Sunday, November 25, 2012

Low & slow shoulder of lamb....

I have said it before and I will say it again, I just love Sundays! Long hours stretching ahead full of pottering around the kitchen and a spot of relaxation awaits me after I arise. Nothing says Sunday more than a full table and a Sunday roast. I had a shoulder of lamb today which was a first for me but definitely not going to be the last time I cook it, it was meltingly delicious.

I made a rub comprising of a bunch of chopped rosemary leaves, some thyme leaves, zest and juice of a lemon, two teaspoons of honey, salt, pepper and some rapeseed oil. Put little slits all over the shoulder before rubbing in the mixture. Place on a bed of root vegetables before placing in a preheated oven at 180 degrees. Immediately drop the heat to 150 degrees and leave until meat is easily shredded with two forks. I cooked mine for four hours, before shredding it and devouring some in the kitchen!

Sprinkle some chopped mint leaves on top before serving with some herby stuffing and some flash fried pak choi for a delicious and super simple Sunday lunch.

If you are looking for me you will find me on the sofa...........

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Savita. Ar dheis dé go raibh a hanam.

It beggars belief that in the year 2012 a woman was left to die an agonising death because we are a "catholic" country. Imagine being in so much pain that you repeatedly asked for a doctor to terminate a pregnancy that nature was in the throes of terminating and being refused.

At 17 weeks pregnant I can imagine how precious Savita's baby was to her. So many plans and dreams to be made, delight at the first little flutters of life in the womb and excitement at a new little addition to the family. The heartbreak then of an impending miscarriage and despite pleas to help nature run its course there was point blank refusal. How would you feel if it was your mother, daughter, sister, niece or friend lying there begging for help? It doesn't bear thinking about.

So this great little country that we live in is under the scrutiny of the world today. It's time for us to make a stand and let it be known that Ireland is changing. No longer should the Catholic Church be allowed determine whether a woman can live or die. Write to your local representatives and let it be known that you are not happy and things have got to change or are we going to wait for more women to die in this barbaric manner?

I am so sad that Savita will never get to experience the joys that motherhood brings, all of that was cruelly snatched away from her. No baby cuddles and sloppy toddler kisses to enjoy. No school reports and shouts from the sideline of a soccer pitch. Let her death not be in vain.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mincemeat Swirls

It's a thoroughly miserable evening here in Clara. The rain is lashing against the front windows and it's starting to get dark but my house is warm, cosy and full of laughter. It's sometimes nice to take a moment and just look around. Don't get me wrong my children are world champions in fighting with each other but on a day such as this they are best pals and I love to see them have fun together.
My jars of mincemeat are not really meant to be opened for another week but I couldn't resist making these little swirly buns as a treat for after dinner. To make sure they are delicious I have sampled a few, honestly no need to thank me.......

You will need

50g butter
200ml milk
7g dried yeast
50g sugar
375g cream flour
Pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 220 degrees.
Melt the butter over a low heat before adding the milk.
When this is lukewarm remove from the heat and add the yeast, sugar and salt.
Slowly add the flour until the mixture forms a dough, turn onto floured surface and knead for 3 minutes.
Leave to rise in a greased bowl, covered, for 45 minutes.
When dough has risen roll out into a rectangular shape.
Spread the mincemeatover the entire rectangle.
From the long side roll the dough to form a swiss roll shape before slicing into 16 pieces.
Place in muffin cases.
Bake in  oven for 10 minutes or until they are golden on top.
Leave to cool on wire racks.

So there is my recipe to help brighten up a dark and dreary evening. More Christmas recipes to follow in the next couple of weeks!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A trip to the bog and a bundt.....

Sometimes having three children is a little overwhelming. Even when my husband is here we are still outnumbered! November is always my loneliest month as my husband is an accountant and the tax deadline looms into the not too distant future. Today for him is a working Sunday but we will still try and squeeze in a family roast this evening before I head off to work. We are like ships in the nights these days, some would probably say it is the secret to a happy marriage.......;-) There was a long full day stretching ahead of the children and I today so I thought a spot of baking and a quick jaunt around our local bog would keep them amused. Clara bog is such a gorgeous, peaceful place and one of my favourite places in the world. There is a wooden boardwalk covering a full loop and its such a great place for a stroll or a run. Don't let the picture above fool you, I had to bribe them all to hold hands. The 9 year old is too cool for that crack, the 4 year old is too independent to hold anyone's hand and the two year old is just a little madam!

This is them at their happiest, free to run and no sibling's hands to be held just the open road!
I popped this bundt cake into the oven just before we left and on our return we were greeted with the gorgeous aroma. A pot of tea was made and slices of cake dealed out to help restore their energy after their run!
I love coming across new blogs to read when googling for recipes and this is where I found this one...
It made for a really tasty and moist cake. I made a maple icing to drizzle on top which was simply made up with 50g icing sugar, a drizzle of maple syrup and enough water to loosen it, very nice!

So now the chicken is the oven, the potatoes are waiting to be mashed and carrots to be steamed. Only thing missing is Mr Ryan, Sundays arent the same without him. xx

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Homemade mincemeat!

Well the season to be jolly is almost upon us and for certain it is my favourite time of the year! Christmas always evokes great memories of years gone by. The huge queue to see Santa at Clery's that used to wind the whole way around the shop, Switzer's window which always involved what seemed to be an exotic trip over the ha'penny bridge to the south-side and the inevitable trip into the Pro Cathedral to admire the crib. Those days are gone now and it's my turn to create memories for my own brood who hopefully in turn will do the same for theirs.

I purchased Rachel Allen's latest book recently and I came across this recipe for mincemeat. I adore the stuff, I have even been known to spread it on toast! I hope I can wait the two weeks it takes to mature before indulging. Anyway what better way to kick off the memory making season than knocking up a batch of this?

Makes 2.7kg
You will need;

2 large cooking apples, peeled, voted and cut into chunks
Juice & zest of 2 oranges & 2 lemons
250g shredded suet
275g raisins
275g currants
275g sultanas
125g mixed peel
650g dark brown sugar
50g nibbed almonds
2tsp mixed spice
75ml brandy or whiskey

Place the chunks of apple in a saucepan with a teaspoon of water. Cover with a lid and cook over a low heat until soft. Set aside to cool.
Put all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix with the apple.
Pour into sterilised jars and leave to mature in a dark place for two weeks.
Stored this way the mincemeat should be perfect for at least a year.