Happy Christmas!

Well I've been up to my eyes in the Christmas run-up, this is the first minute I've had to get online!

I will have plenty of recipes and posts after the festivities, but for now I will just post a bit about the wedding cake I put together for my brother and his now wife, for their wedding which was held in Markree Castle last weekend... 

Here it is!
Thankfully it all went smoothly, metaphorically and literally, with only a few bumps in the icing! The tiers were all different, with the brides mothers famous fruit cake on the bottom, and then I made a chocolate orange cake for the top tier and a chocolate biscuit cake using my own recipe for the middle! All went down a treat! 
I will post the chocolate biscuit recipe soon, I'll need to make it again to see how much of everything I put in, its my own recipe that I put together as I always find other biscuit cakes too buttery and sickly sweet... 
But for now you'll have to make do with a picture!  Happy Christmas Everyone!!!!


Ten on ten.... December

Woooooo! I'm actually posting this ON TIME!!!

Here it is... my contribution to the Ten on ten project for December...


Betty Spaghetti!

I had some pastry left over last week after a gorgeous Sunday lunch that I will tell you about soon.  I also had some cooked spaghetti in my fridge. So hoping to use up one or the other I then suddenly remembered a post I'd seen over at Michelles brilliant blog !

It was for something called Spaghetti Pie, which looked really delicious, done in the oven encased in cheese and sauce! With my leftover pastry though, I thought "I wonder if I could wrap spaghetti in pastry?" for an actual Spaghetti Pie! Only one way to find out... 

Needless to say it was delicious, pasta - good, pastry - good, cheese - good, I mean whats not to like! The leftovers the next day were even better and I would make this again for a picnic to have cold with salad, which is how I ate the leftover slice and it was delicious.

Here is the recipe in case you ever fancy a slice of Spaghetti Pie.  Take it as a rough guide only, you can do this with any combination you like!

Spaghetti Pie

You'll need
300gms cooked spaghetti
400gms minced meat
150gms chopped tomatoes
1 chilli pepper, chopped finely
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 onion, chopped
125gms parmesan
125gms Philidelphia cheese
125gms grated cheddar

Leftover Pastry, either puff or shortcrust is fine

Heat the pan and add a dash of olive oil.  Fry the onions, chilli and garlic with the meat until nice and brown,  add the tomatoes and the puree.  Add the parmesan.

Remove from the heat. 

With a scissors, chop the spaghetti into small pieces, maybe 4cms.  Stir into the sauce.

Line your pie dish with pastry and spread the philidelphia cheese thickly on the bottom, cover with the spaghetti mix and top with the cheddar.  
Brush milk around the sides of the pie and cover with more pastry.  Prick this top and decorate if you wish. Brush with beaten egg and bake until golden brown.  


Ooh I have been asleep! So I shall get back into what may turn out to be a flurry of posts by playing a quick game of Tag... I have stolen this from my friend Lisa on Facebook, but sure its all in the name of fun!!

* Grab the book closest to you. Now.
* Go to page 56.
* Find the 5th sentence.
* Write that sentence as your status.
* Copy these instructions as a comment to your status.
* Don't go looking for your favourite book, or the coolest one you have -- just grab the closest one.
*Post your sentence to your blog and reference back to me! 

My offering is "Name association was big, as were my presumed interests in vaudeville and politics"

Come on - PLAY!!!

If anyone knows what that is a quote from they get extra kudos!!! ;-)


Easy Peasy Roly Poly

I loved making swiss rolls in school, something about getting that perfect swirl with no cracks appealed to the perfectionist in me!

So when I set about making a meringue roulade, I was sure I could handle it! However it was a hundred times easier, believe it or not!! Rolling meringue is like rolling marshmallow, easy as pie! And even if it cracked it would look great! Winner all round! For this roulade you need nothing but the basics... no flours, no vinegars, nothing... Dunno how but it works a treat, even without the stabilisers!

White Chocolate and Blueberry Roulade!

You'll need
275gms Caster sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract or half a pod, scraped
5 Egg whites, room temperature
Icing sugar, for dusting
For the Filling
150gms White chocolate
100mls Natural yoghurt
250gms Marscapone
150gms Blueberries
Heat your oven to 220c.
Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until holding stiff peaks, then gradually whisk in the sugar until the meringues are glossy and stiff. Whisk in the vanilla.
Spread the meringue thickly on a lined swiss roll tin. Turn your oven down to 160c and bake the meringue for about 15 minutes or until golden and firm to touch.
Remove from the oven and turn out onto a piece of greasproof, dusted with icing sugar. Leave to cool.
Melt your chocolate in your usual way, then stir in the yoghurt. Beat in the marscapone until smooth. Spread over the meringue and top with the blueberries.
Roll your meringue, using the paper to help. Leave wrapped in the paper and chill for at least 1 hour before serving dusted with icing sugar.

I've been Tagged!

Thanks Ciara over at Milkmoon! I love a good game of tag and this one is a great challenge - 7 facts about ME!

Here they are...

1) My first job was as a pony girl in Brennanstown Stables, Co. Wicklow.  I was 9.

2) Gilbert O'Sullivan is my mothers cousin.

3) I would happily spend €900 on a pair of Manolo Blanhiks... if I had it to spare!

4) I have seen every episode of 'Friends' at least fifty times, have the box set, but still cannot watch anything else if its listed!!

5) I love the idea of bluetooth technology as it allows me to talk to myself out loud in my car without people thinking I'm a looney tune!

6) I allow my son to draw all over the walls of my house and I really do not care if it looks bad!

7) Hmmmm, last but not least, I am a huge Billy Idol fan!

I will in turn tag...

and anyone else who wants to play!!


Curry... The Return...

Remember my No Worry Curry that I posted a good while ago, well it has come full circle and I would consider it now to be the perfect "cook for a crowd" meal that you can whip up at a moments notice, and be certain to please everyone! 

No Worry Curry
The New and Improved Version
You'll need
100gms of fresh coriander
2 red chillies
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp thai fish sauce
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 Pink Curry Onions
300gms Cooked Prawns
1 Tin of white crab meat (M&S is the best I found)
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tin of coconut milk

Pop the coriander, chilli and garlic into the processor and blitz to a rough paste.  Add the oil and fish sauce and blitz again.  Heat a heavy bottom pan and add a dash of oil. Chop and saute the onions until soft and then add the paste.  Stir for a couple of minutes to allow the aromas to fuse, then add the tomatoes and the coconut milk.  Reduce by half.

Remove from the heat and stir through the fish.

Serve with thai sticky rice.


Gok Gok...

My darling little Joe has found out about chocolate and since then the mere rustle of a wrapper in a pocket has him shouting "GOK GOK" very loudly!  You can see for yourself below...!!

So it was like christmas for him the other evening when, spurred by a chocolate loving daughter, I made some good old fashioned chocolate puddings, of the self saucing kind! I'm not a huge fan but everyone else in the house likes them, including now darling Joe! 

This recipe is so simple and guaranteed to turn out everytime so do try them!  

Hot Chocolate Puddings
You'll need
250gms plain chocolate
50gms soft unsalted butter
120gms caster sugar
4 Eggs
Half tsp vanilla extract
50gms plain flour
Pinch of salt

Melt the chocolate in your usual way.  Mix the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer until blended and smooth. Then add the eggs, alternatively with spoons of flour, to avoid curdling until you have a smooth batter.  Add the vanilla and the salt, then mix in the chocolate using your mixer to make sure it doesn't settle at the bottom of the batter.  

Butter your ramekins well and pour the mixture in.  Bake in a preheated oven at about 200c for about twelve minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK!!! The top should be cooked and the sides coming away from the ramekins.  
Upturn them onto individual plates and serve with gently whipped cream on the side.... Ooooh and raspberries if you have any!!

You can also make these a little bit more "dinner party" by using a chocolate flavoured with spices, Green & Blacks do a few, or by adding a tsp of chilli powder to the mix for a fiery kick! If you do use spiced chocolate use creme fraiche instead of cream and add a few drops of rosewater or orange flower water... 


Ten on ten...

I keep forgetting the Ten on ten... which is annoying because I love taking part! I've just been so busy with the various that the tenth just slips by, or I take the pictures and forget to upload them!

Here is a belated (again!!) contribution to the Ten on Ten!


Stuff that!

I've been following Rosemary Shragers School for Cooks over the last few weeks, and it is a treasure trove of inspiration, she really is a fantastic chef, with great ideas. After one particular show, where the teams were asked to stuff breast of chicken with chicken mousse, I was dying to try something similar. Then another show 'Saturday Kitchen' stuffed a whole chicken with chorizo sausage and lemon. That clinched it - I immediately set about stuffing some chicken, and put together a Spanish inspired meal that was so simple yet had everyone stuffed to the gills but hoping for even one spoon more.
It was slightly restauranty and so I will describe it to you in restaurant fashion...

Spanish Chicken Roulade
Organic breast of chicken, stuffed with feta cheese, lemon and chorizo. Served with warm chorizo and potato salad and wilted spinach.
You'll need
4 large chicken breasts
200gms feta cheese
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbs chopped parsley
75gms cooked chorizo sausage
Salt and pepper
For the salad
250gms new potatoes
1 cooked chorizo sausage
Juice of 1 lemon
1 red onion, chopped

Mash the feta. Skin the chorizo and chop into tiny pieces. Add to the feta with the parsley and season.
For each chicken roulade, lie the chicken breast between two sheets of cling film and bash with a rolling pin until about 3mm thick. Spread one fourth of the cheese mix onto the breast and roll up. Wrap with cling film and chill.
After about ten minutes, remove from fridge. Heat olive oil in a pan and carefully place the roulades in to brown on top.

Then remove them to an oven dish and pour the oil over. Bake for about 12 minutes or until cooked through.

For the salad, boil the potatoes, skins on, until tender. Add to the pan that browned the chicken and fry lightly. Add the chorizo and allow the oils to profuse. Add the parsley, the lemon juice, season and serve.

Wilt some spinach in olive oil over the heat.


Chi Ching Cherries!

Okay firstly sorry for the silence, I have been busy as a bee, lots of cooking and baking of course, but very little time to sit down here and get it all blogged!

So I will, over the next few days, tell you what I've been doing, but for now, here is a recipe for a Cherry Brandy Cake I made for my mothers birthday on Tuesday.  There is a famous story that we tell where my mother decided to make chocolate cherries for Christmas presents, on a whim, and began immediately.  It turned out, as the chocolate was hardening on its alcoholic little fruits, that the bottle of brandy that my mother had used, was a bottle of aged XO, which brandy lovers and barmen will recognise as one of the most expensive drinks one can order! My father had been given it as a present and was, of course, saving it for a special occasion.  My mother went through various possibilities, such as adding tea to the bottle, or dropping the bottle on the stone floor, before fessing up and taking it on the chin! So it was with a nod to that, that I set about creating a cake version of the expensive sweets and here is the recipe!
Chocolate Cherry Brandy Cake

You'll need
120gms darkest chocolate
60gms butter
300gms cherry jam
150gms self raising flour
2 eggs
150gms caster sugar
70mls brandy


Melt the butter and chocolate in a pan, take off the heat and stir in the sugar, jam, brandy and eggs with a pinch of salt.  Add the flour and stir through.

Pour into a cake tin and bake for about a half and hour on a medium heat until a cake skewer comes out clean.

Decorate with a chocolate frosting and glace cherries.


32 years ago...

I was born! Yes this week I have celebrated my birthday and what a great week I've had! Bill brought me to my favorite Fernhouse Cafe for breakfast and my best friend treated me to a slap up late lunch in town...! It was a day of spoiling for me! 

I got some lovely presents, including some interesting new cookbooks! My brother gave me two, one entitled "Irish Recipes Yer Ma Used Ta Make" which is lovely and a fantastic huge almanac of desserts, some I've never even heard of (Chess Pie anyone?), which I'm sure I will make full use of! I also was lucky enough to get Gordon Ramsays latest, and last night I set about making something from it, to welcome in the last year of my early thirties! 

Gordon Ramsays Pork Stroganoff 
(He uses fillet, I used chops!)
You'll need
2 lge pork chops
200gms mixed mushrooms
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
50mls brandy
150mls sour cream
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 tsp paprika

Trip and chop the pork into small pieces. Heat your pan, oil it and fry the onions, garlic and mushrooms until soft.  Tip the contents of the pan into a bowl and put aside.  Add the pork pieces to the pan with some oil and fry until golden brown.  Return the onions, garlic and mushrooms.  Add the brandy and bring to the boil, then add the cream and the tsp of paprika. Season.  Serve with plenty of Rice and sprinkled with more paprika and parsely!



Colcannon is a traditional Irish meal, served at Halloween. The local supermarkets and Greengrocers become stocked to the hilt with the beloved Curly Kale, which rarely makes an appearance at any other time of year!

You'll need
500gms Floury potatoes, peeled and boiled
200gms Curly Kale, washed and chopped
125mls Creme Fraiche
1 Clove of Garlic, crushed
100gms Butter
50mls Milk
Salt and Pepper

4 large coins wrapped in foil, I use 50 cent.

Mash the potatoes well and add half the butter, stirring until mixed through. Stir in the creme fraiche and the milk. Season. In a frying pan heat some olive oil and add the garlic. Fry the Kale in the oil until bright green. Stir through the potato. Drop the wrapped money into the mix and stir.
Melt the rest of the butter in a pan. Place a large dollop of Colcannon in a bowl and make a small well in the centre. Pour some melted butter into the well and serve.
Dip your spoonfuls of Colcannon into the melted butter as you eat. Watch for that money!!


Hallowe'en Greetings!

It is the morning of All Hallows Eve and I am planning a day of traditional food, that most Irish have eaten all their lives, once a year on this occasion which is probably the only purely Irish tradition that we still actively celebrate. Some people still recognise the two Solstice days but it is the minority. So Hallowe'en is the last standing tradition left for us to recognise our ancestry, the druidic Ireland. It is clinging to its roots, but the bonfires become less and less, the witches are morphing into superheroes and the chocolate covered apples are becoming apple shaped chocolate...

Sure the "Trick or Treat" side of things has become popular in the last few things, I try to convince my daughter that "Apples or Nuts", as we used to say, is better but she doesn't listen. And the outfits become shop bought, top to tail, no imagination needed. Apart from the expense, we still like to make our outfits, as my mother did for me, from odds and ends, bits and bobs. Traditionally you waited until it was dark to get dressed so we uphold that also. Then with faces painted and a shopping bag ready, they'll eat a big bowl of Colcannon, maybe find a sixpence, and head out into the smoky nights to collect their dues...

Joe the Pirate


Who's been eating all the pies?

Short answer - Me! 
These last weeks I have been obsessed with perfecting my Lemon Meringue Pie recipe, and so the house has been dotted with these perfect fluffy desserts.  Any opportunity I had to make a dessert and I was on it! In all, I think, I made seven... and I'm almost happy!
So I'm going to give you the recipe, although it may have to be replaced sometime soon, at this very moment I am Lemoned and Meringued out! 

Lisa's Lemon Cloud Pie
Firstly for the base, line a 9" deep cake tin with greasproof paper or tin foil.  In your processor blitz about 300gms of digestive biscuits to crumbs.  Melt 125gms butter in a saucepan and stir through the biscuits.  Pour the buttered crumbs into the tin and press down, with a soup spoon, until smooth.  Pop into the fridge as you do the next stage. 

Now, for the filling you will need,
2 Large Lemons, zested and juiced
40gms cornflour
290mls water
2 egg yolks, beaten
100gms caster sugar

Pour enough water (maybe 50mls or so) into the cornflour and stir, despite resistance, until smooth.  Then, in a saucepan, bring the water and the lemon zest to the boil.  Remove from the heat and add to the cornflour paste. Add the sugar and the egg yolks.  Return to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon until you will see it start to thicken.  Continue until it coats the back of the spoon and hangs rather than drips.  Pour onto the biscuit crumb crust and chill.

Make your meringue topping by whipping 3/4 egg whites until they have stiff peaks.  Add approximately 120/150gms caster sugar and whip again until the meringue is glossy.  Pour into the tin, on top of the curd and then into a medium oven (I preheat to 200c and then turn down to 150c when I put the pie in) for 45 minutes.  If the top becomes too brown while cooking, cover with foil.

Remove from the oven and leave to stand on a teatowel (curds sweat!) for about ten minutes or longer before serving.

Whoooooooooooooooo spooky!

My "DD" as they say in cyberland had her hallowe'en party in school on Friday... It was a difficult week of desicion making for her as she decided what to go as... Finally we decided on The Ghost of Marie Antoinette! What do you think?