Let’s face it. We’ve all had school mornings where we’ve slept it in/you’ve spent too long wrestling with a uniform/you just don’t know what happened to the time & you need to grab something healthy as you go out the door. I love these granola bars, I’ve designed them to use natural sweeteners rather than sugar and they are so easy to put together. The seeds add protein, the oats are low GI and the dried fruit adds more fibre again.
Truth be told my boys would eat these bars day and night if I let them. Read More →
Pork and apples go so well together but I often find it’s a bit too much of a stretch to get the kids to eat apple sauce with their pork chops. Because apples contain so much citric acid and pectin, they cut through fatty meals very well so if you have a heavy dinner, apple crumble with a little low-fat yoghurt is a great way to finish a meal.
I don’t know about you but having a nice pudding or “puddy” as it’s called in our house (thanks Dad) is handy for bribing kids to eat their meal. I love that this is fruit based.
When I was 5 our moved to live in my father’s family home. It was a home that his father, my grandfather had built with hopes and dreams for his young family many years before that.
My grandmother, used to grow all sorts of fruit in the gardens at the house, but as we grew older the strawberry plants, raspberry canes, and blackcurrant bushes waned. The espalier fruit trees that my grandparents had planted outside still thrive and are fruiting at the moment.
Last Sunday we gathered as a family to say goodbye to the family home. My parents are moving on now; they have no need for such a large space anymore. They now have 8 grandchildren (not all my children I hasten to add!), and excepting the newest (my 9 week old nephew), and the reluctant teen the rest ran around the garden making the most of the good weather.
Dad lifted his bonny grandkids up to pick their own apples for the last time, and my 3-year-old munched and crunched to his heart’s content. My love of apples comes from this simple action of reaching up and picking when they are ripe. I never knew how lucky I was when I lived with my parents. We’ve already planted 1 apple tree in the past year, and I’ve resolved to plant many more since.
I’ve lived in my home for almost as long as I lived in my childhood home now, I’ll always call dessert “puddy” though.
Fill a large bowl with water and squeeze in the juice of the lemon straight into the water. Peel, core and chop each apple into bite-sized chunks and submerge the pieces in the lemon water. This will stop them from turning brown.
In the meantime rub together the butter and wholemeal flour until you get a breadcrumb like texture. Then add 50g of caster sugar and the porridge oats and stir. Set to one side.
Layer a large ovenproof baking dish with half the apples. Sprinkle 25g caster sugar on top, then repeat with the second half and the rest of the sugar.
The next part is key to making great crumble. Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the apples from a height. Do not press it down or compact it in anyway.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes and serve with yoghurt, cream or custard.
I used to bake soda bread about once a fortnight but we did buy a lot of sliced pans. My hubby was partial to a slice of batch and while I didn’t always eat it, we’d buy about 2 loaves of bread a week. The boys would have sandwiches, and then there was toast with melted butter, which is of course the stuff that food dreams are made of.
I was playing around with Mam’s brown bread recipe (it’s very reliable and you can find it in my cookbook which can be ordered here) and came up with a version which literally takes 5 minutes to throw into a bowl, and stir with a fork, before lashing into the oven. You’ve probably read that and sworn a bit, or even decided not to read any further because you don’t believe me. Honestly, once the ingredients are in the bowl my easy-stir homemade brown bread takes 5 minutes to make. My hands don’t get dirty. I mess up 1 large bowl making it and then I use some baking parchment in the tin so I don’t even have loads of washing up. Here’s the video instructions, and you’ll find the recipe below. Read More →
As today is the last day of primary school for 9 whole weeks, classes are allowed to take treats into school. Sweets and chocolate are, as a rule, not allowed in school due to a healthy eating policy. For today though, as it’s a half day, the 6 year old was allowed to choose what treats he wanted to bring in. When I asked him what he’d like for his treat I expected that he’d ask to go to the local shop to pick up some goodies. I was wrong.
Yesterday I got my instructions. He required vanilla biscuits with icing. Except when I went to make the vanilla biscuits I discovered I was all out of vanilla. The horror! I did have a lovely stash of organic lemons though, and I figured that my lovely lemon biscuits would have to make do as a substitute. The warm weather means that room temperature butter and eggs are a dream to work with. In fact I made this cookie dough by hand with a big bowl and a wooden spoon in about 10 minutes. That task would normally take far longer in the depths of winter.
As a child I always believed that macaroni was a sweet pasta dish. I didn’t realise that the name of a past corresponds to a shape. My childhood macaroni was normally made with penne. Dad used to cook it in a double-boiler, it’s a type of bain marie. The pasta was slowly cooked in a custard sauce and it was rib-stickingly good. This kind of dish was never cooked in the Summer months, but I have great memories of many milk puddings when growing up. Rice, semolina (with a sinful spoon of jam in the middle), tapioca, and this mysterious macaroni.
Now I know that macaroni is a type of pasta, and that it’s incredibly popular with melted cheese. It’s also pretty good with bacon stirred into the cheese sauce. That elevates simple macaroni with cheese to a whole new level, particularly if you drop a little bit of sriracha into the cheese sauce.
Still it’s too flipping hot for heavy desserts in Dublin at the moment. We are in the middle of a warm “fug”; where the skies are quite grey, the air is extremely humid, and the temperature is tipping 20 degrees Celsius. For those not in the know, that my friends, is practically tropical where I live. June is known as the “strawberry month”, and as we have a lot of family birthdays to celebrate in the month of June, most cakes and treats incorporate the little red jewels in some manner or form. Read More →
Jam is sweet. It’s meant to be sweet; the sugar used preserves the fruit and makes the jam last for longer. In my house that could mean up to a year; providing I use a sterilised jar, and store it in a cool, dark place.
What if there was a way to make low sugar jam? You’d still have a “set” consistency, but the trade-off would be that you’d have to make smaller quantities because the jam wouldn’t last so long.
I’ve tested plenty of jam recipes over the years. I’ve made jam with less sugar than recommended, replaced the refined sugar with fruit sugar (fructose), used honey, and used alternative sweeteners like aspartame and xylitol. Typical jam recipes are made on a 50:50 ratio of fruit to sugar. This recipe turns all that wisdom around and uses far less than that. Read More →
Why would you want to make this cheesecake? Well you could be on a low fat diet, trying to lose weight, or maybe you might be trying to reduce your sugar consumption. It could be all of the above, as is the case with my family members. While I won’t identify them on the blog, I can tell you that in the past 6 weeks, these 3 inspiring people have managed to lose a combined total of just under 3 stone (that’s 42lbs or 19kg).
You don’t need to cook, nor do you need any fancy equipment to be able to make these cheesecake pots, just make sure you have space in the fridge for them to cool. Of course if you’d rather use the full-fat full-sugar version of these ingredients go right ahead! Read More →
Apparently simnel cake is traditionally eaten on Mothering Sunday. I have to say I never remember eating simnel cake then, but it always featured on our Easter table as I was growing up.
Technically simnel cake is a similar mixture to a Christmas cake, and has some of the same flavours. However unlike Christmas cake, you won’t find any sickly sweet white icing (be it fondant or royal), and the almond paste is baked into the cake, with a thin layer on top that’s caramelised under the grill before serving.
The thing is though, simnel cake is beautiful but a flipping heavy cake to make. It is prone to collapsing in the middle it’s so heavy. I’m cheating with these simnel cupcakes because they are so darn easy to make, bake, and then even freeze if you want to. I have cheated twice I’m afraid (sorry), because I used some ready-to-roll marzipan to make life even easier on myself. Read More →
What is curd? Sweet curd is made with 4 main ingredients. 3 of which are always butter, sugar, and eggs. The 4th ingredient is normally a tart or citrus flavour. Once made properly it sets to a dropping consistency. This is because both the butter and the egg yolks play a part in the setting process.
You’ve probably heard of lemon curd. It is extremely easy to make – in fact, if you want to see me make it, plus get the recipe you can head on over to my lemon curd recipe by clicking the image below.Read More →
I’ve come over a bit romantic and have been revisiting my favourite recipes just in time for Valentine’s Day. This is not sugar-free, gluten-free or fat-free. This is a whole sugar, fat, wheat in your face kind of dessert that is perfect with a spoon of whipped cream or even eaten warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
I don’t want to be virtuous all the time, everything is okay in moderation.
Of course the raspberries are frozen as they’re out of season, but that’s okay!Read More →
This morning a mist rolled down from the Mourne Mountains to the sea and enveloped our town in swirls of myth. I was half expecting to see Queen Maeve and her warriors charge past the front door as we piled into the car to get to school. It was the kind of mist that deadens the sound of engines, it made me feel like we were the only 2 people in the world walking home today. Just the small boy and I, wrapped against the frost and fog, racing back to get a hot mug of tea.Read More →
The school holidays are passing by in a blur of homemaking. We have spent many happy days at the allotment once again and the boys are thriving. I swear it’s like I’ve given them an “ent draft” and they will start sprouting soon! We have made many, many days preparing, steaming and freezing vegetables. There is no more space in the freezer for vegetables which is a great sign. My hubby has a giant brew of homemade cider fermenting away with Christmas in mind. There are still recipes to be tested and there is always work to be done though and when I sat down to write up these recipes I realised that it was the day before Hallowe’en so I’d better make it a bumper recipe blogpost!
This week I have a lovely new recipe for orange and pumpkin pancakes (also gluten and dairy free providing you’re careful with your ingredients) over on Flogastronomy so just click on the image below to be taken to that recipe. The 6-year-old demolished a few batches of these pancakes over the past fortnight!
It’s so simple to slice up a pumpkin, drizzle the slice with olive oil and rub over with a few spices like paprika and cumin, then slow roast the pumpkin slice (skin still on) in a fan oven at 170 degrees for an hour. The result is a soft, yielding treat that I eat with a spoon. I can’t really call it a recipe; more half a recipe. If you pick up a pumpkin on discount try roasting the slices. Roast the lot then scoop away the cooked flesh and leave it to cool before freezing it as a savoury puree. It’s a great treat!
I am, obviously, a massive fan of bacon. So sweet bacon crumble, made with 2 simple ingredients, has featured on my dinner table a lot. All you need is a decent sliced bacon that’s not too fatty and some quality honey. In my final recipe today, I couple the crumble with a savoury pumpkin pie that goes so well with a light green salad – or even kale if that takes your fancy.
Savoury Pumpkin Pie With Sweet Bacon Crumble (Serves 4)