Banana, Rye, Maple Pancakes

Banana, Rye and Maple Syrup pancakes

Is there a better breakfast than pancakes?

Banana, Rye, Maple Pancakes Portions:

Serves 2 normal people or my brother.

Technical Specifications

Tools Required (utensils)

  • Bowl
  • Blender
  • Frying Pan (a cast iron griddle is best)… do I need to say non stick considering we’re talking pancakes here?
  • Spoon
  • Spatula
  • Appetite

Component Parts (ingredients)

  • 1 cup plus a dash of milk (I use sweetened almond milk because I like the nuttiness and dairy milk is designed to help a calf put 1000lbs on in a year)
  • 2 tbsp Cider vinegar (or any acid that you think will taste nice like lemon or lime juice or even just plain malt vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup Rye flour
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (or honey, or sugar… dark sugar gives better flavor)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (I’m thinking of increasing these a little next time I make them to get a fluffier result… I’ll update when I try it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 banana, ripe
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • cooking spray (or just a bottle of oil, you could even use some more peanut oil, but it’d be wasteful)

Optional Extras

  • Berries
  • Bacon
  • Raisins
  • Eggs
  • Chocolate chips
  • Whipped cream
  • Syrup
  • Pretty much anything you can think of to put on a pancake!

Instructions

  1. Turn your pan /griddle on to a low to medium heat and spray with some oil.  (if you’re using a bottle of oil, pour in a little and spread around with some kitchen paper)
  2. Combine milk and vinegar, let it sit for a little to sour (you could use buttermilk and skip this stage, but then you end up throwing out a carton of buttermilk every weekend).  The sourness gives the pancakes a pleasing tanginess which pulls out the rye flavor.
  3. Combine dry ingredients, but not too energetically.
  4. Put all your wet ingredients (milk mix, syrup, oil) and the banana in the blender (you could probably use a really ripe banana and mush it up with a fork if you don’t have a blender… I have a blender so don’t know how the fork method would work)… blend it.
  5. Mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients – again, not too energetically.  Knocking out all the lumps is a bad thing.
  6. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for a while (a while being as long as you can wait until you have to start cooking because you’re too hungry, if you were really organized you could make the mixture the night before and leave it in the fridge, but you’ll still have to let it come to room temperature before cooking)
  7. Dollop the mixture into the pan.
  8. Cook until the top of the pancake starts to look dry, but check the bottom to make sure its not burning.  These pancakes take quite a while to cook.
  9. Turn over.
  10. Cook until brown.

Extra Flavor

  1. Chocolate chips.  Put them in the batter or just on top afterwards.
  2. Put things you normally put on pancakes… on your pancakes.

Serving

  • Put pancakes on a plate
  • Put toppings on (personally I just go with half a gallon of maple syrup)
  • Eat quickly before anybody else in the house notices you’ve cooked pancakes.

Maintenance

Problem Solution
Pancakes are black Throw them in the bin and turn down your pan
Pancakes don’t rise Next time add the Baking powder and Baking Soda
Batter seems too watery Leave for 20 minutes, if still too watery add some more plain flour
You don’t have any of the required ingredients Go shopping
The bottom of your frying pan stayed on the stove when you tried to flip your pancakes Your pan was too hot /old/ rubbish.
You don’t like bananas or rye Substitute the banana for an egg and the rye flour for plain flour, but really, why are you looking at this recipe?

WX5U5NBUH4CU

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Almond Milk

Irish Almond Milk

Fresh almond milk can be hard to find outside of Ireland where our lush pastures lend themselves to almond farming. In fact I come from Wicklow, the garden of Ireland and also Irelands premier Almond farming region

Almond Milk can be used as a substitute for Cows milk

Almond milk has a unique nutty flavour which compliments many recipes.  For those of you worried about your waistlines, using almond milk as a substitute for cows milk is a no-brainer.

Advantages of Almond Milk

  1. Almond milk is Animal product free.  Suitable for vegans and vegetarians
  2. Waaaayy less calories than cows milk
  3. Nutty taste great in baking or in our fantastic pancake recipe (coming soon)
  4. No aftertaste like with Soya milk
  5. Easy to digest – Unlike cows milk which contains lactose to which so many people are intolerant and no adult can digest easily.
  6. Sweet taste, which can be further sweetened.

How to make Almond milk

If you are unable to source fresh almond milk you can make your own.  Simply blend ground almonds with water.

  1. Soak a cup full of whole almonds for 24 hrs
  2. Drain and blend them with 5 cups of water (really really blitz them well)
  3. Strain to get out any lumps if you want (ideally there shouldn’t be many anyway)

You may wish to add some vanilla flavouring and maybe some sweetener but that will put up the calorie count.

I don’t care about calories – Make it taste great

  • Great tasting almond milk can be achieved with the addition of chocolate!  (cocoa powder).
  • Try adding a banana or other fruit

 

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Stuff in a pan

Tasty beef dish

I let the sauce get really thick. It looks nicer when it is a little more liquid. Either way it tastes fabulous! Beef Stuff in a pan is a winner.

Stuff in a pan is a recipe awaiting a proper title and maybe a change or two along the way.  It is a spicy, creamy beef sensation!

You don’t have to have the potatoes, or you could add in extra potatoes and have it as a meal in it’s own right without rice or pasta and maybe with some salad (I promise not to use that word too frequently in future).

Stuff in a Pan Portions:

Serves 4-6 (comfortably).

Technical Specifications

Tools Required (Utensils)

  • A wok
  • two saucepans (one for rice/pasta and one for potatoes)

Component Parts (ingredients)

  • 400g round steak (sirloin if you really want to treat yourself but it’s not necessary)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (we just want a hint of it here)
  • A bag of new potatoes (the little baby ones)
  • A large onion
  • A few handfuls of mushrooms (think 12 or so)
  • Herbs de Provence (that’s just a jar of mixed herbs really)
  • Pepper (black pepper)
  • Wholegrain Mustard (Two dollops)
  • Honey (about two spoonfuls)
  • Bell Peppers (I used two)
  • A beef stock cube
  • Butter (a chunk that would fit in the space joining your index finger and thumb makes)
  • Cream (about 200mls but don’t be too fussy, you can reduce it down)
  • Rice or Pasta.  I used rice this time, but pasta would be better

Optional Extras (Can’t resist adding in extras? Try this….)

  • Chili flakes – If you use these then do so sparingly.  The mustard will provide heat anyway.

Instructions

  1. Fill both saucepans with water. Place them on the hob at a medium to high heat (turn down when they boil).
  2. Chop your garlic (see how to chop garlic), your beef (small cubes) and your onions.  Place them in a wok with a little olive oil on a medium heat.  Add some pepper.
  3. While your meat seals (goes brown all over the outside) chop your bell peppers and your mushrooms.  Once the meat is nearly brown add them to the wok.
  4. Add your potatoes to your boiling water (not to many if you are having it with rice or pasta.  Lots if you are having it as a full meal without rice or pasta.)
  5. The mushrooms and peppers will release moisture and I add my herbs and crumble in a stock cube at this stage.
  6. You want it to be simmering at this stage, not boiling.  You have to wait 15 mins for your potatoes to cook!  In that time you need to keep the mix moist.
  7. Add in your butter and your generous dollops of wholegrain mustard next.  Your stomach should be doing summersaults with the smell coming from the pan.
  8. Add in your honey to taste.  Honey takes some of the edge off the mustard and the chili flakes if you add them.  I suggest tasting before you do.
  9. I now put a lid on my wok and let it gently simmer.  The longer the beef cooks the tenderer it will become.  Make sure you stir it from time to time.
  10. Drain your potatoes when they are just about cooked.  I chop them up even smaller, but you don’t have to. Add them to your wok and add your cream too.
  11. Add your rice or pasta to the pan and reduce the sauce in your wok as they cook (lid off for this bit).  Try and time it so that you are left with a reasonably thick sauce when your rice or pasta is cooked.
  12. Serve!  You’re done.  Bon appetit!

This one is a bit of a work in progress, so if you have any suggestions feel free to comment.

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Stir Fry Sauce

Stir Fry Sauce

You could buy a stir fry sauce full of preservatives, or you could make something that tastes much much better!

You could buy a jar of stir fry sauce in the supermarket, but it is not so difficult to make something that tastes much better!

The ginger and chili in this recipe give it plenty of punch and flavour.  There is nothing quicker and simpler than a stir fry.  If you really want to impress then making your own sauce is the way to go.  Making it in bulk is just common sense!

Portions

I make it in bulk and just add as much as I need when cooking.  But it should do 4 meals for 2 unless you like your stir fry really saucy.

Technical Specifications

Tools Required (Utensils)

  • Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Small bowl
  • Small whisk /finger

Component Parts (ingredients)

  • 2 cups water (you could use stock if you have it, but you’ll have to freeze it as opposed to just leaving it in the fridge)
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Chinese cooking wine
  • 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup or sugar)
  • cornstarch (unfortunately, I just eyeball this, try 2tbsp to start and then if you don’t think your sauce is sticky enough, add more next time)
  • 2 tsp Brown rice vinegar
  • 2tsp Sesame oil (toasted tastes better)
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • Fresh garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Chili powder /flakes

Optional Extras

  • Stir fry ingredients like vegetables, chicken, beef etc.  If you need inspiration, open the drawer in your kitchen where you file all the local take out menus in alphabetical order.
  • Noodles or rice (I prefer this with Udon noodles because the sauce sticks to the noodles)

Instructions

  1. Dissolve your cornflour in a little of your water.
  2. Chop garlic and ginger as fine as possible (or throw all ingredients in a blender).
  3. Mix together all the ingredients in any order you like.
  4. Separate into four containers.
  5. The sauce will separate in your fridge, the cornflour will go to the bottom and the oil to the top, this is ok.  Just mix it all back up together again (a hand blender does a great job of this).

Serving

  1. Cook noodles / rice
  2. Stir fry some food
  3. Add sauce to food when still pretty crunchy
  4. Cook until sauce is thick
  5. Add noodles / rice
  6. Enjoy!
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Chili Con Carne – a taste bud tingling recipe

Chilli Con Carne

A picture of somebody elses Chili con carne. I will get around to adding a proper picture at some stage. If you follow the instructions yours should look significantly better than this.

Chili Con Carne Portions:

Serves 4-5 or 2 Truckers, or 1 for almost of a week (see bottom of page).

Technical Specifications

Tools Required (Utensils)

  • Wok
  • Saucepan

Component Parts (ingredients)

  • Olive Oil or other cooking oil.  Do NOT use engine oil.
  • 2 cloves of garlic (or more if you really love garlic)
  • A load of minced beef (1 1/2 to 2 lbs)
  • An Onion (a nice big one or a few little ones)
  • A can of Kidney Beans (available in your local supermarket near the baked beans)
  • A can of Chopped Tomatoes.
  • A tube of Tomato Puree (looks like toothpaste but with pictures of tomatoes on it)
  • Chili Powder
  • Salt (any kind really)
  • Pepper (black pepper)
  • Rice (boil in the bag for the authentic Lazy Cook experience)

Optional Extras (like bluetooth on your car stereo, you really want these)

  • Honey. Have this on standby in case you put in too much chili for your taste.  A spoon of honey will take the edge off the heat of the chili.
  • Red Wine – just a dash in the cooking and the rest in you.
  • Two squares of dark chocolate (adds depth to the flavour and gives you something to nibble while you cook).
  • Bell Peppers. Red, green orange or yellow peppers.  Just one will be fine.
  • Worcestershire Sauce (woostesher).  It’s a bit of a mouthful to say but just a splash adds a richness to the dish.
  • Cheese. Sprinkle some cheese on top when serving. Something like cheddar would be nice, but whatever tickles your fancy.
  • Sour Cream.  Add a dollop to the center when serving.

Instructions

  1. Fill a saucepan big enough for however much rice you are cooking with water. Place it on the hob at a medium to high heat (turn down when it boils).
  2. Open the can of kidney beans and pour out the liquid.  I like to then leave the tap running gently into the can for a while.  I then pour out the water before adding to the wok… but not yet!
  3. Place a little oil in the wok, again over a medium to high (3/4) heat.  Add your mince and mix it as it browns.  This seals in the flavour of the meat.
  4. Chop your garlic up fine.  You can use a razor blade Goodfellas style, but it is quicker to chop garlic with a chefs knife (see the link).  Add the garlic to the minced meat.
  5. Chop your onion(s).  I like to chop them up nice and small.  Add these to the mince too.
  6. Chop your peppers if you are using them and add them to the wok too.  Dont forget to stir up your wok every now and again, you want it to all cook evenly.
  7. Just a pinch of salt and a little black pepper goes in next.
  8. Add in your kidney beans and your can of chopped tomatoes.
  9. Add in your tomato puree.  This will make the mix a little thicker.  The chopped tomatoes will have been a bit watery.
  10. Your water should be hot enough for the rice now.  Throw in however many bags you need for this sitting and be aware that you only have 10 minutes left to complete your sauce!  This is how long the rice takes if it is boil in the bag, but check your packet first.
  11. Add your chili powder to taste.  Your meal should have been cooking for about 10 mins at this stage so the mince should be safe to taste if you browned it properly.  If you add too much, just add a spoonful of honey to calm it down a bit.

Extra Flavour

  1. Now it is time for the extras (an you really should use them.. they make a big difference). Worcestershire Sauce, just a splash.  Same goes for the red wine.
  2. If you still have two squares of chocolate left throw them in.  Go on, just let go of them.  It’s ok, you can buy more.  Come on now, it’s only chocolate.  LET GO OF THE CHOCOLATE!  Well done. Proud of you.

Serving

  1. When the rice is cooked hang it up to drain (assuming boil in the bag).  After a few minutes serve it and place your chili on top of it.  Finish off with a nice dollop of sour cream.
  2. Enjoy!

Maintenance

Problem Solution
The contents of your wok are spitting out of the pan and getting all over your cooker and counter Your heat is too high.  Turn it down a bit until it stops. In an extreme case remove the wok from the heat completely for a little while until the cooker has a chance to cool a little.
The sauce is watery in the wok Turn up the heat a bit.  This will cause some of the water content to evaporate and give you the nice thick sauce you are looking for.
The wok is on fire The heat was far too high.  Try to put it out but if it is really out of control get yourself and anybody else out of there and call the fire brigade (999 UK Ireland, 911 USA).  Cooking is not for you.
The sauce is too hot spicy Add some honey to cool it down and next time don’t put in so much chili powder.
My wine is all gone Turn off the cooker and go and sleep it off.
I cut my finger chopping the vegetables Are we talking a little nick or severed here? In case A, put a plaster on it. If you have chopped off part of your finger then get to an emergency room after turning off the cooker.

Hey, you made me cook enough for a small army!

This is the clever part.  In general the more you cook the cheaper it is per serving.  If you noticed the “Read Me First!” link in the menu at the top and actually read it you will have some take away containers ready.

Put your leftovers (from the wok, not your plate) into these portion sized containers, let them cool and then put them in your freezer.

Now next time you want a quick meal you just have to defrost and heat one of these.  It will be quicker and tastier than ordering a take-away.

You do not have to have exactly the same thing next time either.  Try pasta instead of rice or make yourself a Chili Con Sandwich.

Put in the effort once…. eat well several times more conveniently and less expensively than using a take-away.

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Chopping Garlic – how to

How to chop garlicChopping Garlic can be done Goodfellas style with a razorblade.  The idea there is to chop it so thin that it just dissolves when added to the oil in a pan.  It looked good in the film but frankly it takes too long.

I chop Garlic with a chefs knife and here is how:

Chopping the ends off garlic

1. Get a single clove (segment) of garlic and chop each end off.

Chop one side of the garlic

2. Chop off the thin side of the wedge shape of your clove of garlic

Peeling a clove of garlic

3. The skin of your garlic clove will now peel off easily in your fingers. Bin it.

crushing garlic

4. Crush the garlic clove using the heel of your knife as shown. This is one of the reasons you want a reasonably sized knife.

Crushed Garlic

5. The garlic will now look like this.

Chopping Garlic 1st cuts

6. Letting your knife rest against the fingers holding the garlic clove guides it and allows you to control the slice size. Cut as finely as you can. This takes practice, but is much faster with a chefs knife because of its larger blade. You can't rest a smaller blade against your fingers in the same way. It is also safer. You are less likely to cut yourself.

Garlic after first slicing

7. Your Garlic clove will now look something like this with all the cuts in roughly the same direction. Turn the pieces through 90 degrees so that your next cuts will be perpendicular to the first cuts.

Dicing Garlic

8. Repeat step 7 which will result in diced pieces of garlic. Don't worry if every piece is not tiny. Just get it as close as possible to tiny cubes without putting too much effort in (this is the lazy cook after all).

Fine chopping Garlic

9. Now to get your garlic clove into truly tiny bits. Hold the knife as shown. Keep the blade at the tip pressed against your chopping board and raise and lower the handle in a see-saw motion. Go over and back over your diced garlic. It will stick to the blade. Just wipe it off and keep going until you are satisfied with your results. It will not take long.

Finely Chopped Garlic

10. The finished product. Finely chopped Fresh Garlic. You can't beat it for flavour and aroma.

A little more information on garlic.

Garlic is a member of the onion family.  Classed as both a vegetable and a herb, it is used extensively in Italian cooking (Italians know a thing or two about food!) and is very good for you.

It has been claimed that garlic can reduce cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and even help prevent some types of cancer.  Under test-tube conditions garlic has been shown to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.  Indeed Louis Pasteur (he of penicillin fame) used it as an antiseptic to prevent gangrene.  It also has high levels of vitamin C.

Most importantly it will prevent vampire attack (allegedly, although there is anecdotal evidence that some vampires have developed tolerance to garlic except in exceedingly high doses).

Fresh Garlic VS Dried Garlic

Dried garlic usually comes in chopped or powdered forms.  The joy of dried garlic is that there is no chopping involved.  But since you have read this page to here you already know how to chop garlic.

Fresh garlic smells and tastes much better.  It will also take smaller quantities to achieve the same “garliciness”.

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Peppers (fruit)

Peppers or Capsicum come in several different guises.  Native to the Americas, Capsicum is a member of the nightshade family (yes as in deadly nightshade) but are harmless.  That said, the pepper spray the police use is made from capsicums.  To simplify it, I’m going to narrow it down to three types.

  1. Bell Peppers

    Bell Peppers. Also known as Red, Green, Orange or Yellow Peppers

    Bell Peppers. These are peppers that are not hot.  they have full shape and commonly come as Green Peppers (not fully ripe), Red Peppers, Yellow Peppers and Orange Peppers.  They are the peppers you will be served in a salad (salad is the stuff you generally leave on the side of your plate).

  2. Sweet Peppers

    Sweet Peppers, or Sweet Pointed Peppers

    Sweet Peppers. These are reasonably large peppers shaped like their hotter small counterparts the chili pepper.  They are longer and thinner than bell peppers.  I’m not going to bother explaining why they are called sweet peppers!

  3. Red Hot Chili Peppers

    Sorry, I couldn't resist. The edible type are look just like the sweet peppers but are smaller.

    Chili Peppers. Spelled both as Chilli Peppers and Chili Peppers depending on where you live in the world.  These are mild to hot flavoured.  They include varieties like Jalapeno and Habanero.  Do not put one of these directly into your mouth if you are not used to hot spicy food.  They will make you cry.

What makes hot chili peppers hot?

The short answer is capsaicin (methyl vanillyl nonenamide).  The important bit is where capsaicin is found in a pepper.  A common myth is that it is in the seeds.  It is not, nor is there much in the outer flesh of the fruit.  Highest concentrations can be found in the white pithy bit around the seeds themselves and also in the internal support structure of the same colour.

Things that are actually all Capsicums (Peppers)

Peppers come in many forms. Some of these are:

  • Chili flakes
  • Chili powder
  • Chipotle (smoked)
  • Paprika (the powder)
  • Chili oil (chillis suspended in an oil often with other ingredients).

Fruit or Vegetable?

Botanically speaking Peppers are a fruit (they contain seeds and there are other reasons that I’m too lazy to list).

From a cooking point of view they are often referred to as a vegetable (even if this is technically incorrect).

From a practical point of view, who cares.

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