Happy Pancake Tuesday!


Pancake Tuesday and I’m on day 52 of WeightWatchers, so Ally and Bláthny made me this low fat, healthy pancake.

Mini Pancake


Very funny!

I ate it, but I also had another one, slightly bigger, with melted dark chocolate, cream, and honey.  It was delicious.

Thankfully my two wonderful daughters have not inherited my skills in the cooking department, which is a relief.  Or those of their father….who once flipped a pancake and stuck it to a stippled ceiling.  I’ve  never bothered to flip them as I could never catch them.

Tomorrow is Wednesday and it’s weigh-in day.  I should probably run up and down the hallway a few times tonight to make up for the pancake!


this is a recipe for WeightWatchers style pancakes, emailed to me by my WeightWatcher’s leader this week:-



2 PP PER PANCAKE                          Makes 8 pancakes


120 g plain flour

1 medium egg

200 ml skimmed milk

150 ml water

Pinch of salt

Calorie controlled cooking spray


Sift the flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt.

Whisk the egg with the milk and 150 ml water.

Whisk in the flour to make a thin batter.

Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to settle for 30 minutes.


Mist a 20 cm diameter frying pan with cooking spray and place over medium heat.

When pan hot add 4 tablespoons of batter and swirl around to evenly coat pan.

Cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown underneath.

Flip over and cook on other side.




Home Sweet Home


Today’s photo: Ally doing some clay modelling this evening. I’m surprised she stayed put when I took the camera out.  Usually she goes running in the opposite direction.  Thanks Ally. x


clay modelling


While Ally was being artistic, Bláthnaid made dinner.  We had a delicious tomato, garlic and cheese pasta.  My photo doesn’t do it any justice at all.  Thanks Bláthny. x



Ian’s Steak Story!


Susan’s Brother here again to share with you another intelligent well researched tale…..Oh hell, in this case, it’s just a story from my past.  Feel free to let me know if you agree, disagree, or have a related tale of your own to share!


I never ever ever ever ever liked steak.

You see, the problem was, I grew up in Ireland.  Now there’s a lot of reasons Steak wasn’t on the menu, I mean, think about aul poor poverty stricken Ireland, obviously an expensive steak wasn’t going to be on the list.

Also there was the other problem, the COOKING OF THE STEAK!   You see, in Ireland, it was well believed that there are two colors a steak should never ever be.  Pink or Red.  You see, that means it was undercooked and as a result you would die from eating Pink or Red meat!  (oh ok, not sure WHAT the thinking was, but no way you were getting Pink or Red meat).

Steak in our house wasn’t even well done.  It was cremated!  This wasn’t just my house that practiced this though, just about every house in Ireland cooked steak the same way.  Even my Scottish mum in law, she was raised on cremated steak.  It seems this was a wide spread cooking technique.

A bad steak was a steak that didn’t take you half an hour to chew one fork full.  Oh man, how I hated it.  I would do anything to avoid steak.  Imagine what an ungrateful little sod I must have been in my family.  After breaking their backs at work to splash out and buy an expensive steak (well more expensive than the beans on toast I was used to…), after slaving away over a hot stove to ensure that the meat had reached that proper sun dried leather like quality…. The little brat of a son refused to eat it!  In catholic Ireland it was pretty obvious………. I was possessed by the devil himself!

So I grew up HATING steak.  Detested it.  Avoided it like it was cursed!  (or in my case, since I was possessed by the devil, I avoided it like  Holy Water…).   Then something happened.  Something that can only be described as a miracle.  I went on holiday to a place called “Texas”.  While I was there I discovered many many things.  

I felt what true love was like………….when I had my first ever Dr Pepper…. 

I realized how great an old movie could be when viewed in an awesome theater ( (actually, I always loved old movies, just this venue turned them into something even more amazing).

I realized that in Texas, it takes so many acres to feed a cow, rather than in Ireland, where you think about how many cows you can fit into an acre.

In America, it’s perfectly normal for people to wander into a diner at 3am in the morning wearing a bathrobe and slippers…..

I also had my first plane flight in a single engine Cessna, and wondered if turning the propeller off before landing was a way to save fuel! (actually turns out we had run out of fuel……… but I didn’t find that out until I had to push the plane from the runway to the fuel pumps)

And…..  I got brought to a restaurant called “The Texas Roadhouse” in Abilene.  Wow…… this was a complete different experience.  First of all, you actually go to a display cabinet where they have cuts of meat on display, and pick the cut you want!  (I didn’t notice a fillet of beans on toast though…).  I was weary of steak, however, I was being brought out, and the girl bringing me out was insistent that I try a REAL steak.   I had told her I hated steak, I had told her I wasn’t interested, but she looked at me with a smile, and said “You’ll LOVE a real steak, besides, if you don’t eat it, it doesn’t matter, we can get you something else…”.  That was a far cry from being raised in an environment where I was told “You can’t leave that table until you finish every bit!” or “if you don’t finish all of that steak, I’ll send you to an orphanage…”.  So because of her, I tried it.  She ordered for me, and she asked for it medium rare….

It arrived…. It was………….. PINK IN THE MIDDLE!!!   Oh god……. It was going against everything I’d ever been raised to believe in.  Surely there was some mistake, they had brought me out an undercooked steak by misteak… I mean… mistake….   However, her steak was the same, she cut into it, and I followed suit….  (looking back on this, wow……… I must have REALLY seemed like I just crawled out from under a rock).  Then, I did what I had always hated to do……..   I bit into the steak.   I expected it to be tough, I expected to have to chew on it, I expected to have to smile at her and tell her I loved it, while trying to drop bits into my napkin, fold it up and deposit it in a bin without being seen……….   What I DIDN’T expect….  Was for the steak to melt in my mouth.  What I DIDN’T expect was for it to be juicy, tender, and full of flavor……    What I DIDN’T expect…….. was to fall in love with steak and order it every time we went out for the rest of my holiday…….

1998, I flew to Texas, I discovered the love of steak, I discovered a love of Dr Pepper, I discovered that Twinkies are in fact horrible, and that soft dough cookies are indeed lovely (usually in Ireland if a cookie is soft, it’s gone off…).

To this day, I still love my steak and it’s all thanks to one person who was kind enough, patient enough and had enough faith in steak to know that I could love it too.

It’s funny though, even now, when my parents come to visit me from Ireland, even when I was still living in Ireland, I could never get them to try a medium rare or rare steak.  They really really don’t know what they are missing.

Christmas Cake with Strawberries


It’s that time of year again….for those of us who weren’t prepared enough to make our cakes in October!

Yes, it’s that time of year when people like me go rummaging for a recipe for the quickest, easiest Christmas Cake ever! Well, if you’re looking, then look no further, because this is the simplest recipe for Christmas fruit cake that you’ll ever need.

I mean it, really! You are reading the blog of a person who has burnt ‘Boil in the Bag’ rice, exploded eggs in the microwave, baked bullets for fairy buns, and stuck rice and potatos to the bottom of non-stick pots! They don’t call me the Queen of Pots for nothing you know.  I’m not a skilled chef.  I just buy a lot of pots!

Anyway, on with the recipe.  I have ‘Marguerite’, my lecturer for Travel and Tourism many moons ago, to thank for this one.  As you can see, the copy she gave to me is getting a bit worn at this stage.

Christmas Cake Recipe


3 pkts dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, currants)

1 small carton glacé cherries (quartered)

1 small carton mixed peel

1 bar Bournville chocolate

50g almond pieces

50g ground almonds (optional)

1 tsp. mixed spice

1 tin strawberries (or 1 grated eating apple)

1 glass spirits (rum, brandy or whiskey)

250g Butter

250g Brown Sugar

4 eggs

375g plain flour


Mix the dried fruit/peel together.

Strain the strawberries, chop and add to fruit

Grate the chocolate and add to the fruit.

The next day:

Line tin

Beat butter & sugar together and beat in 1 egg at a time and a spoon of flour until all eggs are used

Stir in remainder of flour

Add to fruit

Place in tin

Bake at 140C for 3 – 3 1/2 hours.  Test regularly from about 2 1/2 hours using a skewer.

The important part

When baked, and once cool, insert the skewer a few times into the top of the cake.  Pour about 3/4 spoons of spirits over, then wrap in tin foil and place in an air tight container.  Repeat once a week.

Easy Peasy!!

Tipperary Food Producers – Cookery Extravaganza


On Wednesday 10 November 2010

Tipperary Food Producers

in association with Bord Bia hosted a fantastic event in the

Clonmel Park Hotel.

A Christmas Cookery Extravaganza!

It was an evening of artisan food displays, tastings and cookery demonstrations – a perfect showcasing of the splendid array of food and wine available on our very own doorstep!

Continue reading

Christmas Cookery Extravaganza – Clonmel


If you’re a fan of good, locally produced food and would like to become more aware of what’s available in the Tipperary area, then this is one event you won’t want to miss!

On November the 10th, the Tipperary Food Producers Network, in conjunction with Bord Bia, will showcase their produce in the Clonmel Park Hotel.  Over thirty local food producers from the Tipperary area will be present and there will be lots of opportunity to sample products, with canapes supplied by the producers on the evening.  Bord Bia chef, Sheila Kelly, will also be on hand to give Christmas cooking ideas and advice.

The event starts at 7:30PM and tickets can be bought prior to the event from James Whelan’s Butchers and other suppliers.  More information can be found on James Whelan’s website.

No excuses for missing it! Go and experience the Taste of Tipperary! 🙂

An Irish Butcher Shop – Pat Whelan


I stopped by James Whelan’s Butchers this afternoon to pick up a copy of Pat Whelan’s new book ‘An Irish Butcher Shop’.  I’d been following all the latest on the book from Pat via his twitter account and when I heard the books were being delivered yesterday I couldn’t wait to get one.

An Irish Butcher Shop

An Irish Butcher Shop - Pat Whelan

This is a book for meat lovers! From the field to the table the reader can follow the entire story of the farm animal, the meat it produces, and how it is cooked. Each individual method of cooking meat is explained thoroughly and even the subject of cooking utensils is dealt with.

It’s fascinating to read the history of James Whelan’s butchers.  It’s worth reading too for the informative quality and the little touches of humour and local references here and there, but most of all for the recipes.  The book is crammed full of wonderful beef, pork, chicken and other meat recipes, as well as ideas for vegetables and sauces.

If the recipes themselves don’t leave your mouth watering, then the colourful photography will.  I certainly can’t wait to see if my own Moussaka turns out as well as Pat’s!

Salmon Pie


I cooked this at the weekend – it was gorgeous and worked out reasonably cheap as well – probably another good student dish. It cost approximately 9 euros, can be frozen and would last 1 person 3/4 days. A good option is to cook it when salmon fillets are on special offer as so often happens in our local Tesco. You can also use cod or haddock as well as (or instead of) the salmon.

Salmon Pie

Salmon Pie

4 salmon fillets (chopped into one inch pieces)
1 small onion (chopped)
Frozen peas (optional – add to taste)
Sweet corn (optional – add to taste)
1 bay leaf
450ml milk
1kg cooked mashed potatoes

White sauce
1 oz butter
1 oz plain flour
Pinch of nutmeg
Grated cheese

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Centigrede
2. Put fish, onion, peas, sweetcorn bay leaf and milk into saucepan, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer till fish is cooked.
3. Place fish in oven dish and sprinkle parsley over.
4. In another pot, melt the butter, add the flour and cook for a minute over a medium heat to make a roux.
5. Add the milk from the fish to the roux, gradually, and stir all the time.
6. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg, then pour over the fish.
7. Spread the mashed potato over the fish, sprinkle with grated cheese, place in oven and cook until golden on top.

Slow Cooking – Chicken Risotto


I recently acquired a Tower Slow Cooker from my mother and have been singing its praises since I started using it! Being able to throw a few ingredients into a pot in the morning (with some minor prep beforehand) before going out, and having a beautiful hot dinner ready on arriving home is sheer bliss!

Tower Slow Cooker

Tower Slow Cooker

It’s quite an old cooker – maybe about twenty years old, judging from feedback I’ve seen on various forums across the internet, but it’s still functioning quite well.

Looking for the original Tower Cooker Cookery Book?

I’ve scanned it in and uploaded it for you as so many people have been asking about it. Just click on the link below. 

Tower Cooker Cookery Book

I made Chicken Risotto  today – my second time making this in the cooker.  It’s a quick, cheap (total cost 4 euros and will last 1 person about 3 days) simple dish to put together, and can be made just as easily in a pot over the hob.  I had mentioned that I was going to post recipe suggestions for students once a week and, even though this is a little more time consuming than other recipe ideas I have I decided to post it to begin with.


1 teasp cooking oil
1 onion chopped
3 slices bacon chopped
1 breast of chicken cut into small pieces
1 tin tomatoes
1 greed or red pepper (green looks better)
50 g mushrooms
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 bay leaf
400 ml chicken stock
100g long grain rice


1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion, bacon, chicken and fry lightly
2. Stir in tomatoes, green pepper, mushrooms, herbs, stock, bay leaf, seasoning and bring to boil.

Chicken Risotto

Chicken Risotto

3. Transfer to Slow Cooker (or leave in pot) and stir in the rice.

Chicken Risotto

Adding the rice – Chicken Risotto

4. Cook slowly for 2 hours approximately

Ta daaaaa – Chicken Risotto! Absolutely delicious!!

Chicken Risotto

Finished Product – Chicken Risotto

And, with all that free time on my hands, I had plenty of opportunity to throw together a few scones! I made a batch of plain ones as the girls have an aversion to anything that looks like it may crawl if had legs….that includes raisins and sultanas!

Plain Scones

Plain Scones – No Fruit!


1 lb flour
Pinch of salt
20 g baking powder
50g caster sugar
75g butter
2 eggs and 200ml milk whisked together

1. Preheat oven to 230 degrees celsius
2. Sieve flour, salt, baking powder into bowl. Add caster sugar and mix well.
3. Rub in the butter.
4. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs/milk mixture holding back a little for glazing
5. Mix to a dough, turn out onto floured surface, knead, roll out to 2-5cm thickness, cut into rounds.
6. Place on a floured tray and bake for approx. 8 – 10 minutes until golden brown.

Such a relaxing day! 🙂

Lazing in the sun

Lazing in the sun

Mission Impossible? Coolmore Chocolate Fudge Cake


As a result of a comment made to a post I wrote  a while back, regarding the Coolmore Chocolate Fudge Cake, I e-mailed Coolmore Foods this evening and asked them whether this delicious dessert was still being produced. I’ll post the reply if I receive one.

This cake featured every week on the shopping list here for a long time, and it was only when I purchased the Coolmore (just) Chocolate cake a few weeks ago that it dawned on me that I hadn’t seen the fudge version in a while.

Now that I don’t have it, I want it!!! Served with an extremely generous dollop of cream! Heaven!!

Picture from Coolmore Foods own website.

Coolmore Chocolate Fudge Cake

Coolmore Chocolate Fudge Cake