July 22, 2013

Peanut Butter Cups

There are two different kinds of people in my world...people you will find hanging out at the dessert table and those you will find hanging out at the starter/nibble table. Those who will order a starter and main course and those who will order a main course and dessert on a €20  two course lunch menu. Where do I fall? I fall in with the dessert crowd! With all the butter, sugar and cream.... So. Darn. Good. 

But, have a salty dessert on your two course lunch menu? I'm ordering two salty desserts. I cannot get enough of the salty sweet combo. It's just so good. If you taste the lovely sweetness and then BAM, salt and the salt makes everything taste so sweet. It's what makes me keep eating.

The best way to combine salt and sweet? Salty crunchy peanut butter and smooth chocolate. Now, peanut butter cups are not a new thing and I'm not taking credit for them...I wish I could. Who ever invented them was a genius! A genius I tells ya'!

I will however take the credit for making my own peanut butter! I wanted to be able to control the texture, salt and sweetness of the peanut butter so making it was the best option. The texture versus the texture of a shop bought one is stellar. I wanted a slightly thicker peanut butter for these peanut butter cups...and needed something crumbly, fudgy, doughy and chalky in texture. That may sound weird, but it's the only way I can describe it!

July 19, 2013

Lavender and Raspberry Crème Brûlée

Straight off the bat I'm going to tell you that this is one of the easiest desserts you will ever make. Ever. Trust me. I would absolutely never, ever tell you a lie! There's a bit of infusing, whisking and baking in a bain-marie which is hot water in a baking dish. 

You . Have. Got. This.

I think there is a common misconception about these creamy beauties, that they are scary and complicated to make. Does the name scare you? Does it make it sound too sophisticated and serious? Call it burnt custard if it makes it feel more approachable for you. It's your life, you can do whatever you like. 

D'ya like our lavender field?!
Crème brûlée, it's got three ingredients, three little harmless (delicious) ingredients: double cream, sugar and egg yolks. Plus two for flavour: fresh lavender and raspberries. Once you see the recipe and method in the pictures below, you will forever laugh in the face of crème brûlée and absolutely own it. Look at your bad self getting on with the crème brûlée. 

I flavoured my crème brûlée with fresh lavender because we have lots of it growing in the garden. If you don't have fresh, buy dried and if I know you personally, I might give you some. It gives the crème brûlée a stylish floral note-and the raspberries? They compliment the floral note with a little sharpness.   

July 15, 2013

Blazin Barbecued Mexican Corn on the Cob

I've eaten a lot of corn on the cob. Generally coated with gleaming melted butter and salt. This Mexican barbecued version was a first for me. I've read about it, googled it, I've seen it on cooking programmes and dreamt about it. This blog post comes from a dream....Food all day long in my life!

I've been doing a serious amount of googling and flicking through cookbooks for summer recipes. Trying to get some inspiration for our second summer in Ireland. We had our first summer about a month ago, then a heap of rain and now we're into our second blasting from the sun. So naturally the family is trying to pack in as much al fresco dining as possible!

What makes barbecued corn even better? Covering it in grated Manchego cheese, grated lime zest, lime juice and finely diced chilli. It's colourful to look at and colourful in flavour. Like I'm talking about all of the flavours: sweet, salty, zesty, nutty, spicy. 

July 08, 2013

Elderflower Cordial

Before I get into writing this post, I'm going to give you some nuggets of information on elderflower picking...not that I'm a pro or anything, but it may help you!

  1. Elderflower grows on an Elder tree and is not to be confused with cow parsley which grows low down in the hedgerows. It looks very similar to the elderflower but has a horrible flavour. So if in doubt, Google both plants before you go foraging. Thank God my mother informed me of the difference! Trust me, from a distance, they look like identical twins. 
  2. Make sure you pick elderflower on a quiet country road. This way it's less likely to be polluted. You'll see it growing beside busy roads, don't be tempted to jump out of the car to pick it.
  3. The elderflower will wilt rather quickly, so pick and use it as soon as possible, preferable on the same day. 
I think you're set to go. 

My mother and myself headed up to The Hill of Tara to forage for elderflower. We picked elderflower in a graveyard and hopped over a locked gate and into a derelict farmyard to get to the most ripe flower heads. I'm not going to lie, I felt bold. I'm such a wimp, but elderflower grows in the wild so it's fair picking for whoever wants it. Just don't hop into somebodies garden and pick theirs!

It was such a lovely day. The sun was shining and the countryside smelled sweet and heady with elderflower. Strolling along quiet country roads, lit with dappled lighting looking for big drooping elderflower heads was a chill and perfect way to spend a day off. 

July 01, 2013

Baked Cheesecake Loaf with Blueberry Sauce {Gluten Free}

Life. Sometimes it puts you in the happiest of moods and then other times you feel like it's kicking the crap out of you. Either way you should be happy something is happening with your life. I know, I know, it's very hard to say that when things aren't going to plan or when life is giving you a hard time. It's just a pain when you try and do everything right but that's life, isn't it?

I have to say to myself, 'Holly, you're healthy, you're young, you're fresh out of college and eventually things will level out. Chill out.' 

We all need some quality chilling out time. Chilling: calming down or taking a break. Everyone needs and deserves it. Seriously, the energy spent getting worked up on things is truly wasted. 

How do I like to chill? You may think this is incredibly predictable, but top of my list is cooking and blogging (duh!) followed by: staying in my pyjamas all day, painting my nails, watching rom-coms, reading books and flicking through cookbooks. 

Ahhhhh, chill.