Friday, May 30, 2014

Baked Vegetable Rice

Rice.  The staple of life for many people across the world.  It's usually steamed or boiled in its purest form, possibly fried in a wok with some beaten egg or made unctuous by lots of stock, plenty of stirring and grated cheese in my Risotto - all made on a hob or hotplate.  Rice cooks brilliantly in the oven too.  I know, that's mad.  But I promise it's true.  Admittedly, you do start the cooking process on the hob but that's a relatively quick process before it goes into the oven to bake and soak up lots of stock.  Baked rice is one of the best dishes to use up the last few vegetables in the basket or fridge, making it a lot healthier and better for you than any of those packet reconstituted rice mixes that haunt the supermarket aisles.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Kitchen Sink Brownie Cake

Brownies.  Squares of chocolately squidgy heaven.  I haven't made them in ages seeing as I was a tad preoccupied with the day job and only got my baking mojo back last week.  There's a birthday in work tomorrow and I decided that the birthday girl was going to get a giant brownie.  But why stop at a brownie, why not make a cake out of it, and throw everything into it as well...

I started off with some really nice 74% dark chocolate in my standard brownie recipe, added a grownup touch by channelling my inner Ina Garten and adding a shot of really strong espresso.  And a bag of chocolate chips.  And half a bag of marshmallows.  Oh, and I liberally adorned the top of it with salted caramel. Chocolate, sugar, more chocolate and salted caramel... Happy Birthday Adrienne!

Monday, May 19, 2014

*CLOSED* Win a bloomin’ great prize thanks to Ocean Spray

This summer, Ocean Spray has teamed up with Gardens Now to create the ‘Wellbeing Wetlands, inspired by Ocean Spray from Gardens Now’ which will be showcased at Bord Bia’s Bloom. Taking place from Thursday 29th May until Monday 2nd June, in Phoenix Park, Dublin, Bloom will be home to over 20 show gardens and the ‘Wellbeing Wetlands, inspired by Ocean Spray from Gardens Now’ is set to be one of the most uplifting and vibrant gardens on display. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Dinner in 10 : Prawn Fried Rice

Takeaways are lovely.  Especially when you're absolutely knackered after a hard day in work and want something quick and easy.  But they're a wee bit expensive, especially if you get into the habit of ordering them - say goodbye to the guts of €20 for two people.  A lovely treat but you can do something yourself for a fraction of the price and in half of the time.  Let's face it, it takes at least half an hour from making the call to hearing the doorbell.  You can cook this lazy, easy Prawn Fried Rice in less than half of the time and be curled up in front of the tellybox watching Emily Thorne plot more ridiculous Revenge scenarios (me) or watching a really intellectual documentary on Def Leppard (him).

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Citrus Coconut Sponge Cake

You're right, I have been a bit remiss on the old baking front for the past few months.  I think I lost my baking mojo to be quite honest as the day job has been a bit manic and has sapped my energy.  I do have a very highly developed sense of guilt and when one of my new colleagues remarked that she had never eaten anything I had made, the guilt went into overdrive.  Ever since, I've had ideas whirling around in my head of things to bake.  Should it be biscuits, should it be a tart, should it be muffins?  By chatting to her, I discovered that she loves coconut and lemons so it was time to bake something she'd really enjoy.  Karen, this cake is for you!  What sealed the deal for me was a trip into Fallon & Byrne last week where I found the most amazing unwaxed lemons with leaves and stalks still attached.  Little Sis used to bring me home smuggled lemons straight from the tree when she returned from trips to Spain, and one of my happiest memories of our trip to Napa Valley was picking limes from a tree in a sunny courtyard and using them the same evening to brighten up some Vietnamese takeout food and Mexican beer.  As it happens, I have some limes in my fridge, so added the zest to the mix.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Weekend in Lille

Lille is probably the best kept secret in France.  It's the gateway between France and Belgium and is a fantastic weekend destination, offering the best of both cultures.  We visited Lille to celebrate our wedding anniversary and were very pleasantly surprised by all that the city has to offer.  It's small but packed full of decadent patisseries, vibrant restaurants and more culture than you could possibly hope to encounter.