ArchiveAugust 5, 2017


There was a bit of a caffufle in the UK recently when a little five year old was left in tears after she was fined €150.00 for setting up a lemonade stand at the end of her street in East London. The plan was to sell little glasses of lemonade to people attending the Lovebox Festival in nearby Victoria Park. It brought a broad smile to the punters faces but after half an hour or so, not one but four over enthusiastic council enforcement officers approached her little table, accused her of trading without a licence and issued a fine to be paid wthin14 days. The poor little frightened mite and her dad packed up the stall and she sobbed all the way home.
However, her father while acknowledging that she possibly should have had a permit wrote about the incident in the Telegraph. Other papers picked it up, the fine was withdrawn and the council apologised for being too heavy handed – a happy outcome on this occasion, but one wonders how it would have panned out if Dad had not been a journalist…..
I’m all for encouraging young people or indeed anyone for that matter with a spark of entrepreneurial spirit to have a go. My children and now some of my grandchildren come up with bright ideas from time to time and it adds an element of fun during the long summer holidays.
Amelia, Jasper and India made some blackcurrant cordial to sell at a local Farmers Market, they not only learned how to make the cordial but also how to string black currants and sterilise the bottles. They also made and hand wrote the labels. Most of all they learned that it’s jolly hard work but they had so much fun and loved the praise and encouragement they got from the customers who so generously bought their delicious vitamin rich cordial. Wee buns or little cupcakes are always a sure seller. Start with a good recipe and of course use butter and other good ingredients so they taste delicious and are as nutritious as possible.
The old reliable choccie rice krispies are also a perennial favourite particularly when made with a good chocolate rather than the well-known brand of cooking chocolate; add a few raisins to boost the nutrients.
Popsicles are also super easy to make and both children and adults love them.
If you have a waffle iron, a bowl of batter can be made in minutes and customers can choose a range of toppings. Even easier are drop scones, this is a recipe everyone should have pasted to the inside of their kitchen cupboard. The batter can be whisked up in seconds and once again they can be embellished with sweet or savoury toppings and can be served hot off the pan but are also delicious cold.
Even if you don’t decide to set up a stall each of these recipes are little gems to add to your repertoire or to start a recipe folder.

Flowery British Queens
We are so fortunate to have a few dedicated potato farmers who still grow some of the traditional varieties, Home Guard, British Queens, Kerr’s Pinks, Golden Wonders. I picked up a bag of superb British Queens in Baltimore recently grown by Cha Holmes of Ballyalla near Skibbereen, “locally grown and seaweed fed”. Tel: 086 831 8609.

Irish Blueberries Now in Season
Juicy fat blueberries are now in season so be sure to check that you are buying Irish. I’ve got a few punnets of beautiful Derryvilla blueberries from Portarlington in Co Offaly but you’ll also find them from Rose Cottages at Midleton and Mahon Farmers Market and also at some West Cork Farmers Markets. Tel: 057 8642882.

Blackcurrant Cordial

This concentrated blackcurrant cordial, packed with vitamin C, is delicious diluted with sparkling or plain water or sparkling wine. It keeps for several months in a cool place.

1.1kg (21⁄2lb) organic blackcurrants
about (51⁄2lb) sugar
white wine vinegar

Boil the blackcurrants and 4 litres (7 pints) of water together in a stainless-steel saucepan for 15 minutes. Strain and add 13 parts of sugar to every 15 cups of liquid (we use a 225ml/8fl oz cup). Add 1 cup white vinegar and boil for 3 minutes. Pour into sterilised bottles and seal well. Dilute with water to taste.

Blackcurrant Popsicles

We use all the summer fruits, raspberries, strawberries, blackcurrants with combinations like blackberry and sweet geranium, redcurrant and strawberry, peach and raspberry, raspberry and basil. In Winter we make a variety of citrus pops including blood orange and tangerine. They are loved not just by children but people of all ages, and I particularly enjoy serving them at the end of a dinner party.

Makes 6

450g (1lb) blackcurrants
syrup (see below)

150ml (¼ pint) water

Pour the syrup over the blackcurrants and bring to the boil, cook for 3-5 minutes until the blackcurrants burst. Liquidise and sieve through a nylon sieve. Add 150ml (¼ pint) water. Allow to cool.
Pour into popsicle moulds, cover, insert a stick and freeze until needed. Best eaten within a few days.


275g (10oz) sugar
300ml (10fl.oz) water

To make the syrup: Dissolve the sugar in the water and bring to the boil. Boil for 2 minutes then allow it to cool. Store in the fridge until needed.

Blueberry Muffins

Blanaid Bergin my sister makes the yummiest muffins – seemingly in minutes.

Makes 8

In season: year round

225g (8oz/2 cups) white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 level tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) baking powder
140g (5oz/1/2 cup) caster sugar
75g (3oz/3/4 stick) butter
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
170ml (6floz/3/4 cup) milk
110g (4oz/1 cup) blueberries or raspberries

1 muffin tray lined with muffin papers

Preheat the oven at 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 4-5. Sieve the flour, salt, baking powder in a bowl. Stir in the sugar. Rub in the butter until it looks like breadcrumbs. Combine the beaten egg, vanilla extract and milk and add to the dry mixture. Combine with a fork to give a wet consistency. Fold in the blueberries or raspberries gently. Spoon into the muffin cases. Bake for 20-25 minutes until well-risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar.

Aunty Pam’s Krispie Buns or Mini Rice Krispie Cakes

Makes approximately 48 mini cakes or 12 – 15 large muffin size

100g (3 ½ oz) milk chocolate
75g (3oz) Kellogs Rice Krispies

Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering but not boiling water. Gradually add the rice krispies careful not to break them up too much. Spoon a heaped teaspoon into mini muffin cases. While they are still soft, gently press in a Smartie or Jelly Tot. For an extra surprise, pop a Smartie or Jelly Tot in the bottom and fill with rice Krispie mixture. Chill in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours and serve on a pretty cake plate.

Mini muffin tray and mini muffin coloured cases.

Mary Jo’s Waffles

Makes 12

Mary Jo McMillan worked with us at the Cookery School on several occasions – she was a passionate and perceptive cook. This is her recipe for waffles which I enjoy much more than mine.

175g (6ozs/1 1/2 cups) white flour
15g (1/2oz) sugar
a pinch of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder

50g (2ozs/1/2 stick) butter, melted
350g (12ozs1 1/2 cups) milk, slightly warmed
2 eggs, free-range and organic if possible, separated

75g (3ozs/scant 1/2 cup) of batter for each waffle.

Preheat waffle iron. Sieve all the dry ingredients into a deep bowl. Make a well in the centre. Mix the warm milk, melted butter and whisk in the egg yolks. Pour the milk and egg yolk mixture into the well in the dry ingredients. Stir together to form a batter. Whip the eggs whites stifly and gently fold into the batter. Heat the waffle iron. Pour a 75g (3oz/scant 1/2 cup) ladle of batter onto the iron. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes until crisp and golden on the outside.

Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve hot in a variety of ways both sweet and savoury.

Waffles with Fresh Fruit and Berries

Ripe berries of all kinds, strawberries, raspberries, loganberries, boysenberries, sliced peaches, nectarines, apricots and bananas are all delicious with waffles. Pile the fruit on top of hot waffles, or serve it on the side of the plate. A blob of softly whipped cream doesn’t go amiss!

Waffles with Bananas, Toffee Sauce and Chopped Walnuts

2-3 sliced bananas
Toffee Sauce (see recipe)
110g (4oz) coarsely chopped walnuts

Toffee Sauce
110g (4oz/1 stick) butter
5oz (150g/scant 3/4 cup) dark soft brown Barbados sugar *
3oz (75g/scant 1/2 cup) granulated sugar *
225g (8oz) golden syrup *
225ml (8fl oz/1 cup) cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the butter, sugars and golden syrup into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and melt gently on a low heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes, remove from the heat and gradually stir in the cream and the vanilla extract. Put back on the heat and stir for 2-3 minutes until the sauce is absolutely smooth.

Put some banana slices on top of the waffles, pour Toffee Sauce over and sprinkle with the coarsely chopped walnuts.

Top Tip

Toffee Sauce is also delicious with ice-cream. It will keep for several weeks stored in a screw-top jar in the fridge.

Good things to serve with waffles:
Crispy bacon and honey or maple syrup
Crispy bacon and slices of Gruyére or Emmental cheese
Crispy bacon with sliced banana
White peaches with raspberries


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