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 😉


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 😉

My Nana’s White Soda Bread

IMAG0989 I adore this bread, and even though it is white, I think I justify eating it because it is homemade and not sooooo high in sugar! My Nana was a wonderful baker and cook, and everyone loved her white soda bread. My Mum gave me this recipe and I have adapted it a little as I use spelt flour instead of wheat. This recipe is extra precious as my Nana is no longer with us…


500g Spelt Flour

1 tsp salt

1 level tsp bread soda

1 heaped tsp caster sugar

350ml – 400ml buttermilk

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and slowly add the buttermilk, mixing all the time with your hand. Alternatively you can use a dough hook but its not necessary as its really quick and easy and there is less washing up this way 😉

Bake in an oven pre heated to 150 C for around 35 – 40 minutes.

This bread is delicious alone, with butter. I love to use it for bruschetta, and we eat it with tomato and basil soup – alot!

Rockin Roast Chicken with Stuffing

photos of food 028 I wish you could smell this Roast…. mmmm… delicious. My favourite part is the wing, actually, no, I have 2, the oyster underneath is equally delicious!

I am including my bread stuffing recipe in this post also…. hope you enjoy 🙂


Free Range or Organic Chicken

Stale white bread ( I use my own White Soda Bread, recipe to follow)

1 small onion

1 clove garlic

bunch of sage leaves (if you don’t grow your own you can buy it from supermarkets either fresh or dried)

few sprigs of fresh thyme



lemon zest

Again I love something that can be made in one bowl with minimum washing up, so this stuffing is great for that!

photos of food 010Whizz everything up in your processor until completely combined. If you want to over indulge you can add some butter to this recipe. I used my butter quota on the roast potatoes, which I cook in 15g butter!

I usually stuff inside the bird and just under the skin (you’ll need to separate this with a knife)

For a deliciously golden skin, I butter it! 

Roast in a pre heated oven @ 180 C for 1 hour 5 minutes. It all depends on the size of your bird.

If you like this check out my Sunday Supper to use up your leftovers 😉

Deliciously Moist Banana Cake

IMAG1002 (1)I just love this cake. It’s so quick and easy to prepare and with only one bowl to wash up afterwards! 


3 large very ripe bananas (I use the ones that are going black, my children won’t eat them and I hate to see waste 😉)

125g butter

150g sugar

250g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 heaped tsp mixed spice

2 free range eggs

2 tbsp golden syrup

Preheat your oven to 160 C

It is so simple, blend everything together at once in a food processor for about 20 seconds. You may need to scrape down the side and give it another quick whizz 😉

Pop the mixture into a pre-lined  loaf tin and bake for one hour in the oven

I usually reduce the heat to 150 once I have popped it into the oven

Oh and check it half way through; if it has gotten a little too brown on top just slip some baking paper over the top

Allow to sit on a wire wrack to cool 🙂

All that is left to do now is have a cuppa and sample a slice, enjoy 😉