Monday, July 18, 2011

Death by Rocky Road Cheesecake!

This recipe should actually come with a disclaimer! I don't think I could have fitted in anymore calorie laden ingredients than I did, the things I do for the sake of this blog!!  A cheesecake is probably one of the easiest things in the world to make, bash a few biscuits, beat some other lovely ingredients together, chill and eat. I made a toblerone cheesecake recently and it went down a treat with my friends so I got my thinking cap on and decided to construct my version of a rocky road.  Not for the diet conscious but delicious for a once in a while treat......


  • 250gr double chocolate maryland biscuits
  • 125gr melted butter
  • 200gr finest swiss milk chocolate
  • 500gr mascarpone cheese
  • 250ml whipped cream
  • box of Dr Oetker mini mini marshmallows
  • bag of crunchie rocks
  • handful of mini marshmallows to decorate
Whizz up the cookies to resemble crumbs and add to melted butter. Pat down in base of springform tin. Chill.
Melt chocolate and add to beaten mascarpone. Combine well.
Add whipped cream to chocolate mixture and combine. Add half of the bag of crunchie rocks and the box of mini mini marshmallows.
Pour over base and chill in fridge for at least two hours.
Decorate top with remaining crunchie rocks and a handful of mini marshmallows. 
I drizzled the top of my cake then with a melted bar of dairy milk chocolate!

So even my husband who apparently "hates" cheesecake managed to scoff two slices of this luscious concoction! Big hit with kids, not going to be a regular on the Ryan household pudding list because of the calorific ingredients but maybe for very special occasions I will make and indulge!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Zingy Lemon Crunch Ginger Cake!

A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog about childhood memories and I mentioned the ginger cake that my Mother made out of the recipe book that came with her shiny new cooker.  This is it albeit slightly quirked with the addition of lemon crystals and copious amounts of icing sugar!  I used to love to come home from school to the smell of this in the kitchen and maybe having a sneaky slice instead of my usual cup of bovril or oxo!! Yes I know oxo is a stock cube of sorts but I used to drink it by the gallon! Iron levels were never low and neither were the salt levels!

  • 4oz butter
  • 6oz black treacle
  • 2oz golden syrup
  • 125ml milk
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 8oz plain flour
  • 2oz caster sugar
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 2tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp bicarb of soda
Place butter, treacle and syrup into saucepan and heat gently. Remove from heat and add milk.
Allow mixture to cool for 5 minutes then add the beaten eggs.
Sieve dry ingredients into a bowl, add the treacle mixture and beat well together.
Pour into prepared 8 inch square tin and bake at 160 degrees for around 45 minutes until skewer come out clean.
Allow to cool for ten minutes in tin before placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

The easiest way to measure the treacle and syrup is to place saucepan on your weighing scales and set it to zero.  Measure butter, treacle and syrup straight into saucepan.  Still mystifies me how not to get drips on the side of the can though!

Now at this point my Mother would have just sliced it up and served it with steaming cups of tea made the proper way with leaves in a teapot which was hurriedly covered with a tea cosy as soon as last cup was poured at the table.  I however like to pretty things up a little bit so I decided to decorate it with some icing sugar mixed into a pouring paste with a few teaspoons of hot water and some little lemon crunch crystals courtesy of the kids ice cream decorating tin sprinkled on top.  Allow icing sugar to set completely before slicing up. Delicious! Lovely memories of childhood in a slice, or two, or three.........

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Midlanders Go West

When we moved to Clara four years ago my father in law christened us The Midlanders and the name has stuck since then! We are a mixture of Dublin, Tipperary and now Offaly so it makes for an interesting conversation when someone asks where we are from.  We decided this year instead of going abroad we would do a few mini breaks around Ireland and explore places we have not been before. After watching Diarmuid Gavin cycle the Great Western Greenway in Mayo our friends decided that it would be a nice few days away and we decided to tag along! Our group comprising of 4 adults, 3 kids, 1 toddler and 1 baby set off on Monday morning all ready for our adventure. A spot of lunch and a scenic drive brought us to our destination, Hotel Newport, Newport, Co Mayo.  The staff were very friendly and accommodating and after a initial query about our rooms we were upgraded to the Liosmor Suite where the five of us could quite happily avoid each other if required!  The hotel is quite small but suited us perfectly. The dinner menu is quite straightforward comprising of duck, steak, chicken or pasta but anything we ordered was delicious and was served with a lovely selection of vegetables, garlic potatoes and mash.  All meat on the breakfast menu was locally sourced from the award winning butcher next door and all the eggs were free range and organic, I love seeing these details on menus! All in all the hotel provided comfortable accommodation, very tasty food and a warm welcome, highly recommended.

Newport itself is a lovely picturesque little village surrounded by the Nephin mountains, which we explored on foot on Monday afternoon, lovely playground for the kids and  of course the start of the Great Western Greenway.  After collecting our packed lunch from the hotel on Tuesday morning we set off on our bikes to explore the route.  An 18km cycle along abandoned railway tracks, through fields, across bridges and up hills brought us to the village of Mulranny where after fortifying ourselves with soup and sandwiches we turned and headed back to Newport.  What a fabulous cycle and despite getting caught in heavy showers for the last 6 kilometres not one word of complaint was uttered by the kids! I think they thought that was the most fun!  The people of Mayo are so lucky to have this track on their doorstep, we really need to see more routes like this around the country. 

Westport House provided great entertainment for the children on Wednesday.  Pirate ships, miniature railway, swan pedaloes, cannonball run, plunge flume rides, go karts among other things kept them busy all day allowing the adults to relax and rest their legs after the previous days cycling!  We stopped off in Westport on the way back and had a delicious dinner in Fishworks in the Atlantic Coast Hotel.  Gorgeous food and very nice staff. 

A new section of the Greenway just opened last month connecting Mulranny to Achill Island so this was our destination on Thursday.  This was the real west of Ireland, we even encountered sheep and cows on the track which the kids loved.  It was a wet miserable day but was so enjoyable, we are going to keep going back until we get the opportunity to cycle it in glorious sunshine! All of our bicycles were hired from Clew Bay Bike Hire and the hotel organised this for us.

So would I recommend this as a family holiday destination?? Most definitely yes! We cannot wait to do it again but this time will be way more organised and going to bring double the amount of clothing I think I need!  If you love cycling, walking or jogging you have to experience the Greenway.  I was initially worried about bringing a 9 month old and a three year old but they loved being in the little cart being ferried around, so funny seeing them asleep on each others shoulders! So if you looking for a staycation this year look no further!! #loveireland

Here are the links you need:

Friday, July 1, 2011

Mississippi via Clara Mud Pie!

I have always loved chocolate.  I remember running to the local shop as soon as I got my pocket money to buy macaroon bars, time outs, mint crisps or my all time favourite the thin dairy milk.  My love of chocolate has stayed with me but nowadays its the rich, dark variety that I love and I savour every morsel of it!  I was looking for an excuse to make Mississipi Mud Pie, its too rich and tempting to make for just a family dessert as I know I would hear the leftovers calling me from the fridge as I sat drinking a cup of tea before bed so when my friend invited us around for lunch it was the perfect occason to make it.  I had a chocolate shortcrust pastry in the freezer so all I had to do was defrost it and line my pie tin but you can find the recipe here;


  • 1 Chocolate Shortcrust Pastry Shell
  • 75g Plain Chocolate
  • 4 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 125g Butter (softened)
  • 225g Light Brown Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • Whipping Cream

Line a removeable base pie tin with the pastry shell.
Blind bake in a 180 degree oven for 10 minutes.
Melt chocolate, cooca powder and 25g of the softened butter over a pot of hot water.
Beat the remaining butter and brown sugar together until light.
Add in eggs one at a time to creamed butter and sugar.
Add the melted chocolate mixture to eggy mixture and stir really well to combine.
Pour this into pastry shell and bake in preheated 180 degree oven for approximately 45 minutes.
Place on wire rack to cool and decorate with whipped cream.

I was so glad I had brought it to my friends as this is definitely one that I would be unable to resist the leftovers of!! It sliced really nicely and despite its richness it was a huge hit with both the kids and adults.  Literally there was nothing apart from a stray crumb left!  Just remember all those lovely anti oxidants in the dark chocolate and the feelings of guilt wont last long! Enjoy!