Sunday, 31 May 2015

Fondant Potatoes

It was recently MY BIRTHDAY! And I’d like to thank all my family and friends for making it extra special this year – I’ve had a wonderful weekend of food, drink, presents and more drink and then cake.

And what better way for an Irish girl to celebrate but with a new way to serve potatoes?

I’m not going to lie. These are naughty. Carbs, butter, cheese, cream, you name something delicious and “bad for you” and I’ve put it in here.

These are a more elaborate (read: calorific) version of the hasselback potatoes I have previously made and loved. These are one of these midweek sides which I love – they take a small amount of preparation and then you can just stick them in the oven for the best part of an hour and get on with other things while they get delicious and crispy.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Creamy Pesto and Pasta

Hello long-weekenders! There is something absolutely delightful about having Monday off. And this is the perfect meal to whip up for those long, becoming warm, weekends.

So, as I said previously, I have recently been on a trip to Italy. While there, I sampled some amazing carbs food, and generally enjoyed myself for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

One of my favourite places was a small takeaway pasta place in Venice (#1 on tripadvisor!) where there were a choice of 8 sauces, 2 freshly made pastas and some extras. I have a huge weakness for pesto, and so when I saw a pesto sauce on the menu, I knew I had to sample it. It was completely unexpected in texture – creamy, saucy and thick. And of course, utterly delicious.

Of course, I had to have a go at making my own. The sauce in Venice felt much thicker and richer than if I had just added cream, so I decided to go with good old cream cheese.

So, what I have created here isn’t exactly what I had in Venice, but it’s close, and more importantly pretty delicious! A new favourite meal covering the weekday trifecta – quick, tasty, good fpr lunch the next day.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Strawberry Cake Donuts

These donuts have fulfilled a lifelong goal of mine: to make a donut which looks exactly like one that Homer Simpson would eat. And I think I succeeded. Of course, I would have preferred the longer sprinkles for authenticity, but beggars can't be choosers (Sainsburys only had ONE type of sprinkles, the horror).

The difference between this and regular donuts is that there is no yeast, so no rising time. The leavening agents (bicarb of soda, baking powder) take care of the rising in the heat. What it basically means is that if you want donuts within 45 minutes you can have them. Which is VERY IMPORTANT information.

This wasn’t the easiest recipe to be honest, and a good few of my donuts got slightly charred on the bottom of the pan. But that was usually easily fixed, and icing sugar covers all sins.

The addition of cinnamon in the batter was a complete revelation. They aren’t the sweetest donuts without icing, but the cinnamon gives them a really delicious depth of flavour. And why would you eat an un-iced donut anyway? What are you, watching your figure?

Makes about 9 donuts and 12 middles

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Creamy Cumin Pasta

I have a confession to make. I am a recipe stealer. If I go to your house and like what I eat, I will either hound you for the exact recipe, or subtly muscle the ingredients out of you and recreate it at home.

To my family and friends, sorrynotsorry.

This is one such recipe. My aunt brought a veritable vat of it to a family gathering and I hovered over it most of the evening, gorging and trying to tease out the ingredients. It is incredibly unusual, creamy, yet spiced and sweet. Delicious hot for dinner, or cold for lunch. This is my homage to one of the nicest pasta dishes I've ever had, so thanks Auntie Mandy!

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Jammy Muffins

I am currently on my jolly holidays in Belgium! It is great here - I can't wait to make waffles and proper frites when I get home! I have also been stuffing my case (and face) with enough chocolate to live on for a year. I really don't see anything wrong with that.

But enough about chocolate, this post is all about the above delicious muffin donut thingys, Let’s first address the name of these little morsels. They’re a bit like a muffin and a bit like a donut. But Doffin sounds dumb and (for me) evokes the unholy combination of a dolphin and a puffin. And the less said about Muffnut the better..

This is one of the recipes that I love. It is quick, simple, uses ingredients I always have hanging around the kitchen, and most importantly they look and taste pretty impressive.

I was really happy with how these turned out- perfect little sugary domes of deliciousness with a surprise of sweet fruity jam inside. An absolute winner.

Monday, 11 May 2015


Okay, this is the last of my seasonally inappropriate posts (or, maybe not). I don't really stick to what is "seasonal", I think that good food is good food, so if I can source decent ingredients I'll eat strawberry icecream in December, and Stollen in June!

I do not discriminate when it comes to food, I’ll make anything from anywhere as long as it tastes good. I might bastardise it slightly (don’t hate me!) but I do it with love.

This year, in my culinary trip around Europe, I decided to have a go at Stollen, a traditional German yeast-cake, which is characterised by being stuffed full of marzipan, fruit and nuts. I added dark chocolate chips because I couldn’t help myself. It is *technically* a winter/Christmas thing. It lasts a good while, because it is brushed with melted butter which keeps it dense and moist. However, as with most foods, it tastes reeeeally good warm from the oven.

  • 450g plain flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 10g yeast
  • 5g salt
  • 150g salted butter
  • 250ml milk, lukewarm
  • Pinch ground nutmeg and cloves
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 55g blanched almonds
  • 125g dried cranberries
  • 75g chocolate chips (optional!)
  • Zest of orange and lemon
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 225g marzipan
  • To finish:
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • Icing sugar


Place the flour, sugar and almonds in a large bowl.

Camera had no battery during the preparation process, so this is courtesy of my trusty phone..

Add yeast in one side of the bowl and salt in the other, then add in the salted butter and 200ml of the milk and mix together.

Before the milk

Add the remaining milk, little by little and bring together to form a soft dough.

To a generously floured surface, place the dough on top and kneed 6-7 times.

In a separate bowl, add in the nutmeg, cloves, vanilla sugar, almonds, cranberries, chocolate chips and zests and stir together. 

Place the dough on top of this, and knead until all mixed and incorporated.

Cover with cling and set aside for an hour to two, to rise. When doubled, flatten out the dough and roll out to a rectangle of 45x 35cm.

Brush with melted butter, and roll out the marzipan to 35x15cm. Place in the middle of the rolled out stollen loaf.

Roll up to enclose the marzipan in the middle. Place on a lined baking tray, cover with a teatowel and leave to rise for an hour.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 190 degrees.

Bake for an hour.

Remove from oven, brush with melted butter and sprinkle over the icing sugar.

Leave to cool on a rack, and slice when cool enough to eat!

Mmmm, fruit and nutty..

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Refried Beans aka the BEST side-dish ever

Black gold

Oh Lordy. This is going to be a good one. Gutted I missed posting it on Cinco De Mayo, but rest assured I ate a lot of Mexican food that day, so it's OK.

Tears dripped down my face in delight as I tasted the majesty of this impressive bowl of spiced, mashed, EPIC beans.

I used black turtle beans which my amazing boyfriend bought in bulk off amazon (3 kilos.. I really like these beans, okay) and I regret NOTHING. As an aside, did you know that some of the sub-varieties of these beans include nighthawk, and zorro? BAD. ASS.

Serve this with whatever Mexican stuff you have closest to you. My preferred vehicle for these beans is a massive burrito, but you could always just shovel it in your mouth with tortilla chips, whatevs, no judgement.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Sweet Sesame Fried Chicken

Chinese takeout at home, anyone? I was always intimidated by this kind of thing because I didn’t think I’d be able to get it quite right. So, this recipe is a testament to just giving something a go. I researched a lot of recipes and this is an amalgamation of the nicest parts of about 6 different recipes. 

It really turned out deliciously, sweet and nutty and spicy and crunchy and overall damn delicious. And no MSG in sight!  OK it isn't the healthiest, but for a weekend treat I think deep frying is extremely justified.

Although the ingredients list might seem intimidating, they are all things which are easily sourced/cupboard staples, and a lot of the ingredients are repeated. There is quite a bit of preparation to this recipe, but once you have everything marinaded, chopped and mixed, it makes the actual cooking part a whole lot easier. I am awful for not prepping beforehand, so you'll find me frantically chopping a pepper while the onion burns in the pan because I don’t have enough hands to stir it.

Don’t be like me. Prep your vegetables before you start, and maybe read the recipe the whole way though beforehand too. Again, learn from my many mistakes.