About MWC

We are a Family who Cook, Bake and Hunt together. Mom Bakes, Dad Hunts and Kids Eat. Oh and Dog eats too.

Dark chocolate and honey oat bars

If you’re looking for a healthy energy snack then look no further. This bar is bursting with guilt free flavour to keep you feeling full for much longer than an average snack bar. This oat bar has some of the best raw ingredients including my own honey. Give it a try and see.

Ingredients:

200g  70% dark chocolate

4 tbsp West Carn Irish Raw Honey

100g light brown sugar

100g unsalted butter

100g peanut butter

1 tbsp marmalade

300g oats

120g mixed nuts (roasted almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans)

80g cranberries

2 tbsp of desiccated coconut

The Make:

Preheat your oven to 130ºC fan oven. Grease and line a baking tray with baking paper. Put the brown sugar, unsalted butter, peanut butter, marmalade and honey into a saucepan and heat on a low heat until all are combined to a smooth liquid. Now chop up all the nuts and then the chocolate into bite size pieces. Add the oats to the liquid mixture, then the nuts, then the fruit and finally add the chocolate pieces. Immediately pour into the baking tray. Pat it down with the back of a spoon. Put it into a hot fan oven at 130ºC for approximately 25-30 mins. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then cut into square bars.

Enjoy.

West Carn Irish Raw Honey

This raw honey is 100% Irish. It is pure, local and natural. Nothing has been added. It has not been pasteurised. This honey is not a blend of honey from EU and Non-EU countries. It does carry over 1000 air miles though, from the bees flying from flower to flower gathering nectar to make this beautiful jar of amber sweetness. It is a spring blossom honey made from dandelion flowers, sycamore, fruit trees and other plants that had a nectar flow in spring of this year. The frames of honey were removed from the hives when they were fully capped. Capped honeycomb ensures that the honey is ripe and ready for extraction. I use a capping fork to scrape the tops of the honeycomb and then place the frames into an extractor to spin off the honey. The extracted honey is then passed through a double fine mesh sieve to capture any fragments of wax. The filtered honey is left to settle over night and then poured into sterilized jars. It contains traces of pollen and propolis (tree resin used as a glue by the bees to fill small gaps) Propolis has anti-microbial properties and helps prevent diseases and parasites from entering the hive. It is also used to inhibit fungal and bacterial growth within the hive. 

The apiary is based in West Carn, a townland on the outskirts of Duleek Co. Meath. Over looking the apiary are the ruins of AthCarne Castle. It is believed that King James II slept here on his way to the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 as the castle is only 9.5 kilometres from the battlefield. 

My preferred way to have this honey is on porridge in the morning. I freeze a quartered lemon over night. In the morning I grate a teaspoon of the frozen lemon on to the hot porridge with a microplane grater. I add a pinch of mixed spice, a few blueberries with a tablespoon of honey and stir. Enjoy.

Please let me know what you think of the honey at :

marriedwithcauldron@gmail.com

I am registered with the Dept.of Agriculture, Food & Marine and The Federation of Irish Beekeepers Association.

Capped honey
Beeswax candle
Beekeeper Robert Fitzgerald

Marrowfat butter burger

IMG_6654How do you know a vegan? They’ll tell you. We’re 10 days in now for some people’s pressurized Veganuary. Well if you’re fed up with it then I can’t think of a better way to rejoice your true carnivore than with a gloriously succulent marrowfat butter burger.

You will need to make a little visit to your local craft butcher for the beef marrow bones to make this dish. Ask your butcher to cut the bones in half so you can access the marrow meat easily. While you are there you can pick up the mince meat for your burgers.

Ingredients:

4 large beef marrow bones

275g unsalted butter

Maldon sea salt

Ground black pepper

50g hard white cheese grated (Gouda)

2 tbsp red wine

The Make:

Place cut marrow bones in a roasting tray and cook in oven for 40mins at 200C. When done use a skewer to remove cooked marrow meat in to a large bowl. You can now add all the ingredients into this bowl. Grate in the butter and cheese. Pour in wine. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon or your hands to mix everything together. Spoon out mix onto a sheet of cling film and roll it into a sausage shape and refrigerate to harden. Now all you have to do is add a slice to a burger or luscious medium rib eye steak. Enjoy.

Rob.

Bonus part:

When the bones are cooked there will be some fat in the roasting tray. Pour this through a sieve into a dish and refrigerate. When it’s set it will be a creamy white. You now have your own beef dripping. This is perfect for roast potatoes or frying in the pan.

Truffle salami scrambled eggs

Some of the simplest dishes are the tastiest. And this dish couldn’t be more simpler. For the last while now I have changed my recipe for scrambled eggs by adding mayonnaise instead of butter. The result is a silkier smoother texture. You can add almost any ingredient to make this more than just scrambled eggs. I went for a little decadence by adding truffle salami, purchased from one of our fine german supermarkets. But most of the time we’ll eat this at home with chopped tomato, onion and tarragon ( fresh or dried ). Give it a go and mix it up.

Ingredients:

4 eggs

Splash of milk

1 tsp mayonaise

Pinch of Maldon sea salt

Pinch ground white pepper

Chopped truffle salami

The Make:

Crack eggs in a bowl. Add milk, mayonnaise, salt and pepper and whisk until frothy. Stir in chopped salami. Heat a non-stick pan to a medium heat and pour in mix. Gently stir the mix until the eggs are just about done and then take them off the heat. The eggs will continue to cook in their own heat. Serve up eggs on some toast and enjoy.

Rob.

Dark chocolate and ginger biscuits

We’ve been flat out making biscuits in our house lately. Nothing beats a homemade biscuit and a strong cup tea when you get a minute to sit down. These little beauties couldn’t be easier to make. Get the kids involved and let them add treats like chocolate chips or sprinkles. These biscuits are so versatile that you can add almost anything, sweet. We made some with a ginger and dark chocolate twist. Normally the kids wouldn’t touch dark chocolate let alone ginger but they loved these. We bought the dark chocolate ginger in a health food shop. If you can’t find them then use crystallized stem ginger and dark chocolate pieces. By the way, you can buy pre cut baking paper. When I found this out it blew my mind. It’s the small things that matter.

The Ingredients:

1 block of softened unsalted butter (245g)

200g light brown sugar

400g Plain flour

100g chopped dark chocolate stem ginger

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp mixed spice

The Make:

Allow the butter to soften at room temperature. Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment cream the butter and sugar together by mixing on high speed until the mix has a smooth like consistency. Now sieve in the flour, dark chocolate ginger pieces and spices until you have dough. Roll dough onto cling film into a sausage shape and chill in fridge for 20 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 130C. Slice biscuit dough into coins and place on some baking paper and cook for 13 minutes. Allow biscuits to cool on a wire rack. You can eat these straight away if you want or you can add decorations like melted chocolate.

Enjoy.

Creamy Honey Hummus

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The Ingredients:

1 tin of chickpeas

1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda

2 garlic cloves

2 bird eye chillies

2 bay leaves

1/3 cup of lemon juice

Maldon sea salt

1/2 cup of Tahini

110 ml olive oil

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 cup of ice cold water

The Make:

Drain and wash chickpeas under running water. Place rinsed chickpeas in a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda. Pour in cold water and cover by 2 inches. Let this soak over night. Next day rinse off chickpeas again and place them in a pot and cover with water. Add in 1 crushed garlic clove, bay leaves and chillies. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain chickpeas and keep a cup of the cooking liquid. Remove the bay leaves, garlic and chillies from the pot. Now add Tahini, grated garlic clove and lemon juice to a food processor. Pour in 1/2 cup of ice cold water. Blitz on high until smooth. While processor is running carefully pour in the olive oil. Season with salt. Add chickpeas and cumin and blend until creamy smooth. If the texture is not smooth enough add a bit of the reserved cooking liquid until the desired consistency is met. Check for seasoning at this stage and correct it if needed with more lemon juice or salt. Now add in the honey and blend in to the mixture.

Enjoy.

Our Beekeeping journey so far

IMG_4628This January I started a new journey in food production. I enlisted in a beginners beekeepers course with my local beekeeping association. Regular visitors to our site will know of how important a self sufficient life is to us here at Married with Cauldron and having covered so much of this lifestyle already on the blog it wasnt going to be long before we got involved with bees. It goes without saying that the real value in bees is the pollination service they provide but with this service we get a fantastic by-product, Honey. Beekeeping is an essential husbandry skill needed to really complete the cycle of a self-sufficient lifestyle. Pollination is the life blood of crop growth from allotments to acres of rapeseed. Either way you can increase your yield by having an active hive of vigorous honey bees close by.

A bee will travel as far as 3 miles to forage for pollen and nectar. During this trip they will visit between 100 and 1000 flowers with an average flight time of 30-60 minutes, 10 times a day. Now you know where the term busy as a bee comes from.

I highly recommend getting in touch with your local association when getting started with bees because without the knowledge from experienced beekeepers you are setting yourself up for failure. By getting involved and sitting a course with the association you will receive membership, insurance and access to lectures from the best in the field. You will be taught how to recognise diseases and pests and how to treat them. This is so important in managing a healthy life for your bees. You will also become part of a vast network of passionate people who are only more than willing to help you get started, and one will eventually become your mentor or bee sensei. For me, Jim Agnew has been a fountain of information. His patience with my many questions has helped in keeping me from getting discouraged in this new hobbie. He has even supplied me with my first bees. He once told me that when he first got started with beekeeping there was someone who was very generous with their knowledge in beekeeping and time that he wanted to be able to give back what he had now learned. Jim gave the majority of our lectures during my course and was popular with many of the students. He is an asset to the association. Jim also advised me that I was getting involved with a hobbie that was going to eventually cost me a lot of money. He wasn’t wrong. As with all new hobbies the initial set-up cost can run into the hundreds. Over the years I have taken up many past-times from motocross, kayaking, rock climbing and shooting. You will spend up to €1000 getting started in many of these. You will pay more for brand names and higher quality products so it pays to shop around. I will leave a list of the suppliers I have used so far below:

beesupplies.ie

irishbeesupplies

donegalbees.ie

Although the initial cost of set up will run into the hundreds of euros don’t be deterred.

Essential start-up kit :

  • Hive ( polystyrene or wooden )
  • Beesuit
  • Smoker
  • Hive tool
  • Gloves
  • Bees

This kit will get you started alright but you always find a reason to add to it. Here in lies the crux. I am in the process of taking on my third hive, all in a matter of months. Something nobody tells though is just how much time you will spend thinking about your bees. For me it’s like every waking minute. Are they OK? Are they flying? Is it warm enough outside? Do they have enough stores? Are wasps attacking them? Is the Queen laying?……………

IMG_E6060

Our kitchen table two days ago

This what happens when you are responsible for these beautiful social insects. One healthy hive can have up to 40000 workers (female), 1000 drones (male) and 1 Queen. These days in our house it’s not unusual to hear Davinia ask where I’m going to and for me to reply “Oh, I’m just going to check on my girls. All 40000 of them.” This response usually gets a sceptical hippo eyes look. I am grateful to have a very understanding wife, after all she is going to get a sweet reward at the end of all of this. In all seriousness when you have a hive it requires a once weekly visit from April to September. From late September to March you will rarely make a visit at all as they will boxed up for winter.

Stay tuned to the blog as we post our progress and new honey recipes. If you are new to the site feel free to read any of our previous posts and follow one of the recipes. This an exiting time to be involved with food as more and more people educate themselves of the benefits of this locally sourced edible product. For example Irish heather honey is said to be as beneficial as Manuka honey in it’s medicinal properties. All at a fraction of the cost and with minimal food miles. As I’m sure with many beekeepers people often say to me that they could never work with bees because they are terrified of them. Fear has no place near a hive. Caution does. Believe it or not but working with bees brings a certain peaceful feeling and mindfulness because you have to remain calm and calculated with every move. A panicked slip of a frame can result in a squished Queen. It can sometimes feel like you are diffusing a bomb and making sure that you don’t snip the red wire as the timer runs out but if you take your time, be prepared and stay calm your bees will thank you for it.

Thanks for reading.

Try The Federation of Irish Beekeepers Association for a list of local associations.

IMG_E6061

My happy place.

Baklava

I was inspired to make this wonderful sweet desert while watching one of my favourite chefs Nigel Slater on BBC in his new series which tours the Middle East. Although baklava takes a lot of effort, it is absolutely worth the time. They are sticky and sweet and have so many layers of both texture and flavour. They crunch with every bite and pack a wonderful honey nutty taste. A labor of love for sure, but for your hard work and patience, you will absolutely be rewarded with this delightful treat, for it is fit for a King.

The Ingredients:

2 boxes of Filo Pastry sheets at room temperature

285g unsalted butter

200g ground almonds

100g chopped mixed nuts

200g chopped pistachios

1 tsp cinnamon

200g granulated sugar

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (juice half lemon)

180ml water

170g honey

The Make:

Preheat the oven to 160 fan. Now prepare the syrup by adding water, sugar and honey to a saucepan. Bring to the boil over a high heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Now reduce the heat to medium and boil for another 5 minutes, but do not stir. Once it has reached a clear golden colour, your syrup is ready. Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool while you prepare your Baklava.

Melt the butter in a sauce pan and remove from the hob. Now cut filo sheets so they measure exactly the same size as your baking tray. There were 7 large sheets of filo in each box and I managed to cut each sheet twice to the size my tray. The second set of sheets had two strips to make up an even layer. So in total I managed to cut 28 sheets to size.

Add all the chopped and ground nuts to a bowl but hold back 16g of pistachios to garnish at the end. Add the cinnamon to the nut mixture and mix well.

Brush the bottom of your tray with some of the melted butter. Layer two sheets of filo pastry into tray, then brush top layer with butter. Add two more sheets of filo, then brush with butter and top with a layer of the nut mixture. Now repeat this pattern 5 more times.

For example:

2 layers filo, then brush with butter

2 layers filo, then brush with butter and sprinkle a layer of nut mixture on top

Repeat this until finish the  nut mix

Complete the baklava with a topping of 4 layers of filo brushed with butter to finish

Now cut down through the filo layers, four rows across and then cut diagonal to give a wonderful diamond effect. You can judge the rows and diagonals depending on the size of your baking tray.

Now bake in the oven at 160 fan oven for approx 30-40 mins until baklava is golden brown and crispy on top.

Now pour the cooled syrup over the hot Baklava. Place the remaining pistachios in a food bag and pound with a rolling pin. Now sprinkle the pistachio over the Baklava. Allow to cool and set completely before serving. Patience is required here as this process will take approx 4-5 hours. It seems a lot but believe me it’s so worth the wait. I left mine to set completely overnight and they taste absolutely divine.

Enjoy.

Peach glazed pork belly

Pork is definitely one of the most versatile of all the meats when it comes to cooking. It takes the flavors of sweet, spicy and savory so well. Pork is typically paired with apple so I decided to experiment a little here and see how far I could push the sweetness. The result here is so morish I didn’t even serve the pork with anything because it was eaten directly from the tray.

The Ingredients:

700g pork belly

2 tins of peaches

Hot sauce (Shiracha, Franks or Tabasco)

Salt

Honey

The Make:

Dry pork with kitchen paper and place on a wire rack tray. Pour peaches and syrup in to a food processor with one tablespoon of hot sauce, one tablespoon of honey and pinch of salt. Blend until smooth. Taste and add more hot sauce and honey if needed. Pass the blended peaches through a sieve to get a smoother purée. Cook pork at 160C for around 3 hours. While cooking the pork baste it with the peach purée and turn the meat every 30 minutes. The final result will be a sticky glazed delight.

Enjoy.

Chocolate Heart Lollipops

Our little chocolatier hard at it. Patience is needed to allow chocolate to melt and not to scoff it all at once. “The Candyman can cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good.”

All you need is:

400g Lindt Chocolate

Sprinkles

Chopped Cashews

Chopped Cranberries

Heart shaped lolly mould

Lollipop sticks

Firstly melt chocolate. Fill heart moulds with sprinkles, cashews and cranberries. You can really be as adventurous as you want here and add whatever you fancy. Place stick at the end of each heart and pour over melted chocolate. Place in the fridge to chill for about 20 mins. Now remove from the mould and Enjoy. 💝