Thursday, 13 November 2014

Fresh Lemony Lemonade

So I'll go ahead and state the obvious that it has been more than a little while. Life has been getting in the way for the last few months and without saying too much with a mini Molly on the way in March, things have been hectic. Minimal baking, cooking or creativity to be reported and to be quite honest 'E-D' hasn't been 'doing' too much in the kitchen at all. But the haze of eternal sickness has now lifted, energy levels are beginning to recover, I can happily report, I am alive, feeling great and reporting for duty.

I blew the dust of my Canon at the weekend, dug out my tripod and re-familiarised myself with a supermarket, I am happy to report, it felt good getting back in the saddle. Why Lemony Lemonade in November you ask? Well although I would agree it is indeed more of a summer sizzler thirst solution, red wine isn't on the cards at the moment, and anything drinkable that attacks by taste buds is a welcome distraction to the absence of alcohol at Sunday lunch.


Fresh Lemony Lemonade

Ingredients
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
1 cup lemon juice (approx 3 large lemons)
3 cups of cold water (to dilute)

Method
1. Start by making the sugar syrup. Add the sugar to 1 cup of water and place in a 
    saucepan. Continue to heat until all of the sugar has dissolved. Add the zest of two  
    lemons to the syrup when heating for extra zing.
2. Meanwhile, juice the lemons.
3. Strain the sugar syrup solution and pour into a large pitcher. Add the lemon juice, and 
    cold water a little at a time, tasting as you go for the perfect level of bitter/sweetness for
    your taste buds.
4. Serve over ice with a straw.

Simple as it may seem, no matter what time of the year, nothing beats freshly made lemonade. The key is dissolving the sugar over heat, otherwise when you add it to the lemonade solution all the sugary goodness sinks to the bottom. Make sure you add a few slices of fresh lemon for the wow factor and hold on to a few pretty jars to serve it for the ultimate non-alcoholic treat.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Spotted Zebra Birthday Cake

This evening I thought I would share this funky 30th birthday cake I put together for a friends birthday a couple of weeks ago. Shopping, fitness and fun were what I was given as a brief and here is what I came up with. This cake is made up of an 8inch base, 5 inch middle tier and 3 inch top tier. I opted for red velvet as the bottom and largest tier and chocolate cake with chocolate fudge icing for the other two. 

I created a zebra print effect on the bottom tier by layering black and white fondant. Using a circle cutter and 5 shades of purple I went for a polka dot theme on the second tier. The board is a large 13inch board which allowed me to add a birthday message and additional fondant
decoration which reflected the birthday girls personality. 




Thursday, 10 July 2014

Tomato and Tuna Miniature Quiches

After a lovely evening with my wonderful other half, and a nice dinner out on the town, one would think I had my fill of indulging in deliciousness. Alas, when I arrived home I thought what better way to top of the evening than share these fantastic miniature quiches I made at the weekend. These quiches are one of my all time favourite summer time foods. Served with a tasty spinach and rocket salad, these little quiches melt in the mouth and will leave you looking for more. Don't be put off by the pastry, I had these made, cooked and eaten in under an our......impressive.


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Dark Chocolate and Cream Cheese Mousse

I had a great weekend at home in the west with my parents. Sun, food, wine and family made for a tasty and relaxed break after a full on work week. This incredible dessert was the result of sheer determination to use these fantastic Martini glasses that I got as an engagement gift (over a year and a half ago). I wanted to create something really visual and striking as the finalĂ© to a pretty spectacular three course meal. This mousse fitted the bill nicely. All in all, the mousse is easy to prepare and the impressive stripes of sugary bliss make for good dinner conversation!


Friday, 4 July 2014

Cats & Dogs Birthday Cake

Last night and this morning I was busy with this weekend's cake order. The brief was from a colleague in work who was looking for a fun and colourful cake for a very special 2 year old's birthday. The lucky girl in question loves cats, dogs and going to the park. This fun two tiered creation is what I came up. The 'starburst' on top gives the cake some extra colour and height. The cake is comprised of a 5 inch bottom tier (4 inches in height) and a 4 inch top tier (4 inches in height). Chocolate cake was the order of the day, with my favourite chocolate fudge icing inside. 



Monday, 30 June 2014

Salmon & Asparagus Cream Cheese Pasta

This dish is another quick and easy dinner that is ready in minutes and is great for busy
evenings when you get home a little later. Salmon is a great alternative to meat if your in need of a change and is a source of high quality protein and omega 3 fatty acids, so brilliant for your brain. This is a really great value dish and can be put together for less than €5 (so no excuses to all you students and frugal friends out there!). This recipe will more than feed two hungry adults and I usually have a little left over for my lunch the next day.




















Thursday, 26 June 2014

Brie & Bacon Muffins with Spinach

Over the past week I have been making a really conscious effort to omit excess sugar from my diet. My sugar addiction had reached a new high when I was craving skittles and cakes by 10.30am in work, not a good look. I knew that something had to give. As many of my readers know I am a big fan of all things sweet so I can reveal that in essence the first two days of my sugar free life were exceptionally difficult. However as day three rolled around the cravings began to subside and my sugar free situation became less grim and depressing. This evening I decided to do something a little foreign to me, I made myself a non-sweet treat. These muffins have a lovely crisp texture on top, filled with the delicious flavours of salted bacon teamed with creamy brie. If that doesn't sound wonderful enough, you can of course marry this flavour combination with a generous teaspoon of tomato relish....genius.

I know they say 'everything in moderation' and what do you know they were right, there is life after sugar! Don't get me wrong, I definitely wouldn't be cut out for a sugar free life but I think having a little less sugar, a little more often, may just be the key to appreciating sugary heaven that little bit more.


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