Tuesday 6 December 2016

Especially for mums... recipes from Neven Maguire

From muffins in bed to crème pots after dinner, Neven Maguire has all the right recipes to spoil mammies everywhere this Mother's Day

Published 06/03/2016 | 02:30

Neven Maguire's breakfast muffins.
Neven Maguire's breakfast muffins.
Neven's Hotcakes with Mango and Banana Sauté
Crème Pots with Seasonal Berries.
Neven's Pork Goulash with Cauliflower Rice
The Nation's Favourite Healthy Food by Neven Maguire.
Neven Maguire's Complete Baby & Toddler Cookbook.

Mother’s Day is one of those days that has always meant a huge amount in our family. I loved to spoil my late mum, Vera, a little bit more on Mother’s Day. We all miss her each and every day, and will set aside a little time on Mother’s Day tomorrow for some warm, happy memories. She started me off cooking and I could never thank her enough for that.

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These days the big focus is on my wife Amelda, and our twins are now old enough to realise that it is a special day for her. They are great fun in the kitchen but would make a dreadful mess if left alone! The three of us will be up early to cook something special for Amelda — and they will be proud as punch when they bring it in on a tray to the bedroom.

Happy cooking!

Neven

Breakfast muffins

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These muffins are wonderfully dense and moist, perfect for a nutritious breakfast. Serve them to mum in bed tomorrow and then wrap the leftovers in clingfilm and freeze for up to one month. If you plan to make them tomorrow morning, get ahead by having all the dry ingredients mixed together and preparing the muffin tin tonight.

Makes 12

You will need

150g plain flour

100g wholemeal flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

25g wheat bran

2 tbsp honey

3 ripe bananas

50g ready-to-eat dried dates, pitted and finely chopped

1 large egg

225ml buttermilk

4 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp rolled oats

Method

Sift both flours, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl, then tip in anything left in the sieve and stir in the wheat bran and honey.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cases.

Peel the bananas and mash two of them to a purée, then stir in the dates. Beat the egg with the buttermilk and oil. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just blended, then lightly and quickly fold in the banana mixture. The batter should look roughly mixed, with lumps and floury pockets.

Fill each paper case two-thirds full with the batter, then cut the remaining banana into 12 slices, discarding the ends, and pop one slice on top of each muffin. Sprinkle over the oats and bake for about 20 minutes, until well risen and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. These are best served warm.

Pork Goulash with Cauliflower Rice

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Goulash was one of my mom's regular dinners when I was growing up, and I

loved it. I now like to serve it with cauliflower rice, which has a similar texture to rice but a much lower GI. Contrary to popular belief, a true goulash doesn't contain any soured cream, making for a much healthier dinner.

Serves 4-6

You will need

2 tbsp plain flour

2 tsp smoked paprika

500g (1lb 2oz) pork stir-fry strips

2 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, thinly sliced

2 green peppers, cored and cut into slices

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

120ml (4floz) red wine

1 x 400g (14oz) can of chopped tomatoes

200ml (7fl oz) beef or chicken stock

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp tomato purée

1 tsp honey

2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the cauliflower rice:

1 head of cauliflower

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Place the flour and smoked paprika in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Use this to evenly coat the pork strips, tipping away any excess flour. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flame-proof casserole over a medium heat and quickly brown the pork on all sides. Don't put too much pork in the casserole at once or it won't brown - best to fry it in batches. Transfer the meat to a plate and set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the casserole, then sauté the onions, green peppers, garlic and dried oregano for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are just beginning to catch a bit of colour. Return the pork to the casserole and stir to combine. Pour in the wine and allow it to bubble down, scraping the bottom of the casserole with a wooden spoon to remove any sediment. Add the tomatoes, stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomato purée, honey and a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper and bring up to a steady simmer. Place the lid on the casserole and simmer for another 20 minutes or so, until the pork is completely tender.

Meanwhile, to make the cauliflower rice, cut the hard core and stalks from the cauliflower and pulse the rest in a food processor to make grains the size of rice. Line the base of a steamer with parchment paper, tip in the cauliflower and cook for 8-10 minutes, until tender. Season with salt and pepper, then fluff up with a fork.

Divide the cauliflower rice among warmed plates, then spoon over the pork goulash. Garnish with the parsley to serve.

Hotcakes with Mango and Banana Sauté

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These nifty little hotcakes are as light as a feather and can be made in the time it takes to heat the frying pan! You could serve them with berries, but the mango and banana is a delicious combination. And because both fruits are naturally high in sugar, this only needs a drizzle of maple syrup or honey to make it into what seems like a decadent brunch or dessert.

Serves 4

You will need

For the hotcakes: 150g (5oz) self-raising flour

¼ tsp baking powder

Tiny pinch of sea salt

1 large egg

250ml (9fl oz) buttermilk

A little sunflower oil, for frying

Natural yoghurt, to serve

For the mango and banana sauté:

25g (1oz) butter

1 large, firm, ripe mango, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 large bananas, peeled and thickly sliced on the diagonal

1 tbsp maple syrup or honey

Juice of one lime

Method

Put the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Make a slight dip in the middle and crack in the egg, then add the buttermilk and mix until smooth with a fork or small balloon whisk.

Put a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add a little sunflower oil, removing any excess with kitchen paper. Spoon 3 tablespoonfuls of the batter into the heated pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, until little bubbles rise up to the top. Using a spatula, carefully flip over and cook for another minute or so, until golden on both sides.

When the hotcakes are done, transfer them to a plate and cover with foil to keep them warm. Wipe the pan with kitchen paper and add a little more sunflower oil.

Continue to make hotcakes with the rest of the batter. You should make about 12 hotcakes. Once all of the hotcakes have been made, wipe out the frying pan with kitchen paper and add the butter.

Once the butter is melted and sizzling, tip in the mango and bananas, tossing to coat. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, until heated through and just beginning to caramelise.

Drizzle over the maple syrup or honey and lime juice and continue tossing until evenly coated.

Arrange three hotcakes on each serving plate. Add a spoonful of yoghurt to each one and spoon over the mango and banana sauté to serve.

Crème Pots with Seasonal Berries

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This is just one of the many great desserts that has firm Spanish roots. Very simple to make, it's actually quite light, with all the flavour of the caramel and none of the sticky sweetness. It's similar to the French crème brûlée, except its not cooked in the oven.

Serves 6-8.

You will need

6 egg yolks

150g (5oz) honey

40g (1 ½ oz) cornflour

900ml (1 ½ pints) milk

1 cinnamon stick

Rind of 1 lemon

Rind of 1 orange

2 tbsp Demerara sugar

Seasonal berries, such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, to serve

Method

Place the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl with the honey. Using a hand-held whisk, beat for 5 minutes, until thickened. Tip in the cornflour and mix until well combined.

Place the milk in a small pan with the cinnamon stick, lemon and orange rind. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 5 minutes.

Strain the milk, discarding the cinnamon stick, lemon and orange rind, then gradually whisk the warm milk into the egg and honey mixture. Place in a clean pan set over a low heat. Cook gently for 10-15 minutes, until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat. Leave to cool, then pour into individual dishes or ramekins and chill for at least 4 hours (or overnight is best) to allow the custard pots to firm up.

When ready to serve, sprinkle the tops evenly with the Demerara sugar and caramelise with a blow torch or under a preheated hot grill. Arrange on plates with a nice selection of seasonal berries to serve.

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