SUNFLOWER CACAO TREATS
1. Put all dry ingredients into a food processor and blend until sunflower seeds are smooth.
2. Add tahini paste, coconut oil and honey and blend again until well combined.
3. Prepare a baking tray and line it with a parchment paper.
4. Transfer a mixture onto a tray and using a spatula smooth it into an even layer.
5. Put the cling film over and place it in the fridge overnight.
6. Cut into bars of the desired size. Store in the fridge.
|Published on: 2020-01-02||Likes:
SLOW COOKED LAMB NECK1. Chop all the vegetables into chunky pieces and leave them to add in order.
2. Use a large cooking pot to prepare this recipe. Melt lard, add all the onions and lamb and fry until browned on both sides.
3. Add all remaining vegetables, salt, black pepper and paprika powder. Give it a good stir and cover it up. Simmer on a low heat for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender.
4. Serve with side vegetables, boiled rice or buckwheat whatever your preferences are. Enjoy!
|Published on: 2019-12-29||Likes:
UNCONVENTIONAL FRUIT CAKE1. Using kitchen mixer beat eggs and vanilla extract and leave it.
2. In a medium bowl mix almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Add beaten eggs and mix well with a spoon.
3. Melt the butter and leave it.
4. Chop the prunes and dates and put them in a medium saucepan. Add rum and bring it to boil. Decrease the heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes allowing the liquid to evaporate. Turn it off and add the raisins and melted butter. Mix together and allow a few minutes to let it cool.
5. Add the fruit mixture to the dough and mix well.
6. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
7. Prepare a baking tin, line it with a baking paper and grease well. Transfer the mixture into a baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes. Using a cocktail stick check if the cake is baked properly.
8. Take it out of the oven and let it cool down completely before cutting. Enjoy!
|Published on: 2019-12-22||Likes:
SERRANO HAM & EGG BAKED AVOCADOS1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare a baking tray.
2. Halve the avocados lengthways and remove the stones.
3. Using a spoon scoop out some of the middles where the stone was making it a bit deeper and wider for the rest of the ingredients.
4. Add some Serrano ham first on each half of avocado.
5. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Add egg yolks on the top of the ham. Beat the egg whites and pour as much as you can.
6. Just add a pinch of salt and black pepper and put it in the oven for about 10-12 minutes. Serve straight away while nice and hot. Enjoy!
|Published on: 2019-12-16||Likes:
MILD YOGURT CHICKEN1. In a large bowl mix yogurt with all the spices to create a paste.
2. Add chicken legs into the bowl and rub the mixture thoroughly into the meat. Cover it and chill for about 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
4. Prepare a baking tray and grease it well.
5. Place all chicken legs on the tray and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown in colour. Enjoy!
|Published on: 2019-12-09||Likes:
LEMON CURD WITH HONEY1. Melt the butter in a saucepan on low heat.
2. Remove from the heat and slowly add all the honey, lemon juice and lemon zest and whisk it in until all dissolved properly. At the end add the egg yolks and return it on a low heat whisking continuously.
3. Allow a few minutes until the curd starts to thicken, it might take between 10-15 minutes of whisking.
4. Remove from the heat and put the saucepan in the water and continue stirring. While cooling down the curd will thicken even more and you will achieve custard-like consistency.
5. Transfer the curd into a glass jar, close the lid and put it in the fridge. Enjoy!
|Published on: 2019-12-03||Likes:
SAMHAIN RECIPES – IRISH FOOD TRADITIONSSamhain recipes are much in vogue these days. Not surprising, really, considering Halloween’s meteoric rise in recent times. Eagerly trying to discover the true significance of this global holiday, many of the curious are now looking deep into its pagan origins.
And finding there a great many Irish food traditions.
<h2 style="color:#029934; font-size:20px;">Samhain rituals</h2>
Held to mark the autumn harvest, Samhain is the major Celtic festival taking place at the end of October. And for the Celts of Ireland, the <a href="http://irishbuzz.com/irish-food-traditions/samhain-rituals/" style="color:#029934;" target="_blank">Samhain ritual</a> also marked year’s end. It was the time when the barrier between the world of the living and that of the dead was thinnest. On Samhain night, the ghosts of the deceased would visit their old homes, and mayhem caused by mischievous spirits brought curses and turmoil to the ancient world.
Their homeland ravished by repression and famine, nineteenth-century Irish immigrants, heading for North America in their droves, brought with them this little piece of the old country. Their hallowed Celtic festival, which would become the Halloween we know today. And their Irish food traditions came along, too.
These included special Samhain recipes prepared in silence, then left out to feed the spirits of winter – and any other ghouls that may be passing through. Or cakes that allowed you to tell the future, like the (in)famous Irish tea cake.
Samhain was about looking to the past, being thankful for what you had been given. Whilst showing respect both to the gods of the other world and those from your own community whom had passed on. <a href="http://irishbuzz.com/irish-food-traditions/pagan-rituals/" style="color:#029934;" target="_blank">Pagan rituals were performed</a> and homage paid. But the feast also symbolised hope for the future.
You combined this respect for past and future by eating, drinking and making merry in the present. Lest the gods deem you ungrateful!
<h2 style="color:#029934; font-size:20px;">Samhain recipes at Irish Buzz</h2>
Samhain recipes of course feature heavily on our site, as <a href="http://irishbuzz.com/" style="color:#029934;" target="_blank">Irishbuzz.com</a> is dedicated solely to Irish food and drink. But alongside the recipes shines the historical setting of the Samhain ritual and the untapped sea of Irish food traditions once thought buried in the clutches of time. This is important, as real appreciation for the sacred Samhain recipes involves seeing them through the lens of the Celtic world.
<img src="/blog/Samhain rituals 2.jpg" alt="Samhain recipes" width=100%>
<b>Samhain recipes were part of pagan rituals performed during Halloween in Ireland</b>
They were food, but they were ritual food. Breads and dishes that took on a heavier significance during the festival, becoming sacred, pagan symbols that helped you perform your devout Samhain rituals.
The bannock bread baked for Samhain is a good example of this.
<h2 style="color:#029934; font-size:20px;">Bannocks</h2>
Usually made from oats, bannocks are traditional quick bread made for a particular occasion or function. The Celtic calendar marked the passing of the seasons through four major festivals, and a special bannock bread was prepared for each. The ingredients of these bannocks generally reflected what was available at that particular time of year. With <a href="http://irishbuzz.com/irish-food-traditions/celtic-festival/" style="color:#029934;" target="_blank">Lúnasa</a>, the main harvest festival held in early August, seeing the most luxurious <a href="http://irishbuzz.com/irish-dishes/irish-baking/bannock-recipe/" style="color:#029934;" target="_blank">bannock recipe</a>. Plenty of dried fruit and nuts.
Made as autumn leaves fell all around, on the cusp of winter, Samhain <a href="http://irishbuzz.com/irish-dishes/irish-baking/bannocks/" style="color:#029934;" target="_blank">bannocks</a> were plain in comparison. And the simple recipe of oats, salt and butter may not grab the appetite of the modern diner. But that was the point, too. This Halloween bread was meant to be plain. It was part of the Samhain ritual, their simple nature allowing you space for reflection and heightening the other roles these bannocks played in proceedings.
Irish traditions varied by region, but Samhain bannocks were generally baked by unmarried girls, whom would prepare the Halloween bread in complete silence. Each girl would then either eat one of these salty scones in three bites before going straight to bed, or place a piece of the bannock bread under their pillow. As Halloween night passed, they would dream of their future husband, whom would surely come to quench their thirst with his undying love.
Bannocks were also the preferred ‘treats’ to be given to anyone calling to your home during Samhain. Celtic society generally insisted on showing hospitality – to not do so was to bring shame upon your house. But during the Samhain ritual, this hospitality was to be all encompassing: each and every being must be welcome in your home.
Children or the poor came begging for bannock bread. <i>Guisers</i> dressed in garish costume might drop by to cause a bit of havoc. Or a disgruntled spirit may seize their chance to test your hospitality. All were to be offered their share. Even after you had gone to sleep: bannocks, and perhaps a glass of <a href="http://irishbuzz.com/irish-drinks/irish-liquor/poteen/" style="color:#029934;" target="_blank">Ireland’s national drink, <i>poitín</i>,</a> were left out for any spirits that still might wander in.
<h2 style="color:#029934; font-size:20px;">The ANTIblog</h2>
As the world’s leading <a href="http://irishbuzz.com/antiblog" style="color:#029934;" target="_blank">ANTIblog</a>, such Irish food traditions hold immense appeal for us, as our mission is not only to bring great recipes to our readers, but also to uplift and inspire them.
Both blogging and food are powerful tools for bringing people together. And discovering the history and cultural context of what we eat really can set you thinking. Not least about our shared humanity. All those humans that harvested, cooked and ate this very same food before us. And our place in this extensive human chain.
This is what lies at the heart of the ANTIblog concept. Getting people to think.
Not just clicking and consuming what they are told to, but really engaging with the wonder of the world. At Irish Buzz, delicious dishes like those whipped up from our Samhain recipes are waiting to be devoured. But these also act as gateways into a more playful, more fulfilling, and ultimately more human blogging experience. Just like Samhain dishes were a gateway to a deeper, spiritual understanding.
<h2 style="color:#029934; font-size:20px;">Irish tea cake</h2>
Irish food is not the most renowned of world cuisines, but it is seeing a great resurgence these days – and boasts several dishes that even the casual diner may know. The most famous perhaps being our traditional versions of <a href="http://www.apple-green.com/recipes-view.php?id=135" style="color:#029934;" target="_blank">lamb stew</a> or <a href="http://www.apple-green.com/recipes-view.php?id=99" style="color:#029934;" target="_blank">soda bread</a>. Another well-known favourite is Irish tea cake, and this also happens to be an important Samhain recipe. What’s more, just like those salty bannocks baked for the Samhain ritual, this Irish cake also tells the future.
Seen as a traditional dessert, <a href="http://irishbuzz.com/irish-dishes/irish-baking/irish-tea-cake/" style="color:#029934;" target="_blank">Irish tea cake</a> is actually more sweet bread than cake, and should be made by soaking dried fruit in dark tea, then working these into the mix. This Halloween bread also receives a bit of extra pizzazz from spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, with a splash of Irish whiskey an optional addition.
<img src="/blog/Irish Tea Cake.jpg" alt="Irish tea cake" width=100%>
<b>Are you brave enough to play the Irish tea cake game?</b>
Still eaten at Halloween in Ireland today, Irish tea cake was traditionally used by the Celts as a kind of fortunetelling parlour game. Symbolic trinkets were worked into the bread mix, some boding good fortune for the year ahead, others acting as warnings.
If you found a coin in your slice of cake, wealth was certainly to come your way. If you got the ring, wedding bells would happily sound out within the coming twelve months. But find the stick and you were sure to marry badly. Other possible verdicts included a piece of cloth (poverty), a pea (no marriage this year), a thimble (spinsterhood), and a medallion (religious vocation).
<h2 style="color:#029934; font-size:20px;">Irish food traditions?</h2>
But while the Irish tea cake ritual is still one of the most popular Irish food traditions, it is not uniquely Irish. Jelena, our esteemed colleague at Apple Green, will be the first to tell you: Serbs do this, too! Christmas Day in many Eastern Orthodox families sees the baking of a coin into a loaf of bread and the head of the household then breaking the loaf into pieces. One piece for each person sitting at the table. Find the coin and you’ll enjoy good luck in the year ahead. But if the entire family is to see good fortune, the head of the household must first buy back the coin.
This does indeed sound similar to the Irish tradition. But we wonder whether the Slavs ever really played the game like the Celts did. Scholars suggest that the wholesome and harmless Irish tea cake game may have on occasion been used to decide who was to be ritually sacrificed!
<h2 style="color:#029934; font-size:20px;">Ingredients for Irish tea cake </h2>
[Makes one loaf of traditional Halloween bread/cake]
• 2 cups (350 g) Dried Fruits (raisins, currants and similar)
• 2 cups (500 ml) Black Tea (such as Irish breakfast tea)
• 14 oz (400 g) Strong Bread Flour
• 3 Tbsp (40 g) Caster Sugar
• ½ stick (70 g) Unsalted Butter
• 1 packet (¼ oz / 7 g) Dry Yeast
• 1 cup (250 ml) Milk
• 1 Egg
• Pinches of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, crushed Cloves, Salt
• 1 Ring, Coin, Pea, Stick, etc.
• An optional splash of Whiskey
Get the full recipe and baking directions in our <a href="http://irishbuzz.com/category/irish-dishes/irish-baking/" style="color:#029934;" target="_blank">Irish Baking</a> section.
<h2 style="color:#029934; font-size:20px;"><i>How to pronounce Samhain</i></h2>
How to pronounce Samhain is often challenging for non-Irish speakers. But the correct Samhain pronunciation is actually pretty simple: <i><b>Sau-En</b></i>. We suggest employing some Irish food imagery to help you remember. Think of a pretty bit of Irish bacon plodding in from the yard at dusk. The <i>sow</i> turns <i>in</i> to her quarters.
Gaeilge can be a tricky language, but if you happen to be celebrating Halloween in Ireland, or enacting ancient Samhain rituals, you may want to wish someone a Happy Samhain:
<i>Oíche Shamhna Shona Duit</i>
(Phoneticised in English as approximately: EE-ha How-nah Hu-nah Gwit).
Or, addressing more than one person, you say:
<i>Oíche Shamhna Shona Daoibh</i>
(EE-ha How-nah Hu-nah Gweave).
<i>…Oíche Shamhna Shona Daoibh from Irish Buzz.</i>
<a href="http://irishbuzz.com/" style="color:#029934;" target="_blank"><img src="/blog/Irishbuzz.com.png" alt="Irishbuzz logo" width=100%></a>
BEAUTIFUL SUNFLOWERSunflower is a plant that brings back some earliest memories; it has become a symbol of childhood for me. We always had sunflowers in our garden as long as I can remember and I would watch them grow from the ground to this tall plant much taller than me at the time, watch the yellow flower becoming huge and growing seeds in the centre. It was amazing and always made me a bit impatient to wait until autumn when sunflower has grown enough to be ready to eat. When the right time came we would cut one sunflower head and divide it between us, pull our seed by seed using our fingers and crack the shell with our teeth and eat the seed from the centre. It was some kind of ritual in our neighborhood and a very social event. We would take our sunflower with us and simply go for a long walk until we finished eating and then head back home.
We often had fun on our walks talking and laughing that nobody really wanted to go back, so we would prolong sunflower eating just so we did not have to go home yet. It was a sort of time measuring device for us.
Although we grew so many sunflowers we never cooked with them, we would just eat them either fresh or dry up the seeds for winter. It was our healthy snack, the one we definitely enjoyed mostly.
Historically sunflower seed is not completely unknown, quite the contrary some archeologist claim that it may have been cultivated before corn 3000 BC by Native American Indians. The tribes have found many uses of sunflower. They would ground it for cakes and breads; some would mix it with other vegetables like squash, beans or corn. The seed was cracked and eaten as a snack and also squeezed to make oil that would be later used for bread making.
They also found some medicinal uses of sunflower plant; some parts were used to make snake bite medicine and other ointments. The plant was used to colour the textiles, for body painting and other decorations. Also the oil was used on hair and skin. They knew so many uses of sunflower plant.
Sunflower seeds have become more popular not only as a snack but also in baking. People with allergies and on low carbohydrates diet really appreciate it creating some amazing recipes. Luckily we have the internet now and websites where people can share their ideas and we can enjoy cooking with that delicious seed.
Nowadays we mostly use the seed and there are three main types of sunflower seed: linoleic - which is the most common one, sunflower oil seeds and high oleic. We mostly use sunflower oil seed for making oils and linoleic type for snacks, making cakes and breads.
On my travels I discovered that the seed is consumed differently depending on the country. It has become very popular to roast the whole seed in the shell with salt in Balkan countries for instance and you can buy it cheap anywhere on the street. People buy a small paper cone cups or a large bag to go and they crack the shell and eat the salty seed. It has been a bit of a challenge when I tried it first time as roasted shell becomes very hard and you need to find the way to crack it between your teeth and get the seed out to eat it, but it’s worth the effort.
Another idea involves sprouting sunflower seeds and using them for salads. I found it very surprising how good it tastes, it has sweet, nutty flavor, very distinct, nothing like other greens I tried before. When I got it first time on my plate it drew my attention and I was wondering what it was so I picked it up and discovered little sunflower seed at the end of it. I was glad to make that discovery and it made my day so I decided to use it in my salads since then.
I became curious about sunflower so I have read some articles and researched a bit how to cook with it and I have made some healthy replacements in my diet and cooking. I replaced traditional flours with sunflower flour, I just grind sunflower seeds when I need them to make something and I really enjoy it. I am sure that people who are on gluten free diet can appreciate it very much as having less options isn’t always easy. I created sunflower base for my cheesecakes and shared it with you on the website….
I also enjoy making sunflower seeds snack by roasting them in the oven and putting some favourite spices. It is a new version of popcorn for me.
Apart from being gluten free it is a very nutritious seed to include in the diet. Just few examples of what it contains:
- Especially high in vitamin E and selenium, which are valuable antioxidants protecting the body.
- Vitamin B1, B3 and B6
- Folate etc.
Sprouting sunflower seed increases the plant compounds and helps absorption so it is worth preparing your own seeds and sprouting them for health benefits but also for enjoyment as they are delicious.
I am very happy that I discovered so many more uses of sunflower seeds and that I can share that with you as it is an amazing plant to get to know and start using if you are not already doing it.
THE TALE OF CHILLI CON CARNEI first tried chilli con carne when I was in the Lake District on a short break. We went out in a little family-run cafe and ordered jacket potato with chilli con carne topping. The fist mouth full and I was amazed by the flavour of chilli and cumin seeds. I remember thinking that it was an Indian meal.
Naturally, when I try something new I want to know more. So I dag a little bit deeper and discovered that it was a meal that originates from northern Mexico and South Texas.
The history is unknown so is the authentic recipe. The legend says, that the first recipe was written down as early as the 17th century by a Spanish nun Sister Mary who was mysteriously known to Indians as “La Dama de Azul” commonly called “the lady in blue”. Even though she physically never left Spain, her body would go into trances for many days and travel to an unknown land to preach Christianity to Indians. King Phillip IV of Spain was convinced that she was “the lady in blue” of Indian legends. Apparently, Sister Mary wrote down the recipe during one of her trances. Her version contained venison or antelope meat, some onions, tomatoes and chilli peppers. There are no written records of it anywhere but it is good to keep an open mind after all even facts about the recipe origins are not so clear.
Another story says that the dish was invented by prisoners in Texas. They made some kind of stew from the cheapest ingredients they had available to them under difficult circumstances, so just with a little bit of beef and chillies boiled in water for a very long time until it’s edible. It became so popular in Texas prisons that the inmates used to rate jails on quality of their chillies they served to them.
When translated from Spanish Chilli con carne means meat with chilli. In early days, before use of fridges and freezers, it was sold in bricks after pressing out all the moisture. Later on, the dish evolved, new spices were added such as cumin and new versions of dishes were developed such as Cincinnati Chili, Springfield Style Chili or Chase’s Chill but the best known is, of course, the Texas chilli. The state of Texas in 1972 proclaimed chilli con carne for state food and San Antonio in 80s has established a tribute to chilli as a state dish and started celebrating “Return of the Chilli Queens Festival” every year in May.
The history that surrounds this dish is mysterious and intriguing; the same can be said for the dish itself. My first attempt to make chilli went better than I thought it will. I made a big dish that lasted us a few days and I was amazed by how nourishing it was.
We prepared for you our favourite <a href="http://www.apple-green.com/recipes-view.php?id=114" style="color:#029934;" target="_blank">chilli con carne recipe.</a>
Let us know what is your favourite chilli con carne variation?
COMPLICATED COOKWARE PART 1For the next few weeks, I will be posting more info on the most common and popular pots and pans materials and try to give the pros and cons to make it easier for you to make your choice. This week we will focus on iron cast and stainless steel. Maybe you will find something you didn’t know about?
IRON CAST vs STAINLESS STEEL
Nowadays we have such a versatile choice of cookware that if we don’t inform ourselves properly we might end up transforming our beautiful and tasty meals into poisonous one just with simply wrong choices. We can also damage our brand new cookware when we have no knowledge of how to look after it properly.
How do we make our decision when it comes to buying a cooking pot or a frying pan? We consider one or more of the following:
- <span style="font-style:oblique; font-weight:600;">budget</span> – it is important to know how much we spend or what is our price range.
- <span style="font-style:oblique; font-weight:600;">cookware size</span> – how many people we are cooking for will depend on making that choice.
- <span style="font-style:oblique; font-weight:600;">safety</span> – some materials can be toxic when others are much safer or completely safe to use.
- <span style="font-style:oblique; font-weight:600;">ease of use</span> – some materials are easier to clean and non-stick while cooking when others require more time to clean and season.
- <span style="font-style:oblique; font-weight:600;">durability</span> – again it depends on the equipment, some might be cheaper but get damaged quicker and others can be very durable, even hard to destroy!
It is probably most old fashioned of all materials but practically indestructible when taken care of properly. Cast iron comes as a bare one or enamelled. The second one has one great advantage that it does not need seasoning like the first one.
• Its versatile use, you can put it in the oven, use it on the campfire or on the stove at home.
• It delivers great flavours and keeps the temperature for quite a long time.
• It is very durable it can last through a lifetime if you look after it properly.
• It offers some health benefits as it allows some amount of dietary iron to leach into food.
• It’s non-toxic, which is the most important fact.
• It can be quite a time consuming to take care of it and remember that you cannot use washing up liquid on it or any abrasive materials to clean it.
• You need to apply a coat of oil after every cleaning to replenish the seasoning.
• You need to season it every so often in order to keep its non-stick qualities.
• It can rust.
• It is quite heavy compared to some pots and pans.
• It is important to know that cast iron is not good for preparing any dishes containing tomatoes because of its acidity that interacts with pH of the pan and destroys the flavour.
Stainless steel is a material made of different elements. Steel itself is not resistant enough to make good cookware from it, it can rust and corrode easily, that is why chromium is added to it to make it stronger. The higher amount of chromium the better corrosion resistance of stainless steel. Also, nickel is added to make it more resistant to rust and corrosion particularly when it comes to acidic materials. It also gives that nice shine to the metal.
Stainless steel gets its name from the fact that it does not stain or rust like steel. It actually contains only about 10% of steel and the rest are chromium, nickel, nitrogen or titanium etc. But there are so many versions of stainless steel made with different percentage of the elements mentioned above and the quality of them depends on it.
• It’s durable, it’s probably the most durable cookware it does not scratch easily, and you can wash it with washing up liquid without any damage and use a sponge to clean it.
• It’s easy to maintain, easy to wash and dry and if it loses its shine you can easily restore it with vinegar.
• It’s non-reactive to food, especially to acidic food.
• It’s versatile; you can fry in it, steam, poach, and boil anything you want really.
• It’s a good value for money. Stainless steel is very affordable when you take into consideration its durability, it can last for many, many years.
• It’s a safe cookware option.
• It does not distribute heat that well as some cookware materials like aluminium or copper.
• It sticks so it takes some experience to learn how to cook in it and adjust the heat accordingly.
• It’s harder to clean than some other cookware.
• Some types of stainless steel are not suitable for induction hobs if they contain nickel so if you have induction hob you need to choose magnetic stainless steel cookware.
So just to summarize both cast iron and stainless steel are great choices. There are some small differences which can be quite important to some people. For instance, cast iron can be a little bit more time consuming to season it regularly unless you have purchased the enamelled version than that problem is eliminated straight away. Another difference is reactivity and it that instance again cast iron is reactive to acidic food so you cannot use it for frying tomatoes as the meal will change the taste. But on the other hand cast iron is perfect for frying omelettes where stainless steel struggles to perform without sticking.