28th January 2016 Helen 12Comment

I love my food. I like eating it, talking about it, making it and thinking about it.  I look like a woman who loves her food. That’s ok with me. Ish. I’ve a good kitchen – perfect for making nice things. Cupboards full of good ingredients and three shelves of cookbooks.  I’ve also got cannelli beans that have reached the end of their five year shelf life and a family that have come to think of meat-free days as the exception rather than the rule. I’ve gadgets that rarely get used; kids that whinge about green stuff; and a toddler…

9th October 2015 Helen 5Comment

A recipe for homemade Blackberry Cassis. This is our second season making Cassis.  We made a batch in January using a mix of frozen blackcurrants and blackberries as a first step in defrosting the freezer and moving house. It was stupid timing to find ourselves squeezing fruit at 2am amidst packing boxes and bubble wrap but by the time we tucked into our stash of booze a few weeks later, we were delighted we did. This year we took the kids up to a lovely railway walk Ardee in County Louth – a linear park developed as part of a community project I’d worked…

A Recipe for Homemade Blackberry Cassis
Print Recipe
A seasonal recipe fpr Blackberry Cassis that you can make using fresh or frozen berries - and that you only have to wait two weeks before tucking into.
Servings Prep Time
many people 2 hours for a batch
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 2 weeks
Servings Prep Time
many people 2 hours for a batch
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 2 weeks
A Recipe for Homemade Blackberry Cassis
Print Recipe
A seasonal recipe fpr Blackberry Cassis that you can make using fresh or frozen berries - and that you only have to wait two weeks before tucking into.
Servings Prep Time
many people 2 hours for a batch
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 2 weeks
Servings Prep Time
many people 2 hours for a batch
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 2 weeks
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Weigh and wash berries. Using roughly 600ml of wine for each 500g of fruit, put the fruit in a lidded glass or plastic bowl and soak in the wine for 24 to 48 hours.
  2. Set up your sieves with a coarse sieve placed over a bowl / jug for a first filter; a second smaller sieve (if possible) over a bowl; and finally a muslin cloth draped over the top of a narrower pot,bowl or jug (see picture).
  3. Puree the wine-berry mix in a food processor / liquidiser.
  4. Strain the liquid mix through the sieves - going from larger to smaller, and finally strain it through the muslin. Use the spatulas to press the fruit and speed the process up.
  5. Weigh the final amount of liquid and add an equal weight of sugar in a large heavy bottomed pot. Note: Now is not the time to get squeemish about your health.
  6. Bring to a gentle simmer over a medium to low heat stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for an hour - not allowing the liquid to come to the boil.
  7. Meantime, sterilise glass bottle, jars or whatever glasswear you have in a very hot over (240 degreed) for about an hour. I liked the small maple syrup bottles for pressies and the larger glass bottles with resealable stoppers for us! When sterilised, turn off the oven and leave the glass in it to cool.
  8. Take the liquid off the heat and allow to cool. Measuring one part vodka to three parts syrup, bottle the liquid. Store for two weeks before drinking. Then enjoy on it's own or with sparkling wine - made up ith about 2 tablespoons of Cassis per glass of bubbly - or just to your own taste.
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1st July 2015 Helen 10Comment

Nicola at Simply Homemade is hosting a great blog linkup on healthier breakfast choices and I’m delighted to add our morning favourite – a Potatoe, Chorizo, Onion and Cheese Frittata, to the mix. As this is a great recipe for using up those leftover bits and pieces I’ve also added this to the great ‘Clear Out and Eat’ link up over at Three Sons Later. Personally I’ve done a complete u-turn about breakfast over the years. I’ve gone from slugging a cup of coffee on the hop to forsaking a shower in favour of a proper sit-down breakfast. Sitting down for…

Potatoe, Chorizo, Onion and Cheese Frittata
Print Recipe
A fast and tasty healthy breakfast option, that would also do for supper or tea.
Servings Prep Time
2 hungry adults (with some stolen by the kids) 5 to 10 minutes
Cook Time
10
Servings Prep Time
2 hungry adults (with some stolen by the kids) 5 to 10 minutes
Cook Time
10
Potatoe, Chorizo, Onion and Cheese Frittata
Print Recipe
A fast and tasty healthy breakfast option, that would also do for supper or tea.
Servings Prep Time
2 hungry adults (with some stolen by the kids) 5 to 10 minutes
Cook Time
10
Servings Prep Time
2 hungry adults (with some stolen by the kids) 5 to 10 minutes
Cook Time
10
Ingredients
Servings: hungry adults (with some stolen by the kids)
Instructions
  1. Prepare all the ingredients.
  2. On a heavy bottomed pan on a medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the potatoes to the pan and cover loosely with a saucepan lid. Stir occasionally to avoid them sticking.
  3. When the potatoes are slightly cooked (about 3 to 5 minutes depending on the size of the chunks), add the onion. Pan fry on a medium heat for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the chorizo and cook lightly for about a minute to release the oils.
  5. Mix the eggs, milk and seasoning. Preheat the grill at a medium setting.
  6. Make sure the potatoe, onion and chorizo mix is spread even across the pan. Add the egg mix and sprinkle the cheddar evenly across the top. Cook on the pan for one minute.
  7. Remove from the heat and put under the grill. Cook for roughly 5 minutes or until the egg is cooked through.
  8. Remove and allow to cool slightly before eating. If storing, allow the Frittata to cool completely, and cover tightly with clingfilm, before storing in the fridge. The Frittata can be eaten cold or hot (4 minutes in a 800W microwave) as preferred.
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13th April 2015 Helen 3Comment

Years ago mid-week restaurant dinners and a movie were a regular treat. Fast forward by one wedding and three babies later and our wings have truly been clipped! These days a nice glass of wine and a quick dinner that doesn’t create a sink full of dishes is my idea of a treat.  This Creamy Smoked Mackerel Pasta dish is exactly like a pasta dish I used to love from the long-gone Cafe Bar Deli on George’s Street in Dublin. It’s simple, easy and goes down great with a glass of white wine. The first ever Irish Parenting Blog Awards is being held in Dublin on April…

Creamy Smoked Mackerel Pasta
Print Recipe
Smoked mackeral with peas in a creamy pasta sauce made using Glenisk Creme Fraiche. Just very tasty.
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Creamy Smoked Mackerel Pasta
Print Recipe
Smoked mackeral with peas in a creamy pasta sauce made using Glenisk Creme Fraiche. Just very tasty.
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add a small amount of salt. Add the spaghetti.
  2. Place a frying pan on a medium heat, add the butter. Cook the onion gently until softened and golden.
  3. Flake the smoked mackerel, removing any bones. Add to the onion. Stir.
  4. Add the frozen peas to the pan. Stir in the creme fraiche. Reduce the heat to simmer. Allow to cook but if reducing too fast, remove from the heat and add a little milk.
  5. When the pasta is cooked, drain leaving a small amount of cooking liquid. Add the creamy mixture, stir gently to mix. Season to taste.
  6. Serve up, sprinkle with parmesan, pour a large glass of wine and enjoy.
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31st March 2015 Helen

Last week amidst a sneaky peak of sunshine, we were treated to a (rather large) helping of the new Greek Style Frozen Yoghurt Lollies from Claudi and Fin.  After, ahem, indulging in a few different test runs over the last few days, here’s the low down from our house. The Claudi and Fin pops are a healthy and very tasty option for treats for biggies and littelies alike. They come in two flavours – Mango and Strawberry.  The lollies are made with real fruit, whole milk and Greek Style yoghurt.  They provide 30% of an adult’s recommended daily intake of…

23rd March 2015 Helen 2Comment

Our first of two house moves has seen my kitchen space shrink drastically as I said goodbye to my well-used, well-equipped kitchen, and hello to two gas rings and a dodgy oven. With less time and space on my hands I’ve been taking the easy option and sticking to the family favourites and it’s been a good while since I took a chance on something new.  My desperation must have been obvious then this week when Marks and Spencer offered to let me sample and post a lovely new recipe for Super Wheatberry with Roasted Carrots and Salmon. I made this on Saturday -…

Super Wheatberry with Roasted Carrots and Salmon (a Marks and Spencer Recipe
Print Recipe
A delicious warm grain, fish and vegetable dish that leaves your feeling full and virtuous.
Servings Prep Time
2 hungry people (or 4 peckish ones) 5 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 hungry people (or 4 peckish ones) 5 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Super Wheatberry with Roasted Carrots and Salmon (a Marks and Spencer Recipe
Print Recipe
A delicious warm grain, fish and vegetable dish that leaves your feeling full and virtuous.
Servings Prep Time
2 hungry people (or 4 peckish ones) 5 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 hungry people (or 4 peckish ones) 5 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: hungry people (or 4 peckish ones)
Instructions
  1. Prepare all ingredients.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190˚C/375˚F/gas 5 (170˚C for fan ovens). Put the carrots in a roasting tin and drizzle over half the oil. Scatter over the garlic and cumin seeds, then season. Roast for 30 minutes, until the carrots are just tender.
  3. Cook the Super Wheatberry according to the packet instructions. Gently mix together with the carrots, salmon and dill, and arrange on a serving dish. Scatter over the pomegranate seeds.
  4. To make the dressing, mix together the buttermilk, remaining olive oil and 1 tbsp warm water, then season. Drizzle the dressing over the dish to serve.
Recipe Notes

Note: I was provided with this recipe and all of the ingredients to make it by Marks and Spencer for the purposes of reviewing the recipe and posting it here.  I was not paid to write this post.  All opinions are honest, and my own.

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