Tiffin Biscuits

I forgot to post this alongside the Iced Lemon Traybake so here it goes…

I couldn’t find digestive biscuits so I used different ones, the biscuits turned out quite sweet (not surprising as they have alot of sugar in them!) but I definitely think using digestive biscuits would have helped this as they aren’t very sweet, so will make an extra effort to find them next time.

  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 55g cocoa
  • 55g sultanas, washed
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 200g digestive biscuits
  • 170g dark chocolate (minimum 55% cocoa)
  • 25g white chocolate
  1. Place the butter, cocoa, sultanas and sugar in a saucepan and melt.
  2. Break up the digestive biscuits but don’t crush completely.
  3. Add to the cocoa mixture and stir thoroughly
  4. Press into a 9” square baking tin lined with baking paper
  5. Melt the dark chocolatein a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and pour over the cocoa mixture.
  6. Melt the white chocolate in the same way and scatter over the biscuits using a fork
  7. Leave in the fridge for an hour or so and cut into squares.  The recipe says 9 but I got 16 – they are heavy so they don’t need to be huge but it’s up to you!

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Iced Lemon Traybake

It’s been a busy few months, after a wonderful 2 week holiday at the beginning of August I came back to work with a bang.  We had our General Assembly followed by the EuroHockey Championships = 11 days in a row, of approximately 12-14 hours work per day, this included such exciting incidents as a flat tire and a 4am Airport drop-off to Charleroi (because I am a great sister).

Unlike my colleagues who took their holidays after the event, I was straight back to the office leading into a September of 2 additional weekends of work, and the other weekends taken up with Electric Picnic, a football tournament in Paris and a weekend at home for my Mammy’s birthday.  Ok I know that those last 3 events are actually enjoyable so I’m not looking for sympathy really, but still I was kind of looking forward to a semi-chilled out weekend.

This weekend was the Belgium GAA ‘All Stars’ Weekend. Also the 10 Year Anniversary of Belgium GAA.  Also the Race Night Fundraiser for Belgium GAA.  I was very much looking forward to it, it all happened from 14.00 on Saturday till… the wee small hours of Sunday! Ok not very chilled out I admit.

However, in addition to that my good friend Dave was running a GAA Coaching Course Level 1 on Friday evening and Saturday morning.  Now, I did foundation level last year, it was great, and I was initially very interested in doing Level 2 (even though I haven’t actually used many of my coaching skills yet).

When I saw that it was this weekend though I weakened. I took my name off the list, I just wanted to relax.  But I wasn’t the only one, so the numbers dwindled, Dave sent an email around basically saying what a great opportunity it is and how they really needed people to attend, the guilt got to me and I put my name back on the list.  And I really enjoyed it, so delighted I did it, it was a lovely group of people and the Saturday morning session was almost all outside, I think I even got a little bit of sun!

However, I decided that I would need something to help me stay concentrated after a long week in work, and everyone knows that sugar is good for that.

So on Wed evening I made some Tiffin Biscuits (post to follow with recipe) and Thursday night I made these bad boys.

  • 225g (8oz) softened butter
  • 225g (8oz) caster sugar
  • 275g (10oz) self raising flour
  • 2 level teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tbsps milk
  • grated rind 2 unwaxed lemons

For the icing

  • 3 tbsps lemon juice
  • 225g (8oz) sifted icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/Fan 160 C/Gas Mark 4
  2. Grease and line a 30 x 23 cm (12 x 9 in) traybake tin.
  3. Measure all the cake ingredients into a large bowl and beat until well blended. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the cake has shrunk away from the sides of the tin and springs bake when pressed. Leave to cool in the tin.
  5. Mix together the lemon juice and icing sugar to give a runny consistency. Spread out evenly over the cake and leave to set before cutting into  pieces.

They don’t look very pretty as I forgot to take the photo before stuffing them into a tupperware…. but they tasted good!

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Friday night: Shane coaches Caoimhe the ‘throwing a ball of paper over your shoulder into the waste paper basket’ skill.

She got it first try – legend.

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Saturday morning: this session took place in the International School of Brussels, we were in Jenny’s classroom for it.  

She teaches ‘Math’ as they call it in Canada.  According to the sign on her door Math Club is fun.  And sure why wouldn’t it be with Jenny as your teacher?

This is me at her desk:

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Lonely Veg Soup

I bought leeks for another dish and had some leftover, I planned on making a leek and potato soup, but sometimes I find it a bit heavy/stodgy so instead I just kind of made this up with the veg that was looking a bit lonely in the fridge….

Unlike most of the soups I ‘just kind of make up’ using the contents of my fridge, this one was actually quite tasty.  Maybe I’m getting better at it….

The chorizo and chilli gave it a nice flavour!

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 1 Leek
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 1/2 chilli chopped
  • 1 medium potato
  • chorizo (6-7 thin slices of pre-sliced)
  • Bay leaf
  • Thyme
  • 2 Chicken Stock (or Veg if you prefer) cubes
  • 1.5 litre water
  • salt & pepper
  • Handful of split peas
  1. Chop the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, leek and chilli and gently saute for a few minutes in the oil and butter
  2. Peel and chop the potato and add to the veg along with the chorizo and add to the veg stirring and allow to cook on medium heat for another 2-3 minutes
  3. Add the water and stock cubes, along with the bay leaf and a couple of thyme sprigs, bring to the boil and allow to simmer until veg is tender.
  4. Blitz with hand blender adding salt and pepper to taste.
  5. At this point I found the soup to still be quite thin so I added in a handful of split peas and simmered for about another 10-15 minutes.
  6. You should probably add these along with the potatoes at the earlier point or instead add only 1 litre of water.  Though I like the flavour the split peas bring!
  7. Blitz again and enjoy!

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4th October: An update on the Lonely Veg Soup…..

I made a second batch, but had no celery or potatoes left so used a 1/4 of celeriac instead – worked a treat

I was out of chilli too so put in some chilli flakes/pepper mixture and about 2 teaspoons of harrisa paste – give it bit more of a kick.

Add the last of the split peas which was slightly more than a handful – so this batch was thicker, next time I’ll keep to the handful but it’s all a matter of taste!

Mide’s Buttermilk Pancakes

Mide’s delights….

How she is missed, though to be fair, Mide is the one person who left this land of beer and chocolate but returns as promised on a very regular basis.  And she is always welcomed back with open arms.  I miss how she would arrive at your house with a wicker basket full of ingredients and then bake something tasty.

She made pancakes for me last year on one of her many visits, they went excellently with Caoimhe’s authentic Canadian maple syrup.

She very kindly emailed the recipe to me and it is written below in true Mide style.  I made them for Colin recently but he is not such a fan of the thicker pancake – so more for me!

‘So ideally the mixture should be mixed at least a few hours beforehand (night before for morning or morning for afternoon/evening consumption) as this allows time for the raising agent to be activated and gives the bubbly fluffy texture. However, petite astuce, if you can’t do this just separate eggs, beat whites until fairly stiff and then at end, when all other ingredients mixed, fold the egg whites in gently with metal spoon.

These are American measures but exact quantities not that important, so whatever cup and spoon measures would be fine. You can add extra flour or milk as you see fit.
  1. Sift: 1 and half cups of cream flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 and 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  2. Add: 3 tablespoon sugar
  3. To dry ingredients add: 1 cup milk (or bit more if mixture very stiff) 3 tablespoon melted butter
  4. Beat eggs 2 lightly and add. (or add lightly beaten yolks and then fold in whites)
  5.  Mixture will be lumpy. Don’t worry about this and don’t try to get all the lumps out. They will go in cooking. Mix (before addition of egg white) a bit but don’t over mix and don’t try to get mixture totally smooth.
  6.  I find that when I do the over-the-night thing that I need to add a bit of milk before cooking. However, mixture should not be runny like crepe as these pancakes are thick and fluffy’
I have no photos of the pancakes but will add one the next time I make them.
However I do have a food-related Mide photo, here she is preparing a picnic outside the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial in the Somme Valley this June for Sylvia’s birthday.
I realise that might sound a bit random but it was a lovely day.
That’s Colin flaked out on the grass behind her recovering from the end of the Irish Presidency of the EU.
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Barbara’s Cheesy Cob Dip

Ok I just invented the title…

The first time I had this was in 1997. I know that because Saving Private Ryan was released in 1998.

Intrigued? Ok well we used to have a mobile home in Curracloe, Co Wexford. Used to. It was sold. But that’s another story.  My aunt Barbara lives in Sydney but she and her family came home for a visit one summer and came down to Curracloe for a few days.  It was the same summer that Stephen Speilberg decided to use Curracloe Beach to film the D-Day landings for Saving Private Ryan.

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We had a BBQ outside my other Aunt Angela’s mobile and it was a lovely evening.  I remember 2 things clearly: the smoke and noise from the bombings of the fake D-Day landings and this delicious starter, nibble, dip type affair that Babs whipped up.  Anyway she emailed me the recipe not long after:

1 large bread cob
1 pkt of French Onion soup
2x500g blocks of Philadelphia cream cheese (this depends on the size of the Cob – it’s alot of cheese so you might want to reduce it slightly!)
1 large tub of sour cream
2 tablespoons of Mozzerella Cheese
a couple of rashers (diced)
1 onion (chopped finely).
  1. Cut the top of the cob and take out the bread in the middle, tear in into bite size pieces (you will use this bread to scoop the dip out of the middle before you start breaking off the cob.
  2. Fry the onion and bacon until cooked , leave to cool.
  3. Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, and soup together.
  4. Add the onion and bacon and mozzerella, mix well and pour into the cob.
  5. Put the cob on an oven tray and surround it with the bread and the top (keep the top in one piece so that you can put it back on before you serve it).
  6. Cook in a moderate oven, you want to cook it enough so that the cheese melts, (as it’s cooling it gets thicker). The bread will
  7. crisp up, just keep an eye on it. It can be hard to get this right, it’s good to really mix up the cheese mixture first so it’s almost starting to melt, you could even warm it in the microwave or a pot slightly before adding it to the bread for the oven.
So fatty.So tasty.
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Babs on a more recent visit, with me, Mom, Clare, and Avril and Nanny in the front.
Girls