Thursday, 20 August 2015

Granny Smith & Summer Berrry Crumble

Summer seems to be slipping through our fingers here in Ireland with such miserable and dreary weather. Already depressed after returning from a fabulous week in sunny southern Turkey, last night I needed something to snuggle up in front of the telly with. I decided to make myself a nice big bowl of serious comfort food. As if my holiday belly wasn't large enough ! Despite the fact that it feels like Winter, I went for a Summer berry and Granny Smith apple crumble. Crumble is one of my favourite desserts to rustle up due to its simplicity and effortless method - seriously- it doesn't get easier than this.


260g Softened Butter
250g Granulated Brown Sugar
250g Plain Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon 
Pinch Nutmeg
3 tbsp Porridge Oats

Combine all the ingredients above in your mixing bowl on speed two using the paddle attachment. If you don't have a mixing bowl, simply use your hands to combine the mix.

In order to crumble the mix, pass the mix through wire mesh or a wire rack onto a flat baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Bake at 180C/350F/Gas4 for 5 minute intervals until a light shade of golden brown.


600g Frozen Summer Berries
6 Large Granny Smith Apples (peeled,cored and sliced) 
2 Vanilla Beans (cut and scraped)
1 tbsp Ground Cinnamon
4 tbsp Honey
2 tbsp Lemon Juice

Put all of the ingredients above into a pot, allow to come to the boil and simmer for approximately 5 minutes. Remove the vanilla pods, then empty the compote into a large flat oven dish.

Make a mound of crumble on top of the compote (the bigger the mound the better !) Bake the crumble at 180C/350F/Gas4 for approximately 10 minutes until golden brown.

I usually make a citrus Chantilly cream to accompany this particular crumble but regular cream and vanilla ice-cream also go really well. If you're feeling adventurous, the recipe for the citrus Chantilly is as follows;

250g fresh cream
25g icing sugar
25g marscapone cheese
1/2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Rind of one lemon

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 hÉireann 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 ;)

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Let's Play Catch Up

It's been a helluva long time since I last posted so much as a picture up here - but - have no fear - I am back in action! I have had a pretty hectic past few months between travelling and beginning to work at the new place that I haven't had a second to even scribble down an idea for YummmmyyI have however been snapping away, making sure to take pics of everything I have made or eaten over the past few weeks.  And so, without further adieu,  here's the food camera role...

Salted Caramel Glazed Choux Buns with a Vanilla Pastry Cream Filling. Trying recipes from work at home has to be one of my utmost favourite things. I spend so much time talking about what I'm doing in the pastry kitchen that when I finally show my family and friends the real goods that I can actually also produce at home there's a real sense of achievement.

Breakfast is clearly still a huge deal for me - it's 100% my favourite meal of the day. This is home-made granola, natural Greek yoghurt, fresh fruit and home-made rhubarb, apple and ginger compote. Grandad has a seriously overgrown rhubarb patch in the garden so when he began to offer me bundles after bundles of the stuff I had to be a little more creative than good old rhubarb crumble.

After a pretty crazy night out in town, myself and my brother Al decided to venture to TBC, the pop-up cafe by Daniella Moyles and Yogism in the George's St, Arcade to try the famous buckwheat-flax breakfast pancakes and frozen yoghurt. Holy moly were they good! Al went for the protein pancakes with fresh berries and fro-yo and I decided to try them with pineapple, maple syrup and coconut natural yoghurt. If I lived in town you would more than likely find me perched at a coffee table there every morning - they really were that good.

I was seriously proud in work one evening to find that my soufflé had risen almost half its height. According to our head chef, my soufflé won out, hands down, over our chef de partie's best! No one has been able to wipe the smile off my face since.

I live in the Happy Pear - the greatest place to eat in County Wicklow. I really don't know how it has possibly taken me so long to discover this place but I'm so unbelievably happy to have now. The food there is unbelievably good. Everything is organic and healthy. Their salads are, hands-down, the best I have ever tried. They use fruit juices and nut butters to dress which I absolutely love due to my strange fear or mayonnaise and vinegars. Myself and my pal Mai have made it our morning ritual to stop by for a bowl of the place's delicious porridge topped with fruit compote and granola after the gym. The porridge is FREE and it's a mere euro for any toppings - you'd be a fool not to try it!

After a seriously long week I snapped a quick pic of my last plate in the restaurant. Peanut parfait with peanut brittle, cardamom foam, sesame paste and Dulcey Chantilly. I was one happy chef watching the waiter take that final plate from my pass.

It was my little cousin Oisín's 6th birthday a few weeks ago so, to celebrate, I baked him a lemon sponge with lemon curd, fresh strawberries and lemon butter cream. 

Another work recipe tried at home - homemade marshmallow. We make some pretty whacky flavours to serve as petit fours. However, at home I made a batch of vanilla which were deeeeelicious in vanilla and chilli hot chocolate.

Cutting chocolate biscuit cake - one of my least favourite things to do in work. They always seem to crumble to pieces. When I was asked to make a chocolate biscuit cake for an order I was amendment to find a recipe that held and would be easy on the poor soul left with the awkward task of cutting it. My head chef suggested using condensed milk as an alternative to sugar and golden syrup which actually worked a treat. Hopefully Ireland's bakers catch on and I no longer have to piece crumbly old biscuit cake together in order to form a few slices !

Macaroons - something I had never made up until a few weeks ago. I was so surprised at how easy they are to make - it's unbelievable! 

My "healthy balls ".
I have been warned by Mam not to call them that but I couldn't resist! These raw cacao, pecan and date bites are made with all natural and healthy ingredients. They're a delicious health conscious treat that really don't taste the slightest bit healthy. Don't worry, there will be a recipe to follow.

My Dad has entered into a new fase that I like to call smoothie madness. I'm not complaining though - every morning I wake up to a delicious vitamin packed smoothie to set me up for the day. The best part is that I don't even have to wash the blender! He puts everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, into his smoothies - carrots, ginger, cinnamon, avocados, even oranges and lemons with skins and all -  the list goes on. They're surprisingly delicious nonetheless. 

Hubba hubba...
Mam arrived home yesterday with a pack of Belgian sugar waffles. I decided to be bold and topped them with Nutella, fresh raspberries, date syrup, natural Greek yoghurt and toasted pecan nuts. They were heavenly.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Everyone seems to pull a incredibly unimpressed face when I mention avocado mousse. They seem to imagine a green guacamole type dessert that doesn't sound particularly appetizing, but, they couldn't be more wrong. The avocado simply works as a thickening agent creating a vegan alternative to a chilled chocolate pudding or mousse. The dessert is particularly smooth in texture and the intense chocolaty flavour will deter you from ever going back to the original. The dessert is made with purely natural ingredients so with only four more days of Healthy January to go, why not hold out and give this tasty treat a go.

You will need 

2 ripe avocados 
Half cup of coconut milk 
Half cup of raw (or regular) cocoa powder
6 tbsp Honey (may need more - add to taste)
Small handful of desiccated coconut 
2 tbsp Raw Cocoa Nibs 

What to do...

First, you will need to peel, de-stone and blend the avocados. I find using the hand blender the easiest.

In a separate bowl, gently whisk the coconut milk and cocoa powder until combined. Add the avocado and honey to the mix and whisk again until incorporated. 

You can now add your desiccated coconut and cocoa nibs before piping the mixture into the glasses or dishes you plan to serve it in.

Once piped, refrigerate overnight for best results or alternatively for a minimum of four hours. I like to serve the mousse with something a little tart and fruity on top - frozen mixed berries or orange or grapefruit segments work really well.  

Friday, 9 January 2015

Mixed Berry Frozen Yoghurt

I don't know about you but I'm beginning to seriously struggle through healthy January. I'm in need of a little something sweet but am determined to steer clear of chocolate and all other unhealthy sweet things. In order to satisfy my cravings I'm making an essential tub of mixed berry frozen yoghurt that I can scoop and enjoy when I feel the urge to annihilate the contents of the biscuit tin. For this particular fro-yo, I've substituted the the sugar for honey therefore using nothing but natural sugars - the healthier, the better.

You will need...

200g Frozen Berries
8 tbsp Honey
Juice of half a lemon 
500g Natural Greek Yoghurt
5 tbsp any fruit liquor (Limoncello, Cointreau or Creme de Cassis work best)

What to do...

First you will need to make your berry compote. To do so, put the frozen berries, 2 tbsp of honey and 1 tbsp lemon juice in a saucepan over a medium heat. Allow the mixture to come to the boil, turn off and allow to cool.

Once the berry compote has cooled, you can make the frozen yoghurt. Empty the yoghurt into your mixing bowl, add the remaining lemon juice and honey and stir. Add the fruit liquor of your choice and stir well. The alcohol keeps the yoghurt from freezing over completely. 

Empty the mixture into the container you will be freezing the yoghurt in. Add the berry compote next and keep stirring to a minimum to create an almost rippled effect.

Pop the lid onto your container and freeze overnight. Scoop and enjoy as a delicious sweet yet healthy snack.

If you somehow manage to get fed up of eating your frozen yoghurt as a sweet treat you can add a few scoops to your blender with some orange juice and a banana for a delicious smoothie. 

Once the yoghurt is covered properly, it lasts at best for two weeks in the freezer.