Tried & Tested: Shredded Chicken & Hot Sauce

I am REALLY diggin’ this combination lately. Not only is it delicious but also effortless to make from scratch. Any brand of hot sauce will do, although I highly suggest using the Franks Original or Buffalo flavors because you will only need 1 or 2 tablespoons, packs a punch, inexpensive and available in the majority of shops.

Ingredients

Chicken breast

Spring onions

Red onions

Peppers

Mushrooms

Chilli’s

Franks hot sauce

Grated cheese

Hot salsa

Sour creme or Creme fraiche

Spray Oil (coconut used in this recipe)

Tortilla (optional)

 

 

For maximum efficiency & speed I like to use the George Foreman (GF) while the veggies cook away on the pan.  A few sprays of the oil on each will be more than enough. Then, when the chicken is fully cooked put it into a bowl, take two forks and gently shred the chicken up and mix in two tablespoons of the hot sauce.

If you’re having a tortilla toast it on the GF until everything else is ready it will only take 3 or 4 minutes. Put everything into a bowl and top it off with the cheese, salsa and sour creme.

It’s as simple as that – nothing else involved in making this for lunch or dinner. Literally made in 15 minutes so it’s great to have on days when there’s not much time to prepare food or getting in late in the evening.

Shane

Easter Events Dublin 2017

A few bits to do around Dublin around Easter. This not a paid endorsement I just absolutely love this city and what it has to offer. Loads of the hidden secrets and steeped in history.

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Cadburys Easter egg hunt in support of Bernardos Charity

Family Easter egg hunt in aid of Bernardo’s charity.

Merrion Square

Friday 14th April 10:30am – 12:30pm & 2:00pm – 4:30pm

Saturday 15th April 10:30am – 12:30pm & 2:00pm – 4:30pm

€20 per family of 4 (with an additional €5 per extra person)

All proceeds on will be given to charity

Dublin Bikes

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“Good things happen when you least expect them” Not every weekend needs to be planned to have fun. If you’re up for some spontaneity or seek an adventure that’s straight off the cuff then Dublin Bikes are definitely a good option. Hop on & Hop off anywhere in the city centre as bike stations are located all around the city and the greater Dublin area. Bicycles are ideal for exploring the busy streets and cramped laneways of Dublin, especially on a sunny spring afternoon and all for as little as €5 for a 3 day ticket. For more information check out http://www.dublinbikes.ie/Subscription/The-3-Day-Ticket/3-Day-Ticket-Users

See Dublin by Bike

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The Taste of Dublin Tour allows you to visit the Historical sites of Dublin, but by bicycle. The tour lasts approx 3 hours from start – finish for €25 per person (bicycle, helmets, small snacks are provided).

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The Easter Rising Tour visits the main sites and locations of the 1916 Easter Rebellion with an account of the events that took place over 100 years ago. The tour will take you around to see landmarks that are symbolic with the Rising such as the GPO, Liberty Hall, Mount St Bridge, Boland’s Mill, St Stephens Green and Dublin Castle. Approx 2 hour tour for €25 per person minimum of 4 people when booking (bicycle, helmets, small snacks are provided)

To make a booking:

Tel: 353-87-695 5976 Email: seedublinbybike@gmail.com

The Daintree Building, Pleasant’s Place, Camden Street, Dublin

 1916 Walking Tour

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The Easter Rising from the 24th – 29th of April 1916 was a pivotal moment in Irish Independence. 2016 marked the centenary of this historical event and a huge effort was made by the Irish Government in commemoration of those who fought in a bloody battle against the British Empire that reduced the city to ruins. Although Easter is on the 16th &17th of April this year the 1916 Walking Tour runs throughout the year and will be running over the Easter weekend. Presented by the co – author of the book the Easter Rising Lorcan Collins will bring you to some of the most important historical landmarks across Dublin associated with the lead up and aftermath of the Rebellion. Along the way he gives a detailed account that provides for a unique understanding of an event that helped lay the foundations of an Irish Republic.

Mon-Sat 11:30am

Sun-Bhols 1:00pm

€13 per person

To make a booking & more details:

Tel: 0868583847 Email: lorcan@1916rising.com

The Eat Yard Food Market

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9-10 South Richmond Street, Dublin 2.

A weekend in Dublin would not be complete without a bite to eat and a pint of the black stuff. The Eat Yard offers a selection of Dublin’s best up & coming, innovative and independent Food & Drink outlets. Inspired by the success of the annual Beatyard and BigGrill festivals the aim of the Eat Yard is to elevate Irish street food and bring a unique casual dining experience to Dublin. Admission is free and you can either reserve a table in advance or just show up on the day. Open Thursday – Sunday Tel: 01-9060218 or Email:info@the-eatyard.com

Easter is a great time to see Dublin as events are happening all over town. Definitely enough here to keep you busy for the entire Easter weekend.

Shane

Fulfill Oats

There is a previous post from not to long ago about the perfect porridge. The main point in it referred to how oats have made a huge comeback in recent times.

Porridge has come a long way from the days when your only options depended on what was in the cupboard after the weekly shop. Whatever the brand, the end result was the same – a colourless bowl of bland grool that even Oliver Twist wouldn’t mind giving a miss.

I… could… not… stand porridge as a child. It never had any taste because, adding anything other than sugar or honey was never an option in my house (that’s no direspect to my parents, it’s just how many households ate). These days things are different. Search for “Proates” on any social media platform and you’ll see what I mean.

Game Changer 

It goes without saying that the key ingredient that makes these oats so delicious is the Fulfill White Chocolate & Cookie Dough protein bar. The combination of white chocolate and raspberries is a winner, every time!

The recipe below is tailored to my own needs but the quantities & nutritional value will differ depending on the needs/goals of each person so feel free to adjust accordingly to suit you.

Ingrediants

80g porridge oats

200 – 300ml of unsweetened almond milk

20g vanilla whey protein powder

10g toasted flaked almonds

1 Fulfill protein bar – any flavour

Raspberries

5g raw Cacao powder (optional)

How to…

Toast the almonds in a dry pan over a low heat. Mix the milk and the oats then microwave for 2 minutes or more until they become fluffy or most of the milk has been absorbed. Mix on the protein powder (and cacao if using for more rich oats) crush up the bar and spread on top along with the berries and the almonds.

Its as easy as that, hope you enjoy this one. Protein bars would not usually be a staple of my diet but on occasion I will enjoy one either with oats or melted over pancakes.

I’m always intrigued trying new food combinations and concepts. Any ideas feel free to comment below.

Shane

 

Bad Decisions Are Made On An Empty Stomach: Part 1

Dream big, Set goals, Take Action

A goal without a plan is only a dream – Recently I have been dwelling on the meaning of this statement and the impact it has when it enters the forefront of my mind.  At 27 I realise that although life is still in front of me, the decisions made now will determine the circumstances we will find ourselves in the future. Everybody has a goal, either conscientiously or subconsciously, individually or collectively there is something out there that is keeping you on your current trajectory in search of something better. Goals may be different but the behaviors such as sacrifice, willpower, discipline, determination and motivation remain constant.

From my own experience setting the goal involves visualizing the end result  and working back towards the current moment in time. See in your minds eye what the end result will look like, figure out how to get there and how long it will take. Achieving a goal is a tough assignment, each year I write down what it is I want to achieve in that given year (usually consists of eating, training, income) then break it down into medium and short term mini goals. Even then there is no guarantee that I will see them through to the end. Of course succeeding at your goals will give you the confidence to set more challenging targets.

One of my main long term goals is to finish college with at least a 2.1 grade. Break that down into smaller targets such as attending classes; even the most life draining, soul destroying lectures are important, submitting assignments on time and studying for exams. Go even further and make it a priority that when going to lectures you have the proper materials (pens, paper, calculators) study for exams by reading the right books and taking notes and get enough sleep so as not to pass out mid way through the day you get the picture right? Since January, I have been working towards completing an (unpaid) Internship as it is a mandatory requirement of the college. Again, showing up on time, making a good impression and buying into the organisational culture for the sake of 15 weeks just to get to where I want.

All of these little things make up the bigger picture. Again, the decisions we make now determines our future. Along the way remember failure is inevitable, it will more than likely happen but don’t worry because failing plays a huge part in understanding the approaches that do & do not work. It teaches us in the form of experience and creates lasting knowledge that will be beneficial on our future endeavors. Once you have established what simply isn’t working let common sense prevail and move on, try something a new approach.

Play to your strengths! but don’t forget your weaknesses, learn not to avoid them but rather learn how to deal with them and use it to your advantage until eventually it becomes no longer a weakness. Overcome the limitations that only you set!!

Food Goals

Food is the fuel of the body & mind so therefore it can be said that the better the quality the food then the more of a positive impact it will have on your physical and mental health – in long term at least. Highly processed, sugar laced, hydrogenated fat, chemical based lab creations have the same positive effect, but only in the short term and usually the endorphin’s released last longer than the time it takes for the body to digest this so called food. Nevertheless I will admit they can be delicious on the palate because they are loaded with all the winning combinations at once – fat, sugar, salt etc.

What you don’t know about food these days will hurt you. Many people are unaware of what the majority of the items in there press contain claiming to be ingredients. To quote Jamie Oliver “food should not contain ingredients, food is ingredients”.  I think the more we become detached with food the easier it is to make poor choices. This why I believe in cooking from a 36o degree perspective (knowing what is good for you, sourcing/buying fresh food and cooking it yourself) because it allows you to become more engaged and consciousness about what you’re actually eating. Fortunately cooking is a skill that can be learned by anyone. Unfortunately cooking can be very time consuming and costly which is the reason people make the wrong choices.

Also I should mention at this time that I am all in favor when it come to eating at Cafes and Restaurants and do not believe that “everything” we consume should be homemade. However, I will say that if you decide do eat out, do some research and find out if your favorite seafood & steakhouse are serving locally caught fish, is the beef imported or brought in from frozen halfway round the world.

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avoiding temptation by preparing meals in advance for a busy week ahead

Have a Mantra & Shout it out

Getting back to the statement at the beginning ” a goal without a plan is only a dream” sounds good but doesn’t provide any real context on how to get there. To give substance to a goal, you need to actually develop a practical meaning around it. My own way of doing this is like many others. Think of the reasons of ‘why’ this goal is important to you in the first place ‘how’ it can be achieved.

“Bad decisions are made on an empty stomach” is a sort of mantra I live by. The underlying meaning behind it suggests that food is my weakness and I  am very likely to fall off the wagon at anytime. It reminds me of the benefits of training and preparing meals in advance and staying on track. In PART 2 of this post I want to go deeper into preparing meals in advance and what means to stay on the right course in search of that little bit better. It is this statement that time and time again I refer to that reminds of what I need to do to get to where I want to be. Knowing that bad decisions are likely to happen if I don’t prepare food for the week reminds me that by not doing so I am not achieving my goal.

One thing I have learned is to give yourself the best possible chance both physically and mentally to have any success in other parts of life. Physically I am prone to slipped discs in my lower back and mentally I tend to become very bogged down in finer details of certain circumstances which leads stress and failing to acknowledge the bigger picture of the event. Personally exercise is an excellent tool for eliminating negative self doubt and allows me to retain a clear head. As for food, well you are what you eat basically. As previously mentioned I am prone to falling off the wagon in many areas of my life. Eating proper food and training regularly really been extremely beneficial both  physically and mentally so therefore I try to keep it balanced.

Given my background as a chef with an interest in the gym, keeping active and all round performance improvement the purpose of this blog page is to show how easy it is to create mouth watering food at home and provide information on how to make better food choices and decisions in the kitchen.

The second part will discuss the basics such as planning meals in advance, the benefits of this and how to stay on course. Along with sourcing fresh ingredients including what to buy and where are the best places to shop especially on a budget.

Shane.

Protein Bowl -Perfect Sunday Brunch

What more can I say. Perfect for brunch on the weekend after a morning at the gym. Turkey Burger, Eggs & Pulled Pork are all from Kerrgians in Malahide. The pulled pork is by RibWorld and comes vacuum packed, roughly 300g in weight and is quite lean for pork which is usually quite fatty. The quantities/ portion size may vary depending on your needs.

Hope you enjoy.

 

Ingredients

Spinach & Mixed leaves

Cherry Tomatoes

Peppers

Spring Onions

Carrots

Lemon Juice

Turkey Burger

Pulled Pork

Eggs

Chilli Powder

Mini Tortillas (Optional)

Toasted  Flaked Almonds (Optional)

Salsa (Optional)

Cheese of any variety – (Optional) Parmesan, Cottage Cheese or Feta are always a good choice.

Cooking

First things first, the pork will take approx 30 minutes to cook so get that into the oven asap!

Prepare the vegetables – for the carrots, if you have a mandolin then slice them into strips. If this is too much hassle then I suggest buying the curly carrots in either Aldi or Tesco. Moving on, slice everything up either chunky or thin whatever your preference may be. Put the veg into a bowl with some (1/2 tspoon) of chilli powder, salt & pepper and the juice of one lemon. Give it a good mix, add in the leaves and put aside for now.

Boil water in small pan/pot.

Cook the Turkey Burger – under the grill, on a pan, George Foreman whichever suits.

If you’re having tortillas I sprinkle them with chilli powder and usually just toast them on a dry pan or on the George Foreman.

Check on the pork, when it is ready take it, drain the liquid, throw away the packet out and pull it apart gently with two forks. Pour over the sachet of BBQ sauce, mix and back into the over for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile turn the boiling water down to a simmer. Crack the egg into a cup because it makes it easier to pour into the pan. (cracking the egg directly into the pan takes a bit of practice) Let this poach until the pork is ready to come back out.

By now if the Burger is ready you can slice it up and begin to put the salad into a bowl, followed by the Pulled Pork and the poached Egg along with any other options you choose.

Brunch on the weekend doesn’t come any easier than this and perfect if you have to cook for more than one or two as there is plenty of Pulled Pork to go around.

Happy Cooking

Shane.

 

 

 

 

Protein Pancake Tuesday

 

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Is the perfect time to get all of your bits & bobs together for the 28th of February. This recipe is a healthy take on what is usually a day of indulgence. Regardless if you choose to have them in the morning or the evening have everything ready to go – ingredients bought, batter made, pans washed and condiments ready today or asap. This will allow more to relax and enjoy ( and make more if your eyes have not already deceived your belly).

Ingredients

30g Oats

50g protein powder

2 eggs

50g fat free yogurt

1/2 tspoon baking powder

1 tspoon of peanut butter

1 banana

100 – 200ml of Almond milk (depending on consistency) a heavier mix will make American style Flapjack’s, lighter mix will result in crêpes.

Method

Blend everything in a processor with just 100ml of milk to begin. Add more depending on thickness.

Spray oil / coconut oil a small pan and pour a small amount in the centre and spread around the pan. Cook on each side on a medium hear for 3/4 mins until golden brown and transfer to a preheated oven to keep warm while you make the remainder.

Toppings are completely your own choice. Toasted nuts in a dry pan, berries, peanut butter, nutella, yogurt, bacon, maple syrup, chocolate sauce. The list is endless.

 

Spagball™ for those who say they can’t but do it anyway


Spagball – from an Irish perspective means that even if you’re a shite cook you can still manage to whip up a decent pot of stewed minced beef in tomato sauce. Well done if this is you – aknowledging a weakness but giving it a go anyway.

The beauty of this dish is that is doesn’t take a miracle to achieve good results. You don’t even need to stick to the recipe of you know what you want. Most of the “hearty comfort food” we have become accustomed to is relatively easy to make anyway. 

I say comfort food because Spagball is not mutually exclusive. There are plenty of recipes that are listed under this category that require nothing more chucking large hunks of meat, vegetables and whatever else can be found in the press fast approaching an expiry date into a large pot leaving it to bubble away gently for a few hours. The recipe below can be repeated many times or adjusted to suit your tastebuds. This is a very simple dish to make and ideal for those wheasy because the essence of time itself will do the hard work for you. Not only during the cooking process but later when left to cool. 

Should you make enough for a few days, time will allow the ingredients to marinate adding more depth and intense flavours to develop. Genuinely, food such as Spagball always tastes better on the second day. One pot wonders are very beneficial for cooking in large batches and freezing they also deliver the very best results for minimum effort. 

That being said there are still some basic but important elements that need to be applied in order to make this work correctly. Think of it as you being the architect with the blueprint and “time” is the builder that puts the necessary resources to good use. 

All of the ingredients such as meat can be sourced in a local butchers and the vegetables etc found in most Aldi stores.

The Ingredients 

500g of leans steak mince

1 white onion 

1 bulb of garlic

1 pack of mushrooms

3 peppers

1 pack of fresh basil leaves

1 Tbsp of olive or coconut oil

50 ml of balsamic vinegar

1 cube of chicken stock in 500ml of boiling water

500ml of passata

1/2 tube of tomato purée

1 tsp each of paprika, chilli powder and tumeric.

Generous pinch of rock sea salt & pepper.

50g Parmesan cheese

High protein  fusilli (found in tesco) 75g is the recommended amount but feel free to adjust.

The method tried & tested

Start with heating a large pot with the oil. Add the meat and don’t be tempted to break it up. That time will come!

Keep it simple and roughly chop the veg. Make life even easier by investing in a garlic press to crush it up in a few seconds just don’t focus to much on the shape or size because they will break down when cooking anyway.

Start breaking up the meat either with a wooden spoon or the closest  utensil to hand. If the meat is still pink don’t fuss and put all the veg into the pot and mix everything around.

Salt & Pepper in now.

Leave it on a medium heat for 10 minutes.

Staying on a medium heat add the spices along with the tomato purée and mix everything. It will become very heavy and compact which is fine just ensure everything is incorporated around the pot. This only takes a minute.

Everything should begin to loosen up when the stock is added. Again when adding this don’t be fussy just get it on and give a good stirring. 

Stir in the passata and the balsamic and another pinch of salt & pepper.

Crank up the heat until it begins to boil them switch the heat back down to a simmer. Leave like this for 45 – 60 mins adjusting the temperature if it begins to boil.

When it’s done turn off the heat and have a taste – strip the basil from the stalks roughly chop and stir into the sauce.

Cook the pasta and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

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