Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Taste of Dublin

On Monday, my best friend tonsillitis paid me a visit. She seems to arrive any time I'm feeling slightly stressed or tired, so, after working a six day week comprised of twelve hour shifts I was bound to suffer. Taking a full week off work seemed like a wise choice, however, it led me to miss out on Sylvan Esso's Whelan's gig which I had been looking forward to for months. I spent Tuesday evening miserably in bed, unable to speak or eat, thinking of the fab time my pals were having - self pity level one hundred. Come Thursday, I was feeling a little better. I lazed in the sunshine and began to eat solid food again. My boredom led me to spend every single second of my day on social media. Refreshing my Twitter feed over and over made me the first to see Glenisk's tweet offering two tickets to The Taste Of Dublin for the first person to respond. Of course I tweeted right away and, guess what?, WON THE TICKETS !!! Something which rarely happens my unlucky butt. 

Myself and Mam ventured up to the Iveagh Gardens yesterday to enjoy the festival. We spent the entire afternoon eating and drinking in the sunshine. With so many delicious cocktails and craft beers on offer, I seriously wished I wasn't taking antibiotics! With my throat feeling a serious amount better I tried and tasted everything else the festival had to offer. 

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies from La Patissier.

Delicious Thai Cuisine which took me right back to the islands

Belgian Chocolate covered strawberries & fudge from Choc Allure

The award winning Paris Brest and Strawberry Tart from Le Patissier. I was so happy to finally taste the delicious Paris Brest - two almond choux pastry rings filled with a light and creamy praline creme mousseline. I can definitely see how the dessert was awarded gold in the Blas na h√Čireann Irish Food Awards.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Rhubarb, Apple and Ginger Compote

I absolutely love a nutritious bowl of porridge before work each morning but the same old toppings can become a serious bore. When Grandad began to offer me bundles after bundles of rhubarb from his overgrown rhubarb patch I really had to be a little creative, I mean there's only so much rhubarb crumble you can eat ! So, I decided to veer from the usual summer berry and lime compote and try a new alternative; rhubarb, apple and ginger.

The compote is made purely from natural ingredients with no added sugar. For one very large jar, you simply put...

2 Apples (peeled, cored and roughly chopped)
5 sticks of Rhubarb (topped, tailed, peeled and roughly chopped)
1 thumb sized piece of Ginger (peeled and chopped finely)
1 Cup of Fresh Apple Juice
3 tbsp Date Syrup
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

...into a large pot and allow to come to the boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat and allow the mix to simmer for 5-8 minutes  in order to stew the fruit slightly. Allow the compote to cool fully before refrigerating. But... if you're feeling really bold, enjoy a little bit first with some home-made vanilla custard and shortbread biscuits - yummmmyy !!!

The compote lasts for up to one week in an airtight container in the fridge.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Raw Cacao, Date and Pecan Bites

I'm always dying for something sweet in the evening but want to steer clear of anything high in sugar, especially when I spend my days tasting every new creation in the pastry kitchen. After testing a couple of recipes from the Happy Pear Cookbook, I decided to come up with something myself using similar ingredients. I developed these "healthy balls" or as I wisely renamed them; Raw Cacao, Date and Pecan bites, using only six simple ingredients - medjool dates, date syrup, pecans, porridge oats, raw cacao powder and organic white chocolate. 

The recipe couldn't be easier. 
In a food blender, simply blitz.... 

340g Pitted Medjool dates
5 tbsp Date syrup (or maple syrup)
150g Pecan Nuts 
100g Raw Cacao powder 
100g Porridge Oats 

... Once blitzed, roll about a tablespoon of the mix into mini balls. Roll the balls in a small amount of raw cacao powder. (It can be pricey so to re-use the cacao powder simply sift it back into the pack). I like to half dip the bites in organic white chocolate. To do so, melt your chocolate over a bain-marie, dip the bites and allow them to set on a sheet of baking paper. Once set, you can store the bites in the fridge for up to one week in a sealed container.

Check out the Happy Pear Cookbook or website for so many more recipes for healthy treats and snacks. Their salads are unbelievably good too - you'll thank me later ;)