My Mum’s Beef Stew

STEW This is the beef stew I cooked for Ireland’s Best Home Cook competition. Lots of you have been asking for this recipe so here you go, as promised 😉

I was actually planning on having lots of salads this week, but then met eireann went and issued a weather warning, hey ho, back to the winter dinners!


1 lb diced beef

1 onion

5 carrots

3 sticks celery

10 button mushrooms

1 tbsp port

25g tomato puree

25g  plain flour

1/2 beef stock cube (I use Kallo organic)

1/2 mushroom stock cube (as above)

1 pint of water

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp tomato ketchup (yes, tomato ketchup!)




Fry the onion in a large saucepan until soft. Add the beef and fry until browned on all sides. Add the chopped veggies and and turn the heat right down. I usually move mine over to the stove top at this stage…

Add the puree and stir through. Add the flour and stir, making sure it is cooked out – otherwise you will have a lumpy stew 😛

The port goes in at this stage, stir and gradually add the stock.


Simmer for about 3 hours. The meat should be really tender and the stew will have thickened.


I usually serve this with some really buttery, creamy mashed potato.

This stew like any tastes better the next day. You could pop a pastry case on top and bake it in the oven for a variation on the day before… 

STEW Enjoy 😉


raw macadamia, cashew and date energy balls

Macadamia nut treats Fancy a tasty treat without all that guilt? These little treats taste so good, you would imagine they’d be bad, but they’re not! Practically guilt free – I promise 😉


100 g honeyed macadamia nuts

100 g cashews

25 g dessicated coconut


Throw everything into the blender and blizz for about 20 seconds. You may need to do this twice and scrape around the sides of the bowl in between. Roll the mix into even sized balls then roll in a little extra dessicated coconut.

I usually cannot wait to eat these and start munching immediately, but if you can, leave them to stand for about an hour or two at room temperature. They will have firmed up by then and will taste less like nut butter! If you feel that they need a little more starch, maybe add some cooked sweet brown rice to the mix…. I may do this myself next time to see how it works out 😉

Yummy goodness!

Enjoy 🙂Macadamia nut treats

sun-dried tomato, pine-nut, basil and rocket pesto

TOMATO TAPENADE My blog has been a little neglected again people, apologies for my absence. Busy Mommy, busy student. Cannot wait for the Summer months when the pressure eases off a little. Speaking of  Summer, this recipe just screams sunshine!

It couldn’t be more simple to make. It makes a delicious topping for fish or chicken.

Today we ate it with sea bass, rocket and garlic potato gratin.


1/2 jar organic sun dried tomatoes in olive oil

1 clove garlic

1 handful basil leaves

1 handful rocket

25 g pine nuts

a good glug of olive oil…maybe 3 tablespoons


Whizz together in a blender and serve on top of your chosen fish or chicken!

Taste the sunshine and enjoy 🙂

Milk and Cookies <3

IMAG1210 I really become a hero to my children when I make these chocolate chip cookies for them – you will love them just as much. They are chewy and buttery and delicious… mmm!

It is so lovely to bake with your children and what better excuse than the Easter Holidays 🙂


200 g butter

350 g light brown sugar

2 eggs

350 g plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate (bread) soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

50 g chopped dark chocolate

Pre heat the oven to 180 C


Cream the butter in your mixer then add the sugar, mix until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one by one and continue to whisk.

At this stage I just throw everything else but the chocolate in together and mix!

Form the dough into little balls and pop a few pieces of the chopped chocolate into each one >> IMAG1203

Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 8 minutes. You may need to reduce this to suit your own oven, as I have said in other recipes, mine tends to run hot.

IMAG1204  <<My children couldn’t resist sneaking a cookie or two while my back was turned!

Ah… its the simple, wholesome things in life 😉

IMAG1205 Enjoy!



Posh sausage and creamy mash with port jus…

IMAG1046 (1)

Apologies for my absence of late bloggers, sometimes life just gets in the way I guess.

We are still experiencing the chill factor here in Ireland at the moment. We need some tasty, hot dishes to keep us warm while we await Spring 🙂 While not breaking the bank either 😉

This is my ‘posh’ version of bangers and mash. The ‘jus’ used in this recipe is incredibly versatile and can be used with lamb and beef also.


1 onion

1 clove garlic

1 sprig thyme

100 ml port

300ml beef  or lamb stock

equal quantities flour and tomato puree (about 15 g)


black pepper

I usually make my jus first as I like to allow it to reduce on the stove while I cook everything else.

Chop the onion and garlic roughly. Fry in a little olive oil until soft, together with the thyme.

When soft add the tomato puree and flour and mix until cooked out. Add the port gradually and mix until you’ve formed a smooth paste. Add the stock and allow to simmer.

Leave this to reduce for approx 20 mins. While the sausage and potato cook.

Steam your potatoes, I used ‘rooster’ but any floury potato will do.

Meanwhile heat a little olive oil in a griddle pan and fry your sausages. Try to get really good quality sausages from your butcher – with at least 70% pork quantity.

Fry the sausages until cooked.

Meanwhile mash the potato together with some butter 15 g and a little warm milk. I usually whisk my potatoes after mashing to achieve a really light fluffy consistency – yum!

Sieve the jus and pop back into the saucepan.

I usually place the potato underneath the sausages to catch all the yummy gravy – delish!

IMAG1046 (1) Enjoy 🙂

St Patricks Day Apple Cake

IMAG1163 <<<< Happy St Patricks Day Apple Cake

Apples were a staple in Irish cooking fado fado! Which is Irish for long ago, even still today apples play a big part in Irish cooking. Ingredients would have been limited to what grew easily in the locality also they didn’t spoil so quickly.

For the day that is in it tomorrow, I decided to praise the humble apple and make this traditional apple cake… I remember eating this in my Nana’s kitchen.  I have tried to replicate the recipe from taste! 


Preheat the oven to 150 C


2 eggs

150 g caster sugar

75 g  butter

75 g milk

125 g plain flour

1/2 tsp mixed spice

2 tsp baking powder

1 large granny smith apple or similar

1 tbsp granulated sugar to sprinkle over the top


Mix the eggs and sugar until pale, fluffy and quite thick

Melt the milk and butter and whisk into the egg mixture

Do this gradually as the milk and butter mixture will be hot.

Sieve the flour and mixed spice  and fold in gently.

Bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes, this needs to bake slowly. Allow to cool slightly. It tastes delicious warm.


Enjoy with a cup of tea 😉

Chocolate Marbled Baked Cheesecake

IMAG1134 Do we need an excuse for cake? The midweek treat perhaps?!

Okay, okay, if we need an excuse here is one. The sly fox recently annihilated our beautiful hens 😦 We grieved for a considerable couple of months, but, on Sunday we replenished our stock and now have three wonderful birds. Fancy Nancy, Willy Wonka (yes!) and Pip!

It is so great to have fresh eggs again, so, in their honour we decided to make something spectacular! 

Well we think it is spectacular!


400 g cream cheese

225 g caster sugar

200 ml double cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp cornflour

2 eggs

50 g  dark chocolate


200 g digestive biscuits

50 g melted butter (clarified)



Preheat the oven to 160.  Fill a roasting tin half – way with water and pop this into the oven.

Whiz up the digestives with the butter in a processor. If you don’t have a food processor just bash your biscuits with a rolling pin in a paper bag, then mix with the melted butter.

Line the base of a spring form 9 inch tin with the biscuit mixture. IMAG1120

Pop into the fridge and whip up your filling!


Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. I do this in the kitchen aid but you can also do this by hand.

Add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat. Gradually add the cream and mix some more. Finally add the eggs and cornflour and mix.

Melt the chocolate.

Pour half of the filling on top of the digestive mix. Add a few swirls of chocolate and make a marble pattern IMAG1122  <<<<It should look a little like this 

Add the other half of the mix and repeat the swirling pattern again.

Bake in the oven (in the bain marie) for 45 minutes.

Voila! IMAG1127 (2)

Quick and easy veggie curry

IMAG1105 The weather has been so cold here for the last few days so we warmed up with this tasty curry. It is so easy and quick to prepare and its a healthier alternative for those of you who are fond of a takeaway curry! I’ll bet it tastes better than any takeaway too!


1 onion

3 cloves garlic minced

1 inch piece ginger grated or minced

2 tbsp garam masala

2 tbsp curry powder (try to get one which is msg free!)

1/2 large butternut squash

1/2 head of cauliflower (separate the florets)

2 sweet pepper cut into strips

6 button mushrooms

1 tin chickpeas

1/2 tin organic coconut milk (or alternatively make your own :))

400 ml chicken stock

5 large tomatoes chopped


Fry the chopped onion, garlic and ginger in a saucepan with a little olive oil until soft. Do this over a low heat and take care not to burn.

Add the spices and stir. Add the squash, cauliflower, peppers and mushrooms and stir.

Follow with the chickpeas, tomatoes, and stock – give it a good stir

Simmer for 20 mins without the lid. Add 1/2 tin coconut milk and cook for a further 15 mins on a low heat.

I usually serve this with brown rice but we were all out, so today we served with basmati rice instead 🙂

This would be great with some spinach stirred in at the last minute – I usually add some but we are all out! Too much juicing 😉

Also of course this dish would work with chicken and lamb too.

IMAG1105 Enjoy!

Mothers Day Chocolate Pots with Meringues

IMAG1095 As it is Mothers Day, I decided that we should have a decadent dessert 🙂

Molten Chocolate Pots with Meringues and Ice Cream… 

This is a Rachel Allen recipe which I have changed a little to accommodate my children’s palates 🙂

Preheat the oven to 180 C (fan oven)


100 g dark chocolate

50 g milk chocolate

100 g butter

3 eggs

3 egg yokes (I used up the whites to make the meringues ;))

75 g caster sugar

50 g plain flour

25 g cocoa powder


Firstly melt the butter and chocolate (I do this in the microwave!! I know, its bad, but my chocolate never burns or does it impair the flavour)

Whisk the eggs and sugar until they look like this IMAG1077

Fold in the chocolate and sieve in the flour and cocoa powder. Remember gently fold; do not whisk! We need to keep all of that lovely air in for a light mixture.

IMAG1081 It should look like this 🙂

Grease 6 ramekins with butter

You don’t have to be fussy about filling the ramekins in a pretty fashion, generally you won’t be serving in them in the ramekins, so if the mixture spills down the sides, don’t worry!


Bake in the oven for 8 minutes.

My oven is really hot, you may need to adjust this time to suit your own oven. 8 minutes in my oven @ 180 and they are beautifully molten inside 🙂

Decorate your plates while the puddings are in the oven. When you remove them from the oven you will need to work very quickly to ensure that each one is molten when it reaches the table! If left lying around they will continue to cook!

Enjoy Mothers Day everyone x


Tomato and Basil Soup

IMAG1044 This tomato and basil soup recipe originally comes from The Ballymaloe Cookery School Cookbook. I may not have it word for word as I seem to adapt every recipe I cook!

 I think they may use fresh tomatoes for their recipe though and as it is only March, we don’t have any growing in our cold little climate yet. But I will soon be planting my tomato seeds and crossing my fingers and toes for a good summer 🙂 When you say a good summer in Ireland, it does not refer to a good time; we are talking about the weather!!

Today I feel like tasting some sunshine while still keeping warm and cosy 🙂


1 onion finely chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 quantity béchemal sauce

300 ml chicken stock

2 400 g tins tomatoes

1 large handful fresh basil leaves


1 tsp sugar

black pepper

Béchemal Sauce:

25 g butter

25 g flour

200 ml milk

1 sprig fresh thyme

salt black pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan, once melted add the flour and mix over a low heat until the flour has cooked out.  Add the milk a little at a time whisking constantly. You may feel that you need a little extra milk at this stage if the sauce is too thick – that is ok! Add the thyme, salt and black pepper. Allow to sit on a low heat.

This sauce works great with fish too!


Fry the onion until soft in a saucepan. Add the tinned tomatoes and sugar and stir.

At this stage I just add everything into the saucepan and stir, it couldn’t be more simple.  

Leave the pot to simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. If you have a stove, this is ideal, otherwise on a really low hob.

Do not allow to boil as the tomatoes only like a gentle heat… and this is best eaten hot, not boiling to taste the flavour! 

Blend and enjoy with some crusty bread 🙂