Feb 26, 2011

Crumbly Raspberry Oat Slices

Moments before I om, nom, nom...

Sort of a do-it-yourself cereal bar, without all the stabilisers and hydrogenated this and that. Any soft fruit can be used here, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, whatever is your favourite. You could also add some chopped nuts if that's what takes your fancy. If you're using fresh fruits pop them into the freezer before you start, I like to break the frozen raspberries apart with my fingers so I have a fruit crumble, it gives me a much more even layer.

Makes: 16 slices


175g unsalted butter, diced and allowed to soften slightly
100g plain flour
75g extra coarse wholemeal flour
150g porridge oats
175g caster sugar
250g raspberries
zest of one lemon
icing sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Grease a 10 inch square shallow baking tin.
  2. In a large mixing bowl rub in your butter, flours and oats until they resemble a coarse crumble. Add your caster sugar and lemon zest and continue mixing until starting to come together slightly.
  3. Put half the crumble mix in the baking tray and pat down firmly. Cover with raspberries in an even layer.
  4. Add other half of crumble mix and pat down firmly again.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes - 1 hour or until golden brown in colour. Remove from oven, cut into slices and allow to cool in the tray before removing.
  6. Dust with a little icing sugar and serve. Delicious!

Feb 21, 2011

Honey Glazed Chicken

A simple idea for turning chickens breasts into something scrummy and delicious. Prepare to meet your new favourite dinner! Quantities are easily manipulated to serve a crowd.

Serves 2

2 chicken breasts, skin on, bone in
Half a lemon
1tbsp clear honey
1tbsp dark soy sauce


  1. Preheat your oven to 190C/Gas Mark 5. Lay the chicken, skin side up, in a small baking or roasting dish. Season.
  2. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a bowl and stir in the honey and soy sauce. Stir well to mix and spoon this mixture over the chicken breasts.
  3. Tuck the squeezed out lemon half between the two chicken breasts (to moisten and add flavour).
  4. Roast, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes until done and richly glazed, basting with the juices at least twice.
  5. Serve with green salad and garlic roasted potatoes

Feb 7, 2011

Cakes and bakes

Carrot-cake Cupcakes

I keep meaning to add some of the cakes I've done for birthdays etc. Have at least got the pictures on today, will add the recipes over the next few weeks (I promise, for reals!). A good few of these bad boys are gluten-free so ya'll can enjoy ;-)

Gluten-free Lemon Drizzle cake (made with...POTATO...oh yes!)

Chocolate-fudge Sudoku Cake!

Siobhan's birthday cake (not my most 100% prettiest one but dang it was good, especially for gluten-free!)

Feb 4, 2011

Work in progress...

Wasn't too impressed with yesterday's muffins...though that didn't stop me eating them...but am re-working the recipe this morning. Will arrange a taste testing and should that go well I'll share the new recipe with you all.

Also have to pick up the ingredients for the other breakfast muffin idea I had and work out how I'm going to make them. Am so super excited about this recipe...watch this space...

In other news in the kitchen...

Feb 3, 2011

Ginger Beef Stir-fry


400g lean beef sirloin
2 yellow onions
1 egg, beaten
1tbsp cornflour
Rapeseed oil
2tbsp soy sauce
2tsp sugar
half tsp sesame oil
half tsp rice wine vinegar
5cm piece fresh ginger, finely chopped


  1. Thinly slice the beef against the grain.
  2. Stir together the beef and the egg in a bowl. Stir in the cornflour and 1 tsp of rapeseed oil. Leave to stand for about 30 minutes.
  3. Cut onions into quarters lengthways, then half the quarters across the middle and separate the pieces.
  4. In a small bowl mix together the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of water. Set aside.
  5. Heat about half a cup of rapeseed oil in a wok over a medium-high heat until just smoking.
  6. Transfer the beef into the hot oil and cook until the colour has changed. Remove the beef using a slotted spoon and put aside on a platter.
  7. Add onions and ginger and stir-fry until onion is translucent, then transfer to the platter with the beef, again using the slotted spoon.
  8. Add the soy sauce mixture and simmer for 2-3 minutes to thicken. Stir in beef, onions and ginger and stir to coat.
  9. Serve with plain rice or noodles.

Maple Bacon Breakfast Muffins

For the last month or so I've been dying to make these muffins but every time I tried to I'd find I was out of maple syrup, or had no muffin cases, or something else would go awry. Finally today I made them, and they were so worth the wait. They've also given me an idea for another type of breakfast muffin...oh well, there goes the weekend!


220g plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
3tbsp golden caster sugar
1tsp salt
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled (Marks & Spencer do Crispy Smoked Bacon Strips, 6 of them are perfect!)
225ml milk
2 eggs
125ml rapeseed oil
60ml maple syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Line a muffin tin with 12 cases.
  2. Mix your dry ingredients, including the bacon, in a large bowl.
  3. Mix your wet ingredients in a large jug or another, smaller, bowl.
  4. Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients and pour the wet mix in.
  5. Fold together with a metal spoon until well combined. There will still be a few lumps and bumps don't worry about them too much.
  6. Spoon your mix into your cases (about 3 tbsps a case should do it) and pop into the oven.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden coloured and well risen.
  8. Cool on a wire rack. Seriously, they're much, much better cold. Plus you won't end up with a roof of mouth blister from the hot bacon like me...learn from my fail #LFMF

Feb 2, 2011

Green Duck Salad

I normally prefer meat well-done but having tried this cooked medium I have to say I really wouldn't cook it any other way now. Give it a try yourself, the meat is meltingly tender.

Serves: 2


1 duck breast fillet
half teaspoon ground coriander
1 shallot, very finely chopped
2tbsp balsamic vinegar
340g seedless green grapes, about a handful of which are halved
2 good big handfuls of mixed watercress, rocket, baby spinach leaves
2 green pears, cored and finely sliced


  1. Remove skin and fat from duck by pulling fatty layer back and cutting it from the meat with a small, sharp knife.
  2. Mix 1 teaspoon salt, half teaspoon pepper and the coriander and use to season duck breast and set aside.
  3. Place fatty layer, skin side down, in a frying pan over a medium heat. Cook, turning occasionally, until you've cooked off as much liquid fat as you can. Keep 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pan and discard the rest (or keep for other uses). Discard the skin.
  4. Raise heat to high and place duck breast in pan to sear, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add shallots, turn duck breast and cook for another 3 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until duck is medium (rosy in centre). Transfer duck to small plate and cover with foil.
  7. Raise heat again to high, add 125ml water, balsamic vinegar and whole grapes to pan, and stir to scrape up any crispy, browned bits on bottom.
  8. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by about a third.
  9. Slice duck on bias into thin slices. Pour any resting juices into the pan.
  10. Arrange salad leaves in a bowl and top with alternating layers of pear and duck. Pour grape sauce over, scatter with grape halves, and stir through quickly.
  11. Serve. Eat. Enjoy!

Feb 1, 2011

Cream of Chicken Soup

One of the best uses for the left over bits of your chicken carcass. The uneaten meat goes into the soup, and the bones make the stock for next weeks soup, genius!

Serves 4-6


3tbsp butter
3 white onions, finely chopped
about 450g cooked chicken meat
600ml chicken stock
1tbsp chopped fresh parsely
1tbsp chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper
175ml double cream


  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until slightly softened. 
  2. Add the chicken, stock, and herbs, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before liquidising.
  5. Return soup to pan and warm over a medium heat. Stir in the cream and cook for a further 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and serve, delicious with crusty bread rolls.

Turkish Lamb Stew

It sounds a bit odd doesn't it? PRUNES and RAISINS in STEW?? With ALMONDS? It's amazing, I suggest you make it and try it today!


Olive oil
675g lean cubed lamb
1 white onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Half tsp ground cumin
1tsp chilli powder
1tbsp plain flour
2tbsp brandy
360ml chicken stock
3 mild chilli peppers, deseeded and finely sliced lengthways
30g almonds, coarsely chopped
12 prunes, stoned and coarsely chopped
45g raisins

  1. Heat a little olive oil over a medium-high heat in a casserole dish. Working in batches add lamb and brown on all sides. Transfer each batch to a bowl.
  2. Add onion and garlic to the dish and return the lamb pieces too, along with any resting juices.
  3. Stir well, reduce heat to medium, and sprinkle with cumin, chilli powder, flour, half teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Stir until lamb is well coated.
  4. Add brandy and stir to scrape up any browned bits.
  5. Stir in the stock and about 60ml water. Bring to the boil.
  6. Once boiling reduce the heat to low, cover, and leave to simmer for 35-40 minutes to allow all the flavours to mingle.
  7. Add the chilli peppers and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes or so.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant (about 10 minutes).
  9. Stir half the prunes and raisins into the stew and raise the heat to high. Stir until liquid has thickened.
  10. Remove from heat and stir in remaining raisins and prunes.
  11. Serve with plain boiled rice, and garnish with the toasted almonds.

Pineapple upside-down cake

I had never had pineapple upside-down cake until I made this one. You need to be fairly sure that you'll eat something when you're making about 2kgs of it but I figured it had sugar, butter, booze...what's not to like! As it turns out it is delicious, and one I'll certainly be making again. I had no rum when making this so I used whiskey and it was still yum. Kezz describes it as being "like an Irishman having a Caribbean orgy in my mouth". It really is that good!

Serves 6-8

(for the topping)
100g butter
100g light muscovado sugar
2tbsp Irish whiskey (or dark rum if you want to be traditional)
432g can pineapple rings, drained
(for the cake)
50g unsweetened desiccated coconut
100g butter, room temperature
200g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
175g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
2tsp vanilla extract
125ml milk

  1. Heat oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4 and butter your baking dish (I used a 9" square tin). 
  2. Melt the butter, sugar and whiskey in a small saucepan until all the sugar has dissolved. 
  3. Place the pineapple in the baking dish and then pour over the syrup to form an even layer and leave aside.
  4. Cook the desiccated coconut in a dry frying pan over a gentle heat until it starts to turn golden. Remove from the heat and combine all the remaining ingredients.
  5. Pour into the cake tin and pop into the oven.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and well-risen.
  7. Turn out onto a large plate and allow to cool slightly before serving.