Tuesday, May 14, 2013

New home!!!

I am sorry to have left ye all here waiting for so long but I have been settling into my new home over on paulaskitchentable.com and I would love if ye would join me over there! Lots has been happening so please come on over and join in!! xxxx

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ariel House Afternoon Tea

Delicious macarons displayed in my mother's 45 year old china!
Two years have passed since I started blogging and what an exciting two years it has been. New foods sampled, interesting people met and lots of fun experiences have all paved my way along the blogging path. I enjoy the styling and the photography side of the blog so much and I am so delighted to be able to help others now with some great pictures for their websites. It has been such a learning curve for me and everyday I discover something different that I cannot wait to try, long may it continue! I have been overwhelmed with the level of support from all my twitter and facebook friends over the last few weeks since I launched my facebook business page which you can find here if you would like a look....

Yesterday I spent the day in the elegant surroundings of Ariel House in Ballsbridge. Such a gorgeous spot and despite being within a stones throw of the Aviva stadium it is surprisingly secluded. I had the pleasure of photographing some of the beautiful baked goods that are served as part of an afternoon tea, what a delightful way to while away an afternoon. I am looking forward to going back as a guest and relaxing with a chilled glass of champagne and some delicious sweet treats!

I hope you don't mind me sharing some of my photos with you but you have all been such a fantastic support to me I want to keep you all posted on my goings on!

Homemade shortbread

Lemon curd cake

Melting moments, caramel brownies, coffee & walnut bake

Delicious cupcakes

Mini berry tarts
If you wish to follow Ariel house on twitter you will find them here


or on facebook here



Saturday, February 23, 2013

Honey, lemon & chilli halloumi!

I am prone to a little bit of exaggeration and embellishment of a story but when I tell you that you have to try this and you will think it is one of the best things you have ever eaten please believe me!!! I made this last Saturday as part of a dinner party spread and it went down with such success that I made a second round of it after dessert, I kid you not. The lovely Wise Mona had this recipe http://www.wisewords.ie/index.php/2013/02/honey-sweet-syrupy-sticky/ on her blog recently and I haven't stopped thinking about it since I spotted it. This is my version of something similar!

Take a block of halloumi cheese and slice it up into nine slices, lay flat in a dish with a lip. Chop a red chilli finely and scatter over, add the zest and juice of a lemon and a drizzle of honey. Allow all these lovely flavours to soak into the cheese for around an hour before heating up a drop of olive oil on your frying pan and adding the slices of halloumi.

There will be lots of sizzling and hissing so stand clear. Fry for approximately ten minutes or until all the liquid is gone and you are left with delicious caramelised slices of halloumi. Serve on a bed of rocket and wait for your round of applause. Simply divine!

 Did I ever tell you about the time I wrestled a bear to the ground? No? That is a surprise, pull up a chair!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Pruntys!

So my new little photography venture is off to a promising start!! I have three bookings already which has THRILLED me!!! I took these pictures late last year of one of my favourite families, love the way the kids personalities shine through. Don't worry I am not abandoning the food blogging I just wanted to let you all know how things were going and to say a huge thank you for all the well wishes and the lovely messages, much appreciated!!! xxx

The lovely Uma!

Model family!

Love the light in this one!

Sibling love!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A tad excited!!!!


When my food blogging obsession and prop buying sprees started I had no idea where it was going to lead. When I bought my first 'proper' camera last summer I just fell in love with it. My kids think they are professional models at this stage I take their photo so often! My love of food has turned into a love of photography and I am enjoying learning lots of little tips to make my photos more interesting. I have just set up a new facebook business page and I would love if you had a moment to click and like! 


Thanks so much everyone!! 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lime & chili miso broth!

Fast day number 11 and I am still in love with the fast diet. I love the simplicity of it and the fact that it doesn't encroach on my social life. I was actually really looking forward to today's fast and to trying out this dish. It is spicy so feel free to leave out the added chili if you please!

You will need;

  • 2.5ml rapeseed oil (20 calories)
  • 2 garlic cloves (10 calories)
  • Tesco stir fry medley, includes chili, spring onions, long stem broccoli, baby corn and mange tout (70 calories)
  • Lime, zest & juice (20 calories)
  • Sachet of miso soup (18 calories) 
  • 1tsp crushed chili flakes (5 calories)

Heat the rapeseed oil in a non stick frying pan before adding sliced chilli, two cloves of crushed garlic and lime zest.
Once these are sizzling add the rest of the vegetables and stir fry quickly to seal.
Add the sachet of miso soup, 200ml of boiling water, the juice of a lime and a teaspoon of chili flakes and stir before serving.
Hot, hot, hot but delicious! 

Would love to hear how the rest of ye are doing on the intermittent fasting plan, drop me a line to let me know! xx

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Minestrone soup!

Fast day number ten and I am feeling good! This delicious soup is 353 calories for the entire pot! The key to this eating plan is to be very wise with your 500/600 calorie allowance and squeeze in as many nutrients as you can! 

You will need;

  • 100g raw onion, chopped (40 calories)               
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced (13 calories)               
  • 100g celery, sliced finely (14 calories)
  • 100g carrots, cubed (41 calories)
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes (72 calories)
  • 100g kidney beans (65 calories)
  • 100g green cabbage, shredded (24 calories)
  • 25g pasta (84 calories)
  • 1tsp dried basil, salt & pepper

Add a splash of water to a large saucepan and soften the onion, garlic, carrot and celery.
Once softened add the tin of chopped tomatoes and two tins of water, stir.
Add the kidney beans, pasta, shredded cabbage, basil, salt and pepper and allow to simmer for twenty five minutes or until the pasta has softened.

Ladle into warm bowls and dream of hunks of fresh bread to dip into it!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Kitchen sink bars and hot chocolate!

Fancy new spoons!

This morning we were woken by squeals of excitement coming from the two year old. This is not an unusual situation as she frequently wakes us regarding some drama or another! This morning however she wanted to show us a blanket of fresh, white, marshmallow like snow. Local radio was turned on in the hope that school would be cancelled but alas no such luck for my two boys. Within hours the snow was gone and plans of an afternoon building snowmen ruined.

Recipe made 16 delicious little squares

A movie, hot chocolate and a little treat always puts smiles on my cherub's faces so I decided to make these tasty little bars from one of my favourite Irish blogs http://wholesomeireland.com/?p=1835 written by Caitriona. Always a great blog to turn to if looking for some inspiration.

Teapots were made to pour hot chocolate! 
I used up lots of bits & pieces that were in my store cupboard. Walnuts, rice crispies, digestives, marshmallows and raisins were all added to the chocolaty syrupy mix before being chilled in the fridge. A large pot of hot chocolate was made and the slab sliced up before being gobbled up.

Have to have the obligatory marshmallows floating atop....
 Nice for a little midweek treat for kids and adults alike......;-)

Moist, sweet and very moreish!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Green lentil & spinach curry

So after a weekend of the most delicious food and general debauchery it's back onto the fasting bandwagon. Today is my ninth fasting day and so far so good. I think the key with this eating plan is to fit in as many nutrient rich foods as you can for your daily calorie limit. This delicious tomato based curry comes in at just under 400 calories for the entire pot. Delicious, nutritious and filling.

You will need;

  • 125g raw onion, chopped (30 calories)
  • 200g baby spinach leaves (48 calories)
  • 235g tin of green lentils (200 calories)
  • 400g tin of plum tomatoes (92 calories)
  • 1tbsp curry powder (20 calories)
Heat a non stick frying pan and add the chopped onion and a splash of water, cook until translucent.
Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and a half can of water. 
Stir in a tablespoon of curry powder and the drained lentils.
Add the spinach and stir until spinach is slightly wilted.
Serve immediately and enjoy!

For non intermittent fasters serve with raita, basmati rice, mango chutney and poppadums.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Pea, halloumi & mint fritters!

I love halloumi, sliced up and sizzled briefly on the pan it is one of my life's pleasures. This is a lovely little recipe that I think would be perfect for a starter on Christmas Day. The fritters can be made the day before and chilled in the fridge before frying them up when required. I am all for things that make life easier in the kitchen on a busy day!

To make 20 fritters you will need;

250g peas
225g halloumi cheese, in cubes
150g plain flour
125ml milk
2 eggs
Handful of chopped mint
Rapeseed Oil

Boil peas in salted water for two mins before draining and rinsing with cold water.
Mash lightly with a fork.
Whisk milk, eggs and flour in a bowl before adding the peas, halloumi and the mint.
Flour your hands and take golf ball sized pieces and roll them into a ball.
Pour the rapeseed oil into a pan over a medium-high heat before frying the fritters in batches. They should be ready to flip over after three minutes.
Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves and sprinkle with some fresh pomegranate seeds.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fleur de sel brownies!

I grew up with saxa table salt as a diet staple. Mashed potatoes were not acceptable without a generous sprinkle of it and a boiled egg wasn't complete without it! Nowadays my taste has evolved and I am a salt snob. There is no saxa in my presses just sea salt and the delicious fleur de sel. I know I am a pain but I have come to terms with it. These brownies are the easiest and most delicious things to eat with a cup of coffee or even served with ice cream as a luscious dessert. 

You will need:

175g sugar
175g soft butter150g self raising flour125g drinking chocolate4 eggs100g dark chocolate, in pieces 
150g dulce de leche
sprinkle of fleur de sel

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line/grease a brownie tin.
Mix together the sugar, butter, flour, drinking chocolate and the eggs until you have a runny mixture.
Fold in the chocolate pieces.
Pour into the brownie tin and level the top with a palette knife.
Bake for 45 mins or until there is a slight wobble in the middle.
Cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning upside down onto a wire rack and peeling off the parchment paper. 
Turn onto a bread board once cooled and cut into 16 squares.
I used a dulce de leche to pipe a swirl on top of each mini square and sprinkled the top with fleur de del. Absolutely delicious. Best of luck just trying to eat one.........

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Isaac's 5th Birthday!

This time five years ago I was anxiously awaiting my much longed for second child. Months of preparation had gone into his/her arrival and the moses basket was ready beside my bed with freshly laundered sheets for our bundle of joy. I hope in years to come I will be able to convey to the children in words how special those moments were for us. The anticipation, preparation, fear, excitement and surge of love that comes is comparable to absolutely nothing. Nothing matters in those hours, pain and discomfort is soon forgotten when you have a helpless little newborn lying in the warmth of your arms. Such special moments to be treasured forever. So five years have passed and my bundle of joy has transformed into a lively, funny, cheeky, affectionate and cute five year old. Possibly the messiest and laziest member of our household but we have grown to love that aspect of him as well because he is our Isaac! The meaning of Isaac's name is 'he who laughs' and I think it suits him to a tee. So happy birthday dear Isaac, I hope you have a wonderful day and would you mind picking up your dirty socks off the floor? ;-) xx

Isaac; he who laughs
The birthday celebrant in our house always gets to choose their birthday cake and luckily for me it is invariably a very easy chocolate biscuit cake. This one was amended from a previous recipe of mine which you can find here:


Always a big hit with kids and adults alike and very simple to throw together. I replaced the mint chocolate with alpine milk chocolate and it tasted fabulous. Enough to feed 16 small children and then some! 

The birthday cake request comprised of the words 'chocolatey, smarties and sonic'. All boxes ticked here!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Intermittent fasting!

Looks good for 80 calories!

So it is week three and my sixth day of intermittent fasting and so far so good. Intermittent fasting is basically restricting your calorie intake to 500 calories for women & 600 calories for men on two non consecutive days out of seven. My weight has dropped by 7 lbs which I am thrilled about and I am feeling great. I am by no means an expert but thought these few little tips I have picked up in the last few weeks might aid people who are considering trying out this eating plan.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, I find it easier to drink warm liquids so I constantly have a pot of green tea on the hob. 
  • Save the majority of your calories for late afternoon/early evening. This is when my hunger pangs strike and it is great to have a meal to look forward to.
  • Tins of chopped tomatoes will become your best friend. Soups, stews, chillies and lots more low calorie dinners start with a tin of tomatoes.
  • I prefer not to exercise on my fast days, normally when I am running the thought of a nice meal when I get home keeps me going!
  • Don't waste your 500/600 calorie allowance with high calorie foods, much more filling to take the time to assemble a salad or a home made soup instead of convenience meals.
I would love to hear your tips and success stories with intermittent fasting. It has amazed me that the day after a fast day I am not overly hungry and I think this is the key to success. I watched Dr Michael Mosley's Horizon programme and it was so interesting, fascinating the research behind this lifestyle change. Here is a link if you wish to watch.

Today for lunch I made a very tasty salad comprising of;

50g baby spinach leaves
50g pickled onions
10 cherry tomatoes
5 radishes
1 fresh beetroot

It was very tasty and will keep me going until later on this evening when I will use up the remaining 420 calories on my dinner. If anything these two fast days a week have succeeded in doing is making me become more aware of what 500 calories look like, frightens me to think how many actual calories I am capable of consuming on any given day.

So there is my tuppence worth on this method of dieting, thanks for reading!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Warm fig & raspberry salad

It's a miserable, grey, rainy day here in Clara but my mood is light and full of cheer! I weighed myself for the first time in 11 days and am pleased to announce that after only four non consecutive fast days I am 6lbs lighter! I find this method of weight loss fascinating and have heard the BBC are going to replay the Horizon special on it in the next few weeks which will be a very interesting watch. Yesterday was fast day so today I was really looking forward to making a tasty lunch. Figs are one of my favourite things and this is such an easy throw together meal, think it would make a fabulous starter for a dinner party.

You will need for each serving

  • 2 ripe figs
  • 50g goats cheese
  • 50g serrano ham
  • selection of lettuce leaves
  • Mr Pettersen's raspberry extra dressing / dressing of your choice
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
Line two cups of a muffin tin with your serrano ham.
Cut the top of your figs into a cross shape and stuff with goats cheese.
Place figs into the serrano ham cups and bake in oven until cheese has melted and ham is crispy.
Remove from tin, place on a bed of lettuce and drizzle with raspberry dressing.
So delicious!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Seedy Cake!

So I have hopped happily onto the latest diet bandwagon which is the hopefully not too good to be true intermittent fasting/5:2 diet! Basically it consists of two days with a 500 calorie limit and five days of normal eating. Now this diet suits me down to the ground as I have a love of food and a love of eating. It allows me to make a cake, have a slice and not feel guilty. Not that I ever really have felt guilty but the jeans have been getting tighter and I needed to bite the bullet. This lovely cake is a taste of childhood, caraway seeds add a gorgeous aniseed like flavour, it's the sort of spice you either love or hate and I love it!


225g softened butter
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
225g self raising flour
1tsp caraway seeds

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease/line a loaf tin.
Mix the butter and caster sugar until fluffy. Add one egg at a time and mix well.
Sieve in the self raising flour and mix fully.
Add in the caraway seeds and give one final mix.
Pour into the loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven for 45 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.
Allow to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack.

For the lime icing:

250g mascarpone cheese
175g icing sugar
Juice of 2 limes

Mix all the ingredients together before spreading on top of cake.
Sprinkle some lime zest on top.

No fancy ingredients, minutes spent mixing and in less than an hour you have a delicious cake cooling in your kitchen. What's not to love?

Thanks for reading! xx

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Selection Box Cake!

What January detox?

So today my house is being dechristmasfied! It is a word isn't it? Decorations are being stored carefully back in the attic, the last of the fizzy drinks are being consumed and the fudge bars lingering in the bottom of the selection boxes are being baked with. This is the last of the Christmas indulgences to be enjoyed with a cuppa to help ease the boredom of stripping the Christmas tree!

Just a small slice will do!

 What you will need;

175g sugar
175g soft butter
150g self raising flour
125g drinking chocolate
4 eggs
5 fudge bars, chopped
Tin of condensed milk

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease and line a springform tin.
Mix the sugar, butter, self raising flour, drinking chocolate and eggs together to form a thick batter.
Pour into the lined tin.
Top the batter mixture with the chopped fudge bars and pour over the tin of condensed milk.
Bake in the oven for 40 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack before slicing up and devouring. You may need a dentist handy.....