Saturday, March 21

considered by Helen James

 Well its been a long time but I have not been idle 
Things have been so hectic......... and are due to continue along that path 
but I did want to pop back here and say hello and let you know,
 in case you hadn't heard,
that my new range launched at Dunnes Stores (Ireland's largest retailer)
is a range of bakeware, textiles and food
that I have designed and developed 
All of the food is made in Ireland and I have also worked with local producers to create bespoke wooden chopping boards and wooden furniture which is made in my local village in Westmeath.
Also made in Ireland are a range of candles that I designed to be burned in your kitchen, with scents like Basil & Fennel leaf and Lemon Balm.
This collection is a culmination of a dream to bring my love of design
and passion for food and baking together
I hope you like it 

Friday, July 25


 A few weeks ago i had the pleasure of meeting the Helmsley and helmsley girls who were in Dublin promoting their new book 

They gave a demonstration in the Cooks academy in Dublin

You could feel their passion for what they do 
and they are certainly the best possible advertisments for what they preach
Bursting with energy and glowing 
They were so warm and relaxed.
I have made quite a few recipes from the book
and every one has been delicious
I have boiled up some good batches of bone broth
something I used to do all the time but somehow fell out of the habit of.
The bliss balls recipe is now a real favourite and in the demonstartion they made it into a fudge 
sprinkled with cacao nibs on top 
This is now my go to snack 
simply 220g bar  creamed coconut warmed through, 
2 tablespoons tahini 
and a tablespoon raw honey mixed together with a pinch of salt 
and poured into a 8" x 8" square tin 
sprinkle with cacao nibs and refrigerate 
simply delicious

I have also tried their raw avocado chocolate mousse

I loved it but little mouths were not so sure 
have to work on that sugar habit 
The sesame chicken salad was a big hit

Ok so I am not eating like this all the time 
and as I write this a batch of cinnamon pulla dough is resting in the kitchen
But i figure if i can add some of this philosophy into my day 
and swap out 40% of my meals with something they recommend i will be striking a good balance 

In other news summer is here 
and the garden is bursting 
the lake is calling for a swim 
 my garden 

Out for a walk

Sunday, April 20

London, Spring

 A few weekends ago I was in London to visit my brother 
The weather was glorious and while this was a family weekend 
I did manage to squeeze in a few shop visits 

Mini bouquets on Dalston High street

I finally got to visit 
in Islington 
a beautifully curated shop 


as I made my way up Islington high street I popped in to 

I didn't stay........
I love Ottolenghi,
but now that he is a "celebrity"
the place was rammed!
well, it was a saturday afternoon
bought some cookies to go and kept on moving

Next I popped in to 
abigail ahern

which was mostly full of beautiful faux flowers

Next was a trip to 

where it seemed like a really good idea to part with a large chunk of cash for some beautiful products 

Since I have been home Spring has well and truly landed 
Every year it feels like a full body stretch after being curled in a ball for 5 long cold months
Such a feeling of hope and optimism
projects, small and large vying for space in my brain 
and all seems possible

Friday, February 28

crispy and chewy chocolate chip cookie

 I am constantly searching for a perfect choc chip cookie 
I found an amazing one 
which i posted about here 
and i still think that is a keeper 
but a girl likes to explore and discover 
and my quest means I must constantly test, tweak and eat 
tough eh?
anyway today I lifted these ladies out and i knew i was on to something special 

crispy on the outside with a slight chew in centre 
very light and utterly more'ish
11ozs/320g flour
1 tspn baking soda
8ozs /220g butter melted and still warm
5ozs/140g sugar
5ozs/140g dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
4ozs/100g semi sweet chocolate chopped into chunks
4ozs/100g milk chocolate chopped into chunks 

makes 30-40 cookies
melt butter ( I always melt mine in the microwave, so easy, just keep an eye on it)
add sugars and stir to combine
add 2 eggs and stir well
add in dry ingredients flour, bak soda and salt, make sure you have combined them first (i just spoon bak sod and salt onto weighed flour and combine with a fork)
stir in dry ingredients until almost fully incoporated
add chocolate 
stir until combined but do not over mix 
chill for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hrs (or longer)

when you are ready to bake 
preheat oven to 375f/ 190c
place round cookie balls on lined cookie sheet each ball should be walnut size 
space 2-3" apart 
bake for 9-11 minutes 
allow to cool 

adapted from Alice Medrichs chocolate chip cookie recipe

Friday, February 14

Lemon drizzle cake with a twist

The thing is I have been so busy 
It's not that I am neglecting this blog 
It's just that I am working on a very exciting new project 
which really came about in many ways because of this blog
I can't tell you about it until September 
but it's VERY exciting
wish me luck 

Meanwhile Ireland is in the midst of storms 
windy, rainy, sleety wetness
when your window looks like this 
light the fires
snuggle up with something comforting like

Lemon drizzle cake - a classic 
why mess with it ?
well why not 
I added some Jasmine green tea 
and the resulting combination is quite delicious
The earthiness of the tea cuts through the sharp lemon and grounds it 
perfect with steaming hot tea on a day like today


2 tablespoon jasmine tea 
5 tablespoon boiling water
125g butter
175g sugar
2 large eggs
zest of 1 lemon
175g self raising flour
pinch of salt

juice of 1 lemon
100g icing sugar
2 tablespoons jasmine tea

place tea in a shallow dish and add 5 tablespoons of boiling water
set aside
cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
add eggs 1 at a time
add lemon zest and s.r. flour and combine
add salt
pour in jasmine tea and tealeaves fold into mixture

spoon into lined loaf tin

bake for 45mins or until cake skewer comes out clean 

while the cake is baking make your syrup 
add juice of 1 lemon to 2 tbspn jasmine tea and icing sugar in a small pan
heat slowly
leave to infuse

when cake is done remove from oven and skewer with holes 
pour syrup onto hot cake 
(you can strain the syrup or leave tea leaves to sit on top of cake I chose to strain it)

leave to cool slightly


Sunday, February 2


 Homemade Chocolate Digestive biscuits argument from me 
Who doesn't love a chocolate digestive

100g medium size oats*
50g wholewheat flour
50g plain flour
100g cold butter 
50g light muscovado sugar

pre heat oven to 190c 
If you have medium oats place in food processor along with flours
*if you only have jumbo oats (as I did) place them in the food processor
and blitz for a few minutes to reduce their size

add butter and blitz
add sugar
blitz until it comes together in a dough

turn out onto lightly floured surface
roll to 5mm thick and cut with 7cm cookie cutter
(makes 14-16 biscuits)

bake for 16-20 mins 

cover in chocolate if desired 
they are honestly nice either way 

recipe adapted from country homes and interiors

Sunday, December 22

unwind christmas time

Since we last spoke I have been in New York, Hong Kong, Bang Kok, Shanghai........
needless to say I am looking forward to some quiet family time over the holidays 
I predict I will be spending a lot of time here  
(image from pinterest source unknown)

 wearing something like this
image and pyjamas from Sleepy Jones

and well, if i must arise then maybe i will throw this on
lounge robe Zara 

I may even wander here 

and do a little of this 

whatever you are up to this Holiday season
I hope it is wonderful 
see you on the new year 

x Helen 


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