For more check my flickr page – not all the pictures are good but…
For more check my flickr page – not all the pictures are good but…
A recent discovery, I’m mesmerised by Richard Shilling‘s work… click on this:
The lake is as beautiful as ever, it is Sunday but very few people are out – this is what I really like about the end of the summer…
Terri Karney’s book Lough Hyne: From Prehistory to the Present , about this magical place is fantastic, and can be found here, from Skibberreen Heritage Center.
I walked to Barlogue pier – the same place where I took the header photograph.
And these are two cakes I made for a little girl christening
A Crostata di frutta, no need to write the recipe, a basic sweet shortcrust base, pastry cream and fresh fruit.
And a Chocolate fudge cake
The recipe used is from Nigella Lawson : www.nigella.com
The cake is moist and rich, and the buttercream is the best I’ve tried so far – I usually do not like buttercream, always too sweet but this one uses dark chocolate instead of cocoa. I think the big mistakes about buttercream is that too many people making cupcakes (which by the way I can’t stand – they may look pretty but you’ll never see one here) use salted butter or – even worst – margarine.
Since I do not have the right size tin for the recipe, and I felt too lazy to start calculating volumes and make conversions for the tins I have, I searched online and found this really brilliant tool:
One only needs to type in the ingredients and tin size of the original recipe, and the size of the new tin and in one click the scaled recipe is there!
The website, Cakebaker has recipes, books, and more tools like the price calculator – and also apps that allow you to cost the cake, calculate how much frosting/icing you’ll need and more!
One of my four favourite seasons ….
The woods are brightened up by berries, the air is crisp and fresh and…
Apples and Blackberries are back!
Apple and blackberry cake
300 gr plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
100 gr butter
100 gr sugar
1 cup milk
3 apples: here I used 1 Bramley and 2 small red ones – cox I believe…)
2 tsp cinnamon mixed with 1 tsp muscovado sugar
Preheat the oven to 180˚C
Grease and flour a 25 cm cake tin or a skillet
Peel and cut the apples the way you like them – I did eights.
Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar. Melt the butter. Mix eggs and milk and add to the dry ingredients with the melted butter. Stir and make sure there are no lumps of flour.
Pour in the prepared tin, stick the apples in the batter, sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top and bake for about 30 minutes
It keeps well for at least 5 days.
I like to imagine my garden as a future forest garden around the veg patch and a lovely picturesque cottage garden around the house – and note that I did write future…
Because as much as I like the ideas of having a splendid cottage garden with tons of pastel colored flowers I am more inclined to enjoy these rare sunny days lying in the garden with a good book and a cool drink rather than working in it in order to have a proper lawn and get rid of weeds and make it photogenic (although I do think it is quite photogenic as it is!) or worth a mention at Chelsea…
So I live with a semi-wild garden, and have come to appreciate the beauty and usefulness of what some people call weeds.
Somewhere I’ve heard or read that plants are weeds only where you do not want them to grow – and so yes, I do have weeds – like the cordyline palm that I can’t stand and keeps growing back even if I try to cut it down, and the Griselinia trees – but these provide a good wind break – and some unwanted plants keep growing in the vegetable beds – which is not so good for the productivity of it and are therefore weeds…
But the nettles, cleavers, dandelions a and whatever grows in the grass (even docks!) are here to stay.
There are plenty of reasons to keep them around: nettle tea, nettle feed or spray for plants, dandelions for salads, coffee, and especially bees, or cleavers for deodorant.
I’ve found this recipe in Edible wild plants and herbs. A compendium of recipes and remedies, by Pamela Michael.
Take a handful of cleavers, make a decoction in a pint of water, let cool. Strain and either dab your armpits with some cotton wool dipped in it or put in a spray bottle and use as you would any other deodorant . It only keeps for a week or so, just make a small batch when you need it.
It does work for me, it’s almost free and available from spring to late autumn! And in the winter one doesn’t sweat as much…
Apart from being good in salads, dandelions are also good for bees: I was watching a video where Diana Beresford-Kroeger explains why willow catkins and dandelion flowers are essential for bees need to survive as a species – I did smile when she mentions that maybe only in Italy people don’t pull them up. It was common even in the city to see people collecting dandelions in the parks or green areas – foraging may be fashionable now but for some people is not a novelty!
But here they even grow on the house wall..
Everyone and everything deserve a rest….
And best of all the sun has been shining steadily since Sunday!!!!
I am baking sweet and savory goods for the event at Inish Beg, and these are just out of the oven:
It’s from a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (from now onwards HFW) recipe, with a couple of changes as I am completely unable to follow a recipe as it is…
1 tsp olive oil
100g smoked streaky bacon
1 red onion
1 tsp balsamic vinegar***
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200 gr yoghurt – full fat
150g mature cheddar
Preheat the oven : 200C˚
Prepare 18 muffin cups either by greasing and sprinkling with flour or lining with paper cups
Cut the bacon in thin strips, about 1 cm and fry in one teaspoon of oil until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving the oil and rendered fat in the saucepan.
Slice the red onion very thinly and sweat in the leftover fat on a low heat. After one minute or two add a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and cook for a further 5 minutes. It’s perfectly all right to slightly brown the onions – as long as they’re not charred…
Melt the butter and let cool a little.
Grate the cheese.
In a bowl mix the flour with baking powder and bread soda, add the grated cheese.
Make a well in the center and break in the two eggs, add the yoghurt and melted butter and stir, incorporating the flour without over mixing, then add the onions and bacon, mix just enough to distribute evenly in the dough and fill the muffin cups – I use an ice-cream scoop, medium sized, and got 18 out of the mix (the original recipe said 12, but I reckon the cups were bigger)
Bake for 18 minutes but this depends on the size – regular size (probably 1 1/2 scoop) will take 20-25 minutes.
I’ve tried one still hot – really good, will add some chill the next time!
*** NOTE ON BALSAMIC VINEGAR
When I came to Ireland 17 years ago it was hard to find, now even Lidl sells it… but the real thing is not in every supermarket. Look at the ingredients – and it is true in this case, the more expensive are much better and go a long way. Most cheap balsamic are not aged at all, and full of caramel and additives, read the label before buying and check this website by clicking on it P.D.O. Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena P.D.O.
Greek Salad muffins:
instead of the onion bacon mix I have chopped 100 gr of sun dried tomatoes in oil, 100 gr of feta cheese and a few black olives
Herbs and cheese:
omit bacon, onions and replace with 1 cup of mixed chopped herbs: parsley, coriander, chives and a spoon or two of basil pesto
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