12 Oct

Sugar-Free Fruit Jelly

And so my quest for sugar-free treats continues. I went into the supermarket the other day to take a look at jelly. I don’t mean the super-sweet bag of sweets, I mean the jelly that you make up yourself. The kids and I like it for a sweet treat on occasion.

First up, the block of jelly that you cut into cubes then dissolve in hot water. That contains a lot of sugar. Instantly that got crossed off my list.

Next, the powdered jelly in sachets that you dissolve in hot water. They’re marked sugar-free. Hooray I thought, only when I had a good look at the ingredients list I read that their sweetener was aspartame – which we don’t eat in our house for various reasons.

The two normal off-the-shelf options I won’t be buying again. That leaves me with a third option, which is to make my own using gelatin (not suitable if you’re a vegetarian) or an alternative like agar. I chose gelatin simply because it’s easier in the supermarket and we’re not vegetarian. Your health food store will help you out if you want to source agar.

Making homemade sugar-free fruit jelly, it turns out, is a doddle.Sugar-Free Fruit Jelly - Wholesome Ireland Read More

11 Sep

Sugar-free Flapjacks

“An é seo folláin?”/”Is this wholesome?” My 5-year-old requires absolute honesty when we go shopping together. He won’t buy anything unless it’s “folláin” (the Irish word for wholesome). As I call out items from the list and he wanders around the supermarket; he’ll pick up items, and check the wholesome factor. It wasn’t always like this. A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have been able to walk the gauntlet that is the biscuit aisle, or the chocolate aisle, without picking up biscuits and treats. Now products that don’t pass his test get put back and he meanders on, scrutinising the shelves.

If I don’t buy the sweet treats then we don’t eat them. I confess that I find this exceptionally difficult at about 8pm when I make my last cup of tea of the day and crave something to dunk. I feel like I should reward myself for making it to the end of the day with the same number of children that I started out with. Every now and again the 2-year-old asks for some chocolate but he’s easily distracted with a square of bread and jam. You see it’s not that we don’t eat sugar, we just don’t eat as much as we used to.

The stand mixer has recently been relegated from the kitchen and I’ve stopped baking cakes every week. Read More

11 Jul

Strawberry Jam

One of the best signs of Summer is when stalls by the roadside start to sell strawberries and new potatoes. If you roll down the window of the car on a warm day you can smell the sweetness as you get close. How can you resist picking up fresh local strawberries? Once we’ve gorged ourselves on punnets of fresh, warm, sun-kissed strawberries and licked our lips clean of the juices, what else can we do with them, if we have any left?

Jam is a way of capturing all the summer sunshine in a jar. Its beautiful warm from the pot, spread on toast and I like to keep at least one jar in the back of the cupboard for brightening up a dull day in the winter. It’s not all that difficult to make, the key thing to making strawberry jam is not to boil the jam too much.Strawberries - Caitriona Redmond

Once you’ve made this easy strawberry jam, why not reserve a little while it’s still warm and wow everybody with a Strawberry Cream Cake? I’ll have a recipe for the very thing next week! Read More

04 Jul

Eton Mess

There are days that I love nothing more than working in the kitchen on “oven watch”. These type of days are when I’m not stuck at my computer for hours on end, and the sun isn’t splitting the stones. Lately though, with the sunny weather and my two boys being that bit older all they want to do is to play out in the front garden with the big boys.

That’s all great, except we have an open garden system where we live and that means we don’t have gates that I can close to keep the boys safe and the road is very close to the house. So if the boys want to play outside then I have to be out with them. It kind of cramps my style when it comes to desserts and I’ve been revisiting some old no-cook favourites over the past couple of weeks.

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23 Apr

Chocolate Banana Cake

If, by chance, you have any chocolate left over after the excesses of last Sunday, you might want to consider making this chocolate banana cake.  It’s cake, not banana bread, and will freeze for up to 2 months if wrapped well.  Not that you’re going to want it to last that long! Read More

16 Apr

Raspberry Poke Cake

Don’t worry, this raspberry poke cake isn’t a technical bake, it’s more of a crumbly gooey fun cake to make and enjoy. It won’t take you too long, and the most arduous part of this cake is the fact that you have to wait until it’s completely cool to enjoy it. Read More

04 Feb

Orange Crisps

These are blood orange crisps, but this recipe isn’t just limited to blood oranges, it’s just I had blood oranges and they look so pretty when they’re preserved. If you want to make an incredibly easy gift that looks amazing in jar, like you paid loads of money to buy then keep on reading. They can also be used to decorate cakes, or hung on ribbons in the house. Read More

27 Jan

Gur Cake

I mentioned on Saturday that I was making gur cake. I really didn’t expect the response I would get on all my social media channels from Dubs (people from Dublin), Corkonians (who call it chester cake) and Deise natives (from Waterford, who call it donkey gudge cake apparently). This is a cake that has huge heritage, and yet comes from a very humble beginning. Read More

23 Jan

Lemon And Lime Cake

Baking in this house requires organisation because the 2 year old understands when I’ve something baking. He likes to sit in front of the oven and demand instant results. His naps are beginning to shorten too so if I want to bake I need to be able to lash a cake batter together rapidly and have it cooked and cooling by the time he wakes up.

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15 Jan

Blueberry Slice

I buy fresh berries in bulk and then freeze them to use over the winter. Berries go into smoothies, baking, jellies, salads and sometimes into something that is so decadent you won’t want to share. In fact you’ll want to eat this blueberry slice right out of the baking tray. Read More

11 Jan

Chewy Fruit Flapjacks

I realised yesterday that I hadn’t baked so far this year. Yes I know, that’s crazy talk coming from me. Normally I’m cranking up the oven at least 3 times a week to bake treats for the boys or the weekend. There are no excuses for this type of behaviour and of course I had to fix it. After consulting with a few readers on the Facebook page, I made these chewy fruit flapjacks.

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04 Dec

Toffee Apple Cake

I’ve been testing this recipe for a while, in fact since Hallowe’en. I know it’s a long time to be playing around with a bake as important as Toffee Apple Cake but it was important that I got it right. My taste-tester-in-chief has declared it the best apple cake he’s ever tasted. He always says that, I think because he’s afraid if he doesn’t flatter me then his steady supply of cake will dry up. No matter, I have plenty of willing volunteers to take his place! Read More

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