Thursday, 22 September 2016

Shortbread Biscuits - perfect sweet or savoury

Such a simple little recipe to make yummy shortbread biscuits.
I whipped these up today within a matter of minutes.
I made mine with a heart shaped cutter, to mark a special occassion.
I also used GLUTEN FREE flour, making them a perfect gluten free treat option.

These can be made savoury too, by leaving the sugar out and perhaps using herbs or seasoning..... perfect for cheese boards.

You could easily prepare a batch mix and freeze it in advance of an event or party too.

So simple, with just 3 ingredients:

  • 125g butter
  • 55g caster sugar
  • 180g plain flour 
  1. Cream the butter and sugar together.
  2. Fold in the flour very gently just until it comes together, then turn out onto a floured board.
  3. With floured hands, shape the mix gently and flatten with a floured rolling pin to about 1cm thick (i'm not great with thickness measurements to be honest, so just know, they obviously won't rise - don't shape them too thin!).
  4. Use cutter shapes to cut out the biscuits, place on lined baking sheet, dust with caster sugar, cover and chill for 20 mins.
  5. Bake in pre heated 190 degree oven for about 15 mins, keeping an eye as they turn dark quite quickly.
  6. Cool completely on wire rack before decorating however you like.
    Today i topped them with melted chocolate.
    Before serving, dust with icing sugar. 
The perfect, quick, but delicious little biscuit.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

National Ploughing Championship is here - Packed picnic ideas

The National Ploughing Championships kicked off today.  It's gonna be mighty!
250,000 plus visitors are expected - Wow!
If you're planning on heading to it over the next few days, Ladies, don't just plan your seasonal attire!
First priority is to get there safely, get through all the traffic and find yourself a parking spot.
But how about packing a tasty picnic when you're parked up after your drive, to feed the troops before heading in for the day?

Here are some quick and easy ideas of what to prepare:

    Pic Ref: Ballymaloe Foods

    If you're going for a traditional picnic sambo of ham & cheese, why not go from boring to gourmet by adding some freshly cooked chicken breast, Crispy bacon, Ballymaloe Relish and toast them.
    Perhaps a BLT - by adding some crispy greens and grilled tomato.
    Use some yummy grinder or something other than the usual everyday lunch sliced pan!
    Et voila - delicious!
    Scones take literally minutes to prepare and bake, giving you enough time to whip them up before bed time for the early morning start.
    Spread some yummy butter and homemade jam/marmalade or go all out with cream cheese and jam!
    Here is my Gluten Free recipe, but flours can be substituted for equally tasty scones.
    Thats easy peasy !: Simple SCONES - Gluten Free option

    Pic ref: "thatseasypeasy"
    Leek & Potato soup

    Don't forget the 'ole flask of tea or water for coffee!
    Or why not some easy peasy soup!  It would be delicious for your sambo accompaniment.
    Soup can be simply made with just water, stock and whatever veg you fancy, like Mushrooms or sweet potato.  You can simply blitz and season it when it's done.
    But here are some of my very simple soups to try out:
    Thats easy peasy !: LEEK & POTATO SOUP
    Thats easy peasy !: My 0% Fat free vegetable soup
    After all, it's not an Irish picnic without the Hot Flask!
  4. TREATS:
    I would tend to pack a few little bits and pieces in my handbag or in a bag pack for nibbling on during a day out.  But when at something like the Ploughing, i tend to be so busy meeting and greeting and trying and tasting all great things at the food tents, i don't seem to need anything else!
    In saying that, Freshly baked cookies prepared the night before, would go down a treat with your cuppa after your sambo!
    Check out my simple chocolate chip cookies here:
    Thats easy peasy !: CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
    I love these because you can prepare a batch and freeze them in balls, can be taken straight from the freezer to oven as you need them.
    If you fancy a healthier option, are used to a healthy breakfast or have too much of an early start to have time to eat when you get up, why night make overnight oats to bring with you - it's exactly what it says on the tin - overnight oats!
    It's simply layered oats, natural yogurt and fruit - add seeds for extra nutrition.
    You can prep it into individual tupperware pots and drizzle some honey over.
    When you're ready the next morning to eat them, simply mix the oat mix and enjoy!
    Simple, but tasty and will be sure to set you up for the day!
Now, there's the choosing of appropriate clothing for our Irish Climate !! That should be fun!
Don't forget the wellies !

Friday, 9 September 2016

Puff Pastry tartlets

PASTRY is great!  I enjoy spending time making it but equally enjoy having a ready roll pack in my fridge or freezer for quick recipes.

Today, I'm using 'JusRol' ready roll puff pastry to make a lunch snack for the weekend.

Here's how simple my fillings are and being so versatile, you can add whatever fillings you fancy!

  1. Fry chopped ingredients in medium heat with a little olive oil & butter (flora cuisine if wish) for couple of minutes.
  2. Add grated garlic & a drop of white wine (i used sherry today as no wine open) and cook off the alcohol.  
  3. Add in fresh parsley and a drop of water for final few seconds.
  1. Fry chopped salami for couple minutes in a drizzle of olive oil.
  2. Add to this chopped tomato and a couple dollops of pesto and cook just for about 2 minutes, stirring.
  1. I simply used a mini tin of tuna and mixed in about 3tbsp curry powder and chopped fresh coriander. 
  1. I simply spread Ballymaloe Relish on the pastry, adding good quality ham, Parmesan cheese and a good grind of black pepper.
Assemble your fillings by:
  1. Transfer your pastry onto greaseproof paper on an oven tray.
  2. Cut the pastry into how many sections you want.  I cut the pastry into 4 equal parts.
  3. Add your fillings into the middle of each section leaving a border (the pastry will expand and in turn expand your fillings too) and scrunch the pastry border up and around the filling making a wall!
  4. Make an egg wash with an egg and a little milk and brush the pastry on the edges.
  5. Now bake your pastry tartlets in a 200 degree preheated oven for about 15-20 mins - judge it by the pastry being nice and coloured and crispy.
  6. Serve warm or cool completely before transferring to air tight container for later consumption.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Simple SCONES - Gluten Free option

Here's a recipe my sister Siobhan gave me ages back for scones and ever since, it's my "go-to" for whipping up a quick batch.

Seriously simple - it's fool proof!

  1. Preheat oven 250degrees C.  (Yes it's very hot!)
  2. Large basin, roughly mix 500g self raising flour (i use GF) and 75g butter together.
  3. Add: 75g caster sugar; 2 eggs and enough milk to produce a wet mix.
  4. Stir in raisins (optional - but they taste great and keep scone moist too)
  5. With floured hands, take hand fulls of mix and drop on a lined oven tray.
  6. Bake at the 250 degrees until top starts to darken (or "until you smell burning!" as my sister told me! But it is true!).  Then turn down to about 180.  Takes in total about 15 minutes or less. You will judge it yourself.
Et voila!  So simple.  Whip them up at a minutes notice and serve with butter and homemade jam!
And of course - the cuppa!

Tuesday, 6 September 2016


Rhubarb is coming to the end of it's season now.

I never really gave Rhubarb a chance!  I didn't eat it growing up and then never bought it or had it in recent years to try experimenting with it.
Most recently however neighbours and family have given me some from their gardens and i have had more time to try it out and have grown to enjoy it!

Now, Stewing it is my favourite way to enjoy it.  I have made pies too but have not quite mastered that!
Stewed rhubarb is great for a simple dessert. Or made that bit healthier and added to natural yogurt.

Today, I've made jam.  And it is perfectly ok to use it on breads; on toasts; a yogurt mix; dessert with custard and much more.
I have heard so much about the effort that goes into making jam and what to do and what not to do that it would put anyone off making it!
But really - it's simple!  No need to stress!
It's simply the fruit and sugar that need each other to work.
I have stewed fruit in water before just to have a healthy mix for yogurts.
But for jam, it takes the sugar to set it into jam.

And here's how to simply make Rhubarb jam:

  1. Chop Rhubarb, wash, dry and add to a basin.  
  2. Add equal amounts of white sugar to rhubarb with lemon juice & zest and grated ginger.
    mix everything and steep overnight.
    (I was advised to use granulated sugar.  I used caster however and turned out very good)

  3. Next morning, in a large saucepan (skillet), on medium heat, heat the rhubarb mix to boiling for a few minutes and turn down to a bubbling simmer for about 30mins
    (or until thickens) stirring occasionally.
    Also, you're looking for a redder colour than green.
  4. Off the heat, mix in a small knob of butter.  This will get rid of that scum that forms. 
  5. Leave sit for about 5 minutes before transferring jam to *warm **sterilised jars through a funnel to save mess!
  6. Let them go completely cold before adding a circle of greaseproof paper on top, followed by its lid, securely.  I like to dress the jars then with a cover & ribbon and popping a sticker on with the date and jam name.
*Warm the jam jars before adding the jam to them by placing them on a baking tray and heating them in an oven. 
**Sterilising jars is as simple as deep washing them in a dishwasher!
You may also do them the old route by washing them in hot soapy water, rinsing well and drying them on a baking sheet in the oven at 140degrees C.
You can then store the jars and lids in bags, tied or a covered box, labelling it as accordingly for easy reach the next time you make jam!

So that's it! That was simple, right? Nothing to be scared of!!
And now, to enjoy xx

Friday, 2 September 2016

Chicken in creamy curry

This delicious creamy curry can be whipped up in no time for a nice treat for dinner.

Having spices and herbs about, helps with easy dinner solutions and will stop the temptation of reaching for proscessed products!
Seriously, try out and experiement with flavours and dishes - it's fun and you'll have great satisfaction with your end product no matter what!

Here, I've gotten inspiration from Joe Wick's recipe for curry coconut chicken - ( aka The Body Coach - aka Lean in 15 ) !
His recipes are so easy to follow, are yummy and healthy too - win win!
Check his facebook page out:

So, here's how easy it is (helps if you have all your ingredients ready to go):

  1. For my chicken, i cut up chicken breast and placed on tin foil on a baking tray.
    In a pestle & mortar add: Cumin seeds; curry powder; olive oil; sea salt and pepper.
    Combine well and mix into chicken.  Bake for about 25mins at 200degrees. (or cook on pan *)
  2. For Sauce add 1tbsp coconut oil in pan, on medium heat and add minced garlic and chopped red onion.
  3. Add shake of ginger (or fresh if possible), 2tbsp tomato puree and curry powder spice (i used a good few spoonfuls). Combine. (fry chicken here*)
  4. Add in about 200mls milk and combine well.  Then add your cooked chicken breast with a good squeeze of fresh lime (I'm ashamed to say i was out so had to use from a bottle!), frozen peas and a good seasoning of good quality sea salt
  5. Finish with fresh coriander and serve with your favourite accompaniment. 
Our new fave curry in the house! 
Less fattening than shop bought curry AND cheaper! 
Also, sense of satisfaction after making it!

Friday, 26 August 2016

Spaghetti meatballs!

I love this dinner!
If i do say so myself - i love my homemade tomato sauce!
A great sauce to whip up in batches for freezing or easy to whip up at a minutes notice.
It's also a great base sauce for so many dishes including bolognese, lasagna, or soups!

Today, I'm teaming it with Aldi's Pork Meatballs.  I am taking the lazy route today in the sense I'm not making my own meatballs.  But I have blogged about these Pork Meatballs before and i find them great to have in the fridge.  They are ready to eat which means they can be snacked on and have a generous amount in them - 19 of them to be exact !
So, for this, they just need to be heated through, making this a very quick and simple recipe!

Here, i am also using Gluten Free Spaghetti and Veg Bouillon.
For a complete  Gluten Free option simply substitute the pork meatballs for some fresh mince to make your own.

As usual, there are so many different variations of tomato sauce and spaghetti meatballs and i for one have so many different ways of adding or omitting ingredients with these dishes - this is just what worked for us tonight.

  1. Add a little coconut oil to a skillet, over medium heat and toss a large minced garlic clove - taking care not to burn - and chopped onion just for a minute.  Add 2tbsp tomato puree and mix to combine. To this add a tin of chopped tomatoes.
  2. To season, add quite a generous amount of the following: Sea salt; black pepper; fresh basil; fresh parsley; 2tbsp veg bouillon and add about 100ml boiling water for now. 
  3. Add in the pork meat balls and simmer for about 10 mins.
    Top up with a little boiling water so as not to burn off if need - your sauce should remain tomatoey and thick. And as always, taste test!
  4. I like to cook my spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water on high for about 8 minutes. I simply serve my pasta straight from the pot with a tongs into its serving dish.
  5. Serve with your yummy meatballs on top, your delicious homemade tomato sauce served over with fresh basil, black pepper and a shake of Parmesan cheese!
    Again, large glass of red wine optional!
Note: if you want to use beef mince meatballs or any other raw meatballs, simply brown them off first.  Remove and make your sauce.  Add the meatballs back in, letting pot simmer for about 20-25 mins.  Make sure they are cooked through. 

So, what's on your menu?
happy Friday night y'all! Have a great evening xx