Perfect Pecan Cookies

Feeling stressed? Well I was feeling a bit stressed earlier this week so, finding myself home alone, I decided to bake these delicious Pecan Cookies.  Not the way I normally bake though which usually means throwing something together at the same time as cooking the dinner and while I am quite an organised person I can be very a messy cook !

So on my kitchen counter there would be bowls, wooden spoons, a weighing scales, ingredients, mobile phone, post, cookbook ….you get the picture! Not ideal and so often leads to those baking disasters where an ingredient is forgotten or added twice.

So I cleared the counter of anything that wasn’t related to the cookies, measured out all my ingredients and even got my baking trays ready. For the next half  hour all I had to think of was mixing the soft cookie dough, totally satisfying and relaxing.

The cookies took only 10 minutes to make and another 10 minutes to bake so nothing more to do other than put the kettle on.  Try it, pick an easy recipe like this one and savour the process!  Continue reading

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Perfect, imperfect Lemon Meringue Pie

What is your ‘death row’ dessert – this is mine, absolutely hands down. I just adore it’s melt in the mouth full on sweet, lemony deliciousness. The pastry in this recipe is part of the secret as it is really, really light and is the perfect host or backdrop for the lemon filling and the soft, sweet, crispy meringue topping.

Pastry is not one of my strong points – something always seems to go wrong and this was no different.

The pastry base bubbled up from the base of the tin when it was baking in the oven (not lined with enough baking beans to weigh it down) then it shrank and a little part of one side fell in completely. Then to top it off some of the filling leaked out of a little crack in the pastry when it was baking in the oven. Disaster!

Guess what ?? It tasted divine and all of the ‘disasters’ made no difference at all!

Sometimes things don’t go to plan however sometimes that’s ok

So go get yourself some lemons and some eggs and give this a shot to see if it is a contender for your favourite dessert.

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‘Good for You’ Chocolate Mousse

Ok guys, no excuses not to make this easy-peasy dessert with just 3 ingredients – chocolate, cream and eggs and a measly 207 calories per portion!  Not only is it simple but it makes it into my ‘healthy eating’ category because there is no added sugar. If the fact that it is super delicious, easy to make and low in calories isn’t enough to convince you to make it then the fact that dark chocolate is also good for your heart, circulation and brain should be the deal clincher! The other bonus is that this is ready after just 2 hours in the fridge.

The only sugar in this recipe is whatever is contained in the dark chocolate itself. I  used chocolate with 74% cocoa solids (from Lidl).

The recipe is adapted from a recipe contained in Rachel Allen’s book Rachel’s Favourite Foods.

Makes 6 small (50ml) glasses

Ingredients

120g (4½ oz) dark chocolate (min. 70% cocoa solids)
120ml (4fl oz) cream
2 eggs, separated

How to make it

  • Break up the chocolate into small pieces.
  • In a saucepan, bring the cream up to the boil then turn off the heat.
  • Add the chocolate to the cream and stir until the chocolate is melted.
  • In a separate large clean & dry bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff
  • Stir a quarter of the egg white into the chocolate mixture
  • Gently fold in the rest of the egg white, being careful not to knock all the air out.
  • Spoon into little glasses or cups
  • Leave for an hour or two in the fridge to set
  • Decorate / serve as you like, with a raspberry on the top, blob of whipped cream or a little gold dust.

My advice then is to hide and keep it all for yourself!

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No fuss Strawberry Ice Cream

 

Bit of a delay since my last post due to wi-fi connectivity issues which I won’t go into as it was a traumatic time! If you haven’t experienced it believe me, in a house with 2 adult children, bar the entire house going on fire, having no wi-fi is guaranteed to cause a few epic melt-downs and stress levels to go sky-high. We still had food, electricity, a roof over our head, even a TV,  but no wi-fi ….you get my drift! Anyway if you are feeling a bit sad to see Summer come to an end and stressed having to get organised again with meals / school lunches / uniforms etc cheer yourself up with this week’s recipe for the most fabulous strawberry ice cream. No need for any fancy ice cream machine here to make this delicious ice cream with a wonderful fresh strawberry flavour. Serve it on a cone or with some fresh strawberries. Yum!

(This is a recipe from Rachel Allen’s book Rachel’s Favourite Food for Friends.)

Makes approx. 2 litres. (Serves approx. 12 people)

Ingredients

250g (9oz)fresh strawberries
Juice of 1 lemon
250g (9oz) caster sugar
200ml(7floz) water
4 large egg whites (roughly 100g or 4oz of egg whites)
a pinch of cream of tartar (Bextartar)
300ml (10 ½ fl oz cream, whipped which should come to about 500ml or 17 ½ fl oz whipped cream)

 

How to make it!

  • Purée the strawberries with the lemon juice in a blender or food processor.
  • Push the purée through a sieve to remove the seeds.
  • Place the sugar and water in a saucepan, and heat slowly, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  • Boil fiercely for 5 minutes, until it thickens and the last drops off a spoon dipped into it form a kind of thread.
  • Meanwhile, using an electric whisk, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff.
  • Still whisking, gradually pour in the hot syrup in a thin stream and continue to whisk until the mixture is cool, glossy and stiff (about 4/5 minutes).
  • Fold in the strawberry purée and the whipped cream, though not completely so as to give it a nice marbled effect.
  • Freeze overnight.
  • The ice cream can be scooped / served straight from the freezer.

 

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Rhubarb Fumble!

The star of this recipe is the crumble which is so so easy to make – perfect for kids to make as it is completely foolproof. The recipe makes a full jar of the delicious crumble just like the one in the photo. Since I made this last weekend I have had to hide the jar as fistfuls were disappearing overnight! Think of crumbled home-baked cookies and you get the idea. The crumble will go on anything ………ice cream, fruit, custard for example and is delicious cold. This recipe has 3 parts to it, all very useful on their own i.e. poached rhubarb, custard and crumble. If you don’t make the rhubarb or the custard please give the crumble a go – eat it on its own or serve it with some fruit e.g. strawberries and ice cream or natural yogurt.  I have rhubarb growing in my garden so I am always looking for recipes to use it up as I hate wasting it. It is the easiest plant in the world to grow, needs absolutely no care or attention so if you have any space at all buy a couple of plants and you will have a supply year after year.  Continue reading

Oaty Shortbread Cookies

I am calling these ‘Leaving Cert’ cookies! In our house at the moment it feels like we are all doing the dreaded Leaving Cert (once was enough!). The skills, time, support and patience required are not to be under estimated.  We have now experienced two types of student –  I don’t know which is worse! Mr ‘Laid Back’ who starts at 0% and works upwards towards getting a bare pass in all subjects – anything more is seen as unnecessary and a waste of energy! Then we have Miss Anxiety who is the opposite – works non-stop,  starts at 100% and stresses about not knowing everything on the course in an effort not to lose marks. This is the one we are going through at the moment – counselling, chats, hugs, cups of tea, coffee, treats, the list goes on, all part and parcel of being a parent of a Leaving Cert student nowadays. Continue reading

Skinny Lemon Cupcakes


It’s been a busy few weeks with unfortunately little time for writing or blogging. My darling daughter (DD) is currently doing her Leaving Cert so blogging time has been taken over by ad hoc counselling, feeding, listening and tea making while LC mock exams were underway and various project deadlines loomed. In fairness DD is a very hard worker and the stress these kids are under is enormous so I try to do anything I can to help and food always works! I keep telling her that if you can get through the Leaving Cert you can deal with anything and will definitely have proven you can cope with pressure. That brings me to these skinny lemon cupcakes which are a perfect guilt-free treat for any occasion where comfort food is required and you can even have two at a time if you want! The recipe is from “The Hairy Dieters” i.e. from the Hairy Bikers.  Continue reading