Easy Granola ** Updated **

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, last year's version was pretty good too.

Now finally I think I have it, this recipe is the best tasting, most healthy and helps lower cholesterol.

Yummy Granola

  • 2 1/2 cups of rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of wheatgerm
  • 1/2 cup of mixed seeds [sunflower, flax, sesame, poppy]
  • 1/4 cup of dried cranberries or raisins if you prefer
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinammon

  • 1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of light sunflower oil
  • Splash of orange juice [optional]

Pre-heat your oven to 120c/250f.

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 50 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 a splash of apple juice instead.
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 with a fork to break the mixture up.

For extra crunchy, leave the granola in the oven to cool overnight.  As the oven cools slowly the granola will crunch up much more than allowing it to cool on the counter top.

Fishing for Mackerel

Summer time fishing for Atlantic Mackerel!

There's nothing quite like a fresh mackerel, under a grill or on a BBQ with lots of real Irish butter.  So, with that in mind there was a trip to the attic to retreive the rods and tackle, last year's success lingered slightly in the tackle box!

Still, you can't beat the excitment of the first cast - youthfully anticipation abounds... and as it happens was all around as my boys were with me [managing multiple children, rods, hooks - that's another story].

Thankfully we managed to lose all that old tackle, wasn't upto much anyway, and as the tide started to turn the number of bites intensified.  Surely soon we'd have the makings of our meal.  Alas, as the tide ebbed so too did our anticipation.  It wasn't our day.

The rods will be out again tomorrow and we'll catch our mackerel, the tug on the line and flash of silver will make the heart leap.

As for How we'll cook them? Let's catch the little buggers first.
Just add butter and a hot grill!

Pan fried corn on the cob

 Corn on the cob - with a twist

  • 4 cobs of sweetcorn
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 50g butter
  • 10g chopped rosemary, finely chopped
Place the cobs in a pan of lightly salted boiling water and cook until tender.  Remove from the water and allow to cool slightly so you can safely handle them.  With a very sharp knife, slice each cob into rings about 1" thick.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the corn rings.  As the cobs turn golden add the butter and rosemary - as the butter melts, spoon it over the cobs and allow to become a wonderful nutty colour.

Transfer to a warmed plate and spoon over any remaining butter/rosemary.  Serve warm.

You cold also do this on the BBQ using foil.

Blackberry Ice-cream

A summer delight and a childhood reminder

  • 450g / 1lb blackberries (freshly picked are best but nit always available)
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 50g / 2oz caster sugar
  • 1 x 400ml can evaporated milk
  • 150 ml double cream, whipped
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

Place the blackberries, honey and sugar in a medium pan over a low heat of 10-15 minutes until the berries are soft and mushy.  Transfer to blender a whizz until smooth.  Pass through a sieve to remove the pips and allow to cool.

Meanwhile whip the evaporated milk until it starts to thicken  Fold in the cream, lemon juice and the blackberry puree.

Transfer to a container suitable for the freezer and pop into the freezer for 45 minutes, or when it starts to freeze around the edges.  Remove and give it a good beating to break up any ice crystals.  Repeat this freezing / beating several times to ensure a smooth result.

Kick back and enjoy.

Tarragon Mayonnaise

Spruced up mayonnaise- great on burgers.

Ingredients:  Use home-ade os hop bought mayonnaise.
  • 200lm mayonnaise
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly chopped herbs
  • Salt & black pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
Directions: Mix all the ingredients together and set aside in the fridge.  Delicious on bbq burgers.

Tomato & Mozzarella Crown Loaf

A delicious variation of the COURONNE loaf - super for picnics.

The name COURONNE comes from the French for Crown - shaped in a circle so it could be easily carried on your arm.


For the bread: 
  • 500g Strong White Flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2 tsp dried active yeast
  • 175ml warm water
  • 200g natural yoghurt
For the filling:
  • 100g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 ball (approx 100g) mozzarella drained and diced
  • Hand full of fresh basil, torn.

    Create the dough in the traditional way - add the yeast to the warm water and allow to activate, then mix in the yoghurt.  Add to the flour and salt and mix into a soft dough.  Kneed for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Set aside for ~1 hour until the dough has doubled in size.

    Knock back the dough and kneed for another few minutes.  Roll the dough out into a rectangle (approx 10 x 13in).  Cover the dough with the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.  Roll it up from the long side until it resembles a Swiss roll.  At this point, you can bring the two ends together to form a circle or for a more interesting bread, cut length ways along the roll and not quite to one end.  You will have two long pieces joined at one end; plait them together.  Twist into a circle shape pressing the ends together to join.

    Place the dough on a greased baking tray and place a small bowl over the dough to help it keep the shape. Leave to rise for ~30 minutes.

    Bake in a preheated over at 220c for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.  Best eaten when still slightly warm.  Not my picture, but this is what you should get - looks nice!

    Variation: You could also use this to make rolls -divide the dough into twelve balls.

    Updated Blogsite

    We've moved our blog to theirishbakers.blogspot.com - small but subtle change, same great content!

    Lemon-Oil Dressing

    Come back sunshine... I've had a chance to try this out yet!!!!

    • 1/2 cup Olive OIl
    • Juice and zest of one Lemon juice
    • Black Pepper to taste
    • [Optional] Fresh herbs (Basil is good)

    Mix everything together, chill. Serve. Now really, could it be any simpler?

    Rasberry & Lime Ice-cream

    A real summer favourite, or if its not summer where you are now, then just a real favourite.

    • 250g raspberries (fresh of course if you can get them but from frozen will do too)
    • 100g sugar
    • 50ml lime juice
    • 50ml cream
    • 500ml Greek yoghurt

    Heat the fruit and add the sugar. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Gently mash the fruit with a potato masher and add the lime juice. Allow to cool then add the cream and Greek yoghurt.

    Stir well and transfer to a plastic container and into the freezer. Remove from the freezer and mix well every few hours until the ice-cream is set. To enjoy the ice-cream at its best remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for ~30 minutes before lashing into it!

    BBQ Peach Parcel

    Great on the BBQ. Prepare these parcels in advance, pop on the BBQ when your main course is finished and the peaches will be ready in about 1/2 an hour.

    • Six peaches, halved with the stones removed
    • 4 Table spoons of Gran Marnier or other sweet liquor
    • 4 Table spoons brown sugar
    • 4 Table spoons raisins or sultanas

    Heat the liquor and add the sugar. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Add the raisins and put aside for a while to allow the raisins soak up the sweet liquor.

    Halve the peaches and remove the stones. Prepare squares of aluminium foil with one peach per piece of foil. Spoon the sweet raisin into the peach pit and close over the foil parcel - don't wrap too tightly as you want the peach to poach.

    Pop on the BBQ for about 1/2 hour. Serve hot, delicious with ice-cream.

    What is "Cream" Four?

    Many irish baking recipes use "Cream" flour - this is unheard of outside Ireland and often leaves one heading straight for Google to find out exactly what type of flour it is.

    Well Cream Flour is simply the name by which Odlums brand their plain flour - clever marketing by Odlums eh?

    so "cream" = plain = general purpose flour.

    Basic Crepes

    Sweet or Savoury - Crepes are always a winner


    Ingredients: makes about 8 - depends on the size of the frying pan! 
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1 cup full-fat milk and 1 cup water or 2 cups low-fat milk [recommended]
    • 2 tbps melted butter
    • Pinch of salt

    Whisk all the ingredients together into a smooth batter ensuring there are no lumps.  The melted butter is all important as it stops the crepes sticking to the pan!

    Make sure your pan is hot, oil it a little and then add the batter using approx 1/4 cup for each crepe.  Roll the pan in a circular motion  so the crepe thinly covers the entire pan.

    Cook for a minute of two and then flip with a spatula and cook for one minute on the other side until golden.

    Serve hot and enjoy with Lemon & Sugar, Maple Syrup, Nutella, Fruit &Cream or whatever takes your fancy.

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    Citrus Yoghurt

    Great as an accompanyment for Blackened Fish

    Like all my recipes - quick and easy to make but looks good and tastes even better.

    • 300ml Greek style yoghurt
    • Zest from an orange
    • 1 lime
    • 50ml olive oil


    Grate the zest from the orange and lime into the yoghurt.  You could also use a lemon in addition!  Squeeze the juice from the lime into the yoghurt and add the olive oil.  Mix well and set aside in the fridge until needed.

    Fresh Lemon and Lime Sorbet

    A taste of Sorrento from your own kitchen.

    Easy to make, refreshing and looks great as a "palate cleanser" between courses. Great for dinner parties.


    • 2 Limes
    • 1 litre of cold water (1.75 pints)
    • 100g /4oz caster sugar
    • 350ml / 12fl lemon juice


    Grate the zest from the limes and set aside.  Squeeze the juice from the limes and add to the water in a pan over medium heat.  Add the sugar and the zest and simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, mix well.  Allow to cool.

    When it is cold, pour the sorbet mixture into a shallow freezerproof container and freeze until ice crystals start to form around the edges.  Stir vigoursly with a fork.  Repeat every 20 minutes or so over a few hours until the mixture is set and no liquid remains.

    Soften slightly before serving in scoops.

    Hokey Pokey Honeycomb

    Hokey Pokey is the best type of Honeycomb !

    Great as a candy treat or as decoration with desserts like mousse, ice-cream or use a an ingredient of Rocky Road.

    • 75g / 3oz caster sugar
    • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
    • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (aka bread soda)


    Heat the sugar and golden syrup in a pan stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Add in the bread soda and stir like crazy - the bread soda will froth up almost immediately.  Keep stirring until all the bread soda is dissolved and there are no lumps.

     Pour the mixture onto a sheet of grease-proof paper (or into grease-proof moulds for candy).  Allow to stand for 15 minutes until cold and then smash into pieces.

    Excellent spinkled over ice-cream.

    Banana Cookies


    • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 cup of sugar
    • 1 egg, room temperature
    • 1 cup of mashed bananas (about 2 ½ large bananas)
    • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
    • 2 cups of flour
    • Small pinch of salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon of ground mace or nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
    • 1 cup of pecans (walnuts and chocolate chips are fine alternatives)


    1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

    2 In a bowl, mix the mashed bananas and baking soda. Let sit for 2 minutes. The baking soda will react with the acid in the bananas which in turn will give the cookies their lift and rise.

    3 Mix the banana mixture into the butter mixture. Mix together the flour, salt, and spices and sift into the butter and banana mixture and mix until just combined.

    4 Fold into the batter the pecans or chocolate chips if using. Drop in dollops onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Let cool on wire racks.

    Makes about 30 cookies.

    Colcannon / Better than Cabbage!

    A real treat for St. Patrick's day and far nicer than regular cabbage (which can be lovely when done correctly).

    Use REAL BUTTER in this recipe. You need three pots on the go to bring this all together at the same time - one with the cabbage, on with the spuds and one with the leeks.


    • 1 pound cabbage
    • 1 pound potatoes
    • 2 leeks
    • 1 cup milk
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 pinch ground mace
    • 1/2 cup butter


    1. In a large saucepan, boil cabbage until tender; remove and chop finely. Set aside and keep warm. Boil potatoes until tender. Remove from heat and drain.
    2. Chop leeks, green parts as well as white, and simmer them in just enough milk to cover, until they are soft.
    3. Season and mash potatoes well. Stir in cooked leeks and milk. Blend in the kale or cabbage and heat until the whole is a pale green fluff. Make a well in the center and pour in the REAL melted butter. Mix well.

    Thai Mackerel

    Mackerel is thankfully categorised in the "sustainable" category and we're encouraged to comsune this rather than other vulnerbale fish species. Helps too that it's an Oily fish which is good for you....


    • 4 tbsp Thai red curry paste
    • 500ml/17fl oz coconut milk
    • 500ml/17fl oz fish or vegetable stock
    • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
    • 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
    • 2 tbsp caster sugar
    • 4 fresh mackerel fillets, skin on but bones removed
    • 100g/4oz fine noodles, cooked according to instructions on packet
    • small bunch coriander, torn
    • 2 limes, juice and zest


    1. In a large pan fry off the red curry paste for a few seconds before adding the coconut milk, stock, finely chopped red chilli, fish sauce and sugar. Bring to the boil and turn down the heat before adding the mackerel pieces. Continue to simmer gently until the fish is cooked through.
    2. Warm the noodles and place into the soup bowls. Spoon the finished broth over the top and sprinkle with freshly torn coriander leaves, together with the juice and zest of the limes.

    Watercress Soup / Nice and Green for St. Patrick's Day


    • 20g/1oz unsalted butter
    • 100g/3½oz white onion, finely chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
    • 300g/10½oz watercress, tough stalks removed
    • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 100g/3½oz spinach leaves
    • 500ml/17½fl oz boiling water
    • 500g/17½ ice cubes
    • 100ml/3½fl oz crème fraîche

    1. In a large saucepan on a medium heat, melt the butter and gently cook the chopped onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, or until soft and translucent but not coloured. This gentle sweetening of the onion and garlic will transform the natural starches present into sugar giving that lovely sweetened onion flavour as opposed to the harsh raw onion flavour.
    2. Increase the heat to high, add the watercress and a pinch of salt, cover with a lid and cook for 30 seconds. Add the spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until wilted. The spinach will round up the strong peppery qualities of the watercress.
    3. Pour in the boiling water and simmer for 2-3 minutes, then remove from the heat and add the ice. This quick cooking of the vegetables and cooling with the ice will not only retain the colour and the flavour, but also maximise the vitamins and minerals.
    4. Pour half the soup into a food processor, and blend until smooth. Transfer the soup into a clean pan, then repeat with the remaining soup.
    5. When ready to serve, reheat the soup and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper if required. Serve the soup in a large tureen with the crème fraîche swirled through.

    Egg Fried Rice

    NOT Irish at all but tasty and quick.

    Egg-fried rice is easy to prepare and tastes great as a meal on its own. For the best result, make sure the rice is cooked and cooled beforehand so it won't stick together when frying.

    1 egg
    2 tsp sesame oil
    2 tbsp vegetable oil
    200g/7oz long-grain rice (uncooked weight), cooked and left to go cold
    100g/4oz frozen peas, defrosted (rinse under warm water to do this quickly)
    4 spring onions, finely chopped
    100g/4oz bean sprouts (optional)
    1-2 tsp soy sauce
    ground white pepper

    1. Beat together the egg and sesame oil and put to one side.
    2. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large frying pan. When it's shimmering and almost smoking, add the rice and stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes until completely heated through.
    3. Add the peas, spring onions and beansprouts, if using. Stir-fry, turning the rice constantly around the pan, for about 3 minutes. Season well with soy sauce and pepper, then push to one side of the pan. Pour the beaten egg mixture into the other side and leave for about 10 seconds so it begins to set. Using a chopstick, briskly swirl around the egg to break it up and then toss around with the rice. Stir-fry for a further minute and serve straight away.

    You could include some extras like chopped ham, cooked prawns or sweetcorn, when adding the peas.

    Got my Patty's Day tee

    March 17th tee arrived today and delighted with it - glad I got the fridge magnets too.  To celebrate I baked some brown bread last night using my new fangled foolproof recipe.  This is a good news day.

    Best ever - Irish Brown Soda Bread

    Just in time for St. Patrick's Day; Sure where you be without it?

    After much trial and tribulation here it is, tried and tested.

    • 1lb / 450g coarse wholemeal flour
    • 6 oz / 175g self raising white flour (or use plain flour and add a teaspoon of baking powder)
    • 2 oz  / 60g wheat germ
    • 1 rounded teaspoon bread soda
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¾ pint / 450ml buttermilk (approx.)
    • 1 tablespoon of Olive oil


    • Preheat the oven to 360 °F / 180 °C.
    • Mix the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl taking care to sift in the bread soda - lumpy bread soda causes burnt yellow spots in your bread.
    • In a well in the centre add the oil and stir in enough buttermilk to make a fairly soft dough.
    • Turn on to a work surface dusted with wholemeal flour and lightly pull together; no heavy kneading required.
    • Form into a circular shape, about 3" thick, and place onto a baking sheet. Mark a deep cross in the top with a knife.  No need to be precise with this as any shape/design will do.
    • Bake for about 15 minutes and then turn the heat down by 10 degrees and bake for a further 30-40 minutes until bread is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the base. 
    • Cool on a wire rack and optionally wrap in a clean towel if you want to keep the crust on the soft side.

    This recipe scales well so adjust as needed to make smaller or larger cakes [yes, Irish Brown bread is often referred to as a cake].

    Getting ready for St. Patrick's Day

    Got myself a new tee and a couple of fridge magnets at http://www.cafepress.com/fightinirish - now to start thinking about what to cook for the day, hmmm.

    Please Sir, Can I have some more.... Porridge

    Just two things to say on Porridge:-

    • Helps lower your cholesterol
    • Excellent source of fiber

    No better way to start your day.

    Robin loves my bread

    Snow everwhere and a little robin red breast is enjoyed my Irish Brown Bread

    Given the recent, unusual for us, snow I left out some of Brown Bread for the birds... great to see a little robin tucking in.  Little does she know that it's good for her too!!!

    The Fresh Loaf

    Just came across a very good (bread) baking site - www.thefreshloaf.com and signed up. Good forum, useful guides and active members. Looking forward to see what I can learn.

    Softer Crust - Part II

    How to achieve that elusive soft crust on home baked bread

    Previously I wrote about tips and tricks to ensure that homemade bread (Irish brown bread in particular) doesn't suffer from an overly hard crust.  The adding of Oil and wrapping the bread in a tea-towel both help.

    Recently I read that adding an egg would also help so I tried it last night.

    Success !  This morning's bread is pretty much my best ever - here what I did:-

    • Followed my basic Brown Bread Recipe
    • Added two tablespoons Olive Oil
    • Added one egg
    • Lightly beat the egg and oil together before adding with the milk
    • When finished baking, wrapped the bread in tea towel and allowed to cool
    The result is slightly crumbly but definitely a softer crust.  Hooray!

    Let it snow, let it snow....

    Forecast for a MASSIVE 4cm of Snow today so no doubt the entire country will grind to a halt. Time to make some brown bread then!

    Must try some ideas I read yesterday on how to keep the crust soft - I already use the damp tea-towel trick and the Olive Oil trick, to that I'll add the lightly beaten egg (new) trick and see how it turns out. Stay tuned.


    Lemon Cookies - Zingly!

    Lemon & Ginger == Sublime Cookies


    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
    • 1/2 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    • 2 Tbsp. lemon zest, freshly grated and divided
    • 1/2 cup caster sugar


    Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

    In bowl of electric mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add ginger, egg, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon zest; beat until combined. Gradually add flour mixture; mix well. Cover dough and chill 30 minutes.

    In a small bowl, combine remaining zest and caster sugar; set aside.

    Drop dough by heaping teaspoons, 2 inches apart, onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Dip the bottom of a glass into the lemon sugar mixture and flatten dough; repeat for all cookies. Place remaining lemon sugar mixture in a sifter and sift additional sugar over each cookie. Bake 9 to 12 minutes until edges begin to brown. Allow cookies to cool on sheet 2 to 3 minutes.

    Remove to a cooling rack; cool completely. Store at room temperature in an airtight container with wax paper between layers for up to 1 week.... as if they'll last that long!

     Thanks to eatwisconsincheese.com

    Julie & Julia / The Movie

    A movie review in a food blog? Are you serious?

    A foodie blog is no place for a movie review but this a movie regarding a foodie blogger so perhaps it's okay?  Julie & Julia.

    I loved it.  Witty, engaging and informative - Meryl Streep steals the show.  If you enjoy preparing or eating food then you'll enjoy this movie.

    I'd never heard of Julia Child and at first thought that thecharacter was forced and exaggerated but I looked her up on Youtube after watching the movie and can confirm that Meryl's impression was indeed good.  In fact, you should check out Julia Child on Youtube before watching the movbie and you'll enjoy it even more - I liked this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBQD3aSZ9R4

    Makes you feel like cooking something afterwards.... has to be

    Boeuf Bourguignon

    Another New Year and yet more resolutions....

    Five Top Tips for the best New Year Resolutions

    Seems like every New Year starts with a set of resolutions to improve one's outlook on life, health and the environment. The Irish Baker is no different but this year I'm hoping to be more realistic in what I can achieve. Five new rules:-

    • Drink less coffee - you don't have to have a coffee cup on your desk all day with coffee in it!
    • Eat more fruit - enough said.
    • Be more patient, count to 10 (or more) when stress starts.
    • Don't park in the nearest spot, or drive around looking for a spot close by - just park and walk the remainder. Saves Gas and is better for you.
    • Chew food slowly and completely, savour the tastes... should mean I eat a little less too!
    Sounds easy on Jan 4th - let's see how we're doing in a few months time.......