Friday, March 29, 2013

Lemon and Ginger Oat Biscuits

It may be Springtime but it's still absolutely arctic monkeys outside.  Not a layer of clothing has been shed and in fact I think I'm adding more as the freezing days go by.  It's hard to believe that this time last year, we were having an early summer and were out the back lighting up the barbeques and having picnics at the beach.  The only thing you'd do now is look at the beach from the warmth of your car...  Speaking of warmth, lemon and ginger tea always takes away my chills and I decided to use fragrant lemon zest and warming crystallised ginger in a crunchy biscuit to dip into my hot tea.  This recipe makes about 24 2-inch biscuits, but if you want daintier ones, make a thinner roll (about 1 inch in diameter) and you'll get about 36 smaller biscuits.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Things I loved in March

Where to start?  March was a busy month, so much so that the delivery guys in work just made a beeline for my desk... I've been trying out lots of new products and here's the ones that really made an impression on me.

Real Italian Foodie Pasta Sauces

The brainchild of work and love partners Lorraine Fanneran and Bruno Coppola who own La Cucina in Limerick, this brand new range of pasta sauces can be bought in Superquinn outlets nationwide (if your store doesn't stock them, ask the manager to order them in).  I tried the whole range when they were development samples over a year ago and I was really impressed by the simplicity of the ingredients, the taste and the quality.  The Hubs gives them a massive thumbs up too.


A new alcoholic (35% ABV) drink combining bourbon and natural fruit flavours.  It's a gorgeously retro bottle and the drink itself is great with ginger ale or Coke over lots of ice.  Lots of Zaconey carnival themed nights to be found over the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for those.

Aromo Coffee Pods

These UK based guys make a range of coffee pods suitable for Nespresso, ESE and Senseo coffee machines and they are significantly less expensive than buying the branded ones.  We tried the three types in the picture above, suitable for our Nespresso machine in work and the verdict was "wow".  They made great coffee, and here's proof that they were good : the boss permanently borrowed a box.


This small family-run company make a fantastic range of flavourings, herbs and spices for baking and cooking.  I'm already a huge fan of their organic Peppermint Extract and really enjoyed experimenting with their seasoning & spice blends including Perfect Salt, Za'atar and American BBQ.  You can buy a range of their products in Superquinn, selected independent stores and online at Steenbergs.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Babaduck's Belfast in Isle Magazine

When I was little, a trip to Belfast was an epic journey.  It seemed to take all day to get there and even longer to get back, but we loved it all the same.  Going around the shops was a treat in itself because they had different sweets, crisps and drinks to what was available in our local shop.  Imagine chicken or spring onion flavoured crisps - the exoticness of it all!  As my Mum is from Belfast, I also have an unhealthy love, actually, probably an obsession with potato and soda farls. The potato farls must be fried in a drop of oil and butter so they're crunchy on the outside and meltingly soft within, and the soda farls have to be toasted.  Any other way is the wrong way, as far as I'm concerned.

We still love our trips to Belfast and I was delighted when the founder of Isle magazine Lisa McGee asked me where my favourite places were to eat and drink in Belfast, for a feature in the latest edition.  Some of the places we love are Cayenne, The Bar+Grill at James Street South, Molly's Yard and Little Wing Pizza.  I also have a pronounced fondness for the cocktails at The Merchant Hotel. There's nothing like sitting in their elegant bar and sipping a Sicilian or Dark & Stormy cocktail.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Review : Hotel Chocolat All About Mum

As foster mammy to Sandie the Wonder Dog, I think that Mother's Day should be all encompassing (hint hint...) so I took the liberty of trying out some beautiful chocolates sent to me by Hotel Chocolat called All About Mum. It's a collection of seasonal recipe fillings including champagne, blueberries and lemon, caramel, chocolate mousse and pralines wrapped in very pretty coloured chocolate shells.  Yes, Mother's Day is this Sunday 10th March and you need to buy a card and a gift!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Speedy Italian Tart

There are many days in your life when you think "there's absolutely nothing to eat in this house" and to be honest, you're usually wrong.  The fridge has lots of food, but you're just not in the mindframe to work out what goes with what and it's then you think a takeaway would do the job.  Stop!  Based on what I found lurking in my fridge this week, the contents created an absolutely delicious lunch for us.