Caitriona Redmond

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Updated: 1 hour 13 min ago

Leftover Lamb Pasta

Sun, 04/21/2019 - 14:24

I admit, not everybody will have eaten lamb today; lamb is relatively expensive to bu!. I’d bet though that if you did buy lamb for your Easter Sunday roast, you really don’t want to throw away any of that precious meat. This leftover lamb pasta recipe is especially designed for the itty bitty pieces that don’t come away easily when carving. They are perfect shredded into the sauce, browned until caramelised and cling to the pasta in nutty morsels.

I’ll keep this short and sweet. The recipe serves a family of 2 adults and 3 children generously. Whatever leftover vegetables you have from the Sunday roast are great recycled in this leftover lamb pasta dish. It is quick to prepare and is very frugal as you’re using up leftover meat from the day before.  Don’t be limited to use just using lamb in this pasta dish though, consider using up any leftover meat you might have from a roast such as ham, beef, chicken or turkey!

You can see from the pictures that I used squid ink pasta for this recipe. I may have mentioned a few times that I’m clearing the store cupboards? It just so happened that it was the last of the tagliatelle that I had in the house. The recipe will work, no matter what the colour of the pasta, but it’s certainly a talking point.

Ingredients

  • 200g pasta of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • Leftover lamb meat, finely shredded
  • 5 cream crackers, crumbled (if you’re based in the US, Graham Crackers work well here)
  • 1 cup of peas (frozen or leftover from the day before)
  • 1 teaspoon mint sauce (optional)
  • 1 fresh chilli, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Method

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and simmer your pasta according to the recommended time on the packet. Mine takes 8 minutes to cook which is just about the amount of time it takes to prepare the sauce.

In a wide, deep saucepan or frying pan, heat the olive oil on a medium heat. Add the garlic, crumbled crackers and meat. Stir well until they begin to brown. Lower the heat, add the peas and coat in the sauce. If using mint sauce to accentuate the lamb add a teaspoon now.

Strain the (now cooked pasta) and add the pasta to your sauce. Stir until completely coated. with the crumbly cracker/garlic/lamb mixture.

Season with salt & pepper to taste, then serve with chopped fresh chilli on top.

Lovely with a fresh green salad, roasted cherry tomatoes or garlic bread.

Finally, if you have any leftover chocolate from Easter Eggs you might want to use it up by baking some of my Chocolate Bar Blondies For Leftover Treats (pictured below). These blondies also freeze well so handy for stock-baking for a party or event later on next month.

Don’t forget chocolate is grand in the freezer for a short amount of time. If, by chance, you or the kids have received a glut, remove all the packaging (into the recycling bin) and break the eggs into a freezer bag. You can then take out just the right amount when you need it!

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Roast Lamb Feast

Sat, 04/20/2019 - 10:53

This Easter Sunday we’ll all gather as a family; my siblings, our partners, our children, and my parents, and we’ll enjoy this classic roast lamb feast. When I say a classic roast lamb feast that’s not strictly true in the Irish sense of the term. The flavours and the food that we will eat together are a reflection of us as a family. The meal speaks to us of a time spent in the Middle East when Dad was serving with UNIFIL and the youngest of us was still in nappies.

It’s a meal that we will all contribute to. I’ve already been told I’m responsible for the vegetables, which is really my favourite part anyway. The biggest battle in my house will be to get all the vegetables chopped without the kids depleting the serving platter. The beauty of serving a roast lamb feast in this way is that everybody gets to pick what they like. Some family members don’t like cucumbers, some love peppers; everybody will fill their pitta bread and plates before we sit down together and celebrate Easter as a family.

Roast Lamb Feast

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 2 Hours
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Leg of Lamb
  •  Hummus
  • 1 Red Pepper, sliced
  • 1 Yellow Pepper, sliced
  • 1 Pack snack cucumbers, sliced lengthways
  • 1 pack radishes, sliced
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely grated
  • 2 baby gem lettuce heads, leaves removed and rinsed
  • 1 pomegranate, you’ll only need the seeds
  • Fresh coriander
  • Pitta Breads
  • Salt & Pepper

Method

Preheat a fan oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Put the leg of lamb on a roasting tray, cover the end with tinfoil. Score the outside of the leg of lamb with a sharp knife so that you get a criss-cross pattern. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast the lamb in the preheated oven for 1 hour 30 minutes. Then remove the lamb from the oven, cover it in tinfoil and leave to rest for 20 minutes before slicing and enjoying.

Serve slices and generous chunks of roast lamb stuffed inside of pitta breads with a dollop of hummus, oodles of chopped vegetables, salad, fresh pomegranate seeds, and coriander. Top with thin slices of fresh chilli if you like the heat!

Top Tips

  • Soften your pitta breads by sprinkling with water and microwaving each pitta individually for 20 seconds on high.
  • Leftover lamb meat (if there is such a thing) makes for delicious traditional shepherd’s pie filling.
  • If you have leftover chopped veggies use them to make a stir fry the following day.

Disclosure: This recipe was originally developed, written, and photographed for Lidl Ireland.

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Fruity Lunchbox Muffins

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 15:11

What do you put in your kids’ lunchboxes? Are you concerned with the contents of bought-in packets, or maybe you’re trying to lower the amount of plastic packaging within the lunchbox. These fruity lunchbox muffins are dual purpose. They have a healthy, yet stealthy portion of 1 of your 7-a-day recommended fruit and veg intake. The muffins also have a secret to reducing refined sugar in lunchbox treats that might surprise you.

Once a fortnight I make a batch of 24 muffins for the lunchboxes. I freeze what we don’t need immediately and simply take out what we need the night before school. That means the muffins are always fresh.

Fruity Lunchbox Muffins

  • Servings: 24
  • Time: 30 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 3 free range eggs (cracked)
  • 400g plain flour (you can go 50:50 with wholemeal and plain flour if you like but the muffins will be denser)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cooking apples, peeled and grated coarsely (use a box grater)
  • 100g fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 2 ripe bananas peeled
  • Handful of oats to sprinkle on top

Method

Preheat your fan oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line 2 cupcake tins with muffin cases (24 in total).

Make sure all the above ingredients are at room temperature. Put everything into a very large stand mixer or food processor. Yep everything (I’m serious).

Switch the blender/mixer/processor on to low until the dry ingredients are combined with the wet ingredients. Once combined, move the dial to medium until you have a rich creamy batter. Turn off the machine.

Use an ice cream scoop to portion the muffin mixture into the case. Sprinkle oats on top of the muffin batter.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes before removing from the oven and allowing to cool. Freeze as you need them.

Note: To make half the batch, half all the ingredients except for the eggs; use 2 instead of 3.

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Ale Marinated Steak Recipe

Fri, 03/29/2019 - 16:11

By covering the beef in an ale marinade you make your steak incredibly tender with a wonderful sweet malt flavour.

Ale Marinated Steak Recipe

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 1 hour 10 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 bottle Irish Pale Ale
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried garlic
  • 1 teaspoon runny honey
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 pack striploin steak

Method

Pour the ale into a large bowl and stir together with the dried spices, honey, and soy sauce. Remove the steak from the packaging and submerge in the bowl of marinade. Cover the bowl and put the bowl into the fridge for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, cook the steak on a griddle pan/grill/barbecue. This marinade makes the beef very tender and it will cook extremely rapidly so if you like your meat rare, simply sear for 1 minute on either side!

Once cooked, pair your steak with the ale you used for the marinade and serve with homemade chips or a baked potato and fresh salad.

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Mango Salsa Recipe

Tue, 03/26/2019 - 18:55

I really love the fresh flavours in this salsa and I think that salsa is a great budget dish to offer guests to your home for celebrations. It promises fresh Summery flavours and I know (at the moment) the weather isn’t all that Summery at the moment. We can hope right?

Mango Salsa

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 15 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 ripe mango
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 lime
  • Handful of fresh coriander

Method

Peel and chop the red onion into fine dice. Chop the cherry tomatoes into quarters.

Cut the mango by slicing to the left and right of the stone which goes down the very middle of the fruit. Don’t cut down the centre. Separate the skin from the flesh by making a small notch at the edge of the piece you’ve cut. Take a glass  and using the notch push the flesh into the glass, with the skin on the outside. Chop into small pieces.

Cut the avocado at the last minute. Stir together all the chopped ingredients and squeeze over the juice of the lime. Tear the fresh coriander and place this on top so that coriander haters can avoid it in their salsa.

Great salsa depends on your ingredients being fresh and ripe at the same time. If you find that your avocados aren’t just ripe put them in the fruit bowl beside a banana a day before you plan to eat them, this will accelerate that ripening time.

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The Brexit Kitchen Stores

Sat, 03/23/2019 - 15:42

Did I get your attention there? Or maybe, like me, you rolled your eyes a little bit at the thoughts of stockpiling certain food items in advance of Brexit (in whatever form it eventually takes). Bear with me here though, because a fully stocked store cupboard is a thing of beauty and regardless of the UK imminently leaving the EU it’s a good idea.

What’s in my pre-Brexit store cupboards? It’s probably easier to list it out according to category:

Dry Stores

  • Beans – Black eyed, pinto, chickpeas (garbanzo), and butterbeans
  • Lentils
  • Seeds – Pumpkin, Sesame, Sunflower, Poppy, Nigella (onion seed)
  • Sugar – Caster, Granulated, Soft Brown, Dark Brown, Demerara (did you know it’s not produced in Ireland anymore?)
  • Flour – Plain, Self Raising, Strong, Type 00 (for pasta making), Wholemeal, Brown
  • Oats
  • Tinned Beans (blackbeans, pinto, chickpeas, butterbeans, and baked beans)
  • Passata
  • Tomato Puree
  • Oils – olive, sunflower, rapeseed, peanut
  • Dried Fruit – Raisins, currants, apricots, prunes, figs
  • Pasta – spaghetti, lasagne sheets, and several different pasta shapes
  • Rice – White, brown, basmati, pudding
  • Bulghar Wheat
  • Couscous
  • Stock Cubes
  • Tea
  • Coffee

Freezer

  • Loaves of bread
  • Meat – chicken, beef, pork, lamb
  • Fish
  • Pizzas (emergency use only)
  • Yoghurt
  • Vegetables – peas, sweetcorn, butternut squash
  • Fruit – gooseberries, raspberries, bananas (skin off), strawberries, blackcurrants, blackberries, blueberries, apple purée (perfect for baking)

How do I build up my stores? I simply buy a little bit extra every week and factor it into my shopping budget, the maximum I spend each week is €5 on the extra items but store items like beans are extremely good value and I can get plenty for that amount of money.

The idea is, Brexit aside, that I should be able to feed the family from the freezer and cupboards for up to a month or more in the event of me running out of cash. I’d really only need to buy milk (which I know I can also freeze but I don’t have space) and eggs.

I have to emphasise here, I’m not a hoarder! I rotate my stocks and we will eat absolutely everything in the presses in rotation. Once I reach a set limit on my store levels I restock. I also keep an eye out for special offers and deals to stock back up.

Do you only buy what you need? Do you keep large stores like I do or do you just top up 1 item as and when it runs out? Might you change your shopping habits in the coming weeks and months?

PS

It’s likely that there are some foodstuffs that are going to be more expensive in the next few months. However, buying locally produced seasonal food is always going to be more affordable. Think fruits and vegetables for example. The first of the Irish tomatoes left a farm local to me over the St Patrick’s Day weekend, and strawberries won’t be far behind, so keep an eye out in the supermarkets this week as choosing to buy Irish has a long-term impact on our local communities and economy.

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