Monday, 27 April 2009

wedding cake

Happy first wedding anniversary (yesterday) to our friends Carmel & Liam. It doesn't feel that long ago that plans were in full swing, bridezilla was flying around organising, mart and I were busy baking a very special cake (well, lots of them) and then we all partied, and hard!

here are some wedding cake making snaps...

the 'cake' was made up of 140 lemon flavoured
cupcakes with american style frosting in the themed
colour of aqua blue. I baked them in silver foil
cases so they could be as blingin' as the bride!

mart (in his makeshift bakers hat!) was in charge of the
love hearts (ahh) which he stamped out of rolled icing with a
small heart cutter. Then, the couples initials were
embossed on with rubber stamps (which i bought on ebay)
before being left to dry out and harden overnight.

and le piece de resistance - the homemade cake stand. I had great fun
making this -it's made up of cake drums & boards (from any good cake
supplies store or online) which I covered with my favourite anaglypta
wallpaper (from your local DIY store). Once each layer was glued
together, I then cut out strips of the wallpaper for the edging which
I shaped with a pretty flowery stamper (from any good craft store or
online) to finish the antiquey look. bridezilla then choose a very
pretty candy pink and white stripe ribbon (from rubenesque)
which I gluedonto the edge to trim.

Then, on the big day, Mart and I carefully arranged the cupcakes
on the stand, before sticking the monogrammed hearts in.

and the happy couple tucking in!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

marathon mart - the final hurdle

What a fantastic day we had at the London Marathon today. Mart did fantastically well, even though declaring at mile 18 (when he stopped to say a really quick hi to us, us being his cheer-leading family) that the novelty had well and truely worn off! Thankfully at that point he had passed out Jordan and Peter Andre who were ahead of him at one point, the shame!! I have no idea how any of the 40,000 of them did it - some clad in rhino outfits, carrying boats, a human sausage dog, superman, sponge bob square pants...the list of craziness goes on. Martin's plan to go as 'party boy' from Jackass thankfully went from his mind as the enormity of the task dawned on him over the last few months, phew....

mile 18 and still smiling

365 meters to go - don't turn back now!

After a re-hydrating boost of isotonic handouts from the finish line, I had some secret 26 mile flapjacks in my bag to replenish sugars, glycogen stores and comfort....


Makes enough for a marathon runner and his family of cheer-leaders!

Melt 175g of unsalted butter in a large saucepan (if using the hob) or bowl (if microwaving). Add 100g of demerara sugar, 75g of golden syrup and 75g of smooth peanut butter and beat or whisk until smooth. Stir in 250g of oats, 4 tbsp sesame seeds, 2 tbsp sunflower seeds and 75g finely chopped dried apricots until well mixed. Line a 30 x 20 cm shallow baking tin with parchment paper and spread the mixture in evenly, smoothing with the back of a spoon. Bake in an oven preheated to 180C (Gas Mark 4) for 20-25 minutes until rich golden brown on top and beginning to set around the edges. Remove and leave to cool completely before using a sharp knife to cut into squares. carefully remove from the tray, removing the paper and store in an airtight container for a few days.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

marathon mart part 2

Well, here he is, Marathon Mart in full stride. He has been working really hard for months now, training for the soon to be upon us, London Marathon. As chief nutritionist, I have been feeding him snippets of information about what he should and shouldn't be eating at various stages....he obviously hasn't listened very much by the look of the chocolate around his mush most evenings!

So, these past few weeks Mart has been lots of wholegrain rice and bread, spuds of course, pasta and noodles, oats and oat cakes, and a smaller than usual amount of protein per meal, staying cut down on fat and not forgetting to include his greens! His favourite thing to eat now more than ever is homemade muesli. With our big storage jars being packed away still we don't get to make a big batch at once as usual but it's just as easy, if not more fun to assemble to order.

Just keep a good stock of oats, puffed rice, bran flakes or all-bran and nutritious wheat germ. Then, nuts like pecans, hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts, seeds like pumpkin, sunflower and even sesame and dried fruits like apricots, prunes, sultanas, raisins, cranberries, blueberries etc. then simply assemble in your breakfast bowl, either layering or tossing to combine, trying a different combination every day. Top with really cold milk or natural yoghurt and even scatter some fresh fruit like sliced banana or berries over if you have them in.

monkey mart's marathon muesli

But is it enough to get him over that finish line? check back to find out...

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

sunny south east picnic

I am totally loving these longer, brighter, sunny days. I forgot that it isn't always dark and drizzly (well, that's debatable). Mart & I visited my family in Wexford for the Easter weekend and while there we went for a little picnic at the beautiful Johnstown Castle....I really need to go back and investigate their secret walled garden. In the meantime, here are some sunny snaps (the last one is of me pondering how to get my hands on the keys for that gorgeous car!) & a recipe from the picnic....


Serves 2

- Cook 150g of medium egg noodles in boiling, salted water until tender. Drain well and refresh in cold running water.
- In the meantime, make the dressing in a large bowl...whisk together 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, the juice of 1 lime, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 finely chopped small red chilli and 1 tablespoon of finely grated ginger.
- Toss the cooked noodles into the dressing with 75g of cooked and shredded chicken, 3 finely sliced spring onions, a small handful of beansprouts, 1 finely julienned (match-sticked!) small carrot, 50g of cooked sugar-snaps or mange touts and a small handful of roughly chopped coriander leaves.
- Pile the noodle salad into a picnic pot and scatter with 1 tablespoon of lightly toasted sesame seeds before popping the lid on tightly. Don't forget to pack the chopsticks too!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Happy Easter!

I hope you have a lovely weekend with lots of sunshine and chocolate! Here's a recipe from my current Donna Hay which I think sums up a relaxing easter weekend..


Serves 4

4 free-range eggs
1/2 cup (125ml) single cream
sea salt and cracked black pepper
20g butter 200g sliced smoked salmon or trout
toasted sourdough or rye bread, to serve

Place the eggs, cream and salt in a bowl and whisk well to combine. Melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the egg mixture and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until just set. Serve with the smoked salmon and bread and sprinkle with pepper.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

lazy dreamy days

Well, I have been really bad at posting lately, the irony being that I have more time on my hands than I'm used to, as the really hectic workload has thankfully eased off. I pieced myself back together by checking into rehab for a couple of quiet days on my own (utter fluffy-robed bliss!) and since then have continued the theme of staring into the clouds, watching flutterbys and day dreaming!

I'm totally loving these new found sunny days, having forgotten that we do sometimes get to enjoy nice weather here! Martin and I spent a few hours down the end of the garden (i use the term loosely...more like jungle!) last weekend, clearing out more weeds and dead wood. It has reignited my search for my dream garden shed. Here are some pictures from my ideas book....