Thursday, 16 October 2014

#BPBR no. 3 - Apron Strings

'Apron Strings', by Nessa Robins, published in 2013

My first Irish cookbook and one of my favourites. Nessa is a fellow blogger, who is one of the first people really that made me feel like I could actually give this food blogging lark a go! A few years back I first saw Nessa at a food demo at Totally Tipp and she has a lovely way about her and an ease with which she lovingly prepares her food. She is passionate about fresh, seasonal and Irish ingredients and sources much of her own herbs, fruit and vegetables at home in her own garden. This was a cookbook I was dying to snatch up as soon as it hit the shelves and I am a big fan, as I am of her great family food focused blog - Nessa's Family Kitchen.
'Apron Strings' by Nessa Robins

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Sweet and Salty Peanut and Chocolate Cake

What is it with the combination of sweet and salty flavours in the last few months? It's so on trend, in the foodie sense, to combine these opposing taste sensations. Sometimes these trends can be a bit faddy but I am ALL FOR sweet and salty combined and after this inventive cake trial, there ain't nobody gonna tell me you can't put salted peanuts on a cake!

Sweet and Salty Peanut and Chocolate Cake

Friday, 26 September 2014

My Easy Peasy Pavlova Recipe

Last Sunday I baked and served one of my retro favs for a trip to the in-laws - a pavlova laden with lashings of fresh Irish cream and a pretty odd but lovely array of fresh fruit! There was a decent amount of liking and commenting over on Facebook and Instagram so to all my appreciated likers, here is my very simple, straightforward recipe for this delicious sweet treat, which is naturally gluten-free too!
This pavlova will serve about 6 to 8 portions (*ahem* but we shared it among four adults *cough*)

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Baked Camembert with Pasta

Cheese, cheese, cheese. I could talk about cheese until the cows come home...and provide us with more milk, to make more cheese! Yay! I have been a cheese fanatic for as long as I can recall and I haven't found a cheese yet that I dislike. Cheese, being high in fat, I like to see as a treat. I also regard it as an important food to boost my intake of dietary calcium, along with yogurt, as I'm not a big fan of milk. I currently have a lovely vintage Cheddar and Parmesan (for an impending risotto) in my fridge and up until recently, there was a Camembert round too. Half of this Camembert round for 2 people (or the whole thing for 4) will provide you with this luscious and very simple pasta lunch dish. It is also a lovely date type of lunch as it requires sharing, which we are all more than happy to do with our partner, right?! I hope you enjoy.

Baked Camembert and spinach fusilli pasta are served

Friday, 12 September 2014

#BPBR no. 2 - The Hairy Dieters' Eat For Life

'The Hairy Dieters' Eat For Life', by Si King and Dave Myers, published in 2013

This was a work book club thingy find and it was a steal, I think I bought it for about €8. I am sucker for cookbooks in a general sense, but when a deal like this appears, there's no stopping me! I have seen a few episodes here and there of the Hairy Bikers, as they are more commonly known, and I felt this book would definitely be worth a try as I couldn't imagine these two guys ever wanting to scrimp on the flavour side of things. Their approach to healthier eating is pretty simple really - healthier choices and lower calories in what they cook and eat but happily their mantra will appeal to all foodies: "first and foremost our diet recipes are great food". So here's to great food!

The Hairy Dieters' Cookbook above, and below; some photos from the book - healthy chicken fajitas and biryani.

Friday, 5 September 2014

#BPBR no. 1 - Nigella Express

'Nigella Express', by Nigella Lawson, published in 2007.

This cookbook came into my possession at Christmas time in 2007 as a gift from my youngest sister Muireann. She knows me well. The book is well worn at this stage, which to me, is one of the best signs of a cookbook. This isn't my only cookbook by Nigella but it is the one I return to most often and is among my favourite cookbooks of my entire (sizable) collection. I hope you enjoy reading this review of 'Nigella Express', my first #BPBR!

The cookbook - 'Nigella Express' - did you guess this would be first up?!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

#BPBR - An Introduction

So I have come up with a new idea for the blog, which I am on planning on writing about over the coming months, until Christmas all going well. So what is #BPBR? Well, it means Bullet Point Book Review. Not long ago I was doing a bit of rejigging on the blog, looking over my about section and so on and I noticed I haven't done anything in the line of a cookbook review yet. I have a mighty stack of the things and just added four new books this past summer. So it's time to remedy that. My first #BPBR will be up on the blog tomorrow.

See can you guess which one of these books will be the subject of tomorrow's first #BPBR?!

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Bell & Pot Café Kitchen, Dublin

This cute and quirky breakfast, brunch and lunch café is a real find! Nestled in a pretty hidden spot right behind the Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, beside the Travelodge hotel, I never even knew of its existence until Rory from the Eat Drink Run Fun blog and Niamh of Gourmet Grazing recommended it as a weekday breakfast spot in the heart of the city centre.

The Bell & Pot is open every day from 7 am to 9 pm and its breakfasts are top notch. I was catching up with my sister, after she arrived into Dublin airport on the red eye flight and before we were due to hop on the one of the yellow ducks and do the touristy thing around Dublin. The café had a lovely chilled vibe and there was a nice amount of people tucking into some tasty food, which gave the place a relaxed and welcoming buzz.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Hummingbird Hazelnut & Chocolate Cupcakes

These are the perfect kind of sweet treat when a sister, such as my own, is coming home for a little holiday. Or, if you're feeling down in the dumps and in need of a decent chocolate hit, they would be an advisable remedy. As this is back to school week for me and many, many teachers (and we cannot forget the students!) across Ireland and beyond, one of these would go a long way in easing that bit of back to routine blues ;-)

After my very memorable visit last year to the Hummingbird Bakery in London, I was quite sure that these cupcakes would rival any others I'd tried and I was not disappointed. My only adaptation to the original recipe is a change in quantities for the icing, as I had quite a lot left over on my first bake. These cupcakes are quick to bake and surprisingly simple to decorate.

Hazelnut and Chocolate Cupcakes

Friday, 22 August 2014

The First Big Grill Festival, August 2014

I had been looking forward to this food festival for some time. It's been a long time since I was at a food festival, Bloom in Phoenix Park last year springs to any case, I was all set for a day of good food and entertainment. The entry fee into the Big Grill Festival in the lovely setting of Herbert Park in Ballsbridge was €15. There were early bird prices and I did get my ticket for a little less than this price. However, I was disappointed that literally everything had a cost involved once inside the venue. The cost was in the form of "smokin' tokens" and one token equated to one Euro.

Scenes from around the park at the Big Grill Festival