Subscribe: like mam used to bake
http://likemamusedtobake.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
Tags:
bake  baking  blog  bowl  butter  cake  chocolate  day  food  irish  made  make  much  new  place  sugar  tea  time 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: like mam used to bake

like mam used to bake



Fond childhood memories of delicious baked delights brought back to life for a new generation.



Updated: 2018-03-06T09:33:57.565+00:00

 



A New Home For Like Mam Used To Bake

2011-04-29T14:21:49.846+01:00


I finally stopped procrastinating last week and bought my own domain name.  I had been meaning to do it for some time but somehow it always found itself on the back burner.  In a fit of productivity and organisation last week I took the plunge and bought the domain name along with a hosting package.  So you can now find me over at http://www.likemamusedtobake.com/  Do stop by and say hello.

Before I lock the door here and hang up the keys I would just like to say thank you to you all for following, reading and commenting over the past 20 months.  I hope you will join me at the new blog home for more of the same.  I would also like to say a big thank you to Ken from Any Given Food who helped to set me up at the new domain, I hadn't a clue what all of the gobbledy gook was telling me to do so am very grateful to Ken for his help.

So what are you waiting for, the door is open, come on over.

x



Sunday Tea, April 2011

2011-04-24T19:05:38.249+01:00

I made these Fat Boy Snicker Bars earlier.They are from Donal Skehan's new book Kitchen Hero,I reckon they would be a very welcome treat of a Sunday afternoon.Welcome to the first of what I hope will be a regular Sunday Tea post.  Come in, grab a chair, pour yourself a nice cup of tea and have a bite to eat and a slice of cake or three.  A couple of weeks ago I posted about the lovely Sunday teas we enjoyed growing up.  Gathered around tables laden with food in our house or my aunties, chatting, laughing and eating.  Sure isn't that what Sundays were made for.  I asked people to send in their own Sunday tea pictures and you can view them below.  If you would like to send me a picture for a future Sunday tea post you can email it to likemamusedtobake@hotmail.com, mark the email Sunday Tea.  For now you can drool over the beautiful cakes that evoke Sunday tea for some lovely Like Mam Used to Bake readers.  Enjoy, and a very happy Easter to you all.Katzwizkaz took inspiration from Mammy's Kitchens Porter Caketo make some changes to her mam's boiled cake.Looks like a very happy marriage of two recipes. A beautiful Victoria Sponge sent in by Claire.Just look at those juicy strawberries.English Mums Grandma Maudie's Cranberry Tea bread.What a great picture!A stunning Victoria Sponge from Mammy's Kitchen.The picture just screams lazy summer Sunday's picnicking in the garden, beautiful.Sunday in Paula's mams house is never complete without a Lemon Madeira Cake,although they enjoy it without the lemon peel and icing. I think it looks fantastic with. Perfect Sunday Tea treats from Emma over at A Scandinavian Sojourn[...]



MasterChef Ireland

2011-04-14T10:18:48.853+01:00

There was a bit of a buzz in the air yesterday as word spread that the arrival of MasterChef Ireland had been officially announced.  If you think you have what it takes to impress judges Dylan McGrath (Michelin Star Chef) and Nick Munier (top restaurateur) this could be your chance to shine.  If you are at your happiest in the kitchen, love to experiment with flavour combinations and dream of one day working in a professional kitchen MasterChef Ireland could provide you with that all important opportunity to realise your dreams and reach your culinary potential.  You can read the official MasterChef Ireland call out below.  If you do apply I wish you the very best of luck.  Happy cooking.




THE SEARCH IS ON TO FIND IRELAND’S FIRST EVER MASTERCHEF CHAMPION!


Are you passionate about food and love to cook? Do you constantly impress your friends and family with your culinary skills? Are you an amateur cook with amazing talent? If so, you might have what it takes impress our judges, Nick Munier and Dylan McGrath to become Ireland’s first ever MasterChef Champion!

Don’t miss out, APPLY NOW for the chance to win the coveted title of Ireland’s first MasterChef Champion and a cash prize of €25,000!

For further information and to apply go to:


Application deadline is 27th April 2011.



Review: Kenwood kMix

2011-04-11T12:58:02.076+01:00

The very lovely people at Kenwood got wind of the fact that I have been doing all of my baking with just a hand held electric mixer.  Now, my trusty mixer has served me well since moving in to my house but they thought that life in the kitchen would be easier for me with a super duper stand mixer and so sent me a Kenwood kMix Stand Mixer to trial.  I have given it a fairly good testing already having baked solidly last weekend, and people, I am in love.  I'm pretty sure there is a commandment saying some rubbish about people not being allowed to fall in love with inanimate objects but I just couldn't help myself.  How is it possible, you may ask yourself, for a beautiful *cough*, young (ish) lady *splutter* to fall in love with a hunk of metal and wire?  Well I shall tell ya.  So let's get the sciencey bit out of the way before I give you my findings.  This is what Kenwood have to say:"The kMix Stand Mixer (RRP €499.99) is a classic machine designed to make a statement in the kitchen, boasting a 500W motor, 5 litre stainless steel bowl, electronic speed control and a unique ‘fold’ function. The kMix Stand Mixer comes complete with the iconic K beater, balloon whisk and dough hook. With a wide range of attachments available including a meat grinder, flat pasta roller and spaghetti cutter, you can make mouth-watering meatballs and delicious pasta sheets." I received the kMix in Peppercorn, a sleek and stylish black finish, the colour above is Raspberry and it is also available in Almond (a cream shade) and this summer a rather fabulous range of stripes as part of a limited edition collection will hit Irish stores.  The full list of features of the mixer can be viewed here.  Kenwood kMix in PeppercornAs standard the Kenwood kMix kit contains:Stainless steel mixing bowlBalloon WhiskK beaterDough hookSpatulaSplash guardInstruction ManualThe function control has settings for 0-min right through 6-maxThat little red symbol is for the fold function 5l Stainless steel bowl with handleDock for additional attachmentsBalloon whiskK beaterDough hookSplash guard and spatulaK beater and splash guard attachments in placeSo I think we can all agree that it looks fab, but is it a case of style over substance?  No, most definitely not, it packs a punch on both counts.  In order to make an informed decision about the performance of the kMix I decided to make some things I had made on plenty of occasions and also something that I found a little labour intensive.  First out of the traps was a firm favourite in this house and probably the most baked item in my oven, meringues.  I always make pavlova when my sister comes for dinner as it is her favourite and it is also my last minute saviour as it is so easy to throw together.  I have received many compliments for my pavlovas and so have been pretty confident that I have been whipping up top notch meringues for the last few years.  They were pretty good alright but when I tasted my first batch mixed up in the kMix I realised I had in fact been making substandard meringues for quite some time.  I may have shed a little tear at this realisation so I had to console myself with a second tasting.  While they looked the same to the untrained eye the delicate crisp layer was hiding the most delicious marshmallowy pillow of moreishness.  A definite improvement on my hand held mixer.  These meringues were a gift for my neighbours, following the obligatory taste test I found it quite difficult to hand them over.Next up I couldn't wait to try out the K beater to see it in action.  I decided on a simple everything in one bowl batter and it was an absolute dream.  Madeira cake is easy enough to whip up anyway but using the kMix meant it pretty much mixed itself.  I simply measured out the ingredients and added them to the bowl in stages and in no time I had a perfect Madeira batte[...]



Irish Foodies April 2011 Cookalong: Chocolate - Chocolate Bruno

2011-04-09T12:55:08.487+01:00

If you are a regular reader you will know by now that the Irish Food Bloggers (and anyone else who fancies joining in) hold a monthly cookalong on the first Friday of every month.  We all cook a dish in our respective kitchens within a set theme and then post pictures and blog posts to Twitter and Facebook.  The evening is generally taken up with oooh's and aaaaah's and plenty of drooling as picture pop up and we admire each others efforts.  The theme for this months cookalong just had to be chocolate as Easter will fall later in the month.  I had quite a few ideas in mind, what with me being a bit of a chocolate demon.  I wanted to bake a really yummy cake that my dad used to bake for special occasions.  He had pulled the recipe from a news paper but has lost it recently and so I had to go back to the drawing board.  On our recent trip to New York (more to come on this) Mr. Boo and I shared a dessert in the Blue Ribbon Bakery.  I remembered having had a decadent chocolate dessert there on a previous visit but couldn't quite remember what it was.  While perusing the menu the Chocolate Bruno caught my attention, there was no description to explain what it was so I enquired when our waiter returned to the table.  He explained that it "was a kind of flourless chocolate cake/mousse...."  He went on with his explanation but I don't remember anything after that.  Decision made.  It was heavenly.  One of the best chocolate desserts I have tasted.  Ever.  As I have said on many occasions, I am a chocolate lover, Mr Boo not so much but he even managed a few spoon fulls.  A silky smooth, dense, almost buttery chocolate mousse set atop a white chocolate base with chunks of cookie.  We couldn't finish it, not even between the pair of us, as it was a very generous portion and I may have shed a tear as the leftovers were cleared from the table.  As I set my brain to thinking about a suitable offering for the chocolate cookalong on our return I decided I would try to recreate a version of the Chocolate Bruno to enjoy at home.As I didn't have a recipe I had to go at it a little blind and hope for the best.  I was very pleased with my version and almost fell over when Mr. Boo volunteered the information that my base was nicer than the Blue Ribbon Bakery version.  He doesn't offer praise willy nilly where my baking is concerned, especially when it involves chocolate.  I was in Marks and Spencer the day before the cookalong and picked up one of their white chocolate Mountain Bars, white chocolate containing nuts and nougat (basically their version of a white Toblerone), thinking that would make a nice substitute for the white chocolate and cookie base.  These are really easy to make, they are basically a ganache with some egg & butter added for richness, but look really impressive and will certainly feature on dinner party menus in this house.  Enjoy!Chocolate Bruno (my take on a Blue Ribbon Bakery dessert)makes 6100g White Chocolate Nougat Bar285ml Double Cream200g Plain Chocolate2 Egg Yolks20g Unsalted Butter1.  Place a silicone muffin tray onto a flat baking tray (this makes it easier to transfer it to the fridge), or line 6 ramekins with clingfilm.2.  Break up the white chocolate and place it in a heat proof bowl.  Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water to melt.3.  Spoon the white chocolate into the bottom of the muffin tray/ramekins.  You just want a thin layer, approximately 3-5mm deep.4.  Place the muffin tray/ramekins into the fridge and allow the chocolate to set.5.  Place the cream into a heavy based saucepan and heat.  Remove from the heat just before it boils.6.  Break up the plain chocolate and add to the cream.  Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.7.  Add the egg yolks and whisk in.  Allow to cool sligh[...]



Sunday Tea

2011-04-05T12:35:18.805+01:00

Picture via australiaentertains.comWhen we were growing up if my aunties were invited over it was nearly always for Sunday tea.  When Mr. Boo and I entertain it is usually dinner or a weekend lunch but very rarely Sunday tea.  My mam and her sisters would take it in turns to host in their different houses, and once a month or more, the 4 sisters and their children would gather to eat, chat and laugh.  I really enjoyed those Sunday gatherings and while I know I complained sometimes about being dragged away from the very important business of playing with my toys I only have fond and happy memories of those get togethers.  We would all be dressed in our Sunday finery naturally, having been to mass first thing, and the tables would be laid with all manner of treats.  Quiche and vol au vents made regular appearances and as the years progressed so to did the salads.  In the early days standard salad fare consisted of quartered tomatoes, onions sliced into thin rings, ham or turkey slices (rolled of course), some boiled eggs quartered (the quartering of objects was the height of fashion), beetroot, pickled onions, a sliced pan buttered and cut on the diagonal, and coleslaw.  You couldn't have a Sunday tea salad without coleslaw, the shame of it all.  Later things progressed to such exotics as cos lettuce, cherry tomatoes and croutons.  Be the hokey, did you ever in your life hear the likes.  If there were loose tea leaves in the house my auntie would read our fortune afterwards.  Every ones cup held the same for the future funnily enough.  "You'll be getting a letter in the post, maybe you're getting an invite to a party or a wedding, that'll be nice won't it."  "Oh, there's some money in this one.  Now not much mind but a bit of money is coming to you.  Did you check your lotto yet?"  And if you were a single lady, "there's an initial in here, I bet you've a new fella coming to you".  Reading the tea leaves always resulted in howls of laughter and animated conversation as discussions mounted on the analyses of who was going to win what and who was going to be invited where.Naturally you couldn't have a Sunday tea without cake or a sweet of some kind and mountains of biscuits, the good ones, no custard creams or rich tea of a Sunday thank you very much.  Sometimes my mam would whip up a pavlova or maybe some cream slices and other times a Tea Time Express box would be produced.  Either way everyone would be stuffed to the gills by the end, and that was before the bottle of Baileys made an appearance to be sipped sitting on the sofa in attempt to digest the feast.  I miss the tradition of Sunday tea and think I should make more of an effort to bring it back into vogue in my own family at least, but wouldn't it be fun to have Sunday tea right here on the blog?  I need your help though.  If you bake any of the recipes from the blog, other blogs, your collection of cookbooks or just fresh out of your brain take a picture and email it, marked Sunday Tea, to me here on the blog likemamusedtobake@hotmail.com .  Don't think that you have to be a professional chef or a food blogger to get involved, I want everyone to take part.  On the last Sunday of every month I will pull all of the photos together and put them into a Sunday tea post.  If baking is not your thing feel free to send me a picture of something that you cook.  Better still if you still enjoy Sunday tea send me a picture of your table heaving with yummies.  Also include your name and the name of your cake/dish.  If you don't want your name to appear with the pic that's cool, just let me know and I will list it as anonymous.  If you like, jump into the picture too.  I am looking forward to seeing some lovely pictures coming through and I hope I can make this[...]



Happy Mother's Day & Madeira Cake

2011-04-03T11:31:11.045+01:00

One of my favourite treats as a child was being handed the wooden spoon after my mam had mixed up a cake and licking off the delicious batter that refused to shift and plop into the baking tin.  Once the spoon had been licked clean the bowl would be offered forward and the remnants diligently scraped and shovelled into my little mouth.  More often than not it was the dregs of a Madeira cake batter, thick, creamy and sweet, almost nicer than the baked cake.  It is such a versatile cake and I'm sure it appeared in many guises throughout the baking year but all that I remember are those delicious moments stood in the kitchen licking the spoon clean until my tongue felt like it would fall off its hinges.  I made a Madeira cake yesterday for my husband to give to his mam for Mother's Day.  Without thinking when I had filled the cake tins I licked the spoon.  It was an involuntary action and one I am sure I do every time I make a cake but it stopped me in my tracks for a moment.  It tasted exactly the same.  Had I closed my eyes I could have been standing in our old scullery kitchen again 5, 6 or 7 years of age.  I have tried many times to recreate some recipes so that they taste exactly as they did when my mam made them.  I don't think I have ever managed it so perfectly as with this simple cake.  Without even consciously trying it always tastes exactly as it did then.  I love that food has that power over us, like a time machine it can transport us in an instant to a perfect moment forever etched on our minds and in our hearts.  Some of the happiest memories in my life have food at their centre.  Yes it nourishes our body, but more than that it nourishes our soul.  A life without food would be a sad and empty journey.  Next time you fancy a little time travel forget all of that quantum physics nonsense, just grab a spoon and close your eyes.  Bon voyage!To all of the yummy mummy's out there I hope that you are enjoying a lovely day.  Sit down, put your feet up and leave all of the hard work to someone else for a change.  If you are really lucky maybe someone will make you a nice Madeira cake.  Either way, enjoy your day, you deserve it. xMadeira Cake175g Unsalted Butter, softened and diced175g Caster Sugar3 Large Eggs1tsp Vanilla Extract225g Plain Flour1tsp Baking Powder2tbsp Whole Milk1.  Preheat the oven to 170C/F/Gas Mark .  Grease an 8" spring for cake tin with butter and line the base with parchment paper, alternatively grease 2 x 8" sandwich tins and line the bases with parchment paper.2.  Place the butter into the bowl of an electric mixer and cream, alternatively place in a bowl and cream using a hand held electric whisk.3.  Add the caster sugar and mix until combined and fluffy.4.  Add the eggs one at a time while continuing to mix.5.  Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine.6.  Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix to combine but do not overwork the mixture.7.  Finally, add in the milk and mix until incorporated.8.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking tin or divided evenly between the 2 prepared sandwich tins.9.  Place into the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour if baking 1 cake or half an hour if baking 2 to sandwich together.  I clean skewer inserted into the cake should come out clean when baked.10.Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins before turning out.Buttercream Icing180g Unsalted Butter, softened and diced500g Icing Sugar3tbsp Milk1tsp Vanilla ExtractFood colouring of your choice1.  Sift the icing sugar into the bowl of and electric mixer and add the butter.  Alternatively sift the sugar into a bowl and add the butter and use a hand held electric whisk.2.  Mix on a medium speed until smooth and creamy.3.  Add the milk, vanill[...]



Irish Blog Awards 2011

2011-03-23T11:56:18.956+00:00

Last Saturday I travelled to Belfast with fellow food blogger Babaduck Babbles to attend the Irish Blog Awards.  I may have mentioned in passing *cough* that I was a finalist in the Best Food/Drink Blog category.  The awards were held in the Europa Hotel and that is where we set up camp for the evening.  While we were a little tight for time we did manage a visit to Hotel Chocolat where we literally had to drag each other away before emptying the shelves, and also to Cayenne, the restaurant of Paul Rankin.  Both were fantastic spots to visit.  I have been happily filling my face with Hotel Chocolat florentines all day and the meal in Cayenne was absolutely delicious, I sent 3 spotlessly clean plates back to the kitchen.  To start I had a seafood chowder with an oriental twist and the balance of chilli and coconut milk was perfect.  For my main I enjoyed delicious plump gnocchi, with a delicate crisp shell served in a rich cream sauce.  With my belly already full I opted for a selection(caramel, ginger and vanilla) of ice creams for dessert. 

A quick dash back to the hotel to change into our gúna's and we were all set for the main event.  For the past 6 years the awards have been organised by Damien Mulley and a small team, and hosted by Rick O'Shea.  The room was a buzz with chatter and laughter as bloggers chatted happily in groups before being called to order.  With that they were off.  The food/drink category was 2nd up on the night and the award went to the very lovely Aoife of The Daily Spud, a second win for Aoife and her excellent blog.  (If you haven't checked it out yet be sure to do so, especially if like Aoife you are rather fond of the humble spud)  The ceremony continued in a haze of t-shirt throwing, fake trophy pillaging, foam guitar playing and cup cake stealing, and the sound bite of the evening was "ouch my fanny hurts", which raised a chuckle every time.  A pretty great way to spend a Saturday night if you ask me.

I thoroughly enjoyed the awards and was more than a little disappointed at the end of the ceremony when Damien Mulley announced it was to be the last Irish Blog Awards.  It would be a shame to see the end of such a positive celebration of people who are so passionate about their subject matter and for this reason I hope to see the awards reinvented in a new guise or possibly organised by someone else.  I would like to thank Damien Mulley and all who helped to organise the awards and also the judges who took the time to read my blog and award it a finalists place.  Once again I would like to thank those who nominated my blog and all who read and comment.  I am very proud of my little blog and it's achievement in it's short life and I hope to continue to make it a blog you enjoy to read and follow.

Also, huge congratulations to the lovely Nessa Robbins of Nessa's Family Kitchen, who scooped the gong for Best Newcomer.

You can find a full list of winners here.



Happy St. Patrick's Day

2011-03-17T11:34:26.724+00:00


Picture from karenswhimsy.com


Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all from an uncharacteristically sunny Dublin.  It generally piddles rain here each year on the 17th ensuring that all those participating in parades around the country and all spectators are soaked to the skin and frozen solid.  Rain or shine it is always a wonderful day full of celebration for what I think is a pretty great little nation.  As it is a national holiday I am going to be a bit lazy and take a break from baking but normal service will resume very shortly.  I am also going to shun the madness of parades and festivals and instead enjoy a nice walk with my husband surrounded by the best of Ireland, in one of the many national parks we are lucky to have on our doorstep.  Not a bad way to celebrate our patron saint, Patrick.  Wherever you are and whatever you are doing today I wish you a very happy St. Patrick's Day. 

Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh
Le grá
R x



Irish Foodies March 2011 Cookalong, Traditional Irish Part 2, Bailey's Chocolate Mousse

2011-03-15T13:26:35.522+00:00

The monthly Irish Foodies cookalong rolled around on the 4th of March.  I have already posted a recipe for the potato scones I made on the day and here is my second offering.  The theme was traditional Irish to coincide with St. Patrick's Day which falls later this week.  While I am pretty sure chocolate mousse is not traditionally Irish, no one can argue that a pint of Guinness is, so I decided to dress my mousse up as a pint of the black stuff.  Add in a splash of Bailey's Irish Cream and sure St. Patrick himself would scoff the lot, to be sure to be sure.  Right that's enough of the Irishisms.For the purpose of the photographs in this post I served the mousse in a tumbler glass and topped it with whipped cream.  This yielded 3 portions which I'm sure would prove a little on the large side for even the most ardent chocoholic.  Trust me, I gave it a good bash but it took two sittings to finish one off.  I would suggest that you serve the mousse in a tall shot glass or alternatively espresso cups.  You should yield 6-8 servings in smaller glasses.Bailey's Chocolate Mousseserves 6285ml/0.5pt Single Cream200g/7oz Good quality Plain Chocolate, 70% Cocoa Solids2 Large Eggs, separated30ml/1floz Bailey's Irish Cream, or liquer of your choiceWhipped cream optional1.  Place the cream in a saucepan and heat but do not allow to boil.  2.  Remove from the heat and set aside for 1 minute before breaking in the chocolate.3.  Stir until smooth and the chocolate has melted.  4.  Beat in the egg yolks and Bailey's and stir until smooth.5.  In a bowl whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk to form stiff peaks.  6.  Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture in three stages.7.  Pour into serving glasses and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.[...]



Madrid, Feb 2011

2011-03-14T18:43:13.965+00:00

Madrid in the spring sunshineAs part of my birthday present this year Mr. Boo booked a surprise trip to Madrid for the morning after the big day.  I felt a bit like Kathryn Thomas having just flown back in from Edinburgh on the Saturday, finding myself needing to pack again on Sunday for an early flight on Monday morning.  I don't know how she does it, I was bleedin' knackered, but we managed to drag ourselves to the airport none the less.  Thankfully the delightful Ryanair staff were busy fleecing a bunch of students for excess baggage fees so the very nice Service Air man waved us through without so much as glancing towards our cabin size bags and wished us a happy trip.  I nearly fell over.  One windy and bumpy flight later we landed in Madrid.  The sunny weather felt almost tropical following a winter of freezing the choppers off ourselves in Dublin.  A short hop in a taxi brought us to our residence for the next 2 nights, the Vinnci Soho Hotel, on Calle del Prado.  The hotel is very centrally located and an ideal base if you want to see the city by foot.  All of the main attractions can be reached in less than half an hour, but most in 5-10 minutes.  The beautiful Plaza de Santa Ana is within spitting distance and Plaza de la Puerta del Sol is approximately 3 minutes away.  Madrids "Art Triangle" is approximately 5 minutes walk in the other direction so perfect for every one's cultural needs be they sights, shopping or art.   The hotel itself is beuatifully designed with a modern decor.  It was our second stay here and it was just as good as I had remembered from the first time round.  The staff are polite and professional, the rooms are very comfortable and the bar is a nice place to start off an evening out with a glass of cava.Our room in Hotel Vinnci Soho, Calle del PradoMr. Boo and myself were both a little exhausted following the excesses of the previous weekend and so decided on a lazy break filled with wandering the cities streets, eating, drinking cava and beer, eating, taking a few photos, eating, shopping and maybe some eating.  Having dropped our cases in our room we set out for a wander and a bite.  The Madrilenos were all bundled up in winter coats and scarves so we followed their lead but had to derobe pronto as the lovely spring sunshine was proving too much for our Irish bones and we both exclaimed we were 'sweatin' (classy burd, I know) and needed to find somewhere to sit and have a cold drink and something to eat.  We decided to head toward the Plaza de Oriente to Cafe de Oriente.  We were the only tourists in the place and sat amongst locals enjoying a leisurely lunch.  We decided to share a plate of jamon Serrano which was served with crispy bread and some tomato & garlic.  It was delicious and we may have had a row over who was going to have the last slice.  Following that I indulged in a slice of moist, light, moreish chocolate cake while Mr. Boo satisfied his sweet tooth with an apple tart.  Both were washed down with cafe con leche.  I am not a big coffee drinker but have never had coffee as nice as the cafe con leche served in Madrid, it's almost worth going back for that alone.  Our bellies full we decided to wander back in the direction of our hotel.  On the way we stopped at a little bakery and before I knew it Mr. Boo had a box of sweet treats in his hand, they were like miniature iced donuts and tiny delicate pastries.  He happily started to stuff his face before catching a glimpse of my shocked 'I can't believe you didn't ask me if I wanted anything and that you didn't get anything chocolatey' face.  With his mouth full he offered the box forwar[...]



Finalist, Irish Blog Awards 2011

2011-03-12T09:05:15.591+00:00


So, I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I had been nominated in the Best Food/Drink Blog category in the Irish Blog Awards 2011.  I was delirah, beside myself really, that someone or possibly sevorial someones had taken the time to nominate my little blog.  The day that the shortlists were released I nearly fell over when I spied my little blog still in the running.  By the grace of God I was sitting down on Wednesday morning when I logged in to twitter as people were congratulating me on becoming a finalist.  Had I not been safely perched on a chair I would have done myself a serious injury.  After I checked the Irish Blog Awards website a gazillionty times for confirmation I finally believed that it wasn't a little twitteratti joke.  I, me, Like Mam Used To Bake, have made it onto the list of finalists.  I'm not sure how it happened but I can't even begin to tell you all how happy and grateful I am.  I love my little blog.  It gives me a perfectly valid excuse to bake and eat cake weekly and I have met some really wonderful people since I have started blogging.

Again I would like to thank the person/people who nominated the blog.  I would also like to thank the judges who have deemed fit to place the blog on the list of finalists, Damien Mulley and all involved in organising the awards.  Lastly I would like to thank each and every one of you who read the blog and also comment, you make blogging so enjoyable for me and I hope that you continue along with me on my baking adventure.

My fellow finalists are truly fantastic bloggers, Dinner du Jour, I Can Has Cook?, Gimme The Recipe and The Daily Spud, and I am honoured to be named along side them.  I look forward to seeing them all at the awards ceremony next week and I would like to wish them all the very best of luck, not that they need it.  I don't rate my chances of winning too highly as I am up against such talented ladies but to have been nominated, shortlisted and become a finalist, well I couldn't possibly want more.  I have been given a beautiful cake with icing AND a cherry on top and sure who wouldn't be happy with that.   Thank you all once again.

R x



Pancakes

2011-03-07T15:44:42.730+00:00

Pancake with Nutella, topped with chopped nuts & toasted mini marshmallowsI know, I know, I'm a day early for Shrove Tuesday but I thought you might like to plan ahead for tomorrows flipping feast.  Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.  Lent, is traditionally a period of sacrifice in the forty days leading up to Easter Sunday.  Prior to this period of sacrifice a feast of pancakes would be consumed on Shrove Tuesday to enjoy foods such as sugar, eggs and butter which would be restricted during the Lenten season.  While the tradition of sacrifice during Lent is not as prevalent today, Shrove or Pancake Tuesday as it is more commonly known now has not waned in it's popularity.  Pancake with peanut butter, topped with banana& a drizzle of honeyWhen I was younger my mam would make the customary pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.  I don't remember ever having them at any other time throughout the year.  She made the traditional Irish style pancakes, thin and crepe like.  Despite my propensity to consume vast quantities of chocolate and rich desserts in a single sitting these pancakes always lay a little heavy on my tummy and I stopped eating them quite young.  My mam would still make them for herself and my sisters though (my dad doesn't like them either).  She would flip them expertly and when they were ready she would smear them with butter, sprinkle with sugar and roll them up before slicing.  Pancake with salted caramel sauce, topped with sliced appleThe next day we would go to church to have our foreheads marked with black ash and start into the annual period of sacrifice.  Every year it was the same for me, chocolate and sweets.  We received a special dispensation every Sunday and of course on St. Patrick's Day, you know the unwritten rule about being allowed to break your fast on a holy day.  It's been a while now since I have given anything up for Lent, I think it is the same for a lot of people.  I don't really see how depriving myself of chocolate, that I will naturally eat on the sly when there is no one around to see me, will make a big difference to the world at large.  Instead I try to make a bigger effort to be a slightly better person, grumble less, lift my head to say hello how are you to that neighbour that I really don't like, help someone out.  This year will be the same, I'm not sure it makes a huge difference to the world at large either but it's got to be better than a grumpy chocolate deprived me, right? As I have said, I'm not a fan of crepe style pancakes, preferring thicker and fluffier American style ones.  I have tried a few recipes over the years, some I didn't like, some that just didn't work and through trial and error have created the recipe that works best for my tastes.  It produces thick, fluffy panckes that provide the ideal base for any number of delicious toppings.  Enjoy!Pancakes(makes 8+ depending on how many tablespoons of batter you use for each pancake)150g/5.5oz Self Raising Flour3tbsp Caster SugarPinch of Salt1 Large Egg150ml Buttermilk2tbsp Vanilla Extract1.  Place the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl and mix to combine.2.  Place the egg, milk and vanilla extract into a separate bowl and whisk lightly.3.  Make a well in the centre of the dry mix and pour in the wet ingredients.  Whisk just until all of the ingredients are combined.  Do not overmix as your pancakes will be tough instead of light and fluffy.4.  Place the mixture into the fridge to rest for half an hour.5.  Set a pan over a medium heat and allow to heat for 4-5 minutes.  Add in 2tsp of oil and all[...]



Irish Foodies March 2011 Cookalong: Traditional Irish, Potato Scones

2011-03-15T11:54:05.687+00:00

Yesterday saw yet another Irish Foodies cookalong roll around.  As we are into March now the obvious theme choice was Traditional Irish to mark St. Patrick's Day which falls on the 17th of this month.  I actually found it quite difficult to settle on a recipe for the night.  I pondered and pondered and had a flick through some of my cookbooks but nothing jumped out at me.  Yesterday morning as I flicked through The Irish Farmers' Market book I spotted a recipe for some potato scones and thought they would be rather delicious with some smoked salmon.  I was right.  I enjoyed the nicest lunch I have had in ages and the colour of the smoked salmon was perfect for the Irish theme.  A very happy result.  Potato Scones( The original recipe states that it yields 4 scones but I rolled the dough thinner to make 7 scones)3 Med-Lge Potatoes, peeled and cut in 340g/1.25oz Unsalted ButterSalt & freshly ground Black Pepper60g/2oz Plain Flour1tbsp Oil1.  Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat to simmer for 10-15 minutes until cooked.2.  Strain the water and mash the potatoes with the butter.  Allow to cool slightly.3.  Season with salt and pepper and fold in the flour to form a dough.4.  Transfer the dough onto a floured work surface and knead lightly.  Roll out the dough, about 3cm thick.5.  Cut into circles using a floured pastry cutter.6.  Place 1tbsp of oil into a pan and set over a medium heat.  Add the potato scones and cook until golden brown on each side.7.  Serve while still hot. I served my potato scones topped with smoked salmon, creme fraiche, some basil and a little squeeze of lemon.  Enjoy![...]



Italian Lemon Trifle

2011-02-28T17:43:10.785+00:00

So it has been FREEZING here in Dublin since time began.  Well maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but it feels like that at this stage following the freezing temperatures of winter that seem to be dragging on into spring.  Over the last week, while the temperatures have remained more than chilly, the sky has turned the most beautiful shade of blue and a strange light has flooded the earth.  That light my dear friends is the sun.  I know, I had almost forgotten what it looked like too.  But it's back, and it is more than welcome.  I hope it is settling in for a bright and warm year ahead and doesn't plan on hiding behind the clouds too much.  With sunny skies warming my skin I had a longing for some fresh tastes.  The cold and grey winter days called for heavy, warming, comforting foods but this change in the weather has brought a longing for lighter flavours to refresh both palate and mind.  Mr. Boo and myself had some guests for dinner on Saturday night and so I decided it was the perfect opportunity to test out a recipe idea I had thought of last year.  It was very well received around the table so I think it will be a regular fixture for summer desserts in this house.The recipe is a mixture of a couple I have already posted on the blog here with some additions and tweaks.  I decided to use Lemon Drizzle Cake as a base for an alternative trifle.  I doused it with Limoncello, then layered this with mascarpone mixed with some icing sugar to sweeten it a little and some tangy Lemon Posset.  I'm not sure the Italians eat trifle or have a fondness for a lemon one but I decided the use of Limoncello and mascarpone warranted the Italian description in the title.  Enjoy!Italian Lemon Trifle1 x 1lb loaf of Lemon Drizzle Cake6floz Limoncello500g Mascarpone75g Icing Sugar1 quantity of Lemon PossetI made the lemon drizzle cake in a 1lb loaf tin so that it could easily be cut into even slices for layering.  Alternatively you could use a shop bought Madeira cake.  I made 6 individual trifles in tumbler glasses but you could make it in one large bowl if you prefer.1,  Make the lemon drizzle cake and lemon posset as per the instructions here.2.  Slice the lemon drizzle cake into 1cm slices.  Lay in one layer on a plate or baking sheet and pour over the Limoncello.  Leave for a few minutes to allow to soak in.3.  Place the mascarpone in a bowl and add in the icing sugar.  Stir through until incorporated and the mixture is smooth.4.  Place a layer of cake in the bottom of the bowl/glass.  Top with a layer of the mascarpone mixture and then a layer of lemon posset.  Continue to layer until you have used all of the ingredients.  (If you are using individual glasses you might have to break the cake slices to make them fit.  This is fine, just press them down into an even layer.)[...]



Cinnamon Bread

2011-03-05T14:08:52.036+00:00

A few weeks ago Donal Skehan posted a picture of some scrummy looking baked eggs on twitter.  I'm not a big egg fan and only eat them scrambled but knew my husband would like them.  I resolved to make him a special breakfast of them the following Sunday.  It didn't happen that weekend, or the one after that or the one after that.  I finally got round to making them for him this weekend.  We've had a pretty hectic few weeks so I decided on a lazy weekend with lots of time to bake and cook and eat.  On Saturday I came over all domestic goddess and after scrubbing the house donned my apron.  I started the process for a sourdough bread starter (more to follow on this).  I then toddled off with my pretty floral shopping bag and filled it with all manner of yumminess so that I could cook a special dinner followed by a delicious breakfast the next morning.  Another recipe I had been meaning to make for Mr. Boo is The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Bread.  He is a fan of all things cinnamon and he enjoyed a similar bread in Ruby's Diner in Huntington Beach, L.A., so much that he hasn't stopped talking about it since.  He had that bread six years ago!The following morning my sister text to say she had some cakes from Roly's Bistro for me so I told her to join us for our late breakfast.  Donal's eggs went down very well with all at the table and his Spanish potato and chorizo hash (without the fried eggs) that I made to accompany them was positively hoovered up by my sister and the recipe requested.  After breakfast we managed to squeeze in some cinnamon bread and even a little cake or two.  A perfect Sunday morning. These are the Roly's cakes that we didn't quite manage to finish off for breakfast so Mr. Boo & I had a nice dessert. While the end result for this bread was totally scrummy toasted and smothered in butter I did find it required a bit of effort to make.  The dough requires mixing with a dough hook for 10-15 minutes, not an issue if you have a freestanding electric mixer, but I was using a hand held so it took a little arm power.  I also felt that the dough was very moist and sticky, so much so that it was impossible to handle without it sticking to hands and generally making life very messy.  There is a note on the original recipe to add 30g of extra flour if this is the case.  I had to do that 3 times to get it to a manageable consistency.  It was most definitely worth it though and I think next time I make it I will have a better understanding so can add extra flour as I am kneading with the dough hooks to avoid extra kneading time afterwards.   Don't be put off by this though, it is a delicious bread, almost cake like, so definitely worth it for a weekend breakfast treat.  I found it similar to a brioche with a delicious swirl of moist, sweet cinnamon running through it.  Enjoy!I have linked to the original recipe above but have converted it to g/oz measurements below.  The Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Bread(makes 1 x 1lb loaf)240ml Milk90g/3oz Unsalted Butter, plus extra for greasing7g Sachet Yeast2 Large Eggs75g/2.65oz Caster Sugar420g/14.82oz Plain Flour1tsp Salt1 Egg and some milk to glazeFor the filling2tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted75g/2.65oz Sugar2tbsp Cinnamon1.  Melt the butter and milk until very warm but do not allow them to boil.  Allow them to cool until still warm to the touch, but not too hot.  Sprinkle the yeast over the top, stir gently, and allow to sit for 10 minutes.2.  Mix the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a free standing electric mixer until combine[...]



My Day In Cooks Academy

2011-02-21T13:08:03.938+00:00

Finished decorated dummy cake(a little bashed around the edges after being transported home)(Apologies for dark pics but the sky has been depressingly grey lately)On Sunday the 13th of February I attended a one day Celebration Cakes course in Cooks Academy.  Cooks Academy has recently relocated from Dun Laoghaire to South William Street in Dublin's City Centre.  Cooks Academy offer a range of courses from 1 month cert courses, 1 week essential cookery courses and weekend workshops, as well as evening and lunch and learn courses.  The venue is light and bright and airy with a demonstration area to one end and a practical learning area with work stations to the other end.  Each station is equipped with the essential utensils needed by each student and any additional utensils or equipment can be easily located around the room.  Our tutors for the day were Evelyn and Deirdre and they were both super lovey, really helpful and they gave us lots of great tips and tricks to take away with us.  To start off the day Evelyn demonstrated how to make a delicious chocolate truffle cake.  Demonstration over it was time to pick a work station and then bake our choice of chocolate truffle cake or lemon poppy seed cake.  I chose the chocolate truffle cake, not just because of my grá for all things chocolate, but because I am fairly confident in my lemon cake baking but had had an issue with a chocolate truffle cake recently.  I thought it would be best to bake it while the professionals were around so that I could iron out any issues with their help.  There was plenty of hustle and bustle as we all hurried around the room gathering mixing bowls, ingredients and whatever else we needed to mix up our cakes.  It was a bit of a monster cake and my little arms were exhausted from all of the mixing, but got there in the end.  With our dishes washed up and put away it was time for a cake icing demonstration by Deirdre.  She explained some of the basics to us before starting and then proceeded to cover a dummy cake in almond icing, followed by sugar paste.  She explained some of the more common mistakes made and how to avoid these, and if that fails how to repair them.  It was then our turn to cover our own dummy cakes with sugar paste.  I have covered a fair few round cakes with sugar paste and so opted for a square 'cake' so that any problems I came up against could hopefully be addressed and rectified with help from the professionals.  My first problem came in the form of uncooperative sugar paste that decided it was going to roll out into a most ridiculous oblong shape.  Rolling round two proved a better success and I was ready to cover my 'cake'.  Two sides worked out perfectly as I had guessed but I encountered some problems smoothing out the excess on the remaining sides.  A little bit of help from Deirdre and I had a pretty decently covered 'cake' and board bar a few cracks on the corner edges, but sure we can live with that on our first attempt, right?Sugar paste covering on 'cake'All of that hard work done and it was time for a lunch of homemade soup and bread and a delicious salad.  As we munched away Evelyn was busy running around taking our cakes out of the ovens.  The demonstration cake she had made was also conveniently ready and so she sliced it up and handed it out.  Warm chocolate cake, nommy!  With our belly's full it was time to head back to our work stations for the afternoons demonstrations.Embossed SwagDeirdre demonstrated how to make petal paste and then in various [...]



Irish Blog Awards 2011 Nominee

2011-02-19T09:55:15.834+00:00


Well now.  I'm very excirah I needn't tell yiz.  The Irish Blog Award nominations were announced earlier this week and I've only gone and been nominated in the Best Food/Drink Blog category.  I know, I can't believe it either.  I am very grateful to whoever nominated me, extremely grateful.  This blog is a labour of love, it occupies a ridiculous amount of my spare time and I'm pretty sure I am single handedly keeping the Irish economy from crashing completely through purchasing ridiculous amounts of flour, eggs, butter and chocolate weekly.  Thank you all so much for following, reading, commenting and baking.  I am very proud of my little blog and this nomination is the cherry on top of the cake.

x



Scones

2011-02-18T14:53:13.662+00:00

In my mam's last few weeks of feeling well she became rather fond of high tea in the Westbury Hotel.  I'm not sure how we ended up there the first time but she liked it enough that we found ourselves back there every Friday morning.  I was lucky in that I was in college at the time and would return home an hour after leaving the house to say that my classes had been cancelled or that the pipes had frozen or that a dog had eaten the college and I had been sent home for the day.  I'm sure she knew that no such thing had happened but she would happily declare that sure wasn't it great that I could come for tea and scones with her.  Friday had always been her morning to meet her sisters in town anyway so they would meet us too and more often than not a couple of friends and my sisters, if they could wangle some time off work.  We sat in the same place each week, at the window overlooking Harry St., and my mam would make herself comfortable in a big armchair.  The small table would heave with plates of scones, clotted cream, jam, pots of tea and a pot of hot chocolate just for me.  We were never in a rush; sitting, chatting, laughing and of course eating.  Sometimes we sat so long we had to order another round of scones or sandwiches before we had the energy to leave.  They were wonderful mornings, all the girls together doing what girls do best, gossiping and laughing.  One of my favourite treats now is to indulge in afternoon tea in the Westbury (or anywhere for that matter).  If that same table is free I will sit there and savour the atmosphere, and the sweet treats, luxuriating in the decadence of those couple of hours.  While I don't treat myself to that often, I can treat myself to those lovely scones in the comfort of my own home.  I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do.  Sit down in your most comfortable chair, fill a mug with steaming tea and dollop on some extra cream.  Why?  Well, why not?Scones(makes 12+)450g/1lb Self Raising Flour, plus extra for dusting1/4tsp Salt100g/4oz Cold Unsalted Butter, diced85g/3oz Caster Sugar, plus extra for dusting280ml Buttermilk2tsp Vanilla Extract30ml Milk1.  Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and dust lightly with flour.2.  Pulse the flour, salt, butter and sugar in a food processor until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Alternatively grate the butter into the dry ingredients and cut in with a knife until there are no lumps of butter left.Apologies for the poor picture quality but I don't have natural light in this part of my kitchen.3.  Place the buttermilk and vanilla into a small saucepan and warm gently.  (Be careful no to heat the milk too much as it will separate)4.  Place a third of the flour mix into a large bowl with a third of the buttermilk.  Mix with a knife and repeat in two more stages, but be careful not to over mix.  5.  Dust a work surface with flour and turn the mixture out onto it.  Lightly flour your hands and gently bring the mixture together to form a dough.  (If you find the mixture is very wet at this stage gradually add a little flour at a time until the consistency becomes manageable)6.  Wrap the dough in some clingfilm and refrigerate for 15 minutes - half an hour.  Place back onto a lightly floured work surface and flatten with your hands to a depth of approx 4cm.7.  Using a floured scone cutter stamp out rounds and place on the prepared baking sheets.  Bru[...]



Bridgestone Guides 2011

2011-02-17T14:21:38.288+00:00



I recently received a copy of the 2011 Bridgestone Guides, 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland and 100 Best Places to stay in Ireland 2011.  This years editions of the Bridgestone Guides are the twentieth editions, and since the very first edition the guides have been continuously highlighting the best restaurants and hotels in Ireland based on value, quality and hospitality.

There are 17 new entries in this years Best Restaurant Guide and 9 new entries in the Best Places To Stay Guide.  Some new entries include The Exchequer, Dublin; The Poacher's Inn, Bandon; Linsfort Castle, Buncrana and Knockranny House Hotel, Westport.  As well as new entries there are plenty of familiar names who have remained from the very start.

If you are planning a staycation or like me you fancy a few mini breaks throughout the year that don't involve air miles these guides are an indispensable weapon to have in your arsenal.  In the current economic climate when it is important to make each euro spent count I would definitely recommend consulting the Bridgestone Guides to find the best that Irish hospitality has to offer for your euro buck.  I also found some new places that I had not heard of before but on reading about them am very tempted to add to my 'to visit' list.  If you fancy heading off the beaten track a little you will not be disappointed as the Bridgestone Guides do not concentrate solely on larger towns and cities but also well hidden gems away from the hustle and bustle of bright light cities. 

The Brdigestone Guides are available for purchase from Best of Bridgestone.



Macaroons (GF)

2011-02-12T12:34:43.308+00:00

I have been known on occasion to allow the odd pack of Crimble's macaroons to wander into my shopping trolley.  I blame my sister.  She almost always has a pack loitering in her goodie press so I tasted them in her house and then started to buy them for myself on occasion.  I'm not sure exactly what it is I like about them, is it the dense and moist cakeyness of them, is it the texture of the coconut or is it a combination of both those things married with a little chocolate.  Regardless I will happily scoff a couple of them in a sitting and then long for more.I am constantly watching food programmes on t.v.  If I have a lazy day to myself I would happily watch them from morning until night and it doesn't matter if I have seen them before, I always learn something new.  On one such lazy day recently I was watching Ina Garten and she made some coconut macaroons.  I didn't scribble down the recipe as it was fairly straightforward but later that day made my own batch using her recipe as a rough guide.  The result was amazing.  I had to stop myself from scoffing the lot and was so glad to see my husband tuck into a few with his evening cup of tea.  The more he ate the less that were left to go straight on my hips the next day.  They are super easy to make and so much nicer than the shop bought version (sorry Mr. Crimble).  I see many macaroons in my future.  Nom!250g/10oz Dessicated Coconut1 x tin (397g) Condensed Milk1tsp Vanilla Extract3 large Egg WhitesA pinch of salt50g Milk Chocolate50g Plain Chocolate1.  Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3.  Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.2.  Place the dessicated coconut, condensed milk and vanilla extract in a bowl and mix to combine.3.  In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites and salt using a hand held electric whisk until they form soft peaks.4.  Fold half of the egg whites into the coconut mix.  Fold in the second half of the egg whites.5.  Using an ice cream scoop(or a couple of tablespoons) drop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.  6.  Place into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Turn the baking sheet and bake for a further 15 minutes. (You don't necessarily have to turn the baking sheet half way through but I found mine were going to brown down one side and not the other).  Remove from the oven when golden brown and allow to cool.7.  Break the milk and dark chocolate into a heat proof bowl.  Melt over a pot of simmering water.  Stir when melted to combine and dip the base of each macaroon in until evenly coated.  Place back onto the baking sheet upside down until the chocolate has set.  Enjoy![...]



Edinburgh

2011-02-11T17:34:16.326+00:00

Last Friday morning Mr. Boo and myself boarded a plane bound for Edinburgh.  We were heading there with 11 of our friends to celebrate my 30th birthday.  A few months earlier Mr. Boo sent out a sneaky text to see if people would be interested in taking a little trip to join us for dinner, when the resounding response was yes he revealed his plans and so we started organising together.  We had been to Edinburgh on two previous occasions.  Both times we dined in Rhubarb in Prestonfield House and were equally impressed with both the surroundings and the food.  When Mr. Boo revealed his idea to mark my 30th I jumped at it.  I've never been one for big parties or being the centre of attention so a nice civilised meal with some of our closest family and friends sounded ideal.  Decision made he reserved the Italian Room, a private dining room in Prestonfield House, to house our gathering.  In addition our party would enjoy exclusive use of the Whiskey Room on arrival.  A few emails and phonecalls back and forth with the events team at Prestonfield House and we had our menus and details for the night finalised.  All that was left was for us to arrive with our happy faces to enjoy the evening.Following some friendly banter (read death threats) with the ever so friendly (read evil cow) Ryanair ground staff we boarded our red eye flight and braced ourselves against the gale force wind.  A very bumpy flight, punctuated with plenty of "oh Jesus" and "sweet mother of the holy divine" and "I'm gonna be sick", later we landed safely in Edinburgh.  On arrival at the Bonham Hotel the general consensus was that everyone was "S T A R V I N" so we slinked into the restaurant for breakfast.  Mr. Boo & myself indulged in a full Scottish as it was a whole 4 hours before lunch.  It was as good as we remembered, especially the haggis and black pudding.With our bellys full we set out for a bit of sight seeing.  We got a little side tracked along the way and enjoyed some shopping as we walked but finally found ourselves outside the castle for a few nice pics.  Pictures taken a little voice from the back piped up, "right, that's the cultural bit done, can we go for a pint now?".  Approximately 3 minutes later we were out of the rain and happily sipping on our first liquid refreshment of the day(non alcoholic for me, I had a party to host).  Warm and dry we decided to head to a bar closer to our lunch reservation and so made our way to Tempus on Georges Street.On the way we stumbled upon Bibi's Bakery and sure it would have been rude not to have a look inside.  The windows were filled with beautiful displays of cupcakes, giant cupcakes and wedding cakes.  We pressed our hungry little noses against the glass counter to decide which cupcake to fill our belly's with and happily left with a little box full.  I had a yummy Nutella one, a deliciously light and moist cake with a tower of chocolate Nutella frosting and a scattering of chopped hazelnuts.Following a swift one in Tempus we strolled to the Voodoo Rooms for lunch.  As I had already eaten a full Scottish and cupcake and was due to have a 3 course meal that evening I decided to keep lunch light with a chicken caesar salad (and a couple of mojitos).  My salad was yummy, and perfect to fill the gap to get me through to dinner, and the murmurrings from around the[...]



Temple Street Launches 'The Great Irish Bake' Campaign 2011

2011-02-10T14:19:04.646+00:00

Temple Street launches ‘The Great Irish Bake’ Campaign 2011Proudly sponsored by Gem Pack FoodsDon your apron, grab your whisk and get ready to ‘Bake a Difference’ as Temple Street Children’s University Hospital launches the 3rd annual ‘Great Irish Bake’ Campaign proudly sponsored by Gem Pack Foods. This year, Temple Street and Gem want this national fundraiser to go even bigger and are hoping to raise €100k to go towards purchasing life saving pieces of equipment for the hospital. ‘Baking a Difference’ is simple when you know how. Simply log on to http://www.thegreatirishbake.ie/ where you will find hints, tips, recipes and much more! Register online to participate in this great cause and start baking and selling your tasty treats in work, school or college. The Great Irish Bake Campaign has proven to be a big hit with companies who gather together their very own baking committees to bake and sell at morning coffee breaks. To date, thousands have been generated for Temple Street through companies alone.You can also become a fan of ‘The Great Irish Bake’ facebook page where you can keep up-to-date- on the latest baking news, exchange recipes and tips with fellow bakers, send Temple Street pictures of your creations and fundraising events to be uploaded to the page and let us all know how much you have raised. Search for ‘The Great Irish Bake’ on Facebook to become a fan.Donal Skehan (Ireland's answer to Jamie Oliver!) is this years Great Irish Bake Ambassador and has created 4 recipes for the campaign which will be released over the course of 2011 to encourage people to roll up their sleeves and ‘Bake a difference’ for Temple Street. “I’ve seen first hand the importance of having life saving equipment at Temple Street. Baking for such a good cause is not only simple and inexpensive but it’s also a lot of fun! I urge everyone to give baking a go and raise as much as possible for Temple Street!” said Donal. For every Gem ingredient used in Donal's recipes, Gem will place a donation sticker on these products with 5c per pack sold going directly to Temple Street. Sales & Marketing Director at Gem, Bobby Mulligan said “Temple Street Hospital is an extraordinary place that does fantastic things for children all around Ireland everyday. As an Irish Brand we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with our customers and the keen bakers of Ireland in generating funds for life saving equipment for Temple Street”.“We are absolutely delighted to be in partnership with Gem for this coming year. Gem is dedicated to our cause and is enthusiastic about generating significant funds for the hospital. Temple Street believes that every child deserves access to the very best treatment and equipment available. With the support of Gem and people nationwide we are hoping to raise funds to ensure that the children in our care have the best possible chance of getting better. I sincerely hope that everyone will get behind this fun and worthwhile campaign and bake a difference for Temple Street” said Denise Fitzgerald, CEO Fundraising, Temple Street Children’s University Hospital.Gem Stockists:Gem products are available in Dunnes Stores, Tesco, Superquinn, Spar, Londis, SuperValu and independent stores nationwide - www.gempackfoods.ie/retail.htmGreat Irish Bake Fundraiser ideas:Why not host a Teddy Bear’s picnic at your Crèche, hold a cupcake decorating competition at your school/college an[...]



Flourless Brownies(GF) & Gluten Free Baking

2011-01-31T13:26:47.507+00:00

During my blogging year(and a bit) I have become much more aware of the food I eat.  Whilst I always appreciated a good meal and loved to cook up a storm in the kitchen I didn't always think about the food I was eating and it's journey to my table.  Now I am more adventurous in my choices, willing to try flavours and textures I would have refused before.  I also choose my ingredients with a lot more care and with more curiosity as to where it has come from.  I ask my butcher lots of questions about cuts of meat and am happy to try those cuts that for a long time have been out of favour.  I'm not sure why they became unfashionable as they are so delicious.  I also check labels when buying fresh fruit and veg to see if items are locally grown and where Irish grown produce is available it beats imported items into my shopping basket.Not only am I more aware of the food choices I make but also those of others.  I read so many inspiring Irish and also international food blogs, bursting full of fabulous ideas and each with it's own unique style.  Some embrace food in all it's guises but others focus on food governed by lifestyle choices or dietary restrictions.  Through my blog I have become more aware of coeliac disease, and am quite surprised that the number of people affected is much higher than I had previously thought.  As it is something that I am not faced with in my day to day baking for family and friends I never really gave it much thought, but having encountered queries and comments relating to the blog I decided to educate myself a little so that I could attempt to offer some gluten free recipes on the blog.Coeliac disease is an auto-immune disease which affects the gut and other parts of the body.  It causes the body to attack itself when gluten is eaten.  Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley & rye, is what gives elasticity to bread and spring to cakes.  Some people can also be affected by oats.  To treat coeliac disease people diagnosed must stick to a gluten free diet and avoid foods such as breads, cereals, flours, pastas, pizza bases, biscuits, cakes and pastry as these are the most obvious sources of gluten.  It is also advisable to avoid oats as they can become cross contaminated with other grains.  As most baked goods require flour in some shape or form those with coeliac disease can find the choice of baked goods very limiting.  On the side bar of the blog I have added a new 'Gluten Free Treats' button, if you click on it it will link to a page that contains all of the gluten free recipes from the blog so far.  I have only started to explore the world of gluten free baking but will make an effort to post some more gluten free options and also some specifically gluten free recipes throughout the year.  I hope this is of interest to some of you and I would love your feedback on this in the comments.  For more information please check out Coeliac Society of Ireland.  Also, if you would like to try some gluten free baking I have found Seriously Good! Gluten Free-Baking by Phil Vickery to be a really fantastic book.  It is full of information and has a great range of recipes to keep you very busy in the kitchen.  IMPORTANTIt is very important for you to check that the brand of certain products eg. baking powder that you use is gluten free as products can[...]



Eat Magazine

2011-01-26T10:34:28.351+00:00

If you are a twitter regular or you read any of the other Irish Foodie blogs you will no doubt be aware of the buzz currently running through the twitterati about a new food magazine for Dublin.  Eat Magazine is a new free monthly food and drink magazine.  20,000 print copies will be distributed around Dublin monthly.  The magazine will also be available to view online, and via iPad/iPhone apps due to launch in February.  If you would like to read this months issue you can do so here.

I would like to wish Mikey every success with this new venture and I look forward to reading future issues.

P.S.  If you look very closely you might see this little old blog featured on page 6.