Sunday

I've been tagged!

Right here we go...

I've been tagged by Lo over at Peef and Lo!

1. Last Movie I Saw In A Movie Theater?The Sex and the City movie... I HEART MR BIG

2. What Book Are You Reading?The Moab is my Washpot by Steven Fry, amazing story of his first 20 years... also over shoulder re-reading Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, my favorite book which Bill is now reading but getting sick of my "what bit are you at?" daily quiz.

3 -Favorite Board Game? Scrabble because I'm a show-off and a sesquipedalian.

4. Favorite Magazine?Olive, Good Food, In Style.

5. Favorite Smells?Permenant markers... Baby breath...

6. Favorite Sounds? I love the sounds in Dublin zoo...Oooo ooo aaah sqwauk (TRUMPET).

7. Worst Feeling In The World? Sleeping it out... I hate that!

8. First Thing You Think of When You Wake? THank god for that, I didn't croak it then!

9. Favorite Fast Food Place? Eddie Rockets, all the way!

10. Future Child's Name? I have enough already thank you...

11. Finish This Statement—“If I Had a Lot of Money, I'd be able to do the fantastic.

12. Do You Drive Fast?Never - its not worth it.

13. Do You Sleep With a Stuffed Animal? Not unless we've been out for a steak dinner! .

14. Storms—Cool or Scary? Fork lightning - cool, sheet lighning - mammy!.

15. What Was Your First Car?1988 Austin Metro. Favorite Drink? Mmmm mmm cold cold Pinot Grigio.

17. Finish This Statement—“If I Had the Time, I Would…... learn to play the guitar better.

18. Do You Eat the Stems on Broccoli? Of course.

19. If You could Dye your Hair Any Other Color, What Would It Be? Its been every colour but I love it now, Red.

20. Name All the Different Cities In Which You Have Lived? Dublin, Seville, Palma...

21. Favorite Sport to Watch? Cricket

22. One Nice Thing About The Person Who Sent This To You? I love the bravery of her cooking.

23. What’s Under Your Bed?J.R.R.Tolkien has written about it I'm sure....

24. Would You Like to Be Born As Yourself Again?Definately.

25. Morning Person or Night Owl? Both - I love being awake...

26. Over Easy or Sunny Side Up?I'm Irish so I don't know what that is!!

27. Favorite Place to Relax?In the country. Ciaras.

28. Favorite Ice Cream Flavor?I like vanilla... it inspires me to create something to go on the side!

Thursday

The Leftover Queen!

I've been reading the wonderful bloggings of The Leftover Queen, ever since I became resident here in cyberspace! How flattered I was to see my own name staring back at me today!

Have a gawk!

Click HERE!

Take time to check out her blog while you're there, its great!

Sheepishly good! (sorry...)


Goats and sheep cheese are becoming more popular in Ireland of late, but they have always been staples here. Sheep do better on these sheer slopes, and there is little grass land to do a dairy cow any justice at all. So the majority of local cheese is made from sheep milk, artisan produce, all at a reasonable price too. Ricotta can be delivered to your door every morning for barely 50c, and in the supermarket a hunk of mature sheep milk cheese with a texture similar to cheddar, but pale as stone, will be barely €2...
Bad news for cheesies like myself and Bill, oh but the nightmares are worth it though!!

Thankfully I remembered the membrillo...

Gnocchi...

I'm not the biggest gnocchi fan, but done like this its always a winner in our house. Children love this, especially if you cook each portion in its own little oven dish!

Gnocchi al forno


You'll need

500gms of fresh gnocchi
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 chili
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
3 tbs philidelphia cheese
1 medium fresh mozzarella ball
Salt and pepper

Method

Cook the gnocchi according to the pack, strain and add to an oven dish. Chop the onion, and chili as small as you're bothered to... and crush the garlic. Add to a bit of olive oil in a pan and cook until translucent. Add the tinned tomatoes and heat through, melting the cheese in bit by bit. Season. Pour over the waiting gnocchi, and place slices of the mozzarella on top. Bake in a hot oven until cheese is bubbling and starting to brown.

Wednesday

Pick me up!

Italys favorite dessert - Tiramisu (literally pick me up!) is so easy you could make it in your sleep. I don't use egg yolks in mine, never have and never will, I think the marscapone is rich enough to carry the dessert without glooping it up with egg yolk! Some people use egg white as well, I think whipped cream and sugar marries the cheese perfectly and have no interest in fluffyness, either literal or metaphoric.
So here is my recipe for perfect Tiramisu!

You'll need
125mls fresh cream
5-6 tbsp icing sugar
1 shot of Kahlua
300gms Marscapone
about 20 Saviordi biscuits (Ladyfingers)
1 cup of esspresso coffee

Method
Whip the cream lightly and then stir in half the Kahlua and 2 tbsp of the icing sugar. Add the marscapone and stir until a creamy paste. Pour the rest of the Kahlua into the cup of coffee. Line the dish with half the biscuits and sprinkle with some coffee. You want the biscuits moistened but not soaked. Top with half the cream mix, and then top that with more biscuits. Sprinkle the remainder of the coffee over the layer and top with the rest of the cream mix.
Grate chocolate or sprinkle cocoa powder, chill until its nice and cold.

I am a wally! I didn't upload the picture of the finished product onto my little USB stick! Thats why there is none, I'll try to get it uploaded soon!

Lunch for two...

With Mary off with her pals, it was just myself and Bill for lunch (Joe sleeps through lunchtime after his elevenses)...

So I made something I've been dying to try after sniffing it over the shoulder of another diner last year in the local restaurant.

As you know simple good food is my passion, this is as simple as you get!

Linguine con Granchio



You'll need

1 large crabs worth of white meat (tinned if you can't get fresh)
6 plum tomatoes
125mls of double cream
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Salt and plenty of pepper
250gms fresh linguine


Method
Cook the pasta according to the instructions, you want it al dente. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces, discarding the green stalk. Mix everything together and serve...

Friday

Beloveds...

I watched a lovely program years ago, featuring Julia Sawahla talking about her life through food. I can't remember the name of the program but it ran for a while on BBC I think, but that is the one episode I remember because one of the things she talked about was 'beloveds' which has become a staple in our house ever since.


It was a jokey thing with a friend of hers, to make beans and add bits and pieces, and to make them with love, and so the beans became beloved.


We eat 'Beloveds' all the time in our house, and it is basically any dish of beans made with love!


My favorite way to prepare them is as follows,



Beloveds
you'll need
1 tin of your favorite beans, ours are Cannelini or Flageolet Olive oil
Half an onion, chopped
1 Garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp of worcestor sauce
Couple pinches of cayenne pepper
Handful of parsley (sometimes coriander if I have it for a very different result! if doing this add a squeeze of lemon juice!)
Salt and pepper.

Method
Stir the following in a pan until the onions are cooked. We get everyone to stir and tell the beans they love them (great way to get kids to eat them!). Serve on toast.

Wednesday

Bella Italia!

So for the next while I will be blogging from the south of Italy, where we are staying at my mothers house in the Appenines, relaxing before we take off in the van again! The journey here has been wonderful and what great food - see over on Ladybird for more about that! But now I am back to my own kitchen, and cooking for my family! Which is easy in Italy, a simple tomato sauce tasting like heaven... I have no internet at home but have found this little cafe in the closest town so hopefully will get to blog at least once a week! Unfortunatley this cafe is next door to an adorable pastry shop...

Here is a taste of what I'll be blogging about...

We barbequed these pork chops (4 for less than 4 euro!) after rubbing them with lemon, salt and garlic. I made traditional Italian Rosemary roast potatoes, and fried green beans in olive oil with sliced garlic. A little dressing of balsamic, honey and oil and the meal was complete.

See my recipe for Panzanella salad here!

Friday

Ten on Ten... Barcelona!

My contribution to the Ten on ten this month - all the way from barcelona!












A parting gift...

So the time has come to say Goodbye, but not for long, six weeks from now I will be back here shouting into the cyberspace hoping someone will hear me!

I only hope some of you will pop back to say hello, I will hopefully get to blog sometime along the way on my travels!

So goodbye for now! 

But just before I go...

I am going to bestow on you now one of those recipes that I have thought about posting but there was never a time that felt special enough, as this recipe is probably the one you will simultaenously thank me for while also beating me over the head with your licked clean spoon wailing "I will ne'er eat nothin else"!

Of course its a nigella recipe, but one no one has ever mentioned to me, and I wonder is that because it feels like it should be only discussed in hushed tones, perhaps in alleyways by hooded ladies... 

P.s. if you don't like nuts... skiddaddle, go on - shoo - there is nothing for you here...

Okay first things first - your shopping list...

175mls double cream
100g milk chocolate
100g smooth peanut butter
3 large tablespoons of golden syrup
Ice cream (I go pure vanilla)
Double chocolate chip cookies
Salted peanuts

Go straight away and get that list, nothing can be done until you have it.

Got the stuff? Good, okay lets go!

Put the cream, chocolate, syrup and peanut butter in a pan and melt it all together.  Pour over scoops of the ice cream and broken biscuits and top with the nuts.... There you have it - Your own Peanut Butter Fudge Sundae! 

The secret is definatley in the sauce!
Taste it.  Isn't it unbelievable? Stop crying now, but isn't it fab?! The first time I made this, even my chatterbox mother could not speak! 

I know, I know you can never thank me enough... 
Well... I wanted to give you something special before I left....

xxx

Nearly away!

Less than 24 hours to go before we head off for 6 weeks around Europe.  We are lucky enough to have a family home in the mountains between Naples and Rome and so will be spending two weeks or more there in between touring.  I cannot wait!

Here are some things I long for...








 

 

Thursday

Darkest chocolate cake...


OVER 18s ONLY!

This cake is far too rich and sumptious to be eaten by anyone who has yet to vote.  Children out the door please! 

This may sound cruel, but I promise you'll understand when you make this... the last place you want to see it is smeared around the face of the under tens, who would be just as happy with a fairy cake!!!

To die for, just one more slice more, I hope no one saw me scraping the silicone cake mould with my teeth(those things are flexible for a reason!!), I want to only eat this forever more!

"Luxury Chocolate" Chocolate cake!
Adapted from How to be a Domestic Goddess
I use Black Magic 85%  for this one....

225g Soft unsalted butter
375g dark muscavodo sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
150gms darkest chocolate
200gms plain flour (with tsp bicarb. of soda)
50gms ground almond
250mls boiling water

Blitz the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a processor until smooth,  then by hand fold in your chocolate which you have melted.  Gently add the flour mix and the boiling water and blitz again.  It will be very liquidy but don't worry.  Pour into mould or tin and bake for about 40 minutes at 190c - or until the skewer comes out with what looks like chocolate squidge! 
Allow it go very cold before icing with a simple ganache of melted chocolate mixed with some cream and a tsp of orange flower water if you have it! 
 

Leftovers...

I love leftovers... they allow me to find an outlet for my creativity in a day to day environment and that can be very satisfying.

You know the cheese pie I made last week, well a few days later I found a small bit of pastry left in the fridge, and decided I shouldn't let it go to waste.  So in an increasingly bare kitchen (knowing we're leaving for six weeks has been stopping me buying anything but the makings of a dinner!) I hunted out possible fillings. 

 I had watched a very entertaining episode of "Come Dine with Me!" a few days before where an eccentric anthropologist had made a dish called "Strange Thing" which I thought was hilarious! She had just made a pie with anything she had left over and there it was served to her guests! 
So I made a "Strange Thing" - filled it with spinach, pine nuts, parmesan, eggs, and cream.  It was quite nice! 
Nothing to write home about but with a bit of mustard, was welcome in my mouth! 

Pastry just makes everything taste nicer doesn't it!

Wednesday

Perfect Pear..

Almond and pear is one of my favorite combinations, especially in tart form, but I was equally as excited last week to spy Pear and Almond scones in my favorite avoca shop! However I was one disappointed lady when I got home to eat it with a cup of tea! There was barely a hint of almond and I decided then and there to make my own, almondy and rich.

The minute I bit into my scone I knew instantly I had made a mistake - scones are not cakes after all, so a sweet decadent flavour doesn't suit their homely texture.  

Everyone else in the house loved the scones, but I, possibly a purist, couldn't stomach even one. Still, I think the recipe deserves a mention, but keep in mind that they may not be what your after, leave out the essence if you want a more sconey experience! 

Pear and Almond Scones
You'll need
300g Plain white flour
100g strong brown flour (or make up with plain white)
100g ground almond
2 teaspoons bicarbPinch salt
4 and a half teaspoons cream of tartar
75g unsalted butter diced300ml milk1 large pear
1 tsp almond essence (optional)
Beaten egg, for glaze.
Caster sugar and flaked almonds for sprinkling.

Method
Preheat oven to 200c. Sift the flour, bicarb, cream of tar
tar and salt. Rub in the cold butter until it resembles sand. Peel the pear and score it through, then use a potato peeler to take thin strips of pear until its to the core. Add to the mix. Make a well and pour in the milk and essence, and stir together. Flour a surface and turn out the dough. Roll out with a well floured pin to 3 cms thick. Cut into about 10 round scones. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar and almonds.

 Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown (I often turn mine upside down for the last 5)