Blood orange cordial

It might be starting to sound/look like I’m obsessed with citrus fruit but blood oranges have to be the prettiest fruit when they’re at the height of their season. Making a cordial out of blood oranges is so simple and looks really cool and vibrant. It’s really nice and refreshing with still or sparkling water but even more refreshing with Prosecco on a Friday after a long week 😉 Blood orange Bellini’s are the best!

What you need:

Juice of 10 blood orange and the rind of 5

Juice of one lemon

2 cups of water

1 cups of sugar

(Bottle of Prosecco for the bellinis)

What to do:

Bring the water and sugar to the boil in a pot with the rind of the oranges. Allow all the sugar to dissolve in the water and then remove from the heat and allow cool completely. Meanwhile juice the oranges and lemon and strain the juice to remove and seeds or pulp. Once the syurp has cooled completely strain and add the juice. Taste and add more juice if needed.

Store in a glass bottle in the fridge. Serve over ice, water or Prosecco with some mint leaves for an extra zing.

Have a good weekend, Kate xxx

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Blogging is sooo cheesy….

It’s true! I’m still getting used to this whole thing. It almost feels like I’m talking to myself but I’m sure I’ll get used to it! Anyways this post is actually about real life cheese. I love cheese! Since working at Spring and doing so many cheese plates during service (posh people of London love their cheese plates) my appreciation for cheese has grown. If you are having friends over for wine and chats a cheese plate is so simple to do but a perfect accompaniment and can look like you put plenty of work into it. There are great places to buy cheese in London. I love visiting Neals yard dairy which specialises in British and Irish cheeses. The guys in there are so chatty and give you plenty of tastings. La fromagerie in Marylebone is also great but slightly more sophisticated and can be a little intimidating as all the cheese are stored in a special cheese room behind a big heavy door.

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It’s still really special though and also has a lovely café. At home in Cork the Pigs back in the English market has a great selection and stocks all my faves. Here are a few that I love and how I like to do my cheese plates….

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It’s important to have a good combo on your plate. A mixture of different strengths and textures. Some soft cheese I like include: St. Jude- raw cow’s milk cheese, Baron Bigod- English version of a Brie but way tastier, Waterloo- cows milk cheese. Taleggio is a semi soft Italian cheese which is currently my favourite cheese. It’s also a cow’s milk cheese. Some hard cheeses include Ossau Iraty which is a French sheeps milk cheese or Berkswell which is a British sheeps milk cheese. Comte is also really tasty and I love Cork’s very own Gubbeen cheese.

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It’s important to have a mixture of things on the plate to bring out and cut through the flavours of the cheese. I like some dressed salad leaves, thinly sliced bread, some nuts to add texture and a sweet chutney or a chilli jam.

Enjoy the cheese and chats, Kate xxx

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Spicy squash and parsnips

I love the combination of spicy and sweet. The natural sweetness of squash and parsnip works so well when roasted wrapped in a tasty spice mix. These are so delicious with a big dollop of garlic and cumin yoghurt dressing.

What you need:

2 parsnips

1 squash (onion or butternut)

Spice mix (1tsp ground cumin, coriander, paprika, mustard seeds and nigella seeds and 1/2 tsp if cinnamon)

6 tblsp olive oil

1 tblsp soy sauce

1 tblsp maple syrup

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200C

Start by prepping the veg. Peel the parsnip and squash and slice into chip size chunks. In a pan measure in all the spices and put on a gentle heat until it starts to slightly smoke.

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In a separate bowl throw in the veg and add the rest of the ingredients with a good pinch of salt. Toss everything together until the veg is generously coated. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for approx. 30 mins tossing occasionally.

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Meanwhile for the dressing, place two tblsp of plain yogurt in a bowl with one tblsp of milk. Add juice of half a lemon, half tsp of cumin powder and one clove of garlic crushed. Whisk everything together.

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I like these on their own but they are also so good with white fish or lamb.

Enjoy, Kate xxx

Chains taking over London?…

London is full of amazing places to eat lunch but what surprises me more and more everyday is just how many chains there are. Just when I thought I’ve found a new little independent cafe it’s not long before I find out there’s a second one just a few tube stops away. I have no adversity to chains as I think the likes of Pret and Starbucks are amazing business models and are great at what they do by giving the busy people of London what they want in a hurry. But for some reason I still feel a little disappointment when I hear the word ‘chain’. I think I associated chains with mass production, cheap badly sourced ingredients and little love going into prep and cooking.

 However I think I’m now realising that London offers chains of what were once little independent cafés but are so successful have been able to expand and in the process have not altered the way they originally began. This I find exciting. It means you don’t have to be a huge company with massive investors to stand up against the likes of Pret and Starbucks. It’s lowering my stigma against chains and now I find it really cool when I’m enjoying a new little find and someone tells me there’s another one a few streets away. Some great (not so chainy) chains I have come accross include:

Gail’s bakery

http://gailsbread.co.uk/bakeries/barnes/

Baker and Spice

http://www.bakerandspice.uk.com/cafes.aspx

Melrose and Morgan

http://www.melroseandmorgan.com/

Muriel’s kitchen

http://www.murielskitchen.co.uk/restaurants

Poilane bakery

http://www.poilane.com/pages/en/company_boutiques.php

Citrus season-candied clementine

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Citrus season is now in full swing and this makes me happy. I’m definitely a citrus girl when it comes to fruits. I love it  all, clementines, grapefruit, bergamot and most of all blood oranges which are finally getting their beautiful colour and almost reaching the peak of their season. I love to candy clementines this time of year. You will probably turn your nose up at the thoughts of candied fruit as did I before doing it myself. And sure, the thoughts of dried out colourless candied peel that you buy at most super markets is enough to turn anyone off. But trust me, homemade candid fruits is so simple to do and so effective. Think of little segments of juicy candied orange dipped in chocolate. What a treat!! And so easy to do. Follow my recipe and give it a go….

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Candied Clems:

What you need

4 ripe and juicy clementines

6 cups of water

3 cups of sugar

Directions

Slice the clementines into rounds of about 5mm in thickness. In a large saucepan bring the sugar and water to the boil. Once boiling add the clementine rounds and reduce the temperature to a simmer. Cover the saucepan with some parchment paper. Simmer the fruit for around two hours or until translucent but not falling apart. You want the rounds to hold their shape where possible.blog 2 y

Remove from the syrup using a slotted spoon and place on a wire rack lined with parchment and allow to dry out for a few hours.

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At this stage you can now use the candied fruit for whatever you like! The exciting part! Melt some chocolate and dip half the round in and allow to set for some chocolate clems or chop up and fold into a loaf mix to make a beautiful clementine fruit loaf.

 

Enjoy,

Kate xxx

Welcome to my blog!

Hello reader…

Welcome to my blog. This is a small introduction for you to get to know me and what my blog is all about. I am a Ballymaloe trained chef currently working and living in London. This blog doesn’t follow any trendy diets it’s just an opportunity for me to share with you some exciting recipes, seasonality and more. My passion is good quality and seasonal ingredients. I believe if you have the right ingredients there’s so little you have to do in order to make a perfect dish. So even if you are not hugely into cooking but want to get more creative hopefully there will be something on here for you too.

Enjoy and thank you for reading,

Kate xxx

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(me tucking into some soda bread during a busy service lol)