Sunday, December 30, 2012

WINNER : £50 Amazon Voucher from Palmers Department Stores


Christmas is over and it's almost time to hop back onto the bandwagon of virtuousness and start making a whole list of worthy resolutions which you'll break within 10 days.  No, just me then?  Yikes.  

As it's still technically the season of goodwill, the lovely people at 
Palmers Department Stores want to give one of you lucky readers a whopping £50 worth of Amazon vouchers. I said yes because a) we all need a treat after Christmas and b) I’m always up for a giveaway.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

What We're Eating This Christmas

This post started off oh so very innocuously.  This morning, I did a phone interview with Fiona Dillon who has a morning show on Radio Kilkenny talking about what we (i.e. me and The Hubs) were eating for Christmas.  I had to tone it down a bit otherwise people would think I was a right lush...

Image courtesy of The Paperless Post

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Today, something appalling and unbelievable happened.  A young man entered an elementary school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut and made a decision to murder twenty little children and eight adults with a rifle and handguns.  These children were babies.  Chances are that they had all written their letters to Santa and it's very likely that most of them were yet to give their first baby tooth to the tooth fairy.  But a young man, barely out of his teens, made a decision that would have catastrophic effects on their families, their friends and the community, even the world at large.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Review : Daylesford Gentleman's Hamper from Harrods

The Hubs' granny, god rest her, was a lady with very high standards.  She insisted on the finest of everything from her furbelows to her fripperies and everything was bought to last.  She also loved the good things in life and I know she would have been most impressed by the Christmas hamper which Harrods sent me to review. It arrived in a huge cardboard box with the famous Harrods logo and weighed an absolute tonne as I tottered to my car hoping that some kind gentlemen would stop and help me.  They didn't and I now have biceps of steel.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ginger and Lime Christmas Cake

I'll tell you a little secret.  I can't stand fruit cake, or marzipan too for that matter. The only part of a traditional Christmas Cake I ever liked was the rock hard royal icing which lacerated your palate and was oh so sweet.  Fondant icing is something you see more and more as a finishing touch to fruit cakes and it's something I really like to work with because it is easy to roll out (even easier if you use ready rolled icing sheets) and it makes everything look really Christmassy like my Snowflake Cake or the incredibly easy Spiced Snowflake Cookies

This cake is a delicate Madeira sponge spiked with lime zest and ground ginger masquerading as a traditional iced cake.  It's nice to have something slightly different as a teatime treat and you would definitely enjoy this with a cup of coffee on Christmas night when you want something sweet but not too heavy. The cake in the photos vanished very rapidly in work after photography was completed... which is the highest form of praise.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

WINNER : Cheeseboard from Slated

It's competition time once again for you lucky people.  The very lovely Tara Hammond from Slated is celebrating her birthday and has given me a beautiful cheeseboard from her handcrafted slate collection to give to one very lucky reader (Ireland and UK only).  Let me tell you a bit about Slated...

Slated create beautiful, refined stone tableware. A modern and contemporary utilization of the incredibly durable and naturally beautiful slate stone, each piece is meticulously handcrafted by the Hammond family, master Slaters for many generations. All of the Slated pieces are hand cut with traditional artisan techniques to enhance the originality and natural elegance of the collection. Slated is an Irish family owned and run business, based in South Co. Dublin and a member of the Craft Council of Ireland.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Ten Minute Tips : Freezing Herbs

There is nothing worse than deciding to make something delicious and realising halfway through that the herbs you bought the week before are in a festering puddle at the bottom of the fridge, or those carefully tended pots on your windowsill are drier than the Sahara desert.  Christmas is a time when you need herbs for absolutely everything : stuffing, turkey, sauces and gravies, the list is endless...  Fear not, I have a quick and incredibly easy way to make sure you have enough herbs to see you over the holidays and for months afterwards.  You can freeze them.  Trust me, I've been doing this for years.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review : Eat Like An Italian by Catherine Fulvio

Open it and it gently whispers Italian elegance from the beautiful graphics to the charming fonts.  This isn't a brashy, loud "look at me and my wonderful life" cookery book.  Eat Like An Italian is another of Catherine Fulvio's journeys through her adopted homeland.  Married to the panama hat wearing Claudio, with two adorable children, Catherine has warmly embraced her Italian famiglia and is genuinely passionate about food, life and family in Italy.  This book tells a story about how Italian people eat.