Tuesday, 29 June 2010

S is for summer, sweet dreams and strawberry fields forever


Heart shaped, happy shaped, strawberries taste best this time of year. When choosing your strawberries look for smaller ones, as they’re sweeter and contain more nutrients, this applies to fruit and vegetables in general, remember small is best, for food that is fresh! 


Strawberries have inspired us for centuries, once upon a time newly weds were served them in a creamy soup with sugar and borage, it was thought to increase passion and attraction. Lovelier still, the Native Americans believed strawberries grew along the roadside to heaven, what a beautiful sight that would be. 

However, be cautious dear friends, for legend has it that whomever you share a double strawberry, you will fall deeply in love with! On the subject of Love, I'm sure that in cooking for the ones we love, our relationships grow stronger, and love, our greatest teacher hums happily and more brightly throughout our lives. 


Your kitchen is a great place place to express your tastes, needs, dreams and welcome positive people and richer experiences into your life. 


I read a quote today from the actress Hilary Swank, 'Before you eat anything, ask yourself,"What is it about this food that makes me a better me?", an idea we could all do with entertaining. How we treat our bodies and the food choices we make speaks volumes about our own sense of self worth. Quick fixes never last, in love, life and certainly diet. True change happens first from within, 73% of GP's in a recent study agree. Diets often lead one to gaining more weight, not loosing it, so please ditch the idea of dieting and make healthier and more wholesome choices instead.


Most of us have a sweet tooth, and I'm no exception, when the sweet feeling calls, I squeeze SWEET FREEDOM, this golden bliss of a sweetener is a lovely alternative to sugar. It's 100% fruit based, with a low GI, 25% fewer calories and deliciously sweet so you'll use less. It’s also suitable for diabetics as part of a healthy diet and is loved by all who try it.I've said aurevoir to Agave, and Hola! to Sweet Freedom.
 
My friend Karen, recently enlightened me on the woes of Agave Syrup, a favourite for many who follow a raw diet. To create this Goldilocks drizzle, a combination of genetically modified enzymes are thrown together with some chemically intensive processing, including caustic acids, clarifiers, and filtration. Sweet Freedom is free of all of the above, there are no chemicals or enzymes in sight, no added colours, flavourings or preservatives and is GM and gluten free, so what you see is what you get.


Here’s one heavenly and pure strawberry recipe, that will keep you berry happy indeed and play no havoc with your body. I saw this quote from William Butler, a 17th century writer, for me it sums up strawberry love beautifully. 


"Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did." 


Here's one of mine, "Balance was never found in the biscuit tin, enjoy strawberry yogurt cupcakes instead" I hope you enjoy these just as much as we do. xxx



STRAWBERRY YOGURT CUPCAKES


MAKES 10
Butter 125g, softened
Eggs, 3 separated
Sweet Freedom 125g * 
Vanilla pod, seeds scraped
Apple juice 1 tbsp
Strawberries, 5 small
Light brown self-raising flour 190gGreek yogurt 200g,           


FOR THE ANGEL CLOUD TOPPING
Greek yogurt 2 tbsp
mascarpone 1 tbsp
passion fruit 1, pulp scraped out
Sweet freedom, 2tsp
Vanilla essence 1/2 tsp


HEAT the oven to 180’/ Gas 4
BLEND butter, egg yolks and sweet freedom together in a blender, until velvety smooth
ADD strawberries, apple juice, vanilla seeds and yogurt. blend again
SIFT the flour into a large bowl                                                                                                                          
POUR in cake mixture and fold everything lightly until combined
WHISK egg whites to form stiff peaks                                                                                                                   
FOLD in the cake mixture
PLACE 10 muffin cases in muffin tin and fill with cake mixture
BAKE for 30 minutes, check with a cocktail stick, it should come out clean when pressed into the centre of a muffin 


FOR THE ANGEL CLOUDS


BEAT yogurt, mascarpone and passion fruit
ADD sweet freedom and vanilla essence
CHILL the mixture until ready to eat scrumptious cup cakes
SPREAD on top and place prettily a slice of strawberry on each


STRAWBERRY SMILE TIME

Saturday, 26 June 2010

HAPPY HALIBUT on a bed of pepper risotto

Here’s a sublime fish dish that splashes your taste buds with a beautiful balance of Mediterranean flavours. It’s a perfect dinner on a summers evening and paired with the Queen of Hearts Delight, you’ll be in Mermaid/ Merman heaven, for a mouth-watering treat.

SERVES 4
FOR THE HALIBUT

Halibut 4 fillets
Dijon mustard 1 tbsp
Extra-virgin olive oil a splash

FOR THE PEPPER RISOTTO

Olive oil 2 tbsp
Red pepper 1 diced in 1cm cubes
Garlic cloves 3 crushed
Risotto Rice 160g rinsed in a sieve
Vegetable stock, hot 750ml
Sea salt and pepper
Butter 1 tbsp
Grated Parmesan 2 tbsp
Flat leaf parsley 2 tbsp
Belazu balsamic a splash

HEAT the oven to 200’/ Gas 6
BRUSH the halibut with Dijon mustard and splash with oil, bake for 15 minutes.
WARM oil in a heavy based pan and fry peppers and garlic for 2 minutes.
ADD the risotto and toss well to coat.
POUR in the stock in ladles, when absorbed add another, remember to stir all the while, for a creamy delicious texture, this should take around 23 minutes, taste towards the end.
STIR in the butter, parsley and parmesan towards the end of cooking.
SPOON onto 4 plates and place halibut on top.
SCATTER with seasonal leaves.
SPLASH with Belazu balsamic.

ENJOY! 

Love is the best sauce for life



There is a beautiful Irish proverb, “Is maith an t-ocras” that translates as “hunger is the best sauce”, inspired by these wise words I’ve come up with a proverb of my own, “Love is the best sauce for life.”

This blog is all about love, celebration, balance and healthy appetites.
Forget "How to cook yourself thin", follow instead the Feeling Food philosophy of "How to cook yourself happy". Feeling food is about feeling good, counting calories and depriving oneself have no place here, so we’ll leave that school of thought to the yo yo brigade and welcome, Feeling Food.

I look forward to sharing my healthy, balanced recipes with you, and some thoughts along the way. Being open to the idea of cooking with love and the benefits this may bring to you is all I ask. Love is the secret ingredient of great food, and by adding it generously to all your culinary trysts, you may transform your cooking into an unforgettable celebration of flavour, fun and delight.

So whether you’re wooing your Romeo, cooking a wonderful feast for friends, or simply encouraging your child to be more adventurous with food, this blog has a place on your screen. I'm a great believer in circles and cycles, so for now I'll finish on another Irish proverb, "Laughter is brightest where food is best."

Happy and healthy recipes are coming soon, so between now and then, may your hearts dance a merry tune, swaying gently with that lovely summer, sunshine feeling.

Love,

Sinead

Saturday, 19 June 2010

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