Jemmas Chilli con Carne

Super Tasty Chilli con Carne
This delicious classic dish can be a real family favourite so I hope you enjoy it. Packed with immune boosting onions and garlic, iron rich beef and kidney beans to help keep your fibre intake optimal, this dinner ticks lots of boxes on the health front. This recipe serves approx. 4 adult size portions but I say double it, and get 4 extra portions in the freezer to get you through the predicted cold spell in the coming weeks! You can make this either on your hob or slow-cooker. Serve with some avocado slices and steamed rice.

• 1 tbsp olive oil/steamed coconut oil (no coconut taste)
• 2 large red onions, finely sliced
• 4 cloves of crushed garlic
• 2 tbsp mild chilli powder – reduce to 1tbsp if the kiddies don’t like the heat!
• 2 tsp ground cumin
• 2 tsp dried oregano
• 1kg minced beef
• 400g tin of chopped tomatoes/plum tomatoes
• 3 x 400g tins of red kidney beans, rinsed in a sieve
• 2 beef stock cubes
• 200mls of water
• 2 large red peppers, chopped
• 10 sundried tomatoes – optional but they do give amazing flavour

1. Heat your oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 3. Heat the oil, preferably in a large lidded casserole dish, and fry the onions until soft. Add the garlic, spices and oregano and cook for 1 min, then gradually add the mince, stirring well until browned. Stir in the tomatoes, water and then crumble in the stock cubes and mix.
2. Cover and simmer gently for 30 mins, stirring occasionally. Stir in the peppers and sundried tomatoes, then cook for a further 30 mins. Then stir in the beans and simmer gently for 3-5 minutes, until the beans have warmed through.
3. If you want to use a slow cooker, fry your onions in a pan for 8 mins, then add your garlic, spices and oregano and cook for a minute. Tip all of the ingredients into your slow cooker, crumble in the stock cubes and mix well to break up the minced beef. Cook on Low for 8 hours, then serve.

 

The love affair with the slow cooker continues. Since I've gone back to full time work I'm just in awe of how people get dinner on the table day in day out. This is where the reliance on the slow cooker comes from. I'm an early riser. Is it from the farm alarm from years ago or is it from being a mother of four? I don't know. My family are all insomniacs so it's possibly just that. Throw in the worry wart gene and sleep alludes me. So getting up early is generally not a problem unless I've just gone asleep. Anyway, it's something I'm trying to improve. So to fire food into the slow cooker early morning is easy for me.  But for those who think they don't have time to do it in the morning, I promise you, what would take you half the evening, only takes five or ten minutes in the morning. Love it. So try this. You'll also love the smell when you get home and can light the fire while the rice is cooking. The cold is coming... Enjoy, the butchers wife xx


Sumptuous Slow Cooker Roast Chicken

 

Boo – if you saw me now you’d be scared – I’m up since before the crack of dawn trying to get some work done before the children descend on me. They’ll all be flying high today. The butcher as usually is gone since the early hours but not without leaving a trail of destruction in his wake….

Yesterday in a last minute bid to embrace all that is Halloween I bought a few decorations with the kids. One is a fake mirror that is sensor operated and has a very scary skeleton reveal himself and say scary stuff as you pass. We hung it inside the front door and we were waiting with great excitement to see himself come home and jump out of his skin with fright. Of course, it was cheap, and the sensor didn’t work. You had to press a button to get it working.

So we pressed it when we passed and all we’re suitably scared. The butcher and I were the only two awake as he left this morning – and guess what. As he walked passed it, the sensor worked for the first time ever. It’s very loud. The front door closed and a few seconds later a tear stained Harriet peered around the door of the office. God love her. ‘I hate it Mammy, I hate it’. Ah Lord…it’s going to be a long day.

We’ve only two dressing up this year – two out of four. This makes me sad. Little indicators that they are growing up. Last year for book day, the three that are left in primary dressed up. They were all very excited. Our eldest boy who was in fifth class then dressed up as Asterisks. He’s a large, round and funny Viking type character and we had great crack putting the outfit together. So everyone was up early and got dressed up. We arrived at school and as soon as our son realised that little or no one was dressed up in his class he freaked out. He was very upset. I brought him home to change. He felt like a fool. I was gutted. I had been delighted with his excitement and I suppose maybe hanging on to the innocence a bit longer clouded my judgement and didn’t warn him that maybe his peers weren’t dressing up. But his excitement led me to believe they all were. I dropped him back to school in his uniform and drove away, tears rolling down my face. A little bit of innocence gone for him and a little bit of his confidence taken away.

So if the kids are dressing up. If there are clothes and fake cobwebs everywhere and you’re tripping over skeleton bones and the decorations. If there’s face paint smeared into the couch (aghhhhhhhh…) it’ll pass. And then they won’t want to dress up. My eldest isn’t dressing up this year. Won’t risk it.

I’ll stop now because I’ll blubber. Jemma has given me this fab recipe. Although the butchers wife tips says I haven’t tried it because I hadn’t at that point but since. I’ve actually made it twice or should I say the butcher stuck it on twice. That’s a big flashing light saying how say this is… His go to meal is Daddys’ famous toasted sandwiches. Try this, divine. We has it potatoes and carrots and with stir fried vegetables and rice Monday night.

Happy Halloween you all…. Enjoy it x

Sumptuous Slow Cooker Roast Chicken

Spice Rub
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
• 1 teaspoon garlic granules
• 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon thyme

Chicken
• 1 x Whole Chicken – approx. 1.6kg – 1.8kgs
• 1 x peeled onion, sliced into 3 x thick rings

Combine all of the spices together in a bowl and mix. Rub the chicken with 1 tbsp of soft butter to coat the surface of the chicken. This helps the spices to stick to the chicken but also creates a lovely brown skin by the end of the cooking time. Sprinkle the spices over the chicken and rub them so as all of the surface of the chicken is covered in the mix. (You let this marinade overnight if you have time for extra flavour) Lay the onion slices on the bottom of the slow cooker, add 100mls of water and then place your chicken on top. Cover with a lid and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Then allow it to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Enjoy!

Let’s Nutrify – Jemma’s Tip
So this is what will be cooking in my kitchen next Wednesday for a Halloween dinner. I’m already filled with dread at the thoughts of all of the sticky, sugary sweeties that my kiddo’s will collect after some “Trick or Treating”. So the secret is to get a hearty, protein rich dinner into them an hour or 2 before trick or treat time to prevent mega-sugar highs and lows (that and disposing of 9/10’s of their sweetie haul when they go to bed that night, but shhh! Don’t tell them that!). This fits the bill. I can pop this in the slow cooker around 9am and look forward to a scrumptious roast chicken dinner by 4pm. I often pop in some whole, peeled carrots and parsnip about 1-2 hours before the end of cooking time and that’s the veggies taken care of. Or you can serve with roast veggies and steamed baby potatoes.

Tips from the Butchers Wife
I’m really excited about the upcoming slow cooker recipes. Have I mentioned I LOVE MY SLOW COOKER – how has it come to this – I used to have a life. Honestly I did. But now I am busy…. Busy busy busy and anything that reduces the stress and feeds me well I love. My needs are simple. I would definitely marinate this the night before – take it out of the fridge in the morning and stick it on – haven’t tried this yet but Halloween is coming and I’ve a list of recipes to try. I must admit I’ve been rolling out the old reliables. So want a stock of new easy slow cooker recipes. I’ll let you know how I get on. Just a question for Jemma – by dispose of the junk do you mean eat them yourself. That’s how I interpret that – it’s for the good of the children after all!!


Lamb and Prune Tagine

 

No messing around this week listening to me withering on.... try this...

Lamb and Prune Tagine

INGREDIENTS
• 1 TBSP OLIVE OIL (13G)
• 1KG DICED LAMB
• SALT & PEPPER (3G)
• 2 ONIONS CHOPPED (300G)
• 4 GARLIC CLOVES (12G)
• 5CM KNOB OF GINGER, PEELED AND CHOPPED (20G)
• 1 TBSP HARISSA (18G)
• 2 TSP GROUND CUMMIN (GG)
• 1 TSP GROUND CINNAMON (2G)
• 1 TSP FENNEL SEEDS (2G)
• 1 LITRE CHICKEN STOCK
• 4-6 LARGE RIPE TOMATOES, ROUGHLY CHOPPED
• 200G PRUNES
• 100G GREEN OLIVES, STONED
• 100G SHELLED PISTACHIOS
• 20G CORIANDER CHOPPED

PREPARATION
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy based saucepan and brown the lamb well on all sides. Season generously. When you’ve got a good colour on the meat, after about 5 minutes of stirring and browning on a relative high heat, add the onions, garlic and ginger and cook out for another 2 minutes, until the onions start to soften and carmelise. Add the harissa and spices and mix really well. Cook for another 3 or 4 minutes so that the spices and harissa coat the meat.
Add the stock, cover with lid, turn down the heat and simmer for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is burning at the bottom of the pan. At this stage you can let cool and leave in the fridge overnight and cook the following day, which allows the flavours to develop further but you can continue in one go. Add the tomatoes, prunes, olives and pistachios and cook, uncovered for another hour. At this stage it should have reduced to a nice consistency and the flavours should be really good. The bottom line is that the lamb need to cook for 2 hours in total which can be done in one go or split over 2 days. Garnish with the coriander and serve with rice. Yum !

Let's Nutrify! - Jemma's tips

Lamb is such a favourite of mine, both because of the delicious sweet taste but also because I know how nourishing it is. Rich in easy to digest iron, b vitamins and zinc, lamb makes the perfect winter boost if the energy levels are flagging. Lamb is also a relatively wild meat, outdoor reared and feeding naturally year round on the grasses and plants that they've always eaten. Owing to this, lamb is rich in omega 3's and also in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been linked with lower body mass and seems to help with weight management. The ginger, fennel seeds, and prunes contained in this recipe make it rich in antioxidants, easy to digest and a wonderful source of soluble fibre. So if you would traditionally have found that red meat slows down your digestion, you'll be pleasantly surprised by this dish! This dish freezes really well so be sure to make plenty and store some for those cold, dark nights! Serve it with some roasted root veggies or roasted cauliflower."

Shane Dineen Fitness
Super fuel recipe with fantastic flavour, well worth the effort, see nutri info below:
Per portion:
Carbs : 26g
Protein : 56.6g
Fat : 33.4g
Fibre : 10.5g
Calories : 625

Butchers wife tip.
This tagine is ideal for a large group, this recipe serves 6 people, and is great with some rice and roasted veggies. The harissa gives it heat with body rather than outright fire, but feel free to add more if you like it. Seems alot of effort but if you use the frozen pre chopped ginger and just chuck in a tin of chopped tomatoes instead of chopping that cuts out chopping time.  If you don't have harrisa use some chilli flakes to add the heat... enjoy x


Back to school

Back to school.
Rose of Tralee
Is there anything like the Rose of Tralee on the box, to say back to school? I always had a love/ hate relationship with the Rose of Tralee festival. On one side, I was allowed stay up late and look at all the lovely dresses but on the other, the anxiety about school would be mounting and a sense of imminent doom. This year we have a Waterford Rose winner which is great. Congratulations to Kirsten Mate Maher and I hope she has a great year.

What time is it?
Alas, back to school. I hate talking about it, I hate thinking about it, and I hate actually doing something about it. Organising back to school. Hate Hate Hate. It screams of homework, rushing dinner, rushing to activities, it screams of rushing, just rushing. It also highlights my bad, bad timekeeping. I am not a good time keeper. I try to keep good time but I always fall short about five minutes. Which, I have learned from my friend who is always on time, is actually ten minutes, because you should be five minutes early. But I always think I could just get another little thing done, a counter cleared off, a wash on, veg chopped for later or just make a latte to go even though I’ve been swigging from one since I got up. And then I’ll usually end up driving stressed, guilty and saying very mean things to myself in the head. This year I will be better….

Organisation Skills
I normally organise for the following year before they finish school in June – get the uniforms sorted, pay the book rental scheme, cleanout schoolbags and put away etc. Please do not think that I am in any way organised. I AM NOT. AT ALL. But I think I might have alluded to the fact that I hate thinking about back to school. Therefore, in order to allow me to just get up on the morning of back to school and without thinking about it prior to this, the above is what I normally do. Not this year though, because the weather was so amazing prior to the school holidays that we went from school to swim most days. I even thought about taking the children out of school (Shhh….don’t tell my school attendance officer brother).

Angry
So this year I found myself in a queue for the secondary school books during the summer. By the time I got to the counter I was in fowl form. The poor student, working for the summer, trying to earn a few quid for college or pints or both, was being very patient with me. I eventually had to explain to him that I’m normally quite a pleasant person but I find spending lots of money and I mean lots (more of that later) on something that the person receiving them isn’t best pleased about receiving, is just a tad frustrating. Well, you see where I’m going.

Voluntary contributions
What is the story with the cost of school books? Our eldest started secondary school last year with books alone costing nearly €500, not to mention uniform, administration costs, art and the ‘voluntary contribution’. I actually thought naively that that was that for three years. But no. The Irish League of Credit Unions say the average spend per year on a primary school child is €999 and a secondary school child is €1379. OMG! In our primary school, I pay, before summer starts, a fee per child for book rental and supplies. I do not buy books. This covers it all. It’s really good compared to others schools that you have to buy books and pay for all the rest. But with secondary school it’s absolutely madness. I can’t help but wonder, is someone ensuring that big school publishers thrive. Does history change? Geography? Maths? Why not do the book rental scheme in all schools??? Surely, better than filling the world with first editions, second, third editions that books are reused or perhaps the use of iPad – although how would you know your darling teenager is not snap chatting instead of studying? That point needs more thought. With the school book business being upwards of €55 million, the government supplement the cost of books in DEIS schools but parents are mostly picking up the bill. This is, 25 years after a report into the cost of schools books was carried out and school rental scheme was the main recommendation. Besides that, someday a school or the department of education will be sued over damaged backs of teenagers carrying enormous books. Oh Lord, why am I even giving out? If nothing has been done after 25 years and as we’re apparently now out of recession (really?) the appetite for change will not be as ferocious.

Anyway – enough of that, you’ve heard it all before. So here’s some advice from the butchers wife on how to beat those back to school pitfalls.

1. Set your alarm 20 minutes earlier. This will work, possibly, day one or could back fire and you think you’ve all the time in the world that you loll around checking emails, what’s app and Facebook and you actually tear in the school gate even later than last year and still have to put up your daughters hair so she might not get the dreaded head lice. So you stand outside the car, while the priomhóide is giving assembly in the chlós, pulling the head off your daughter, with tears rolling down her face, but technically she is present for assembly so yay, win.
2. Prep school lunches the night before so you can ensure your darlings will have a healthy nutritious lunch every day.
What actually happens? Monday Tuesday and maybe even Wednesday the lunch boxes contain all if not most of the food groups – protein, dairy, fruit, vegetables and carbs. Thursday’s lunch includes cheese strings, three biscuits and a jam sandwich and Friday’s lunch box is a petrol station breakfast roll and a fruit winder (its fruit isn’t it??).
3. Label everything. This actually does help in locating the third school jumper that has been lost and it’s not even Halloween. You dread asking the teacher if they’ve come across said jumper, in fear they send you to the lost and found box in the store room that smells of, what I can only be described as, old gym gear at best or, at worst, something Gordon Ramsey finds in a fridge of a closing down road side restaurant in Iowa.
4. Lay out clothes the night before therefore saves time in the morning. Again possibly on a Sunday Monday and Tuesday evening I might remember to do this but by Thursday and Friday morning the children head off to school looking like something out of a Charles Dickens novel.
5. Prepare healthy mid-week dinners in advance. Involve the children in this task so they are more invested in their food.
Reality of this is, you were too unorganised to do this at the weekend and therefore you start from scratch and if you attempt to involve the children, the kitchen ends up like a scene from a war movie (more than when you started). The dog won’t even look at the dinner never mind attempting to eat it and you end up cooking pasta.
6. Ensure the children have a consistent bedtime routine. Yay, I do manage consistency here. I consistently ask the children to step away from the TV, then I consistently ask them to wash their face, hands and teeth. They might do one of these and then I consistently ask them to get into bed. I consistently try and read them a relaxing bedtime story without the consistent argument who gets to lie beside me and I consistently end up giving up and closing the book and vowing that tomorrow night will be better.

So there you go, some back to school advice to get you through the first few weeks but one must at least try. For those of you with a little one just starting, be it your first, or your last, I have the ABBA song, ‘Slipping through my fingers’, in my head. The late great Gerry Ryan played this song on the first of September every year – school bag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning, waving goodbye with an absent minded smile……
Makes me cry every year.

PS here’s a recipe that was loved in our house using this weeks special offer so it might help with the back to school economies...
The Butchers Wife xx

Chicken and Chorizo
1 tbsp. olive oil
300g chorizo cut into cubes.
10 chicken pieces  

CHORIZO AND CHICKEN PIECES WITH RICE. YUM

salt and fresh grounded black pepper

2 small onions, chopped
8 cloves of garlic
300g basmati rice
200mls white wine

1 litre of chicken/vegetable stock
2 tbsp. of chopped flat leaf parsley.

Methods
Put olive oil into casserole dish on a medium heat. And add the chorizo. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes until it releases the lovely tasty oils and remove the chorizo but leave the oil in the dish.
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and add to the casserole dish and cook for 6-8 minutes turning to make sure it’s browned all over.
Then stir in the onions and garlic and fry for about 5 minutes or until the onions are soft and slightly browned.
Add the rice and pour in the wine, then bring to a simmer and cook for about 3-4 minutes reducing slightly.
Pour in the stock and bring to boil, and then reduce the heat, season with salt and pepper, cover with a lid and cook for 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the chorizo, parsley and serve.

 

The finished product X2

#Tips from the butchers wife.
This was a big big hit in my house!! Delicious – if you’ve drank all the wine replace it with extra stock instead. But don’t worry all the alcohol is cooked off anyway. Serve with a salad or some vegetables.

 


Equality and division of labour (part two)

Gender Determined Roles

The baby of the house is seven. She loves nothing more than to draw pictures, write little stories and make cards. So I have collections of little drawings etc. She skipped down the stairs and handed me this the other day.

Following on from the previous post regarding division of labour maybe we need to work harder and not have the division so determined by gender. Opps.... Not great. Soccer and rugby under dads column and baking and dishes under my column. Delighted with the card though. Great phonics ....


Summer Time! BBQ Time!

Well hello ladies.

Digging a hole

Isn't BBQ season just marvellous for us women?
Himself piped up the other day, "isn't it grand for you now that I'm doing all the cooking." I looked up expectantly. Where is he going with this one? "Well now that the good weather is here and the kids are on holidays, you don't have to do anything"? Again I gave him the eye. Say nothing and see how deep this hole he is digging will be. I don't even have to supply the shovel.

The Great Gender Divide and Primeval instinct
"Well sure we (I'm assuming he means men) do all the BBQing”. "Yes, you do BBQ." said I. "Well it makes things easier for you" said he. "That it does. All I have to do when you're BBQing is bring out the meat, the marinade, the thongs, the forks, the plate to put it all on, then make the salads and wash the spuds and then after I get to clean the grill racks." It was his turn to stay silent.
So why do men do the BBQ. It’s a 'primeval instinct’ for men to barbecue. They’re essentially hard-wired to work with meat and fire. It certainly would be weird to see himself make a salad while I BBQed and although I'm the primary caregiver and himself the main earner we live in a house that has good equality balance of roles.

Equality 
Equality, in the home, to me means that we share out what needs to be done. Division of labour. I struggled initially with being “a kept woman" as it is traditionally seen. I find it strange that the care of children and investing time and effort in home life is less valued than a job. True equality is about choice. I choose to be at home. I’m lucky enough to have that choice but I did feel a little “anti-feminist” in my choice. At times I felt judged, by women more than men. But I think i was judging myself more. Was I setting a good example for my daughters?  But as time went on and life threw curve balls and it was essential for someone to be at home I was grateful for the choice and was at peace in my role. I’m lucky.

Gin and Tonics with a delicious dinner with the Matriarch and the sister

Anyway back to how lucky I am to have little to do now that it’s BBQ season. The weather is just amazing. We’ve been BBQing at the beach and at home. I love the Cajun chicken kebabs. I usually add them to my salad of leaves with toasted walnuts, tomatoes and beetroot. Love love love !!!! The kids are loving the BBQ sausages and the lamb kebabs. They haven’t time to chew. The butcher enjoys the beef or lamb burgers. But at the weekend I said no more. I was being lazy about changing what I was eating. My Mam and my sister were staying over and I wanted to feed them well. So I tried the butterflied leg of lamb on the BBQ. I marinated it with lemon juice, crushed garlic and salt and pepper. Simple. It was nearly half eaten before I got it to the table. It really is delicious and quick. And a welcome change from the typical BBQ fare. I served the lamb with South East Produce New Potatoes and a simple salad of leaves with mint. So between the delicious lamb and new potatoes with melting butter, portion distortion was the order of the day. I’ve found a Jamie Oliver recipe that I’m going to try for the marinade and will share the results.
So the butcher got to try something new and I enjoyed the results immensely – He even washed the grill rack after.

True love.

Equality.

Happy wife, happy life.

The butchers’ wife xx

Contact orders@molloysbutchersardkeen.com for any special request regarding the lamb.

In other news we are still encouraging our customers to bring their clean reusable containers into us. Choose to Reuse. Plastic Free Waterford.

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