28 Oct

Allotment Tour

I’ve not been out running this week. Since I smashed my record time at the Park Run last weekend, my left knee hasn’t been right so I have had to rest it. I figured for the vlog this week instead I’d give you a bit of a tour of the allotment. I’ve trimmed the video a bit because I didn’t realise how windy it was on Sunday morning! Also the 6-year-old displayed some pretty spectacular comic timing with the water hose about halfway through. Messer!

Some background information for you: Read More

15 Oct

Sugar Free Brownies

Sugar-Free Brownies - Wholesome IrelandIn my last blogpost I shared a vlog of my own journey of getting fitter and losing weight. I am depending on nobody else to lose weight for me, or to help me get fit. It does help though that there is somebody else working alongside me, towards a similar goal. My husband and I are extremely competitive with one another so when he suggested he could do with getting more active himself it made it far easier. This morning he got a major boost where he lost enough weight to say he was the lightest he had been in over 15 years. So far he’s lost a total of 30 lbs.

Flipping heck! That’s a lot of weight!

It’s time to celebrate and this is recipe for sugar free brownies that I tested quite a lot last week. You will need either a food processor to make it or one of those mini-chopper gadgets that a stick blender fits into. It’s all-in-one so it’s nice and quick to make. I hope you like them, at 128kcal per portion they’re also low GI.

In the picture above you’ll see some cocoa nibs. I threw in an extra tablespoon of nibs into my mixture to increase the chocolate flavour without increasing the sugar. This is entirely optional though so feel free to leave it out! Read More

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

06 Oct

Dynamite Broccoli

We are slowly working our way through the Autumn vegetables from the allotment. Last week I used up the last of our own broccoli and I admit I’m a little bit disappointed that it’s all gone now. I’ve planted some other varieties of brassica (the vegetable family that our broccoli belongs to) for over the winter. It’s not as if we have no vegetables, it’s just that it’s one of my favourite vegetables. Recently the 15-year-old whispered over dinner that she actually liked broccoli when I cooked it. That is huge for a green-vegetable-hating-teenager let me assure you. Read More

23 Sep

Treat Foods For Children

Today Safefood.eu launch a new campaign aimed at encouraging parents to cut back on the quantity of treat foods that they give their children. They’re asking parents to say no to large amounts of treat foods so the campaign is called “Let’s Say No” and they’re using the hashtag: #letssayno

It’s no secret that my family have made some changes to our lifestyle and don’t offer so many treat foods to the children. So I figured it might help if I explain why we do this and also how we manage it on a day-to-day basis. 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

16 Jul

Strawberry Cream Cake

Last week I shared my favourite recipe for a simple strawberry jam. This week I’ve a great way to use up some (but not all) of the jam in a strawberry cream cake.

I took a wee break from blogging over the weekend to overhaul the back-end of the blog. You may have noticed there are a lot more categories in the menu at the top of each page. This means you can now browse through the blog by the type of recipe you’re looking for. I’ve divided recipes up by meals and then by the main protein. This took many, many hours and I’m kicking myself that I hadn’t done it sooner. When I started off this blog I thought that just “sweet, savoury and reviews” would be easy enough to navigate. Nearly 350 blogposts later I admit I was wrong and that as time went on it was harder to find the recipes to share or to browse through the blog.

As there are some more big changes to come to the blog in the next month or so, it was really important to get the foundations right!

Back to the strawberry cream cake.

I think that when you put butter into a cake, it doesn’t match particularly well with cream. Which is why I like to bake a no-fat or fatless sponge when using cream as a filling. It balances the fat content of the entire, finished product and you can use as little or as much cream as you like.

This recipe works just as well with some ripe raspberries and raspberry jam. The key is to use the freshest seasonal fruit for the jam and the filling. You’ll find the recipe below:

Strawberry Cream Cake (Serves 8)

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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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16 Jun

Tea Biscotti & Teaology

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a tasting with Barry’s Tea and their master blender Denis Daly. I didn’t need to be asked twice. If there’s tea involved, I’m there with bells on. We were treated to tea based cocktails, iced tea and got to see some vintage stamps, order books and other items inside. I was particularly taken with these:
We ventured into the main room  and Mr Daly turned into a tea tasting and teaology machine. It was a lovely evening and I went home with a bag of specially blended tea from the master himself.Barry's Tea - Caitriona Redmond - Wholesome IrelandWhat do you do with a bag of specially blended tea? Apart from the obvious of course? It is a beautiful tea. Mam gave me a new teapot as a celebration present the day my book was published, it has a small infuser that sits inside so works perfectly with this robust, yet delicate blend. I figured why not up the tea content in my elevenses and come up with something that enhances the flavour.

All of the best instructions begin with:

First brew a strong cup of tea.

That is where my “tea biscotti” start. Read More

09 Jun

Lemon Curd

A couple of weeks ago I headed to Ballymaloe where I worked with the Kerrygold Ireland team on their social media coverage for Litfest. While I was there, I gave a demonstration (using butter of course) of a quick and simple recipe that I love to make at home. There was no question when they asked me what I was making as lemon curd is very simple to make and I have great memories of my Grandmother making it when I was younger.

So here is the result, a beautiful video that they shot of me cooking and sharing my lemon curd with everybody in The Big Shed. Here’s the written recipe too. There is no more reliable recipe than the Ballymaloe original for lemon curd, so you’ll find that it’s pretty much the same. I can’t better it so it’s a little adapted, but not much. Read More

27 May

Lemon Muffins

The 5 year old had his first ever school tour last week. So I made him some lemon muffins for his lunchbox as an extra special treat. Chocolate and nuts are banned in his school so I often make him treats based on fruit flavours instead. To be honest I think he prefers them.

I’ve moved my desk upstairs in the house now that the two boys are sharing a room. It means that I don’t use the computer in our living space in the evening and that there’s a clear separation between home and work life. Having an office space is brilliant. The only thing is that I’m less likely to lash a blog post together if I’m downstairs as I only use the computer to blog. It also means that there is no more opportunity to snack at my desk while I’m working so these muffins did last longer than I expected!

Just click for more to get the recipe for the lemon muffins. Read More

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