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Friday, March 28, 2014

Great gift idea!


 
I think this is a brilliant idea for a gift (only if you like mushrooms I suppose)! I got this “magic” box for Christmas. I loved to watch how fast the mushrooms grew and more I have ALWAYS loved the taste of oyster mushrooms so it was fantastic to cook my first ever home grown ones. My mum usually makes delish schnitzels out of them but I sautéed them with balsamic cream and fresh thyme instead. You can check the Espresso Mushroom Company website here Happy growing!


 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Smoothie


I made the best breakfast ever on this beautiful Christmas morning. Fresh Smoothie!! I used up all the fruit there was in the house. Smoothies are delicious, healthy and also a good source of important nutrients. They are easy to make and very versatile, you can experiment with your favourite fruits to change the taste and texture. You can add yogurt, honey or seeds. They are great for morning sickness and also a brilliant hangover cure!

 

Ingredients:
2 bananas (peeled and chopped)
1 or 2 apples (cored and sliced)
1 small pineapple (peeled and sliced)
1 piece ginger (peeled and sliced)
3 passion fruits (cut in half)
Freshly squeezed juice of:
10 oranges
1 lime
½ lemon
 

Method:
Scoop the pulp of the passion fruits into a blender and add the rest of the ingredients, including the juice of oranges, lime and lemon. Purée until smooth and drink immediately! You can top it up with some ice cubes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Crimbo


I just want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year!!
Veselé Vánoce a šťastný Nový rok vám všem!!
God Jul och Gott Nytt år till er alla!!
Otis is also wishing you a Merry Christmas!
 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Rum Balls

This is the time of the year I usually bake traditional Czech Christmas Cookies. This year I’ve decided to throw in a new addition.  I’ve chosen to make a very simple type of no-bake cookies. Rum balls! I absolutely loved them when I was a kid. My grandparents made the best ones ever!!! They are so simple and delicious. Enjoy and don’t forget that the cookies need to rest for a few days before Christmas so if you are thinking of making some this year you should do it soon J

Ingredients:
100g unsalted butter, melted
30g icing sugar
2-3 tbsp dark rum
1 tsp rum essence
1 bar dark chocolate, melted
1 cup grated coconut
2 cups ground/crushed digestive biscuits (what I use instead – cookies that broke while decorating)
 
 
*Feel free to add crushed nuts, almonds or any leftover cookies and chocolate you might have used for decorating.
Method:
In a large bowl mix together ground biscuits/cookies, sugar, melted chocolate and butter, rum & essence. Work the dough with your hands until all is well incorporated. Wrap in plastic and leave in the refrigerator for about an hour to harden. When cooled, take a piece of the dough; roll in your hands to form balls. Roll the balls in grated coconut. Leave for a few days so flavours can blend before eating.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bagel Eggs Benedict

 
I woke up with a desire to eat Bagel Eggs Benedict today! I was first introduced to this delish food over 5 years ago when I worked in a little café in Dublin. I haven’t yet baked my own bagels nor have I cooked a Hollandaise sauce from scratch but I will do it over Christmas this year! Instead of bacon or Parma ham I usually eat it with smoked salmon. I’ve found a couple of good recipes online,  look them up below and give one of them a shot. Bagel Eggs Benedict make a good breakfast or a lovely Sunday brunch. Enjoy!

 


Option 1 (Lazy option)

2 Servings
 
Ingredients:
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 large free range eggs
2 bagels, split
1 batch hot hollandaise sauce (from a supermarket)
4 slices smoked salmon


  • Bring a deep saucepan of water to the boil (at least 2 litres) and add the vinegar. Break the eggs into 4 separate coffee cups or ramekins. Split the bagels, toast them and warm some plates.

  • Swirl the vinegary water briskly to form a vortex and slide in an egg. It will curl round and set to a neat round shape. Cook for 2-3 minutes, and then remove with a slotted spoon. Set the eggs on the warmed plate. 

  • Repeat with the other eggs, one at a time, re-swirling the water as you slide in the eggs. Spread some sauce on each bagel, place a slice of salmon on top, and then top with an egg. Spoon over the remaining hollandaise and serve at once.


Option 2



    4 servings

    Hollandaise Sauce:

4egg yolks
3 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 pinch ground white pepper
1/8 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp water
1 cup butter, melted
1/4tsp salt
 

        Ingredients:

8eggs
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
8 slices smoked salmon
4 bagels (plain or multi seed), split
2 tbsp butter, softened
4 slices lemon and parsley for garnishing (optional)

 
  • To Make Hollandaise: Fill the bottom of a double boiler part-way with water. Make sure that water does not touch the top pan. Bring water to a gentle simmer. In the top of the double boiler, whisk together egg yolks, lemon juice, white pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tablespoon water. 

  • Add the melted butter to egg yolk mixture 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time while whisking yolks constantly. If hollandaise begins to get too thick, add a teaspoon or two of hot water. Continue whisking until all butter is incorporated. Whisk in salt, and then remove from heat. Place a lid on pan to keep sauce warm.

  • To Poach Eggs: Fill a large saucepan with 3 inches of water. Bring water to a gentle simmer, and then add vinegar. Carefully break eggs into simmering water, and allow to cook for 2 ½  to 3 minutes. Yolks should still be soft in centre. Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon and set on a warm plate

  • While eggs are poaching, toast the split bagels.

  • Spread toasted bagels with softened butter, and top each one with a slice of salmon, followed by one poached egg. Place 2 bagels on each plate and drizzle with hollandaise sauce. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and garnish with a slice of lemon and serve immediately.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Happy Birthday Otis!

 
I can’t believe my little Otis is one year old! The time just flies so fast. What kind of birthday would it be without a proper party? We had a few doggie friends over, some human ones too and of course we had a lot of food. For the human friends I made two savoury pies and a salad, and for the four legged ones I baked some carrot cup cakes. I actually tasted one of them and it was quite tasty. The dogs loved them!! I was so delighted! Big thanks for the beautiful dog gifts everyone, Otis loves them so much!!





Ingredients:
2 ½ cups shredded carrots
3 large eggs
1 cup apple juice
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup oats
3 cups wholemeal flour
Some extra shredded carrots for decoration
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 200° C.  Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases and set aside. In a large bowl stir together the carrots, eggs and apple juice. Set aside. In another medium bowl whisk together the cinnamon, oats and flour. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients. Stir until well blended. Spoon mixture into paper cases. The dough will be thick, so you may wet your fingers to press the dough into place.
The dog cupcake will not rise very much, so do not worry about over filling the paper cases. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Snails in Garlic–Herb Butter

It’s been a couple of months now since I cooked snails. I got a tin of snails from my Australian friend Sam many years ago and I wanted to cook them ever since. I never had anyone to eat them with so I waited. It was my friend’s birthday when I decided to cook them. She is French, loves snails and good wine so I thought this would be the best opportunity. I looked up some classic recipes and decided to cook them simply with lots of garlic, herbs and white wine. I was totally shocked when I opened the tin and found out that there were no shells in it. I must have missed the part that you have to get snail shells separately. Oops. My friend was already on the way so I had no time to waste. I decided to make the snails without the shells. I was quite embarrassed in front of mine food loving friend but she enjoyed the classic starter anyway. The next time I am going to cook snails I will read the instructions properly. Big thanks to Sam who was so kind and gave them to me.

 

Ingredients: 

 

15 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1⁄4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tbsp white wine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
Salt & black pepper

Pinch of nutmeg, to taste

 

24 extra-large snail shells
24 canned extra-large snails
Rock salt
Freshly baked (optional) bread, for serving

 


In a bowl, whisk together butter, parsley, wine, garlic, and shallots with a fork. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours.
 
 
Quick option: Place all ingredients in a blender and you are done in a minute!

 

Heat oven to 250°C. Spoon approximately 1⁄2 tea spoon of butter mixture into each snail shell. Push a snail into each shell, fill shells with remaining butter mixture.
Cover bottom of a 9" x 13" baking pan with a layer of rock salt. Arrange snail shells butter side up on bed of salt and bake until butter sizzles, 10–12 minutes. Serve snails on a platter, with bread to soak up the butter.


If you decide to make the snails without shells you can simply place them into a tin, cover with butter mixture, place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes.


 
Bon appétit!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Seafood Chowder

I have been in the mood to cook seafood chowder for nearly a year. How silly of me to have waited this long!! I have eaten chowder in Norway, Sweden and Ireland too. All of the chowders I tasted were delicious and so different. I remember the taste of salmon of the Norwegian chowder, the thick consistency and beautiful flavour of the Swedish saffron chowder and the simple but yet rich taste of the Irish chowder with potatoes and white fish. I have found a few recipes online as one does and changed things around. I improvised with the ingredients and amounts so feel free to do the same with the chowder I cooked. Don’t forget to serve your chowder with some delish bread and butter. Enjoy!


 






Ingredients:
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
150g streaky bacon, chopped
1 fish stock cube (or chicken)
225g carrots, cubed
100g chestnut mushrooms, cubed
pinch paprika
pinch cayenne pepper
100ml white wine
200ml milk
300g pack fish/seafood mix (salmon, prawns, cod and smoked haddock or similar)
100ml single cream
small bunch parsley, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp tarragon
 


Method
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, and then add the onion and bacon. Cook for 8-10 minutes until the onion is soft and the bacon is cooked. Stir in the white wine and then cook for a further 2 minutes.
  2. Add the fish or chicken stock and bring it up to a gentle simmer. Add the carrots, mushrooms and a little bit of water, cover, then simmer for 10-12 minutes until the veggies are cooked through.
  3. Add the cayenne pepper, paprika and some seasoning, and then stir in the milk.
  4. Tip the fish mix into the pan, gently simmer for 4 minutes. Add the cream and then simmer for 1 min. Sprinkle with the parsley, tarragon, thyme and serve with some fresh bread.




Saturday, August 3, 2013

Chicken Steak

I do sincerely think that people underestimate chicken thigh fillets! My mom always makes the best “schnitzels” out of de-boned chicken thigh fillets. Back home we eat them all the time! I have looked for them in shops in Ireland for years (you can de-bone them yourself at home if you have the patience and skill) ... It was just recently that I asked the local butcher if they had them. The butcher said that they wouldn’t normally sell them but he would be happy to de-bone them for me… So I ordered about 20 of them. And I did that about 4 times in the past two months. They are just perfect for your barbeque or even if you just pop them in the oven with some nice herbs and garlic. Please give them a shot and see for yourself.
 


Ingredients:
10 – 20 de-boned chicken thigh fillets (with or without the skin)

Marinade 1:
2 cloves garlic
1tbsp vegetable oil
1tsp mustard
1tbsp ketchup
1tsp soy sauce
1 tsp tarragon
Salt & Rainbow pepper

Marinade2:
2 cloves garlic
1tbsp vegetable oil
1tbsp of lemon zest (1 lemon)
Salt & Pepper


Method:
In a small bowl mix all the marinade (marinade 1 or marinade 2) ingredients until well combined. Pour over the chicken thigh fillets and place in a food container, seal and put into the fridge for at least 2 hours. Grill on the barbeque or roast in the oven until well done - 20 minutes or so.
Serve with some crispy salad, bread and a nice pint of beer!



 

 

 


 

 


 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Busy Times!


The past few months have been sort of busy. So much have changed since we got our puppy Otis, moved over to Ranelagh and got new jobs. In the middle of everything Stefan and I went on a couple of holidays and had a good few visitors staying with us at our new home. See for yourself...

In my new job
 
Brooklyn Bridge
 
The top of the rock
 
New York Skyline
 
The Colosseum
 
The Pantheon
 
There is so much beauty in Rome

The best meal of the holiday
 
The sweetest visitor of all times!!
 
New Friends Lucka and Elaine xxx
 

Mad walk with Otis
 
Sandymount Strand
 
Otis walking Stefan
 
Otis is now 6 months old