Is it okay to have all-butter Cookies @ Christmas?

So I have to make Cookies tonight and normally I'd use margarine but as it's Christmas, would it be alright to use BUTTER!!! Hmmmm, yes, I think so.

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10 Everyday Super Foods

Top 10 Multitasking Super Foods

These easy-to-eat foods are packed with multiple nutrients to help you stay healthy.

  1. Low fat or fat-free plain yogurt is higher in calcium than some other dairy products and contains a great package of other nutrients, including protein and potassium. It can also be enhanced with other good-for-you substances. "Yogurt is a vehicle food that can be enriched with probiotics for a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut, and beneficial, heart-healthy plant stanols," says Zied. "And lactose sensitive people may tolerate yogurt better than milk." Look for plain yogurt fortified with vitamin D, and add your own fruit to control sweetness and calories. Versatile yogurt can also be used in entree and bakery recipes, in dips for veggies, etc. Don't like yogurt? Skim milk is another super dairy food that has only 83 calories per cup and is easy to slip into coffee to help you get one of the recommended three servings of dairy each day. "Dairy foods contain practically every nutrient you need for total nutrition -- and in just the right balance," says bone health expert, Robert Heaney, MD. "No other food group in the diet is as complete or as economical."
  2. Eggs make the list because they are nutritious, versatile, economical, and a great way to fill up on quality protein. "Studies show if you eat eggs at breakfast, you may eat fewer calories during the day and lose weight without significantly affecting cholesterol levels," says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids. Eggs also contain 12 vitamins and minerals, including choline, which is good for brain development and memory. Enjoy them at any meal or hard-cooked as a portable snack.
  3. Nuts have gotten a bad rap because of their high fat content. But their protein, heart-healthy fats, high fiber, and antioxidant content earn them a place on the top 10 list. The key to enjoying nuts, experts say, is portion control. "All nuts are healthful in small doses, and studies show they can help lower cholesterol levels and promote weight loss," says Today Show nutritionist Joy Bauer, MS, RD. "I like pistachio nuts because they also contain plant sterols and it takes longer to crack the shell and eat them, making it easier to control the portion. Whether you prefer pistachios, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, or pecans, an ounce a day of nuts help fill you up. Nuts add texture and flavor to salads, side dishes, baked goods, cereals, and entrees. They taste great alone, too. Zied recommends putting together your own "100-calorie packs" of nuts for easy and portable snacks.
  4. Kiwis are among the most nutritionally dense fruits, full of antioxidants, says Ward. "One large kiwi supplies your daily requirement for vitamin C," says Ward. "It is also a good source of potassium, fiber, and a decent source of vitamin A and vitamin E, which is one of the missing nutrients, and kiwi is one of the only fruits that provides it." The sweet taste and colorful appearance of kiwis makes it easy to slice in half, scoop out with a spoon and enjoy alone, or slice it into desserts, salads, or side dishes. Kiwifruit can also have a mild laxative effect due to their high fiber content.
  5. Quinoa is now readily available in many supermarkets and is one of the best whole grains you can eat, according to Zied. "It is an ancient grain, easy to make, interesting, high in protein (8 grams in 1 cup cooked), fiber (5 grams per cup) and a naturally good source of iron," she says. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) also has plenty of zinc, vitamin E, and selenium to help control your weight and lower your risk for diabetes, she says. Quinoa is as easy to prepare as rice and can be eaten alone or mixed with vegetables, nuts, or lean protein for a whole-grain medley. Try to make at least half your daily grain servings whole grains. In addition to quinoa, try barley, oats, buckwheat, whole wheat, wild rice, and millet.
  6. Beans, beans, good for your heart -- really! Beans are loaded with insoluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol, as well as soluble fiber, which fills you up and helps rid your body of waste. They're also a good, low-fat source of protein, carbohydrates, magnesium, and potassium. Bauer favors edamame (whole soybeans) because they also contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Beans can easily substitute for meat or poultry as the centerpiece of a meal, says Bauer, but they also work as a side dish, or tossed into soups, stews, or egg dishes. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend 3 cups weekly.
  7. Salmon is a super food because of its omega-3 fatty acid content. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids help protect heart health. That's why the American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish like salmon twice weekly. Salmon is low in calories (200 for 3 ounces) has lots of protein, is a good source of iron, and is very low in saturated fat. You can simply grill or bake it, top it with salsas or other low-fat sauces, or serve it on top of salad greens. If you don't like salmon, Lichtenstein recommends eating other kinds of fish, like canned tuna. And what about the mercury content? (Mercury is known to accumulate in fish.) "The benefits of eating salmon or other fatty fish twice weekly far outweigh any risks, but if you are concerned, check with your doctor," says Zied.
  8. Broccoli is one of America's favorite vegetables because it tastes good and is available all year long. It's a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and bone-building vitamin K, and has plenty of fiber to fill you up and help control your weight. "Some people think beta-carotene (vitamin A) is only found in orange and yellow vegetables, but broccoli is an excellent source," says Ward. You can eat broccoli raw, lightly steamed, stir-fried, roasted, or grilled. Eat it as a side dish, or toss into grains, egg dishes, soups, and salads.
  9. Sweet potatoes are a delicious member of the dark orange vegetable family, which lead the pack in vitamin A content. Substitute a baked sweet potato (also loaded with vitamin C, calcium, and potassium) for a baked white potato. And before you add butter or sugar, taste the sweetness that develops when a sweet potato is cooked -- and think of all the calories you can save over that loaded baked potato. "If we eat more foods like sweet potatoes that are rich sources of potassium, and fewer high-sodium foods, we can blunt the effect of sodium on blood pressure and reduce bone loss," says Zied. Other dark orange vegetable standouts include pumpkin, carrots, butternut squash, and orange bell peppers.
  10. Berries pack an incredible amount of nutritional goodness into a small package. They're loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, low in calories, and high in water and fiber to help control blood sugar and keep you full longer. And their flavors satisfy sweets cravings for a fraction of the calories in baked goods. Blueberries lead the pack because they are among the best source of antioxidants and are widely available. Cranberries are also widely available fresh, frozen, or dried. All can add flavor and nutrition to numerous dishes, from salads and cereals to baked goods and yogurt.

Big Fat Cookies

Chewy, chewy, chewy Cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Apple and Honey Muffins

Healthy Eating Recipes


  • 2 egg whites 
  • 240g (8 oz) Wholemeal flour 
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 170ml (6 fl oz) skimmed milk 
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 4 tablespoons honey 
  • 110g (4 oz) chopped cooking apple

1. Preheat oven to 190 C / Gas mark 5. Lightly grease one 12-cup muffin tin, or line with paper muffin cups.
2. Lightly beat egg whites.
3. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients thoroughly.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together milk, oil, honey and apples. Gently fold in egg whites to the wet mixture. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients. Fold together until just moistened. Batter will be lumpy.
5. Fill greased muffin tins two-thirds full. Bake about 20 minutes until lightly browned.
6. Leave in the tins to cool then turn the muffins out onto a wire cooling tray.

Guinness Beer Batter

A delicious dark beer batter, perfect for fish!

Ok, you don't have to use Guinness™ but as this an Irish blog.... well I have to say tryGuiness but other beers work just as well!

  • One cup of flour
  • One cup of Guinness [feel free to substitute your favourite beer]
  • Garlic powder, pepper to taste

Add your favourite spice to the flour, mix well and add the beer.  Mix until well blended with no lumps.

Use as a batter for fish, making sure the fish is completely dry before dipping into the Guinness batter.

Yummy Toffee Sauce

Great with Ice-Cream (or on it's own if you're all out of ice-cream)

This is a quick and easy way to make a delicious toffee sauce, just Yummy as Michael says!

  • 50g Brown Sugar
  • 50g Irish Butter
  • 125ml Milk (or cream if you really need the calories)
  • 3 tbs Golden Syrup

Melt the butter and sugar over a high heat with the sugar until fully dissolved. Whisk in the golden syrup and milk (or cream) over a moderate heat until just boiling. Remove from the heat and allow to cool sufficiently to thicken a little. Pour over ice-cream and enjoy.

Above sufficient to make a very generous sauce for 6 bowls of ice-cream.

Wholemeal scones

Superfood snack

Give a Superfood touch to this long-time kitchen staple by using wholemeal flour. For an extra energy-boosting start to the day, why not mash a banana and spread it on a warm scone?

Makes six scones

Wholemeal SconesIngredients

50g plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
150g plain wholemeal flour
50g of butter
50g of caster sugar
125ml of milk


1. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl
2. Blend in the wholemeal flour
3. Cut the butter into small cubes
4. Rub this into the flour mix with your fingers until the mix is powdery
5. Mix in the sugar, then add enough milk to make a dough
6. Place the dough on a worktop that’s been dusted with flour, so it won’t stick
7. Knead the dough with the hands until it’s smooth
8. Make it a round and flat shape, then cut 6 triangles in it
9. Transfer to a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, 230°C/450°F/Gas mark 8
10. Serve and eat as soon as possible.
Start here.



Homemade fruity and nutty muesli

You're Nuts

Nuts are a fantastic source of protein and are rich in lots of minerals including iron, magnesium and zinc. Most kids enjoy making this simple muesli. Serves four-

Suitable for vegetarians

Fruit and Nutty MuesliIngredients

  • 1 pack Muesli Cereal Base (or a mixture of rolled wheat and oats – available at most supermarkets)
  • 100g mixed dried fruit – try blueberries, cranberries, raisins and chopped apricots
  • 50g sesame seeds
  • 50g sunflower seeds
  • 100g chopped mixed nuts (e.g. brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds)


  1. Mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container in a dark cupboard.
  2. Serve with milk or topped with yoghurt and fresh fruit.

Bananas wrapped in bacon

Strange combination that works...

Sounds like a strange combination but it works! The sweetness of the banana mixes with the savoury bacon. It helps to make the rashers as lean as possible by trimming as much of the fat as you can.
Serves four

Banana wrapped in baconIngredients

  • 4 bananas
  • 4 slices of lean rashers


  1. Peel the bananas – remove the stringy bits as they’re often bitter
  2. Wrap each banana tightly with a slice of rasher, then wrap the lot in tin foil
  3. Put a skewer lengthways through the banana
  4. Cook on the barbeque for around 10 minutes until the rasher is cooked through

Spicy scrambled eggs

Simple Egg Supper

Eggs are rich in protein as well as being a source of iron. They are also a source of two important antioxidants - lutein and xeathanthin – which help to keep eyes healthy. Serves one


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon salsa
  • 1/4 red chilli or ¼ teaspoon dried chilli (this can be adjusted to taste)
  • Drop of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat about a teaspoon of olive oil in a frying pan (non-stick if you have it) on a medium heat
  2. Beat the eggs with the salsa and as much red chilli as you like. If this is your first time using chilli, leave out the seeds
  3. Pour the mixture into the heated pan and mix gently until it is cooked enough for you
  4. Serve on its own or with wholemeal toast. This also makes a quick lunch with crisp salad and cherry tomatoes

Lavender Floral Meringues

Part of the I love Lavender Series.....


For the meringues (make the day before)For the cream and fruit mixture
  • 250g/9oz blueberries or 250g/7oz blackcurrants or 750g/1lb10oz fresh, ripe strawberries
  • 2 tbsp Kirsch
  • a few lavender flowers or a few sprigs of lavender
  • a few sprigs spearmint (optional)
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
  • 400ml/¾pt fresh cream, for whipping
  • 6 meringues or meringue shells
  • For the meringue, place the egg whites in a very clean bowl and whisk until they form soft peaks that slightly tip over when you lift the whisk.
  • Add the caster sugar, about a tbsp at a time, and continue to whisk until each tbsp of sugar has been thoroughly whisked in.
  • Using two dessertspoons, fill one with meringue mix and use the other to scoop the mixture out onto a lined baking tray in neat rows.
  • Place the baking tray in the oven on the centre shelf, heated at 140C/275F/Gas 1, and cook for 1 hour.
  • Turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the oven to dry out overnight, or until the oven is completely cold.
  • For the cream and fruit mixture, wash and dry the fruit. Set aside some perfect specimens for decoration.
  • Sprinkle the chosen fruit with the liqueur, dust with icing sugar and refrigerate for an hour or two. Whip the cream and chill.
  • Roughly crush the meringue.
  • When you are ready to serve, gently toss the cream, meringue and fruit and pile into a glass bowl. Scatter the whole fruit on top, decorate with lavender and mint and serve. Alternatively freeze the meringues, fruit and cream mixture.

It is important to serve the desert as quickly as possible after you have taken it from the freezer. If you leave it a room temperature for too long it will go soggy.

Floral sugar can be used in any culinary recipe instead of regular sugar. The best floral sugars are made from flowers with a sweet, definite scent such as lavender, rose, violets, pinks, mint and citrus flowers. Meringues made with floral sugar are quite something else.

Lavender Sugar

Great for Meringues

As you know, I have an abudance of Lavender in my garden and have been busy making all sorts from this beautiful fragrant flower. I recently came across lavendar infused meringues and two different methods for making them.

First methid, infuse the sugar with lavender and make the meringues in the normal way; the second is to include the flowers directly in the meringues. Both delicious!

So, Lavender Infused Sugar

  • 350g/¾lb golden granulated or golden caster sugar
  • 8-16tbsp chopped and dry flower petals
  • For the floral sugar, put the sugar and chopped flowers into a food processor or liquidiser and process well; use a Pestel and Morter if you want to work those biceps.
  • Put the floral sugar into an airtight glass jar, cover well and let it stand for a week.
  • After a week sift the sugar and flowers through a medium sieve and put into an airtight container until you are ready to use.
What could be easier. Follow on to make the meringues....

Lavender Oil / Homemde Goodness

I have a lot of Lavender in my garden.... ohh what to do with it. Ice-cream? Definetly. Body Oil... let's try it.

Lavender Oil Recipe: From All4NaturalHealth
  • This can be prepared by filling a jar with lavender stems with leaves and flowers that have been lightly crushed.
  • The high quality almond or olive oil should be poured on top thereafter and this mixture should be allowed to steep for about a month.
  • The jar should be gently shaken daily to ensure that the lavender and oil mix well.
  • After about a month, the mixture needs to be strained through a strainer and the oil needs to be transferred to a clean covered jar.

Using such a method to make lavender oil, within the confines of one’s home, requires no elaborate distilling process and the oil is authentic in its composition; it also serves as massage oil with soothing and rejuvenating properties.

Lavender Ice-Cream

To make this unusual lavender ice cream dessert, store bought culinary dried lavender or freshly picked lavender can be used. Using an ice cream machine does make the process easier, but there is no reason not to make fabulous homemade ice cream in the freezer compartment.

3 Ingredient Lavender Ice Cream Recipe
Makes 4 servings


  • 6ozs honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lavender flowers or 1 level teaspoon dried culinary lavender
  • ¾ pint double cream


  • Place the honey into a heavy bottomed saucepan, over a low heat.
  • Crush the lavender flowers with a spoon, and add them to the honey.
  • Stir in the cream and mix gently.
  • If you have an ice cream machine, transfer the mixture and follow the manufacturer’s usual directions until frozen.
  • If you don’t have an ice cream machine, whisk the mixture until it becomes thick. Put it in a shallow container suitable for freezing, cover, and place in the freezer. After half an hour, take it out. It should have started freezing from the outside edges, but not be fully frozen in the middle. Whisk to break down the ice crystals and make it smooth. Put it back in the freezer and repeat after another half an hour. You may need to do this a total of three or four times until the ice- cream is frozen through and smooth, with lavender speckles.

Ice Cream Serving Tips:
Move the ice cream from the freezer to the fridge about half an hour before serving, and it will be the perfect texture.
Serve small quantities of lavender ice cream in a shallow wineglass or dish, with plain shortbread,and garnish with a fresh sprig of lavender, for a dessert with a difference!
To Store the Lavender Ice Cream
Put lavender ice cream into a suitable container with about half an inch spare at the top to allow the mixture to expand.
Lay a sheet of clingfilm against the surface of the ice cream and close with an airtight lid. Store it in the coldest part of the freezer.
Note: Using Home Grown Lavender
It’s best to pick the flowers in the morning after the dew has dried. The lavender flowers will be at their best and the scent will be wonderful. You can use any of the varieties, but English Lavender is particularly good because of its sweeter scent.

Champagne Sorbet Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups sparkling wine or champagne
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon and or grapefruit zest
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 Put champagne, sugar, corn syrup, and zest into a saucepan. Bring to a vigorous boil so that the sugar completely dissolves, remove from heat.

2 Strain into a stainless steel bowl (will help cool down faster), add the grapefruit juice and lemon juice. Chill completely. To do this, either place bowl in a larger bowl half-filled with ice water, and stir until champagne solution is completely cold, refreshing the ice in the outer bowl if necessary. Or you can cover with plastic wrap and chill in your refrigerator over night. I put the bowl in the ice compartment of our freezer for a couple hours, because it fits, chills quickly, and is far enough away from the other food in the freezer.

3 Process the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the ice cream maker directions. Transfer mixture to a storage container and freezer in your freezer until firm, at least 6 hours.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Recipe

  • 3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup to 1 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want the result, and how sweet your strawberries are to begin with)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups full fat yogurt (if use low or non fat, then add 2 Tbsp cream)

1 Place the strawberries, lemon juice, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium heat, stirring, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Use a potato masher to mash up the strawberries as the mixture is heating. As soon as all of the sugar has completely dissolved, remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.

2 Stir in the milk and yogurt, until completely incorporated. Place the mixture in the refrigerator, and chill for at least an hour, preferably several hours, until completely cold, before proceeding.

3 Process the mixture in your ice cream maker 20 to 25 minutes; if you don't have an Ice-cream maker then put the mix in a tub in your freezer but remove it every 10-15 minutes and stir vigorously with a fork - this stops ice crystals forming. It will take longer to freeze this way but the results are just as tasty.

Not sure this instruction is necessary - Eat immediately or keep in freezer until served.

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Recipe

Frozen blueberries work great for this recipe.

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (about 1 1lb)
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup of sugar (depending on how sweet your blueberries are, and how sweet you want the result to be)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups full fat plain yogurt (if using low or non-fat yogurt, add 2 Tbsp cream)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

1 Place the blueberries, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium heat, stirring, until all of the sugar has dissolved. While the mixture is heating, use a potato masher to mash up the blueberries. When all of the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

If you want a smooth result, you can process the cooled mixture in a food processor, or skip, in which case you'll have pieces of blueberries which can add flavorful texture to the frozen yogurt.

2 Stir in the yogurt and milk until completely combined. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours (or overnight) until completely cold.

3 Process the blueberry yogurt mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions (usually about 25 minutes). If you don't have an ice0cream maker, put the mixture into a plastic tub and place in the freezer, remove every 10-15 minutes and stir vigorously with a fork. It'll take a little longer but taste just as good.

Serve immediately (it will be soft) or let it firm up a bit by freezing it for several hours. Makes about 1 quart but won't last long!

Onion Tart Variation with Goats Cheese & Tomatoes

A variation on the Rustic Onion Tart recipe, so read the recipe first:-

Instead of a circular tart, make a rectangle and just fold the edges up enough to stop everything spilling out over the edge.

Spread a tablespoon of Green Pesto over the uncooked pastry and then add the carmelised onions, the rougly cut tomaoes and instead of Swiss cheese add chunks of Goats Cheese (or Feta works well too).

Cook as per the Rustic Onion Tart recipe.

Rustic Onion Tart Recipe

  • 1 Packaged, flat pie crust/pastry - I pick mine up in the Frozen section in the supermarket although you could just easily make your own pastry
  • 3 medium sized red onions
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2TBsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup roughly grated [Gruyère Swiss] cheese

1 If you are making a crust from scratch, prepare the dough and let it chill in the refrigerator while you are cooking the onions; otherwise let the pastry fully defrost from your freezer.

2 Peel and slice the onions.

rustic-onion-tart-1.jpg rustic-onion-tart-2.jpg

3 Heat olive oil and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan on medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the onions and sprinkle a little salt over them. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, until the onions have softened and are translucent. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the sugar and cook for an additional 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are well browned. Add balsamic vinegar and cook for 10 minutes more, until onions are completely caramelized. Remove from heat.

4 Preheat the oven to 450°F. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes before rolling it out. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 10-inch diameter. Remove the crust dough to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

rustic-onion-tart-3.jpg rustic-onion-tart-4.jpg

5 Place all but a couple tablespoons of the cheese in the center of the dough. Spread to within 1 1/2 inches from the edges. Add the caramelized onions, layering them on top of the cheese. Fold the edges of the crust dough over so that a small circle of onion is still showing in the centre of the tart. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the tart.

6 Place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 10 minutes at 450°F. Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4.

Traditional Porridge

Porridge is a food you either love or hate and there are as many different ways of cooking porridge as there are people eating it! If you haven’t tried porridge in years or if you have memories of a grey solid limp in a bowl, it’s worth trying it again using this recipe. Even hardened porridge-haters like it…

Serves one- Suitable for vegetarians

NOTE: Porridge has been proven to be very beneficial in lowering cholesterol - if you have problems with cholesterol then make this part of your daily routine and watch your cholesterol fall.



  • ½ cup (or ¼ of a mug) of dry porridge oats
  • 1 cup (or ½ mug) of low fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar or honey (if you don’t want to add sugar or honey but still want a sweet flavour try your favourite fruit instead)
  • 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds


  1. Put everything in a saucepan (non-stick if you have it) and gradually bring to the boil. Do stand beside it and watch it as it does boil over like anything
  2. Once it has come to the boil turn it down and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes depending on how tender you like your oats
  3. Stir it occasionally. If gets too thick (and how thick you like it is up to you) just add an extra drop of milk
  4. If you want to microwave the porridge, just follow the instructions on the pack and add the sunflower seeds at the end.

Simple Fruit Smoothie

Fruit is a rich source of vitamins and minerals – not to mention the fact that it tastes great. Smoothies are one way to eat more fruit and they only take a few minutes to make. It’s also a fun way to get children interested in fruit and involved in the kitchen.

Serves 2


  • 2+ pieces of large fruit washed and peeled
  • ½ pot (62g) of low fat diet yoghurt (natural or flavoured)
  • 90 ml low fat milk
  • Optional: 4 ice cubes or 90 ml unsweetened fruit juice

If you don't want to include milk or yoghurt in your smoothie, just add more fruit instead!

Why not try out some of the following fruits:

  • Banana and Berry smoothie – add 80g of fresh or frozen berries and 1 banana
  • Strawberry smoothie – add 160g fresh or frozen strawberries
  • Pineapple smoothie – add 160g fresh or canned (stored in own juice) pineapple


    1. Make sure all the ingredients are chilled before use.
    2. Wash and peel fruit
    3. Blend fruit, yoghurt, milk and juice together using a hand held blender or a smoothie maker until creamy
    4. Add ice cubes and blend again

Flighing Stress / Six Foods to Eat

Alter your diet and fight stress

Six Foods to eat more of:-

  • Bananas
  • Leafy greens
  • Oily fish such as Mackeral
  • Nuts
  • Mangos
  • Avocado
For images and more info click here.

Portion Sizes

Too much?

A set of measuring bowls

Like almost al of the developed world, the number of overweight and obese people in Ireland is continuing to increase. This is partly because we have become less active and eat too much of the wrong types of food.

Portion sizes becoming bigger than they used to be. Some examples are obvious, like popcorn at the cinema or the supersize options in fast-food restaurants. But the truth is that even the sandwiches we buy at lunch-time and the meals we cook at home are often larger than they need to be. Here are a few tips to help you eat the right sized portions:

  1. Leave a little room in your stomach when you eat. Filling your stomach means you’re eating too much. Eat slowly, and stop when you start to feel full
  2. Make some little food swaps - small changes really can make a big difference. Here are some ideas to get you started. But have a think about your own diet and what other changes you could make yourself:
  • Switch from a white baguette with cheddar cheese, rashers, lettuce and coleslaw to a brown bread sandwich with ham, lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes
  • Switch from a large Danish pastry to a scone for breakfast
  • Switch from a thin-crust, cheese-loaded pizza to a thicker-based pizza with more veggies and less cheese. Or better still, make your own!
  • Switch from a large, full-fat cappuccino to a small, reduced-fat option
  • Switch from a side portion of chips to a smaller portion of oven chips or homemade wedges


Get a taste of Italy with a superfood twist by using wholegrain bread. You can either serve the bread on its own with some garlic and olive oil or serve it with some tasty tomatoes.
Makes four slices


  • 4 slices of wholegrain bread
  • Half a clove of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Tomatoes


  1. Take each slice of bread and cover lightly with half a teaspoon or so of olive oil
  2. Put the slices under the grill, taking care not to overcook them
  3. Hold the cut side of the garlic towards the bread and rub it lightly
  4. Eat and enjoy
  5. For extra flavour, chop some tomatoes and mix with olive oil
  6. Place loosely on top of the cooked bruschetta

Brown bread ice-cream

Surely a candidate for the healthiest ice cream ever? A novel way of including wholegrain into your kid’s diet.

Serves 4- Suitable for vegetarians

Brownbread ice creamIngredients

  • 110g wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • 110 dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 290ml of double cream
  • 150ml of single cream
  • 2 drops of vanilla essence


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6
  2. Leave the breadcrumbs to dry out in the oven for around 15 minutes or so
  3. Mix the sugar in with the breadcrumbs and bring back to the oven for another 15 minutes
  4. Remove from the oven, allow the mix to cool
  5. Crush the sweetened crumbs together with the back of a spoon
  6. Separate the egg yolks from the whites
  7. Beat the yolks and mix in with the cream and the crumb mix
  8. Whisk the egg whites until they are slightly stiff
  9. Add to the mix and freeze in an airtight plastic container.

Herb Cous Cous

Serves 4-Suitable for vegetarians

Herb cous cousIngredients

  • 300 g / 10 oz cous cous
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, peeled
  • ½ red pepper, de-seeded
  • ½ yellow pepper, de-seeded
  • ½ courgette
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Small bunch mint, chopped
  • Small bunch basil, chopped
  • Small bunch coriander, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Cook the cous cous according to the packet instructions, then set aside to cool.
  2. Place half the olive oil in a fying pan over a medium heat. Dice the onion and peppers and sauté in the oil.
  3. Trim and slice the scallions and courgette and toss into the pan and then cook until the vegetables for another couple of minutes until they start to brown, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  4. Place the cous cous in a large bowl and stir in the cooked vegetables.
  5. Add the chopped herbs, some black pepper and drizzle with the rest of the olive oil.
  6. Mix thoroughly and keep chilled until ready to serve.

Banana Cinammon Muffins

Quick and delicious muffins

These are soft and crumbly and packed with healthy fruit!

  • 4oz caster sugar
  • 1tbsp baking powder
  • 9oz plain flour
  • 3oz cold butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3fl 0z milk
  • 6oz bananas
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder

Preheat the oven to 200c.  Sieve the flour into a large bowl and add the remaining dry ingredients and mix.  Grate in the butter and then with your finger tips rub the butter in until you have breadcrumb like texture.

In a separate bowl mash the banana with the egg and the milk.  It doesn't have to be smooth, in fact lumpy makes better textured muffins!

Add to the flour and mix together.  Spoon into paper cases and bake for 25 minutes until muffins are golden brown.  Cool before serving.

Take control of your Cholesterol with these easy to follow simple steps

How can I lower my cholesterol?

  • Get down to a healthy weight - being overweight means your heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body.
  • Eat oily fish twice a week.
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables.
  • Eat more wholegrain cereals and breads, plenty of jacket potatoes and rice and pasta.
  • Choose lean meats.
  • Trim fat off meat and skin off chicken.
  • Drain oil from cooked dishes containing minced meat.
  • Choose low-fat dairy products.
  • Choose low-fat spreads made from sunflower or olive oil.
  • Choose less foods from the top shelf of the Food Pyramid.
  • Use low-fat healthy ways of cooking, like grilling or oven-baking, instead of frying.

SuperFoods which help in lowering Cholesterol

I try to use these superfoods as often as I can in my recipes!

You may know what foods to avoid to keep your levels of "bad cholesterol" in check -- no mounds of butter on your bread, or ice cream for dessert every night -- but what are some foods you should be including in your diet to ensure a healthy heart? Here are the top "superfoods" that can lower your cholesterol:
  • Oats

Many studies have found that increasing the dietary intake of oat products -- as well as legumes and other high-fiber foods -- can play a significant role in decreasing "bad cholesterol" (LDL) levels. Soluble fiber seems to help reduce LDL levels by grabbing onto the cholesterol and eliminating it from the body through the digestive system. Some excellent fiber-rich choices besides oatmeal and oat bran include beans, barley, apples and prunes.
The great news is that it doesn't take 10 servings of a fiber-rich food to do your heart good. One USDA study concluded that eating as little as one-half cup of cooked dry beans per day helped lower total cholesterol levels of the study participants.
  • Sterol- and Stanol-fortified Foods
Recent research indicates that sterols and stanols -- natural substances found in many plants, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds -- can significantly reduce LDL levels by blocking cholesterol absorption and preventing it from getting into the bloodstream.
One study by researchers at the University of California, Davis found that people who included twice-daily servings of sterol-fortified orange juice in their diet experienced, on average, a 9% decrease in LDL levels and an average 12% reduction in C-reactive protein levels, another key indicator of heart disease risk.
Sterols and stanols are naturally found in small amounts in many plants. In addition, a slew of new products fortified with sterols or stanols -- everything from milk to snack bars -- can now be found on grocery shelves.
But the American Heart Association (AHA) warns against consuming too much -- that is, slathering sterol-fortified spreads onto your food, or downing too many glasses of fortified juices -- without cutting back on other sources of fat. Doing so could lead to excess calorie consumption. For people who have a history of heart disease or elevated LDL levels, the AHA recommends talking with a doctor before taking sterol or stanol supplements.
  • Fatty Fish
Wild salmon, sardines and anchovies are all rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Considerable research links these "healthy fats" to various health benefits. They not only reduce LDL levels, but they help lower high blood pressure and cut cardiovascular risk. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may also raise levels of "good cholesterol" (HDL), which helps ferry bad cholesterol to the liver, where it can be eliminated from the body.
Given these benefits, it's no wonder that the AHA recommends that healthy adults with no history of heart disease should consume at least two servings of baked or grilled fatty fish each week. As for those who don't eat fish, try soybeans, seeds or nuts. A study in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association reported that omega-3 fatty acids from nuts (such as walnuts) and seeds (such as flaxseed) had as much impact on blood pressure as omega-3 fatty acids from fish. But watch the intake of nuts, which are high in calories. Just a handful a day is enough to provide benefits for the heart.
  • Olive Oil
Research has also shown that it's important to cut down on saturated fat and trans fats. Trans fats are listed in the "nutrition facts" on food labels; they can also be found in the product's list of ingredients, marked as "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" fats or oils.

Try to replace these unhealthy fats with healthier monounsaturated fats, as found in extra virgin olive oil, as well as canola oil, avocados, peanuts and tree nuts. Doing so can help lower your LDL and raise your HDL levels.

But even "good" fats should be eaten in moderation because all types of fat contain more than twice the calories of proteins or carbohydrates. The AHA recommends choosing fats and oils that contain less than 2 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon.

Easy Fish Pie

Feed an army* with this easy Wholesome Fish Pie

*Feeds an army of upto 8 adults

I’m leaving it up to you to decide what fish or shellfish you want to use. I used smoked cod, haddock and salmon, none of which I poached, but all of which the fishmonger had already skinned.

You can use whatever you like in this recipe, it will make no odds. Scallops, prawns and mussels would all be delicious additions.

  • 100g butter
  • 150g flour
  • 1 litre milk
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • One glass of white wine
  • 1 massive bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1.5kg spuds, peeled
  • Few knobs of butter
  • 250g cheddar
  • 1.5kg of skinned fish or prepared shellfish
Pre-heat an oven to 200 degrees/gas mark six. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour to make a roux. Don’t let it burn, but do cook it over a gentle heat for at least three minutes to cook out the flour. It will look like dough. Gradually whisk in the milk.

Lumps will come and go, but a whisk sorts this out. Add the Dijon mustard, white wine and parsley. Check the seasoning – smoked fish will make it salty, but make sure your bechamel still has good flavour. Add your fish and mix well. The sauce will still be hot, so you’ll be able to mix the fish in very easily.

Chop the spuds into small chunks and put in a large saucepan of cold water. Bring up to the boil and cook until tender. Drain and put back in the pot with a tea-towel on top. This helps them to go light and fluffy when mashed. Add the butter, mash quickly and then mix in the cheese. Season very lightly.

Pour the fish mixture into a large gratin dish and top with a layer of spuds. Bake for about 45 minutes until the top is golden brown, then allow to settle for 10 minutes, and serve with peas on the side.

/NOTE/ This is taken from the great Domini Kemp, a fabulous Irish chef and author, and appeared in the Irish Times on Feb 28th 2009.

Easy Fish Pie

Feed a small army with this easy to make fish pie*

* Army size upto 8 adults

I’m leaving it up to you to decide what fish or shellfish you want to use. I used smoked cod, haddock and salmon, none of which I poached, but all of which the fishmonger had already skinned.

You can use whatever you like in this recipe, it will make no odds. Scallops, prawns and mussels would all be delicious additions.

  • 100g butter
  • 150g flour
  • 1 litre milk
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • One glass of white wine
  • 1 massive bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1.5kg spuds, peeled
  • Few knobs of butter
  • 250g cheddar
  • 1.5kg of skinned fish or prepared shellfish
Pre-heat an oven to 200 degrees/gas mark six. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour to make a roux. Don’t let it burn, but do cook it over a gentle heat for at least three minutes to cook out the flour. It will look like dough. Gradually whisk in the milk.

Lumps will come and go, but a whisk sorts this out. Add the Dijon mustard, white wine and parsley. Check the seasoning – smoked fish will make it salty, but make sure your bechamel still has good flavour. Add your fish and mix well. The sauce will still be hot, so you’ll be able to mix the fish in very easily.

Chop the spuds into small chunks and put in a large saucepan of cold water. Bring up to the boil and cook until tender. Drain and put back in the pot with a tea-towel on top. This helps them to go light and fluffy when mashed. Add the butter, mash quickly and then mix in the cheese. Season very lightly.

Pour the fish mixture into a large gratin dish and top with a layer of spuds. Bake for about 45 minutes until the top is golden brown, then allow to settle for 10 minutes, and serve with peas on the side.

Crunchy Granola ** Improved for 2009 **

Now Cholesterol Lowering too!

I'm constantly changing how I make things - improving each time I hope.  My original Granola was big on taste and less about health, the second version was better. Now for 2009, this recipe is the best tasting, most healthy and helps lower cholesterol.

Yummy Granola

  • 2 cups of rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of wheatgerm
  • 1/4 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinammon

  • 1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of oil
  • Splash of water

Pre-heat your oven to 100c/220f.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Combine the honey, water and oil and pop into the microwave for 1 minute - don't worry too much about the exact measurements but you should have about 3/4 of a cup of liquid. The mixture is much easier to handle when it's warm and the honey is a lot less sticky.

Mix the liquid into the dry ingredients and stir well until everything is well coated.

Spread out evenly on a baking tray and pop into the oven for 60 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool before storing in an air-tight jar; as it cools it will get crunchy. It should hold for quite a while but I'll bet it doesn't last that long.

Enjoy with natural yoghurt.

Use 1/4 cup of apple juice instead of the water and reduce the honey to 1/4 cup.
Add 1/2 cup of mixed seeds [sunflower, flax, sesame, poppy]
Try different fruit, delicious too!

Crunchy or fine?
If you want large nuggets of granola, then follow the steps above when cooking but however if you prefer a finer granola with smaller/less nuggets then remove from the oven every 15 minutes and give it a stir through to break the mixture up.

For extra crunchy, don't stir at all during cooking; turn the oven off after 45 minutes but leave the granola in the oven to cool overnight.  As the oven cools slowly the granola will crunch up much nioce than allowing it to cool on the counter top.

Irish Pancakes

Pancake Tuesday / Irish Style

The before lent starts and you have to use up all those eggs... hence having an egg for easter!  Pancakes are great fun to make for all the family and there's no end of expertimenting you can do once you have the basic batter ready to go.

Traditional Irish Pancakes tend to be less think than US sytle pancakes but not quite as thin as French Crepes.   They are rolled rather than stacked!

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 oz unsalted butter
  • Additional butter for frying
  • granulated sugar
  • lemon juice
  1. Beat the milk and eggs together in a bowl. In another bowl, sift the flour and salt together; add half the milk and egg mixture, stirring constantly.
  2. Melt the butter and whisk it in. Whisk in the rest of the remaining milk and egg mixture.
  3. Allow the batter to stand at least two hours.
  4. Melt 1 tbs butter in frying pan, add 1/4 cup batter and tip until the pan is evenly coated. Keep the pan moving as you cook to prevent sticking. When the underside is golden brown, flip the pancake and cook the other side.

Slide onto an oven proof platter; sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice and then, roll up.

Keep warm in a 300 degree oven until ready to serve.

The Sugar and Lemon Juice is a tried and tested option but feel fee to experiment with:-

  • Syrups
    • Golden syrup
    • Maple syrup
    • Honey
  • Fruit
    • Bananna
    • Strawberry
    • Fruit Jam/Preserve
  •  Chocolate
    • Nutella
    • Flake
    • Toffee / Caramel sauce
  • Ice Cream

or try something more savoury like Cheese and crispy bacon!

After all that, why not have a Pancake Race....