Monday, 28 January 2013

Spinach and Chorizo Omelette

In preparation for a long day at work today I was really in the mood for something simple and delicious for breakfast to give me a great start to the day. I am attending day 4 of my 5 day course which started last week and it's proving a little tiring. To keep me going throughout the day, I thought an omelette would be a great start to kick me into action and get my brain working after a leisurely weekend. Now usually when I think omelette  I think big, stuffed with everything you can imagine and topped with melted cheddar cheese. So today, seeing as it's breakfast I decided I'd cut back on all the 'bold' things and try and be good by filling my omelette with delicious green spinach. This recipe is quick and easy to whip up, is incredibly tasty and boasts a high protein content while being low in saturated fat and carbohydrate.....the perfect start to a Monday morning!

Spinach and Chorizo Omelette

25g sliced chorizo
2 slices of bacon (fat trimmed) cut into small pieces
1 small onion (chopped finely)
2 handfuls of washed spinach
2 eggs

1. Heat a good non-stick frying pan. Once heated add the bacon to the pan and fry gently ( you 
    will not require any oil if using a non-stick frying pan).
2. Meanwhile whisk the eggs and set aside. Once the bacon is browned add the onion and 
    chorizo and cook until the onion is softened. 
3. Next add the spinach and cook until wilted.
4. Finally pour the beaten egg over the mixture and cook each side until golden brown.

E-D's Notes
This recipe is really simple and despite only containing 5 ingredients, really tasty. I really didn't miss the presence of the cheese and this healthier alternative to my usual omelette feasts has pleasantly surprised me. 

Saturday, 26 January 2013

MAC Make-Up Cake

This week I have been asked by a certain lovely colleague at work to make a special cake for her daughters up coming 30th Birthday. Unsure of what she wanted, we did a little brainstorming during the week and decided on an all together girly number. This cake was inspired by my love of all things make-up! This cake was such a wonderful opportunity to bring together some of the things in life I love the most.... sugar craft and cosmetics! 

The Exterior
The outside of this cake is made up of pink and brown roll out icing, carefully fitted over the cake to create a really dramatic façade.  I love the combination of brown and pink, and the bow detail, and vertical stripes really make the colours pop. On top, I modelled the make up bag from rice krispie squares, covered with roll out fondant icing which I finished with a quilted effect and embellished with cream pearls. The cosmetics are made from solid fondant carefully coloured with Americolor colourings. For the writing I used a very fine paintbrush along with a drop of black food colouring mixed with a drop of vodka.

The Interior
The cake itself is made up of two layer. Layer one, is a pink rice krispie cake, packed with marshmallows and white chocolate and then carefully coloured to a pretty and girly pink. Once set I covered the rice kripsie cake with a delicious white chocolate ganache, the recipe of which I shared when doing my Batman Cake. I used this ganache in order to fill in any gaps or concave parts of the cake. This meant I could achieve a really smooth finish when I applied the fondant icing on top. The second layer is a delicious carrot cake. Not just any carrot cake mind you...The carrot cake is made up of multiple layers, coloured brown and pink which tie in with the exterior of the cake perfectly! Sandwiched together with delicious cream cheese frosting this cake is incredibly moist, creamy and needless to say......delicious! The carrot cake recipe used was one I previously shared here, adapted slightly to achieve the internal striped design for the extra wow-factor! The handbag is made with chocolate rice krispie cake with marshmallows. As an alternative to ganache, I instead used Chocolate Philadelphia to smooth the outside of the cake which worked a treat and is surprisingly delicious! 

For enquires about cakes or an up and coming special event just drop me an email:

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Coconut Milk and Lime Beef Stew

This evening, I've been busy, cake making and tidying. Today was an unusually long day at work as I am currently on a 5 day course which is fascinating but exhausting. When I got home, a little wedding banter was followed by my daily trip to the kitchen to cook up something tasty for myself and Molly. Tonight's dish was whipped up in no time as I am a little under pressure trying to get the parts of this cake I am making together. Delicious Coconut Milk and Lime Stew. This dish is a cross between a stir-fry and a stew or casserole. I absolutely adore the flavour of coconut milk and the addition of the lime and chilli is the perfect blend of flavours.

Beef strips
Juice of half a lime
1 can of coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon of chilli flakes
6 mushrooms (diced)
4 cloves of garlic
1 onion (finely chopped)
Handful of mange tout
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

1. Heat a little oil in a wok. Add the onions and garlic and fry off until the onion is softened.
2. Next add the mushrooms and chilli flakes (or fresh chillies if preferred) allow to cook for a   
    further 1-2 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.
3. Add the beef and brown slightly before adding the coconut milk, lime juice and mange tout 
    and cook until the milk is heated.
4. Serve over rice, pasta or potato. I opted for rice, made as per the directions on the box.

E-D's Notes
- This dish can of course alternatively be made with chicken, turkey or pork. For vegetarians, 
   tofu or extra vegetables can also be used.
-  I like my beef pink or medium rare so don't like to cook my beef for too long. This is a 
   personal preference so cook your beef for as long as you feel it needs if you prefer your meat 
   cooked well done.

Monday, 21 January 2013

E-D's Cornish Pasty

Well what has been called 'Black Monday' is coming to a close. I've had a great evening working on a cake (post to come later in the week!) and watching movies with Molly. The weather today was somewhat treacherous, so it's lovely being wrapped up nice and cosy in the confines of our sitting room. Tonight's recipe is a first for me....a Cornish Pasty! After watching re-runs or the Great British Bake Off over the weekend, I had a sudden urge to give these delicious Cornish delights a go. I absolutely love mince, I love carrot and  needless to say I love pastry of any description, so Cornish Pasties will certainly be made again in our house, they went down an absolute treat!

E-D's Cornish Pasty

For the filling
2tsp olive oil
1 medium onion
250g minced beef
1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
200g carrot grated

For the pastry
170g flour
85g butter
pinch of salt
a little water

1. Heat oil in a pan and add the onion  cook for 5 mins until translucent.   
2. Add the mince and brown, add the Worcestershire sauce salt and pepper and cook for  
    20 minutes. Leave to the side to cool.  
3. In the mean time make your pastry. Put the flour into a bowl cut  the chilled butter into cubes 
    and add.  Rub them together with the tips of your fingers until it resembles bread crumbs.  
    Add cold water a little at a time and combine with a knife until you have a ball of dough.  But a 
    plastic bag and chill in the fridge for 30 mins. 
4. Roll out the pastry and and cut into 10cm squares. (alternatively you can cut out circles and 
    make these in a cup cake tin as I did above). Put a layer of cooked meat on the pastry and 
    top with the grated carrot. Fold over the square to form a triangle and seal the edges with a 
    little water of milk.  Wash the top with a little milk.  
5. Put in pre-heated oven 200C and cook for 20 - 25 mins until golden brown.

E-D's Notes

This recipe is adaptation of a traditional Cornish pasty. The shape and finish differs slightly, but making Cornish Pasties in cupcake or bun tines makes life a little easier and creates neat pasties which are perfect as a starter portion at a dinner party.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Top 10 MAC Eye Shadows

Now as many of you know I am a huge fan of MAC products, but in particular MAC's individual eye shadow pots. Over the last 9 years, I have steadily built quite the collection of eye-shadow pots spanning all the colours of the rainbow. As time has gone I have gone through phases of bright and bold, to shining and shimmering, dark and smoky to muted and understated. That said these ten shadows have remained my staples, my 'Go-To' shadows if you will. The colours below have seen me through the years and no matter how things change I never tire of them. MAC shadows are beautifully pigmented, easy to apply, blend well and last throughout the day. For a look at the full MAC eye shadow collection have a look here  at the MAC website.

MAC Eye Shadow pots retail at $15/€15/£12

Top 10 MAC Eye Shadows

1. Vanilla
    Finish: Velvet
    This is a fantastic base or highlighter for just under the brow. Must-have in my make-up 
     bag I bring it everywhere.

2. Shale
    Finish: Satin
    This colour can only be described as a greyish purple. It's certainly not lilac, but it is a grey  
    purple which looks great teamed with more vibrant purple shades or even browns. It's a really 
    versatile colour that can be easily blended with countless colours.

3. Deep Truth
    Finish: Frost
    This deep navy blue colour is a great colour. Though it looks quite navy in the pot, this colour 
    has a lovely blue tinge. It blends really well, and looks best when built up and patted on gently. 
    The pigmentation in this colour is very good and the colour has a fantastic sparkling sheen. I  
    often team this colour with golds and silvers.

4. Haux
    Finish: Satin
    A soft, rose, muted brown, I love this colour! Fantastic teamed with neutral shades, golds and 
    dark browns. I love using Haux on the lid, with embark in the crease and vanilla under the 
    brow....a great day time look.

5. Omega
    Finish: Matte
    This colour is another of my 'matte' shades which I often team with 'vanilla' or 'shroom'. This 
    soft taupe colour is great for the crease of the eye for a neutral day time look, or all over the 
    lid as a base colour with darker, more intense shades.

6. Embark
    Finish: Matte
    A rich, deep, dark brown which is perfect for creating a neutral smokey effect in the crease of 
    the eye. I also use the colour with a small angle brush to fill in my eye-brows and give them 
7. Amber Lights
    Finish: Frost
    Amber lights is a deep and dramatic amber or bronzed-gold colour which can be applied   
    lightly or layered to achieve a really deep and brilliant metallic colour. This colour is great for 
    evening wear and looks incredible teamed with dramatic black-liner. 

8. Tempting
    Finish: Lustre
    Tempting is a brown colour with incredible metallic sheen and lustre. It's an really rich 
    colour that can be applied subtly or built up to achieve a beautiful intense metallic finish that 
    is fantastic for evening wear. The pigment in this shadow is fantastic and the gold accents  
    are stunning. This is a really unique colour and finish.

9. Stars and Rockets
    Finish: Veluxe Pearl
    This colour is a lot of fun and can be used in so many ways. It's a fuscia-pink-purple colour 
    with a great pearl sheen. Again the pigmentation in this colour is fantastic and allows you to 
    create a truly dramatic look. Whether using this colour all over the lid or as an accent, it is 
    incredibly easy to apply. I love this colour with navies and blues or golds.

10. Electra
     Finish: Frost
     I have replaced this colour more times than I can count! It is the best 'silver' colour around 
     and the frost finish leaves you with a really intense colour with a metallic finish. This shadow 
     is really soft and lovely to apply. Electra is easy to blend but equally looks fantastic worn 

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Chilli Bolognaise & Tagliatelle

After a long day of work, followed by a trip to IKEA, Aldi and Tesco, by the time I had a minute to put dinner together I was starving. I knew I needed something relatively quick, but also something that would fill me nicely for the evening! Tonight's dish is a new twist on an old favourite. I absolutely love bolognaise, and even more so when made with delicious fresh ingredients. People often think that bolognaise requires a jar of something or other, but the fact is, it's actually incredibly easy to make from scratch as well as very cheap. This recipe shows just how easy it is and the chilli gives the bolognaise that little something extra. 

Chilli Bolognaise & Tagliatelle

Serves 4

12 Tagliatelle nests
750g fresh minced beef
4 cloves of garlic (chopped finely)
1 Onion (chopped finely)
1/2 teaspoon of chilli flakes or 1 small chilli chopped
4 tablespoons of tomato puree
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Begin by chopping the onions and garlic finely. Heat a little oil in a saucepan and sweat the 
    onions and garlic until softened.
2. Add the mince and cook until nicely browned and season well with salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile, bring a separate pot of water to the boil, and add the tagliatelle. Cook for 
    approximately 10 minutes or until 'al dente'.
4. Next, add the two cans of tomatoes, tomato puree and chilli (or chilli flakes).
5. Allow to cook for 10-15 minutes. Serve the bolognaise over pasta and top with parmesan 
    cheese if desired.

E-D's Notes
- Depending on how much of a kick you like, add as little or as much chilli as you like. My 
  advice is to add the chilli a little at a time and taste to test.
- On this occasion I served the bolognaise with tagliatelle  but alternatively it can be served with 
  penne, spaghetti or Molly's favourite creamy mash!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Chicken Stroganoff

A busy week and even busier weekend has led to me not being able to share a recipe since Wednesday....tut tut I know! That said, I had a marvellous weekend of wining and dining with my parents which was of course all in the name of research! The cherry on top was that my beautiful engagement ring arrived yesterday, so all in all it was a great few days. Tonight's recipe is a winter warmer and a great dish to serve for an everyday family dinner or if your feeding many mouths at a family gathering. Although strognaff is traditionally made with beef, this chicken stroganoff is a tasty alternative.

Chicken Stroganoff

2 medium onions
2 large chicken breasts
500mls of cider
2 heaped teaspoons of cornflour
150ml cream
250g mushrooms
20g Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.
2. Add the onions and sauté.
3. Place chicken into the saucepan and brown. Next add the mushrooms and cider (480ml), 
    bring to the boil and simmer until the chicken and mushrooms are tender (approx 20-30 
    minutes). Season well with salt and pepper.
4. Next using the cornflour and remaining cider make a paste and then add to the mixture and 
    cook for a further 5 minutes until the mixture thickens slightly. 
5. Finally add the cream and heat gently, but do not allow to boil. Serve over mashed potato.

E-D's Notes
- You can use either fresh cream or sour cream depending what you have in the fridge.
- This chicken can be served with creamy mash potato, rice or even pasta.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Home-Made Beef Burgers

It's Wednesday, and the week has slowed down a little, and I'll admit, I'm raring for the weekend! As the mid week slump has hit, I suddenly got in the mood for comfort food. Comfort doesn't mean bad....Mc Donald's have given burgers a bad rap, but home-made burgers, made with great quality mince can be as healthy as you want them to be. I love to dress my home-made burgers with home-made chutneys, spinach leaves and Parmesan shavings. This recipe guarantees a moist, flavoursome burger that will not disappoint!

Home-Made Beef Burgers

2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 small onion (diced)
450g minced beef
2 teaspoon of red pesto
½ teaspoon of chopped thyme
½ chopped parsley

Salt and Pepper to season

To Serve
Floury Bap or Sesame Seed Bap

1. Place all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, season well with salt and pepper and 
    mix together using your hands.
2. Divide the mixture into four, and mould into 'burger' shapes using your hands.
3. Heat a little oil on a large pan, and cook the burgers on a medium heat, flipping once. If the 
    burgers begin to char, simply turn down the heat.
4. Serve the burgers on a toasted bun or bap with the condiments of your choice, in my case 
    Parmesan shavings and spinach leaves!

E-D's Notes
- If doing a few burgers at a time, wash the pan between batches to prevent the burgers from 
- The key ingredient in these burgers is the pesto! It binds the burgers really nicely, as well as
   providing a really different flavour.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Creamy Beef and Mustard Pasta

Today was my first day back to work after a really amazing Christmas and eventful last few days. When it came to it, I was actually so excited to see my work colleagues and divulge all the details of my time off and hear their news. I was greeted to an array of banners and balloons which made the day even more special. Coffee time featured an incredible Avoca Baked Raspberry Cheesecake which went against the grain of my new years resolutions but was absolutely incredible! This evening when I got home the lovely Molly was reading and 'prepping' for something or other so I made my way into the kitchen and started thinking about dinner. This is what I came up with, a creamy (not actually cream but crème fraiche) beef and mustard pasta. This dish is a first for me and is literally something I thought up out of no where based on the contents of my fridge, and low and worked! Really really well in fact. Thrilled with the win!

Creamy Beef and Mustard Pasta

Serves 2 (with a portion left over for lunch!)

1 Onion
6 Mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic
300g beef strips
100g crème fraiche
2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
Pasta shapes of your choice
Parsely or Chives (to garnish)

1. Place the beef in a dish and add balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and season well with salt and 
    pepper, then set aside.
2. Next, place the desired amount of pasta into a pot of boiling water lightly seasoned with salt 
    and cook until 'al dente' (roughly 3/4 of a cereal bowl when dried is the right amount!).
3. Meanwhile, heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a wok or large pan. Add the finely chopped onions, 
    chopped garlic and diced mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened.
3. Add the beef strips in vinegar and toss in the pan cooking for another 2 minutes.
4. Finally add the mustard, crème fraiche and mix well with other ingredients and gently heat.
5. Serve dish on a bed of pasta and garnish with parsley or chives

E-D's Notes
Unfortunately tonight I did not have any nice greenery to garnish this delicious dish, and although it may not be very colourful or exciting looking, I assure you the flavours make up for it!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry

This morning I am up bright and early in preparation for a week of work starting tomorrow. I have decided I probably need to get organised so that the week goes quickly. January means a new start and lots of good intentions for the year ahead. I have been off the radar the last few days as I have been a little busy. On Friday the wonderful Molly proposed to me and it feels like we have just been in celebration mode ever since! I am needless to say beyond excited as is he. So I have a year of wedding preparations ahead of me which I am really looking forward to. So in preparation for a year of health and prosperity, today's recipe is a really tasty, really healthy and really colourful dish that I look forward to making more as I just felt so fantastic after eating it! This chicken and vegetable stir-fry includes more vegetables than I can count and is packed with flavour.

Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry

Serves: 4

3 Large Chicken Breasts (diced)
Handful of Mange Tout
1 Onion (or leek)
2 cloves of garlic
1 inch of ginger root finely chopped
4 Carrots (sliced thinly)
1 packet of Baby Sweetcorn
1 Red Pepper (thinly sliced)
1 Yellow Pepper (thinly sliced)
100g Mushrooms
2 handfuls of bean-sprouts
Egg Noodles (as per guided amount on pack)
Blue Dragon Oyster and Spring Onion Stir-Fry Sauce (available in Tesco)

1. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a wok or large pan. Add the onions, carrots and peppers. 
    Toss in the wok and season well with salt and pepper. Continue to cook for approximately 2-
    3 minutes.
2. Next place the diced chicken into the wok and season well with salt and pepper and cook for 
    a further 4 minutes.
3. Then add the sliced mushrooms, bean-sprouts and baby sweetcorn and allow to fry for up to 
    4 minutes or until softened.
4. Next make up the noodles as per the packet directions and add to the wok along with the 
    mange-tout. Then add the sauce and stir the contents of the wok until everything is coated.
5. Once the chicken is cooked through, plate up and serve.

E-D's Notes
- Stir-frying isn't so much an exact science of following a recipe. The great thing about a stir-fry 
  is there is no right or wrong. You can put in as much or as little of something as you like. If you 
  have other vegetables you would prefer to use like broccoli or sugar snap peas, just toss them  
  in. Likewise you can use prawns or pork instead of chicken, or even tofu if you are vegetarian, 
  it really is up to you.
- I have included an oyster and spring onion sauce in the list of ingredients. This is a personal  
  preference and if you prefer Chow Mein or Satay sauce go with that. These types of sauces 
  are widely available in supermarkets in a variety of brands and are a great way of adding 
  flavour to a veggie feast.
- I have also put egg noodles on the list of ingredients as these are quite readily available. That 
  said I do like to use other types of noodles such as rice noodles and pasta noodles so use 
  what you like best.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

The first post for the New Year and a very Happy New Year to all my readers. I am very optimistic that 2013 will be a year to remember for all the right reasons. I promise this will be my last festive post before moving on to some exciting healthy and stress free options to help with the post Christmas detox! So here it is, one for the road....this recipe is really straight forward and an adaptation of some of my previous cupcake ideas. These cupcakes have a mint chocolate chip sponge which is really unusual but also really tasty. For all the mint aero bar lovers out there, these cupcakes will be right up your alley. Chocolate teamed with mint is always a winning combination as far as I'm concerned. 

Mint Chocolate Chips Cupcakes

Makes 12 

120g self-raising flour
140g sugar 
40g butter
120ml milk 
1 egg 
pinch of salt
100g dark chocolate (chopped)

Mint Frosting
280g icing sugar
80g butter
25ml milk
3-4 drops of peppermint flavouring
40g of dark chocolate (grated finely)

1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Put the flour, sugar, salt, and butter in a free-standing mixer fitted 
    (or use a handheld electric mixer) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency 
    and everything is well combined. 
2. Whisk the milk, egg, and mint together in a separate bowl,  then slowly pour about half into  
    the flour mixture, beat to combine, and turn the mixture up to high speed to get rid of any   
3. Turn the mixture down to a slower speed and slowly pour in the remaining milk mixture 
    Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the batter is smooth but do not over-mix. 
    Next stir in the chopped chocolate pieces by hand and make sure they are well dispersed 
    throughout the mixture. 
4. Place the mixture into the prepared paper cases until two-thirds full. 
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cake bounces back when touched. Allow  
    the cupcakes to cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting
Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a free-standing electric mixer (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture is well combined. Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and add the milk and peppermint flavouring. Add the finely grated chocolate (I use my Microplane for this). Turn up the speed and continue beating until light fluffy (approximately 3 minutes).

E-D's Notes
-  If it is your first time using peppermint flavouring  be warned....a little really does go a long 
   way. Add the flavouring slowly, and a little at a time to ensure that the flavour doesn't become  
   too over powering.
-  When making the mint butter cream frosting, remember the longer you beat the frosting for, 
    the lighter and fluffier it will become.