Tag Archives: easy

Banana Brownies

When you have too many bananas there’s only so much you can do.  Banana bread is the usual staple bake. It’s simple and cost effective.  And quick.  But this time I wanted to add more than the usual handful of chocolate drops into the mixture.  So I came up with this, equally easy,  but slightly more decadent recipe.

Bananas are the staple fruit of most households, and athletes.  when we go any major orienteering event there must be hundreds upon hundreds of bananas consumed. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and vitamin B6, fibre and carbohydrate, and supply some vitamin C. Since they have a lower water content than most fruit, bananas typically have more calories as well as a higher sugar content compared to other non-tropical fruits. This is good for those, like me, who will, no doubt be out on a mountain for quite some time!

Bananas are soothing to the digestion due to their high content of pectin – as soluble fibre that not only lowers cholesterol but normalises bowel function. The high fibre content of bananas helps you to feel full, another bonus if you will not see food again for some time.  No point being distracted from your running by a grumbling tummy!

The resistant starch in bananas also has a prebiotic effect, helping to keep gut bacteria happy by increasing the production of short chain fatty acids for digestive health. And you all by now know my obsession with healthy gut bacteria!

Banana Brownies

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My obsession with Pistachios continues….

I don’t really like nuts. In actual fact if I order a dessert and arrives with nuts (ALWAYS happens if you order a brownie), more often than not there’s an undeclared nut in it. Saying that, I have always eaten pistachios.  My poor Dad use to crunch his way down the drive if I had dropped any shells. This recipe ticks alot of boxes for me.

Chocolate √

Pistachios √

Smoked Salt √


Pistachios, I fear, like pinenuts are going to be a thing of the past at some stage due to climate change. So maybe this recipe will have to change for the next generation. Makes me just a little sad. More than a little sad if the truth be told.

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Filled Brown Butter Cookies

Brown butter seems like such a cheffy thing.  It’s not.  Promise. And really gives a depth of flavour.  Mind you, you can’t leave it alone while browning, and it’s a little like caramel.  Turn your back on it for one second and it’s gone too far.

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My Chewy Chocolate Cookie Recipe

Even though everyone is probably sweeted out in January. A nice dark chocolate, Soft and Chewy, goes down very well with a nice coffee.

These are simple to make, and keep either cooked and frozen, or un-cooked and frozen.  Everybody needs a good cookie recipe in their repertoire.

The secret is the best quality chocolate and some leftover Christmas chocolate that noone really thinks they could/should eat.

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Chicken Thighs & Asparagus Recipe

I’m aware always of using ingredients that are

A) Seasonal

b) local, or at least national

But I’ve a bit of a grá (love in Gaeilge- and perfectly describes my love of this veggie) for asparagus.  Every now and then it’s just the epitomy of luxury for me.  My father-in-law grows some in his garden.  It’s perfectly delicate, and the entire crop would usually fit in the palm of your hand.  So I have to purchase.  And try to do this around June/ July, when it IS in season in this part of the world.

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Strawberry Heaven in a tart

Who doesn’t associate strawberries with Summer? I know you can now get strawberries all year round, but honestly, there is NOTHING better than in season, local strawberries.  And as my love of pastry is always lurking somewhere beneath the surface, strawberries+ pastry= strawberry heaven.

As much as I always love my favourite recipes and make them often, it’s nice to try new things.  I picked up “The Boy Who Bakes”- Edd Kimber while in the UK on a trip.  Although I follow him on #Instagram, I had never seen him on TV on the GBBO, or tried one of his recipes.  Until now.

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Easy Apple Berry Charlotte Recipe

This Apple Charlotte recipe is loosely based on a Russian recipe.  Classic Russian cuisine abounded in nifty quick recipes for unexpected guests. This puffy dessert requires only sliced tart apples, a few handfuls of berries and a simple batter.  However as it takes so long to cook it would really only be suitable to serve to guests if you have advanced warning.  If they just popped in unexpectedly I’d probably go with scones…. 😉

Easy Apple Berry Charlotte Recipe

Apple Charlotte
100g butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan

40g plain dry bread crumbs

3 large eggs

60ml milk

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

280g caster sugar

225g plain flour

200g soft fruit

4 large firm tart apples—peeled, quartered, cored and thinly sliced crosswise

1 cup blueberries

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Icing Sugar for dusting


Preheat the oven to 180oC.

Butter a 10-inch oven proof frying pan and dust the bottom with the bread crumbs.

Apple Charlotte

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the milk, vanilla and 200g of the sugar.  Beat in the melted butter until well mixed, then beat in the flour until a thick batter forms.

In another large bowl, toss the cup of soft fruit with the sliced apples, cinnamon and the remaining sugar.

Apple Charlotte

Spread one-fourth of the batter in the prepared skillet and top with the apples and berries. Using an offset spatula, spread the remaining batter over the fruit in an even layer.

Apple Charlotte

Scatter the remaining 8 to 12 pieces of fruit on top and gently press them into the batter. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour, until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool completely, then dust with confectioners’ sugar. Slice into wedges and serve.


A dollop of crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.

Apple Charlotte

Apple Charlotte



French Toast for Mother’s Day

I know I’ve posted a French Toast recipe before, but this Rachel Allen one is so beautifully simple. So simple that anyone in the family could take it upon themselves to make it for, say Mother’s Day….

French Toast by Rachel Allen
This is my go-to book for simple quick recipes that taste of the flavours you’d expect of the dish. And with “traditional” French Toast you need not add anything except the 4 main ingredients. Then you can add all the fancy blueberries and maple syrup afterwards.

Mind you if you try to look up “French Toast Recipes” there’s a myriad to chose from.  This Guardian Article is excellent and very informative about alternatives if you chose to follow a different path to mine- so to speak….

Rachel Allen’s Simple French Toast


25g Butter

2 eggs (as fresh as possible)

2 tablespoons of cream or milk- use the cream.

thick slices of at least one day old white bread
French ToastMethod:

Put a heavy frying pan on the hob to heat and add some of the butter. Whisk the eggs and cream together in a shallow dish big enough to take the slices of bread.

Soak a slice of bread briefly in the egg mixture then turn over to soak the other side.  Lift up to drain off the excess liquid then place gently in the hot pan.  You may need to turn down the heat.  Let it cook away until you start to see the bottom turning golden.

French Toast
Flip over onto the other side. Cook for a further 2  minutes then put on a plate in a low oven to keep warm while you cook the other slices. Add more butter to the pan as necessary.

French Toast

NOTE: I usually make twice this recipe! But we are always hungry at breakfast

NOTE2: as a disclaimer- my wonderful daughter actually made these, I just watched and photographed.  She insisted, it was my birthday after all!

NOTE3: On the day I treated myself to a dollop of cream, some raspberries and slices of banana.

French Toast


Cauliflower and Macaroni Cheese

Pasta with cheese sauce casseroles have been around far longer than you imagine. In the 14th century in the Italian cookbook by Brian Liber de Coquina, one of the oldest medieval cookbooks, which featured a dish of parmesan cheese and pasta.  The oldest recorded recipe of a casserole with a cheese bechamel sauce, with pasta is from 1770.  But the doyenne of British cookery, Mrs Beeton, valued the dish so much that she put not one, but two versions of the now classic into her housekeeping book. Nowadays this type of cooking is classed as comfort food.  And there’s nothing at all wrong with that.

Cauliflower and Macaroni Cheese


300g macaroni

1 medium cauliflower, washed and cut into florets

75g butter

75g flour

600ml milk

150g your favourite cheddar, coarsely grated

75g breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon of herbes de provence

Heat the grill to its highest setting and bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta for 4 mins, then add the cauliflower for a further 8 mins. Drain, reserving 100ml of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium pan over a low heat and stir in the flour. Slowly pour in the milk, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken. Bubble for a few mins, then remove from the heat. Add the cheese, the reserved cooking water and seasoning to taste.

Tip the pasta and cauliflower into a large casserole dish and stir through the cheese sauce. Mix together the breadcrumbs and herbs and scatter over the top.
Grill for 5 mins until bubbling.

Tomato Soup – An Irish Summer in a Bowl

I love tomatoes.  Especially in soup.  And often at this time of year it’s the go to soup for a quick lunch.  And although there’s a teeny bit of washing up with this recipe, it doesn’t require the pain-stakingly arduous and time consuming task of peeling the tomatoes pre cooking. I like the Roma tomato variety, but sometimes you just use what’s available. They are a meatier variety so you may need more stock to get the right consistency.

Easy Tomato Soup


1.5kg of ripe Tomatoes

1 medium onion

1 medium carrot

1 stick of celery

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons of tomato purée

2 bay leaves

1.2 litres/ 2 pints hot vegetable stock (made with boiling water and 4 rounded tsp bouillon powder or 2 stock cubes).
Tomato Soup

Peel and chop the onion and the carrot. Chop the celery stick into roughly the same size pieces.

Add the olive oil into a large heavy-based pan and heat it over a low heat.  Add in the onion, carrot and celery and mix them together.  Season well.  Cover and leave to seat for 10 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally.

Tomato Soup

Holding the tube over the pan, squirt in about 2 tablespoons of tomato purée, then stir it around so it turns the vegetables red.  Quarter the tomatoes and slide them in off the chopping board.  Add the 2 bay leaves into a few pieces and throw them into the pan. Stir to mix everything together, put the lid on the pan and let the tomatoes stew over a low heat for 10 minutes until they shrink down in the pan and their juices flow nicely.  From time to time, give the pan a good shake – this will keep everything well mixed.
Tomato Soup

Slowly pour in the 1.25 litres of hot stock (or just water if you have no stock), stirring at the same time to mix it with the vegetables.  Turn up the heat as high as it will go and wait until everything is bubbling, then turn the heat down to low again and put the lid back on the pan. Cook gently for 25 minutes, stirring a couple of times. At the end of cooking the tomatoes will have broken down and be very slushy looking.

Remove the pan from the heat, take the lid off and stand back for a few seconds or so while the steam escapes, then fish out the pieces of bay leaf and throw them away. Ladle the soup into your blender until it’s about three-quarters full, fit the lid on loosely, covering with a teatowel and turn the machine on slow. . As the steam escapes you can increase the speed. Blitz until the soup’s smooth then pour the puréed soup through a sieve into a large bowl (A little poncy I know but the skins need to come out- it’s easier than peeling them, I promise). Repeat with the soup that’s left in the pan. (The soup may now be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost before reheating.)

Tomato Soup

Pour the puréed soup back into the pan and reheat it over a medium heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until you can see bubbles breaking gently on the surface.
Tomato Soup