2 tins of chickpeas
4 tsp of tahini
3 tsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of chilli powder
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
A bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp of ground cumin
2 tsp of ground coriander
1 tsp of Harissa paste
Flour for dusting
½ a red chilli, finely chopped
Drain one can of the chickpeas and put the water aside. Put them in a blender with the tahini, lemon juice, a clove of garlic and the chilli powder. Blend with two tablespoons of the water from the tin. Blend until it is a very smooth paste. Put into a bowl and set aside in the fridge.
Put the other drained tin of chickpeas into the blender with the rest of the garlic, parsley, cumin, coriander and harissa paste. Blend this until it forms a very rough paste. Taste and season well.
Form the rough paste into 12 balls and roll them in the flour. Place them in the fridge to cool.
Heat a generous dash of oil in a pan, add the balls and quickly fry them for two minutes on each side, until they are golden.
Blitz the hummus again with two tablespoons of olive oil. Taste and season.
Serve the falafel on a bed of the hummus. Sprinkle with some more parsley and the chopped chilli. Drizzle with some good quality olive oil.
2. Orange and Fennel Salad with Orchard Syrup and Pink Peppercorns
6 oranges, peeled and sliced or preferably segmented
1 large bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
2 tbsp of slivered almonds, lightly toasted
2 tsp of pink peppercorns, crushed
A drizzle of orchard syrup, I use Highbank orchard
Crunchy bread for four
Orchard syrup is a lovely ingredient. I use one from Highbank Orchard apple farm in Kilkenny. It is very versatile sweetener that can often be used in place of honey. It is tasty drizzled over porridge in the mornings or used in a glaze for a ham or a salad dressing. I have been experimenting with it in mayy ways and it has not yet disappointed.
Lay the oranges on a large plate or bowl with the fennel. Sprinkle with the slivered almonds and pink peppercorns. Drizzle the orchard syrup over the whole lot. Sprinkle with some seasoning.
Serve with the bread on the side of the salad. Slices of fresh mozzarella are also great served with this salad or a nice scoop of ricotta.
3. Chicken with a creamy olive sauce
A dash of olive oil
4 chicken breasts
180g of cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp of olive tapenade
3 tbsp of creme fraiche
Rice for four
A handful of green olives, de-stoned and sliced
A bunch of basil, roughly chopped
Use a pan that you can place into the oven. Heat the oil in a pan and brown the chicken breasts all over. Stir in the tomatoes and continue frying until they are starting to soften.
Add the tapenade and creme fraiche and season.
Put the rice on to boil and drain when cooked.
Place the chicken into an oven heated to 180 degrees for 20 minutes then stir in the olives. Place back into the oven for a further 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Sprinkle with the basil and serve with the rice.
4. Haddock and green apple cakes with salad
300g of potatoes, leftover mashed potatoes are perfect
150g of haddock
2 Granny Smith-type apples, cored and roughly grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
The zest of 2 lemons and 1 tsp of juice
Flour for dusting
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of orchard syrup
2 tsp of cider vinegar
Spinach leaves for four
A handful of almonds, lightly chopped
If you are using uncooked potatoes, boil them in lightly salted water and drain when cooked. You can go with mash with or without the skin, whichever you prefer.
Season the fish then grill it until it is flakey. Remove the skin and any bones when it is cool enough to handle. Flake it apart with your fingers.
Stir the mashed potato, flaked fish, grated apple, egg and lemon zest together. Season and form into four patties. Dust each one with flour and set aside in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
Stir the olive oil, orchard syrup, lemon juice, cider vinegar together. Taste the dressing and season well.
Heat a dash of oil in a large pan and fry the cakes until golden all over, it should take about four minutes each side.
Toss the spinach and almonds in the dressing and serve it along side the cakes. A dollop of mayonnaise or creme fraiche is nice on the side.
5. Eggy noodles with crisped bacon
Noodles for four
1 tsp of honey
2 tsp of soya sauce
1 onion, finely sliced
4 streaky rashers cut into thin strips
a dash of rapeseed oil
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 red chilli, sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
A generous bunch of coriander, chopped
2 tsp of harissa paste
Put the noodles into lightly salted boiling water and drain when they have softened but still retain a bite.
Whisk together the eggs, honey and soya sauce. Heat some oil in a small pan and cook as if you are making an omelette. Set aside to cool.
Grill the rasher pieces until they are completely crispy. Slice the omelette into thin slices.
In a much larger pan or a wok heat some oil and over a high heat, fry the garlic, chilli and carrot. Toss the noodles and coriander in the pan to combine the ingredients.
Serve the noodles in a bowl, gently stir in the slices of egg and the crispy bacon, spoon a little harissa on top and serve.
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