December 4, 2011

Chocolate Tiffin Christmas Puddings: Easy Edible Christmas Gifts

 I remember when I was a child seeing the incredible Christmas cakes that my mother would make taking centre stage on the Christmas Table. When the time came to remove the ribbon, little glittery trees and Santa figurines we would all be so excited with the thought of what lay beneath the thick white icing. The disappointing reality was that under that icing was a thick layer of homemade marzipan and a fruit cake soaked in brandy and full of plump sultanas and nuts. Of course nowadays I realise that those cakes were works of art, a labour of love that my mother had spent hours preparing and mixing. As children we just presumed that these incredible cakes would be made from chocolate; but sadly no. The same went for Christmas Puddings, I so wished they were made from solid chocolate. A few days ago I got that sinking feeling when I saw a TV advert for Christmas Pudding and I realised that now that I am a grown up I can make chocolate puddings if I want, Yessssssss. And thats how these gorgeous tiffin christmas puddings came to be made. The perfect little present for the chocolate lover in your life!

November 29, 2011

Mini Panettone : Easy Edible Christmas Gifts

Above: Macadamia, White Chocolate and Cranberry Panettone & Mini Chocolate & Almond

Lately I've become addicted to baking Panettone. Baking them and eating them that is. They have to be one of the most comforting of Christmas recipes. The warm yeast rising and the mixture of spices fills the house with the nicest of smells. No candle could compete with the toasted Macadamia, White chocolate and Cranberry beauty that I made recently. Mixed Spice and Raisin, dark Chocolate and Orange. The different flavour combinations are endless. I decided to make some small ones to give as part of  some Christmas hampers. One of these with a little jar of flavoured butter (cointreau, rum or brandy) makes a gorgeous gift and if not eaten straight away they can be toasted for breakfast or transformed into a luxurious bread & butter pudding!

November 11, 2011

Quick Pumpkin Soup

I love soup weather. When it's freezing outside and gets dark at five in the afternoon then there's nothing better than a mug of soup just before dinner. I love having soup while I'm waiting for dinner to cook. It's like a vegetable smoothie full of nutrients and healthy garlic and onions.And also sometimes cream. Ahem. This soup is great though because it has ginger, garlic and coconut milk and it uses up any leftover tinned pumpkin that you might have from making the pumpkin muffins. Win win!

October 27, 2011

Easy and Gorgeous Pumpkin Muffins

I spent all of last week in Dublin to launch MakeBakeLove and was delighted to be able to wander around one of my favourite food haunts Fallon & Byrne. I picked up two tins of pumpkin puree, for once I'll be ready for Halloween! I decided to make Pumpkin Muffins. Pumpkin Pie is still on my list of must bakes; Donal Skehans' gorgeous version is here.
This recipe only uses 100g of the tinned pumpkin, I'll post a recipe next week on a gorgeous soup that you can make with the remaining pumpkin!

October 23, 2011

'Make Bake Love' is out!

The book is now finally out! Yay! It's incredible to see stacks of MakeBakeLove in bookshops all over the country. Even though it only came out on Friday I've already had loads of people baking from it and letting me know what their favourites from the book are. It really is so exciting to be able to share the book with people who have never seen the blog and to see so many people getting back to baking! Massive thanks to all at Gill & MacMillan and to the brilliant Kristin who copy edited the whole book for me. She has her own lovely blogs Edible Ireland and Dinner du Jour and co-founded The Irish Food Bloggers Association. It was an incredible stroke of luck to have such a talented perfectionist on my team!
I was also really lucky that my boyfriend Colm took the photos of me for the book, seeing the photo he took on the cover really makes it for me!
If you can't make it to a bookshop and want to order online then here's a list of places where you can get it. I'm told it's out of stock at the moment on Amazon so these are your best bet!

Also some brilliant news: The book has been shortlisted for Best Irish Published Book Of The Year! I'd love if you took the time to vote for MakeBakeLove here. Thanks a million!
Lilly x

October 12, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Two of my sisters celebrate their Birthdays today! Hooray! So Happy Birthday to big sister Ettie and small sister Raedi! I made one of my favourite cakes from my book MakeBakeLove which will be out next week, it's so exciting to see it all printed and bound. Being able to flick through it and look at all the photos is great. It's like having the blog come to life!
This cake is the ultimate celebration. Peanut butter and chocolate is a winning combination. Covering the inside of the tins with chopped nuts adds a lovely texture and flavour, but you can just use flour if you like. To go totally overboard, you could pile some mini chocolate peanut butter drops or chocolate-covered nuts on top. A salty-sweet dream cake!

September 14, 2011

Chocolate and Coconut Granola

I usually make this granola in huge batches and it lasts about two weeks. I really love it and feel very virtuous knowing that it's sugar free and jam packed with nuts and fruit. But... I recently bought The Vintage Tea Party by Angel Adore and as if by fate the book opened on page 26; This glorious chocolate and coconut granola! It's really easy to make and is highly addictive. I told myself that this could be my 'weekend breakfast' but by Tuesday I was adding a little to my sugar free granola, then by Friday the stuff was gone!
It makes a gorgeous dessert layered with yogurt and fruit. And amazingly it really does turn the milk a chocolatey colour!

September 12, 2011

Prudence Magazine Article!

This month there's a four page spread of my house in Prudence magazine! I'm delighted that my gorgeous dog Bo got to be in it, even though she was beside herself with excitement she does look calm in the photos, phew!Thanks to Annette O'Meara who wrote the article and Paul Sherwood for the lovely photos.
Lilly x

September 2, 2011

Free Calender Desktop Background: September

A few months ago a blog reader emailed me asking if I could send her a high resolution photo of one of the cakes on the blog so that she could use it as a desktop background on her computer. She said that it would brighten up her office and I've been sending her photos ever since! So now I've decided to make it 'official' and I've added a calender so that you too can have a lovely desktop background!
I love doing things like this and putting it all together so will  upload a calender each month, I actually can't wait to do a Toffee Apple one for Halloween and a Coconut Snowball one for Christmas! Hurray!
For September's calender I've used two of my favourite flower photos (above). It's actually the same bunch of flowers but one is a close up of the sage, fennel leaves and flower.  You can download them on Flickr:

I'm using Flickr as I think thats probably the easiest way to download them. I'm going to move the calender up slightly this evening so it should suit all general computer screens.
Have a lovely weekend!
Lilly x

August 15, 2011

Easy Indian Flatbread & The Loaves & Fishes August Menu

UPDATE: The Supper Club is now booked out for August and as I'm going on maternity leave we're taking a break till next year but I'll keep the blog updated about future events! Thanks! x
Mango Fool with Coconut Biscuits
  I've been doing loads of cooking and recipe testing in preparation for the next (and last for a while!) Loaves & Fishes Supper. As usual there will be a loose theme and the planned summery evening will be Indian! Nothing will be too crazy hot or spicy so everyone should enjoy it. I'm using the amazing spices from Green Saffron, a Cork based company that import and mix the most amazing fresh spices.

  • Cucumber and Elderflower Champagne Cocktail
  • Mini Poppadums with fresh mint, red onion and mango chutneys
  • Chola Tikki (Indian Falafel) with salad
  • Green Saffron Red Lentil Dahl with Pilau Rice, Banana Raita and Coriander Flatbreads
  • Mango Fool with Coconut Biscuits
  • Tea & Coffee with Eastern Mendiants
Everything is homemade and it was great to practice making everything, especially the flatbreads! I've included the recipe below.I think they'd be perfect with dill added for a greek meal or chilli flakes. It's similar to a scone recipe and very versatile.

July 31, 2011

Brilliant News & The Best Chocolate Cake

So some brilliant news to kick off the week! We have a publishing date for the Make,Bake,Love book: 21st October and to top off all the excitement of that we're having a baby in December! Yay! We're so delighted and can't wait for both brilliant new arrivals; book and baby! So I'm taking 'maternity leave' from the Supper Club for a few months, August is our last and is fully booked. We are having a Tea Party in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland in the supper club on 27th August and there's still places left, Read about it here! To celebrate here's the most amazing chocolate cake recipe, it's flourless, a dream to make and tastes even better when kept in the fridge overnight. Hurray!

July 23, 2011

Come to our fundraising Tea Party for Down Syndrome Ireland!

We are having an afternoon tea party and you are all invited!
My sister Raedi and my Dad are two of the 150 cyclists completing the Tour de Munster, an epic 600km cycle, over 4 days, taking in every county in Munster. The Tour is in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland, a brilliant organisation which provides information and advice, influences policy, raises public awareness and works towards the improvement of education and services for children and adults with Down syndrome.
Each cyclist pays their own way on the Tour and has to raise 1000 euro for DSI. So we've decided to do what we love doing the most: bake! We're transforming our usual supper club venue into a tea parlour for the afternoon. There will be loads of delicous sandwiches, cakes and tea!
Tickets to the party are 20 euro and all of this goes toward our fundraising target.

Our Afternoon Tea party will take place on Saturday the 27th August from 2 - 4pm.
Please email Raedi at if you'd like to come along! Thanks & see you there! x

July 17, 2011

Cider soaked Ham: Perfect for every occasion!

My mother always seems to have a ham in the fridge. It's the best thing ever. As you're waiting for dinner to cook or whatever you can cut a slice off, spread it with mustard and down the hatch. But it's not just for snacking: a few slices of ham with new potatoes, parsley sauce & spring cabbage is amaaazing. A sandwich made with real crusty sourdough, mustard, a strong cheddar and some of this beautiful smoked ham is the nicest lunch ever. When you don't feel like cooking a dinner on warm summer nights just assemble a ploughman's platter: basically anything that's in the fridge will work. Pickles, salads, cheese and a little dip made by mixing some honey with mayonnaise and mustard. It's so nice! I actually am not big into meat, I don't really like beef or chicken but real cooked ham will always have a place in my heart. It was always a mystery to me how my mother cooked the ham but she told me how the other day and I went out and got some of my own in The English Market in Cork.

What you'll need:
1 piece of ham (mine was around ten euro, I forgot to weigh it)
6 allspice berries
4 cloves
1 tin cider
1 oven proof pot with a lid

Simply place everything into the pot, cover and place in an oven preheated to 180C for 1 hour.
And that's it! Oh and it also makes a gorgeous addition to eggs benedict!
Lilly x

July 7, 2011

Flowery Ice Cubes to make your day!

I know now that there are much more important things going on in the world but every now and again it's great to just immerse yourself in a seemingly trivial project like.... Floral Icecubes! Yes! It's barbeque and afternoon tea party season. Jugs of lemonade are made even more gorgeous with some citrus slices suspended in ice. Pitchers of Elderflower cordial are unbearablely cute with little borage ice cubes. The possibilities are endless! I've looked on the internet at lots of different variables so don't worry; You don't have to now!

June 15, 2011

Incredible Cauliflower Cake

I try to have at least four vegetarian dinners a week. The inspiring  Plenty book from Ottolenghi is a must have for anyone trying to cut back on meat and eat more vegetables. I never really like cauliflower except for when it's done like this, pureed and mixed with parmesan. This cake really showcases cauliflower and is lovely the following day too, it's works really well for packed lunches aswell as for dinner with a green salad.
This is a brilliant recipe to have for the vegetarian in your life that is sick of risotto and quorn etc. It's such an unusual mixture of ingredients: Nigella seeds, basil, cheese, cauliflower. But it all comes together beautifully somehow!
Lilly x

Here's the recipe!

June 10, 2011

Pikelets with Plum Jam

Last night I was scanning the many TV channels and as usual nothing was on but then. THEN. I came across Bill Granger making these adorable pikelets. He is so upbeat, pleasant, sunny and, well, Australian. I always love Australian people and love their laid back attitude (not to be generalising or anything but they're all lovely aren't they?). Pikelets are an Australian little pancake. They are absolutely beautiful and this gorgeous recipe uses wholemeal flour. Thaaaaaanks Bill Granger.

May 20, 2011

The May Loaves&Fishes Menu

Last Saturday night I went to a lovely pop up supper club in Ballymaloe Cookery School held by Gill Hegarty. It was brilliant to go to someone elses supper and Gill really pulled out all the stops! Her homemade ravioli was amazing and  I actually can't stop thinking about the beef carpaccio with beetroot and horseradish sauce! There were 4 courses and for dessert she made an almond, prune and brandy tart which was absolutely gorgeous! I must get that recipe. Gill is hoping to do the supper club once a month and you can find out more on her facebook page.
Meanwhile I have the menu for next weekends supper all planned out. One thing I definitely learned from going to Gill's supper is that I was so full by the end of the night! I give people massive portions so I actually need to tone it down a bit! I'll be emailing everyone who's booked in with the finer details on Sunday. Hopefully the weather will be nice and summery and will set the tone for this middle eastern delight of a night!

Mezze Plate (Hummus, Dukkah, Olives from The English Market, Beetroot dip & pittas)
Green Salad
Ottolenghis' Open Kibbeh, Carrot Salad, Tzatziki & Green Couscous
Strawberries with hibiscus tea, vanilla cream and Pistachio shortbread
Almond and Orangeflower Moroccan Snake
Tea & Coffee

I've put a link to the kibbeh above, it's unbelievably tasty. I've made it a few times now, it works really well as a packed lunch/picnic and is lovely warm in a pitta bread with salad too.
The Moroccan snake (in the photos above) is a gorgeous theatrical pastry that I learned to make in Ballymaloe. It's really lovely with strong coffee or Mint tea. I love the idea of having one of these on each table when we serve the coffees!
Lilly x

May 3, 2011

Homemade Christening Cake

I love a challenge! So a few weeks ago when my friend Susan asked me to make her baby Oscar's christening cake I was delighted. I hadn't made a proper big celebration cake before so couldn't wait to get started on it. It was a joint Christening between Oscar and baby Lauren so hence the pink and blue! I bought a set of flower cutters from a kitchen shop in Cork and must warn you that making sugar paste flowers is addictive! I bought a block of sugar paste and added food dye to colour it 6 different shades of pink and blue.I then watched Beverly Hill Cop II and made over one hundred little flowers. Best Friday night in ever.
I made the cake a few weeks ago but still have some of the left over flowers in a jar for when I'm making cupcakes or something! Very handy and I made some in light yellow that look like primroses. Someone's been bitten by the sugarcraft bug.

April 25, 2011

The April Loaves&Fishes Menu

Disastrous Update: Unfortunately we had to cancel the April supper club as my week of flu turned into pleurisy and I ended up going to hospital. My trip to A&E only took 4 1/2 hours which I thought was great really. I always thought it would take way longer. Anyway I spent my Easter holidays in bed and there was such nice weather and all. I felt like the sickly little boy in The Secret Garden. I'll be a weakling for the next two weeks or so but should be in flying form just in time for May's supper! So sorry to everyone that couldn't come!x

Apologies for my blogging absence! I've been sick for the past week but the upside was that I got to look through all my cookery books and magazines as I lay on the couch. This menu has been planned within an inch of it's life! I always have a loose theme and this month is no different. I like the menu to flow and become a complete picture. The inspiration for next weekends supper is of course: The Royal Wedding! Don't worry there won't be corgi centre pieces and I won't be wearing Geri Halliwells union jack dress. The menu is inspired by Scottish, Welsh and English dishes using Irish products. And of course a liberal sprinkling of Romance for the weekend thats in it!

Princess & The Pea Soup
Ploughmans Platter with ham terrine, pickles and cheddar
Smoked Salmon, Leek and potato gratin with roast tomatoes & greens
Strawberries in Hibiscus with shortbread hearts and vanilla cream
RoyalTea: Queen Cakes and Regal Tiffin with Tea & Coffee

When we were in France last year I had the strawberries in Hibiscus Tea and it was amazing! So summery and fresh. Now I just need to find some gold leave or edible gold dust to sprinkle over the tiffin. Eeek! Exciting. It'll be gorgeous and I'll put recipes & photos on the blog afterwards.
Lilly x

April 14, 2011

Pea Falafel

According to Wikipedia: Falafel is a ball or patty made from ground chickpeas and/or fava beans. Falafel is usually served in a pita, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as lafa. The falafel balls are topped with salads, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, and drizzled with tahini-based sauces. Falafel balls may also be eaten alone as a snack or served as part of a meze.Generally accepted to have first been made in Egypt, falafel has become a dish eaten throughout the Middle East. Falafel is also often considered a national dish of Israel.

I absolutely love Falafel. They always remind me of Electric Picnic, queing in the rain for a pitta bread stuffed with glorious, just deep fried balls of herby chickpea. I found a gorgeous recipe for Pea Falafel in this months Delicious magazine, So I just had to try it! As usual I didn't have all the ingredients so ammended the recipe. I made double the amount and brought some to lunch the next day and froze some.Oh how gorgeous they were with carrot salad and greek yogurt. But now I can't stop thinking about the ones in the freezer. I should probably take them out and cook them tonight? You're right.

The Perfect Falafel Dinner for Two:
  • Yogurt: Mix a few tablespoons of Greek yogurt with a tablespoon of dried dill, 1 crushed garlic clove, a squeeze of lemon juice & a pinch of salt. Combine well and drizzle with a good olive oil.
  • Carrot Salad: Mix 2 tbsp lemon juice with some olive oil, salt and black pepper. Grate three carrots and pour over the dressing. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
  • A mixed green salad or rocket
  • 4 wholemeal pitta breads, warmed in the oven
  • As many falafel as you want

April 5, 2011

Wake up to Sugarfree Granola

Lately I've stopped having porridge in the morning as the weather has been so nice so I decided to make a huge batch of toasty oaty granola. I really wanted a healthy recipe and not something loaded with sugar. I found a gorgeous recipe in The Rose Bakery cookbook. It's a sugar free granola that tastes as good as it looks. Full of nuts and sultanas. This stuff will keep you going till lunchtime I promise!
I love Granola and must have tasted nearly every type available trying to find the nicest one! My favourite is maple syrup & pecan granola but when I don't make that I love my Aunt Dee's granola. She sells all her 'Just Food' soups, pesto and hummus etc. in supermarkets all over the country but her organic Brazil nut and cranberry granola is only available at Midleton Market. I love it. It's made in small batches so always tastes toasty and fresh.
I only use sultanas and mixed nuts in my granola. I always find it very hard to get up in the morning, when my alarm goes off at 7 I always feel like I could sleep another four hours! The last thing I want to do is waste ten minutes of precious morning time by picking out the horrible candied papaya and sharp banana chips from my cereal bowl. I hate that stuff! So I suppose that really is the benefit with making your own food, you can control what you put in it and that makes me happy! I use the Flahavans organic oats. You can use the best of everything as it's so much cheaper than buying luxury granola. Score!