Tag Archives: Avoca

A Little Bowl of Sunshine on a Wintery Day

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Any of you who really know me will know that I’m a BIG fan of the Irish lifestyle store, Avoca.  I love everything about Avoca, specially their Kilmacanogue store, and most especially the FOOD!

So here’s one of Avoca’s great recipes from their first cookbook: Tomato, Lentil & Orange Soup.  My only complaint about it, is that it doesn’t make enough soup to satisfy a family, so I usually triple the ingredients!

This soup is gorgeous, and simple to make.  It’s good enough for lunch, for dinner, for a special starter… it’s even good enough to cheer anyone up on this miserable, wet, wintery day!  Make it, and enjoy!

1 onion, peeled and chopped
50g butter
1 orange
1 garlic clove, peeled & crushed
400g can chopped tomatoes
50g red lentils
300ml vegetable stock

Gently cook the onion in the butter for 10 minutes without browning.  (Meanwhile, grate the zest from the orange, then peel it, and chop the flesh.)
Add the garlic to the pot, stir, then add the orange zest and orange pieces, along with the tomatoes, lentils and stock.  Stir the pot, bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked.  Stir from time to time, so the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

Puree in a blender, then reheat gently and season to taste.  You may need to add a little boiling water, as it gets pretty thick!

Dress with chopped fresh mint, if you have it, and serve, for instant warmth!

Tomato, Lentil & Orange Soup

A little bowl of sunshine for a winter’s day!

 

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A Rainbow of Food in a Typical Irish Summer!

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With one fabulously sunny day in an Irish summer likely to be remembered as something of a washout, there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation in my mind…it was time for a barbecue.
I should explain here for those who don’t already know me…I’m a foodie. A ‘gastronaut’. A gourmande. A connoseur of fine food – and drink. Or so I like to think anyway!  In short, I love food!
Like most of us, I think, many of my childhood memories include food, and all celebrations involve feasting.
Well, the rare appearance of the sun is as good an excuse for a celebration as any other, and a barbecue at our house is always a feast fit for a king!
I could talk about the meat, and yes there was meat aplenty. Chicken, burgers, sausages, and our very own lovely lamb chops. But my favourite part of a BBQ is the salad assortment, and that’s what I’m going to share with you today.
I always make a mountain of potato salad, using Avoca’s recipe. It’s the family’s favourite BBQ accompaniment, without a doubt. I took the first new potatoes of the season, scrubbed but not peeled, I boiled them, and while still hot, dressed with a little French dressing. Then you just add mayonnaise, maybe some fresh mint if you have it, and a dollop of natural yogurt to keep it fresh-flavoured.

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Next, my favourite…taboullet. Call it what you like, but it’s gorgeous and easy peasy to make. If you’ve never considered Bulgar Wheat, then it’s time you did. It’s like a crunchier version of cous cous. Just boil the kettle, pour over the grain and leave it for 15 minutes. It’ll have plumped  up and be ready to eat. I added loads of chopped up fresh coriander and mint, little cucumber cubes, lemon juice and a bit of dressing. Plenty of black pepper of course. Yum yum!

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Time for a bit of colour.  Just throw whatever tinned beans you’ve got into a bowl. I used kidney beans, but you can use chick peas, black eyed beans, haricot beans or even a tin of baked beans – rinsed – if you’re stuck. Rinse your beans in a colander first, then throw them in a bowl with a chopped up red pepper, a stick or two of celery chopped fine, a crushed clove of garlic, a rinsed tin of sweetcorn, and a splash of French dressing.  Mix it up, and admire the rainbow colours just waiting to be gobbled up!

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Next for a little experiment.  I recently enjoyed a delicious dinner at Concra Wood Golf Club, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, of pork ribs served with a side of celeriac coleslaw.  It was delicious, and I resolved to try it at home.  So I peeled and grated a celeriac.  A what?  It’s the fat, ugly cousin of celery.  Looks a bit like a turnip with acne, poor thing, but tastes great!  Anyway, I grated a carrot or two, and mixed the two together with lashings of mayonnaise, and a bit of lemon juice.  Next time, I’ll grate even finer, but the taste was good!

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With a mixed green salad, and a few cherry tomatoes, I was happy without even the meat! A big glass of shandy – or Panache as our gourmet French friends call it – rounds it off as a serious summer feast. Who needs the Sun?!

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