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  • caldun09

Personal cooking talents and the new Masterchef

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

During the Corona Virus lock-down we all had more time to discover and develop our inner self and talents. I had a close look at my culinary skills, and I was pleasantly surprised at my proficiency at cooking . I am delighted to be able to share them with you . I like somethings in life better than others and cooking comes near the top of the pile.

I have perfected some nutritious recipes over the years like boiling two eggs. The method is simple . You just buy the eggs. Place the required number in a saucepan with water and boil for 3 minutes and serve in an egg cup . I usually take two and flavour them up with a pinch of salt and a knob of butter. There is a great advantage in that wash up afterwards is minimal. I usually follow it with a slice or two of toast with pure Kerrygold butter and a kindly dollop of marmalade topped off with a mug of real tea.

The younger folk here at home love my homemade chips with rasher and dippy fried egg. Here it is vital to have a few big rooster potatoes, chip them just before oiling them up with a drizzle of rapeseed oil and place them on an oven tray lined with grease proofed paper and cook in the oven preheated to 180 degrees for approximately 40 minutes . I usually add in the rashers on a separate tray and cook for 25 minutes . Eggs are pan fried in olive oil. These are delicious when served with generous dollops of tomato ketchup and sprinkled with vinegar and a pinch of salt or Herbamare. We collect our 7-year-old grandson from school every Wednesday and cook lunch for him before art class. The only dish wanted is his favourite grandad’s chunky chips and dippy egg. Such is it's popularity that we get a phone call on Tuesday evening from him checking that it is on the menu for the following day. Any other menu suggestions are met with a polite ,no thank you .I don’t think I will be out of chef duty any time soon because there is also a three-year-old whose favourite dish is , Yes ,you’ve guessed it, Grandad’s Chunky chips and dippy egg .

Another quickie dish of mine is my mushroom omelette . You just chop up some scallions, add in one large vine tomato, chopped up small, 2 small packs of button mushrooms, quartered, and fry these in the frying pan. Then I add in 4-5 beaten eggs and heat it all on a warm ring for a few minutes .After that I put them under the grill for 5 minutes adding in some feta cheese and Voila, hey presto you have a very nutritious meal for two.

As I mature my culinary skills are naturally improving and I have advanced to the exotic chicken fajitas .I adore the taste of them, and they are so healthy and easy to make. Firstly, it is essential to buy 6 free range chicken breasts and ensure they are not frozen. You remove any grizzle or bone and then chop them into bite sized pieces and place them in a bowl. I use 6 chicken breasts soaked in marinade. This is heaps, as the Australians say, for 3-4 people.

For the marinade I use a homemade recipe made up of teaspoon of oil, a clove of garlic, oregano ,cumin, half teaspoon sugar, pinch of salt and the juice of half a lemon or lime. The lime gives the marinade and hence the chicken a nicer flavour. This marinade is poured over the chicken which is then left aside for a minimum of half an hour, or overnight if you have the time and let the chicken really absorb the marinade thus further enhancing the flavour.

Next I cook the chicken for 30 minutes in the oven preheated to 180 degrees and check a few times to make sure the juices do not run dry during cooking.

Now I get out the peppers one red, one green ,one yellow and start de seeding and chopping them into bite size pieces ready for popping in the pot.

There is also the red onion , that tearjerker of a vegetable, to be peeled and chopped and then I am ready for the cooking process.

There are two essential words for this process namely LOW and SLOW so that there will be no burning of pots or pans.

Next I place the onion and peppers in a preheated pot on a slow ring until they are nice and soft and juicy.

Now it is time to get out the salsa , the natural yogurt or crème fresh and the chopped-up lettuce and grated cheese and allow people to fill their own fajita on the heated tortilla wrap as they wish, thus ensuring personal preferences and tastes are met.

Once all have been suitably filled it is time to sit down and gorge on the feast of chicken etc

When it comes to other dishes like the leek and chicken pie, chicken broccoli bake , fish pies , spaghetti Bolognese ,shepherdess pie, I defer to the executive chef and am quite happy to assume my role as commis chef.

Later on, of course I can share in the credits, of the way the veggies were chopped, when the dish comes out of the oven and tastes scrumptious.

I must say I attended a full Happy Heart course in Greystones a few years ago where I learned about food values and I also was exposed to many new recipes like Aubergine and chick-pea tagine or shepherdess pie and their tasty 3 bean salads. I found this two-month long course very beneficial. I really liked their Mediterranean oven cooked veggies and still use that recipe today. By strictly dieting and keeping a daily log of my food intake for the two months I dropped my cholesterol to 4.6 and I also lost 10 pounds in weight . Hip Hip

Another great asset is Eco Restaurant in Gorey. They have a great variety of recipes and dishes including some very tasty Thai green curry with chicken or prawns which I am partial to. They are within walking distance of our house. You can ring up at 5 o clock and collect at 6. I just love that recipe, no prep, no wash up. You just walk a little, flash a card , collect the bag and head home to dine.

Happy cooking to you all or happy take-away if that’s your choice.

Bon Appetit

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