Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My name is Paula and I am a lemon curd addict!

I can eat lemon curd by the jar, spoonful after luscious spoonful!! I should enter a lemon curd eating competition as I could probably eat a full jar in five minutes or less! The last batch I made I used vanilla sugar which gave it a slightly different taste layer and it looks so pretty with all the little black flecks through it. I came across this gorgeous muffin recipe a few weeks ago when @Channel4Food had it as their recipe of the day and I have been looking forward to trying it so today was the day! I have always loved River Cottage recipes as its all about good wholesome food and they always turn out well. I think its worth using homemade curd as it just tastes so much better than anything shop bought you will find.

  • 225g plain flour
  • 150g lemon curd
  • 125g natural yoghurt
  • 125ml whole milk
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 75g unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 medium egg
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a 12 hole muffin tin
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine
Mix the melted butter, yoghurt, milk and egg together.
Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry and mix really lightly till combined, no more.
Spoon some of the mixture into each case then add a teaspoon of curd and top with remaining batter
Place in oven for 25-30 mins depending on your oven.
Place on wire rack to cool, if you can wait that long!!

These are so quick and easy to make and they taste, smell and look divine!! Only a few left already as I tripped over the dog and dropped some on the floor and he gobbled them up.*

*Outright lie, my name is Paula and I am a lemon curd muffin addict.......

My Version of Mammys Irish Stew!

In our house it was always easy to tell what we would be having for dinner as the weekly menu rarely changed. Roast chicken, beef, bacon, cabbage, stew, pork chops and whiting fish were all featured each week. I used to dread Wednesdays as this meant stew day and it was my least favourite dinner. During the summer months it would be replaced with a salad dinner which comprised of cooked ham, turkey, tomatoes, eggs, lettuce and a big plate of steaming new potatoes with loads of butter, oh how I loved to see the seasons change and avoid battles over the dinner table for at least a few months! So now I have kids of my own I realise  my mother was doing a great job trying to get meat and vegetables into us on a daily basis to keep us healthy and strong and here I am continuing the saga here in my own house. Luckily I have three great eaters here and meal time battles are few and far between. They ironically love stew and I have actually come to love it myself, though sorry Mammy I think mine is nicer! The great thing about stew is that anything goes, these measurements are to my families tastes so add more/less if you wish.

  • 500g stewing beef, diced
  • 500g small potatoes, peeled
  • 500ml Guinness
  • 400g tin of plum tomatoes
  • 5 carrots, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of flour
  • 1 tbsp of barbecue sauce/brown sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a fairly high heat
Toss the beef in the flour and add to saucepan, brown the meat
Add the onions, carrots and potatoes and stir
Thrown in the tin of tomatoes and the can of Guinness and bring to the boil.
At this stage I add in the barbecue sauce as the boys love a little spice
Season to taste with salt and pepper
Turn down hob to a simmer and put lid on.
Leave to simmer for at least 2 hours to allow the meat to become melting tender

This is such a great one pot meal and foolproof once you buy good quality beef from your butcher. Though looking at the fabulous weather today I might be putting away the stew pot for another few weeks! HELLO SUMMER!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Waste Not Want Not Cookies!!

Like most women I know when it comes to food I am either very good or very bold. On a good week my weekly grocery shop consists of more fruit, vegetables and protein than I can shake a fist at and enough jersey creams to stop my husband from complaining. He loves them and I hate them so always makes for a good purchase!! This week I was having a bad week, a culmination of Halles first birthday party, my aunts funeral and a weekend of leisure all combined to make my grocery shopping a little naughty, throw in three kids on the shopping trip so basically we are talking about an episode of supermarket sweep! My eldest son Blake is like me and loves to try new things so when he spotted maple frosted cashew nuts, peanuts and dark chocolate all together in a packet he decided that his life would not be complete without this purchase!Of course when he actually tasted them he was not a bit impressed and they were thrown to one side. I absolutely hate food waste and I can never understand when I read reports of the amount of tonnes of food waste that each family creates each year. In my house I buy what fresh food we need for the week and no more, I like to feed my family well and would much rather spend my money on what is required than have an overflowing fridge. When I spotted these nuts in the press I knew that unless I baked something with them that they would end up in the compost bin so the first thing that came to mind was my foolhardy cookie dough mixture courtesy of Rachel Allen. This is such a versatile recipe as you can literally throw anything into the dough mixture to make it unique, three ingredients plus one make it easy peasy too so always handy to have some ready made in your fridge! 


  • 225g butter, softened
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 275g plain flour
  • 150g nut mixture
Preheat oven to 170 degrees
Cream butter until soft then add sugar and beat till light and fluffy
Sift in flour and combine to form dough
Add in nut mixture and combine
Roll the dough into walnut size balls and flatten on baking tray with fork
Bake for 15 mins approx until lightly golden
Place on wire rack to cool
Try not to burn tongue while sampling

Thankfully we were going to our friends house for dinner today so I was able to offload a full batch of the cookies minus one!! The one I tried was delicious, salty yet sweet with just the right amount of crunch! Thank heavens for friends and grateful recipients of baked goodies!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Little Lady

Gender: Girl Meaning: Home rule Origin: English Pronunciation: Hal lee

So those of you who follow me on twitter know how much I love posting pictures of my happy brood and especially ones of the lady in our lives, Halle! In six days she turns one and what a fabulous year we have had.  With my husband coming from a family of five boys and after having two sons ourselves we never dreamt that our last baby would be a pink bundle of joy. It was one of the most emotional moments of my life when my husband said 'I think it might be a girl!'.  Cue huge sobs from me and an unhappy surgeon scolding me for moving!! Anyone who has had a baby knows the torrent of emotions that are felt in the first few weeks after the birth of a baby, your mind is in overdrive with worries and happiness and your body feels like its gone through ten rounds with Mike Tyson. It is such a wonderful time though and they are newborn babies for such a short length of time I hate to leave them down at all.  My mother has a phrase about 'spoiling' babies but how could you resist picking them up at every opportunity for a sniff and a cuddle! For a couple of weeks after her birth I felt guilty for feeling so pleased that she was a little girl until I realised I would have been just as happy with another little chap and I would have felt no different. A baby is such a blessing and Mother Nature is amazing, my mind boggles when I look at the difference from day one to now.  So happy birthday Halle, you have brought great joy into our home and we are all enjoying being wrapped around your little finger!