Tag Archives: quick and easy

Silky Smooth Homemade Chocolate Truffles

Delicious Rich And Decadent Homemade Chocolate Truffles
Delicious Rich And Decadent Homemade Chocolate Truffles

With Easter coming up it seems we all have chocolate on the brain! Well at least I do; it’s the one day a year I can indulge my chocoholic tendencies without judgement or guilt.

While giving friends and family gifts of Easter eggs is the norm as we celebrate this holiday, I think it’s a nice touch to make some homemade chocolate truffles instead of a shop bought egg. Despite these truffles looking the bee’s knees (if I do humbly say so myself), they are stupidly easy to make. This is a great recipe to add to your repertoire as a box of these bad boys always makes a thoughtful gift.

Best of all it only requires a few simple ingredients and you can use your imagination for the toppings. So put your apron on, get into the kitchen and channel your inner Juliette Binoche!

Absolutely Mouthwatering Homemade Hazelnut Chocolate Truffles
Absolutely Mouthwatering Homemade Hazelnut Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients (Makes Approx 24):

400g 70% dark chocolate

175ml cream

Whiskey

Toppings:

Cocoa powder & Cinnamon (equal amounts of each)

Crushed Roasted Hazelnuts

Desiccated Coconut

Your Own Homemade Box of Chocolate And Whiskey Truffles
Your Own Homemade Box of Chocolate And Whiskey Truffles
  1. Break up all your chocolate into little pieces and place into a large bowl.
  2. Heat your cream in a saucepan and just before it comes to the boil take it off and pour it over the chocolate pieces. Stir the chocolate and cream together continuously until it combines.
  3. Add a splash of whiskey (I’ll let you use your judgement on this! Even if you’re not a whiskey fan I still advise adding a shot as it just adds a great depth of flavour rather than a strong whiskey taste. Don’t add more than 2 shots of whiskey though as the mix needs to be thick enough to set). Keep stirring until totally combined.
  4. Leave the mix in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours until it sets. When set, take it out and take a spoon at a time and roll between your hands until they form into ball shapes, do this quickly or they will melt from the heat of your hand. Don’t worry about them being perfectly circular. I advise wearing rubber gloves for this or your nails may go black!
  5. Set up bowls containing the toppings and roll the truffles in each until they’re well coating in either your coconut, hazelnut or cocoa cinnamon topping.
  6. Put into a lined box or tupperware and make sure to keep in the fridge until ready to eat. They will keep for up to a week, but my experience is that they all get gobbled up within a day or two!

Happy Easter!

Break All Your Chocolate Into Little Pieces
Break All Your Chocolate Into Little Pieces
Pour The Hot Cream Over The Chocolate
Pour The Hot Cream Over The Chocolate
Stir Continuously As The Chocolate Melts
Stir Continuously As The Chocolate Melts
Add A Nice Generous Splash Of Whiskey
Add A Nice Generous Splash Of Whiskey
Roll The Set Truffles Into Their Toppings Et Voila!
Roll The Set Truffles Into Their Toppings Et Voila!
Your Own Homemade Box of Chocolate And Whiskey Truffles
Your Own Homemade Box of Chocolate And Whiskey Truffles

If you’re looking for other homemade chocolate recipes, try these completely delicious (and easy) Spiced Orange and Roast Hazelnut Chocolates.

Purple Basil (Yes PURPLE Basil) And Lemon Ricotta Pasta

This pasta looks the business doesn’t it? Well it tastes amazing too. In actual fact, it’s super quick and easy to make, and cheap as chips too. All you have to do really is cook the pasta and stir in everything else.

As this is a simple dish you’re relying on the lemon, basil, parmesan and black pepper to give it a bold kick of flavour, so be generous with each of them. Purple basil tastes the exact same as normal basil, so don’t despair if you can’t get your hands on it, this will turn out the exact same with the regular stuff. Whip this up for a fancy looking but super simple supper after work during the week to put a pep in your step!

The Easiest But Prettiest Cheesy Pasta You Could Hope To Make
The Easiest But Prettiest Cheesy Pasta You Could Hope To Make
Dig In To Pure And Utter Cheesy Carby Deliciousness
Dig In To Pure And Utter Cheesy Carby Deliciousness

Ingredients (serves 2):

200g pasta

100g Ricotta

2tbsp Grated Parmesan

Zest of 2 Lemons

Basil (purple if you can find it!)

Salt & Pepper

Lemon Ricotta And Purple Basil Pasta - A Thing Of Beauty Really
Lemon Ricotta And Purple Basil Pasta – A Thing Of Beauty Really
  1. Boil the pasta in salted water according to the packet instructions. I take mine off a minute or two early so that it’s al dente. Reserve a little of the cooking water.
  2. Roughly chop your basil and set aside. I use a good bit, about a handful.
  3. Stir in the ricotta,  parmesan, lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Have a taste and adjust with more salt, pepper or cheese if needed. You may need to loosen it out with a little of the cooking water or even some olive oil for a silky finish.
  4. Top with more grated parmesan and black pepper and an artistic sprig of basil! Enjoy.
The Bones Of Your Ingredients - Simple But Great Quality
The Bones Of Your Ingredients – Simple But Great Quality
Feel Free To Go Crazy With The Pasta If You're A Fan Of The Novely Factor Like Me
Feel Free To Go Crazy With The Pasta If You’re A Fan Of The Novely Factor Like Me
Stir In Your Ricotta - Be Generous With The Cheese
Stir In Your Ricotta – Be Generous With The Cheese
Add In Your Lemon Zest, Pepper, Parmesan and Salt
Add In Your Lemon Zest, Pepper, Parmesan and Salt
Stir In Your Purple Basil... Yes PURPLE Basil
Stir In Your Purple Basil… Yes PURPLE Basil
Dig Into Your Fancy Purple Basil and Lemon Ricotta Pasta
Dig Into Your Fancy Purple Basil and Lemon Ricotta Pasta

Chocolate and Orange Cream Meringues

Creamy Meringues- Soft and Marshmallowy On The Inside
Creamy Meringues- Soft and Marshmallowy On The Inside
Orange Zest and Chocolate Drizzled Cream Meringues
Orange Zest and Chocolate Drizzled Cream Meringues
Perfect Little Light and Fluffy Meringues
Perfect Little Light and Fluffy Meringues

I’m not the biggest meringue fan in the world (excluding the ridiculously good Pavlova that my two aunts make of course!). I never order them when I’m out for dinner as they’re usually cardboard like monstrosities that are rock hard and dry. However, when tasked with dessert last Sunday I decided to finally give them a go myself after realising they contained just two ingredients that could just be thrown into a mixer. Simple. Egg white and sugar thrown into the mixer for about 10 minutes produced the most amazing airy, marshmallowy soft meringue mix… I ate a few spoons raw straight from the bowl, I’m not going to lie.

Baking these for only 15 minutes allows the inside to remain soft and fluffy, they really were light and heavenly. You can top the meringues with whatever you like but I loved the flavoured cream and chocolate orange toppings that I went for. You could of course put on whatever cream, fruit, berry, compote concoctions that you wish. But I think next time I make them I’ll try caramel and banana for extra decadence. I am a meringue convert. Go forth and try these cloud like balls of heaven.

Chocolatey Creamy Meringue
Chocolatey Creamy Meringue

Ingredients (serves 12)

Meringues:

4 egg whites

225g caster sugar

Flavoured Cream:

500ml cream

1/4 cup grated milk chocolate

Zest of 1 orange

Toppings:

100g milk chocolate

Zest One orange

  1. Preheat your oven to 150C. In a spotlessly clean bowl whisk together the egg whites and sugar for about 10 minutes until they form stiff peaks. I rubbed my mixing bowl with a little lemon juice and then wiped it off before mixing in the egg and sugar. This cuts and removes any grease on the bowl that would prevent the eggs from whipping up. Similarly any egg yolk at all in the bowl will prevent the eggs from whipping.
  2. Cover two baking trays with greaseproof paper and plop 12 individual balls of meringue onto the tray. Well spaced apart.
  3. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool on the trays. These are beautifully soft meringues that are fluffy and marshmallowy in the inside, so the top may collapse a little, don’t worry about this. They’ll be covered in cream anyway.
  4. To make the flavoured cream mix together the cream, grated chocolate and orange zest and blend until softly whipped. Spoon equal amounts on top of the meringues. (If you’re not using all the meringues straight away, keep the ones you won’t use in an airtight tupperware free from any toppings and they’ll keep for a week or two).
  5. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie and when melted drizzle over the cream topped meringues. Finish with a little orange zest over the top.
Whip Up Your Silky Meringue
Whip Up Your Silky Meringue
Meringues Hot From The Oven
Meringues Hot From The Oven
The Meringues Will Collapse Slightly - This Is Normal
The Meringues Will Collapse Slightly – This Is Normal
Top The Meringue With Flavoured Cream
Top The Meringue With Flavoured Cream
Delicious Creamy Meringues
Delicious Creamy Meringues

Fig, Mozzarella and Honey Salad

Fig and Mozzarella Salad
Fig, Mozzarella and Honey Salad
Quick, Simple and Delicious Fig and Mozzarella Salad
Quick, Simple and Delicious Fig and Mozzarella Salad

Every now and then you make a super quick dish for dinner out of the few ingredients lying around your kitchen, and it ends up being so good people think it must have taken more time and effort than it did. I love those dishes. This salad was prepared in literally less than 5 minutes, maybe it was 3 minutes. I had a ball of Toonsbridge Buffalo Mozzarella in the fridge that I had picked up in the market that weekend, a few figs (you could use peaches, apricots, plums or any other soft fruit or berry that you have handy) that never got used in a dessert I was planning, and the rest of the ingredients were just stuff I would always have lying around in my fridge and cupboard.

I wasn’t even planning on blogging this, as it was a spur of the moment dish, but I put a picture of it up on instagram, and people seemed to like it so much, that I thought I would share it on my blog, so sorry for less photos than usual! I had this as a main for dinner, but it would also make a great, stress-free starter for a dinner party. Just double up the ingredients as you need. I highly encourage you to make this, I have yet to eat another meal that took this quick to make, but tasted so mouth-wateringly delicious!

Fig, Mozzarella and Honey Salad
Fig, Mozzarella and Honey Salad

Ingredients (Serves 1 as a main course):

1 ball fresh buffalo mozzarella

3 fresh figs

1 handful of mixed dark green salad leaves

1 tbsp flaked almonds

1 glug of balsamic vinegar (I used Llewellyn’s Irish Apple Balsamic which had a lovely sweetness to it)

1 tsp honey

  1. Put a dry frying pan on a high heat, add almonds and toss until golden, about 45 seconds (they burn quickly so be careful)
  2. Toss your leaves in a glug of the balsamic vinegar until they are just coated.
  3. Cut two of your figs into quarters and lay them out over the leaves. Quarter the third fig only half way down so they fig is still attached together, place this in the centre of your salad.
  4. Roughly tear up your ball of mozzarella and scatter over the salad, place one chunk of mozzarella within the fig in the centre of the salad.
  5. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and drizzle with the tsp runny honey. It’s that easy!
So Juicy and Delicious
So Juicy and Delicious
Enjoy this Super Quick Salad
Enjoy this Super Quick Salad

Ginger and Raspberry French Toast

Ginger and Raspberry French Toast
Ginger and Raspberry French Toast
Delicious French Toast
Delicious French Toast

A lazy brunch on Saturday mornings. Is there anything better? Despite this being one of my favourite brunch dishes, I haven’t put up this recipe on my blog over the last year as French Toast is one of those things everyone knows how to make, and no-one needs a recipe for. However, the other side of me feels that I love eating this so much when making brunch for people, that it should be up on my blog! So up it goes along with all my other favourite breakfast dishes.

I made this recently for my parents when home in Cork. I usually add nutmeg or cinnamon to the egg mix, but decided to try the ginger for a change and was pleased to find out that ginger and raspberries go quite nicely together! If you don’t like spices, you can leave them out completely, or maybe add a little vanilla. No French toast is complete without a sauce so I decided to top mine with my favourite Glenisk Greek Yoghurt and a raspberry coulis (that is just a posh way of saying mashed raspberries right?!)

Ingredients (Serves 2)

2-3 thick slices of bread (don’t use sliced pan…)

3 eggs

Milk

1/2 tsp ginger

Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Greek Yoghurt

1 cup raspberries

1/2 orange, freshly squeezed

1 banana chopped

1 handful flaked almonds

1. Slice the bread thickly. Beat together the eggs, a dash of milk and the ginger and nutmeg.

2. Dip the bread in the egg mix and place on a hot pan that you have melted a little knob of butter in. Flip when golden underneath, and when golden on both sides, pop onto a plate and place in a warm oven while you fry the rest of the french toast.

3. Mash half of the raspberries and stir in the juice of half a freshly squeezed orange until it’s fully mixed in.

4. Serve the french toast with a large dollop of Greek yoghurt, the raspberry coulis and garnish with the remaining raspberries, some chopped banana and flaked almonds.

Beat Up Egg Mix
Beat Up Egg Mix
Slice Bread Thickly
Slice Bread Thickly
Soak In Egg Mix
Soak In Egg Mix
Fry Until Golden
Fry Until Golden
Keep Warm in Oven
Keep Warm in Oven
Delicious French Toast
Delicious French Toast

Sausage, Fennel & Mascarpone Pizza

Sausage, Fennel and Mascarpone Pizza
Sausage, Fennel and Mascarpone Pizza
A Tasty Slice
A Tasty Slice

I know this one sounds weird, I know. It isn’t though, it’s the nicest pizza I’ve had in ages! Fennel and pork always go well together anyway, and the mascarpone cheese adds a nice creamy sauciness if you, like me, don’t always want your pizza drowned in tomato sauce. Last Sunday, instead of the usual Sunday Roast, I had this bad boy and it really hit the spot. It was the perfect indulgence for an evening on the couch watching TV. I’m in the midst of a bit of a pizza fad at the moment, so I’m experimenting a lot.

To make this pizza work well, you need to buy the best quality sausages possible, as cheap supermarket sausages won’t cut the mustard here. I bought some Wild Boar sausages in my local butchers, Lawlors, and they worked a treat. They cost €5.40 for 500g, but I only needed half the pack (so €2.70). I had some pizza dough from Iago’s in the English Market which only cost €1.80 which I think is really good value and I made two pizzas out of the one ball of dough on two consecutive nights, (so really 90c per pizza base). I also used some leftover mascarpone cheese, some fennel (70c) and some dried herbs from my cupboard. It worked out cheaper than a shop bought pizza, it certainly was much cheaper than ordering a pizza takeaway on-line (about half the price), yet I can assure you it tasted much better, supported local food producers, and was much better for my health than either a processed supermarket or a take-away pizza. It’s an interesting thought as most people automatically assume supporting local, quality food producers will always end up more expensive, but when you’re crafty with leftovers and store cupboard products, you can be surprised how inexpensive a good quality meal can be! So why not give this one a go the next time you get pizza cravings?

Delicious Flavour Combination
Delicious Flavour Combination

Ingredients:

1 ball of pizza dough or one plain pizza base

1 bulb of fresh fennel finely sliced

2 large gourmet pork sausages (at least 80% meat content)

4 tbsp mascarpone cheese

1 tbsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

tbsp oil

1. Fry the sliced fennel bulb lightly until soft, be careful not to brown them.

2. In a separate pan fry the sausages gently until cooked through. Then chop them into discs and add to the pan of chopped fennel for a few minutes with the chopped fennel seeds, black pepper and chilli.

3. Roll out your pizza dough on a floured surface until it’s nice and thin. Smear a tablespoon of olive oil over the rolled out dough, and layer on the sliced cooked fennel and the sausage and herb mix. Pop it into an oven preheated to 200C for about 10 to 15 minutes (be careful to keep an eye on these, as they can brown very quickly).

4. When it’s just about done, dollop on the mascarpone and pop back into the oven to allow it to melt nicely on top of the pizza.

5. Slice up and enjoy!

Just A Few Ingredients Needed
Just A Few Ingredients Needed
Once Cooked Slice Sausages Into Discs
Once Cooked Slice Sausages Into Discs
Return To The Pan With Fennel Seeds, Garlic, Chilli and Black Pepper
Return To The Pan With Fennel Seeds, Garlic, Chilli and Black Pepper
Top The Pizza Base and Pop in Oven
Top The Pizza Base and Pop in Oven
Add The Mascarpone A Minute Before Taking Out Of The Oven To Serve
Add The Mascarpone A Minute Before Taking Out Of The Oven To Serve
Ready To Serve
Ready To Serve

Hummus

My Hummus Trio
My Hummus Trio
A Perfect Supper
A Perfect Supper
A Lovely Lunch
A Lovely Lunch

I love hummus so much, its so tasty, inexpensive and quick to make. It’s also one that you can totally add bursts of flavours to with some extra additions of different ingredients. Below find my basic hummus recipe and the three variations on it: Basil Oil Hummus (delicious), Gubbeen Smoked Cheese Hummus (do I even need to explain why this is amazing?) and Lemon Cumin Hummus.

My boyfriend and I went to Schull, West Cork recently and did the Firehouse Bread course, and Laura who makes all the delicious food there made a delicious Gubbeen Smoked Cheese hummus, and so I wanted to try and make it myself. Also with an abundance of breads I thought it would be a handy dip for the fridge to use up all my leftover bread. I am absolutely in love with the Basil Oil that Flynn’s Kitchen makes! I put in on pasta or risotto, salads, fish etc and it makes everything taste better! I decided to put a swig of it into some of my hummus and it was amazing! I also just added extra lemon and cumin to the standard hummus recipe to give it a little extra kick. I bought a ring of Gubbeen Chorizo when I was home last, and it literally is the best chorizo in the world. I don’t know what they do down in that smoke house in West Cork, but everything they make is magic! The chorizo added some nice punch to the hummus and toast. I made the bread in Firehouse (fig and walnut) and you can check out the recipe for that here.

A Nice Moody Evening In Schull
A Nice Moody Evening In Schull
Exploring Around Schull
Exploring Around Schull
The Artisan Ingredients That Give It A Kick!
The Artisan Ingredients That Give It A Kick!

Get blitzing and experimenting, but definitely the smoked cheese and basil oil hummus are both an absolute must try! It’s a lovely snack after a nice walk in the fresh air, but also makes a nice lunch or dinner depending on what you put with it!

Ingredients:

2 cans of chickpeas (400g each)

2 tbsp tahini (creamed sesame seeds)

5 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic chopped

1 tsp cumin

juice of 1/2 a lemon

Keep the water that the chickpeas come canned in and set aside!

Put The Basic Hummus Recipe Ingredients in a Blender & Blend!
Put The Basic Hummus Recipe Ingredients in a Blender & Blend!

1. Blitz all ingredients in a blender apart from the chickpea water.

2. Now add in some of the chickpea water, bit by bit until you reach the desired consistency. It should be smooth but thick. Season lightly (as you will be enhancing it further later) to taste.

3. Divide the hummus into three separate bowls.

Basil Oil Hummus

1. Take one of the portions of hummus and blend in a glug (around 30-40 mls) of basil oil, or more to taste. Done!

Add In Your Basil Oil
Add In Your Basil Oil
Basil Oil Hummus
Basil Oil Hummus

Gubbeen Smoked Cheese Hummus

1. Grate about 50g of Gubbeen Smoked Cheese (or other good quality smoked cheese) into the hummus. You may need to stir in a little extra chickpea water to get the right consistency.

2. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and enjoy.

Grate In Some Gubbeen Smoked Cheese
Grate In Some Gubbeen Smoked Cheese
Gubbeen Smoked Cheese Hummus
Gubbeen Smoked Cheese Hummus

Lemon & Cumin Hummus

1. Add the juice of one more 1/2 lemon and about 1 tbsp (or more to taste) of ground cumin.

2. Season to taste, and stir in a little extra chickpea water if you need to loosen it out a little, though the lemon juice should have done this. This one is lovely eaten with carrot sticks.

Lemon & Cumin Hummus
Lemon & Cumin Hummus

Enjoy like I did with some nice chorizo, and homemade bread! It also makes a nice change for lunchtime in work!

I Was Looking Forward To This Bit!
I Was Looking Forward To This Bit!
Lovely!
Lovely!