Monica's Apple Caramel Sponge

My mom has been making this recipe for as long as I can remember. First, you bake the appley, cinnamony sponge, then you pour the steaming, rich caramel sauce over and allow it to sink in. Heaven with cream or custard. There are 140 varieties of apples that are native to Ireland with wonderful names like 'Cavan Rose' and 'Irish Molly'. Any eating or cooking apple will work, so have fun experimenting with different types, not the same old same old!

Bite's Lobster Burger

The Dublin restaurant celebrates the gorgeous local lobster, and this recipe is a winner!

Beef and Guinness Tagine

Nothing is more Irish than a beef and Guinness casserole, but in the spirit of ish I had to change it up a bit. Guinness is quite bitter, so to balance that I took a cue from Moroccan cuisine and added dried prunes to the recipe. They break down and add to the rich, darkly delicious sauce. Every tagine needs a bit of spice, so I chose the allspice berry for another layer of warm flavour. You can add more root vegetables like parsnips and turnips for extra veggie power.

Boerewors Kofta and Cherry Tomato Chutney

Coriander is a spice that permeates South African cooking, from our traditional boerewors sausage through to our cured meat speciality, biltong. The seeds have quite a different flavour from the fresh leaves. To get the most flavour, dry fry the whole seeds until you can smell them, then grind them down with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder.

Superfood Slaw

When I first moved to Ireland I was baffled and slightly horrified by the coleslaw/ham and coleslaw/cheese combo. In South Africa I'd only ever had coleslaw as a salad with a 'braai' (BBQ). Now I secretly enjoy this mayonnaisey concoction on a crusty roll! A real superfood, cabbage is such an integral part of Irish cuisine that I decided to give coleslaw the ish makeover. Use red cabbage, add another Irish superfood-seaweed- and lots super seeds and sprouted seeds and you have a super slaw. The dressing in this recipe is a lighter, zingier alternative to plain mayonnaise.

Jewelled Chinese 5 Spice Duck Salad

One of my favourite recipes for entertaining, this salad looks fabulous for Christmas with ruby red pomegranate jewels and juicy mango. The ish ingredient is Chinese 5 Spice which is an aromatic blend of spices that marries perfectly with luxurious duck breasts. Toasted sesame oil, another ish factor, and plenty of fresh lime, finishes off this very special sensational salad.

Peach and Chilli Chutney

While the chutney is still hot, bottle it in warm, sterilised jars.

Apple and Carrot Muffins

Shop-bought muffins are a bugbear of mine, full of sugar and very high calorie! They are really cake without the icing. Definitely not a good breakfast option or a lunchbox filler! These muffins get a fibre boost from apples, carrots and oats, all good sources of healthy carbohydrates too! The recipe uses natural sweeteners like apple, raisins and nutmeg and less sugar. Ideal for breakfast or as a lunchbox treat.

Lentil Salad with Sunblush Tomatoes and Feta

From: Today

This is one of my all time favourite salads. It has a really moreish taste with a lovely texture. This is one of my 'substantial salad' recipes: salads made with resilient ingredients that are filling, transport well and stay fresh. Lentils are economical, highly nutritious and easy to cook. This salad makes a great packed lunch, and will stay fresh in the fridge for three days. Delicious hot or cold, served with grilled fish or on its own.

Brie, Nut and Ginger Wheel

Great for sharing between two for Valentine's Day or as an appetizer or dessert during a dinner party




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