Tag Archives: homemade

Perfect Sweet Potato Fries

Right so let me just say that what constitutes as perfectly cooked sweet potato fries or any potato fries for that matter entirely depends on each person individual preferences. Some prefer crisp and crunchy while others prefer soft and smushy. Personally I like both as long as they taste good. But put a gun to my head and make me choose then it’s without a doubt crispy for me.

Methods of cooking will determine the final outcome of flavour and texture. Deep fried in oil will always guarantee crispy delicious golden fries but that about all you will get. Plus the nutrional value becomes irrelevant as soon as anything is cooked in large amounts of boiling hot grease.

If you want to achieve really tasty and delicious fries that are also beneficiary to your health then I suggest roasting is the best way to go. By roasting the fries you can load up on loads of extra flavour.

Traditionally, roasting anything invloves cooking food in an oven using fat (usually in the form of oil) and dry heat to render and soften meat or vegetables. The combination of fat and heat reduces moisture and causes the natural sugars in the food to caramelize and turn dark giving it a really rich intense and sweet flavour. When roasting, food is almost left uncovered and the food is cooked from the outside in.

Baking on the other hand is similar to roasting in terms of the dry heat method. However, fat is not used on the food and are often cooked “dry” covered with foil in order to retain the moisture.

Baking with fat – think of cakes and pastries. Fat is added into the mixture along with other ingredients. This time the dry heat and fat react in a way that forces the mixture to rise rather than carmelize. Food is covered and cooked from the inside out.

Sweet Potato Fries

These are so simple and the method below will without any doubt will create perfect fries each time. Many people I have spoken with who have tried to make sweet potatoefries in the oven always have the same complaint – that the fries don’t go crispy enough and that they always end up being to soft and limp.

The reason that they go soft and limp is because of too much moisture retention due to lack of heat in the oven and the airflow between them is not enough either. Essentially the potatoes are stewing in there own juices getting soggy.

First things first – for crispy fries you need to cut then up small. By small I don’t mean shoe string. Cut them up so that one large potato isn’t just 5 big wedges. Cut the potato in half and then half again and then in half again until a finger in length and size.

Quantities

For every 250g of fries I use 10g of coconut oil. I find this ratio works really well.

Spices

Paprika, Tumeric, Cayenne, Sea Salt & Pepper and sometimes Cinnamon.

Herbs

Garlic, Thyme, Rosemary

Preheat the oven to 180ยฐC

Put all of the veg and spices into z bowl or large tray. Melt the oil, pour over and give a good mix. Didn’t over fill the tray. Make sure there’s enough space for adequate air flow. Space them out, use two trays is necessary and rotate them in ghe oven from top to bottom every 30 mins or so.

Place in the oven and cook for 45-60 mins minimum. After that it’s a matter of personal preference.

Final word

With everything in the kitchen practice makes perfect. Learn from previous mistakes and then try again next time. Everything can be tailored and adjusted to suit the situation. Quality of food, the type of oven – gas or electric can have a huge impact when attempting a recipe. Recipes are only guidelines so try to figure out how you can do it better next time before giving up after the first time.

Shane

Basic essentials of vital importance for superstar student cooks.

Creating something from scratch takes some patience and dedication. Chefs, musicians, construction workers, artist’s all share something in common in terms of the equipment they use being of a certain quality or standard. 

This also applies to those of us who try to be creative at home. Having easy access to the necessary tools is of vital importance for anyone living off a budget, sticking to a healthy plan, preparing food in advance etc. I rely on a few basic peices of equipment that have a significant contribution in achieving efficiency in the kitchen. In other words, the items listed below allow me to prepare large quantities of food in the shortest amount of time because they help reduce the total amount time spent preparing & cooking food. This I believe a key factor when keeping track of a budget or a diet.

Before you say psycho…

I would like to confirm that the knife collection is due to a previous professional endeavor that is no longer the situation.

The majority of these knives are rarely used as the one I rely on the most is the long serrated confectioner’s knife (1st on right beside the sharpener). Costing around 30 euros (link below) it is by far the most versatile of the bunch because ilon one side of the blade there are little “teeth” and the other side is straight as a razor.
It gets used for everything – chopping all kinds of veg, slicing meat, carving chicken, cutting up desserts etc.

So – my recommendation is to forget about buying lots of different knives, just invest in one good knife and a steele or stone to maintain a sharp edge.

Mind your tips…

Unless you like the pain that comes with loosing a finger or two. I assure you the sensation triples when the skin is grazed from your knuckles while grating the zest from citrus fruits or hot chillies.
Besides that – using the madolin safely by taking your time pays dividends over time as you become faster. Before you know it, you’ll have developed ninja like speed just rattling off onions and peepers right down to the core stopping just before the tips of your fingers end up in the bin.

3 wise pans

Having in your possession some decent pans are essential components in the persuit of great cooking at home. A deep wok that allows you to make stirfrys, stew, spagball in fact anything in large batches. There’s nothing a wok cannot be used for as they are so versatile. 

A small pan for cooking omelettes / pancakes and reheating cooked rice in are perfect for quick and easy meals. Sometimes making  small quantities of food can get lost in a large pan so it is handy to have a small one on standby for meals that require less maintenance. 

And finally a griddle pan – IKEA sell these for โ‚ฌ10 and are ideal for bugers, steaks, chicken, sweet potatoes, corn on the cobb. This is personally my favorite because of the smokey, charred, bbq flavor that can be achieved when cooking meat or veg. The only downside is the amount of smoke that builds up when left on a high heat, even if it’s not for long. My advice is open the windows on advance. 

When the pan begins to smoke and get hot, put the meat or veg. onto the pan and let it cook for a few minutes then turn the heat down to medium. This way it allows for the food to become charred and will then slowly continue to do so as the smoke clears away.

Again it is unlikely that I would cook from start to finish on the griddle pan with the exception of burgers perhaps. Usually I’d start the chicken on the pan and finish it in the oven, or start in the oven and finish on the pan.

Nothing is achieved without effort so therefore the plan is to maximize the the highest amount of output based on the level of input. Having a few of the basic essentials will no doubt in my mind helps make life at the stove that bit easier.

Peace out,

Shane.

(The link for a good set of knives can be found below. Just to clarify this is NOT a paid advetisment by any company who either make/sell/stock these products, this is just some friendly advice)

http://www.sweeneyorourke.com/ebstore/so/product.asp?p_part_code=~4501%2E26

Nandos @ Home

A few words
Hands down the nicest dinner I’ve had in a long time. The variations are endless depends on your own taste – make it at home for half the cost and double the taste. A hectic schedule that consists of work, college (and now an internship) we usually reserve this recipe for weekends when there is more time dedicated to prep!

In saying that, should you manage to have the chicken marinated the corn and sweet potatoes cooked in advance and a bag of salad handy – there is no reason why this cannot be enjoyed on weekdays too.

The Ingredients

For the sweet potatoes…

1 large sweet potato

1 bulb of garlic

20g of melted coconut oil

Cajun seasoning ( I used gym chef for this)

For the chicken…

2 breasts/fillets

Cajun Spice (gym chef etc.)

For the sides…

Corn on the cobb

Salad

The Recipe.. but first do this

Turn on the oven. Boil the kettle. Heat a griddle pan on a low heat.

    • First cut the potatoes into large wedges then roughly chop/crush the garlic and place them in a bowl with the spices, and the oil tossing them until nicely coated. Put them onto a tray and cook on a medium heat for 45 mins (or more) depending on how you like the
    • Using roughly 1 tablespoon of the spice to coat the chicken as evenly as possible. Use as much or as little as possible. When the pan is hot enough cook the chicken without any oils on both sides for 5 minutes and then turn the heat down to low and continue to let the  chicken cook through. (15 mins in total
    • Boil the corn for 8-10 minutes then drain the water and finish on the griddle pan with the chicken to get that smokey charred flavor.
    • The salad (if your having it) is easy, just rough up some red onions peppers and cherry tomatoes finish off by mixing lemon juice, creme fraiche and spice mix up to dress the leaves.

    To add even more depth of flavor use a small knob of flavoured butter. No harm in allowing 10-20 grams melt over the chicken or corn at the very end. My personal favorite is from Aldo’s own range – jalapeรฑo chilli and lime.

    FFC #15 Improper Pizza

    Make the base, buy the base or use a tortilla as a base…. eaithet way it doesn’t matter. The real game changer is using improper butter as a base for the pizza.

    Home Base

    Simply melt half the pack in the microwave for 10-20 seconds. Then using a pastry brush, rub it all over the base. For these, I used the yellow pack (garlic) to make cheesy garlic bread. For the main event, the red pack (garlic, chilli, basil) same method applies: microwave, heat, brush, repeat until the whole base is covered. (Continued below)

    On Top

    Toppings are easy, whatever comes to mind out them on top. The only advice is to make sure meats and veggies are cut up into smaller pieces so they can cook evenly. Otherwise, any larger bits take longer and release water which results in a soggy bottoms. I love spicey meat feasts, and the pizza above is packed with Cajun chicken, chorizo, jalapenos, onions, mushrooms. Google your favourite pizza place and look at the menu, see what you like and create it yourself…

    The Heat is on

    In order for pizza to work it needs extreme heat. Traditional wood fire pizza oven reach temperatures of almost 400โ„ƒ. At this heat pizza can be cooked in as little as 90 seconds.

    Most of us at home do not have the luxury of a pizza oven out the back garden. Keep the heat of the oven all the up for extra crispness. If possible preheat or a pizza stone base with roughly a t-spoon of olive oil rubbed in with some kitchen paper. A medium sized tray will do if a stone base is not available.

    The reason for the preheated stone is make sure the base is getting a lot of heat from the beginning so it turns crisp.

    One way to guarantee avoiding a soggy bottom is to place the base onto the preheated stone for a few minutes prior to adding the toppings. But keep an eye on it, once it starts to show signs of crisping up take it out, lash on the butter, meats, veggies, cheese etc and place it back in.

    (Jut to be clear, I am not affiliated with improper butter or in anyway being endorsed to promote thier product. I just really love what they make, and think you should give it a try)

    FFCreations #10 No Holds Barred Nutella Pancakes

    These are not for the faint of heart. Packed full of chocolate, maple syrup and even ice cream if that’s how you want to enjoy these stacks of sweet indulgence.

    Embrace the gluten, (if of course it does cause you stomach wrenching pains then please move away from here, this is NOT your territory) it won’t kill you too jump off the “eatclean” wagon for once.

    Seriously if your not a coeliac then you have no excuse NOT to use flour every now and then.

    The following recipe serves 2 people. Please keep that in mind because the Nutritional value is also uploaded onto Myfitnesspal. All you need to do is search Feastfoodcreations and look for No Holds Barred Nutella Pancakes as seen below at the bottom.

    Again be sure to remember that this recipe is for 2 people unless stated otherwise.

    The option to select enough for 1 person is also available in the quantity menu.

    2 Full Stacks is the entire recipe for 2 people. 1 Full Stack is half of the recipe for 1 person.

    The recipe will include the basic ingredients needed to make pancakes such as flour, eggs, buttermilk etc. additional condiments must be added separately.

    This just allows you to pick and choose whatever toppings & quantities you prefer. I also kept the Nutella separate as each person prefers to have more or le… the entire jar.

    The recipe is below. Hope you enjoy, for macro friendly and healthier high protein pancake mix be sure to check out the next post. 

    Thanks Again,

    Shane.

    No Holds Barred Nutella Pancakes

    Ingredients:

    200g Self Raising Flour

    200ml Buttermilk

    3 large eggs

    1 tsp vanilla essence

    15g Coconut Oil

    Additional Condiments:

    1. Nutella
    2. Flaked Almonds
    3. Maple Syrup
    4. Ice Creme
    5. Greek Yogurt
    6. Berries

    How to make:

    Sift the flour, add in the eggs and mix.

    Pour in the buttermilk until a smooth batter forms with no lumps.

    Depending on the consistency, add in less or more milk if you want thin or thick pancakes.

    Let the mix rest for 15 minutes or overnight if making if advance.

    Melt some of the coconut oil in pan. 

    Pour in some (a soup ladle) of the mix and move the pan around so it spreads evenly.

    Cook on each side for 3/4 mins over a medium heat.

    Keep warm in a low oven if needs be.

    FFCreations #9 Burrito Bowl

    Nutritional information for this recipe can be found on myfitnesspal by searching for “feastfoodcreations” in the database.

    Usually by the end of the week, there does be plenty of odd bits lying around the fridge. 

    Half empty packets of cheese, vegetables chopped but never used and multiple jars of the same spices all opened and disorganised on the rack.

    Worst of all, fresh Meat that has been bought or defrosted that needs to be used asap or it goes in the bin. Waste of money and time!!

    One of best ways of eliminating waste (apart from Currys & Bolognese) and managing to keep it light, quick and easy is to lack everything into a Burrito Bowl…

    Of course, there aren’t any rules so throw in whatever is available. Below is my own take on one of my favourite foods when I need too clear out the press or just want a decent feed.

    Burrito Bowl (serves 2)

    Ingredients:
    Choose either: 2 x Spicey Turkey Burgers or 2 x Chicken Fillets

    250g Wholegrain Rice

    60g Mozzarella Cheese

    40g Creme Fraiche

    20g Coconut Oil

    2 Peppers

    2 Garlic Cloves

    1 Red Onion

    1 Spring Onion

    Baby Spinach (handful)

    1 tbsp Cayenne & Paprika

    1 tbsp Turmeric

    20g Red/ Green Jalapenos

    40g hot sauce/salsa (optional)

    Seasoning – Rock Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper.

    Method:

    Simply cook the turkey/chicken in a large pan with the coconut oil.

    Roughly chop up the vegetables and add them in too.

    Season, and cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat.

    Mix in the spices – continue cooking over a medium heat.

    Heat the rice in the microwave.

    In a separate pan, melt some more of the coconut oil and add in some spring onions.

    Add in the rice and fry then add in the Turmeric. 

    Cook for a few minutes over a medium heat.

    Assemble in a bowl starting with the rice, baby spinach, meat & veggies.

    Top off with cheese, creme fraiche, jalapenos, (and hot sauce or salsa for an extra kick).

    Nutritional Content based on 2 bowls.

    • Total Calories: 1308
    • Total Protein: 109g
    • Toatal Carbs: 114g
    • Total Fat: 46g

    FFCreations #8 Salted Caramel Protein Cheesecake

    Tempted to indulge with the return of GBBO? These are quick, easy & require NO baking.

    Serves 2

    Ingredients: 

    50g Ground Almonds

    10g Coconut Oil (melted)

    250g Quark Cheese

    60g Whey Protein – salted caramel flavour

    10g Flaked Almonds

    4 squares 70% Dark Chocolate

    10 Raspberries

    Methods

    1. Start by toasting the ground almonds in a pan over a low heat until golden brown and leave to cool.
    2. Once cooled mix with the coconut oil.
    3. Combine the protein powder and the quark.
    4. In a glass, layer the bottom with the ground almonds and press firmly with a spoon.
    5. Place some of the raspberries around the edges.
    6. Spoon in the quark and smooth the top.
    7. Break the dark chocolate up and sprinkle on the top.
    8. Finish with the remaining raspberriess and some toasted flaked almonds.
    9. Leave to chill for 1-2 hours.