Linguine in a smokey bacon, white wine and cream sauce

Under pressure for time? This little baby is the perfect recipe for a quick yet elegant dinner. The flat capped mushroom looks beautiful perched on top and adds another element to the dish. A little homemade rustic garlic bread wouldn’t go amiss.
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LINGUINE IN A SMOKEY BACON, WHITE WINE AND CREAM SAUCE
Topped with a garlic and thyme flat capped mushroom

600g linguine
250 ml cream
1 glass of white wine
butter
200g smokey bacon chopped into small pieces
4 garlic cloves (or to taste)crushed
4 flat capped much rooms
Small bunch of thyme
Cracked black pepper
Grated Parmesan

Boil your kettle and pour the water over the linguine in a large pan. Chuck in a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Turn down and simmer for 10 or so minutes till al dente. Meanwhile pour the cream and wine into another pan and bring to the boil and turn down to a steady simmer to reduce into a thickened sauce. In a frying pan add a dab of butter and then the bacon, half the garlic and brown. Throw the cooked bacon into the reducing cream sauce. In the same frying pan add another generous dollop of butter, the remaining garlic and thyme and fry the mushrooms turning to cook both sides. At this stage the linguine should be cooked, strain off the water and return to the pan. Add the creamy bacon sauce, making sure to coat each stand of linguine. With a large serving fork scoop up the linguine and as your putting it on to the plate, twist the fork around to make a mound, place your mushroom on top along with some fresh thyme, cracked black pepper and Parmesan. Goes lovely with some chilled white wine and a little rustic garlic bread on the side.

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Deliciously dark chocolate cake

There’s chocolate cake and then there’s real chocolate cake, the kind you eat for dessert or with a cup of coffee, not made with cocoa but real dark chocolate. This recipe gives you the pleasures of eating chocolate, its dense, creamy, and melts slightly in your mouth and yet is satisfying like a cake. The pleasure this time was for someone else…
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DELICIOUSLY DARK CHOCOLATE CAKE

180g caster sugar
330g dark chocolate
210g butter
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 eggs separated
50g plain flour
Icing sugar to dust

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Preheat oven to 160C and grease a 26cm springform tin. Coat the sides with a dusting of caster sugar. Keep aside 3 tbsp of caster sugar. In a large pan gently melt together the butter, chocolate and sugar. stir in the vanilla and leave aside to cool slightly. Beat in egg yolks one at a time then stir in the flour. In a spotlessly clean bowl whisk the egg whites still soft peaks come. Add the remaining sugar and beat in till stiff and glossy. Gently whisk in one third of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture then fold in the rest. Pour into your prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes. It should be crackled on top but moist but firm underneath. Leave to cool then remove from tin and dust with icing sugar. You’ll be making this one again I assure you!
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Raspberry studded citrus ricotta cake

This cake doesn’t really need much of an introduction, only that its really, truly delicious! Light, fluffy, moist and lemony with bursts of raspberry. It speaks for itself.

RASPBERRY STUDDED CITRUS RICOTTA CAKE

180g softened butter
180g caster sugar
2 lemons zested
2 limes zested
4 eggs separated
250g ricotta
125g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
Small pun-net of raspberries

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Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 20cm springform tin. Dust the bottom and sides with caster sugar. In your mixer cream the butter and sugar with the whisk attachment till light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, lemon and lime zest and ricotta. In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites till stiff peaks appear. Fold them into the ricotta mixture. Slowly fold the flour and baking powder and spoon into the prepared tin. Sprinkle your raspberries over and bake for 35-40 minutes. Leave to cool and remove from the tin. Serve with a cup of coffee or freshly whipped cream.
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Summer quiche

So it’s hot, very unusually hot. When I awake every morning it’s more than surreal, to see that thing called the sun blessing us with its presence. Everyone is hot, sticky sweaty hot, but not daring to complain because that would seem ungrateful. Especially because we’ve waited for this for so long. And who wants to eat this weather, and yet you still have to eat …something…
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MUSHROOM, THYME AND BRIE QUICHE

Ready made shortcrust pastry
3 tbsp butter
250g mushrooms sliced (I used chestnut mushrooms)
Bunch of fresh thyme leaves
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
250ml double cream
3 large eggs
50g Parmesan freshly grated
80g Brie pulled off into small lumps
A few sprinkles of cayenne pepper
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Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 9in flan dish with your pastry. Prick all over with a fork and line with a sheet of grease proof paper. Fill with baking beans and bake for 10 minutes. Take out the paper and beans and bake again for 4-5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan and on a high heat fry the mushrooms and thresh thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper. When all the moisture has been soaked up and they are nicely golden allow to cool. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, salt and pepper. Add in 40 g of Parmesan, all of the Brie, mushrooms and cayenne. Pour into the quiche shell. Sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and just set. Serve with buttery new potatoes and salad, perfect for hot days.
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Lemon and basil drizzle cake

My brother pointed out to me recently, that lemon and basil go together quite beautifully. So of course I have to try it out! You might feel its a little bit daring with the amount of basil but i think it needs it, hope you like it.
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LEMON AND BASIL DRIZZLE CAKE

140g caster sugar
2 eggs
200g self raising flour
120g butter softened
2 lemons zested and juiced
30 large basil leaves crushed in a pestle and mortar(half for cake and half for icing)
110g milk
200g icing sugar
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Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease a loaf pan. Throw sugar, eggs, flour, butter, lemon rind, half the crushed basil and milk into your kenwood chef mixer. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until the mix is pale and thick. Pour into your pan and bake for 45 min or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Cool on a wire rack. When cooled use the juice from one lemon, the other half of your crushed basil and mix in the icing sugar and drizzle over the cake.
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Fast food….at home

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So we’ve picked the best week ever to holiday in our own country, Ireland. The sun is splitting the rocks like it hasn’t since 1995 and here in Kildare, it’s truly beautiful. Everything is on a budget, so it’s less of the eating out, more of the eating in. But I don’t want to be slaving over a hot stove in this weather so here’s a quick recipe that only takes twenty minutes.

THAI GREEN CURRY WITH CHICKEN

Two tbsp vegetable oil
500g chicken fillets sliced into thick slivers
1 jar of Thai green curry paste( check your jar, some ask only for a tablespoon or so)
1 tin coconut milk
100g courgette sliced
100g mange tout
100g baby corn sliced in half
A couple of slugs of fish sauce
Jasmine rice

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Fill your kettle and put it on. Heat your frying pan with the oil and brown the chicken off. While doing that In another pan put in your rice and double amount of boiling water and season. Bring to the boil, stir and turn down to a low heat. Once the chicken is browned add your curry paste and cook for two more minutes. Pour in your coconut milk and continue to cook on a medium heat for 10 more minutes. Throw in your courgette, then your baby corn and finally mange tout. Add your fish sauce and cook until veg is just cooked, not soggy. Serve with your rice.

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Two point, hearty sweet potato chilli

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A load of my friends are doing weight watchers. They are all getting skinnier, and I’m just staying me. I could do with losing an inch here and there so I’m falling back on good old vegetable soups and stews. Plenty of vegetables and no bread and butter, you feel full without all those carbs. I can’t help it, I just love my food too much and plus, I think I was meant to have curves!

HEARTY SWEET POTATO CHILLI
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion finely diced
2 sticks of celery finely diced
3 garlic cloves crushed
2 inch piece of ginger finely grated
2 tins of tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
500 ml chicken stock
2 tsp cumin
1- 2 red chillies finely chopped
1 star anise
1 tsp salt
2 sweet potatoes chopped into cubes
1 courgette in cubes
1 red pepper in cubes
1 200g tin naturally sweet sweetcorn
Fresh coriander to sprinkle on top
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Gently sweat the onions and celery in the oil till soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, if it starts to stick add a splash of water. Throw in your tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down adding your spices, salt and sweet potatoes. Cook for 15-20 minutes, then add your courgette, pepper and sweetcorn cook for a further 15-20 mins. Eat as a hearty soup or with rice for a dinner. Make sure to serve with a sprinkling of coriander. You could add some leftover cooked chicken at the end of cooking if you fancy some protein. Feel full with hardly any points!