Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Roasted Red Pepper and Sweet Potato Soup

I love homemade soup and always have. It reminds me of relaxing Saturdays and late lunches as a child. It is the perfect lunch after you've just had a great big play outside in the garden! Or else, for the grown-ups, it's one of the best antidotes to a rainy day, a bad day or even a sore head, perhaps?!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The Vintage Kitchen

This quaint, quirky and highly regarded dining spot, nestled right beside the renowned Mulligan's pub on Poolbeg Street in Dublin, has long been on my "to visit" foodie list. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to head for dinner one blustery Friday evening in January. January is a long and miserable month, let's be honest. So, I decided as a cheer me up, I'd email the Vintage Kitchen, who were then on a yearly break, and request a table for two. I received a prompt response and was duly given my table at my chosen time. No probs. Job done. I subsequently found out, through Twitter, that it is often very difficult to get a table at all. Lucky me!

Friday, 14 February 2014

Afternoon Tea and a Wonderful Wedding

As it's Valentine's Day, I wanted to share with you a nice experience combining love and food. What's not to like?! The story goes back many months, to about summertime 2013 when a very close cousin and friend (Catherine) asked my sister and I if we would like to prepare an afternoon tea type selection of sweet goodies to be served at the drinks reception on her wedding day on 30th December 2013. At first, the thought was a little daunting (by daunting, I mean scary!) but we gladly agreed and we felt really privileged to be included in their special day in such a lovely way. Thus ensued, some planning, preparatory baking, and research, involving trying various sweet treats out for quality and taste purposes of course - what fun! Christmas rolled around and by the 28th we were both ready to go. Baking begun in earnest in our respective apartments on the evening of the 28th and the morning of the 29th. When we arrived on the wild west coast of Ireland on 29th December, icing was made, chocolate was melted and decorating begun. The following morning, we set up our "trestle table" as my sister, an ex-wedding planner called it. We covered our goodies from any straying paws, dolled ourselves up and headed off to see the lovely Catherine marry the equally lovely Kevin. The reaction to the mini sweet treats was great and most especially and importantly, Mr. and Mrs. Cryan were really pleased!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread

As Valentine's Day is just around the corner, these shortbread biscuits are aptly heart-shaped, but you can go with any other non-romantic, regular or even unusual shape, as you see fit. In any case; sweet, buttery shortbread, combined with chocolate is always a winner. They are also so quick and simple to make and would make a really fun baking activity with children. Let them go crazy with the sprinkles, hundreds and thousands, writing icing etc. and create their own little edible masterpieces! My sister made these not long ago at a family wedding and every time I visit the lovely Ariel House, they serve up delicious chocolate-dipped heart shortbreads too. So, I felt it my duty to try them out for myself and share them with you!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Tiramisu and a little bit of Love

So, first it was Tiramisu Roulade, now it's Tiramisu. Yes, I am a fan of creamy, chocolately desserts. This recipe is adapted from Rachel Allen's "Entertaining At Home" cookbook, which I turn to quite a bit for dinner party ideas. What I love about this recipe is the ease at which the dessert can be whipped up, on the morning of your special meal, or even better, the night before. The extra plus is its simplicity, there is no cooking required. So, now that January has passed and our well intended vows of calorie control may be waning slightly, this sweet recipe can make an appearance! Plus, Valentine's day is approaching and this would make a pretty perfect end to a special home cooked meal for a loved one. Whatever the occasion and whomever you are feeding, I do hope this dessert goes down a treat.
This recipe serves 4/5 generous individual portions.