Monday, November 23, 2015


For raw fans, here's a new one: Raw Luxury Christmas Cake. It's €11.99 and you can buy it here from Natasha's.

Monday, October 5, 2015


I managed to miss this when it was posted, but how lovely is the illustration that goes with it? It's by Ariella Elovic. My piece on Emily Dickinson and baking here at Tastebook.

(Cross-posted with my writing blog, Women Rule Writer).

Monday, September 14, 2015

Blended Apple Cake

'Cookers Not Eaters' sign is to warn the kids :)

My friend John brought cooking apples from his sister's house in Clare; I immediately wanted an apple cake. I was planning one with apple pieces but then saw this recipe for a blended one at All Recipes and changed my mind.

I added cinnamon and put in spelt flour because I love its dense texture. This resulted in a fairly flat cake (despite my adding baking powder). But it made a very sweet and tasty cake, perfect for the time of year. Really delicious warm!

117 calories per slice (I cut mine into nine pieces)
Blended Apple Cake


50g margarine

50g caster sugar
2 eggs
60g self-raising flour
50g wholemeal spelt flour
140g cooking apples (2 medium apples)
2 tablespoons water

1tsp baking powder
1tsp ground cinnamon


Grease a square 8" tin. Line the bottom.

Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
Core and peel the apples, chop finely.
Cream the marg and sugar.
Add both eggs to the mixture.
Fold half the sieved flour, cinnamon and baking powder into the mixture.
Put the apples and water in a blender and blend for a few minutes.
Add the apple mixture to the cake mixture, and fold in the remaining flour.
Pour into the greased tin.
Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.
Leave to cool for 30 minutes.

Friday, August 21, 2015


Jess Murphy's choc cake - recipe at link below

My poor neglected blog!!! I am so busy with Miss Emily promo that I haven't had time to blog here. The guilt!

Anyway, I came across this cool collaboration between two of my favourite Galway spots: Meadows and Byrne and Kai Restaurant and thought it was worth sharing.

Go here for more.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Choc chips in the mix
Oh, bananas (especially Tesco ones) why do you go rotten in jig time?? Anyway, soft, blackening bananas mean only one thing: cake! And as it's our wedding anniversary today, I thought a choc banana cake would be perfect. I found this post with a great recipe at the Friday is Cake Night blog and it is fab-U-lous. We ate big wodges of it today with soya custard, after a lunch in Kariba's, while fondly remembering our lovely wedding in New York: City Hall, sunshine, Gobo Restaurant (now, sadly, no more), carrot cake and roses.

Decorated with a stencil bought in Euro2 - one of four designs
This cake is relatively healthy as it's made with no oil or butter. Again, I have kept the American measurements, in case of disaster in the change-over to metric.

At 10 slices, it makes each slice 210 kcalories. 3g of fat per slice.

With Alpro soya custard - mmm

3 medium ripe bananas
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup self-raising flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda (bread soda, in Ireland)
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup dark chocolate chips
icing sugar to decorate (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 350F/180C
  • Grease an 8 inch round tin and line the bottom
  • Combine the mashed bananas and sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir until liquidy
  • Add the apple sauce, vanilla essence and egg. Stir to combine.
  • Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and mix through
  • Add the chocolate chips, mix and pour into the prepared baking tin
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes
  • Cool in the tin before turning out
This day five years ago in NYC

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Cooked brownie 'slab' cooling in the garden
I saw a recipe on Facebook for 37 calorie brownies. Sceptical? So was I. I have adapted the recipe (I don’t have Stevia, a sugar substitute, which is what the original called for) so I used brown sugar. I managed to get apple sauce in Tesco. Also I left the American measurements - having messed with them before with poor results, I thought I'd better not meddle.

Anyway, my brownies work out at 120 calories per brownie, and only have 2g of fat – not exactly 37 kcals but still not bad! And they are moist and tasty!


half cup porridge oats
1 medium free range egg
3/4 cup no-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup low fat milk
1/2 cup Bournville cocoa powder
1/2 cup light brown sugar (or a sugar substitute)
1/3 cup apple sauce
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt


  • Preheat oven to 200ºC/400ºF
  • Grease a square 8” x 8” pan
  • Combine all the ingredients in a food mixer (I used a hand blender) for one minute
  • Bake for 22 minutes or so
  • Cool in the pan
  • Cut into 9 squares

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


 It's Temple Street Bake time again!

Low calorie banana bread
I'm a sucker for banana bread. I'd love a soda bread type one (I think I will have to invent it) but, in the absence of that, I made a low calorie one today based on this recipe. How she got 24 pieces out of this is beyond me - maybe her guests were mice. My loaf yields about 10 slices.

Apple sauce is not a staple here in Ireland, so I made my own (ahem!) out of a peeled, finely diced apple. I cooked it on a medium heat with a little water until softened and then blended it, which didn't make it very sauce-like. But, in it went anyway.

This makes a moist, very sweet, low-sized loaf so the slices are more like bars. 106 kcals per bar. Yum!


2 mashed bananas
1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce/or one apple made into poor applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 dash salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg
2 tablespoons nonfat milk (I used soya milk)
3/4 cup spelt flour


  • Preheat oven to 180°/350°F and lightly grease a 2lb loaf tin
  • Place all ingredients but flour & baking powder in a large bowl and mix
  • Sieve in flour and baking powder to wet ingredients
  • Pour into loaf tin
  • Cook for about 35 minutes - or until golden brown.
  • Allow to cool before slicing

Saturday, April 4, 2015


We went into the city for the annual food festival today. It's a beautiful Easter Saturday here in Galway: dry, almost warm and almost sunny :) The festival continues all weekend and is well worth a visit. Great food, gorgeous atmosphere around Wood Quay and the Claddagh, especially.

We stopped at the Skeff for cakes on the way to the festival - Mr V and I shared a salted caramel brownie.
Juno opted for milk and a giant cookie
Juno Bunny
Giant bunny outside Yes Flowers
Every house in Galway probably has a piece of Judy Greene's lovely pottery
Skeff cakes at the marquees at the Spanish Arch
America Village Apothecary syrups - so pretty
Róisín Fahy of Beechlawn Organic Farm, Ballinasloe
More Skeff goodies

Bowl A Granola
Man of Aran fudge
Creme egg bun anyone?
Easter buns by Goodness Cakes
Man of Aran mint choc fudge
Pad Tofu for lunch in Lime Restaurant in the Claddagh. Yum.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Black Cake - with a chunk taken out :)
This cake features in my forthcoming novel Miss Emily (out July in USA and Canada, August in UK and Ireland) so it was about time I actually made it. In the book Emily makes it for her December birthday and shares it with her Irish maid Ada.

Juno beating the eggs and sugar
Emily's version of this calls for 19 eggs and 5 lbs of currants!! I made a quarter sized version. The finished cake certainly looks black and it tastes more like a plum pudding than cake to me. It's rich and very fruity. I have no clue how Emily baked hers at 120°C in three hours. My much-reduced cake took three hours and forty minutes and still looked a bit moist around the middle.

Treacle marbling the batter - Emily used molasses in her version
I had a lump of it hot from the oven last night - I am looking forward to having a piece today with soya custard or that lovely Alpro Lemon and Lime 'yogurt'.

•           225g self-raising flour
•           225g butter
•           225g sugar
•           half teaspoon baking soda (bread soda in Ireland)
•           quarter teaspoon ground nutmeg
•           1.25 teaspoons total: cloves, mace, cinnamon (or mixed spice)
•           5 eggs
•           550g raisins
•           150g citron (candied peel)
•           150g currants
•           60ml brandy (or whiskey)
•           60ml treacle

•           Preheat oven to 120°C
•           Grease and line the bottom of a round baking tin (8”)
•           Sift together flour, bread soda and spices
•           In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar
•           Add eggs one at a time and beating after each one
•           Add brandy (or whiskey), mix well
•           Add flour mixture, mix well.
•           Add treacle and sprinkle in fruit as you stir
•           Pour into greased tin
•           Bake for 2 hours at 120°C
•           Bake for a further 1 hour 30 mins at 160°C then remove cake from tin to cool
•           Store in an air-tight container. Douse with whiskey/brandy once a week.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Juno mixing the dry ingredients
I was dying for some seeded brown bread yesterday but as it was Mother's Day I was too busy lolling about eating chocolates. So, today I got around to it. I adapted a recipe from the Natural Fuel blog. I swapped in a beaten egg for some water, for the nutritional value. I also used more seeds as I wanted a fairly crunchy bread.

I toasted fresh slices to have with soup. Ended up having one with jam - yum!

  • 320g wholegrain spelt flour
  • 80g porridge oats
  • 35g mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin and sesame)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 300 ml tepid water
  • 1 medium free-range egg, beaten

  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Grease a 2lb loaf tin with veg oil (use a piece of kitchen roll)
  • Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Sieve the baking powder and mix through
  • Mix in the water, then the egg, until the dough is evenly wet - it's a fairly heavy dough
  • Plop the mixture into the loaf tin, smooth down with a wooden spoon and cut a deep line down the centre
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds
  • Bake for 1 hour or so (until the bottom sounds hollow when knocked)
  • Cool before slicing

Thursday, January 22, 2015


I have gotten out of the habit of making my own hummus (much easier to buy a pot in Aldi) but we've been on a health kick lately, trying to vary our diet and eat unprocessed stuff as much as possible. So I decided to start making hummus again. Also, I tend to like a chunkier, more garlicky hummus than the shops provide.

Hummus goes off quite quickly (3 days max.) so I only wanted two lunches worth, that is four portions, so I used a small can of chickpeas from Tesco - 130g drained weight.

97 kcal per portion, 6g fat

130g chickpeas
20ml olive oil
juice of half a lemon
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon tahini
pinch salt
pinch pepper
2.5ml to 5ml water - optional

- Throw everything into a food processor and whizz
- If you don't have a processor, mash the chickpeas with a potato masher then mix the other ingredients through.
- If your hummus is too thick, you can thin it down with a drop of water.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Here's a link to some great charts for healthy eating on Buzzfeed. I particularly love this one: