London 2012

A beautiful, recent memory for me. A lucky, somewhat unexpected trip of adventure. An experience that will stay with me forever.


This may be ludicrously outdated to readers, who think ‘that was over six months ago, why is the post only going up now?’ I hold one hand up and the other on my heart and plead ‘laziness’. Yet a post like this is more of a static feature which is unlikely to date quickly. The places I ate and things I seen are unlikely to change over the next few years so this is merely a look back for myself and a look in to, for you, the experience and wonders of the sojourn I spent in a place where the collective eye of the world was firmly and undisputedly fixated on last year.

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Black pudding stuffed mushrooms with spinach

These are the perfect starter. Two per person should be amazing, and we all know how incredibly fast and lightly spinach gets portioned off. I often find spinach is either a great or an awful starter. As raw salad leaves there is too much per person (so much chewing!) yet when wilted, it’s a-bite-a-person affair! No happy medium. However, in this recipe you do need that bit of green and something to surprise the tastebuds every few mouthfuls, not least because of the indulgence of mushroom-topped with black pudding-slathered in melted cheese… in that order!

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Russian Salad

Adapated from Monica Loughnan’s recipe from Four Live on RTÉ.

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Salad four ways

When working a full-time job, it does get very tiring trying to come up with new ways to get fed during the day. I always compare it to getting dressed in the morning. Just like when we were all in school and had uniforms. It was boring to have to wear the same thing each day without showing your personality through your fashion choices. Yet it was easy. Whereas when you’ve grown up and joined the 9-5 crew, each day trying to come up with something different to wear, it does get tiring and often unimaginative.

Just like this fashion dilemma, it can be compared to working lunches. It can get so uninspiring to change choices each day and come up with something healthy, satisfying and enjoyable. Of course, we can have the same thing five days in a row, but that’s going to get incredibly boring. What I often love to do is challenge myself each week. So on a Sunday I might go to the supermarket, see what’s fresh and buy it in bulk. Say for example, butternut squash. I then challenge myself to use it in five different ways during the week. Cost-effective (if on special offer, even better!!) and exciting and challenging.

For this particular post, I didn’t use the same thing five times, but used ingredients which are generally available in my fridge, freezer or presses. Tins which are collecting dust all year, fridge staples that are used for the same things day in day out and also matching foods I buy regularly together in a unique way.

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Butterscotch, Oreo and banana chilled cheesecake

I recently got a huge craving for Oreo cookies. Those typical American treats, of the ‘milk and..’ kind. Oreos are deliciously satsifying, with a crumbly, chocolate biscuit and a sweet frosted filling. What I love about them is that suspicious tang that they have, almost salty or something. I’m sure that’s additives or preservatives or something, but the less I know to interrupt the enjoyment, the better!

What I craved was not a single oreo, but something more, an Oreo dessert. I thought about it for a while, yet couldn’t quite find enough inspiration to really think outside the box. So I developed an idea to use Oreo as a base for something, and what could be a simpler? A cheesecake.

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Heartwarming Winter fruit crumble

This crumble is both easy and deliciously satisfying! I made it one night, feeling the need for a bit of sugar and comfort, as the nights were growing cold. I had a few berries and some other fruit in the fridge and just wanted something comforting, unctuous and a little bit self-indulgent.

Normally, a recipe like this would call for mini ramekins so you can serve them singularly, per person. However, I chose to do it in two slightly larger baking dishes. Each dish would probably serve three, or one on a lonely Winter night.

The best thing about it is how quick it is. Bung everything into a saucepan, open up some nice, tasty, organic muesli and reap the rewards! The muesli is also much better than just standard oat and sugar crumble, it has a much more varied texture and has little bits of other fruits and raisins on top as well.

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Easy Autumnal stuffed mushrooms

This recipe comes from the most recent Sunday Times Style magazine, though i’ve adapted it a little bit! Stuffed mushrooms are packed full of flavour. I’ve used large organic mushrooms, as opposed to Portobello mushrooms (which the recipe dicatates to use). You can use either, the smaller ones are great for finger food as they seem quite large when you buy them raw but once in the oven they tend to shrink quite a bit. The Portobello mushrooms are great as a side or spruced up as the centrepiece of a main course.

I love how the parsley is such a big part of this recipe, not only for the fact I got to use my new mezzaluna but because the parsley has so much more flavour and bite than breadcrumbs has. Many stuffed vegetable recipes come loaded with starchy, stodgy breadcrumbs whereas this is mildly bloat-inducing and very fresh tasting.

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