If like me you are craving hearty comfort food then have I ever got a recipe for you this slow cook sensation creates a large vat of stew that can make several dinners and only gets better the longer it sits. It also can be frozen making it extremely useful for weeknights. Simply thaw and reheat.

Oxtail is a cheap old fashioned cut, like most cheaper cuts it benefits from a long slow cook to make it tender. My recipe takes 5 hours in the oven so that the meat becomes so tender that it comes away from the bone with the slightest nudge with a wooden spoon. If it makes things easier you can pop it into a slow cooker rather than the oven, especially handy when your working.

I recommend eating with a large bowl of buttery mash or champ potatoes. To change things up for the next meal cook some pappardelle pasta, reheat and stir through the meat sauce, and sprinkle with a generous amount of parmesan for a rich and delicious ragu, or top with puff pastry for a delicious and simple pie to take care of the leftovers.

Summer may be coming to a rapid end. The weather has changed, the evening began to draw in. Whilst I do welcome the thought of cosy and comforting meals that will ensue, I am not quite ready to give up on the brightness and freshness that summer eats provide. Below are a few of the latest recipe editions to the site during August. You may notice that some of that cold grey skied weather has prompted a few dishes that help bolster and warm the soul. I do hope they can bring a little summery brightness to your eating.

strawberry tart
Super Simple Strawberry Tart
Bolognaise meat sauce
Bolognese Meat Sauce
Sausage Ragù Recipe
Sausage Ragú
rapid reto cheesecake
Rapid Retro Cheesecake

Bolognaise meat sauce

Pasta Bolognese  

I can be a bit apprehensive about posting recipes for some of the classic recipes, as purist can often be negative of any alteration to the classics. It is something which I don’t understand. There may be many reasons for altering classic recipes ingredient availability, cost, time, or above all and most importantly taste and flavour. I never feel that I have done something wrong when I play with classic recipes, I think that is the essence of cooking itself. Having said that I sometimes may take this concept a little too far and some of the classic dish may not be recognised as a classic dish anymore by the time I’m done. 

I think often that we now a days forget that the core essence of food obviously it is fuel for our bodies, but it brings so much more to our lives than just being a fuel source. Good food enriches our lives with pleasure and joy. Family style meals are the most comforting and enjoyable. I like to strew the table with bowls, plate, canisters of cutlery, lots of bowls and pans of food on the table so that everyone can take what they like and as much as they like. The hustle and bustle around a table as everyone grabs their bowls and pass the food about bring me immense joy. I do find that this always helps conversation if guests aren’t familiar with each other as well. This leads me to my Bolognese ever since I was a child this was a favourite meal in the Diver household. There is no dish that screams family dinner more so to me than a large vat of meat sauce, pasta and fresh parmesan to grate over at the table is a must.  

fusilli lunghi bolognese

My version may not be 100% authentic, but I can reassure you that it tastes delicious. I have added it into my everyday easy category on my website it does take a little longer than most dishes in there, although it doesn’t need much attention whilst it cooks away and besides I think I would be sacked as the cook in our house if it was on the menu at least one night a week.  It is also worth noting that this sauce is great reheated and gains flavour if made a day in advance, plus it also freezes well. I always due to the reasons make a much larger portion that I want usually doubling the recipe below and freezing the leftovers.

I hope you enjoy the recipe.  

I love recipes like this. It is easy on the washing up, quick and easy to make, and really the cake part itself requires no cooking a bit of mixing and chopping that’s it. The texture is that of a creamy delicious vanilla gelato which is great as is, but what really makes this extra special is that it is loaded with delicious rocky bits giving it a nubbly texture. Almost every time I make this I add different bits and pieces. I always use shop-bought meringues and mini marshmallows as these never freeze solid and really give it a magnificent texture. You could add crushed crunchy bars, chocolate-coated peanuts or raisins, finely chopped up a brownie, really almost anything you like, within reason.

So after the quick initial mix together and adding your favourite ingredients it’s just a matter of dumping into a lined loaf tin smoothing the base. Pop it into the freezer for about 4 -6 hours, although I usually get on with this a day ahead, making it a great make-ahead dessert.

rocky road ice cream

The warm chocolate sauce is really only a matter of meting chocolate together, nothing difficult there. The chocolate sauce itself isn’t terribly sweet as the ice cream cake is sweet enough and it brings balance. I have used a combo of milk and dark chocolate so that you don’t need to get out sugar or any other sweeteners at the last minute. Who wants that extra work? If you are making for kids you may want to increase the milk chocolate or entirely milk chocolate or failing that just a couple of squeezes of golden syrup whilst it’s melting.

I hop you enjoy the recipe and for anyone who prefers to watch a recipe check out my You Tube channel where you can view all my recipes. Please leave a comment, give it a thumbs up, subscribe, and switch on the bell notification if you haven’t already.

World Chocolate Day  

It seems only fitting that chocolate has its own day 7th July, I will remember this date as it is also my birthday to. Chocolate in fact has several celebration days and rightfully so. National Chocolate Day October 28th and International Chocolate Day September 13th. Although, I certainly don’t need an excuse to eat chocolate and it is a coincidence that it has been a tradition for me on my birthday for many years to make my favourite chocolate indulgent treat and that is my salted chocolate tart. I have been making it for years long before I ever knew that my birthday shared the same day as world chocolate day.  

To celebrate this day, I am posting my favourite chocolate recipes below. I hope you chocolate lovers out there will enjoy these recipes and celebrate the day with one of them.  

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.  

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.