Blooming Lovely!

Is there anything better than eating the fruits of your labour?

pictured below tomatoberry, 100s and 1000s cherry tomatoes, cobra french beans, Hurst peas and blueberries and a jalepeno. ….more to come!


Blooming Lovely!

The Best Ever Iced Coffee or Frappuccino!



Whenever I go to India there is the most amazing Iced Coffee I get at McDs of all places. Don’t judge, it’s really delicious. When I get home I run through tubs of double cream trying to recreate that sweet, creamy flavour.

Then one day, while sipping a hot Vietnamese coffee I had a brainwave and the easiest, tastiest iced coffee was born. And best of all no fancy equiThen I discovered throwing the whole lot in the blender makes a cool, creamy, delicious drink/pudding to rival any coffee shop. And now that it’s decided to be summer here I thought I’d share the recipe with you

Serves 1  as a straightforward iced coffee, 2 for a blended drink(because youll need more ice). These are the proportions I use but feel free to change them according to your palate or the size of your glass. The glass I used was about 300ml.


  • 1 shot of espresso
  • 1 tbs of condensed milk
  • 1 tbs double cream
  • 150  ml milk
  • a handful of ice cubes
  • 15-30 ml booze (optional but recommended), kahlua, amaretto, bailey’s, frangelico all work well here. Yes, I have tried.
  • ice cream (optional)
  • squirty cream (optional)


If you are planning to blend your drink you can make it in the blender cup. If not you can make it straight into your serving cup.

  1. Make a good, strong shot of espresso.
    Get your espresso on

    If you don’t have an espresso machine, mix up 2 tsp instant coffee with 30ml of water, just off the boil and stir well until all the granules dissolve.

    Look away, coffee aficionados! This crema’s about to get wrecked
  2. Pour the condensed milk into the hot coffee and stir till dissolved.
  3. Add the milk, booze20160721_144932 (if yore using it) and ice cubes and stir gently.
  4. if you are blending, now’s the time. Whizz to your preferred consistency  and pour into a glass.

    Straightforward iced coffee.
  5. if you’re going all out, add ice cream and squirty cream.

    With all the bells and whistles
  6. Enjoy, quick! It will start raining in a minute!

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The Best Ever Iced Coffee or Frappuccino!

Mum’s Birthday, part 2: coffee walnut cake

So onto the interesting part, cake.

Every year, whoever is tasked with baking the birthday cake (me usually) ends up in a massive discussion about the cake. Mum always wants…..Victoria sponge!  Even with real cream and strawberries, it is the dullest of dull cakes. The cake to cream ratio is all wrong. To me, this is an everyday tea time sort of cake not a “yippee it’s my birthday!” kind of cake. So after the usual drama, we decided on this:

I made a regular 3 egg vanilla sponge cake and divided it up between 6 mini flan tins. Conveniently enough, there was enough batter left over for 2 fairy cakes. I cooked these in a 180° oven for about 15 minutes until a skewer came out clean and left them to cool completely covered by a damp tea towel (My mum can not abide a dry cake!). I whipped up 200ml of double cream with a heaped teaspoon of caster sugar and the seeds from a vanilla pod. The cream was dolloped onto the unmolded sponges and decorated with sliced strawberries and a little kiwi, for colour.

Cake 2

On Sunday we were expecting some visitors for tea and mum also wanted some cake to take to work today so I made a coffee and walnut cake. Usually I don’t go for cakes with butter cream icing but this icing was lovely and light, not at all what I remember from childhood cakes and nothing like the fluorescent cupcake icing you get on shop bought cakes. The recipe was This Mary Berry/Lakeland one with a few minor adjustments. The original recipe is an all in one cake but those never work out well for me so I stuck to the traditional method. Here’s how:


  • 225g softened butter
  • 220g light muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp coffee extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 270g self raising flour
  • 2 tbs double cream/milk
  • 75g chopped walnuts


  • 75g softened butter
  • 220g sifted icing sugar
  • 2 tsp double cream/milk
  • 1 tsp coffee extract
  • 75-100 walnut halves


  1. Preheat the oven to 180° fan. If you have a 12″×9″ tin grease and line it. I don’t so I used a square 9″ tin and a 9″ long loaf tin for the excess.
  2. Beat the butter, sugar and extracts until they are pale and fluffy and there are no lumpy sugary bits.
  3. Add the eggs one by one beating well after each addition. If it looks like it might split, add a tablespoon of flour and continue.
  4. Sift in the rest of the flour and add the cream and walnuts. Using a spatula or metal spoon, fold until just combined. Plop it into the tin and smooth the top.20160710_092006
  5. Bake for 35-45 min if you used a traybake pan. Mine took about 30 mins. Cool on a wire rack
  6. To make the icing, put all the ingredients(except the walnut halves) in a bowl and stir gently. Once the icing sugar is incorporated, whisk until light and fluffy.
  7. Spread on the cooled cake and decorate with walnut halves.
Serve with whipped cream. In fact, serve everything with whipped cream!

If you are a mad icing fan, I would suggest doubling the icing recipe. This amount gives you enough for a thin layer on top. But so far this is one of my favourite coffee walnut cakes!

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Mum’s Birthday, part 2: coffee walnut cake

Mum’s Birthday, part 1

This year it was just Mum and I for her birthday.  We had just been to the funeral of a close friend the day before so neither of us was in the mood for a crazy night on the town.

So this is what we had


I wanted to make something frozen mudslide like but mum’s not too keen on chocolate so I made a frozen drink more to her taste using20160709_201254

  • 1 part vodka
  • 1 part kahlua
  • 1 part amaretto
  • 2 parts double cream

This all went into the blender with a handful of ice. Delicious!

Mummy Mudslide…although I suspect someone has already named this drink


My big sister travels to South Africa quite regularly and usually brings back all sorts of breakfast rusks, buttermilk, seedy fruity rusks. Now, if you’ve never tried these before, you’d be tempted to throw one in your mouth like you would with a normal biccy. Do that and you’ll end up at the dentist with half your teeth in your hands! No,  these rusks are for dunking in your tea/coffee.

After much pestering I finally managed to get a tried and tested recipe from  friend of hers from work on the condition that I don’t blog the recipe. Apparently the South Africans are very protective of their family rusk recipes! So sorry, you get a picture instead.

South African breakfast rusks

The process is much like making biscotti so while they’re not much to look at, they taste amazing.


Next time, birthday cake!

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Mum’s Birthday, part 1

Cheat’s Mars Bar Ice Cream

Mars ice cream bars are delicious…except that fatty, cheap tasting chocolate coating. O, and the ice cream:caramel ratio is all wrong. So after the success of my Cheat’s Salted Caramel Ice Cream I thought I’d have a go at recreating the flavours of a Mars bar.

This is what I did….

Ice cream Ingredients 

  • 500ml tub of ready made custard. I used Waitrose’s essential one because it isn’t too sweet.
  • 40g Horlicks. Or ovaltine or other malted milk powder.
  • 10-30ml boiling water from the kettle.

I mixed the Horlicks with enough hot water to make a paste with no lumps.20160616_190823 I added in a little custard, stirred it about and added it back into the custard to ensure it spread through properly. At this point it tastes quite sweet but don’t worry, the freezing takes the edge off the sweetness. I put the custard mix into the ice cream machine and let it do its thing. If you don’t have a machine you can use a shallow plastic tub with a lid and whisk it up every hour till it’s set.

Meanwhile, make ganache 

  • 40g chocolate
  • 40ml double cream

I really don’t like big chunks of chocolate in ice cream so I decided to make a ganache instead. I used 60% dark chocolate but use what you fancy. Chop it up small and place on a bowl. Warm the cream in the microwave for 15 sec or so. Pour onto the chocolate and stir till smooth.

Ganache….consider making extra to eat with a spoon while you wait…or put on a sneaky bit of toast

Let it cool a bit. If you want choccy chunks use slightly less cream and pour thd warm ganache onto a piece of silicone or greaseproof paper. Roll it up into a tube and pop it into the fridge until the ice cream is done.


20160616_194601When the ice cream machine is done, layer up the ice cream and ganache in a freezer proof tub until they are all used up. Cover thd surface with greaseproof paper.

When it’s time to serve let the ice cream ripen for 20 mins in the fridge so it scoops easily. Top with caramel sauce or dulce de leche.


If you wanted to make this as a fancy pudding, you could use silicone moulds to set the ice cream in and use the ganache and caramel as drizzles.

Cheat’s Mars Bar Ice Cream

Life Hack: Hotel Toastie

This is a trick I learned when I worked at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin. This particular hospital is in the middle of a massive campus and there’s just no way to nip out to the shops without having a car or a spare hour.

It’s also perfect for days like today where I find myself alone in an isolated hotel with a pretty uninspiring sandwich. This is how to turn it into something a bit fancier.

You will need

  • An iron and ironing board
  • a sandwich that would taste better hot. Some sort of cheese is always good
  • butter
  • knife
  • about 2 feet of foil. Ask at the restaurant/bar


  1. Gather your supplies. 20160518_191800Put the iron on medium and let it heat up.
  2. unpack the sandwich and thinly spread the outsides with butter.20160518_192015
  3. Wrap the sandwich in foil. I find the best way is to roll it up and gently scrunch the open ends together.20160518_192034 Don’t fold them in.
  4. Put the foil parcel on the ironing board and apply the iron.20160518_192057 Leave it for a few minutes then carefully turn it over. Don’t leave it unattended.
  5. Continue for 5-10 minutes or until you can hear sizzling noises.
  6. Carefully unwrap and enjoy.
    Crispy and melty

    It will be hot so you may need a towel to protect your hands.


Life Hack: Hotel Toastie

2 Ingredient Nutella Brownies

I ummmed and aaaahead about making these for ages. It sounded too good to be true. On one hand I thought it should work because nutella would act as the fat, flour and sugar. But then I thought it doesn’t have the correct ratios for the perfect cake described in this book. So I read a few reviews and they were all raving about how good these are and I saw a similar recipe in Nigella’s last book. Despite the red flags I thought I’d give it a go, I couldn’t bear the thought of this recipe being fantastic without me knowing about it.


  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup (about 270g) nutella
  • I cheated a tiny bit and added a few extras, I don’t know if they made much difference if I’m honest but they were
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 40g chopped, toasted hazelnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 170°C, line an 8″ square tin.
  2. Whisk the eggs with the salt until they have tripled in volume, about 8 mins or so.
  3. Meanwhile, warm up the nutella either in a hot water bath or the microwave until it is runny and smooth.
  4. Whisk the vanilla into the eggs then on low-medium speed pour in the nutella in a slow steady stream. The mix will deflate but that is normal apparently. Fold in the nuts.
  5. Pour into prepared in and bake for 20-25 mins until it is set and there’s no wobble.

Nigella’s version of the recipe advised to wrap these and let them sit overnight….she was right. I couldn’t wait so I had a bit while still warm and when completely cold and it tasted overwhelmingly like a sweet omelette…absolutely disgusting!  But I did as I was told and unusually it wasn’t difficult to leave them alone for a day(or two). When I unwrapped them I was suprised to see that they had indeed become fudgier and altogether much more agreeable in both taste and texture.

Wrapped and rested brownie

But still a long, long way off what I would expect from a brownie. Yes it’s a quick and easy recipe (if you have an electric mixer) but I’d rather take the time and trouble to make something really delicious. Like this!

2 Ingredient Nutella Brownies