Spring Recipes
Chicken pad thai with lime wedges and crispy onions
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Chicken pad thai with lime wedges and crispy onions

A little while ago my sister was studying for her exams and she asked me if I could come cook for her so that she had more time to focus on her studying. I let her pick a recipe and she went for her favorite take-out meal ‘Chicken pad thai’, which was something I had only eaten once before so all I could do was keep my fingers crossed and hope it would turn out exactly as she was looking for. Luckily for me, she really enjoyed it! Since it was the first time I made it, I chose to use ready made pad thai sauce, but I made it a few more times after that and came up with the right flavor combination to make the sauce myself.

  
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Cork Burger Festival: January 30th – February 5th 2017

Following the success of Cork Whiskey Festival and Taste Cork Week, Festival Cork have teamed up with Ballymaloe Relish to launch Cork Burger Festival! It’s only a couple of days away, so if you have no plans yet for next week: come on over to Cork for the most delicious festival you’ll ever experience! I’ve always been a sucker for burgers, and I very often experiment with different things, like making my own buns or trying different kinds of fish and meat. Some of my own favourite ingredients include bacon and pineapple or halloumi. I love a good chip on the side as well but I am hoping that some places will serve something more creative, or even just sweet potato chips! I must say the Irish beef and other meat in general are way nicer and tastier so I can’t wait to find out what the festival has in store!

Venues across the city and county are encouraged to create and showcase Corks best burger over the week, host pop up nights, tasting events or run daily burger specials. The public will be able to vote for their favourite burger through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

  
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Atlantic
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Atlantic – The race for the resources of the North Atlantic

Today i’m going to do something I rarely ever do: get political. Why? Because it’s for a very important cause, one that we should all hold in high regard: our natural resources. It must be one of my longest posts ever, and you’ll probably be more entertained by watching the Documentary, but I felt I had the responsibility as a food blogger to share what I have learned and help spread the message, in any way I can.

In the beginning of December I saw a documentary that absolutely made my blood boil, something I never had given much thought before: ‘Atlantic – the race for the resources of the North Atlantic‘. ‘Atlantic’ follows the fortunes of three small fishing communities – in Ireland, Norway and Newfoundland – shedding light on three very intimate stories from the global resource debate. Each in a different corner of the Atlantic, these three fishing communities ­share social, economic and environmental problems stemming from human interactions with the ocean’s ecosystems. But while the Canadian and Norwegian governments work to safeguard their oil, gas, and fish, Ireland opts to sell its ocean resources to foreign interests, to the detriment of its working class. Featuring voiceover by renowned Emmy-award winning actor Brendan Gleeson, Risteard Ó Domhnaill’s Atlantic tackles harsh realities with uncommon grace and perspective.

  
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Creamy roasted pumpkin & carrot soup (dairy-free)
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Creamy roasted butternut squash & carrot soup (dairy-free)

Alright here we go, my first recipe of 2017! I’ve had a very busy last couple of weeks in 2016, including a yearly visit to my family in Belgium for the holidays. I hadn’t actually even cooked anything for those 2 weeks apart from the Christmas day appetizers so I’m only too happy to be getting back to blogging and cooking! Unlike last year there won’t be many changes on my blog, apart from one thing: I’ll be offering more options for people with allergies, intolerances and lifestyle choices.

My very first recipe of 2017 is gluten free, vegan, vegetarian and dairy free! And I promise you, you won’t even notice that you’re having soy cream instead of normal one, but you can of course just as easily replace it with normal cooking cream made from milk.

For some reason I’m very new to making my own soups, having only made 4 soups before (although I do make my beetroot soup every autumn). But I figured it was time to make some more, with the first one being a soup made from roasted butternut squash and a few carrots. I really am over the moon with the result, it’s so creamy, not too thick, not too thin but unfortunately I did break my hand mixer while making it, but oh well, that means I get to buy myself a new, which is always fun too!

  
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ScandiKitchen: Fika and Hygge: Comforting cakes and bakes from Scandinavia with love
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Book tip January 2016: Fika and Hygge – Comforting cakes and bakes from Scandinavia with love

With a new year also comes a new book tip of the month of course! I’ve gone for something out of my comfort zone and into a food world that I’m really not familiar with: the Scandinavian kitchen! You may have heard of the Danish word ‘Hygge’ lately as it’s becoming quite popular online and especially in books, newpspapers and shops. Haven’t heard about it yet? Visit Denmark tries to clarify what it means: “Hard to explain and even harder to pronounce, the Danish word ‘hygge’ (pronounced ‘hooga’) translates roughly to ‘cosiness’. It may be hard to say, but that hasn’t stopped people finding out that hygge might be a recipe for a happier life.”

But a similar way of life can found in Sweden for example, where they have the word ‘Fika’ (find out what it means here). It seems to me that Scandinavians have somehow mastered the art of living the good life, so surely they must have great food as well? Well thanks to Brontë Aurell you can now find out what the Scandinavian kitchen has to offer in terms of baking!

  
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Prizefight Blood & Sand Cocktail
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Prizefight Blood & Sand Cocktail

Only one more day until New Year’s Eve! We all know that unlike Christmas, it’s a lot more about the drinks than it is about food on the last night of the year! If you want to impress your mates/family this year, I have just the thing for you: Prizefight Whiskey‘s signature serves!

Prizefight is a collaborative Irish whiskey, distilled and aged in Ireland, and finished in American rye casks from Tamworth Distilling. The result is incredibly complex whiskey: a smooth and mellow spirit that packs a punch but never burns. The brand debuted at Whiskey Live on Saturday November 5th, the first opportunity for whiskey lovers and the general public to sample the exciting new product. Prizefight Irish Whiskey will be available in select bars and retailers in Dublin, as well as in an exclusive gift box at the Dublin Duty Free and selected independent off licenses.

  
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Prizefight Saratoga Cocktails
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Prizefight Saratoga Cocktail

Only a few more days until New Year’s Eve! We all know that unlike Christmas, it’s a lot more about the drinks than it is about food on the last night of the year! If you want to impress your mates/family this year, I have just the thing for you: Prizefight Whiskey‘s signature serves!

Prizefight is a collaborative Irish whiskey, distilled and aged in Ireland, and finished in American rye casks from Tamworth Distilling. The result is incredibly complex whiskey: a smooth and mellow spirit that packs a punch but never burns. The brand debuted at Whiskey Live on Saturday November 5th, the first opportunity for whiskey lovers and the general public to sample the exciting new product. Prizefight Irish Whiskey will be available in select bars and retailers in Dublin, as well as in an exclusive gift box at the Dublin Duty Free and selected independent off licenses.

  
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Christmas Spiced Cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting
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Christmas Spiced Cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting

2016 has been such an amazing year for me, where I got to work with some great brands like Kerrygold and Carraig Donn. It was also the first time my recipes were featured in a catalogue and I couldn’t be happier with the result of the Carraig Donn Christmas Catalogue of this year! I’ve already shared my Fresh salmon starter with goat cheese, beetroot, apple and radishes and my Bacon wrapped honey glazed beef meatloaf with mushrooms and cranberries but now it’s time for dessert!

It can be very tricky to make dessert for the entire family for Christmas, so again I would suggest making a few options, you could make some Strawberry Santas,  Warm apple pie,  Traditional Antwerp Butter Cookies with Kerrygold butter and Guinness chocolate sauce. or even Chocolate lava cakes but one great addition to your dessert table are for sure cupcakes! You can make them beforehand and keep them in the fridge overnight so you don’t have to worry about a thing the next day. Plus it’s a great way to get the kids involved in the Christmas party planning as they can be your little helpers in the kitchen!

  
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Bacon wrapped honey glazed beef meatloaf with mushrooms and cranberries
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Bacon wrapped honey glazed beef meatloaf with mushrooms and cranberries

With less than a week to Christmas, things are getting crazier each day! We still have loads to get done before Christmas Eve and Day, starting with coming up with a list of appetizers we’re going to make, getting the guest room ready for my two lovely friends from New Zealand who are joining my family for Christmas Eve, finding presents and visiting friends and family while I’m in Belgium for a couple of days. Busy busy busy! But in the midst of all that madness I’m hoping to make this easier for you by giving you some new recipes that you can make for Christmas, because it really doesn’t always have to be the classic Turkey or Ham dinner.

  
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Butter Cookies with Kerrygold butter and Guinness chocolate sauce
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Traditional Antwerp Butter Cookies with Kerrygold butter and Guinness chocolate sauce

Antwerp, an absolute must-visit if you ever find yourself in Belgium. There’s plenty on offer, there’s a gorgeous Cathedral, a medieval fortress ‘t Steen, which you can find along the river, plenty of museums (Reubens, MAS, ..), a street dedicated to antiques, a stunning central station, a zoo, an impressive opera hall and a fabulous shopping street to name a few.

But as with most cities in Belgium it’s also rich in food heritage and traditions. No matter where you go in Belgium you must always try two things: local beers and local food products. Belgium has many well known national dishes (mostly featuring fries) but when it comes to sweets there’s usually not a lot tourists are aware of. In Ghent for example there’s cuberdons (purple cone-shaped candy), in Geel you can try heart shaped cookies, in Geraardsbergen they have ‘Mattentaartjes’.

One of the traditional sweets you can only get in Antwerp are ‘Antwerp hands’, a butter cookie with a secret recipe, shaped into hands.

  
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