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Archive for the ‘All things food’ Category

My cointreau recipe has been getting much attention recently…. so I thought some of you might also like to try your hand at making Limoncino.  There’s still time to make a batch before Christmas.

Oldfarm Limoncino

I have a plan to try to make a coffee liqueur too… will keep you posted as to how that goes.

Once again this recipe is taken from Paulo Tullio’s book.

I’ve already made one batch this year, and the second batch is ‘brewing’ away.

This does improve with age.  However, it never lasts long enough to ‘age’ in this house.

I make extra bottles to give as gifts, and then keep a supply for ourselves!

Ingredients:

  • 6 x large lemons (rind only)
  • 500 ml Vodka or poitin
  • 200 grams sugar
  • A little water

Method:

Peel rind from well washed lemons avoiding the bitter pith.

Put the lemon peel into a jar with a lid.  (I have used an empty screw top wine bottle.) Cover with the half litre of vodka.  Store for 21 days, giving it a shake every few days.

When the time is up, strain the vodka from the bottle.  Dissolve 200 grams of sugar in as little water as possible over a low heat.  Add the sugar syrup to the strained alcohol and bottle it sterilised jars.

Store in a cool place.

When ready to serve chill and enjoy.

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I’ve mentioned before how I am a girl who just can’t say no!  Yes, that is the title of a song…. and I am that person.

Despite being hectically busy over the summer with AirBnB guests, and Alfie in and out of hospital, when our friend and neighbour, Margaret Hickey, asked if we’d help with some recipe testing we jumped at the idea.

Margaret has written a book on the history of food in Ireland from the perspective of the ‘peasant’ food.  I must say we love the title : Ireland’s Green Larder

The first lot of recipes we were asked to test were scones, ‘curranty’ cake,  boxty and a boiled fruit cake.  As it happened we had AirBnB guests staying who were delighted to jump in and work with us on the scones and ‘curranty’ cake.  The boiled fruit cake was easy to do too.

I’m afraid we let the side down on the boxty recipe… we just ran out of time.

Boiled Fruit Cake

Then last week, in the final moments before the ‘go to print’ button was pushed, Margaret asked if I’d test a tea brack recipe.  Again ‘no problem’.

However…. I made a bit of a mess.

The recipe called for the fruit to be soaked in scalding hot tea and left overnight. As I headed to bed I wondered why ‘scalding’ hot tea?  Any time I make tea brack, it’s just tea leftover in the pot that I use.

It pays to read the instructions properly!!!

The reason for the ‘scalding’ hot tea was that you put the sugar in with the fruit! Doh!

Day 2, recipe test 2.  This time I did put the sugar in with the fruit, and of course, the reason for the ‘scalding’ hot tea was so blatantly obvious!

So over one weekend – we had two tea backs – just as well we had a couple of food bloggers visiting who were more than willing to ‘taste test’!!!

Margaret’s book, Ireland’s Green Larder, is a history book.  It is not another recipe book.  However, there are some recipes scattered throughout.

Ireland’s Green Larder

If you are interested in the development of the Irish food culture and how our eating habits have changed, you will love this book.  For instance, in the not too distant past offal was way more popular than it is now.

Did you know that the pig was referred to as ‘the gentleman who paid the rent’? There are many other interesting facts and stories.

Margaret is into the final few days for you to ‘pledge’ your support for her book. Check out this video where Margaret tells you more about her book, and while there you can pledge from as little as €15.00.  Pledging closes at midnight tomorrow, 27th.  The book will be published between March and May next year.

Another great idea for a Christmas gift for the history buff or foodie in your life?

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Meringue was something I could always make, and my poor Mum never could.  She was a dab hand at anything to do with pastry, but for some reason meringues never worked for her.  When she opened a tea shop many, many years ago, I was always charged with making a pavlova for the weekend customers.

(more…)

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This cake, like so many of the recipes on here, kind of morphed into something else!  The original recipe I had received in one of the recipe swaps that went around the internet a few years back… so thank you to Patricia McQ for the original.

The recipe was rooted out recently as a friend who is coeliac was coming for lunch. I started to make the cake, and guess what happened?  Half way through I realised I did not have all the ingredients required!  Time to improvise.  So this is what happened.

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 200 g caster sugar – split into 130 g and 70 g lots
  • 150 g ground almonds
  • 50 g flaked almonds – blitzed to a breadcrumb consistency.
  • Few drops of vanilla essence
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Line an 8″ tin with greaseproof paper.

Beat egg yolks.  Add 130 g of caster sugar to egg yolks and mix gently.  Fold in the ground and crumbed almonds (these add a nice texture to the cake).  Next add the zest and juice of lemon, and the vanilla essence.  This will be quite a stiff consistency.

Whisk egg whites until they form soft peaks.  Add the 70 g of sugar.

Fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture.

Spoon mixture into your prepared tin.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes.

Dust with icing sugar.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Since we started hosting on AirBnB we’ve come across the strangest (well to us) allergies and food dislikes.  I never knew people could be allergic to oranges?

Sometimes it can be a challenge to come up with interesting dishes that exclude ingredients that we would take for granted.  Imagine not using onions…. at all?

This past summer we had a family stay with us, where one member was allergic to dairy, egg and nuts.  Fine you say, BUT, they had a birthday during their stay.  Two adults (adult birthday), and 2 children (child allergic)…. so my challenge was to come up with a cake that everyone could eat and enjoy.

God bless ‘google’.

Dairy and egg free chocolate cake

Dairy and egg free chocolate cake

This cake then became a life saver again last week, when I was asked to bring dessert to a house with a similar allergy problem.  I think, but am not sure, that this would also actually qualify as ‘vegan’… maybe someone out there could tell me?

The amounts are a little odd, as the original recipe from Allrecipes in Australia was in cups.  So here’s my translation.

Ingredients:

  • 375 gr organic flour
  • 440 gr sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps Bread Soda
  • 50 gr Green & Blacks cocoa
  • 190 ml Sunflower Oil
  • 2 tblsps White Vinegar
  • 2 tsps Vanilla Essence
  • 500 ml Cold Water

Method:

Heat oven to 180 deg. Centigrade.

Line a 30 cm cake tin with parchment paper

Sieve the dry ingredients together.  Make 3 wells in the mixture, adding oil, vinegar and vanilla essence into separate wells.

Add water and mix really well.

Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes.

I iced the finished cake with a sugar and lemon juice mix…. literally mixing icing sugar and a tablespoon of lemon juice together until I had the right consistency.

We’re not big chocolate cake fans here… but this has been a hit with us and everyone we served it to.

Enjoy!

 

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I’ve been making our own ‘Cointreau’ style liqueur for the past couple of years, and was absolutely sure I had already shared the recipe on here…. but I hadn’t.

So here it is…. and full credit for the recipe must go to the late Paolo Tullio.

It is so simple and easy to make…. all it needs is time.

Home-made Cointreau

Home-made Cointreau

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • Half litre of vodka
  • 1 orange
  • String
  • Wide necked jar – we use a Kilner jar
  • Water
  • 150 g sugar

Method:

Pour vodka into your jar.  Thread string through the orange.  We use a wooden skewer to pierce the orange, then push a straw through the hole, and then thread the string through the straw…. hope this makes sense, but you will probably device your own method.

You may need the assistance of another pair if hands for this part.

Lower the orange into the jar until it is about a centimetre above the vodka…. holding onto your string at both ends.  Now close the lid of the jar to secure the string in place.

making home-made cointreau

making home-made cointreau

Put your jar somewhere safe for 21 days.

If you watch you will see that the alcohol evaporates, hits the orange and drops down, thus infusing the alcohol with the orange flavour.

After the 21 days, dissolve 150 grams of sugar in as little water as possible, and add it to your flavoured vodka.

That’s it.

I’ve put it in pretty little bottles as Christmas gifts too.

Or save it and enjoy yourself 🙂

 

 

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Summer 2016 has been our third summer of hosting on AirBnB, and has, in fact, been quite different to previous years.

Our guests have typically been mainly from the USA, however, this year our guests were mostly European – mostly either German or English.

our home

We did have a chat with those US guests who did come to stay, about ‘why’ Americans weren’t travelling.  We thought it might be because of the election. However, they said that a lot of Americans are worried about terrorist attacks in Europe and this is why they are not travelling.  We haven’t had the chance to travel this year, but I do wonder do Irish people consider terrorist attacks when travelling in Europe?

Perhaps one of the most interesting conversations I had with guests was based around food!  Are you surprised?

The conversation is particularly pertinent when you read the results of a survey carried out by Failte Ireland:

Developed in partnership with Fáilte Ireland the newly published research examines the perceptions of over 2,500 travellers in ten countries including Ireland. The research also showed that food is now an essential part of the overall visitor experience with 93% of those surveyed reported participating in a food activity on a recent trip. This tells us that the pursuit of a unique and memorable experience is on the rise. While 66% of holidaymakers rated food as important in their overall experience of Ireland this increased to almost one in four (78%) amongst food travellers.

Well guys if food is ‘part of the overall experience’ we, as a nation, need to step up to the plate quite a bit to cater for vegetarians!  Yes, can you believe it, here I am living on a farm where we produce free range pork products and I am asking the Irish nation to improve their vegetarian offerings.

Our guests, a young German couple with their 4 year old son, spent a fortnight travelling around Ireland, staying in B&B’s and eating out.  (Yes, it does surprise us that vegetarians choose to stay with us.)  When I asked what was the vegetarian ‘choice’ like on their travels …. the answer….. soup, pasta or chips.

Come on folks, you can do better than this.

For dinner I made Parmigiana with our own aubergines which they totally enjoyed. My homemade granola and our own eggs for breakfast the next morning were also a big hit.  It was the first time they had been offered eggs for breakfast.

I don’t have a huge repertoire of vegetarian options…. but I can certainly do better than soup, pasta or chips!  I am sure others could to.

 

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