Recipe: Woman Crush Wednesday

A while back I shared a delicious recipe and story called “Hand Me Ups” which refers to things I get passed up to me from my daughter. Well for this week’s edition of Woman Crush Wednesday I am in the U.S.A. with my daughter and family. And she kindly pointed me in the direction for this week’s honoree.

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The lovely Marina Delio of the Yummy Mummy Kitchen is a wife and mommy, famous foodie blogger, self taught chef and cookery book writer. I remembered seeing the cookbook at my daughter’s house when they used to live in Santa Barbara.  She even has mutual friends with Marina though they never met while my daughter lived there. But the fabulous  Marina’s sumptuous and healthy recipes are perfect for this wonderful day. It is a chance to celebrate what some gorgeous gourmet gals are cooking up in the kitchen. Marina is the queen of beautiful everything and her food is only one of the fantastic inspirations you’ll find on her social media platforms.

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Today I am going to recreate one of her recent delights, Protein Nice Cream Pies.  Since my granddaughter is dairy intolerant, this is a treat she can enjoy too.  Marina is the mummy of two little girls, like my daughter. And they love to help in the kitchen. Which is a great way to teach kids about food from its source. Though my granddaughter isn’t here while I make these for my live cooking tutorial on Snapchat (username blissbakery) I am sure she will help me devour these when she gets home from school. And they will keep in the freezer for days (if they last that long).

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup (143 g)  almonds
  • 1/2 cup (40 g) unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup (226 g) pitted medjool dates
  • pinch of Himalayan or sea salt
  • 6 cups frozen banana slices, thawed for about 5 minutes (about 6 bananas)
  • 6 scoops chocolate protein powder, OLLY recommended
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml)  almond milk
  • 1/3 cup (85 g) smooth peanut butter, plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 cup (40 g) raspberries, halved
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs (optional)
  • To make the crusts, place almonds, coconut, and dates into the bowl of a food processor. Blend until nuts are coarsely ground and mixture just holds together. Not too long, or it will turn into nut butter! Taste and add a pinch of salt if desired. Coat a muffin tin with cooking spray. Scoop tablespoons of crust into each muffin tin well and press firmly into the bottom. Place in the freezer and rinse the food processor.
  • To make the nice cream, you want frozen but not rock hard bananas. I let mine sit on the counter while I make the crust. Place the bananas and protein powder into food processor. Blend until smooth. This takes a few minutes. Add milk if needed (NOTE: I didn’t need to use any almond milk when I made it) to turn the food processor or wait a few minutes while the bananas thaw a bit more. Taste and add more protein powder if desired. Add the peanut butter and blend or swirl in.
  • Smooth the banana mixture into the muffin tin over the crusts. To make peanut butter swirls, place small drops of peanut butter over the nice cream mixture and swirl with a toothpick. Garnish with raspberries and/or cacao nibs if desired. Freeze until firm, at least an hour. Store in the freezer.

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Wow these were super easy to make and are absolutely delicious. I know I am a self professed peanut butter addict, but even if you weren’t I think these would win you over. They are light and refreshing for a warm day and filling enough so you don’t miss all the “baddies”. No dairy, no wheat, no refined sugar and totally vegan, but filled with so much flavor and texture, this is a winning recipe for sure!  I made six with the raspberries and cacao nibs on top as Marina suggested. But I also made six without either and just a little drizzle of dark chocolate on top. Both looked great and tasted amazing, even my granddaughter was impressed!

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With one successful cookbook under her belt I get the feeling another is on the way. She makes her food simple so that the precious ingredients do the talking.  Her photos seem effortless yet her amazing eye and skill as a photographer serve her in good stead.  And Marina’s Instagram is so stunning you’ll have to refrain yourself from licking the screen on your mobile device when you see her daily posts. But what impresses me most about the Yummy Mummy is her devotion to her family.  She is a wonderful role model about healthy living and life style balance.

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Thanks Marina for your fantastic contribution to the ever evolving culinary conversation. Not only for other chefs like myself, but for budding kitchen queens like your daughters and my granddaughters. For children to grow up knowing they can create food that is not only good, but good for you, is a wonderful philosophy. You’re a yummy mummy and a wonder woman in the foodie world!

With love and admiration,

YDP

Recipe: Cornhusker State Corn Cakes

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The old saying “When in Rome” has been used to cover any city in which you “should do as the locals do”.  In the case of this week’s Snapchat takeover of Cookreel’s channel, it was a must to make anything with corn as the main ingredient.  I was in Lincoln, Nebraska my Hubby’s birthplace. We were visiting his family and attending a University of Nebraska Cornhuskers football game. Lucky for us we were staying with his brother and sister in law and they kindly let me use their kitchen to make the most delicious Sweet Corn Cakes. Like pancakes but even better as the little kernels of corn are a texture of delight for your mouth.

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The thing about this recipe is its versatility. You can use the same batter and make it a savory or a sweet dish. I did both for the snapchat culinary creation. I made a stack of the corn cakes with some fresh organic blueberries and drizzled some organic blueberry syrup on top. It was a big hit with the very patient customers (all the family). I was having some wifi issues and couldn’t let them eat the corn cakes until I had finished uploading the snaps! Even though it has since expired, you could always check out my Snapchat account (username blissbakery) or Cookreel for some yum foodie fun!

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I also plated up the cakes stacked with some maple bacon, sautéed greens (done with olive oil, garlic and onion), Trader Joe’s Cowboy Caviar (a corn/black bean salsa) and a fried egg and sprinkle of green onion on top. This could also be done vegetarian without the bacon and sautéed mushrooms and shaved parmesan cheese as a fab alternative.  If one wanted a spicy kick, you could add finely diced peppers to the batter or some chile powder. Just look through the recipe and get inspired!  I used corn flour which meant that this recipe was totally gluten free. But if you can’t find it you can substitute for regular plain flour (all purpose flour).

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  • 1 1/2 cups (235g) corn flour (see Note, below)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (preferably aluminum-free)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (55g) butter, at room temperature, cubed
  • 1 cup (250ml) whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 ears of fresh corn (2 cups kernels, 300g)
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 large egg white
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt in a large bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the butter with the milk and honey, until the butter is melted. Set aside until tepid, then make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the milk mixture, the 2 egg yolks, the corn.
  3. In a clean, dry bowl, beat the 3 egg whites until stiff and they hold their shape, then fold them completely into the corn mixture.
  4. Heat some butter in a skillet. When hot, spoon batter in flat round into the pan, spaced apart using a large spoon.
  5. Let the corn cakes cook until browned on the bottom and starting to bubble around the edges. Flip the corn cakes with a spatula and cook on the other side for about a minute, until lightly browned on the reverse side.
  6. Serve two ways, sweet by using fresh blueberries on top and blueberry syrup. For a savory option top the cakes with a poached or fried egg and bacon with some corn salsa or avocado.  You can also serve with some sautéed greens. Just cook spinach or other greens in a pan using olive oil and onion and garlic, salt and pepper for flavor.

Note: Corn flour is not the same as cornmeal; it’s very finely ground corn. You can grind cornmeal in a blender to replicate corn flour. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, corn flour refers to corn starch (which should not be used for this recipe because it is actually a starchy thickener for sauces)

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As I do every Saturday with my Cookreel episode, I take the viewers on a gastronomic expedition. And with a football game, some awesome tailgating parties were on the docket. BBQ’s, all sorts of snacks and treats and of course amazing liquid libations. However, this week Cookreel asked me to do a take over of their Facebook Live account for this part of the presentation. However, if you’ve gained anything form me beyond my recipes, you’ll know I am a major non tech. But I uploaded (or is it downloaded) the app necessary to complete the mission. What I didn’t anticipate were the wifi challenges and of course my ineptness in navigating the ins and outs of Facebook Live. Since I’m not on Facebook myself it was a bit awkward.

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By the time it was all sorted the game had started. I did some of the posts in the sea of Big Red and showed some typical stadium snacks (total junk food actually) but didn’t get to do as much as I had hoped. Maybe next time things will go a bit smoother. Nevertheless it is always a total blast doing these take overs and an huge honor to do so. Thanks Cookreel for your support and faith in me. And thanks to Mark and Sara (plus Abbie, Sophia and Grace) for letting me do my bad singing and dancing cooking tutorial in your beautiful home. Love you guys!

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Even Snappy and Rose Kitty had a blast in Nebraska!

LOVE and Husker Hugs

YDP

P.S. The recipe is a variation from the wonderful David Leibovitz

 

Woman Crush Wednesday Recap #5

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As promised last week, I am posting another round up of our amazing Woman Crush Wednesday recipients. Not only because there were too many fab chefs since the last roundup to cover in one post, but also because I will be traveling today. Hubby and I are headed stateside and I don’t think the flight attendants on Aer Lingus would be too happy if I busted out in my bad sining and dancing routine while I did a cooking tutorial. But next week I’ll be able to do a delicious recipe from another inspirational culinary queen. Until then let’s look back at some of the honorees that have graced these blog pages and snapchat airwaves!

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The Two Hot Tamales are Los Angeles’ darlings of Mexican food. Which if you don’t already know is my fav cuisine.  I was lucky enough to attend a cooking demo they hosted at one of their restaurants. The food was delicious and they were too! They are funny and informative, a perfect foodie combination.  And what I remember quite vividly about the day was that they served numerous boozy drinks!  So in their honor I actually made a lovely Bubbly Sangria and some savory snacks to go along with it. Oh and I wore a sombrero for the tutorial, of course! Click here if you’d like to make the amazingly refreshing drink and nibbles

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Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, happens to be my best friend’s favorite chef. And she literally has every book the American superstar has ever published. So when I was in L.A. in May staying at my friend’s house I figured I just had to make one of her recipes. Since I am a self admitted peanut butter  addict, I was eager to bake the Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars. And wow they were beyond delish. Please, click here to get the recipe and bake them yourself. If you don’t want to, then message me and I’ll bake them for you. Though I might eat 99% of them before I mail them to you!

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Skye Gyngell is an Australian chef living in London. She has gained massive acclaim for her restaurants, and is currently at the helm of Spring. Hubby and I went there for a Foodie Fieldtrip Friday. It was not only stunning but also ethereal. It seems daunting to take on a Michelin Star chef’s recipe library, but I chose a wonderfully easy but flavorful Poached Chicken Salad. If you’d like to say you cooked a dish from the fab Skye click here. Even if you don’t you’ll surely be inspired by her story which I shared as well.

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Yvette Van Boven and I met at the Ballymaloe Lit Fest in May. I told her I wanted to do a Woman Crush Wednesday for her. I’m not sure if she knew what that entailed. But hopefully she was happy enough with the way her gorgeous soup turned out in my humble hands. Yvette lives in Amsterdam and her food rocks!  She knows about flavors and what I love is how she illustrates and styles her cookery books. Her food is very accessible so if you’d like one of the best soup recipes ever, click here for the Sweet Potato Soup from heaven.

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I had the pleasure of meeting Rozanna Purcell at the Irish Blogger Conference in Dublin back in April. She’s probably one of the most physically beautiful women I have ever seen in person. My eyes hurt from her gorgeousness! But hand on my heart, she is so down to earth and friendly. She was kind enough to accept my very naughty S’mores Bars and we had a good chat. What I love is how she is reinventing herself from a beauty pageant winner and model to a food advocate. And her recipes are not only good for you, but quite honestly, awesomely delicious! Click here to get tempted by her chocolate protein balls.

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Caitriona Redmond is a household name in the Irish foodie world. Her blog Wholesome Ireland is my go to for tasty food that isn’t too difficult to make and won’t break the bank. Speaking of bank, the bank of recipes she has is phenomenal. She is one of the most prolific writers out there and has a heart of gold. I absolutely love her and feel so honored to know her in real life. One of my fav Foodie Fieldtrip Friday adventures was with her and her sister Olivia. And her Chicken Curry recipe that I recreated for her WCW was out of this world wonderful! Click here if you too want to have a super dish, a curry in a hurry at home!

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Silvena Rowe‘s Woman Crush Wednesday honor came at an emotional time. Istanbul suffered devastating terrorist attacks. Hubby and I had just spent an amazing time there so I was very shaken. But that is why I decided that showering her with LOVE and highlighting the amazing Turkish food she creates would be therapeutic. And indeed it was. Silvena is a powerhouse in the kitchen. In a profession dominated by males, she puts her own stamp on the culinary realm and we are all blessed for that. I actually made three dishes of hers for a delish dinner. Click here to see the chicken, rice and salad from this gorgeous gourmet gal.

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Michelle Darmody owns one of my favorite cafe’s in Dublin. I’ve been numerous times and each time have had a wonderful experience. So it was an utter pleasure to crush on Michelle and make her Chocolate Biscuit cake which is featured in the Cake Cafe cookbook. She is a true lady, and her quirky little oasis in city center is always on the “best of” lists for a reason. And this recipe is not only easy, but a lovely version of a classic. Just thinking about it makes me crave it! If you click here for the deliciousness I guarantee you a happy experience!

It is such a pleasure to shine the light on these women who have inspired me and others! Sharing LOVE and creativity through food is a true art. These are only eight of the 42 chefs I’ve highlighted this past year. Each one unique and each one as special as the next. I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be able to share them and their recipes with you. Which is why I am so bummed that I won’t be cooking today. But I am looking forward to next week. Hope to see you then!

LOVE and culinary crushes,

YDP

Recipe: Guinness Chocolate Cake and Factory Tour

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Living in Dublin since 2008, the home of Guinness, the world famous stout pretty much becomes part of your life. Even if you don’t make regular trips to a pub to have the perfectly pulled pint, there are Beef and Guinness savory pies and all sorts of other ways to enjoy this liquid black gold as it is lovingly referred to over here. While we are currently in London, since I was back in Dublin this week I thought it was a must to make a visit to the Guinness Factory for my weekly episode of the Cookreel Snapchat takeover (the story will be up for 24 hours so go over to @cookreel to check it out). Oh and of course there had to be a culinary creation too! So why not have Chocolate Guinness Cake? YUM!

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For years Guinness ads have touted the goodness of the drink even recommending it to people with low iron in their blood.  While I won’t say Chocolate Guinness Cake is good for you, a cake made from scratch with real ingredients would be much nicer than some sort of prepackaged one. At least you know what is going into it and they are words in the ingredients list you can pronounce. And since Guinness is literally the number one stout in the world, I think we are pretty safe most would be able to say that word! Even if they don’t drink it themselves this brewery started in 1759 here in Dublin is known in all parts of the world. There is a world records book that comes out each year called The Guinness Book of World’s Records!  I think I might be in it for eating the most chocolate in the world, it’s my fav. So this recipe will be a massive hit for any chocolate lovers like me!

Guinness Cake

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Ingredients:

For the cake:

260g (9 oz) unsalted butter

300ml  (10 1/2 oz) Guinness

100g (3 1/2 oz) cocoa powder

2 eggs

420g (14.8 oz) caster sugar

2 tsps vanilla extract

180ml (6 1/2 oz) buttermilk

300g (10 1/2 oz) plain flour

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soday)

1 tsp baking powder

For the icing

100g (3 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, softened

300g (10 1/2 oz) icing sugar (called powdered confectioner’s sugar in the U.S)

1 tsp vanilla extract

300g (10 1/2 oz) full-fat cream cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C /325°F/gas mark 3. Line the base of a 30cm round spring form tin with baking parchment.
  2. To make the cake, heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat until melted. Stir in the Guinness, then remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla essence and buttermilk and then slowly add the Guinness mixture, whisking all the time.
  4. In a separate large bowl, sieve together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. Using an electric whisk, slowly pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and keep whisking until it is all well combined.
  5. Transfer the mixture in to the cake tin and bake for approximately 45 minutes. Test to make sure the cake is cooked by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the cake – if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. Set aside to cool a little, and then remove from the tin and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Meanwhile, make the icing by blending all the ingredients together using an electric hand whisk until light and fluffy.
  7. Place the cooled cake on a plate and generously spread the icing on top. The cake will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container.

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My dear friend Lauren was so kind to let me use her kitchen and baking gear to get the cake baked. And while it was cooling I went on the tour of the Guinness Factory, which was a blast. I always take out of town guests there. It is like Disneyland for adults. I took the pic on the left of my pint of Guinness a top the factory at the Gravity Bar. And that foam on top was great inspiration for the delicious cream cheese topping that I put on the cake when I returned to Lauren’s.

I usually make my own Guinness cupcakes with a Baily’s Irish Cream frosting, but for this special day, a full cake was in order. I used a recipe from one of my Woman Crush Wednesday recipients, Clodagh McKenna. I saw her recently at a Supper Club in London she hosted and that I attended with a Snap Sista (Miriam from Bake My Style). And Clodagh specifically asked me to try the cake and let her know how I got on with it. Well, it was a smashing delicious success. Super easy to make and the cake was very moist and moreish! I only wish I could have taken nicer photos. But until I make it again, why don’t you try it and let me know how you do with it? Let’s say that there is only one small piece left! Though Lauren and I didn’t devour it! I was chaffing for a Supper Club of my own last night and this was one of the desserts! It was a great way to end a fantastic day!

Thanks once again Cookreel for the opportunity to host your snapchat channel, thanks Clodagh for the recipe, thanks to Lauren for your friendship (and kitchen) and mostly thanks to Ireland for being so special to me! My soul home forever!

Irish LOVE,

YDP

P.S. My own Snapchat username is blissbakery so come on over for some daily foodie fun!

Foodie Fieldtrip Friday: The Happy Pear

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How fortuitous that I am here in Dublin for a quick visit and it coincides with a Foodie Fieldtrip Friday!  I have been wanting to go to The Happy Pear for ages.  When we lived in Dublin full time it was hard to anywhere as I worked nearly 7 days per week.  But I did get to peak my head inside their lovely cafe a couple years ago when I was nearby for work.  I only got a take away coffee, but I’ve always wanted to go back for a proper sit down meal. Then about a year ago, The Happy Pear owners, twins Stephen and Dave Flynn, were on our flight from London to Dublin. It was inevitable I make this day all about these fellas and the amazing team they have working with them.

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I took Snapchat with me (if you’d like to see it my username is blissbakery and it is available to view for 24 hours).  I went early as they’ve been known to have lines down the block!  It is such a popular place to go for a healthy meal or a quick clean take away. And their coffee has a reputation for being the best in Ireland!  It was 9:30am when I arrived and I ordered the Pimped Up Porridge. It was the most beautiful bowl of porridge I have ever seen. It had fruit, compote, coconut yoghurt, granola and seeds sprinkled on top.  I also ordered an almond milk cappuccino which was so lovely with the heart shaped foam on top!  I took my tray upstairs to the main dining area for a leisurely breakfast.  Not only is the food delicious, but the ambiance is very relaxed and at the same time inspiring with all sorts of cool quotes around the place.

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I literally couldn’t finish my porridge it was so big so I got a take away container for the rest of it. I don’t like waste and I’m already eager to have the rest tomorrow!  Then I toured around the health food store adjacent to the cafe.  This was actually the original part of the business. But over the past 12 years it has grown into a national brand.  All the staff were so friendly in spite of being busy with restocking or serving customers.  Chris was particularly helpful.  He wondered if I had anticipated meeting “the lads” Dave and Stephen.  Because my adventures are a surprise not only to those watching on Snapchat but also the foodie establishments I wouldn’t have asked for special treatment.  Apparently the guys are usually there on the weekends to greet customers.  But I was enjoying exploring all the nooks and crannies as it has expanded so much and I had the pleasure of having nice great conversation with one of the other customers.

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A beautiful woman with a pretty little girl were sitting next to me and I asked if they would mind my bag while I went to get the take away container.  When I returned I chatted to her about the local swimming area and she was kind enough to offer to loan me her wetsuit and togs (that’s bathing suit for my non Irish friends).  She said she lived across the road.  While I appreciated her kindness it was already raining and getting windy.  But we continued to chat about a variety of things.  Her daughter, named Izzy,  had kicked off her Wellies (rubber boots) and made herself at home.  Only later did I find out that it nearly is her home.  Her dad is Dave, one of the twins!  His wife was so kind and welcoming but never let on who she was. As well I was helped by the nicest woman when I arrived upstairs to eat, and apparently she is the twins’ mom!

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It really is a family affair.  With the Dave and Stephen running the shop and their younger brother in charge of the organic farm nearby, they have all benefitted from the healthy life style.  I felt very at home there myself as this is the kind of place you’d find on every street corner in Los Angeles where I lived for many years.  Wheatgrass shots, yoga on the beach and tank tops and shorts for all kinds of weather is what these guys are like.  But their energetic and positive outlook has a higher purpose. They really want people to get healthy!  And their mission has now gone across the Irish Sea to Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube!

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I watch the guys on Snapchat and really enjoy their energy, their recipes and seeing a gorgeous glimpse of Ireland each morning at sunrise when the go for their swim in the Irish Sea.  Though I opted against the kind offer to borrow the swimming suit, I did end up taking some lunch to go.  A giant Buddha bowl and a vegan Twix bar too. So not only was my morning sorted but my midday lunch and evening sweet treat all situated as well!

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I do hope to go back again as there were so many delicious choices. And I received lovely messages from other snappers watching that recommended things like the veggie burger. It really is a fab place to have healthy food in a loving family environment. On top of all that, the very nice Chris shared some of the Happy Pear Bars with me. So I will have to bring them back to London and Hubby and I can have a tasting. He is a master bar connoisseur!

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Until then, I hope if you are ever in Ireland that you make your way to the stunning seaside town of Greystones just 40 minutes south of Dublin. You will love the scenery and want to set up camp at The Happy Pear.  Sure, you might even become part of the family!  They are always recruiting new team members and their morning sea dips are growing in numbers. So the next time I watch the Sunrise Snaps I might see YOU!!!

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Happy LOVE,

YDP

Woman Crush Wednesday Recap Time #4

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It is hard to believe that there have been twenty three gorgeous gourmet gals since I have done a proper recap of our Women Crush Wednesday Chefs.  And there have been 42 since I began dedicating this day of the week to honor their contribution to the culinary world and to make one of their fab recipes.  To be honest, it is always a bit of a sad day when I don’t get a chance to do my “thang” of bad singing, bad dancing and gushing over these wonderful women!  I’ve done three different recaps (which you can read here, here and here) on other Wednesdays when I haven’t been able to get cooking in the kitchen.  Since today I am without internet AND a kitchen (thank God for free wifi at Starbucks lol) I’ll do a recap of sorts.  Twenty three is a large number of ladies!  So I’ll recap some of them and save the others to boast about next time.

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I love chef Gizzie Erskine.  She is a no nonsense forward thinking woman with a throw back vibe!  She loves to eat healthy and naughty too.  My kind of girl!  So for my first #WCW after being in America in January and February, I wanted to get on the straight and narrow.  And British born Gizzie’s Superfood Salad was just what I needed.  It is so delish and really easy to make too. Click here to give it a go and learn more about this stunning lady’s interesting food journey.

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Many people watching my Woman Crush Wednesday series on Snapchat (my username is blissbakery) wondered why I waited to make Darina Allen my 21st honoree. After all she was my teacher at the Ballymaloe Cookery School (which she started over 30 years ago in County Cork, Ireland) and continues to be my mentor.  Well, many reasons actually. First of all each #WCW I take on a new recipe to demonstrate live on Snapchat. Since I have made nearly all of Darina’s recipes that made it tough. Until I found this one for Rhubarb Pie in an Irish newspaper article. Second, because of my deep emotions for her, I thought I might cry through the whole thing, not a good look. But of course I made it through.  And though I say the WCW are the honorees, Darina has honored me by being in my life. Click here if you want to read the story and make the delicious pie

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American chef and writer Imen McDonnell has the most romantic and idyllic story imaginable.  Married to an Irish farmer with a son and all sorts of farm animals, she is a fantastic cook and her writing is food for the soul. Perfect poetry!  Her recipe for Guinness bread, which I baked, is beyond delicious. I feel blessed I was able to meet her at her book signing in London. She is one to watch and my feeling is there are more cookery books left in her busting to come out.  I’ll surely be back in line at the next signing! Click here to fall in love with her too and see how her bread recipe fared in my humble hands.

Thorisson in her farmhouse kitchen in Medoc, France.

Mimi Thorisson’s food is as beautiful as she is.  A French chef living in the Medoc countryside, she was born in Hong Kong.  Mimi and her Icelandic photographer husband have a farm house that is perfect for all their children and dogs.  I baked her Zucchini Flans which were absolutely delicious. Click here to drool over the food, and Mimi too!

Chef Claire Ptak Discusses 'The Violet Bakery Cookbook'

American born but making London her home, Claire Ptak is one incredible baker.  I was lucky enough to not only meet her, but also taste her delicious baked treats at her cafe called Violet.  Since this year I have been on a major coconut craze, I decided to bake her coconut macaroons.  They have been in heavy rotation in my house every since.  Wowzer!  I just love Claire’s whole essence, her brick and mortar baby and her wee one born this year that I also met in person. Click here to read more about this fabulous chef and also to get the recipe as I think you too will want to make these treats.  Then you might become coconut crazy like me!

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British chef Thomasina Miers is such a rock star!  She was the first female winner of Master Chef!  She’s gone on to create the Wahaca chain of Mexican restaurants in the U.K.  I’ve eaten at several and I can say the food is fantastic!  But what bonds me with her is the fact that she also attended Ballymaloe Cookery School, my alma mater.  I recreated her Broad Bean Rice Pilaf dish and it was super easy and very tasty.  An all in one meal as it has minced chicken in it.  I must say it was a big hit in our house!  So click here if you’d like to admire her achievements and make this delicious dish!

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After a quick trip to the States to see my son, I flew back to London through my birthplace Chicago.  While my trip there was only one night, I wanted to make sure to visit The Girl and the Goat restaurant.  The owner and head chef Stephanie Izard is a local girl done good!  Not only the proprietor of this restaurant, but now several other variations, it is no wonder she won Top Chef.  This lady gets things done!  And with great pizazz and flavor.  I made her Fish in Curry Sauce and wow it was FAB!!!  Click here to get the recipe and see how this #WCW is making waves on The Chicago River and beyond.

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Irish chef Domini Kemp is such an inspiration.  Not just in the kitchen, where she has certainly achieved great success and acclaim.  But she has shown how to be utterly graceful in life and for that I am grateful to have spent one of my Wednesdays honoring her!  I could have done a month long #WCW for her, but on this one day occasion I made her unctuous yet simple Roasted Chicken.  It was quite literally the gift that kept giving.  Like Domini herself. We had food for days and it is a reminder that a basic recipe like this can serve a household in good stead. Click here if you need inspiration or just a good roasted chicken recipe!

So there you have it!  Eight glorious ladies of the gastronomic world that will rock yours!   It was my utter and complete pleasure to learn more about them and share it all with you.  Including their delightful recipes.  I do hope you give them a gander and let me know how you get on if you too try out their creations.  If I can do it live on snapchat one handed (the other hand is holding the phone while I make the video of the whole thing) then anyone can do it!  I’ll recap the other 15 another time.  This was just enough to wet your whistle and remind you and me what a wonderful day Woman Crush Wednesday is.  It also explains why I am so bummed not to be in the kitchen today.  But this trip down memory lane has perked me up!  We are really blessed to have such wonderful chefs in our midst.  Indeed they are even more wonderful as people with which to spend our time!

With LOVE and admiration,

YDP

Circle of Friends: Cloggers Bloggers Summer Event

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Since Yankee Doodle Paddy began I haven’t written too much about blogging itself.  If I’ve veered off the foodie topic or stories from my own life (the main thrusts of the blog), it is often about social media. Well, one particular social media and that is Snapchat.

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However, I had one of the most wonderful experiences last Sunday at the Cloggers Bloggers Summer Event and I really wanted to share with you my impressions. The first thing that comes to mind is that it is indeed a circle of friends.  I sensed that even before I walked into the conference room of the Clarion Hotel in Cork.  It is through Snapchat actually that I have gotten to know many of the ladies in attendance, and most certainly one of the organizers of the event itself.  Marie B Murphy, The Beautmum, and I had connected through snaps and have built a mutual admiration for one another.  I met her “partner in crime” co-coordinator Richeael Fletcher when I arrived and I could see these two are a powerhouse team!  But all their hard work most definitely paid off!  The day was a smashing success.

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Having flown in from London to Cork just that morning to attend, I had to get sorted into the hotel room and drop my luggage as I was staying the night.  Then I brought my little sweet treat cards (like business cards but with candy inside) and made my way into the #cloggersbloggers home for the day.  Women from all around County Cork gathered for a day of bonding, learning, eating and shopping!  There were various vendors (makeup, beauty, clothing, jewelry,  even portrait photography) set up around the perimeter of the room. We were treated to talks by several amazing speakers such as Lucie Al a bubbly artistic portrait photographer.  She shared tips on getting the best photos for our blogs.  We learned about Nimue skin care from  the gorgeous Niamh and got insight into social media and branding from the smart and stunning Naomi Sirmans.  Last but not least, our keynote ‘main course of honesty’ by social influencer and journalist Rosemary MacCabe was incredible. Love her! After lunch we enjoyed a fashion show by various Cork boutiques and a makeup tutorial from Inglot.  While some of the mommies had to leave as the full day’s events were still going on, I witnessed many hugs and kisses.  Especially for the ladies like Joanne Coughlan who won best dressed and others who won raffle prizes.  No one seemed miffed, only totally supportive.

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So the take away for me from my first Cloggers gathering is one of admiration for the wonderful way they bolster each other.  It is a time and place for Irish Bloggers from the Cork region to socialize face to face and not in a virtual world.  If only for a day.  However I know first hand some of these bloggers actually meet up on a regular basis.  Pam Kuss , Eimear Hutchinson and Cliona O’Conner meet not just to socialize, though plenty of that goes on!  But with 8 kids between them (and another to come soon) they also get business done.  Yes, they take turns, one looking after the kids, while the other two photograph each other in various fashion. They have found a way to bond, have fun and still keep content going on their blogs.  A brilliant example of team work and camaraderie in the blogging field which has suffered some negativity of late.  But these three women are utterly lovely, positive and so welcoming.  I adore them!

Beauty blogging would be the predominate area for the Cloggers it would appear, so of course our gorgeous and generous goodie bags on the day reflected that.   Here are some pics of all the awesome “swag” as it is called!

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However there were a couple yummy foodie treats to make this chef’s blood sugar sing!  We received a bag of Proper Popcorn in Vanilla Coconut flavor, my favorite, which I devoured nearly immediately!  Only today I was able to make the Bake it Easy Cookie Mix also in our  goodies bag.

IMG_4639 This was so simple to put together!  Literaly melt then cool 80 g butter.  Mix with 1 Tbsp honey and 1 egg. Then stir through with the dry ingredients from the plastic tub.  Pop onto a baking tray and in a little over 12 minutes later your house will smell like a bakery. The cookies taste amazing too.  Because I am a professional baker I don’t usually go for prepackaged mixes.  But this felt very homey.  I especially loved the coconut inside (my fav treat these days) as the little flecks complimented the chewy strawberry bits.  I know my Hubby is gonna scoff these!  I love the fact that this is a family owned company started by a lovely County Kerry woman named Maria.  So kind of her to gift one to each of the attendees.  Many happy bellies this past week I am sure!

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Whilst I am far from a beauty blogger, and don’t stray often from my routine, I was delighted to see there were Dermalogica products in the goodie bag, which is the brand I actually use. And I am looking forward to giving all the lotions and potions a go.  Mostly I am looking forward to forging relationships with these amazing ladies.  A true circle of friends!  As the saying goes “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”  We all have something to learn from one another.  Those who we’ve known for “donkey’s years” as the Irish say,as well as broadening our scope to learn different things from exposure to new people.  Each has its important place in life.  Thanks @Cloggers_2015 for EVERYTHING!

Circle of LOVE,

YDP

P.S. While I don’t own a full length mirror at home, I took this opportunity to snap a pic in my hotel room at the Clairon Cork. I didn’t win any best dressed awards, but it was nice to get dressed up in something other than a chef’s uniform. I got to be a bit girly, which at 51 years old is still fun!

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Recipe: Superfly Butterfly Day

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This week for my take over of Cookreel TVs Snapchat account we had the most awesome Food-venture!!  It started with a Gastronomic Expedition at London’s famous Natural History Museum. While I didn’t have time to go around the whole museum, I did visit the “Sensational Butterflies” exhibit. It was a delight for the senses. I have never experienced anything like it before.  “Color and Vision” as it is dubbed of beautiful butterflies all around! One even landed on my arm.

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Some might wonder what butterflies have to do with food? Well not only are they an important part of the eco-system and cycle of life, HELLO the name says it all!  BUTTERfly! I’ve shared on here before about my love affair with butter so of course, I had to check out this naturalists dream come true!

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The culinary creation part of the take over had to incorporate the theme, so I made beautiful Butterfly Buns. They are basically vanilla sponge cupcakes with the tops cut off and then make to look like butterfly wings.

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To wash down the deliciousness I made my famous Lemon-Aid which I’ve shared on here before (click here to get recipe). And for fun I made edible caterpillars. Okay maybe they were really gummy worms I dipped in chocolate and rolled in crushed up Oreo crumbs, but I have a great imagination. Don’t you remember one of my early posts about my invisible socks? Well, there is actually a fab recipe for a gluten, dairy, sugar free chocovado pudding (click here). But today’s recipes are well stocked with sugar, flour and of course butter!!!

Butterfly Buns

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Ingredients:

125 g (4 ½ oz) butter softened

125 g (4 ½ oz) caster sugar (called fine granulated in the U.S)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

150 g (5 oz) plain flour (called all-purpose flour in the U.S)

¼ tsp baking powder

For the filling:

100 ml (3 ½ oz) raspberry jam

200 ml sweetened whipped cream, or use double cream (called heavy cream in the U.S) whipped up with 1 Tbsp icing sugar (called confectioner’s powdered sugar in the U.S) and 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Sprinkles of your choice for decoration

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 190c/375 f and line a cupcake tin with paper cases

Cream butter and caster sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat a few more minutes. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and stopping to scrape down sides of the bowl in between each addition.

Sift the flour and the baking powder. Add to the butter/sugar mixture  a little at a time, slowly beating as you don’t want to over work the batter.

With an ice cream scoop, pop the batter into the paper lined tray and bake for 12-18 minutes. Check if done by putting  a wooden toothpick in the center of one of the cupcakes and if it comes clean (no wet batter or crumbs attached) then it is done.

Take out and cool on in the trays on a rack. Once cool cut off the top of the cupcake and cut the top in half. Then scoop a little cake out to make room for a dollop of raspberry jam. Then a dollop of sweetened whipped cream (you can spoon on or use a piping bag).

Arrange the halved tops onto the cupcake placing them in the whipped cream so they look like wings. Then decorate with your choice of toppings. I used silver balls (called dragees) and some sprinkles.

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Edible Caterpillars

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To make the caterpillars, separate 10 oreo cookies and scrape off the white frosting in the middle.  Put the cookies into a ziploc bag and bash to get crumbs. Then put the crumbs onto a plate or a bowl.  Then melt the chocolate in a another bowl (using a microwave or in a double boiler on the stove top). Then dip the gummy worms/snakes into the melted chocolate then dredge in the oreo crumbs and place on a parchment lined tray until cooled.

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All in all it was a great day and the bonus was that I picked up  the famous children’s book The Hungry Caterpillar (but the coloring book versions) by Eric Carle to do as a Cookreel free give away. All that was needed for entry was a photo or drawing or image of a butterfly in the world. It was a way to give back to the good people watching. I know it is a children’s book but coloring has become a big trend for adults wanting some mindfulness activities.  In essence, it was a superfly butterfly day!

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Spread your wings of LOVE,

YDP

ps. The butterfly buns are a variation of a fairy cake recipe from Rachel Allen

How I Quit Smoking In One Day

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I am taking a break from recipes today to give you a little story about myself.  One you might not believe.  I am sure many of you think I am a “goody two shoes”.  But I’ve had my run ins with Justice!  As in the vice principal at my junior high school. No joke his name was Mr. Justice.

I’ll just go back a few years before I was a preteen adolescent trying to fit it with the crowd. I was a young child of a drug using, drug dealing mother. She had very interesting ways of doing things which I have talked about on here before.  One example that I’ve shared was how she used peanut butter to remove gum from my hair. Which explains why I am a peanut butter aficionado.  She also thought the best way to get rid of hiccups was to have us kids smoke cigarettes.  Sure, we would cough so hard our lungs would come flying out.  So of course the hiccups would be the last thing on our minds.  It worked a treat!

Anyway, because we were exposed to so many things young children shouldn’t be, like drugs on the kitchen table next to the box of breakfast cereal, our sense of right and wrong was a bit skewed.  So one day during lunch period at my junior high school, my best friend told me there were some older kids meeting out in the baseball fields and we were going to join in too. So we walked way out to the corner of the field, as far as we could go.  And when we got there these older kids were sitting in a circle lighting up cigarettes and passing them around. When it came my way I thought, I don’t have the hiccups why would I need this?  But I noticed none of the kids had hiccups either and they weren’t coughing their lungs out. In fact, they weren’t even inhaling they were just “puffing” and “blowing” and they looked pretty darn cool.

I wasn’t cool and I’m still not cool. I’ve never fit in ever, in any situation. While I tried in this instance to fit in, it was futile.  I did the little puff and blow one time to try and fit in, and then passed the cigarette to the next person.  Didn’t feel any more cool.  And I know I didn’t inhale.  Because I didn’t cough my lungs out like I would when my mom wanted us to stop hiccuping.  But it didn’t matter whether I inhaled or not.  Smoking on campus was against the rules.  The school bell rang to indicate lunch period was over and we all started to walk back towards the classrooms.  But before we made it back we were greeted mid way by Mr. Justice.  I don’t know if I’ve ever been so scared in my life as I was in that moment.  He was tall, he was menacing looking in his blue three piece suit and his balding head, which looked quite red from the invisible flames spewing forth!  I knew he meant business when he said, “follow me.”

We were all suspended from school and sent home.  My mom didn’t really react too much. She had a big drug deal she was working on at the moment to keep her occupied.  But I was upset. I was always a proud and conscientious student having been in the gifted program from the time I was eight.  Well that wasn’t very “gifted” of me, in fact that was pretty lame and stupid to go and get myself suspended. So I was face down on my bed crying when all of the sudden my oldest brother walked in. He asked my mom why I was home from school. When she told him he went ballistic. He walked over and literally with two hands picked up my whole body by my clothes and threw me across the room and it was only when I hit the wall on the other side I realized, um this hurts.  Now I was really crying!  After some choice words by the big bro, he left and I had days to think about the situation.

I returned to school with my tail between my legs.  But that’s okay.  Because my smoking career came to a brief and dramatic stop. Think of the money I have saved! Cigarettes are expensive!   Also, as a chef, having your taste buds in tact is so important as smoking is known to dull the taste receptors.  And when people discover I am 51 years old they are usually in shock.  But one of the top ways to keep from having aged skin is to give up smoking.  Since I gave it up after one day, I reckon I am ahead of the curve!   Finally, I think I am one of the few people I know that literally never gets hiccups.  My body might have such an aversion to smoking now that it will do anything to prevent the near possibility.

What the experience has left me with is an acceptance of smokers.  I get that it is an addiction. Whether someone has started because of peer pressure and wanting to fit it, or because their mom made them do it for some old wive’s tale (now called a hack) once you’re hooked its powerful.   While I don’t smoke myself and I don’t care for the smell, I get that it has some soothing qualities and certainly there is the oral fixation factor.  But my biggest complaint about smoking is the cigarette butts left behind everywhere.  It is so unsightly and actually unsafe for the environment.

When I attended U.S.C. in the Annenberg School for Communications, I did a speech and debate on the subject of cigarette butt litter.  I lit a fire (pun intended) under the behinds of people about how we need to put out the butts problem.  Cigarette butts can be picked up by small children or animal wild life such as birds and fish. They could become very sick if they swallow the butts. Cigarettes, if still lit when thrown on the ground, can start fires.  And if they wind up in the gutter, the rain will wash them into the water system. The chemicals that the filters have collected while the smoker takes a puff is so concentrated and can leach into the water system. Also not good.  I don’t blame the smokers actually.  Since the smoking ban inside restaurants, pubs and buildings, smokers are outside where often there are no receptacles to dispose of the cigarettes properly.  So they throw them on the ground. Not a good situation.  Like getting thrown against a wall.

I sourced a product from Australia called “Butts Out” and it is a portable cigarette ash tray.  I shared it with influential people at my university.  Somehow the trend didn’t take off.   It is pretty basic looking but I think it could be the next big accessory if it was all done in a cute rose gold or leopard print for the ladies or a premier league team logo for the lads.  In any event, I am not an anti smoker in spite of my past with cigarettes.  As embarrassing as the story is, I am glad I quit in a day and I realize some aren’t as lucky (or unlucky) as I was.  But never the less, I don’t think our environment or innocent children or animals should have to suffer.

While I don’t aim to be the poster girl for Butts, I do want to bring it to the table as a conversation.  Let me know your thoughts.  Oh and guess what?  My older brother with the hello crazy sister throwing skills,`also happens to be a great drummer.  I went to see him play a gig a few years back.  When I pulled into the parking lot I saw him with his band mates.  And he was smoking a cigarette.  I wasn’t strong enough to throw him across the room.  But lucky for me, all I had to do was give him a look and we were right back to that time and place.  Amazing the power of memories !

Inhaling LOVE,

YDP

P.S. There are many place online now to get “pocket ashtrays” and I’ll put some links below.

My Ashtray

No Butts

Raw Pocket

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Though this photo wasn’t taken on the infamous day aforementioned, it was during junior high days. That is me on the left, squinting, and my best friend on the right with the blonde hair and glasses. Thank God Mr. Justice wasn’t in this photo or else you’d have nightmares!

Recipe: Woman Crush Wednesday

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While today’s Woman Crush Wednesday chef needs no introduction in the U.K or Ireland as she is one of the most beloved women in the culinary world here, for those of you elsewhere let me tell you about the Queen of Baking.  Mary Berry is a remarkably 81 years young. Married with grown children she is an accomplished Le Cordon Bleu graduate and has written over seventy cookery books. With numerous televisions shows under her belt, the one for which she is adored by millions is the popular Great British Bake Off.  Just back on television again after a summer hiatus, this is the reality television competition (which debuted in 2010) that all others try to emulate. Like Mary herself, it is pure class.

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I had the pleasure of seeing her live at the BBC Good Food Show here in London.  It was on tour last November and my Hubby bought me a ticket for my birthday. It also happened to coincide with one of my Foodie Fieldtrip Friday outings.  She and her partner on GGBO (Paul Hollywood) demonstrated a lovely meal.  And I was able to eat it after the demo at the restaurant there. I thought about making that gorgeous chicken with shallots and asparagus she shared at the Olympia Theater that day, but then again, one of her all time fav recipes is a famous dessert that I just know you’re gonna love.  I have never made her version ( though I have made a similar one before) so I am very eager to taste the Mary Berry Banoffi Pie from her book Baking Bible.

Banoffi Pie

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Ingredients

FOR THE BASE

65g (2 ½ oz) butter
175g (6 oz) ginger biscuits, crushed (about 17)
FOR THE FILLING

100g (4 oz) butter
100g (4 oz) light muscovado sugar
2 x 397g (14 oz) cans condensed milk
FOR THE TOPPING

300ml (1/2 pint) double cream
1 large banana
a little lemon juice
a little grated milk or plain chocolate

Instructions

FOR THE BASE:  melt the butter in a small pan then remove from the heat and stir in the crushed biscuits. Mix well, then spread the mixture over the base and sides of a 23cm (9 inch) loose-bottomed fluted flan tin, pressing the mixture with a metal spoon to make it firm.

FOR THE FILLING: measure the butter and light muscovado sugar into a roomy non-stick pan. Heat gently until the sugar had dissolved, add the condensed milk and stir with a flat ended wooden spatula, stirring continuously and evenly for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is a golden toffee colour and thick – watch like a hawk as it burns easily. Turn into the prepared crumb crust case and leave to cool and set.

FOR THE TOPPING: whip the double cream until it just holds its shape and spread evenly over the cold toffee mixture. Slice the banana and coat in a little lemon juice to prevent the bananas discolouring. Pile the bananas on to the middle of the cream and dust the whole pie with grated chocolate. Lift on to a flat plate and remove the ring. Serve very chilled.

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While this is a very simple recipe, it doesn’t deter from the wow factor.  It seems to be a dessert almost anyone would love (apart from people who are dairy free, though they could make substitutions). And the good news is no oven is required!  So with the warm London weather this pie is going to go down a treat in the house.  I suspect it might be eaten up in one night!   Which is best because of the delicate nature of the bananas browning.  However, with the squeeze of lemon over the bananas it will hopefully keep until tomorrow, that is if we have self control!

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Who wouldn’t want her job, taste testing all those treats on Great British Bake Off? Finger lickin’ YUM!

Mary has received so many well deserved honors such as the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire), degrees and freedoms from many universities and cities.  And she’s even featured on top of the list of best dressed for over 50s!  She does look smart and gorgeous always!  But I have a couple of key reasons why she is so special to me.  First of all she is a Kitchen Aid Mixer devotee as am I.  As well she is very involved in charities especially the  Child Bereavement U.K.  One of her sons died at age 19 from a car accident. Mary has shown great strength through so many challenges in life including a debilitating illness as a young girl.  But her warmth and positivity has gotten her far in her career and into the hearts of her fans.   I wish her many more years to come.  Since her mother lived to be 105 we shall look forward to at least 70 more cookery books!

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Thank you Mary Berry for your inspiring life, in and out of the kitchen!

Sweet LOVE,

YDP