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Granola muffins

Making muffins for breakfast might seem like a lot of work, but it’s really not. These muffins simply require mixing a few wet ingredients into dry and giving them a lazy stir together. As a lumpy mixed muffin batter gives the lightest muffins. They are great as a grab and go breakfast. I most often make them at the weekends when I can have a relaxed breakfast and have several mugs of tea while they are in the oven. This allows me to ease into breakfast awake properly and actually enjoy breakfast rather than just fuelling myself for the day.  

Granola Breakfast Muffins

The muffins are packed with seeds and nuts both within and on top and I do this lazily and easily by using granola. Of course, you need to use a nut and seed granola and you can use one that also contains dried fruits as well if you desire it. Spelt or wholemeal flour gives the muffins body and heft whilst also being incredibly light and moist. Maple syrup imparts a subtle smoky sweetness and I’ve probably said it several times before but maple syrup and nuts are a legendary combo.  

They are best eaten warm from the oven. I can never decide what is my favourite way of eating them. With jam, butter or honey. So naturally of course, since the recipe makes 6 muffins and there are only two of us eating, we get three muffins each so I have one with jam one with butter and one drizzled with honey.  

Below is my recipe check it out and give it a go.  

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I’m not sure whether I have ever met someone who didn’t like cheesecake and I’m not sure whether I want to. What’s not to love, right? I love a no-bake cheesecake, but I do think that a baked cheesecake has the edge that wins for me. It’s a little bit like instant coffee vs going through the whole process of grinding your own beans and making a proper coffee. Most of us by far prefer the flavour and taste of a real coffee and why not. Although I am sure due to convenience you will find a jar of instant coffee in every coffee lover’s kitchen. I think we can be a little like this when it comes to cheesecake no-bake cheesecakes are a great dessert for those experimenting with their first desserts and those short on time. Baked cheesecakes take a bit more work and that’s ok. They are worth it. Honestly, they sound more daunting than they are. Often words like bain Marie can scare people or the cooking steps and stages but it’s not as difficult as it sounds. Firstly, a bain Marie simply means a water bath so all we have to do for this is wrap the cheesecake base in kitchen foil to prevent water from getting into the cheesecake. Place it in a roasting tin and pour water from a recently boiled kettle into the roasting tin around the cheesecake, simple.

Baked Cheesecake recipe

The next step that can be off putting is all the warnings in recipes about baked cheesecake tops cracking. Firstly, I say “Big Deal” who cares if the top cracks it’s not the end of the world. It isn’t ruined and often the topping will disguise it even if it does. So fear not. I have found the best way to prevent the top cracking is to allow my cheesecake to sit for an hour after its baked in a switched off oven. The reason I do this is because one of the main reasons for cheesecakes cracking is the extreme temperature changes and living in Ireland my kitchen most of the year isn’t very hot and taking it straight from the oven to the kitchen counter will shock it and create cracks so instead I let it rest for an hour in the oven after baking then transfer to the kitchen counter to cool completely. If it is very cold in my kitchen after the hour I open the oven door fully and let it cool completely in the oven with the door open.

Baked pecan caramel cheesecake

One other important factor to keep in mind when making baked cheesecakes, and one I wish I had known about when I made my first baked cheesecake is that it should still have wobble when shaken after it has been baked.

I hope you enjoy the recipe below as much as I do.

Sweet Potato waffle recipe

I used to make waffles so often and then my electric waffle iron died and that was the end of the waffle making for a long time. I have recently bout a stove top waffle iron, which I think is much better than the electric one. The issue i ran into with the electric one is that it can be really difficult to clean properly a problem i don’t have with the stove top one as I can submerge it entirely into hot soapy water and give it a good clean. I also feel I have a greater control of the stove top waffle maker when cooking. However, whether its a stove top or electric one you have you can make these delicious waffles.

This recipe make enough batter for 16 waffles, you could half this if you want. I think part of the point of making waffles, for me anyways is that I have a lot of waffles that can be stashed in the fridge or freezer then toasted in the toaster so that you have breakfast in minutes whenever it’s required. To freeze place them into a freezer in a single layer on a tray when frozen they can be stacked wrapped in a double layer or cling wrap and a layer of foil. This makes them much easier to separate when required. No need to defrost toast once or twice until hot within and crispy on the outside.

Until recently, I always made plain waffles flavoured with a little vanilla, now though I have discovered sweet potato waffles. This came about due to having some cooked sweet potato in the fridge that needed using. I always cook sweet potato when I’m using the oven, scoop out the flesh and mash it and store it in the fridge for use during the week when i can’t be bothered with carb cooking. Anyways, these waffles are super light and crispy on the outside with that naturally sweet toasty interior thanks to the sweet potato and the warmth of the cinnamon.

It feels no time since I posted about St.Patrick’s day and the lack of celebrations this year and in the blink of an eye it’s Easter. Again, we will not be celebrating Easter with the usual traditions or customs. This doesn’t mean we have to let the occasion pass without marking it. I will still be indulging in my favourite recipes. I always have lamb at Easter it’s a tradition much like turkey at Christmas. This year though as I will be cooking for a lot less just the two of us it is for this reason I am sharing these two recipes that may be a little more suitable for those unable to celebrate with family this year.

Lamb Ribs

As you may have seen on my Instagram I have been making Easter chocolate cheesecake cupcakes all week and I plan to make a batch for pudding after my ribs. Check out the recipe below

Below are a couple of recipes I have put together that may help those in lockdown. Even though these recipes use basic ingredients you would never know that from the from the final products. I think we can eat well if we have some of the essential staples and certainly in my house these recipes are essential. I mean, fresh bread and pasta can open up a world of eating opportunities. Both of these recipes rely on plain flour, instead of using the usual specific flours required for these recipes, which most of us will have in the house already. So I do hope that these recipes will mean that you may be able to make less trips to the shop. Please stay safe and avoid going out as much as possible.  

Emergency No-Knead White Bread  

 This bread has a soft aerated interior and a ciabatta/sourdough like crust. Most no-knead breads need to sit and rest for at least 12 hours to get a full rise, this bread, however doesn’t require as long it can be baked after two hours. The reason I decided to invest time in a bread recipe that was a no-knead bread and pretty quick to make is so that it was more accessible to everyone such as the elderly, who may not be capable of kneading bread or for parents who may not have the time to knead bread. Using hot water in the bread makes then yeast get straight to work and work overtime. The bread rises in a parchment paper lined mixing bowl for two reasons. Number one is that it is a wet sticky dough and it prevents it sticking to the bowl and secondly it means it can be transferred to the cooking vessel without losing all the air bubbles within. The bread is cooked in a very hot oven in a casserole pot or as other may know it a dutch oven with a lid on for the first thirty minutes this lets the bread steam giving you that lovely soft interior. For the remaining fifteen minutes in the oven it gets cooked without the lid allowing the bread to develop that crusty exterior and go golden brown.  

Pasta 

My simple pasta again just like my bread utelizes plain flour as most of us will have this in our homes already.  The dough is a soft easy to knead dough. You do not require any fancy equipment to make this, a rolling pin is used to roll out the dough. If you are unable to knead and have a mixer with a dough hook this could be used instead.  

My earliest memory of St Patrick’s day is of sitting on warm concrete steps at my granny’s front door. Waiting on my granny to cut a small bunch of shamrocks wrap the stems in kitchen foil to hold them together and a safety pin to fasten them to my t-shirt. Alas, it seems these past few years that we are more likely to have snow March 17th rather than sunshine. On this particular day, even though memories are fragmented and most of the day lost to me, I do remember dessert, A special treat, Granny Pat’s donuts. I still to this day the second a homemade fried donut hits my mouth I am brought back to this moment, to this day, it is a nostalgic food that both reminds me of my granny and of St Patrick’s day. It is, for this reason, i firmly believe that if throwing a party that you do not have to conform to luridly green food and beverage items that most of us do not wish to eat, it can have a novelty value but usually that it. 

My favourite ways now of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day is to celebrate some of my favourite Irish ingredients and you will spot more than once in the recipes below. This year the celebrations may be on a much smaller scale due to virus outbreak but, I’m sure much merriment will be had none the less. Lenten restrictions are lifted for St Patrick’s day, hence, in my opinion, the reason that alcohol and sweet things are the popular option on this day and the star of any party I throw on this day is my chocolate Guinness cake with a cream cheese Bailey’s topping. Now, any Irish person will tell you that two of the most popular things that people restrict and cut out during Lent are Alcohol and chocolate. So it seemed only just to appropriate on this day when the restrictions let up that we make the most of it and indulge in both. My cake resembles the famous black pint too. The chocolate base looks like the dark stout and the Baileys cream cheese icing looks like the pale frothy head.

Another favourite recipe of mines, especially if I’m not the one throwing the get together, is my spiced Guinness cupcakes. They are much easier to transport and guys let me tell you you haven’t had gingerbread until you have tried Guinness gingerbread. These cupcakes also resemble the famous black pint with its frothy pale head. Check out this super easy recipe below.

My final recipe is my beef & Guinness Cobbler another winner, that has such heart warming soul soothing comfort

I am delighted and excited to share with you my recipe for lamb ribs. I am evangelical about this recipe. My first encounter with lamb ribs was at a young age. A local supermarket sold them and as a rare treat, we would get them occasionally. These ribs were kept in a hot cupboard all day and whilst big on flavour were nothing more than fat and bone, which is really a lot of what a lamb rib is about. These ribs were never very impressive in comparison, in appearance anyways to other ribs with there sticky glazes and sauces, but what they lack in appearance they sure made up for in taste. These ribs are nostalgic for me and evoke memories of childhood. Chewing on the bones until every last ounce of meat and flavour was gone.
I had completely forgotten about them for such a long time until recently seeing them in an utterly alluring episode of Simply Nigella. I tried immediately Nigella’s. Recipe and I did love it, but I had to reinvoke the flavours of my youth, and thus this recipe was born. I also as an adult realizing how expensive lamb can be, am even more entranced by this cut as it is not only one of the tastiest ways of eating lamb but also one of the most inexpensive was too.
I use a shallow roasting pan with a wire rack so that the ribs, which are a fatty cut, as they cook render their fat and let it drip below. I use all my favourite herbs and spices to use with lamb when cooking these; cumin garlic rosemary and of course mint. They take a long time to cook but are a very simplistic recipe. It’s merely a matter of combining the spices with just enough oil to make it into a wet rub to smoosh and coat the ribs in. When they have had their time in the oven the fat will have shrank and crisped, and the meat so tender that it comes away from the bone with ease.

I think the most important factors for valentines recipes is that they are quick, easy and light on the washing up, not that the washing up should be a factor on Valentine’s Day. It can be taken care of tomorrow.

First recipe up is what I call my date steak. One Steak can feed two generously. A lush juicy steak is given a quick fry then rest in the salad dressing, where it oozes some of it meaty flavor into the dressing whilst also taking on some of the flavors of the dressing. The steak gets sliced finely and then strewn over a messy tangle of salad. Delicious and only moments of work. Steak is always a real treat and even though this recipe takes very little time to make you would never know it. It is a quick feast.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Again, another quick and easy meal and of course you can have your lady and the tramp moment with this dish. It takes longer to eat than it does to make. By the time your pasta has cooked everything else will be ready to go.

If you want to get ahead of the cooking then try this Fabulous dessert, strawberries in Prosecco jelly. I make this in champagne saucers and it really just looks like a glass of champagne. It is a gently set jelly, the Prosecco retains the bubbles so the jelly has the most gentle light tingle in your mouth as you eat. To vamp it up even more for your loved one, whip some cream gently, scoop out a passion fruit and fold through the softly whipped cream.Dollop spoonfuls of the cream as you eat your jelly. I laugh at the cheesiness but I call this ‘’Quivering with passion jellies’’ and I think it sums up this day perfectly.

I bought a slow cooker a long time ago and until recently it spent most of its time at the back of a cupboard. It is only recently I have come to get full use of this wonderful piece of kitchen equipment. I must confess however, I know that my slow cooker will inevitably be constrained to the winter and colder months as I find it best suited to braised dishes and that is usually not the sort of food I want to eat in the warmer months. But whilst the weather is cold, I am getting full use of my slow cooker I nearly always cook in large batches when using it when time and energy are in short supply. When I know I’m going to be busy and not have the opportunity to eat I go ahead and stick something in so I know when I get home, I will have a hot comforting meal ready. Most of the time it is only two of us eating so I like to come up with recipes such as my slow cooker ham that do provide several dinners but, the several other new dinners over the next few days come from these. From the leftovers of my slow cooked ham I make ham & Pea potato cake, my egg fried rice with ham or even just some simple stir-fried greens with a hefty slice of ham that is topped with a fried egg, runny yolk a must.

slow cooker sticky toffee pudding
sticky date pudding

I have recently been adapting some of my dessert recipes for the slow cooker, which I will explain. The reason this idea came to meet was recently when at a friend’s house for dinner there was a little bit of a crisis due to the oven being in use with dinner itself and temperatures, which inevitably shouldn’t have been a concern, I would just pop pudding into the oven after take out dinner as I enjoy a little break between courses. This, however, got me thinking of ways of cooking hot pudding or desserts without having to use the oven. What other pieces of equipment are found in most kitchens I thought. Then it hit the ‘slow cooker’, I knew as soon as I had decided on the cooking appliance that it had to be a pudding and I came up with a few but my top favourites were easy and delicious. One my slow cooker STP (Sticky Toffee Pudd) and the other my chocolate pudding. What makes these both great is that they are super easy to make combine wet and dry ingredients and cook it in its own sauce in the slow cooker giving your pudding an incredible sponge much like that of a steamed sponge pudding. I share below my recipe for slow cooker STP.

Check back over the coming weeks for many more slow cooker recipes.

A bit late with this but, Happy New Year! I hope everyone thoroughly enjoyed the festive period. I am jubilant to be back fully in the kitchen recipe testing, filming, editing & writing. I have a few exciting new projects in the pipe line for 2020. Details on which will be coming shortly. We are firmly back to reality with what is for most the month of restraint and diet. Although, I do myself eat a little better in January this is mostly not a conscience decision rather it just seems to come natural after all the over indulgence of December. Below I have listed some of my favourite go to recipes when in this mood, that may aid you through January as well as some of my favourite vegan recipes for anyone opting to do Veganuary.

I firmly believe that the key to success in any diet is balance and avoiding bad foods. In my opinion there is only one food type that falls into this category of bad food and that is processed foods that lack in nutrients and usually in flavour too. Living with a strict diet that completely restrains you from eating foods that you desire would be an unbearable existence. A balance diet must always have room for cake. The recipe below is one of my favourites that I make so often.

What are you favourite January or Veganuary recipes?

Don’t forget to check out RadioX Life Hakx Sunday Evenings, were I will regularly be contributing with recipes and foodie life hakx. You can also catch up with previous episodes by checking out the podcast here.