Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 : What A Year

12 months seems like such a long time but for me, 2013 has flown by in the blink of an eye.  So much has happened, mainly good with some sadness, and this is a chance for me to do a month-by-month roundup of what was memorable for me in 2013.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Dinner Made Simple

Oh no, it's Christmas next week and if you're like 99.9% of the population who has to cook Christmas Dinner, then I've no doubt that you've an acute case of The Fear.  The Fear is normally reserved for mornings after the night before when you've overindulged on the grape juice but at this time of year, it includes the thought of cooking for a crowd.  Relax, it's just a meal.  You manage to cook loads of them throughout the year, so why are you getting your knickers in a knot over another one?  I've loads of tips to help you get through the next week without pulling your hair out in chunks.

First things first, channel your inner Santa Claus and make a list.  This is a godsend as you can take your time, write it all down on paper and start prioritising.  I know it's a bit old school, but use your tablet or phone if it makes you feel better.  Once you've made a list, have a good read through it and make sure you cover everything you need.  Think about what you're going to cook and if you're missing any ingredients, write a shopping list.  Don't do what I did one year - forgot to buy red cabbage and there wasn't one to be had in Dublin or Wicklow on Christmas Eve.  I had my little brother running up and down Moore Street with strict instructions to not return home without it.  He eventually got one and Christmas was saved!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Raspberry Vanilla Cake with Baileys Chocolate Icing

Sometimes, a picture tells a thousand words.  Sometimes words help though!  This is my entry for our office Great Ground Floor Bakeoff competition.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Babaduck in Brilliant Baking Magazine

A few weeks ago, I got an email from Andrea and Leigh, the founders of Brilliant Baking Magazine asking if they could feature one of my Christmas recipes in their launch edition.  How could I refuse?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Veggie Tomato Pasta Sauce

Every now and then I take a look inside my giant fridge and realise there's an awful of vegetables lurking in the salad drawer.  And they have to be used because throwing out food is a big no-no.  I have various way of using up the sad and lonely vegetables like Chicken and Aubergine Parmigiana or Carrot & Courgette Spaghetti.  This time around, I had onions, courgette, aubergines and fennel to choose from so I decided to make a veggie-packed tomato pasta sauce which I could use or freeze for other dinners. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Alicia's Double Vanilla Superstar Cake

Vanilla.  No, not chocolate or anything else.  Just vanilla please.  These words were uttered by my niece Alicia, who last year wanted a seven layer Rainbow Cake.  I was stunned.  I tried to cajole her into having a bit of colour or some extra flavour, but being the stubborn mule that she is (she gets it from her father...) it was vanilla or nothing.  Well, if I have to make a vanilla cake, I'm going to be certain that it's absolutely, positively the best vanilla cake ever.