Monday, December 31

HAPPY NEW YEAR

WISHING THAT ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE IN 2013

PHOTO FROM PINTEREST SOURCE UNKNOWN

Sunday, December 16

Christmas Cake


 Made Christmas cake today
This is not your traditional black dry tasteless cake
but a warm caramelly fruit filled delight with the warmth of ginger singing in its flesh
(ok maybe I am getting a little carried away)
But seriously this is a really delicious fruit cake
I sometimes bake it in 2 loaf tins during the year as a rich fruit loaf perfect for an afternoon snack or to pop in a lunchbox


I chose to decorate with a layer of marzipan
dusting of icing sugar and blanched almonds nestled into the top
but if you like you can of course decorate with the usual frosting also


I also put a layer of marzipan in the middle
just because I am a big fan of marzipan


RECIPE 

225g sultanas
225g raisins
110g candied peel
100g stoned dates
75g chopped dried apricots
50g crystallised ginger chopped very fine
125 ml hot strong tea
2 tspns vanilla essence
juice of half an orange or a whole clementine
275g softened butter
200g soft light brown sugar
75g dark brown muscovado sugar
5 free range eggs
1 tsp orange or clementine zest 
50g ground almonds
275g plain flour
1tsp mixed spice
1tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
50g flaked or nibbed almonds

METHOD

Pre heat oven to 150c
line a 20 - 23cm cake tin with parchment including a high collar around the sides
(that is a lining that stands proud of the tin)
to protect the cake during the long baking time

place dried fruit in a bowl and cover with hot tea, van essence and juice
leave to steep
Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy 
add eggs, 1 at a time incorporating each completely before adding the next 
stir in ground almonds and zest, 
sift in flour and spices
stir to combine
add steeping fruit with liquid and the flaked or nibbed almonds 
Transfer mixture to prepared cake tin
Your cake will not rise a lot as their is no raising agents in this cake but the eggs will make it rise a little 

place in the oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours 
or until a skewer comes out clean
leave to cool completely in tin

when the cake is completely cool tip out of tin and carefully peel away parchment paper.
brush cake with warmed apricot jam 
roll out your marzipan to fit over the cake 
carefully place marzipan over cake and smooth
add blanched almonds around the edge pushing them into the marzipan to secure

This cake will keep for up to 3 weeks in an airtight container




Friday, December 14

Passing

 My Father and I
The Alhambra, 
Granada,
Spain
1997

This is a difficult post to write
I honestly don't feel like posting
but I think I must write something to break the spell
2 weeks ago my Father passed away
I had the privilege of being by his side for his final moments

He was an amazing man 
I may tell you about him someday 

but for now I just wanted to explain my absence
x x

Wednesday, October 31

Tim Ryan C12





Tim Ryan C12 collection
Stunning and glamorous
One of Ireland's true Fashion talents
Available through Browns London
........ and I am not sure, sadly if it is currently stocked in Ireland

Friday, October 26

Crab Apple Ice cream

 This year's crop of Crab Apples was not as prolific as last,
but still there were quite a few
I thought about what to do with them
Last year I made Crab Apple Jelly
and while it was delicious the truth is we still haven't worked our way through it all
So inspired by this post 
I poached my crab apples 
and used the syrup to make 
Crab Apple Ice cream
I added yoghurt to my Ice cream mix 
which gives it an added depth of flavour
and I particularly love yoghurt
You can use any basic ice cream mix you like 
and simply swirl in the syrup at the end
I wouldn't really call this a recipe
more like a bunch of stuff that you throw in the ice cream maker until it tastes good.....
If you don't have an ice cream maker then you may want to use another method that adds more air prior to freezing
This one looks particularly good
although I haven't actually made it 
I saw Mary Berry make it last week 
and it looked easy, simple and delicious

To Make the Crab Apple syrup
Place the Crab Apples in a sauce pan
(I left the stalks on because they look pretty and also because it makes them easy to pick up )
cover with equal parts water and sugar
simmer until you get a thickish syrup and the crab apple skins start to split
(about 5 min)
You can keep the Crabapples in some of the syrup in a jar in the fridge 
to serve alongside the Ice cream


RECIPE (If you can call it that)

250g of cream
250g of yoghurt( I use Greek)
Icing sugar to taste
5 TBSP crabapple syrup

combine and pour into ice cream maker
when it is ready 
place in a tub and swirl in about 5 more TBSP of the syrup 
there you have it
Crab Apple Ice cream


Saturday, October 20

No Knead Bread


I have never posted a recipe for this Bread before because well
I felt the blogosphere was inundated with them 
But
I have been asked for the recipe so many times 
and I always add my additional changes
meaning I then have to write out the instructions
That I am finally succumbing and posting the recipe and method.

If you have never heard of Jim Lahey's No Knead Bread.........
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?
and if you have never made it
then I cannot urge you enough to get out a bag of flour and get baking.
This is so so simple and I tell you it changed my life!!
Strong words, you say
Well after living in New York for 10 years I moved myself and family to a small village
in the middle of Ireland.
Being a lover of food and cooking I romanticised about 
growing vegetables, baking scones, making jams and chutneys
....... and well, really all those dreams came true....
What I had not anticipated was that there were things I would miss
That recipe calling for a pinch of Zatar...... hmmmm
a dash of Sumac........
a fresh baked flaky croissant and of course that Artisan bread that is 
served in every one of my favourite NY eateries
slightly sour with a thick chewy crust........

Well, when I first read about this bread in US Vogue at 11pm at night
 I upped out of my bed ran downstairs in my barefeet and nightie and got cracking

The next day, as I said ...... it changed my life.
Suddenly I felt like we had a little bit of NY here in my kitchen
Friends visited and I baked this bread
and wallowed in their oohs and aahs 
"You really made this?"
This Bread gave me more confidence in the kitchen
It encouraged me to venture into yeast territory
A strange and foreign terrain that I had never before explored with success.
(and just to add I still have a temperamental relationship with)

So, if you have never tried baking bread 
if you are scared of yeast 
if you love bread
if you live in a rural area where it is hard to source a good artisan loaf
....... then this is the bread for you 

NOTES: you will be cooking this bread 18 hours after you start 
so decide when you want to eat it and count backwards

you will need a cast iron crock pot with a lid 
like a le creuset 
you want a 6-8 qt pot


RECIPE
3 cups (430 grms ) flour (you can use bread flour but it is not essential)
1 1/2 cups (345 grams) warm water
1/2 tspn dried yeast 
1 1/4 tspn salt

METHOD*
Add water to flour, yeast and salt
mix together to form a wet dough
cover with cling film 
leave at room temperature for 16-20 hours 
an hour before you are ready to bake turn your oven on full 
which is usually somewhere around 500f or 250c
Place bottom of crock pot in oven to heat up 
after 45 mins to an hour carefully remove your pot 
throw in the dough
sprinkle with a little flour
place lid on 
put in oven and bake covered for 30-40 mins
remove bread from pot and place in oven to bake for a further 10 - 15 mins
you will need to play around with your own oven a bit to figure out what works best 
but this should be a good guideline for most 

remove from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting

Best eaten on day it is baked
except if you are toasting
it will keep as toasting bread for up to a week

*I have adapted the method from the Jim Lahey way as I found it didn't really make a difference if you took the dough out and folded or didn't 
This way is much simpler but if you wish to try the original then you can find it HERE

Thursday, October 18

This month on Instagram

My recent life on 

Life has become very full
very busy 
It is exciting and I will let you all know what I have been up to very soon
Unfortunately though it means I have less time to spend updating the blog
I am however still very active on 


Friday, October 5

Creamy Fudge

This is incredibly creamy and delicious

Very simple to make but you must follow the instructions 
paying special attention to timing 



INGREDIENTS

1lb caster sugar
4fl ozs milk
1 tsp salt
1 Can condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

METHOD
line a 6" x 9 1/2" tin with parchment paper
Place the sugar and milk in a heavy bottom saucepan 
stir on medium heat for 2 mins until sugar is dissolved
( stir a little longer 30 seconds, if sugar is still grainy)
Add salt and condensed milk and let it start to bubble
Stir constantly bubbling mixture for 7 mins
it should be a light butterscotch colour
if you feel it is still pale stir for 1 minute longer 
but keep watching so it doesn't burn
gently stir in vanilla essence

**NOW THIS IS MOST IMPORTANT**
pour into bowl and allow to cool for 5-6 mins

when cooled whip for 1-2 mins until thick and creamy 
quickly pour into tin to set
if it starts to set mid pour 
place a sheet of grease proof paper on top and press down to smooth it out
leave to set 10 mins
turn out and cut into squares

this will keep in an airtight container for a good few days


**whipping the mixture while it is still hot will make the fudge grainy and sandy
also transferring it to a clean bowl before you whip it helps cut down on the risk of graininess
if you follow thos 2 instructions you shouls get thick and creamy fudge**

Saturday, September 22

Banana Bread


This is a simple but utterly delicious recipe for 
Banana bread
Given to me by the lovely James from Avoca
I have added choc chunks
because.........well, do I need a reason


JAMES' BANANA BREAD

3-4 small ripe banana's
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg beaten
1 tspn vanilla essence
1 tspn Baking soda
pinch salt
1 1/2 cup flour
100g bar of dark chocolate broken into large chunks

 METHOD
Pre heat oven to 350f or 180c
add the melted butter to banana's and mash
add sugar, egg and vanilla and mix well
sift in flour, salt and bak soda and chocolate chunks and mix
transfer into a 4x8 buttered loaf tin and bake for 45 mins
(but check after 35)
or until a cake tester comes out clean


Enjoy
x

Friday, September 14

Tory Burch S/S13




I can't say I have been a huge fan of Tory Burch
BUT 
her spring/summer 2013 collection 
has me all hot and bothered

Uptown Ethnic
is what I would refer to it as
and I loved it
I am particularly swooning over the accessories

















Incredible..........
I am putting my pennies aside immediately

Saturday, August 25

KERRY

I have just returned from a week in Kerry in the South of Ireland
What a glorious few days 
I had forgotten just how beautiful the landscape is down there
and how dramatic the sky

BallyDavid at sunset

Inch Beach

and the incredible coastline

The kids played in the sand

made "weapons" from beach debris


there were walks


and Horses



and surfing!

and of course a little shopping

shop window Dingle

and I did get in to the water and swim 
and it was freezing  and invigorating

It was also amazing to me how a little water and sand 
occupied 7 children for hours every day 
without a complaint or whinge

Truly a great week
x  

Sunday, August 5

Smarten up

I am about to embark on a new and very exciting project
I am beyond excited at the opportunity 

A side affect is that I will have to smarten up my wardrobe

I have been looking for inspiration

First stop J Crew

a bit bland but a really good basic, 
could be brightened with statement jewelry
or a more colourful or patterned blouse, 
perhaps this one


Love these pants and the teeny polka dot shirt

I already own this blazer in blue 
and it is one of my favourites 
may have to add the red in wool for Winter

I also checked out BODEN
I have always been a fan of their kids stuff
but this season they seem to be shaking off the 
yummy mummy persona for something a little bit edgier, I like it


The cords are a little casual but I like the colours and the jacket is a great cut

These pants also look like a great cut may have to get a few different colours

This Jacket and this skirt are both currently on sale over at 




Love the simplicity of this outfit from COS


Also the essence of simplicity 
-this look from
magazine
 and while we are at Net-a-porter
why not pick up this Johnathan Saunders jacket
LOVE  IT


So wish me luck 
and I will let you all know the details as soon as I can 
x
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