Category Archives: food

Shades of green…

I went into the garden to take some photographs of our ever-growing jungle yesterday. The garden is really coming into itself. There are many shades of green throughout. I am pleased with how the photographs turned out. Have a look!

It's a jungle in there.

The above photo is looking through the potato plants. We planted rocket in between the rows. It’s about done now and I am planning to make pesto with it this weekend. Yum!

Fuzzy fennel

The fennel towers above the herb bed and acts as a focal point in the garden. It is great to be able to just throw some on salmon and poach it.

Golden oregano and lemon balm

I love the contrast in the shades of the oregano and the crispy green lemon balm. I have used the lemon balm in vinaigrettes. It adds a zingy flavour. The oregano goes into pretty much every dish! The great thing is that it grows back so quickly.

Raspberry flower

The bumblebees are out in force now that the raspberry blossoms are out. Isn’t nature amazing. Look at those red thorns.

Lone soldier.

The lavender is just about to bloom and explode into a purple cloud.

Geranium "Ann Thomson"

This geranium is planted under the tree and the magenta flowers really add character to that corner, which before was void of colour.

You know, as much as we like to complain about the rain, I kind of really yearn for a good rainy day, because the garden just flourishes the next day.

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Filed under food, Garden, Herbs

the first strawberries picked by little hands.

For the past few months, the girls have been casting their eyes with eager anticipation at the strawberries growing in the garden. It was great to see their excitement growing with the changing colours of the fruit. It was Seren and Olwyn’s job to scare away any magpies who swooped down to feast on the strawberries. So every once in a while you would hear fierce knocking at the window ” Shoo magpie, those are our stwawbewwies!” The strawberries were lovingly watered and minded. I got so much enjoyment watching my children learn about the things we have growing in the garden.

Here are photographs of the momentous occasion!

Daddy lends a helping hand.

A joyous moment!

Following in her big sister's footsteps.

Seren and Olwyn on their favourite seat (beside the strawberries naturally).

Sumptuous strawberry.

Look Mami, I'm going to make it disappear :)

The poet William Allen Butler sums the strawberry up the best when he wrote “Doubtless God could have made a better berry (than the strawberry), but doubtless God never did.”

 

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Filed under Family, food, Motherhood

Velvety sin.

I made this for dessert for our Easter Sunday feast. Yes, it has taken me a month and a half to post it, but better late than never! It was to die for. The chocolate was so rich.  I used O’Connaill’s organic chocolate, which is made in Co. Cork. The smell of the chocolate alone was enough to send me into a cocoa coma.

The chocolate really acted as a launch pad for the floral-citrus flavours of the cardamom. This spice changed the mousse into a luxury, which was sinfully delicious. I loved crushing the cardamom pods in the mortar, releasing the smell throughout the kitchen. The kids loved sticking their noses in to experience this new smell.

I poured the mousse into little Moroccan tea glasses. It was great because I could prepare it and put them in the fridge the day before. This saved on time the next day amidst the frenzy of cooking three other courses.

Chocolate & cardamom mousse, amaretti and coffee

Chocolate & Cardamom Mousse

2oog good-quality dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)

100ml single cream

4 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon caster sugar

half teaspoon cardamom seeds

(this serves 4 people)

Method

Break the chocolate into a glass bowel suspended over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir often to make sure that no lumps form.

Ready for action!

Remove from the heat and stir in the cream, egg yolks, sugar and cardamom seeds.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

Fold the whisked eggs into the chocolate mixture.

Fold in gently to allow air into the mixture

Pour the chocolate mixture into individual glasses and place in the fridge for 1 hour or until set.

Pour into cups or glasses, even espresso cups will do

This recipe is taken from Homemade: Irresistible recipes for every occasion by Clodagh McKenna, 2010

Of course this would not have achieved without the help of my two trusty tasters helpers.

Olwyn's gobstopper

Seren's chocolate beard

Then it was seriously a case of death by chocolate…

I don't need instructions on how to eat this!

See! I am an expert at it.

I think Babi and Olwyn approve.

And the award for the biggest chocaholic goes to...

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Filed under food, Recipes

Food for thought…

Flavour thesaurus

 

The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit, Bloomsbury, London, 2010

I got this book for Christmas as a gift and I think I have a crush on it. I secretly get butterflies in my tummy when it is time for bed because I get so excited at the prospect of reading about mad flavour combinations. The only problem is I usually get hungry at the thought of all this good food and end up having dreams about asparagus or something.

This book is great for the amateur who is afraid to break free from recipe books and trust their own instincts. However, it is also brilliant for those who have an appreciation for food, like me. In my opinion, this is just a good read let alone a wealth of knowledge about the food world.

The author, Niki Segnit, has a good sense of humour and is not afraid to say if something sounds disgusting if she finds something so. Although in her introduction Segnit does state that everyone’s taste buds differ and that your cultural background also determines to an extent how you sense and describe flavour. I thought this to be very perceptive of her as a writer catering to a wide audience. This is reflected in the selection of recipes and foods in Segnit’s book. They vary from American to Chinese, to Japanese, to French etc. Segnit makes the book accessible for those who may not be master chefs and familiar with the lingo of the kitchen. She also gives recipes of her own. But she does not shy away from recipes of renowned chefs, such as Nigel Slater, Ken Hom, Antonio Carluccio and Nigella Lawson, either.

The book is informative and gives the history of certain foods e.g. how the bulking out of chocolate with ground hazelnuts eventually led to the invention of Nutella. Each food is given an introduction which gives a general description of its appearance or taste, titbits of history and how to prepare it. Included in the rear of the book, as well as a general index, is a pairings index, which I have found most helpful to glance through, when I am looking for some quick inspiration.

What have I learnt from this book? Trust your instincts (and taste buds) and don’t be afraid to experiment with flavours.

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Filed under food, Recipes, research

Bun in the oven!

I felt like making something different for brunch. I came across this recipe on a great blog – http://mygrandparentskitchen.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/bacon-and-eggs-in-a-roll/

It is very simple to make. All you need is:

  • as many bread buns as you need
  • eggs
  • bacon
  • herbs; parsley, oregano etc.

Cut the buns in half and scoop out the inside of the bottom half. Keep the top half for later.

Make sure that you make a decent enough hole in the bun. Otherwise the egg will spill over the edges.

If you have children, let them help with scooping out the bread and picking off the leaves from the fresh herbs. In Seren’s case, she will probably eat everything. I caught her quite contentedly shoving chives into her mouth, “making them disappear” as she said.

Next, place short strips of bacon into the holes. Then crack an egg on top of the bacon.

Seren loved helping to make this and enjoyed even more the act of eating it!

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Filed under Family, food, Recipes