Author Archives: tara

Sunday AM May 8th

Sunday AM, TV3: Chermoulla Baked Hake, Lime Yogurt & Tabbouleh and Lemon Polenta Cake with Candied Pistachios

I did some lovely, light easy recipes from our popular Taste of North Africa & the Middle East Class on Sunday AM this week. Click here to watch Chermoulla Baked Hake with Lime Yogurt & Tabbouleh and here to watch Lemon Polenta Cake. Click here for all the recipes in full.


April’s Weather Food Cast on LMFM: Salmon Chow Mein & Fragrant, Creamy Chicken Curry

A couple of nice, easy family friendly dishes that are healthy to boot!

Fragrant Chicken Curry

Fragrant & Creamy Chicken Curry

This chicken curry is a winner with both children and elderly relatives. It is flavoursome without being too spicy. It can be made ahead and chilled or frozen until you are ready to serve it. If you are making it ahead of time & want to add the veg, it is best to steam or blanch them separately and mix them through just before serving the curry as this will keep them nice and crisp & maintain their colour.


20  chicken thighs, boned & skinned (ask your butcher to do this for you)sliced into bite-size pieces

1 tsp Turmeric, ground

1 tsp Cumin, ground

1 tsp Garam Masala

1 onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

A thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, grated.

1 tsp tomato puree

A pinch of dried chilli flakes

100 ml pouring cream

750 ml chicken stock

A glug of groundnut oil

Optional: selection of veg such as baby corn, sugar snaps, mange tout, green beans, red pepper, blanched or steamed.

In a large bowl, mix the spices with a couple of tablespoons of water to make a paste and coat the chicken in it. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Heat the oil in a pan until quite hot and add the chicken pieces to brown. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Add the onions and a pinch of salt to the pan with a little more oil if necessary. Sweat until softened. Add the garlic for the last few minutes.

Add the tomato puree and cook out. Return the chicken to the pot and cover with the stock and the cream. Simmer for about 25mins on a low heat or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Add the veg just before serving

Sticky Basmati rice

This sticky rice is perfect for soaking up all the lovely sauce from the curry

250g basmati rice

375 ml water (or cover with half an inch over)

  • Place the rice in the pot with the water, add a pinch of salt
  • Boil for 10 mins
  • When most of the water is absorbed, turn the heat off and cover-DO NOT STIR
  • Leave to steam for at least 5 mins
  • Fluff up with a fork

Healthy Salmon Chow Mein

(Serves 4)

For the sauce:

Thumb-size piece fresh ginger, grated

2 garlic cloves, chopped

3 tsp tomato puree

2 tbsp oyster sauce

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 lime for squeezing

For the noodles:

1 large red pepper, sliced

2 spring onions, sliced

A large handful of mangetout, washed

A large handful of beansprouts, washed

2 salmon fillets, sliced lengthways

2 nests of medium egg noodles

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

To Garnish: A few fresh Coriander leaves & Sesame Seeds, toasted.


  • Put the garlic & ginger in a bowl and add the tomato puree, oyster sauce, soy sauce, 3 tbsp water and stir
  • Boil a large pan of water on the hob. When the water is boiling, drop in the noodles, turn off the heat and allow to sit for 5 mins. Drain in a colander or a large sieve in the sink
  • With everything prepared, you can now start cooking. Heat the wok – it’s hot enough when it starts to smoke.
  • Add the oil and lay the slices of salmon on the wok carefully, ensuring all the pieces of salmon are in contact with the pan.
  • Use a spatula to gently keep moving the salmon around the wok until it is half cooked. Add the pepper and mange tout and stir-fry for a further min.
  • Pour the sauce into the wok and allow to bubble.
  • Add the noodles, beansprouts and spring onions, then toss into the sauce until it is well coated, stirring constantly until the beansprouts wilt. Add lime juice & check for seasoning. Adjust with soy sauce if necessary.
  • Serve in bowls – an easy way is to use tongs
  • Garnish with the coriander & sesame seeds.
Simnel Cake

Easter Weather FoodCast on LMFM-Roast Leg of Lamb & Simnel Cake

It feels like Spring is in the air! The daffs and crocuses in our garden are in full bloom and the evenings are getting longer. I love this time of year and Easter always feels like a real turning point in the seasons. Enjoy this fantastic Roast Garlic & Rosemary Leg of Lamb with Rich Red Wine Gravy and Simnel Cake for a perfect Easter Sunday Lunch! Listen to the podcast here (40mins in)

Roast Leg of Lamb

Roast Leg of Lamb


Serves 8-10




1 leg of lamb

3 Cloves Garlic, sliced

A couple of rosemary sprigs

1 carrot cut into chunks, no need to peel

1 onion quartered, no need to peel

1 stick of celery cut into chunks

A few drops of soy sauce

A few drops of Worcestershire sauce

Rapeseed oil

Salt & pepper


For the gravy:


A knob of butter

1 small onion, finely diced

A teaspoon of tomato puree

A tablespoon of flour

250 mls lamb stock

A dash of red wine




  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C
  2. Placing the lamb on a board, use the sharp tip of a small knife to make incisions about ½ a cm deep all around the lamb. Brush with a little rapeseed oil.
  3. Poke the garlic and the rosemary into the holes.
  4. Season the lamb generously.
  5. Place the carrot, onion and celery into a roasting dish and add a little soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and a cup of water. Place the lamb on top and place in the oven for 2 hours.
  6. For the gravy, make the roux by melting the butter in a saucepan and adding the flour. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the tomato puree and stir for about 30 seconds
  7. Add the wine and allow to bubble up until almost evaporated
  8. Add the lamb stock and reduce to a simmer for at least 30mins, stirring every now and then
  9. When the meat is done, remove the lamb to a warmed dish to rest (for at least 10 mins) and pour the juices from the roasting dish into the gravy.
  10. The gravy should now be rich and flavourful. Pour through a sieve for a smoother finish (optional)

Simnel Cake

175g/6oz butter or margarine

175g/6oz soft brown sugar

3  eggs, beaten

175g/6oz plain flour

Pinch salt

½ tsp ground mixed spice (optional)

350g/12oz mixed raisins, currants and sultanas

55g/2oz chopped mixed peel

½ lemon, grated zest only

1-2 tbsp apricot jam

1 free-range egg, beaten for glazing

1kg Marzipan or Almond Paste

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs until well incorporated and then sift in the flour, salt and mixed spice (if using) a little at a time. Finally, add the mixed dried fruit, peel and grated lemon zest and stir into the mixture.
  2. Put half the mixture into a greased and lined 18cm/7in cake tin. Smooth the top and cover with the circle of marzipan. Add the rest of the cake mixture and smooth the top leaving a slight dip in the centre to allow for the cake to rise. Bake in the preheated oven for 1¾ hours. Test by inserting a skewer in the middle – if it comes out clean, it is ready. Once baked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack.
  3. Brush the top of the cooled cake with the apricot jam. Divide the remainder of the almond paste in half; roll out a circle to cover the top of the cake with one half and form 11 small balls with the other half.
  4. Place the circle of paste on the jam glaze and set the balls round the edge. Brush the cake topping with a little beaten egg.
  5. Preheat the grill to high. Place the cake onto a baking tray and grill for 1-2 minutes, or until the top of the marzipan begins to brown. Alternatively, lightly heat the cake topping using a cook’s blow torch, until the marzipan is golden-brown.



White Chocolate & Raspberry Cupcakes

12006077_1052875731398672_2557955523919917478_n12002569_1052875724732006_7598840997231278346_oWhite Chocolate & Raspberry Cupcakes


175g Plain Flour

110g Caster Sugar

110g Butter, softened

50ml Milk

2 Eggs

½ tsp Vanilla Extract

1 tsp Baking Powder

55g White Chocolate, chopped

100g fresh Raspberries, chopped

For the Buttercream Icing:

150g Butter, softened

150g Icing Sugar

To flavour: any type of extract you wish such as vanilla, lemon, strawberry or almond & any food colouring

To decorate: Sprinkles, toppers, marshmallows etc… We have coloured sugarpaste & cut out mini stars


Preheat the oven to 190˚C, or 170˚C Fan

With a whisk, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one by one and then the milk.

Add the flour and baking powder and mix until just combined.

Pour the batter into the paper cases and pop a little white chocolate & raspberry into each one.

Bake for 15-20 mins until golden brown and firm on the top.

To make the Buttercream:

Whisk the butter until light & fluffy then add the icing sugar. Stir in a few drops of flavour essence & food colouring.

Use a piping bag to decorate the cupcakes with the buttercream icing.

Irish Country Mag Quesadillas

Quesadillas with Guacamole & Sweetcorn Salsa

Our lunch at today’s Easter Kid’s Cookery Camp is Quesadillas with Guacamole & Sweetcorn Salsa. This is a more-ish dish and I love it as a quick supper in front of the TV. Much healthier & tasty than a take-away!

Irish Country Mag Quesadillas


For each quesadilla, you will need:

2 corn tortillas

Some grated cheese (about 50g)

A tablespoon of sour cream

A selection of fillings such as: ham, spring onion, peppers, chilli, leftover chicken, coriander

To make:

Heat a non stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a tortilla. Sprinkle your filling over it evenly and top with the second tortilla.

Toast gently for a couple of minutes, using a spatula to check the underneath is not burning.

When the cheese has melted, it will be easier to flip the quesadilla over in the pan to toast the other side.

When it is golden brown all over, remove to a chopping board and cut into wedges.

Serve with the sour cream.


1 avocado, ripe & chopped roughly

1 garlic clove, minced

Juice of ½ a  lime

Small handful of fresh coriander

Red chilli, deseeded & chopped finely. How much is up to you!

A pinch of sea salt flakes

Mash all the ingredients together in a bowl until all are combined. Taste of seasoning and adjust the balance if necessary

Sweetcorn Salsa

100g sweetcorn

1 small red onion chopped VERY FINELY

2 tsp white wine vinegar

Optional: chopped green chilli

A glug of olive oil

½ a teaspoon of sugar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl at least 10 MINUTES before serving to allow the sugar to dissolve and for the flavours to develop a little. Stir well and serve with the quesadillas.

Mini Frittatas Irish Country Mag

Mini Frittatas

We are in the middle of our Easter Kid’s Cookery Camp and this morning’s healthy snack was these mini frittatas. They are easy & fast to make and are a perfect lunch box of picnic staple. They want down a treat with the kids today as they were all able to choose their own fillings!

Mini Frittatas Irish Country Mag

Mini Frittatas


3 eggs

50ml Cream

Any fillings you fancy such as grated parmesan, ham, bacon, sautéed mushrooms, herbs, bacon, tomatoes or my favourite combo: feta, mint & sautéed courgettes.

A glug of olive oil

Cupcake cases


Preheat the oven to 180˚C, 160˚C Fan or gas mark 4.

Whisk the eggs with the cream in a jug or bowl with pouring spout. Season & add whatever fillings you fancy.

Pour the mixture about two thirds of the way up to the top of the cupcake cases and bake for about 10mins or until puffed up and cooked through.

Chicken Drumsticks

Cooking with Kids! Sticky Chicken Drumsticks

Most kids really love these Sticky Chicken Drumsticks! I remember the first time we made these at one of our Kid’s Cookery Camps, the kids went crazy for them and there was a stampede for the last few :-)

Chicken Drumsticks

Sticky Chicken Drumsticks

(Serves 4)


 8 Chicken thighs

2 tablespoons of soya sauce

2 tablespoons of honey

½ a teaspoon of paprika

½ a teaspoon of ground coriander

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 thumb sized piece of ginger, grated

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted lightly


Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4.

  1. Combine the soy sauce, honey, paprika, coriander garlic & ginger in a bowl.
  2. Score the skin of the chicken thighs a couple of times and place in an oven proof dish.Pour the marinade over, ensuring all the chicken pieces are coated.
  3. Cook in the oven for 30 mins and sprinkle with the sesame seeds when fully cooked.
Irish Country Mag 4

Cooking with Kids! Lemon Meringue Swirls

Welcome to our first recipe in our new series, Cooking with Kids! These are really easy and delicious treats that the kids will love. A big thanks to Ramona Farrelly & Irish Country Living magazine for these images.

Irish Country Mag 4

Meringue Swirls with Lemon Curd and Cream


2 egg whites

A pinch of salt

150g of caster sugar

Red food colouring

¼ tsp of vanilla extract

To Serve:

Lemon Curd (see below) & Whipped Cream


  1. Pre heat the oven to 140˚C and line a baking tray with baking paper
  2. Put the egg whites into a large spotlessly clean mixing bowl with the pinch of salt
  3. Whisk until soft peaks form then gradually add the caster sugar until stiff peaks form
  4. Add in the vanilla extract
  5. Using a large spoon dollop the meringues onto the baking sheet leaving space between them
  6. Place the food colouring in the bowl and dip a skewer into it
  7. Swirl the skewer into the meringues to give a ripple effect
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until the base of the meringues is hard and then switch of the oven
  9. Leave to cool in the oven if possible
  10. Mix some whipped cream with the lemon curd and serve with the meringues

For the lemon curd


1 egg

1 egg yolk

50g (2oz) butter

90g (3oz) caster sugar

Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons


To make the lemon curd:


In a bowl, whisk together the egg & the egg yolk.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a very low heat.

Add the caster sugar, grated zest, & juice, & then the beaten eggs.

Stir carefully with a wooden spoon, over a very gentle heat until the mixture thickens.

This should take about  7-10 minutes. If the heat is too high, the egg will scramble.

The curd is ready when the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon & leave a definite mark when you push your finger through it.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool.





Tara’s Weather Food Cast on LMFM (February)

For my second Weather Food Cast on LMFM’s Late Lunch with Gerry Kelly, I made a really simple and tasty Chicken & Orange Tray Bake and a super-light Chocolate & Orange “Web” Cake, perfect for getting the kids involved!  Listen to the podcast here


Chicken Tray Bake with Green Salad

Serves 4

8 Chicken pieces, a mixture of thighs, drumsticks and skin-on breast on the bone.

Potatoes, washed and cut into 1” chunks

Red Onion, peeled and cut into wedges

1 Orange, cut into wedges

8 Garlic cloves peeled but left whole

1 Courgette sliced into 2” chunks

1 Red or Yellow Pepper, sliced into 2” chunks

A few cherry tomatoes

Woody herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano. Fresh is best but dried can also be used.

Olive oil to drizzle


Preheat the oven to 200˚C, 180˚C Fan, Gas Mark 5

Place the chicken pieces on a large roasting dish and add all the other ingredients to the dish. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Roast for 30 mins, checking and stirring every 10 mins or so to ensure the top ingredients don’t burn.

Serve with a simple green salad

French Dressing

2 parts Olive Oil to 1 part Cider Vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 clove of garlic, peeled and bashed with the back of a knife

Salt & Pepper

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine

Chocolate & Orange “Web” Cake


50g cocoa powder

90ml boiling water

3 eggs

4 tbsp milk

100ml sunflower oil

175g self-raising flour, sifted

1 rounded tsp baking powder, sifted into the flour

250g caster sugar

½ tsp orange blossom water




Preheat the oven to 180˚C, Fan 160˚C and line a 9” cake tin.

Place all of the cake ingredients, except the boiling water, into a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, or electric whisk, beat the mixture until smooth and well combined

Add the boiling water to the mixture, a little at a time, until smooth. (The cake mixture will now be very liquid.)

Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 mins

When the cake has totally cooled, cut it in half widthways.

Spread over one layer of the filling below on the cake. Place the other layer on top.


For the Frosting:

100g cream cheese

50g butter

1 orange, zested & juiced

1 tsp vanilla extract

65g icing sugar


For the frosting, beat the cheese and butter until soft and smooth. Add in the vanilla, a tablespoon of the orange juice and zest and sift in the sugar, and beat for a few moments until the mixture is completely smooth.


100g Dark chocolate

15g White Chocolate


Melt 100g of dark chocolate. Pour over the cake evenly. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes. In the meantime, melt the white chocolate and place in a piping bag with a very small hole (or use a small freezer bag and cut the hole in the corner) Draw a large circle around the perimeter of the cake, then draw another smaller circle about a centimeter in and another and so forth until you reach the centre.

Place a sharp point such as a skewer or knife in the centre of the cake and draw it through the white chocolate until you reach the edge.

Repeat at regular intervals.