Monday, December 13, 2010

Brown Soda Bread

This is a great little brown bread recipe, you can knock it together and have it on the table in no time, which is useful seeing as it tends to disappear just as fast, if not faster, as you can make it! This is the bread we serve with soup, you can make and bake it whilst the soup cooks, and then it'll be cool enough to slice, but still slightly warm from the oven, when you get around to eating the soup. Mmmm!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cream of Vegetable Soup

It's minus something important here, and the freezing fog has graciously moved off enough so I can see...when the cats sit on the window and want to come in. Definitely soup weather!

Made this one this morning whilst the Big Guy had a lie-in. Nothing better than waking up to freshly made soup and bread (not that I'd know that since I'm always the one making it, but I've heard...) and it's also great for using up the vegetables that you'd otherwise turn your nose up at. Slightly sad looking carrots? In ya go! Pepper that may or may not be about to start sprouting fur? Cut off the soft bits and in you go as well! Everything and anything can go into this soup, whatever you have in your kitchen at the time. I've used leeks here as I had them and they needed using, but onions would be perfectly good as well. How many it'll serve depends on how much you make, this morning I used 'The Vat' so I've a good 4-5 litres of soup (and that's only it half full!). Just try and use the biggest saucepan you have, if you've made too much you can just pop it in the freezer (or drop some round to friends, family and neighbours), that's the joy of soup.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Fright

Ok, so, have decided that since I love the spooky stuff and spend so much time drooling over it that I'd treat you all to a weekly round up of the weird and the wonderful that I have found... (clicky-clicky the pictures to find out more)

Sticky Ginger Loaf

Oooo made this one last night with lashings of brandy. Kitchen stank to high heaven of booze for a while afterwards, you'd swear we'd been entertaining the town drunk in there but my oh my was it worth it in the end for the yumminess! This was taken from Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall's 'River Cottage Everyday' cookbook, definitely worth investing in!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Things I'm loving at the moment...

I adore etsy, there're so many talented sellers on there and it's so hard not to want to buy almost everything I see!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Drunken Chicken Stew

I chucked this one out for a dinner party recently, didn't have a clue what to cook, was making a starter and dessert as well so I wanted a main course that would just bugger off and do it's own thing, the end result: Drunken Chicken Stew (so named as the chicken is drunk, not just the chef!). It goes without saying that the end result is only as good as the wine that you use, not that I mean you should throw a €100 bottle in but don't use glorified paint-stripper either!

Slow-roast Duck and gravy

I love duck, and I love slow-roasted meats so this is the only way I could consider cooking a whole duck. It gets rid of all that fattiness that you get with duck and instead you have this wonderful melt-in-your-mouth duck meat and astonishingly crispy skin. It does serve four but I cook a whole roast duck for 2 and then use the leftovers for many treats over the following days.

Lemon Butterfly Buns

You cannot fail with these cakes. Everyone loves them, young and old alike. Walk into any room with free them and see what I mean. Everything after that becomes "Om, nom, nom..."

Banana Bread

I love my banana bread. Some people make it with walnuts through but I'm a purist, no walnuts here! If you want to add some though just throw about 50g chopped walnuts through the mixture and stir them in before pouring into the tin. Enjoy!

Scrumptious Chocolate-Orange Cake

I love this cake. Seriously, I want to run away with this cake and live on an island having little cake babies and eating them. It's Terrys Chocolate Orange in cake form and it's divine and I cannot make enough of it. You think I'm mad now but just wait until you have some!

Rich Fruit Cake

I hate fruit cake. Really, I do. I have refused to eat it for years. I came across this recipe, tried it out for myself and it has converted me. Now in fairness I still don't eat other people's fruit cake but definitely I'll eat mine!

Simple Chocolate Sponge

This is basically a chocolate flavoured Victoria sandwich and it's a great one to whip out at short notice. I love cake mixes where everything gets dumped in the bowl at once! A very more-ish cake, it doesn't last long in our house!

Spiced Squash Soup

I adore squash. Seriously, there's nothing that you can't use it for, from starters all the way through to dessert and it's always good! I can't believe I've only discovered it in the last few years. We grew some squash this year in our garden before we moved and it was great to have it there all the time. However, it's so easy to pick up squash in the supermarket these days that you don't have to grow your own, though you will find the varieties somewhat limited. Try your local farmers market though, they will have lots more options for you. This recipe works with all types of squash once you keep the quantities the same.

Coq Au Vin

I love chicken. It's so versatile and delicious. I had been planning on making this dinner for ages, for one of our dinner parties or for when we had people over but every time I cooked something else. Recently one evening I decided screw it and I cooked it just for us, no fancy dinner party needed and it was so good! It is a great dish to serve up to guests but it's equally good as a mid-week normal dinner, economical, filling and no harder to make than a stew!

Spaghetti Bolognese

Ah the good old reliable, and one of the Big Guy's favourite dishes! Funny to think that the man wouldn't eat sauces or foreign foods until recently and this was one of the things that won him over. Definitely a delight for the taste buds, and an eternal fall back dinner when we don't feel like making an effort but still want a great filling dinner.

Toad In The Hole

I can't believe it's November already! I've been so bad about keeping the blog updated, apologies! On the upside, I have been cooking everyday (well, I need to eat) so I have lots of yummy things to share with you!

Toad in the hole is ovbiously dependent on the type of sausages you use. Personally I love Nolans of Kilcullens sausages but since they're based in Kildare and not Cork I'm trying to find a good replacement. Of course, you'll always find an amazing selection of sausages down at The English Market, but any normal breakfast sausage will do. You could also try meatballs instead of sausage if you want!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Big Guy's Steak Pie

Well, more truthfully, my steak pie that I make for the Big Guy. This is rib-stickingly good eating, and definitely something that will light up the eyes of anyone coming in on a cold, wet winters evening. Pop off your shoes, relax by the fire, and enjoy with a glass of red wine.


This is the very basics of baking, the stuff that looks great, tastes amazing and is so simple that kids can do it with you and have loads of fun. Think of it as the next step on from Rice Krispie buns. Presuming that like me you’re using shop bought puff pastry that is. If you decide to do it from scratch well, it’s a bit more like advanced mathematics!
I’ve included 3 different types of filling here, but there’s loads more out there to try.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

This was born out of the need to use of the last of a leftover roast chicken, and half a butternut squash that we had floating around. I know there’s loads of recipes floating around for Jamaican jerk but Levi Roots Reggae-Reggae sauce is gorgeous, but quite hot. You have been warned!

Jamie Oliver’s Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

I have to give Mr. Oliver props for this pastry, I have tried countless other shortcrust recipes, varying the sugar, flour, flavours and I always, always come back to this one. If you try it you’ll see why! I tend to make twice what I actually need, and keep the excess in the freezer for a day that I want pie and can’t be bothered making pastry. This recipe though is for 1 portion, that is, enough to make 1 large pie.

You don’t want to over process shortcrust pastry, it can get doughy and chewy rather than that delicious buttery, crumbly texture we’re after, and for that reason I’ve given the instructions for using a food processor. I find it helps the pastry come together faster, and by removing the heat of your hands from the equation you remove the chances of melting the butter. I sound like a nag now, so I’ll just get on with it...

Apple and blackberry pie

This is a somewhat bastardised version of a Jamie Oliver recipe. I started out following Mr. Oliver’s recipe, only to find I didn’t have all the ingredients listed, didn’t like the idea of whole chunks of fruit in the pie, and I sort of went off on a tangent after that... According to the Big Guy this pie tastes like a summer garden, and reminds him of mown grass and sunshine, and flowers swaying in the breeze. How very poetic! High praise indeed from the son of a baker! I’ve included Mr. Oliver’s sweet shortcrust pastry here as I’ve made a few different versions and I always come back to this one, it truly is second to none. If you are pushed for time or don’t feel up to making pastry from scratch, fear not! This recipe works just as well with shop bought shortcrust, but I would suggest that sometime you give making it yourself a go. It’s surprisingly easy, and crazy delicious. Seriously, the man’s a genius.

Apple Crumble

Apple crumble has always been one of my favourite comfort foods, and if you have ever had the real homemade deal you’ll know why. Crumbles and tarts are a great way to use up the inevitable autumn abundance, and since it can be prepared so quickly it’s a great dish to have up your sleeve to welcome guests with on a rainy afternoon. It’s too good to be kept just for visitors though, and makes a great fruity family treat anytime during the week!