Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tantalizing Salad Dressing

It was one of those days. I slept in (because I could. not. put. down. the hunger games until I finished it at 1am) so was a little late for work. When I got there I realized the instruments that analyzed my testing from yesterday didn't work the way they should and my work had to be repeated. Then I broke some glass. And then I broke some more. Then I wondered if I should have stayed in bed.

Do we all have these days? Please say you have them sometimes so I don't feel alone in my goofy-ness.


At the end of a kinda messy day like this I make myself reach for a healthy dinner instead of a fast dinner that probably wouldn't help un-muddle my brain. A chicken salad can't be beaten.

For me, what defines whether I love a salad or not is the dressing. Basically everywhere you go a green salad has the same ingredients: lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, avocado and any other selection of veggies. So with the main components being consistent, the dressing can really shine and make the difference between whether I finish every scrap of vegetable or pick out the good stuff and go have a cup of tea and a bickie.

When I moved to Ireland 7 years ago I had one bag and had to be very selective about what I brought over with me. My recipe book that I write my all-time favorites into was one of the first things in the bag. And this dressing recipe was the first one I wrote in. Its really fantastic so if you don't have a go-to recipe for salad dressing give this one a go and see if you like it. Its better than any I've ever bought and I hope you like it too!

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard (I use wholegrain)
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1 tsp aromat
  • 1/2-1 tsp Maggi seasoning
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Combine the vinegar, mustard, dill, aromat and Maggi in a blender. With the blender on, slowly drizzle the oil into the mixture until combined. Pour into bottles.
Give a good shake before pouring onto salad. Yum!!!

And remember Gordon Ramsey's statement: 'If you pick up a lettuce leaf in your salad and dressing drips off it, there is too much'.

What is your favorite way to make salad dressing?


Jenn x

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Spectacular Meatballs!

Aahhhh Thursday ... how I love thee ... Nearly the weekend when I have two whole days where I can focus on my hobbies. Don't get me wrong - I am very lucky in that I really like my job, but I still appreciate a few days when I can spend some hours working on a recipe or taking pictures or ... uh ... less fun stuff like laundry :)

These meatballs are really delicious and freeze very well. They suit me great as they can be slapped together quickly to make a wholesome and tasty midweek dinner. 

There aren't a lot of ingredients for the meatballs, just a few ingredients and some time :)

Mix together the minced steak, grated mozzarella, some oregano, minced onion, minced garlic and pesto. Add a bit of salt and pepper and mix it together a little more again.

Put a little into a hot pan and cook it up, then taste it to make sure you like the flavours. Adjust the seasonings if necessary.

Once you have a mixture you like, shape into balls. I weighed mine out into 72g (my attention to detail means that I wanted a number of meatballs that were all consistent in weight, size and shape. Maybe this is why it takes me so long to complete recipes ...)

I got 35 meatballs, individually wrapped. 

And they are all individually delicious. To cook, I well-browned them in a pan then put them into a pot that had the tomato sauce simmering until finished. Slap the fabulous mix on some cooked spagetti, serve with a green salad and voilĂ  - dinner's ready!

These are really worth trying. I think its the pesto that makes them so delicious, but the stringy mozzarella is a pretty nice addition too :)

Kilmanogue Meatballs (adapted from Avoca Cafe Cookbook)

900g minced steak
110g grated mozzarella cheese
good sprinkline dried oregano
2 eggs
1 onion, minced
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 teaspoons pesto

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Fry a small amount and taste, adjust seasonings as needed. Shape into balls. To cook, place meatballs in a hot pan. Cook until well browned, then simmer in sauce of your choice before serving. And enjoy!

Do you have anything nice planned for the weekend?


Jenn x

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy day-after-the-day-after-the-day-after-Halloween!!

Greetings all!!!

I hope you've had a wonderful few months since my last post. I've been terribly busy and have had a terrible internet connection, which is a real bummer (taking nearly an hour to upload a single picture. Brings out the grouchy in me!). I turned 30, travelled between Ireland and North America twice, had some BIG personal status adjustments and was (thankfully) very, very busy with work. It was all wonderful and I will provide some pictures and info in the next few posts. Unfortunately this poor blog suffered. So now that the evenings are zooming in and I have -finally- upgraded to some wireless internet, I am optimistic. I've been doing some really neat stuff in the kitchen and have been keeping track of it so I will share it here in the coming days.

As a quick hello treat I'm sharing the pumpkins I carved for Hallowe'en this year.
Did you celebrate Hallowe'en?


Jenn x