Sunday, October 28, 2012

Recipe for a perfect Sunday brunch......

Gather some friends together......

Have the obligatory rashers and sausages and maybe some cheese....

Throw a pear frangipane tart into the mix.......

and maybe some spiced pumpkin muffins....

Some treats for the kids.....

An indulgent orange and almond croissant pudding

A selection of juices......

and a little baby cuddle to round it off! Perfect Sunday!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Oreo cupcakes!

I can never resist a bargain, a snack pack of Oreo cookies was just €1:50 this week in Tesco so I couldn't leave them behind. To make these you will need all 20 biscuits. Two for the toddler in payment for helping to mix the bun mixture without breaking your favourite baking bowl, four to shovel in your mouth and gobble as fast as you can, twelve for the bottom of each cupcake case and two to crush to sprinkle on top of your buttercream icing! Am sure these will go down as well in your house as they did in mine!

You will need;

120g butter, softened
120g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
90g self raising flour
30g cocoa powder
1tbsp milk
14 Oreo cookies (+6, wink, wink)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees & line your cupcake tins with cases. Place an Oreo cookie at the base of each.

Cream the butter & sugar together.

Add in half the beaten eggs, combine.

Add in a tablespoon of sieved flour.

Stir in remaining eggs.

Add the rest of the flour and the cocoa powder, lightly stir.

Add the milk and give a final stir.

Spoon equal amounts into each case.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

To decorate;

150g icing sugar
50g cocoa powder
100g softened butter

Mix all ingredients together to make a stiff icing.

Spoon into an icing bag fitted with a Wilton 1M icing nozzle.

Pipe a swirl of icing on top of each bun.

Decorate with two Oreo cookies which you have crushed into crumbs! Nice little treat to have with a glass of ice cold milk, great twist to the usual cookies!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Baked chocolate custard with eyeballs, bones and skullbones......

If you have made this before you will have been left with eight lonely looking egg yolks in a bowl! Countless times I have refrigerated them only to remember them several days later when all they are suitable for is the compost bin! After making a gorgeous pavlova at the weekend I was adamant I wasn't going to forget about the gorgeous golden yolks sitting patiently in the fridge.

Mousse, curds and pasta were all options but I decided on a baked chocolate custard as I knew the two youngest men in my life would be well impressed upon their return from school, especially with the addition of the eyeballs, bones and skulls!

You will need;

200ml full fat milk
50g cocoa powder
8 egg yolks
80g caster sugar
200ml cream

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Bring the milk and cocoa powder to the boil.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until creamy.
Take the milk mixture from the hob and leave to cool for a few minutes.
Stir in the yolk mixture and the cream before pouring into four ramekins.
Place the ramekins in a roasting dish and pour some water into the roasting dish so that the water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Place in oven until the custard has set, approximately 20 minutes.
Leave to cool before decorating with some gorey eyeballs and whatever other halloween candy you can get your greasy paws on!

I have entered my photo in Action Against Hunger’s Love Food Give Food Instagram Competition. You can find out more about the competition and how to enter here.

My marathon running husband......

Next Monday my lovely husband is running the Dublin city marathon. Would love if you had a minute to read his words below. Don't worry if you can't sponsor him just maybe we will all be a little bit more aware of all the little lights that never got a chance to shine.

"As most of you know I’m doing the Dublin City Marathon on Monday 29th October. I set myself a target two and a half years ago to do the marathon in 2012, thinking it would never come around, but now it’s only a couple of days away! So after months of training it is upon me and I am running in memory of Oja Prunty, a little baby who was born prematurely and only stayed with us for 5 minutes before he was called home. Oja is the son of good friends of mine, Mark & Nitai, and they experienced a pain no parent should ever have to experience when Oja died. The money I hope to raise will be passed on to:

• A Little Lifetime Foundation (

• Friends of the Coombe (

Oja will never be forgotten and I hope by doing this small deed it will help the people who helped Mark and Nitai when Oja passed away. I would be grateful for any donations that you could give and have set up an online account for ease of contribution."

To read more about Oja click on the following link

You never said you were leaving​
You never said goodbye
You were gone before I knew it
And only God knew why

A million times I needed you
A million times I cried
If love alone could have saved you
You would never have died

In life I loved you dearly
In death I love you still
In my heart you hold a place
That nobody could ever fill

It broke my heart y to lose you
But you didn’t go alone
For part of me went with you
The day God called you home.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Coffee & walnut loaf!

It's either a blog feast or a famine around my kitchen table these days! I know other bloggers have strict schedules for blogposts etc but to be honest this is my hobby and much as I know ye all hang around on the interweb all day waiting for me to publish a new post, some weeks there may not be any! ;-)

This is a handy little recipe to have to hand and can be easily converted to a lemon, summer fruits, chocolate or whatever takes your fancy loaf. I fancied a coffee and walnut loaf so that is what I made!

What you need;

Simply weigh three eggs in their shell....mine weighed 200g, match the weights of the other ingredients to this weight!
200g butter
200g caster sugar
200g self raising flour
Espresso shot

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease a loaf tin.
Cream the butter and sugar together.
Add the eggs which you have lightly whisked.
Sieve in the flour and fold.
Lightly stir in the espresso shot.
Pour into the loaf tin and place in the oven.
Bake until a skewer comes out clean, approximately 45 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.

It's perfect to eat as it is but I fancied a bit of crunch! I added two teaspoons of freshly made coffee to 50g of icing sugar before drizzling over the cake. Crush a handful of walnuts and scatter on top!
Voila a deliciously moist interior with a lovely crunchy exterior. Perfection!

I entered this picture in Action Against Hunger’s Love Food Give Food Instagram Competition. I’ve just found out my photo was selected as one of the top 20 in the competition and so will be entered in the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year Competition.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Comfort eating in style! Pumpkin & potato gratin.

I have always been a comfort eater and without fail in times of trouble I always turn to food. It's a really bad habit to get into but there is something wonderful about the pleasure that food gives me. Today is a bit of a wet and dark old day so something warm and gooey was required for lunch. Dont worry I didn't eat the entire thing, there is a small bit leftover for later......

You will need;

2 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
350g pumpkin, peeled and sliced
350g potatoes, peeled and sliced
50g chorizo, chopped up
1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely sliced
250ml double cream
100g breadcrumbs
50g walnuts, chopped
Rapeseed oil

Drizzle some rapeseed oil into a large pan and fry the shallots until translucent.

Add the garlic, pumpkin, potatoes, chorizo and chilli and fry lightly until browned.

Transfer to an oven proof dish before pouring the double cream over the mixture.

Place in a preheated 180 degree oven until the potatoes and pumpkins are soft and the cream is bubbling.

In the meantime drizzle a small amount of rapeseed oil onto the pan and add the breadcrumbs and walnuts and fry until golden.

Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the gratin before serving.

So there you have it, comfort food ready to be eaten in a matter of minutes!

I served this with some gorgeous crispy kale that I trimmed, drizzled with oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and placed in oven to crispen up. simply delicious!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Chorizo, kale & pumpkin frittata

Sometimes the simplest of dishes are the most flavoursome. I hate wasting calories on boring sandwiches at lunchtime and I like to have something quite substantial especially on the days when I am heading to work. This is a simple recipe and is both filling and nutritious. This makes enough for a hungry adult and a picky toddler.

What you will need;

100g chorizo sausage, chopped
100g pumpkin flesh, chopped
A handful of kale with the tough stems removed
4 eggs, lightly whisked
Salt & pepper

Fry the chorizo over a medium heat until starting to crispen, no need to add oil to the pan as the chorizo will release enough of its own.
Add the pumpkin and kale and fry until the pumpkin is soft.
Add the eggs and cook gently until the centre is cooked.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper before serving.

Quick and easy lunch for one and a half!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bye bye Miss American Pie.....or something like that!

If you don't like pumpkins it's probably best to steer clear of my blog and/or house for the next few weeks as I am currently obsessed! The mini pumpkin cupcakes were a huge hit so I then decided that a pie was on the cards. One of my co workers has an allotment and often gifts me delicious fresh vegetables, a huge pumpkin was the most recent thing I received and in return I promised a pumpkin pie!

For the pastry case you will need;

250g plain flour
120g butter
100g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
2tbsp milk

Cream the sugar, butter & salt together.
Rub in the flour and egg yolk until it looks like breadcrumbs. I always use a fork at this stage.
Add in the milk gradually to form a dough.
Place dough on a piece of clingfilm and roll into a sausage shape.
Chill for at least one hour.
Once chilled cut the pastry into thin slivers and line your tart tin, press together gently to join the edges.
Bake blind for 15 minutes in a 180 degree heated oven or until golden at the edges.
Allow to cool.

Pumpkin pie filling;

450g pumpkin flesh (either fresh or canned. If using fresh, first steam & mash)
170g caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
3tsp pumpkin spice, recipe here
280ml evaporated milk

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir until completely combined.
Pour into the cooled pastry shell and bake in a preheated 180 degree oven until set, approximately 40 minutes.
Allow to cool in the tin on a wire rack.

Feel free to eat it as it is at this point but I love a bit of decoration!

To decorate:

50g mini white marshmallows
50g dark chocolate, grated
6tbsp dulce de leche
A sprinkle of fleur de sel or any sea salt

Place the marshmallows around the edge of the pie.
Sprinkle the dark chocolate over the pumpkin filling.
Spread the caramel over the centre and spread out.
A sprinkling of salt completes the pie.
Delicious and a great mix of flavours!

So whats next on my pumpkin hitlist? Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes!

So the bewitching season is almost upon us and all that goes along with it! In previous years the only reason I would have had a pumpkin in the house would be to carve it for a Jack-o-lantern but not this year. This year its going to appear in cupcakes, swirly buns, cheesecakes and pumpkin pie. There has been great talk on twitter over the last few days about pumpkin in all its forms and yesterday when I was up in Dublin I was delighted to lay my hands on two tins of Libby's 100% natural canned pumpkin in the gorgeous food lovers paradise that is Fallon & Byrne. The majority of pumpkin recipes on the web are American ones and they speak of a mysterious pumpkin spice that as of yet as far as I know has not reached our shores! Fear not, it's very simple to make and will take you approximately sixty seconds!

Pumpkin Spice


3 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp nutmeg
11/2 tsp ground allspice
11/2 tsp ground cloves

Combine all the spices together and place in a small jar. Voila, mysterious pumpkin spice is no longer mysterious!

I used this lovely recipe from the Libby's website to make the cupcakes and this recipe was enough for 24 mini cupcakes and 12 large ones;

I knew the little set of baking cups I picked up would come in handy some day! I decorated with my usual buttercream recipe , 150g icing sugar, 100g softened butter and 1/2tsp of my pumpkin spice. I used a Wilton 1M icing nozzle to pipe a star onto each. Gorgeous!

So my first foray into the world of canned pumpkins was a delicious one! Would love to hear some of your recipes that your family enjoy making and eating!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Posh eggs!

I hate the word diet. It reminds me of the years I spent worrying about every morsel of food that passed my lips. Teenage years spent wondering whether the group of boys that I had just passed were laughing at my enormous legs or my chubby cheeks. Being a teenager is not much fun and I cringe when I think back on the time I wasted on silly worries. Give or take a few pounds I am the same weight now as I was back then, which after having three children is not bad going. Around this time of year is when I normally slip into bad habits, wine & nibbles go hand in hand with a roaring fire and stews scream out for heaps of creamy mashed potatoes! I have a few events over the next few months to help keep me on the straight and narrow and for the next few weeks will be keeping an eye on my intake. Not a diet just a cutback on the amount I normally eat. Nigella made something very similar to this recently and I can't get enough of them. Eggs are fantastic for filling you up and are packed full of vitamins and protein. This is a super dish to whip up at lunchtime and is made in minutes.
This recipe serves one hungry adult.

1 tin of tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes in rich tomato sauce)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried chilli
2 eggs
Small bunch of parsley, chopped
Salt & pepper
Drizzle of oil

Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic.

Add the tin of tomatoes and the chilli and heat through.

Using the back of a spoon make two hollows and crack an egg into each one.

Place a lid onto your pan and leave until the white of the egg is cooked through and the yolk is still runny.

Sprinkle with some chopped parsley, season and serve immediately.

Really quick, delicious and good for you!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Salted caramel cheesecakes.....

I am addicted to Glenilen farm yoghurt. They taste delicious but even better is the cute little glass jar that they come in. I have dozens of them in the press and am always on the prowl for things to do with them. They have adorned dinner party tables filled with tea lights, they have held lemon posset desserts, collections of odd buttons & nails that seem to appear out of thin air, stray coins and lots of pens and pencils which can never be found when one is needed! The ladies were coming for coffee and I wanted to treat them to something really tasty with their cuppa so when I spotted the luxurious Lindt chocolate on special offer my brain went into overdrive and this is what I came up with. Very low in calories which is always a bonus.*

*may not be true

To make six delicious pots you will need;

150g gingernut biscuits, crushed

75g unsalted butter

250g mascarpone cheese

100g white chocolate

300g dulce de leche/caramel sauce

1/2 tsp sea salt

50g dark chocolate

50g salted mixed nuts

6 salty sticks

Melt the unsalted butter and stir into the crushed gingernuts. Spoon into six individual serving dishes and chill.

Melt the white chocolate and stir into the mascarpone thoroughly.

Mix the dulce de leche with the sea salt to combine.

Remove the dishes from the fridge and place alternate spoonfuls of the mascarpone mixture and the caramel on top of the biscuit base.

Place a few of the salted nuts on top.

Melt the dark chocolate and dip the ends of the salty sticks in it to cover. Drizzle the remaining chocolate over the nuts.

Chill to set but remove from fridge a hour before serving.

To serve, place one of the covered chocolate salty sticks across the serving dish.

Voila, a delicious easy peasy impressive dessert!!

I used a dulce de leche that is made here in Clara. I love using local products and this one is particularly good! I used Lindt white chocolate with a touch of vanilla and their dark one with a touch of sea salt, both of which are completely luxurious and very indulgent!! Not something you can eat everyday but nice for a once in a while treat!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Chocolate & mint mini cupcakes!

I have a love hate relationship with the
herbs I grow on my kitchen windowsill
and in my garden. I love them and they
hate me as I continuously kill them off one by one. The only one with a bit of staying power is the humble unassuming mint plant. He doesn't judge when I forget to water him or pull off his brown leaves so I thought I would reward him by allowing him decorate these delicious little cupcakes. I am generous like that, it's one of my few faults. ;-)

To make 24 mini cupcakes & 6 regular sized ones you will need;

120g butter, softened
120g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
90g self raising flour
30g cocoa powder
1tbsp milk
1tsp peppermint essence

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees & line your cupcake tins with cases.

Cream the butter & sugar together.

Add in half the beaten eggs, combine.

Add in a tablespoon of sieved flour.

Stir in remaining eggs.

Add the rest of the flour and the cocoa powder, lightly stir.

Add the milk & peppermint essence and give a final stir.

Spoon equal amounts into each case.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

To decorate;

150g icing sugar
50g cocoa powder
100g softened butter
1tsp peppermint essence

Mix all ingredients together to make a stiff icing.

Spoon into an icing bag fitted with a Wilton 1M icing nozzle.

Pipe a little star of icing on top of each bun.

Decorate with a few dark chocolate sprinkles & a leaf of garden mint. (Optional)