This Valentines Day you may have booked a table at a fancy restaurant to impress your date. You may splash out on chocolates and roses too. But wait. All you need to woo your loved one is the most delicate lightest biscuits made with lots of TLC and that’s our homemade strawberry and coconut jammy heart biscuits. Nothing says I love you more than some homemade treats. ❤️
225g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
200g plain flour
100g desiccated coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g strawberry jam
60g icing sugar
Put the butter, sugar, flour, coconut and vanilla extract into a food processor and blitz until the mixture comes together into a dough consistency. Pat into a ball, wrap in cling film and place into the fridge to chill for 20 mins.
Remove the dough from the fridge, knead until soft. Divide dough into two even half’s. Sprinkle plain flour over work space and roll out one ball of dough to 5mm thickness. Using a circle cutter, cut out cookies. Prepare a large cookie tray with greaseproof paper and gently place cookies on tray. Repeat with the other half of dough but once circle cookies are cut, use a small heart cutter and cut a heart shape in the middle of each cookie. Again prepare a second large tray with grease proof paper and place the cookies onto the tray. Place both trays of cookies into the refrigerator for 15 mins to chill. Now heat the oven to 140C fan oven.
Once the prepared cookies have chilled for 15 mins remove from the fridge and place in the hot oven for approx 15-20 mins until lightly golden.
Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Spoon a teaspoon of jam onto the centre of each of the circle biscuits and smooth out neatly. Now dust the cookies with heart shape center with some icing sugar using a small sieve. Place the heart top halves of the biscuits onto the jam smeared cookies and push down very gently.
Adobo is a traditional Filipino dish. It involves marinating a meat, commonly chicken or pork, in vinegar, salt and peppercorns overnight and then frying or braising it in the same liquid the next day. This method helps season the meat and would have been used by locals back in the day as a way to preserve meat before the invention of today’s technology of refrigeration. I have wanted to try this dish for a long time. I work alongside a lot of Filipino nationals and we’re often talking about favourite recipes and comfort foods. The Filipino community are incredible, their whole life revolves around meeting up with family and keeping that tradition very much alive today with their own children. Many of them have left behind family in the Philippines, a 17 hour flight away, to work here to provide a better life for their young families. I admire them so much and am grateful I have my own family close by. Friends come and go but Family will always be there. Cherish it.
Adobo always tops the list when we talk about family dishes and it is delicious. The overnight marinade tenderises the toughest cut of meat and fills it with so much flavour. In preparation for this dish I made a visit to my local craft butcher, Tuites at the Bullring, for some beef short rib and shin beef. These two cuts are very tough and need a low and slow cook. Done right, this meat will melt in your mouth. We usually use a dutch oven or casserole pot for our slow cooking with great results so we have never used a slow cooker until this dish. I recently bought a Crock-Pot Slow Cooker and this was it’s first recipe. On first observations the slow cooker has a very delicate way of cooking the vegetables and meat because the cooking heat is a consistent low even temperature. This heat helps the ingredients to cook and keep their shape and not turn to mush. This slow cooker really does free up a lot of your time in the kitchen, you literally fill the pot, cover it, turn it on and walk away. The results will speak for themselves.
400g Beef Short Rib (on the bone)
1 cup of Soy Sauce
1 cup of white vinegar
1/2 cup of cider vinegar
1 tbsp of black peppercorns
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of chopped scallions
1 chopped green chilli
1 tsp of garlic salt
2 tbsp corn flour
Boiled rice for serving
Take a large Ziploc bag and place in the beef ribs along with the soy sauce, vinegars, sugar, garlic salt, scallions and chilli. Seal the bag and refrigerate over night to allow the marinade to penetrate the meat. I asked my butcher to use his saw to cut the ribs into smaller pieces so they would fit in the slow cooker. The next day you can empty the bag into the slow-cooker and cook it for up to 10 hours. I set it on the High setting for 2 hours and then the Low setting for the remaining 8 hours. When the dish is finished the meat should fall straight of the bone. Remove the meat from the pot and set it aside. Using a sieve drain the cooking sauce into a large pot. Mix the 2 tablespoons of corn flour with a little water and add it to thicken the cooking sauce into a gravy consistency. Before serving remove all the meat off the bone. You need to remove the fat from the meat as there is a lot of fat in between the intercostal muscles. Serve up the dish with a bowl of boiled rice, place slices of meat on top and spoon over gravy. Finally, garnish with scallions and green chillies.
“Another year over and a new one just begun”. John Lennon was right about a lot of things and especially about Christmas. Time absolutely flies by when you have 3 young kids. They’re exciting little lives move at light speed compared to ours and this is what keeps us feeling young or wrecked, one feeling is merging into the other it’s beginning to feel normal these days. The anticipation in our house at the moment waiting for Santa Claus’ arrival is incredible. This is definitely going to be the most memorable one yet. The kids can’t wait and neither can we. We almost had snow this weekend in Co. Louth but it just didn’t make it this far. The Midlands got a nice little downfall but all we got was frostbite. I bought a sleigh for the kids (really me) back in 2010 and it has yet to see snow. I love the snow, I have nothing but fond memories of growing up in Dundrum Co. Dublin and heading up to Stackstown Golf Course during the annual snow fall only to be chased off the fairways by a Grinch, good times. Now I’m a little older and would probably be locked up if I tried it today. You never know though, you can’t beat a good chase to get the blood flowing.
I was going through our recipe for Eccles cakes yesterday and decided to put together a post of festive food. Below you will find links to some of our most popular ones. Enjoy.
Mince Pie Irish Coffee
Candy Cane meringue pie
Remy & Linguini’s Soup
On a side note, it seems every other person is an artisan of food these days and although that is good in showing the creativity out there it takes away from the genuineness of what it is to shop local. I recently paid €16 for a coffee, kids hot chocolate and two hand made buns in Co. Louth. This was a bit much of a bill to pay if it wasn’t for the awesome company of one of my kids we may have walked. We might be out of a recession with these prices but we are a little wiser with our spending and know what is quality over quantity.
Have a Merry Christmas and thank you so much for following and supporting us over the last couple of years. As you know our blog is a collection of some of our favourite recipes that we want to archive and share with you. We don’t do restaurant reviews or product test items. We just enjoy everything there is to do with food. Although our posts have slowed down of late our passion certainly hasn’t.
Stay tuned to us in 2018 for a food journey worth taking.
A cheese and tomato toastie is a classic go-to for that quick lunch. A handful of simple ingredients is all it takes, cheese, tomatoes and bread. Recently I learned a little tip for the perfect toasted sandwich. Most often the bread is buttered on the outside for a golden crust. Try mayonnaise or salad cream instead next time. It creates an extra flavour on the crust, taking away the greasiness of butter. I prefer the vinegary zing of salad cream myself as it goes incredibly well with the tomato.
The tomatoes are in full growth at the moment in our poly tunnel. We have to make the most of these fresh jewels. So this year I have been pickling them to help them last longer. It is a very simple process. Well worth a try.
A bunch of vine tomatoes
Vintage cheddar cheese
For the pickle
100ml malt vinegar
100ml red wine vinegar
100ml Shaoxing rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar
Pinch of Maldon sea salt
Add the vinegars, sugar and salt to a bowl. Chop up the tomatoes into bitesize pieces. Add these to the pickling juice. Stir to make sure every tomato is coated in the pickle. Cover and set aside for an hour. Overnight is better. Spread salad cream on the bread. Don’t soak the bread in it or it won’t crust well. Heat up a dry non-stick frying pan. Place the slice of bread salad cream side down in the hot pan. Spoon some drained pickled tomatoes on top of the bread. Top with some grated cheese. As the bread toasts put the pan under the grill for a moment to melt the cheese. Once melted place the other slice of bread on top, salad cream side up, and flip it. Use a spatula to see when it’s golden brown. Accompanying the sandwich with a bag of cheese and onion King crisps is optional.
Note: The left over pickled juice can be used to make your own ketchup. Add it to a handful of roasted tomatoes and blitz it in a blender. Pour into a pot and reduce the sauce until it thickens. Adjust the flavour to your liking with sugar and tomato puree.
When God gives you lemons, make lemonade. Well, unless God gives you sugar and water then that lemonade is gonna taste like shit.
We’re at peak summer holidays now. If you’re running short on what to do with the kids then this is quick and easy way to pass the time. As I’ve said here before, with three little kids of different ages, it’s not long before you are clutching at straws picking what to do next. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Netflix but if I have to watch another episode of Paw Patrol or Mako Mermaids when the weather turns, I think I’ll crack up.
400g caster sugar
1.3 litres of water
Fresh rosemary and thyme (couple of sprigs)
Lemon slices for garnish
Juice the lemons. Add the lemon juice, caster sugar and fresh herbs to a pot and gently heat. Allow this to cool. Strain the juice and add it to the water and chill in the fridge over night. If the kids can’t wait then serve it over ice and enjoy.
Al fresco doesn’t get much better this. We’ve been conditioned to eat a burger and bun while dining outside. You should try this fish taco to see what you’ve being missing. The flavours are refreshing and exciting, just the ticket for a dish amongst the trees.
400g boned salmon
3 bird eye chillies
3 shavings of lemon skin
1 spring onion
1 piece of fresh ginger
5 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp honey
Baby spinach leaves
Ice berg lettuce
Louisiana hot sauce
Tomato tortilla wraps
Lemon and lime wedges for garnish
Chop salmon into 1 inch pieces. Finely chop chillies and spring onion. Roughly chop ginger. Add salmon, chillies, spring onion, ginger, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and honey to a bowl. Mix to ensure fish is coated. Cover and set aside to marinate. The longer the better. Prepare wraps with a squirt of salad cream and a sprinkle of hot sauce. Layer up lettuce, spinach and coriander. Place sliced avocado on top. Now put marinated salmon on to skewers and BBQ or grill until done. Cut open a piece to ensure it’s cooked through. Place cooked salmon on top of avocado. Squeeze some lemon and lime over and wrap.
I like pie. Whats not to like? Easy to make and very satisfying. We are only a couple of days in to the summer holidays and the kids are already getting harder to keep stimulated. Enter the Ice Cream Pie. The kids had a lot of fun making this pie as it involves mixing a lot of ingredients into a sticky mess. I even fought to lick the spoon. I lost.
1 tub of vanilla ice cream
1 Cadburys Crunchie
1 Cadburys Caramel
1 pack Reeces peanut cupcakes
1 pack McVities Hob Nobs
1 cup brown sugar
50g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
140ml double cream
50g unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 pinch of sea salt ( optional )
Let ice cream soften up out of the fridge. Chop up chocolate into small pieces. We used a rolling pin and bashed them in to uneven pieces. Blitz up Hob Nobs in a food processor. Pulse in 1 cup of brown sugar and 50g of melted butter. Allow crumbs to come together into a dough. In a shallow pan press out the dough to make a base for your pie. We used a disposable foil tray. Place biscuit base into a 160C pre-heated oven for 5 min. Take out and allow to cool. Pour melted ice cream into a large bowl and mix in the chocolate pieces. Pour this mix into the biscuit base and place into the freezer to allow to set. For the caramel sauce, pour the caster sugar into a saucepan. Add in 2 tablespoons of water. On a high heat melt the sugar down until the colour changes to a light brown. Once the colour is right take it off the heat and carefully stir in the butter, cream and vanilla essence. Set aside and allow to cool. Do not let the kids make this. Hot sugar is incredible dangerous. Gently warm up the caramel sauce before serving.
Rainbow trout is a delicious fish to eat. It has a delicate pink meat with a smooth texture, very pleasant to eat. It has a sweet flavour to it making it very easy to pair with other ingredients. This fish can be complimented by any means of cooking from a honey roasted fish or a peat smoked fish. In this case we have steamed it in a foil parcel. This method is our go to way of cooking fish because it is impossible to mess up. Some people feel intimidated by cooking fish. There is no need to using this technique. In your foil parcel you can put butter and some aromatics like lemon, lime, chillies or bay leaf. You can also add fresh herbs like dill and coriander. Accompanied by a fresh garden salad of spinach, kale, rocket and tomato all of which have picked from our garden and you have a happy little meal.
Warning! These little spicy veggie bites will not last long once served. Hot from the oil with the aroma of fresh lemon and coriander, add a sprinkle of sea salt and you have a beautiful little delight. Don’t worry, I ate mine as a side with a lemon butter basted chicken. We haven’t gone full veggie here, there will always be room for meat.
1 head of Cauliflower
2 cups flour
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp cayenne
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Oil for frying
Fresh coriander and parsley for garnish
Lemon wedges to squeeze over top
Chop cauliflower into bite size pieces. Boil cauliflower in water. Don’t let cauliflower get soggy, try and keep a firm bite to it. Once ready drain off water and place cauliflower immediately into a bowl of ice cold water to stop it cooking. Drain off water again and allow cauliflower to completely dry. In a large bowl add the flour, turmeric, cayenne, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Stir together. In a separate bowl whisk up one egg. Get a pot, large enough for deep frying, and add oil, about 2 inches deep. In batches, take a piece of cauliflower and first dip it into the seasoned flour then the egg and then the flour again. Repeat this process for all the cauliflower. Deep fry the battered cauliflower until golden. Serve with freshly chopped coriander and parsley. Squeeze over lemon juice before eating.
1 fillet of monkfish
50g unsalted butter
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp Pernod
Spinach, Rocket and Kale leaves
Maldon sea salt
Ground black pepper
Wedge of lime
Pre heat oven to 160C. Take a large sheet of tinfoil and place two slices of butter in the centre. Place the monkfish fillet on top of the butter with a sprig of dill and a wedge of lime. Fold up the foil around the fish to make a parcel. Place foil parcel in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Melt 50g butter in a pot. Mix in the flour to make a roux. Stir constantly on a low heat. Add the Pernod gently making sure not to split the sauce. Stir. Add milk and stir until the sauce is as thick as custard. Stir in some chopped dill and a pinch of salt. Steam the green leaves in a pot with some butter and a splash of milk. Season with salt and pepper. Once soft, squeeze off the liquid and serve with slices of monkfish and dill sauce.