Posts Tagged ‘ baking ’

Chocolate Biscuit Cake with Marshmallows

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So what do you do when you have ten million marshmallows?? Well, instead of risking diabetes I made some chocolate biscuit cake and threw them in there! (Then I ate the cake so defeated the original purpose). I can’t take credit for the biscuit cake recipe; it is my granny’s and is the best I have ever had, the biscuits stay crunchy unlike biscuit cakes with digestives in them I find. There is also an egg stirred in at the end. Don’t be scared, I have been eating this for 24yrs and I am fiiiiiine 🙂 Continue reading

Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows

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Marshmallows are one of my (many) favourite sweets. This recipe makes about 30-40 medium sized marshmallows that are soft, squishy and melt perfectly in hot chocolate. Now I know having the weather we have at the moment (as in today) hot chocolate may seem like a strange choice but keep the recipe on hand, it will probably snow next week 😉 I made these marshmallows vanilla flavoured and kept it simple but that shouldn’t stop anyone from jazzing them up a little; maybe some chopped pistachios or even a drop of Malibu and rolled in dessicated coconut for some Summertime inspired pillowy goodness….  Continue reading

Ciara’s Weekend Treat : Rhubarb Crumble

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Yay it’s rhubarb season!! I have always preferred rhubarb pies and crumbles to the regular apple versions. I can’t wait to try out Rachel Allen’s Rhubarb and Custard Pie soon, sounds like my dream pie…. Anyway, this rhubarb crumble is not exactly the way your nan used to make. But that is probably a good thing for your waistline 😉 Instead of the usual white flour, sugar and butter combo to create the crispy crumble topping I have used oats, ground almonds, a little bit of skimmed milk and a tiiiiny itsy bit of brown sugar (I think it would be classified as breakfast without it so I had to!!) There is no refined sugar in the stewed rhubarb however, I sweetened it with orange juice, zest and some honey. Continue reading

The Seven Cookbooks Of Christmas

Cookbooks make great Christmas presents and stocking fillers, they are bright and have the most beautiful pictures that could send even the most kitchen-fearing member of your family running for the flour and eggs! However, often there are so many cookbooks in a bookshop that, unless you are a foodie at heart, you can be left feeling overwhelmed and perhaps grab the nearest you see, which could lead to disappointment on the present receiver’s part! My guide to cookbooks is based around the notion that Irish cookbooks are the best to buy, not only because in Ireland today it is essential to buy local and buy Irish but also you eliminate the risk of lack of produce that may be widely available in Britain or Europe but have not quite reached our shores yet. Often Irish cookbooks will tell you which fruits and veg are in season and when which is very helpful as you are using a recipe in which you know the ingredients will be fresh, in season and readily available! Have a look at some of the cookbooks below and you will see there is one for everybody in your family! And remember, always buy local and buy Irish!

For the Sweet-Tooth

Rachel Allen of Ballymaloe has become a welcome and permanent fixture on our bookshelves. Her recipes are simple, well-informed and easy to follow.“Cake” is absolutely no exception. The photos in the book are bright and beautiful, a welcome addition to any home cook’s bookshelf!  Buy this for the sweet-tooth in your life and you could be receiving baked goods for life, result!

RAllen

For Granny 

I know exactly what you are thinking; my granny would never give up her own recipes to follow anybody else’s but this book, written by the Countrywomen’s Association contains all things traditional and loving that even the most precise and pernickety or grandmother’s will appreciate!

CWomens

For the Italian Foodie

I’m not sure about you but I absolutely love seeing Catherine Fulvio on her tv show; she is bright, bubbly, smiley and her recipes are easy to follow whilst her authentic Italian creations are greatly inspired by the Irish landscape and produce around her in the beautiful Ballyknocken. This cookbook won’t disappoint and has lots of simple, delicious and hearty Italian recipes for you to try at home!

CFulvio

For Dad

Men love hearty and wholesome food, yes,I hear you, they also love to eat apple pie, but only those of you lucky to own one of those men will rarely see them faffing around with pastry. This book, “Surf’n’Turf” by Shanahan and Flynn will engage the male cook through its hearty and fulfilling recipes. There is even a pint of Guinness on the front cover, if that doesn’t make them turn the page, nothing will so just stick with the socks for Christmas!

SurfNTurf

For the Vegetarian

Café Paradiso is one of the most beautiful and amazing restaurants in Cork city. The things that thechefs can do with vegetarian food is truly a treat and this cookbook means you open up the world of awe-inspiring vegetarian cooking in Café Paradiso to the veggie in your life who is sick of the same old veggie risotto! This book is haute-cuisine vegetarian at its very best.

Paradiso

For your Brother

Donal Skehan has had a successful year, starring in both his own RTÉ show and on Junior Masterchef. Having come to attnetion through his cooking blog and offered a book deal and subsequently approached by RTÉ it is safe to say this boy is going places. However, one look at his simple, easy to follow and delicious looking recipes leave no question as to why he has come so far and will continue to do so!

DSKEHAN

For the Yummy-Mummy

Sheila Kiely’s book “Gimme the Recipe” is designed for busy schedules and a hectic lifestyle. They are tried and tested by herself (a mother to six children!). If anybody knows how important it is to feed your family nutritious, healthy food under time and work constraints, it’s Sheila! So, for the busy working mother in your life why not get this! The colourful, clear and bright pictures add a beautiful touch to a very popular cookbook.

SKiely

Tis The Season To…

Christmas, it comes earlier and earlier every year. This I know for a fact, you see I work in retail which means that I’ve been singing along to classics such as Baby It’s Cold Outside for weeks now. Hell our “Christmas Shop” has been open since September 1st and no your eyes are not deceiving you, September 1st folks!

So, just how have I managed to survive all these years in retail and the ever advancing onset of the festive season without morphing into the Holiday’s most notorious villain? It all comes down to one phrase, a phrase you might just recognize: “If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em”

These days I take the time to organise a number of treats both big and small for myself and friends to enjoy together in the run up to Christmas. Often these “treats” are not even remotely related to the Holiday season which I have never been overly precious about but revolve around eating, drinking and laughing. Then again eating, drinking and laughing has always been the very definition of Christmas, at least for me. Point is, it doesn’t really matter what you do this Christmas as long as it makes both you and yours happy. Believe me it’s much easier to tolerate all that joy to the world and peace on earth malarky once you give yourself a reason to smile.

I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a list of traditional and not so traditional things for you and yours to do in the run up to Christmas. Here’s hoping this is enough to get all you Bitter Bettys out there in the Christmas spirit this year…

… Get Your Skates On;

Can you think of anything more festive than ice skating? Yes, it’s embarrassing, yes, you’re going to look like a severely impaired newborn foal out there and yes you will fall over but you know what? You’re going to laugh like never before and what in this world provides a better bonding experience than humiliation? That’s right, nothing! Besides is there anything cuter than slip sliding across the ice and being held up but that guy you’ve been swooning over for months? We all need a cliché or two in our lives!

Check out Dundrum On Ice

Opening Hours:  Monday – Friday; 3pm – 8pm.

Saturday – Sunday; 10.30 am – 9pm.

… Drink A Cocktail Or Three;

When it comes to Christmas I’m a woman divided one part of me fantasizes about cable knits, woolly socks and a boozy hot chocolate sipped by the fire whilst reading Pride and Prejudice while the other swoons over the glitz and glam of the party season. You know what I’m talking about folks, the sequin dresses, the strappy heels, and of course only the most potent of cocktails. Luckily I know how to satisfy both of my festive personalities. Leaning toward a night out? Then you’ve got to try Dublin’s own Vintage Cocktail Club which not only boasts an impressive array of cocktails – including Rested Manhattans, Mojitos, and Dark & Stormy’s to name but a few – but also delivers on its promise to show you a truly unique night on the town! For those of you in the mood for a cozy tipple beside the fire then check out this recipe featured on my blog Your Ethereal Feast which yields what might just be the best winter warmer ever!

Vintage Cocktail Club, 15 Crown Alley, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.

… Host Thanksgiving Dinner;

I’m very lucky because I’ve been seeing a rather lovely American boy for a number of years now which means that I get to celebrate Thanksgiving or what I like to call “stuff yourself stupid day.” American or not there’s no reason you can’t get involved too. Why not throw an impromptu dinner party for your friends? To make it really special and slightly more grown up (23 years of age and I’m still using the term “grown up”!) simply pay attention to detail when it comes to your table! It’s amazing just how big a difference the little things can make and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Simply pick up some pretty napkins, light some candles and perhaps add some flowers. For winter I really like muted tones with metallic accents as they’re chic, sophisticated and unlikely to clash with anything in your apartment! If the mere idea of throwing a dinner party is something you feel overwhelmed by simply get your friends involved and ask each person to bring just one thing they feel confident making and if most of it does end up coming straight out of a microwavable container who the hell cares? It’s your party and you can fake it if you wanna! Oh and while you’re at it why not pull a Christmas cracker or two? Just because the pilgrims didn’t have them doesn’t mean we shouldn’t!

For super chic kitchen and tableware check out Avoca which has locations across Ireland and on Suffolk Street in the heart of the city.

… Dress Like The Last Member Of Wham;

Who can forget George Michael in the now infamous video for Last Christmas? For years we ridiculed the man for wearing that sweater but it’s time to come clean, he had it right all along. There really is nothing better than a motif sweater this festive season guys. Why not head to my own personal high street hero, Topshop, where you can choose between this, this and this. I think you’ll agree that all three are absolute gems and will have you channeling your inner George in no time!

… Laugh Your Ass Off;

Aw yes, Christmas, that time of year has come again when comedians everywhere get set to release and tirelessly promote DVD’s of their latest and greatest performances! Sure, they’ve brought us lots of joy in the past but why not skip the DVD this year? After St Stephens day it usually sits there gathering dust anyways. Oh but don’t skip the inappropriate laughs, chuckles and cackles instead catch your favourite comedian live! This year I’m going to take in a little Michael McIntyre but if he’s not your kinda guy then why not head on over to Vicarstreet.ie where you can book a little quality time with comedians such as Neil Delamare and Tommy Tiernan?

Vicar Street is located on Dublin’s Thomas Street.

… Treat Yourself;

Ok ok, so Christmas is about giving but whoever said you couldn’t give to yourself? The best gift is the one (or should that be ones?) you give yourself. To ease your conscience, however, I’ve found some super stylish and super affordable pieces such as these three gorgeous party dresses (pictured here, here and here) from Warehouse all of which will undoubtedly carry you through the festive season and beyond. Better still if you pick up the December 2012 issue of MarieClaire you’ll receive a further 20% off all full priced items. You’d be losing money not to am I right? And hey if you’re feeling generous you can always pick up a little something for your mom, sister or best friend too!

… Bake Yourself Fat;

Face it, no one likes Christmas cake, it’s heavy, it’s outdated and we only ever started making it because we didn’t have anything better to work with. Aw but gone are those dark days of old. Today we have innumerable options when it comes to sweet treats that everyone will find palatable. Check out just a few of my most popular and perhaps more importantly tried and tested recipes here, here and here which are featured on my blog! If you find you’re still jonesing for something a little more festive then click here to explore what is perhaps my favourite foodie blog of all time and where you’ll find all sorts of festive goodies including gingerbread apple upside down cake and roasted chestnut cookies.

… Trim Your Tree;

I’ve had my own apartment a number of years now and year after year people seem surprised when I tell them that yes I am putting up a Christmas tree. I guess it is a lot of bother when you can take it all in without the hassle just by heading back to the parents place but for me Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the frustration and eventually the relief that comes with putting the tree together and untangling those damn fairy lights. What really makes the process special, however, is the thought of breaking out those ornaments originally bought to mark a special time in my life. I have for example a bauble that represents the first year I moved in with my fiancé and another ornament given to me last Christmas by my future mother in law which is incredibly dear to me. I cannot wait to bust out these trinkets alongside my fiancé this Christmas so we can enjoy a little trip down memory lane together. Why not start your own collection or pick out a special ornament to give a loved one this year? Sentimental, soppy, sad, call it what you will but these are the things you’ll cherish for years to come.

I love these glass initial baubles €6 from Anthropologie!

Time For A Few More Fabulous Suggestions?

Why not have a T.V. marathon? Pick a day, any day, to just sit on your butt and watch the entire lastest season of your favourite show. Friends, Sex & The City, Top Chef America, Dexter, Breaking Bad whatever it may be. The only rule is this; no leaving the couch!

Compile a Christmas playlist! And no it doesn’t have to be full of the usuals such as Driving Home For Christmas just lots of upbeat songs that are going to get you in the mood to dance around your house a la Cameron Diaz in The Holiday.

Speaking of which, watch The Holiday, Love Actually or some other form of Christmas tripe! Snow infused visuals help!

Get crafty and by this I mean channel your inner artiste no matter what your ability. Make a sock puppet for your Dad, a necklace for your mom or a card for your friend. There’s something about doing it yourself that just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and from what I hear that’s how Christmas is supposed to make us feel.

I do believe that’s your 12 days of Christmas sorted! You can thank me later folks…!

By Kerrie Mitchell