The desert your dentist will love to hate on

Every kid loves Roald Dahl’s dark, twisted and hilariously grotesque stories, right? Or was that just me? I love that he got right to the crux of what kids really like, there’s no pink fluff or fairy godmothers in his stories, no sir. Instead there are disappearing twits, shrinking grandmothers, squish-able aunts and other villains coming to raucous, violent and; let’s be honest; hilariously funny ends.

One of my very favourite characters is Violet Beauregarde, maybe because I can relate to poor ‘oul Violet a little more than I’d care to admit. For those of you who don’t know, Violet, a serial gum-chewer, won a golden ticket to visit Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.  But poor Violet comes to a colourful end when she insists on trying a prototype gum that doubles as a three course meal. Long story short, she sweals up, turns into a blueberry and has to be rolled away…. to be juiced.

I love the idea that you could eat so much of something, you could turn into it. I’m pretty sure it can’t actually happen, at least, I haven’t turned into a lump of chocolate just yet; although I do have a friend who insists her skin once started to turn orange after she over dosed on carrot juice.

Well, eating tonnes of this yummie desert won’t turn you into a blueberry, but it will turn your teeth and tongue a jaunty shade of purple. Hence why your dentist won’t like it, but I bet your friends will find it hilarious.

I threw this together after The Fella’s mother gifted me a whole bucketful of blueberries (yes, I am a very lucky girl). It’s like a cross between a fool and a fruit crumble, mainly because I couldn’t quite decide on what to make, but it doesn’t matter what it’s called because it is deeeelicious. I think it would work with any summer berry, especially raspberries, so if you’re not lucky enough to be gifted a pile of blueberries in the morning, feel free to mix it up, your teeth can take it.

Little pots of blue

Continue reading

Advertisements

Sydney Sparkles

When it comes to weather, us Irish like to think we’re pretty hardy.  We just love to hate it, almost as much as we love to talk about it; and I did think we had it pretty tough, until I moved to Australia. The weather in this poor country is pure mental.

MENTAL I tell you.

When I first moved here and was house hunting, I amused quite a few real estate agents asking in-depth questions about central heating. At that stage I was such a FOB (Fresh Off the Boat) I didn’t realise the buzz phrase in Sydney is ‘reverse-cycle air conditioning’, doh! One actually guy laughed in my face. Well what can I say? I love to keep people entertained.

So, last week, when the reverse-cycle air conditioning in my office gave up the ghost, it wasn’t a good day. The system was kaput, defunct, dead. And it got hot. Oh so very hot. I started to glow, then to glisten and then to sweat profusely; all over my keyboard. As this was happening I also got progressively more stressed and stupid. Apparently my mental faculties are inversely proportional to the temperature of my immediate environment; which means if I ever move to Finland or Antarctica or someplace, I would probably be SO smart.

When I got home I needed alcohol, cold alcohol.

So I made this, and it was yum. I got the idea when browsing Heidi Swanson’s pop-up shop, QUITOKEETO. Heidi made hers with a straightforward thyme-infused syrup, but I decided to take things a step further and use lemon thyme instead of the regular variety. Lemon thyme is wonderful and I would urge everyone to get a pot, just for the beautiful smell if nothing else.

This cocktail is so very yummie. It’s lemoney and herby, aromatic and sweet, I love it; and I usually like my gin so bitter it makes my face turn inside out. So if you’re not a gin drinker, this might be the perfect introduction.

They fixed the air-conditioning, by the way; but the next day there was a hail storm, so it was a bit redundant really. See, I told you: mental.

Lemon-thyme gin sparkler

Continue reading

Pork with a serious, devilishly good (chocolaty!!) twist

If you’re anything like me you will think chocolate and wine are thee very  bestest inventions in the whole entire wide universe. Fact.

They are delicious together. Or separately. For breakfast (well maybe not the wine), brunch, lunch or tea. When you’re happy, sad, bored, stressed or just feel like you deserve a treat. I honestly don’t know what I would ever do if, in a desert island type situation, I had to choose between The Fella and a chocolate-red-wine combo. I’d certainly need a glass of wine to help me mull it over, I may need several in fact.

But… what if you mix these two yummie ingredients with something totally left of field, something completely unusual, something like pork? Am I blowing your mind?! I hope so because this dish is very very special indeed.

This is a recipe from Rachel Allen’s Rachel’s Favourite Food for Friends, and it has been a major hit since the first time I made it a few years ago. Initially people are very reluctant to try it, but after a little coaxing and a taste, it gets gobbled up quicker than you can say: but chocolate isn’t supposed to be for dinner! Of course, you don’t actually taste the chocolate; it just adds a beautiful richness and sweetness to the sauce. Midweek dinner this ain’t, this is RICH and filling and unusual, but totally delicious. So I urge to mix it up a bit this weekend and try it, I guarantee you’ll love it, or your money back.

Sweet and sour pork with raisins, pine nuts and chocolate

Continue reading