Posted in Events & Adventures in Food

On The Pig’s Back

I’m pleased to report that all went well with the catering side of the celebrations last Saturday ( & Sunday, & Monday!).  And having now made their communion Niall and Denny are happily contemplating how best to invest the loot that was bestowed on them by very generous family, neighbours and friends.  The sun shone all day Saturday and the doors and windows remained opened until Midnight with the kids happily running in and out to the bouncy castle.  Our family lunch was a lovely relaxed affair and the beef in red wine hotpot went down well.

The barbeque in the evening was equally successful and O’Crualaoi’s steak burgers were excellent (  Abina’s baking went down a treat as usual and her pavlova didn’t last long.

When I produced the NY cupcakes (see earlier post for picture) based on Magnolia Bakery’s classic cupcake recipe I was delighted to discover that  by happy co-incidence one of our New York based guests – Raymond Sicignano – had recently sold his painting of Magnolia Bakery (

In my preparation last week I travelled beyond my local supermarket and visited On The Pig’s Back in Douglas where I bought some lovely cheeses (manchego & comte) along with gubeen chorizo.  They are also based in the English Market and well worth a visit if you are after something special.  (

After a weekend of overindulging and living off leftovers on Sunday and Monday I decided it was time to cleanse the system with a bit of heat so I made up some red thai curry paste and enjoyed this tasty dish this evening.

Recently we’ve been dining on mushroom soup, red onion, cherry tomato & goat’s cheese tart, beef & red wine hot pot, tortilla chips with chilli jam, gubeen chorizo & tomato salad, frittata, red thai chicken curry, strawberry & lemon cheesecakes, pavlova and pear tiramisu.  Til next time, Sheila

Posted in Events & Adventures in Food

Adventures with Kenwood

Last weekend my focus was on baking.  There were two reasons.  Firstly, a feature in (Ireland’s) Food & Wine Magazine had written up a selection of classic old time recipes that evoked nostalgia for simpler times with Victoria Sponge Cake, Lemon Drizzle Cake and Oatmeal Cookies numbered amongst them.  

Secondly my mother decided to pass on her Kenwood Major in the knowledge that of her four daughters and three sons I am the one in the baking phase of life.  From a practical point of view with the others away in Sydney, Rome, Albuquerque, London and Dublin and I being the closest to home it makes it all the more likely that she will get to test some of the fare. 

First up for her to sample was Sundried Tomato bread.  Straight out of the oven or reheated on the microwave for ten seconds this is absolutely a triumph.  A wettish, sticky dough, brushed with olive oil it spread to produce a rustic, airy bread embedded with bites of sundried cherry tomatoes.  I used the dough hook on the Kenwood to combine all the ingredients and mixed on the lowest setting for about 6 minutes.  Allowed to rest in a bowl for an hour and then baked for 30 minutes it was delicious. 

My second trial on the Kenwood was the Victoria Sponge Cake and it went down a treat stretching to feed 3 adults and 9 kids (don’t ask!) 
snapped with blackberry

Yesterday my gifted neighbour Abina gave me an excuse to start using my long wished for Nikon D5000.  Abina regularly pops over with these amazing creations.  The delicately puffed up layers of perfectly cooked pastry were sandwiched together with a chocolate, baileys and raspberry cream filling and greedy fingers vied for the melted chocolate, raspberries and strawberries on top. 

Chocolate, baileys and raspberry cream heaven

My kids are constantly saying that Abina should open a bakery and having sampled many a melting chocolate mousse cake, divine apple tarts, heavenly pavlovas and more recently a “to die for” toffee and apple pudding I wholeheartedly agree. 

I am planning a trip to the English Market next weekend to get to grips with my camera.  My macro lens is on order so watch this space for some good looking food. 

Til next time, Sheila