Jen's Kitchen offers a fresh approach to home cooking with exciting recipes and blog posts that emphasise hands-on cookery using local and organic produce.

Delicious Brown Butter Apple Financier Recipe

As you know at this stage, I’m more than a little obsessed with financiers, or friands. For a number of reasons;

1.They use up egg whites if you don’t want to make macaron or meringues

2. You don’t need any fancy mixing equipment, the tin is a plus, but not entirely necessary, you could make them in muffin tins

3. You can add all kind of flavourings to them

These are perfect for using up those apples.  I prefer to use eating apples, but cooking apples would work just aswell, just adjust the sugar until they are palatable.
The “brown butter” element is a valuable technique, but used in this recipe to give that extra layer of flavour, so hold your nerve and don’t be tempted to skip this stage.

Brown Butter Apple Financiers


150g Butter, soft

3 medium egg whites

125g Caster Sugar

55g Plain Flour

55g Finely Ground Almonds

½ teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla paste

2 Eating Apples, peeled and chopped into smallish pieces.

40g butter, melted- fro greasing and apples.



Preheat the oven to 170oC.  Brush the financier tray extremely well with half approx.. of the melted butter

Heat the remaining butter and brown the chopped apples in this.  Leave to cool.

Melt the 150g of butter until the solids have separated and they are starting to turn brown.  Remove from the heat and cool.
Mix all the remaining cake ingredients, apart from the apples, in your mixer until light in colour and a little fluffy.  Add in the melted 150g of butter, mix well again and leave for 30 minutes in the fridge to rest.  This helps remove unnecessary bubbles.  Rebrush the tin, and fill the sections ¾ full.  Spoon the apples pieces on top.

Bake for 15- 20 minutes.  Cool in the tray for 5 minutes.

Dust with icing sugar , and a little cinnamon.

It’s Porridge Week- Have many ways can I use thee??

We have porridge every morning during the school year. It’s quick, easy and does the job of keeping tummies full and minds alert for the morning’s work ahead.  We all have it different ways; mine with fruits and a scant spoon of sugar, others with milk and weetabix on top.

Porridge is a staple in Ireland for many people now due to reports of it’s health properties. The other positive side is that it comes at a very reasonable cost.  We like the Organic Flahavans Porridge.  There are two reasons for this.  Firstly as we eat organically as much as is possible. And secondly it is grown locally.  These oat fields have no pesticides or other chemicals sprayed on them.  Thereby making the immediate environment also a better place to be and live with your community.
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This week, it being porridge week, I decided to experiment a little.  And have porridge or some form of it with every meal. Breakfast was the easiest of course.

And the bread was not too much of a stretch either.  I make this bread at least twice a week, and the family love it best when I reduce the amount of wholemeal flour and add some white and, more importantly, porridge flakes.
Brown Bread

Dinner was more of a challenge.  It would have been easy to simply use the oat flakes scattered on top of a cottage pie, or instead of barley in an Irish Stew.  I decided to go with a family favourite- homemade chicken goujons and give them a twist.  I whizzed up the porridge to make the crumb coating.  And,  if I’m honest if was far superior in taste to the usual crumb coating consisting of ritz crackers.

Then there was the final sweet touch.  I had only recently blogged about my most favourite apple crumble. So an alternative was found.  I added them to my blueberry financiers.  To much acclaim I might add.  So these will also be staying on the menu so to speak.  But even though they contain both porridge and blueberries, it would be a stretch to have them as breakfast.

All recipes will be blogged in the coming weeks, so keep tuned this way, but if you just can’t wait, contact me here.


Our Waterford Greenway Adventure

I’m not a great cyclist, the balance just isn’t entirely there.  So when I suggested taking the newly opened Waterford Greenway from the Workhouse in Kilmacthomas, to Dungarvan by bike one Sunday, the family went along with my enthusiasm. There’s lots of parking in the Workhouse, and toilets aswell FYI.  The bikes were unhitched, we hiked up our padded pants and off we went.

The first stretch is really beautiful, the trail winds over the main Cork Waterford road, and onto the viaduct. This part is quite busy but there’s lots of room for walkers and cyclists alike.  It’s still a bit confusing on who’s on which side. but I’m sure we’ll all figure it out- eventually.

Having run some of the various parts I recognised vistas and crossings, but it was really good to do the whole journey as one.  I had, in a moment of madness thought that once it was finished I would aim to run from the start to the finish.  But I fear I’m being too ambitious and that even cycling the whole way might take training and time.


Our aim was to get to Dungarvan for lunch, but due to some jigs and reels of delay before we started, we didn’t make Dungarvan until just before three. We had planned to eat in the Moorings Dungarvan Bar.  There’s parking for the bikes so we didn’t need to worry about locks etc.  But I think Santa probably needs to bring us some anyway.  As you can imagine we were delighted to sit down on something NOT a bicycle seat and the snug suited us perfectly.  Even if we weren’t completely famished we would have said the food was top class. My fish and chips were so light and tasty, between the smell of the seaweed as we cycled through the town, and my meal, I really felt on holiday.


The portion sizes were perfect for three hungry cyclists, mind you I didn’t even have room for pudding, although, ahem, one member of the party did try the chocolate cake.  And judging by the speed it was inhaled, it was as good as the main courses.

So back on the road we went, this time I stayed behind the others as my wheel was definitely turning like a square at this stage and it was decided to meet at Durrow carpark.  I was very thankful as every rotation of the wheel on the bike felt like I was going over a ramp!

Tips for the Greenway:

Make sure your bike is in good order if cycling, and wear a helmet

Patience is required at times when you are in the busy parts

Between the access points it’s easier going traffic wise, and you can take time to smell the roses and appreciate the view

Eat in the Moorings Dungarvan!

This link to the Greenway website should help you with all other information you might need.

I’m really looking forward to the rest of it being open.  But might stick to completing it in stages, for the moment anyway!






Crispy Beef Chilli Stir fry Recipe

Stir fry for me is a mid week fail safe.

Crispy Beef Chilli Stir Fry 

Beef Stir Fry

350g of thinly cut steak. Take your time with this step

2 tablespoons of cornflour

1 teaspoon of smoked paprika

50ml sunflower oil

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 red chilli, thinly sliced (optional)

2 spring onions, sliced, green and white parts separated

2 garlic cloves, crushed

thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated

3 tablespoons of  rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon of soya sauce

2 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce

2 tablespoons of tomato puree

Noodles to serve


Put the beef in a bowl and toss in the cornflour and paprika. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan until hot, then add the beef and fry until golden and very crisp. Scoop out the beef and drain on kitchen paper. Pour away all but 1 tablespoon oil.

Beef Stir Fry

Add the peppers, half the chilli, the white ends of the spring onions, garlic and ginger to the pan. Stir-fry for 3 mins to soften, but don’t let the garlic and ginger burn. Mix the vinegar, soy, chilli sauce and ketchup in a jug with 1 tablespoon water, then pour over the veg. Bubble for 2 mins, then add the beef back to the pan and toss well to coat. Serve the beef on noodles, if you like, the green parts of the spring onions.

Beef Stir Fry

Crispy Beef Stir Fry


Apple Crumble

Apple crumble is one of life’s best comfort foods. It ticks all the boxes, especially when served with custard, ice cream, or on special occasions, both.

Originally designed to cope with the rationing of ingredients during World War II.  This dish can contain a myriad of ingredients, both sweet and savoury. And also a kaleidoscope of toppings. But for me, especially at this time of the year, it has to be homegrown apples, with a simple butter, sugar and flour crumble mix.

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The only addition to luxury I include is the sautéeing of the apples in a golden caramel. I feel this gives an extra layer of flavour to the apples.  But they can be simply peeled, sliced and added to the dish, without the pre cooking.

Traditional Apple Crumble


575g Apples, peeled, cored and sliced to 1 cm thick

2 tablespoons caster sugar

25g butter

For the crumble

175g plain flour

110g golden caster sugar

110g cold butter


Preheat the oven to 1900C. Melt the butter with the sugar and put in a frying pan and heat until the butter melts. Stir the sugar and butter together and add the sliced apples. Once starting to soften, and the apples are turning golden then put in the baking dish.
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Put the flour and *crumble* sugar in a bowl with a good pinch of salt, slice in the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like moist breadcrumbs.  Shake the bowl and any big bits will come to the surface – rub them in.  Alternatively, pulse in a processor until like breadcrumbs (don’t over-process).

Pour the crumb mix over the apples to form a pile in the centre.  Gently press the surface with the back of the fork so the crumble holds together and goes crisp, then lightly drag the fork over the top for a decorative finish.

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Set on a baking tray and put in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden and the apples feel very soft when you insert a small, sharp knife. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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My Pommes Boulangère Recipe

If I choose a gratin to make on a Autumn evening, chances are it’s going to be dauphinoise. But in the interest of research, and a small thought of trying to be a bit healthier monday to friday, I chose Pommes Boulangère.

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As my thoughts turn to Autumn…

I’m a big fan of Autumn, well the leaves gently falling/ cool breeze/ blackberry picking type weather.  Not the hurricane winds and apocalyptic rain weather.  It’s a good time to take a step back and review the years progress to date.  So how am I doing?

Autumn leaves in the Garden

Autumn leaves in the Garden

Could be better, could be worse.  I loved my running in June.  I really felt that it was an achievement to run every day for thirty days.  After a couple of niggly injuries I’m back running about every second day, and really enjoy that time out.

The after run glow!

Post Run smiles!

Lots of friends have started back on their fitness journeys, be it spinning, or the Waterford Winter Running league.  I’ve love to do a class, and have been wanting to learn Italian for a long time.  So I might look into this.

And my horse is getting more attention.  She’s *thrilled*. She actually is not a fan of the hot summers either, so this weather kinda suits her too, plus she’s very aware after 11 years that I’m not the biggest fan of riding in the pouring rain, so chances are every now and then she gets a day *off*.  Mind you, considering she really only *works* for about 45 minutes 5 days a week, you could hardly say she has a hard life!


So….. we are going out today, are we?

The kids have settled back to school, and the ‘ol exam year study is going well.  Even if I’m sometimes juggling the mathematical analysis of ph of water that is changing temperature, and a vegetarian menu for a day. It’s all good. Not that we ever watch much TV, but it’s a no go area during the week, so we are *hopefully* getting more done.

Aims for the next three months?

Up my running game

Add a few weights (need guidance on this- apply here)

Make a “Cake of the week” slot for my Facebook page

Spend time with family, extended especially!

Do more foraging

Take my orienteering to another level once I’m fitter.

Enter a race

Enter a horsey competition

Sit down every now and then……





Cheat’s Mushroom & Ricotta Tart Recipe

I love mushrooms, and pastry, and this little dinger of a recipe combines both.  Mushrooms are technically in season at the moment, but it is easy to get mushrooms all year round now. You can, absolutely make your own puff pastry, be my guest.  But for a weeknight dinner, I wouldn’t have the time, nor the energy.  And although I make all other types of pastry, puff and filo I tend to leave to the experts, except on a rare occasion.

Cheat’s Mushroom & Ricotta Tart


1 sheet ready-rolled puff pastry

2 tablespoons of olive oil

500g of mushrooms, preferably mixed type

2 garlic cloves, 1 finely sliced, 1 crushed

250g tub of ricotta

good grating of nutmeg

Fresh Herbs

50g of Rocket


Heat oven to 200oC and place a baking sheet inside.  Unroll the pastry onto a piece of baking parchment and score a border around the pastry about 1.5cm in from the edge.  Place the pastry (still on the parchment) on the baking sheet and cook for 10-15 mins.

Easy Mushroom Tart

Scoring the Pastry

While the pastry bakes, heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the mushrooms for 2-3 mins, in batches, stirring occasionally.  Add the sliced garlic, then cook for 1 min more to get rid of excess liquid.

Easy Mushroom Tart

Mixing the ricotta, garlic and nutmeg

Mix the crushed garlic with the ricotta and nutmeg, then season well. Remove the pastry from the oven and carefully push down the risen centre. Spread over the ricotta mixture, then spoon on the mushrooms and garlic. Bake for 15 mins.
Easy Mushroom Tart

Served with rocket for that little bit of colour. And a drizzle of olive oil to make it look great.

Easy Mushroom Tart

Looks good enough to eat


Me, myself and my GPS

You would think, as an “orienteerer” that I would instinctively know location and direction at all times. Sadly not. Unless either up a mountain, or in a forest- I can’t seem to find my way out of the proverbial paper bag.

So I rely on several GPS devices.  Firstly the Garmin in my car.  Can’t go anywhere without it.  And that’s not to say I’m good at using it either.  But between us we’ll find our way.  I’m ok if I have the address to plug in, or have the location stored in Favourites.  But if I have to actually locate it on the map.  Nah. I canny do it Captain.

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Apricot and Basil Frangipane Tart Recipe

I ‘m a fan of frangipane. And never would have been drawn to it when I was younger.  But for me it’s almost a perfect combination of spongelike texture with a pastry base. A match made in heaven once there isn’t an over-powering taste of almond essence. Ugh. Double ugh in fact.

The earliest mention is in a French Cookbook in 1674! Some believe that the name bears homage to St. Francis of Assisi. That a noblewoman named Jacopa da Settesoli brought some to him on his death bed in 1226.

Apricot & Basil Frangipane Tart

Apricot & Basil Frangipane Tart Prep

I like to make this tart a little hap hazard, no need for perfect pastry crust or to get the ruler out to measure the distance between the apricots. So I suppose it’s a pie really. The basil gives a lovely perfume to the apricot filing.  And somehow makes it a little less sweet, which, unlikely as it seems, is a good thing!

Apricot and Basil Frangipane Tart


200g plain flour

100g butter (from the fridge)

50g caster sugar

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

For the frangipane

100g soft butter

100g  caster sugar

2 eggs

140g ground almonds

75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

About 5 basil leaves

8-10 apricots, stoned and quartered

To serve

Icing sugar, softly whipped cream and vanilla bean paste


To make the pastry, mix the flour, butter and a pinch of salt into your food processor.  Pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Add the sugar and pulse again. Add the vanilla, egg and 1-2 tablespoons of cold water, and pulse until the dough just comes together.  Tip out and shape into a disc.  Chill for 30 minutes, then roll out the pastry between two sheets of greaseproof paper, as this pastry is very crumbly.  Line a loose-bottomed tart tin with the pastry, pressing it into the sides. Chill for at least 30 mins.

Meanwhile, prepare the frangipane.  Using electric beaters if you have them, beat the butter until creamy, then add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition, then stir in the almonds, flour, and the torn basil leaves.

Heat oven to 160oC fan 4 and put in a baking tray to heat. Spoon the frangipane into the tart case and smooth. Poke the apricots into the frangipane. Bear in mind it’s a very rustic tart.

Transfer to the baking tray, in the oven, and bake for 40-50 mins (cover with foil after 30 mins if the tart is getting too dark) until the fruit is tender and a skewer poked in the frangipane comes out clean.

Leave the tart to cool in the tin for 10 mins, then transfer to a wire rack.  Serve warm or cold, dusted with icing sugar, with a dollop of softly whipped cream mixed with a little vanilla bean paste, if you like.