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Tuesday 28 March 2023 Dublin: 7°C
# food envy
'I've even brought this granola on holidays with me': 5 crowd-pleasing meals from mum-of-three Linda
Including her fail-safe brownies with a “squidgy middle”.

EACH WEEK, WE ask a home cook about the dishes they’ve been whipping up of late. The kind of food you don’t need a recipe for, from quick snacks to empty-the-fridge dinners.

This week, Linda Coughlan (@lindas_homecooking) shared five dishes that are a hit with her whole family.

“I love cooking most things and like to make as much as possible from scratch,” she says. “My freezer is always packed full as I’m a believer in cooking once, eating twice. This is great for during the week when I don’t have as much time.” 

I love to bake, especially if I’m stressed or worried about anything, it relaxes me and keeps me focused which is always a good thing.

From simple beef stroganoff to super moist carrot cake, below are five of Linda’s go-to dishes…

1. ‘My’ chocolate brownies: Well, I should rephrase that as they are technically Mary Berry’s chocolate brownies, but I have been making them for so long that they feel like mine! I began making these many years ago and they have become my go-to for all children’s birthday parties, school events or a play day treat.  I always make these when my youngest has her friends over as one of them has a nut allergy and these are good for her as they are cooked with cocoa powder. I have tweaked the recipe to under bake them slightly to ensure a squidgy middle.

2. Beef stroganoff: This is a real crowd-pleaser and an ideal meal for a quick supper. It’s even better for a crowd. If I make this for our Saturday evening supper I always use striploin steak. It’s super quick and delicious, and all my family love it, which is rare in this house, there’s always one fuss pot! This is also a great in the slow cooker if you are having a crowd over. Serve with rice or skinny fries or both like I did here.

3. Must-have granola: This is a tweaked version of a Happy Pear recipe. I eat this every day – I will not eat my porridge without it. I bring it on holidays and have given it as presents.

For this recipe, you need 240g mixed nuts roughly chopped (I like to use Brazils, walnuts and cashews), 240g sunflower seeds, 120g pumpkin seeds, 120g desiccated coconut, 3 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 100g coconut oil, 100mls maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla extract. 

Melt the oil, syrup and extract in a pan. Place all dry ingredients into a baking tray. Add the wet ingredients and cook in a preheated oven for 15 minutes, turning and tossing every five minutes.  Serve with porridge or with yoghurt and berries for a healthy snack.

4. Prawn and chorizo pasta: This is another quick dish to make. I blend roasted red peppers with 1 tsp of sugar and 1 tbsp of tomato puree to make the sauce. I also add a tbsp or two of sherry to add a lovely flavour. When the kids saw me doing this they said they wouldn’t like it, but on tasting it they loved it. I like to serve this with some garlic bread.

5. Super moist carrot cake: Last but definitely not least is this carrot cake. For this, I always use pecans instead of walnuts, and I add a little rind of orange to the cream cheese frosting, it’s delicious! I began making carrot cake around 12 years ago. I found a recipe in a magazine that I tore out and kept, but lost it a while ago. This recipe in the link above is as close as I’m going to get!

More: ‘The sauce is inspired by Tuscan cooking’: 5 mouth-watering dishes from veggie chef Rory>

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