Moustache Cake

Is it just me, or are we all guilty of those before bed Tastemade  binges? The very addictive videos pop up on our facebook feeds and the next 5 to 10 minutes are spent drooling over scrumptious looking meals and the easy ways to make them. It’s a torturous night time debauchery.

I’m always saving links to interesting recipes and meals with the best of intentions. But find myself forgetting to ever go back, because there is always something newer or more enticing. This time however, I went back & was pretty chuffed I did.

My brother was hosting an event in association with Movember and so my midnight indulgences could be called upon. I had recently seen a spectacular video by In The Kitchen With Katie and thought, this was the perfect opportunity to try it out, yes you guessed it, a Moustache Cake !!!!!

*If you have the resources, you can still donate to a good cause. Team Roders is the official fundraising link to my brothers’ Movember team. 

 

Continue reading Moustache Cake

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♣Our Christmas Market Adventure♣

 

A few weeks ago, we visited the annual Christmas Market in Galway. It was actually my first time there and Let me tell you, it was Great. The atmosphere was mesmerising.

 Where: The Spanish Arch, Galway City | When: 20th November – 22nd December

After almost three weeks away, my amazing husband ‘surprised me’ with ‘we’re going to Galway for the weekend’ (not because I have been pestering him constantly, of course). We decided to stay a few nights in Galway after Elvis’s gig in Limerick so that we could visit the Market and do a little exploring.

Being away for any length of time often makes you think of home. And, do you know what one of the best things about living in Ireland is – The People. A friendly smile or a kind ‘Hello’ from a stranger, is never uncommon. And I find that travelling abroad is always great but, and it must be that I’ve now lived here too long, coming home to the atmosphere here is just magic.

And so our story begins…

The air was laden with heady Christmas smells as we tramped our way through bustling crowds. The last remnants of crumpled soggy leaves clung to drains and footpaths. Throngs of people draped in woolly hats, gloves and scarves trailed from stalls. Queues of chatter and Christmas songs filled the air. It was cold with not a hint of rain in the clear sky, surprising for the the middle of November. Irish weather is so unpredictable, as the next day brought with it a damp, muggy drizzle that lasted a week.

Anyhow as the day went on, smoke rose in tendrils from chimney’s all along the square, puffing away contently to the sound of Christmas. I can close my eyes and be transported right back to that moment. There was magic in my air.

We ate freshly cooked hot dogs, ketchup dripping onto our cold fingers and drank steaming cups of mulled wine. We soaked in every ounce of the Christmas Spirit.

And that was the moment Christmas kicked in…

This is what my brain now looks like…

 

 

So, as the cold began to creep into our boots, gnawing slowly at our toes, we decided to go on a little adventure to find a tea house that I had read about on tripadvisor. It’s a quaint little place that is terribly difficult to find when your phone has died. But worth it in the end.

The Secret Garden is a pretty tea room with an expansive range of teacups and pots that even I was jealous of.

As the door opened in, a warm wave of aromatic smells washed over me. Bathed in an ambiance of fruity herbal teas and candle light, I had met my heaven (If you know me, you know how much I LOVE TEA). It was the perfect end our Market Adventure.

Ok, it wasn’t exactly the end, we still had to walk 20 minutes back to the Hotel, which really is the best way to get acquainted with a place, I think.

To end off the weekend we stopped for Lunch in Bunratty in Lily Mai’s Cafe.

We had an amazing panfried salmon dressed in a beautifully tangy basil pesto. Resting, oh so precariously, on a bed of baby potatoes, rocket leaves and garden peas. Ok, I’ll stop, I’m making myself hungry just writing about it…

 

And that, my friends, was that…

 

To find out more about a Market near you, visit my latest blog post on Ireland’s Christmas Markets

 &

Happy Christmas Market(ing)

Cinnamon Buns

Trying to get into the Festive Spirit?

Why not try these delicious Cinnamon Buns?

The warming rich smells of baking cinnamon, wafting through the house on these chilly nights. A fire crackling and candles lighting…

There’s that, and this new survey that suggests that from today we’ll give up on eating healthily for the festive season and start tucking into Christmas treats.

http://www.todayfm.com/Christmas-gorging-starts-today

Mmmmmm, oh well, I’m giving in, it’s easier….

😀

Now don’t be fooled! This isn’t the fastest of recipes (because of the yeast) but it is yummy. I’ve tried a yeast-free alternative – the dough was sticky (but it reduced waiting time by a whole hour or more). Let me know if you’d like the yeast-free version.

 

patience-weekly-Random-quotes

So here’s the recipe that I use. I’d love to know if you give them a try.

They’re a definite Christmas Treat and they’re just Divine!

 

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/cinnamon-rolls-recipe.html 


Cinnamon Buns

Total Time: 1 hr 50 min

Prep: 20 min
Inactive: 1 hr 45 min
Cook: 30 min
Yield: 12 to 15 servings
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients

Dough:
1/4 -ounce package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup scalded milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:
1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for pan
3/4 cup sugar, plus more for pan
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins, walnuts, or pecans, optional

Glaze:
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 6 tablespoons hot water

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F/ Gas mark 6

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

When doubled in size, punch down dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. Spread melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired. Beginning at the 15-inch side, role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15 slices.

Coat the bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

Meanwhile, mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.

Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen


It’s Christmas Time…

Life stepped in and blogging stepped out. I have had so many ideas but no time (and I procrastinate – I’m sorry). Between being in South Africa (and all the drama that brought #staytuned) to settling back into our cold and damp Irish weather, I’m finally finding my feet again.

December has definitely arrived and I am determined to be on the ball this year.

I’ll be DIY-ing, decorating, baking, (eating), glittering, (eating some-more), and generally getting into the Festive Season. So join me for some Happy Christmas fun…

 

♥Happy December Everyone♥ 

 

Stuff your Peppers

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I really can’t help my self, just One more (I promise):

Ok so what happens when you eat too many bell peppers? [WAIT FOR IT] You get a Bell(y)-ache!!

AHAHAHAHA (I’m still hysterical about this)

Yes, I am that weird 😛

(and I feel like these antioxidant-packed veggies don’t get enough attention.)

SO…

Are you sick of not knowing how to get those 5 a day into your meals without it being repetitive and boring.

Well I definitely am.

That’s why I decided it was time to spice things up, or is that sweeten things up?

*FUN FACT – Bell Peppers are sweet due to their limited amount of the compound capsaicin (which gives chili peppers heat).

Sometimes, when you’re sitting there, racking your brain for ways to change up meal time it’s good to have a list of sides that include all your powerhouse veggies. Kinda like a food roulette – spin the wheel and whatever it lands on is what you’re having/making. Only downside – if you’re like me and don’t like being told what to eat (even by something you’ve created to AID you in your meal planning – not crazy at all) then list them out and choose randomly.

So I started thinking, I should share my Powerhouse sides  and hope that it helps you plan your meals better.

Powerhouse side #1

Stuff your Peppers

-cos it’s fun and it tastes good and…(Read on for more Fun Facts)

 

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Slice the tops off different coloured Bell Peppers and deseed.
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Stick a toothpick/skewer in em to keep the lids on. Just remember to remove them after they’re cooked… :/

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*FUN FACT – This versatile vegetable possess an overwhelming abundance of powerful nutrients, with over 30 carotenoids (Distinguished by their orange, yellow, and red pigments, carotenoids are found in many plants, algae, and bacteria. Carotenoids act as antioxidants within the body, protecting against cellular damage, the effects of aging, and even some chronic diseases) http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/what-are-carotenoids/6

My Stuffing:

  • Cooked brown rice
  • Chestnut mushrooms – quartered, diced courgettes, peas, sweetcorn, crushed garlic, finely chopped onion – all sautéed in a little olive oil
  • Add to brown rice and heat through. I added parsley, freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.
  • Pack the stuffing into your peppers. I used some cheddar and spinach to finish mine off before putting on the ‘lid’ and securing with a toothpick.
  • Into the oven for 10-15min depending. We have a gas cooker so I guess just keep an eye on it.

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For more *FUN FACTS go have a read of http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2012/7/Bell-Peppers/Page-01

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We had ours with baked cod smothered in cashew pesto crust and steamed baby potatoes. What will you have?

Ok ok… This is it, I’m Done….

Trying to think of a pepper pun, but nothing rings a bell 😉

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse vs Healthy Alternative

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I had to make a really quick dessert a couple of days ago and stumbled upon this easy to make chocolatey goodness.
If you’re a chocolate after food kinda person then you will love this. it is creamy and smooth but maybe a bit too much, i did fill those teacups up.
I’m a fan of using whatever i have in the house and find myself substituting ingredients if i have to go to the shop (yes i am lazy) but this recipe was so easy that the only thing i had to buy was the fresh cream. I even just used salted peanuts on top, just dusted them a little. but salt really does bring out the FLAVOuR in chocolate so it works
Find the recipe here:
http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/chocolate-peanut-butter-pudding
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OR

FOr a healthier and easier alternative I have this simple and still very yummy recipe:
Chocolate mousse with a twist

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ingredients:
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • 4 tsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbs honey/agave
  • ¼ tsp or less (you don’t want it to over power) sea salt
  • a few raspberries/strawberries to garnish
Blend. REFRIGERATE. Serve.

∗ serve with a sprig of mint, chopped up fruit or nuts.

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If you like trying new recipes, why not give these two a try and let me know which you think tastes better.

♥Enjoy♥

Firsts all round (Part 2)

And then he was 31…
and
we looked back at the year and thought,
‘holy crap – did a whole year just fly by?’
CLA_2259
This is my very handsome husband on the day of our Wedding. According to him, the grey hairs started to appear from this moment on. (what a drama-queen) ha
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A year later and he’s got a following… (I don’t see any grey hairs, do you?

Relationships and marriages aren’t easy and there are always compromises to make…

but

as soon as it’s your birthday week you have the delightful knowledge that you have what we like to call,

a free pass…

which entitles you to things like;

breakfast in bed, not having to do dishes, cake, your FAVORITE dinner, your choice of movie in the cinema (pfft that’s a lie, it’s always his choice- i mean zombies?? why?!)

and

yes, you guessed it, endless amounts of xbox time (even though i’m sure he’ll dispute this)

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Heart shaped crumpets with fresh strawberries and a drizzling of golden syrup
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VANILLA SPONGE WITH A FRESH STRAWBERRY FILLING AND COCONUT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

73

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