasted vegetables with a yogurt dressing and some crunchy bread.

Chorizo and sweet potato chilli

2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped

4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1 red chilli, sliced

A dash of rapeseed oil

1 tsp of ground cinnamon

2 tsp of mild chilli powder

1 tsp of cumin seeds, toasted

200g of chorizo, cut into thick slices

1 tin of cannellini beans, drained

1 tin of kidney beans, drained

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

1 tsp of honey

A bunch of coriander, chopped

Toss the sweet potato, red onion, garlic, red chilli in some rapeseed oil, seasoning and the spices. 

Place into an oven heated to 180 and bake until the potato has softened, about a half an hour.

In the meantime add the chorizo to a saucepan and cook gently until the fat is beginning to melt. 

Add the beans and then the tomatoes and honey. Season and allow to bubble away gently on a low heat without a lid until the vegetables are cooked.

Stir the sauce through the vegetables and serve with rice and some lime zest stirred through yogurt.

Seed and nut biscuits

75g butter

75mls olive oil

90g of fruit sugar

130g of porridge oats

60g of mixed seeds

90g of spelt flour

½ tsp of baking powder

2 tbs of maple syrup

60g of chopped roasted hazelnuts

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.

These cookies have no processed sugar and are packed with seeds and nuts so are a good alternative to a shop bought biscuit.

Beat the butter, oil and fruit sugar until light a fluffy. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.

Form walnut size ball in your hands and place on a lined baking tray. Leave enough room between them so they can spread to about twice their size.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.


Lifestyle

I see that a website describes the call of Canarian cory’s shearwaters as ‘waca waca’. It’s a mad, hysterical call, uttered when the parent birds arrive to feed their nestlings.Cory’s shearwaters show long-distance qualities

Is it too much to hope that an important public health matter, such as Lyme disease, will be an issue in the general election? There’s been a worrying reluctance by the authorities to face up to the extent of the disease here.Facing up to Lyme disease

A paper published in Current Biology examines the extinction of a colourful little bird which, until recently, thrived in the eastern US. With the appalling environmental catastrophe enveloping Australia, home to 56 of the world’s 370 parrot species, this account of the Carolina parakeet’s demise is timely.Trying to save the parrot is not all talk

The recent rescue of a trawler 20km north of Fanad Head in Co Donegal gave us a glimpse of the enormous seas that occasionally strike that part of the coast.Islands of Ireland: Inishbeg Island begs the question

More From The Irish Examiner