Cooking deelitefully

Welcome to  the deelitefull blog.  I am a cooking and nutrition coach based in Dublin, Ireland.   Food should both taste great and make you feel great. My experience of some healthy eating guides & books is that they can be a little worthy, bland and humourless. Eating should always be a pleasure both to the senses and to the soul. There is nothing worse than eating a meal and feeling like you need a crane to hoist you out of your chair but on the other hand there is nothing more dreary than a meal that is assessed purely on the reduced calories and fat grams it contains. So on this blog you can follow my search for delicious healthy recipes with soul.  

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pom Poms

There is going to be a pomegranate theme to my next couple of postings. 
Myself and the very talented Jo,  work together on food shoots. Check out her website,  
Basically I cook the food and she makes it look incredible.  We generally raid our friends and families cupboards for nice props. 

 We decided just to do these photos for fun as we get a bit more artistic licence that way.  
I love pomegranates and though they are not local,  it is their season and lovely way to brighten up your table this time of year.  They are also really versatile and can be used in savoury and sweet concoctions. And they are good for us too.  To get the pomegranate arils (jewel-like seeds) out, cut your pomegranate in half, the same way as you would if juicing and orange.  Then holding the half over the bowl bang on the skin and the arils will tumble out,  pick out any white pith that falls in.
Another ingredient I am quite partial too which you may now from previous postings is pomegranate molasses.  This has a lovely sweet sour taste that can be used to add depth to sweet or savoury dishes.  Hope you enjoy the next few postings and have a great christmas and New year  Dxx
These buttermilk and ricotta pancakes with frosted red grapes would make a lovely Christmas day brekkie.  Serve the bellinis alongside for a really decadent start to the day.  The ricotta makes the pancakes lighter than just buttermilk ones.  The dip that follows is nice to serve with crudites if people drop by for drinks.
Recipe for light and airy ricotta pancakes with frosted grapes
This recipe is adapted from Anna Hansen of The Modern Pantry - a really lovely restaurant in Clerkenwell, London.

400g red seedless grapes
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp demerara sugar
2 tbsp of pomegranate seeds 
For the pancakes
150g self-raising flou
½ tsp salt
 25g caster sugar
4 large free-range eggs, separated
185ml buttermilk
65g melted butter
375g ricotta
250g crème fraîche to serve
a dash of Sunflower oil
1. Preheat the oven to 140°C/fan120°C/gas 1. Put the grapes in a roasting tin just large enough to hold them. Drizzle with the pomegranate molasses, then sprinkle over the sugar and roast for 30-40 minutes. The grapes should just be beginning to break down. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in their juices.  Once cool stir through some pomegranate seeds.
2. Sift the flour, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Whisk the egg yolks, buttermilk and melted butter and lightly mix into the dry ingredients.
3. Carefully fold in the ricotta, taking care not to break it up too much. Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then, using a metal spoon, carefully fold them into the batter a third at a time.
4. Heat a little butter and oil in a large frying pan, then add 4 dollops (about 2 tbsp for each pancake) of the batter, spaced apart. Flip pancake over and cook on the other side.
5. Place the pancakes on a roasting tim in the oven to continue cooking through as they are quite thick.   Continue to cook the remaining pancakes.

To serve, place 1-3 pancakes on each plate, spoon over the roast grapes and add a dollop of crème fraîche on the side.
Pomegranate bellinis
1 bottle of Prosecco /champagne
Pomegranate juice
Pomegranate seeds ( optional)
Agave syrup
1.Fill your Champagne glass a 1/4 with pomegranate juice ,  add a dash of syrup and a teaspoon of pomegranate seeds.
2.Fill glass up slowly with some bubbly.  Maybe just warn people about the seeds as people sometimes gulp down too quickly.  Merry Christmas

Pomegranate yoghurt dip
1/2 large ripe pomegranate - arils (seeds) only
2 cups plain yogurt
2 scallions, white and tender green, finely chopped
3 tbsp of  finely chopped fresh coriander
1 teaspoon of cumin ground
1 teaspoon of pomegranate molasses
To serve: Steamed carrots and broccoli, radishes, pitta crisps and chorizo , 
1.Cut the pomegranate in half horizontally and bang on the half with a wooden spoon to release the seeds.
2.Combine the yogurt, scallions, ground cumin, pomegranate molasses and 2/3 of the coriander in a bowl. Gently fold in all but 1 tablespoons of the pomegranate seeds. Mix it well
3.Transfer the yogurt dip to a glass bowl and garnish with leftover coriander and the reserved pomegranate seeds.
My next posting will look at further uses for pomegranates. I should be all “pomegranted” out at that stage Dxx

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What to eat when hungover

Deelitefulls hangover advice:  Its that time of the year again, and here is some advice on how to reduce a hangover !  The obvious one is not to drink -  but lets be realistic.

Before going out:
1.  The only time we really have an excuse to eat a fatty meal is before drinking as fat digests slowly so helps prevent irritation of stomach and slows absorption of alcohol.  Even a glass of milk will help. So rather than having a big fry up the morning after it would be much more beneficial to have it before heading out.  Very fatty meals the next morning just put more pressure on your body.
Before bed
2.   Dehydration is the main cause of most of the symptoms of a hangover so drink a pint of water before going to bed and fresh air also helps,  so maybe quick walk/stumble ;-) around the garden if you can mange it
The morning after
3.  Orange Juice - vitamin c helps speed up metabolism of alcohol by the liver and the fructose will help your sugar slump,  
4. Wholemeal toast and eggs- scrambled, poached or boiled -  eggs are full of cysteine that helps mop up some of the chemicals that build up in the liver when its processing alcohol.
Ginger tea or ginger sea sickness tablets will help reduce queasiness.
Hair of the dog will just prolong the agony.  Best avoided.  If you can go back to bed or even better curl up on the couch with your favourite box set.  Dx

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Deelitefull adventures - 2010 annual

 Well I am still here, I  have had a very busy few months.  But that's no excuse for my absolutely shameful abandonment of my blog.
 Here are some highlights of a few things I have being doing since August.  
Jeez,  its being varied :  Cook and catch weekends with Stag parties,  wedding cupcakes,  Food styling, eaten my way around Cornwall,  a  wide variety of cooking classes and talks and I have included some pics of the food I have cooked.  

 NOTE TO SELF,  set some time aside for blogging in the New Year.  This blog posting is a detail low, picture heavy but promise more regular postings in the new year.

Cook and catch stag weekend-  Despite the weather and hangovers,  the boys caught all their own fish,  learnt how to prepare and cook their bounty and  then had a barbecued feast of mackerel, pollock and lobster:
Its always useful to have someone with surgery skills when dissecting a lobster!


Cupcake/Fairy cake wedding cake party -  Everyone got involved in icing and decorating the fairy cakes for the wedding cake.  There was swirly  white chocolate, rosewater and pistachios cakes or my favourite,  lemon meringue fairy cakes - yummo

TAa-daah -  good work ladies

Some food styling with the lovely photographer Joanne Murphy

Check out her lovely blog -  That's our delish Dahl on the cover,  who would have thought you could make lentils look this good ;-)  Check out Easy Food Oct, Nov, Dec and Jan for some more of our work.  
Here is some food I have cooked:  My problem with being a blogger and general greedy person ,  is that I often forget to photograph the finished recipe before I eat it  ;-) Anyway here is a selection starting with  Buttermilk pannacotta with roasted rhubarb and ginger.


Healthy Breakfast sundae with homemade granola and berries and passion fruit:

Sticky lemon chicken with broccoli ,  green salad and meringue cake

Book club platters and dips

Egg mimosa

Scandi platter

Crudites with spicy aubergine dip

Leek and potato soup with chorizo and brown bread -  simple , cheap and delish

A very early morning visit to Billingsgate fish market in London -  very "friendly" fishmongers and some interesting fish.  

A visit to the WaftyBeetroot Pop up tapas and Ulysses reading ;-)


Monday, June 28, 2010

Courgette invasion

Courgette fritters
I am pretty new to the gardening world and somehow managed to grow some courgette plants from seed. Yeah! 
However I don’t think I really needed 10 plants ,seeing as one plant should feed a family of four for the whole summer.  In anticipation of my courgette glut I am trying out some of my courgette recipes. There will be plenty more to follow I would imagine :-) 
This is also a good way of getting kids to try some veggies.  Funnily enough if you call them Zucchini pancakes they prefer them even more and technically you are correct.

2 courgettes (mine were quite big)
75g plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
A handful of mint leaves,  shredded
Thyme leaves from a few sprigs of thyme
The zest of 1 lemon
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 red chilli -  deseeded and  finely chopped
2 spring onions sliced finely
Feta or other goats cheese - crumbled
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1. Grate the courgettes coarsely.  Then take a clean tea towel and place the grated courgette pulp in the middle and scrunch up into a ball. Wring the tea towel out over the sink. A lot of water will come out!
2 Place the flour in a bowl and add the beaten eggs, herbs, lemon zest, garlic, spring onions, chilli, courgettes, salt and pepper and mix well.  Gently stir in the cheese.
3. Heat a large frying-pan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, take a heaped tablespoon of the courgette mixture and drop it into the pan, flattening it out slightly with the back of the spoon. Leave for a few minutes until the bottom is brown,  if you try and flip over to early the fritter will fall apart.
Turn over and cook for another couple of minutes.  ( If you want to be cheffy and get a perfectly round circle,  place the mix inside a stainless steel chef ring - to be honest I think free form look much better -  see pics below)
4. I served with some rocket leaves and tomatoes and some sweet pepper relish I had lurking in the back of the fridge.  These can be served for lunch, brunch or as an accompaniment to some pan fried fish.