If like me you feel a little fragile today, after watching the amazing win from the Irish team against France, during the Rugby world cup yesterday, I have a lovely little salad for you. Don’t knock it until you try it, it really works! I often have this for breakfast…
I often make that bread; focaccia like, it works really well with a full Irish or a healthier breakfast like this one. I also serve it when I make a curry or even Couscous, you know, for the sauce. So Hungry “B”’s bread? Here we go.
200g pasta/ pizza flour
10cl of warm water
2 tsp of dried yeast (if you can get fresh one, by all means… Ask your local baker or pizzeria for a bit).
1 tsp of sugar
1 tbsp of organic Greek style yoghurt
1 tbsp of rapeseed or olive oil
Coarse sea salt
Put the flour in a bowl, I prefer organic in general; throw in a pinch of salt. In a bowl, pour in 10cl of warm water, 2 tsp of dried yeast and 2 tsp of sugar. Give it a stir and put in a dark place (the press or “cupboard” or even the oven ( yes, leave it off). After 10 minutes, you should get a cappuccino like foam. Pour the lot with the flour; add the yoghurt and the oil. Start with a spoon or a fork, then my friends, use your hands. I like to keep the dough relatively wet. Cover the bowl with cling film and back in its dark place it goes for thirty minutes. Put the dough on a floured baking tray, just like that, roughly flatten with the palm of your hand but don’t fuss too much. Pour a bit of olive oil on top and some coarse sea salt. Bake at 200c for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool for a bit. You will find that the bread has an amazing soft texture.
To dress your breakfast, spread the bread with soft goat’s cheese ( nothing too strong in this case), thinly slice a ripe avocado and squeeze a drizzle of blood orange. Fry an organic free range egg gently for 5 minutes (I cover the pan with a bowl so the yolk can remain soft but not runny).
Serve with a glass of freshly squeezed blood orange juice, a great healthy and tasty way to start the day!
I know it sounds a bit weird, a salad in winter? Having made a big pot of ragù Bolognese yesterday, tonight’s dinner is already sorted and wintery enough! Almost as much as the weather forecast schedule to hit us in the next 24 to 48 hours; storm force winds, snow? Hard to imagine this lunchtime, the pale sun is beaming in the sleeping veg garden, where once again I promised myself to have beetroots and herbs, carrots and leaves… One can dream… Or ought to get his act together.
The dog and one of the cats reluctantly tagged along for a short walk through the woods, across the field and back in the garden. I asked my four legged companions if they were ready to go home for lunch; the dog is standing impatiently by the door of the house as if saying “wow, that was fun, we should do that again sometimes? Now open the door will ya?” They always seem to know when the weather is about to change; but saying that, I do leave the radio on for them in the afternoon.
So where was I? Yes, lunch, of course and a controversial craving for salad. Fridge door opens, beetroot, carrot, we’ve got a theme going here… What’s this? Red cabbage I bought two weeks ago? Well at least the intention was good. Little head of broccoli for contrast? Why not. I bought a piece of Ardsallagh goat’s cheese from Co. Cork last Friday, which should work pretty well; a few garlic croutons in the pan and a scattering ofwalnuts… Almost there. To dress the whole thing, I used three Tbsp of olive oil, one of soya sauce and one of Irish apple vinegar.
Now, let’s look at that weather forecast again… Ah sure, it doesn’t look that bad… Does it?
Chop the onions in small pieces and fry gently in an olive oiled pan, with a tiny pinch of salt. Reserve salting towards the end as it will make the lentils bitter otherwise. Put in the lentils and the chopped chorizo and let it sweat for a bit so the flavours bind together. Top up with water and let it simmer until cooked. This should take about 20-25 minutes max.
The water has almost disappeared, have a taste, it should be ready! Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper and crumble some Triskel or St Tola Irish goat’s cheese or your favourite fresh goat’s cheese for that matter, mild or strong, whatever takes your fancy!