10 Tips for a Stress-free Christmas Dinner

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Yet most of us are in a flap. There are presents to be bought, cakes to be baked and a sense of impending dread at the thought of having to cook a fabulous Christmas dinner. TV chefs are wooing us with mini tartlets and smoked salmon blini that can be prepared “in minutes” and add “a touch of sophistication” to your festive cooking. Every supermarket has their own glossy magazine full of cooking and decorating ideas and can provide mini tartlets and blini pre-prepared (but with a hefty price tag) that you only need to “pop in the oven”. ...more

Beautiful at 40?

To share or not to share – that is the question. What if I decide to run for President one day? What if my dad sees them? What if people raise their eyebrows and ask “Who does she think she is? And at her age?” Well, the chances of me running for President are slim, my dad has seen me naked and, as for any naysayers or begrudgers, I think I've finally reached a point in my life where I just don’t care what other people think of me – I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin. ...more

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Soup [Recipe]

Now that Halloween is over many shops and farmers’ markets have pumpkins available at reduced cost. Despite our penchant for turning them into jack-o'-lanterns, pumpkins actually make for very good eating. This simple soup, ready in about 30 minutes, uses peanut butter to enhance the flavour and texture of the soup. Pumpkins are a little sweet and contain very little protein. The additional of the peanut butter, rich in protein and good fats, makes this a well-balanced and hearty winter meal. ...more

Creepy Pumpkin Cupcakes [Recipe]

As Halloween is just around the corner (where on earth does the time go?!) I thought I'd share these creepy and delicious pumpkin cupcakes. Making the spiders is fantastic fun and will keep the kids occupied for hours! The cupcake itself is so moist from the pumpkin - a bit like carrot cake, but even better! Pumpkin is widely available at the moment but if you can't find it or you're not a fan you could substitute butternut squash or even carrot. ...more

Halloween Barnbrack [Recipe]

I longed for a taste of home. Something simple, wholesome, comforting – something my mother used to make. Halloween was coming and I longed for a bowl of colcannon, that dreamy combination of creamy mashed potato and deep green curly kale. Mam always made colcannon for Halloween and always took the trouble to hide a coin, a ring and a rag for us to find. We always knew what was coming but there was something safe and soothing about the familiarity. I longed for that feeling.* ...more

Apple & Anise Jelly

There is something incredibly autumnal about the smell of cooking apples. The sweet, caramel smell is as comforting as the blanket you might throw over your knees now that the evenings are getting a little chilly. It is a smell that immediately transports me back to my youth, when stealing apples from an orchard near our house was an autumn tradition. We had plenty of apple trees at home, but somehow the stolen apples were far more enticing. ...more

Just 15 Minutes to Homemade Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

This ice cream is a cinch. An absolutely cinch. No cooking, no cooling, no churning, no icy lumps. It’s in the freezer within 15 minutes and ready to eat just two hours later. It’s incredibly soft and creamy while being rich and decadent from the dark chocolate. And all that with just four simple ingredients. This is a win-win ice cream. ...more
I'll surely try this one! Thanksmore

Make Homemade Fajitas – From Scratch!

I’ll never forget the first time I had fajitas. I was living in Texas and was brought to a restaurant by one of my work colleagues to sample the local Tex-Mex cuisine. I had, of course, heard of fajitas but hadn’t tried them and decided to give them a go. The sizzling platter of meat and vegetables, along with a selection of cold toppings such as sour cream, guacamole and grated cheese, that was delivered to each individual diner fascinated me. I absolutely loved the idea of building my own fajita my way, with my chosen ingredients. ...more

Quick Homemade Pickles

As part of my ongoing quest to make everything on my plate I recently started to make my own pickled cucumbers. We had been given a huge bag of organic cucumbers, maybe 2 or 3 kilos, and it was about 30 degrees outside so I needed to move quickly to preserve them or they would wither and be wasted. I had never made pickles so I did a quick search for recipe ideas, then threw together a quick brine and hoped for the best. ...more

St. Patrick's Day Blues

I must admit to being a little homesick today. How could I not be? St. Patrick's Day was always one of my favourite days of the year. As a child it meant a day off school and a brief respite from the abstinences of Lent. In my college years and early twenties it meant finding a pub with good Guinness, music and craic. This day last we were up the Dublin Mountains in Johnnie Fox's eating the finest Irish fare. ...more