Smitten Kitchen’s Sweet Potatoes


I’ve mentioned the amazing NYC-based food blog Smitten Kitchen before on this blog, when I made her outstanding asparagus and pancetta hash.  So good, and a recipe that I’ve made/adapted more than twice since.

What makes her blog so special is not only the beautiful photos and the inspiration she provides for all of us cooking in tiny kitchens, but her recipes are so simple and super delicious.  She’s wonderful.

I’ve made her Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Goat’s Cheese a number of times now.  Once before Christmas with a Moroccan lamb stew, another time as a lunch time snack and last week as a main course when we had our vegetarian friend Valerie over for din dins.

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Come Dine With Me: Green


Aperitif of mint and apple cocktails with green sugar rims

Last Saturday night saw Round 3 of my friends and I’s colour-themed Come Dine With Me.  It was the night of the Greens, and after Come Dine With Me Orange last month and my partner and I’s Come Dine With Me Yellow the month before that, the Green Team (Jenny and Frances) had their work cut out for them.

As you can see from the pics, they fulfilled their brief very well and provided us with a lovely evening of food.  Good work!  Maybe too good!

Asparagus with scallops and pancetta, smothered in a Hollandaise sauce

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An Experimental Kitchen


After two years of this blog, the most important thing I’ve learnt is that cooking is all about confidence.  This year, I’m determined to be less of a recipe slave – instead of looking at recipes for inspiration on what to eat, I want to look into my fridge and decide what to cook by seeing what ingredients are available to me.

I bought the most wonderful book last year The Flavour  Thesaurus by Niki Segnit but I’ve only recently felt the levels of confidence and cooking abandon necessary for taking on cooking without a recipe.

Ok.  Let’s not go mad.  The idea behind this book is to allow cooks like me chained to recipe books a guiding hand into the world of flavours.  Once we’ve learned the basic skills of sauces and cakes and things, one could use this book to experiment with the flavours of those basic dishes.

My friend Jocelyn is my baking buddy.  She is a natural baker and cook, and has a supremely calming effect on me while baking.  If I was on my own, I’d freak out, but if something goes awry when Jocelyn is around, I always know it’ll work out.  And, more importantly, if it doesn’t work out, it’s not really that big of a deal.

We decided last Friday to make experimental muffins using a basic Jamie O recipe for a muffin batter and The Flavour Thesaurus to come up with flavour combos.

What we ended up with were

  • Chilli and Chocolate Muffins
  • Carrot Cumin and Raisin Muffins
  • The rather wonderful Banana Cardamon Cinnamon and Ground Almond Muffins.

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Clonakilty by Candlelight: Flash Restaurant


Regular readers may be aware of my love of secrecy-tinged feasts, dating back to my induction into The Marmarati many, many years ago.

Clonakilty Blackpudding are bringing the Flash Restaurant to Ireland for the first time, those clever clogs.  For six nights this February, lucky diners will be treated to a meal by candlelight free of charge in a top secret location.

To be in with a shot of taking part in what is sure to be a magical event, visit their Facebook page to request a reservation for one of the limited places.  Oh, the intrigue!  I can hardly bear it!


A neat video to help spark your interest even more!

Scones – as in “Cone” or “John”?


Well, in my family, we’ve always called them scones as in “John” and I was surprised to hear someone pronouncing them as in “cone” for the first time.  A quick search on wikipedia assures me that the “cone” pronunciation is recognised but it seems that the Scots – who invented these little beauties in the first place – pronounce it as in “John.”

But what’s in a phonetically ambiguous name, anyway?  Even if scones were called “garst-boogers” they’d still taste awesome.

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Jamie Oliver’s *ahem* 30 Minute Meals


In late November, Niall got me an early Christmas present treat of Jamie Oliver’s newest cook book Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals, the accompanying Channel 4 TV programme you no doubt enjoyed in the weeks leading to the holidays.

I’ve had the chance over the last month or so to try out quite a few of the recipes, and one time I even dared to attempt an entire menu in the 30 minute time-scale.  It was one of the most dramatic, stressful and hilarious episodes I have ever had in a kitchen.

I went for the Stuffed Cypriot Chicken menu, which includes side dishes of pan-fried asparagus and vine tomatoes, cabbage salad, jazzed up flatbreads, a St Clement’s drink and a vanilla Ice-cream float.

I set my alarm for 30 minutes and set to work like a hyperactive child, working like a bat out of hell to try get everything done in the 30 minute time frame.  The results were as follows:

  • An unbelievably messy kitchen
  • Nearly losing a finger trying to stuff chicken breasts at speed
  • A comically stressed cook (me) bellowing yelps and squeaks throughout the cooking process
  • A truly delicious meal prepared in 48 minutes (not including cleaning up time, mind)

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Happy Holidays



Too busy eating, can’t blog.

Thanks for reading and commenting throughout 2010, I’ll be back with more grub  in 2011.

In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter for all food-related thoughts and twitpics.

Happy Holiday and Happy New Year!

Aoife Mc x


Kinvara Organic Smoked Salmon


Last week, a delightful package arrived at our flat courtesy of Kinvara Smoked Salmon, the award-winning family run business who specialise in organic salmon situated in Galway Bay.

I was gifted with the Salmon Multi Buy (35 euro) which includes a 300g pack of Smoked Salmon, a 100g pack of Salmon Gravad Lax and a 100g pack of Roast Smoked Salmon.  Just in time for Christmas!

Although I am going to save my large pack of Smoked Salmon for my family’s traditional Christmas breakfast of bagels, cream cheese and smoked salmon – well, it’s been a tradition since last year anyway – I couldn’t wait another three weeks to try this delicious fish, for heaven’s sake.  So last Friday, once I’d finished my half day at work, I set upon the (not very tricky) task of making something delicious out of the Gravad Lax.

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Snowed-In Sausage and Bean Bake Thingy


Oh noes!  It’s SNOWING.  Obviously this means that no one in Ireland will be leaving their houses for the next five days at least.

But what will we eat??

Here’s  a brilliantly warming and delicious dinner, the ingredients to which you will probably have lurking around your cupboards.  Failing that, you should be able to get the ingredients in your local shop.  Snow-food win!

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Luke Skywalker, You Are My Pancake.


Niall’s sister lives in Virgina Beach (USA) and, due to a particularly high level of awesomeness, she always sends Niall THE BEST presents.

The most recent one was this AMAZING set of Star Wars Pancake Molds.

Sadly, they only deliver within the USA but if you’re reading this stateside you’re in luck – here’s looking at you Sarah Jay Bee!

Here’s a very reliable recipe for pancakes.  Lovely and light they were too, even without the blueberries!

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