Monday, November 26, 2012

Winter sickness :(

So despite the healing and soothing properties of my great-granny's honey-lemon I have been struck down with a lovely viral infection that has lasted 5 days now. I can feel myself getting slightly better today but I am still full of sniffles, bunged up, unable to hear anything properly and as white as a ghost. So needless to say I've not been doing a huge amount of cooking, or anything other than sleeping and staying wrapped up in blankets. My daily intake over the last week has consisted mainly of analgesic medicine and herbal tea, however I hope to be back on tip-top form soon! 

Until then see you soon and stay well! x

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

All Natural Cold Remedy

So this morning I woke up with a heavy head, sore eyes and my throat feeling like sandpaper.. yep, the beginnings of a cold. The first thing I did once I got myself out of bed and put on my dressing gown was to put the kettle on to make a "honey-lemon" drink.

Whenever we felt unwell mum would make us "honey-lemon", it's so simple but really helps when you're feeling sick, she learned it from my great-granny who would make it for her when she felt unwell. There are 4 ingredients: the juice of 1 lemon, a tablespoon of honey, 5 whole cloves and recently boiled water. You stir it all together and let them magic of these simple ingredients work. 

Lemons are packed with vitamin C essential for fighting off colds, infections and boosting immunity. Honey takes away some of the sharpness of the lemon juice but is also anti-bacterial, helps the immune system and is great for soothing and coating a sore throat. Cloves have numerous health benefits, they are packed with expectorants, which make it easier to cough up phlegm (a bit gross I know, but important when you've a bad cough), they also can help with nausea, sore muscles, indigestion and vomiting. Combined with hot water it's a powerful cold-fighting combination.

My mum would always make it for us in an old jug and we'd sip it with a spoon. I don't have the special jug that she uses, I just make it in a big mug, but I have to drink it with a spoon, don't ask me why but just works better! If you get sick this winter give this a go, not only is it really comforting but will work wonders!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pure Comfort Food

Last night I had a mad craving for rice pudding, I hadn't eaten rice pudding in years but last night at about 10 o'clock I had an almighty urge to have a steaming bowl of rice pudding topped off with cinnamon. So Isaac pulled on our coats and hurried to the shop around the corner to get this pudding delight! Isaac hates rice pudding - he calls it gloop - he got a bar of chocolate instead!

Comfort food for me is food that brings me back to another time or place (usually my childhood), and rice pudding does just that. It reminds me of my mum when I was little, which is funny because I'm sure my mum would say the same thing. She probably eats it as infrequently as I do but when you do it makes you feel all warm and cuddly inside. This is not gourmet, fancy or flashy food, it's pure unadulterated comfort food, and even though it comes from a tin (it has to be ambrosia!) with a dusting of warming cinnamon it is transformed into something special on a cold November night.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nespresso Variations 2012 (review)

I love coffee and I really love Nespresso coffee, it makes the perfect espresso every time and doesn't require large bulky coffee machines, grinders or soggy biscuits of grinds to clean up after. During the run up to Christmas Nespresso release limited edition Variations. They've had some gorgeous flavours in previous years and they definitely don't disappoint this year. The 3 gorgeous flavours are Hazelnut, Macadamia Nut and Coconut!

Nutty flavours go fantastically well with coffee so it's no surprise that all 3 of these flavours are delicious and work perfectly with their Livanto Grand Cru coffee (strength 6). Hazelnut has a deliciously rounded taste with a hint of Christmasy praline, the Macadamia Nut has a lovely nutty lightness and freshness without overpowering the Livanto Grand Cru and the Coconut is delicately fragranced with the scent and taste of toasted coconut.

It's hard for me to pick out one as my favourite as they all have their own distinctive elements however the one that was the biggest surprise to me is the coconut, it's very different but it has a wonderful festive fragrance and taste that works perfectly together and makes an absolutely delicious coffee.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Potsticker Supper

Last night neither Isaac or I were in the mood for cooking a full dinner, we ended up having a very late lunch (around 4.30pm!!) and by 8pm neither of us were more than slightly peckish.

Earlier this week I made 40 tortellini for a dinner party to celebrate Isaac's mum's birthday using pre-made egg dumpling wrappers and had a few left over that needed using up. There was just enough for a a light dinner of potsticker dumplings stuffed with garlic, ginger, spinach, spring onion and a teeny bit leftover tofu, dipped into a chilli, soya and sesame oil sauce.

Using stock spiked with salty light soya sauce poured over the dumplings that have crisped up on the bottom and let bubble away for 3-5 mins or until the stock has all evaporate and the dumplings are hot and translucent. Delicious!

To finish we had a wonderfully light and fruity dessert. Cool natural yogurt, sweet soft mango, tart little passion fruit jewels and gorgeous perfumed lychees. Lychees can often be very disappointing (not to mention fiddly) when bought fresh, they have to travel such a distance to get here that they often have over ripened or even worse gone bad. So tinned lychees, peeled and pitted are just perfect and the syrup they come in is truly divine! As if this little heavenly bowl could get any better, a sprinkling of smashed sesame snaps added a lovely crunchy and chewy bite!

                    (How cute is my little ladybird timber peeking out from behind the breadboard?)

                         For a supper that neither of us wanted, it turned out pretty perfect!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Celebration Lebanese Dinner

Isaac and I celebrated being together 6 1/2 years on November 3rd!! It's mad how fast the time has gone, but I've loved every minute! We started the day with a gorgeous walk on Killiney hill with the dog in the beautiful autumnal sunshine all bundled up in coats, scarves and gloves. After a quick lunch at home with my family we headed into town to do some shopping and have a coffee with friends followed by eating out to celebrate. However we just couldn't decide on where to eat, too many choices! So we decided that a bottle of good champagne with a Lebanese feast at home prepared by the two of us would be just as good as a fancy dinner out. 

I started off by making the flatbreads as they take the longest to prepare. While the dough was left to prove, I made a gorgeous spiced aubergine, chickpea and tomato dish called maghmour, which was accompanied by Lebanese rice topped with crunchy pinenuts and caramelised onions..yum! Isaac made his delicious hummus and tabbouleh which used up the last of our much neglected parsley! When all of these were made the flatbread dough was ready to go and we made 6 beautifully crisp flatbreads perfect for scooping and dipping. 

This could have easily fed 4 people very happily however our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs, with a glass of bubbles it was a perfect celebration dinner.