Baking tips


When boiling milk, first stir in a pinch of baking soda. This will help keep the milk from curdling

When a recipe calls for butter the size of an egg, use four tablespoons

After crimping the edge of the pie crust, lift the edge of the crust gently all around with your fingers. This keeps the dough from sticking to the dish while baking and makes it easier to take out the pieces of pie

A teaspoon of sugar mixed with your yeast and water makes it raise better. Even if you are making bread you can use some sugar

Keep brown sugar in a closed container with an apple in it, the brown sugar will stay soft and moist

Cookie & Cake Decoration: Keep a small amount of sugar in small glass jars, add a few drops of food coloring and shake jar. Keep several colors on hand

Never mix salt directly with the yeast and water mixture as the salt kills the raising action

Grate orange and lemon peel before peeling. Dry and add to spice cake or any cookies or puddings. The dried grated peel will keep well in a covered jar

Dip the blades of shears in hot water before cutting marshmallows, they won’t stick

A tablespoon of minute tapioca sprinkled in apple pie will absorb excess juice while baking


Sid on gluten


Gluten – why so many of us react to it?

Gluten has become one of the major dietary components that so many of us have an adverse reaction to. In the last 40-50 years the incidence of coeliac disease and other gluten related illnesses has skyrocketed. This is most likely due to how our grains are grown and genetically modified. Through modifying and hybridising these plants, they have become easier and faster to grow, resistant to harsh environments and ultimately more profitable to produce.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, spelt, oats, rye, barley and products made from them. Gluten sensitivity causes inflammation of the gut, eventually leading to intestinal permeability or ‘leaky gut’. This can trigger allergies, sensitivities and inflammation in the body. The lining of the small intestine contains millions of tiny hair like projections called villi which absorb our nutrients from our food. Coeliac disease is a condition, where gluten causes an autoimmune reaction in which the immune system mistakenly attacks itself. This results in the lining of the small intestine becoming damaged, thereby reducing the person’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. The process may damage other areas of the body also and increase the risk for diseases like bone disease, anaemia and intestinal disorders. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity can include:

Diarrhoea     Constipation    Weight Loss    Chronic Tiredness    Anaemia    Indigestion    Depression    Infertility      Mouth Ulcers     Abdominal Cramps    Vomiting    IBS

Research studies cited in many medical journals have linked Gluten Sensitivity to behavioural and developmental disorders in children such as Autism, ADHD, and Asperger’s Syndrome



By Richard Sheehan Nutritional Therapist Dip NT mIANT



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Foraging sea greens


Sea greens
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Sea greens

Now that the winter is well on its way most of my summer greens have gone to sleep until late spring so I now have new greens in natures vegetable stores.

The hardier of the sea vegetables are coming out to grace our plates. One of these is back for the second time this year all be it in a different form instead of growing up it grows out to resemble a young cabbage patch without the slugs and snails. Scurvy grass is now carpeting an area that was once covered in samphire and sea grass

Oyster leaf is coming to the end with the last few leaves withering away another variety of samphire takes its place

All of these greens are rich in natural salts minerals and vitamins which are lacking in the majority of peoples diets today.

You can pay for supplements and get more chemically engineered minerals or you can take a drive or a walk if close enough to the nearest beach   there is always something to be picked and it’s free just add to a pan with a small bit of butter and gently wilt it or add to white sauce to add a natural saltiness or even mix it through with some salad leaves dress with lemon juice and cracked black pepper.

An added bonus to these greens for the health conscious amongst us there is no added insecticide, pesticides or weed killers no growth hormones, all natural and basically calorie free they really are (sorry Sid) nourish by nature.

Follow my adventures on Instagram @chefpaulc for what to look for and eat on our coastline pantry thanks also to my fiancée jenny for the artwork follow on Instagram @wattonarts

Sid on food intolerance



What is a food intolerance?

A food intolerance is quite simply an unpleasant reaction to a food. It is our body’s natural defence mechanism telling us that this particular food does not agree with us. The immune system, which protects us produces anti-bodies that deal with anything which invades the body. Sometimes these antibodies not only destroy the invader but also destroy some of the bodies tissues. This over sensitive immune system causes inflammation, discomfort and pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), eczema and arthritis amongst many other inflammatory conditions. Over time, if we continue to consume these offending foods on a regular basis the result is a lifetime of chronic inflammation. By correctly identifying and removing these problem foods, there is very often a significant improvement to health.

Allergy v Intolerance

Both of these terms are very often used in the same context, but it is important that you understand the difference between the two. Both are reactions to a food but it is the type of reaction that is important.

Food allergy

This reaction occurs almost immediately after consuming the offending food, usually within the first hour. The reaction is often very obvious and quite violent. Common symptoms are itchy skin, rash, swollen lips and tongue, vomiting and/or diarrhoea. In more severe cases, you may not even have to consume the food but just be in contact with it. Difficulty breathing can also be experienced in extreme cases. Immediate medical attention is required. Only about 2% of the Irish population actually suffer from a food allergy.

Food intolerance

This type of reaction affects a far greater number of us every day. A food intolerance can develop at any time of life whereas a food allergy most often develops in early childhood. The reaction rarely occurs immediately after consuming the food, in fact it can take up to 48hrs before any symptoms will be felt. Many chronic conditions may be associated with an intolerance to a particular food, here are just a few of the more common offenders and how they may affect you.

Dairy: Some of the reactions to dairy (particularly cow dairy) include digestive distress, asthma, skin conditions and sinus problems.

Wheat: This major offender may be linked to headaches, bloating, diarrhoea/constipation, fatigue and brain fog.

Gluten: If allergic to gluten, it causes coeliac disease. An intolerance to gluten may be linked to malabsorption of nutrients (leading to a whole host of illnesses), IBS, behavioural issues in children and depression.


By Richard Sheehan Nutritional Therapist Dip NT mIANT



mobile 087 3848818

kevin on capers


Have you ever wondered what a caper is??

A caper is the bud of a bush that is called a Capparis Spinosa AKA a caper bush also known as flinders rose. The buds are then salted and after a certain amount of time gently washed and pickled with vinegar.

The best capers though are just sea salted. You can also get smaller capers which are generally more expensive but for other reason then they are harder to gather or forage.


Pickled or sea salted capers go well with pretty much everything. Meat, fish or salads. They are also used to enhance the flavours of other dishes such as caponata which is a zesty aubergine dish (which origins are a mystery but believed to be connected to the caper) and one on my personal favourites pepperonata which is a vegetarian dish but can be served with so many different dishes.

The capers we get from the islands between Italy and Africa are the best because of climate and the islands that have volcanic minerals are the best of all. Here are some photos of where they come from and some photos of what you can do with them


follow kevin on twitter @parsnip78

chocolate truffles tips



Always Use good chocolate made with good ingredients

— all natural, cocoa butter, cocoa solids so no palm oil or vanillin

—check the label so you know what you are buying

Use the chocolate you like to eat, buy a few different brands and do your own taste-test to work out what you like best.

Keep your chocolate in a cool dry place- but not the fridge.

Store it at around 15 degrees.

Don’t work in a hot and humid environment, this can cause chocolate to ‘bloom’

Practice practice practice

Don’t be scared to experimentwith flavours and textures its fun

use 70% plus dark chocolate for best results