[From the Kitchen:] Going green for St. Patrick’s Day

MbM_Green-Smoothies_Main

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all you Irish folk! Im pretty sure you’ve had an early start of celebrations this weekend especially with Ireland winning the 6 Nations – what a fab way to add to all the fun and frolics!

Well, I’ve got a rather unconventional St.Patrick’s Day blog post but it is green nonetheless! ;) I’ve been drinking a lot more smoothies since the start of this year, green ones in particular, so that I’m topped up on my nutrients, antioxidants and fibre all in the hope that I improve my health, energy levels, weight  and mental clarity! While I tend to have a decent healthy diet, there’s still a lot more green veggies and fruits I probably don’t taken enough of so this was a way to get me to up my intake of those. If you follow me on IG, FB or Twitter, you’ve probably seen many posts on this new daily ritual and it’s because I’ve had many people ask me what goes into these smoothies that I’m writing this post…..and perhaps a bit of irony thrown in too seeing as this would be a start contrast to what would probably be consumed on St.Patrick’s Day! ;)

MbM_Green-Smoothies_ingredientsSo here’s what I would put into my daily green smoothie which is normally my mid-morning intake – bear in mind that there are many versions out there but this is what I’ve learnt to love and have altered it slightly on days when I may be out of a couple of the ingredients. The two main ingredients are however, spinach and kale which I take at least a handful of each and put it into a jug. Then I’d add one banana, one kiwi (or an apple), a bunch of blueberries (these can be frozen ones if you want are conscious of your pennies plus it makes it super chilled) as your sweetening elements along with some fresh ginger and a pinch of nuts (like pumpkin or pine) for a bit of texture. Then add your liquid base like juice or almond milk to avoid this drink being one thick gunk. For this smoothie combination of mine, I just add a dash of orange orange or cranberry juice. Blitz it all up together either using an electric hand blender or a juicer until it becomes pretty smooth. Add more juice if you feel it’s still too thick. Et voila! Oh SOOO scrummy!!

MbM_Green-Smoothies_1MbM_Green-Smoothies_2 MbM_Green-Smoothies_5  [Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]

Other variations which I’ve tried are spinach and kale with celery, cucumber, fresh ginger and green tea!The main thing to remember the THREE main parts:

your leafy greens  +  your fruits  +  a liquid base

What you add to that is simply down to personal choice. Happy smoothie-ing and I hope you enjoy a much healthier approach to your life!! xx

[D.I.Y. Tutorial] St. Patrick’s Day Banner

MbM_DIY-Tutorial_St.Patricks-Day_WEB-MAIN(a)Hey lovely people! I hope you’ve had a lovely week so far! St. Patrick’s Day coming up, there’s going to be a lot of green splashed about, so I thought I would do something in aid of all the impending shenanigans. Last year I made a lot more food-based prettiness, so this time it’s going to be more crafty fun. We’re going to be checking out the parade on Sunday for the first time since being in London and I know for a fact that I’m going to have to sport something ludicrously green… all in the name of some fun and laughter, I guess! ;)

Anyway, this week’s DIY tutorial is a cute little felt banner with one of my favourite Irish quotes….although I’ve taken the original and tweaked the “I’m” to “he’s” as a tongue-in-cheek being I’m married to an Irishman. To be honest, I was going to make this for a t-shirt I thought I’d wear on Sunday but decided to make the banner instead half way through cutting the letters. I’ll probably use fabric paint to create the t-shirt later. So here’s what you need for this project:

  1. Crafting felt (a green one for either the letters or the background or two shades of green for both)
  2. Adhesive (glue gun or fabric glue)
  3. Twine
  4. Pen
  5. Scissors
  6. Dowel or a BBQ skewer (forgot to include that in the image below)

MbM_DIY-Tutorial_St.Patricks-Day_WEB-Supplies

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Free hand draw out the letters of your desired quote (you can pick from “Kiss me, I’m Irish“, “Luck of the Irish“, “I’m your lucky charm“) directly onto the felt, using a fine-nibbed pen. It really doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect. It’s all about the handmade charm!
  2. Cut the letters out using a pair of scissors.
  3. Place the letters roughly onto your background felt sheet (mine was A4 in size) so you get a good idea how it’s aligned.
  4. Stick the felt letters down using either fabric glue or glue gun. Make sure the glue is applied neatly to avoid any stringy mess!
  5. Take a piece of dowel or BBQ skewer and cut it to fit the width of the felt sheet. Once cut to size, tie the twine at both ends once you’ve figured out how long you want it. I cut mine to roughly 40-50cm in length. Then apply some glue gun (for this part, the glue gun is better than fabric glue) along the length of the dowel and press it gently against the reverse side of the felt. And that’s all there is to it!

MbM_DIY-Tutorial_St.Patricks-Day_WEB-1Now all you got to do is find a place to hang the lovely banner – this one i’ve made is currently hanging up in our kitchen. You should have seen my husband’s face when he saw it ;) I may have to take it out with me on Sunday or perhaps have the same quote on a t-shirt or a placard. :D Anyway, I hope you have fun with whatever you choose to do. It is super quick to make and you don’t really need a lot to make it. If you don’t have felt, then try it with card. Happy crafting and don’t forget to share any of your creations with me and add the hashtag #craftwithmolu with your images! xxx

MbM_DIY-Tutorial_St.Patricks-Day_WEB-2 MbM_DIY-Tutorial_St.Patricks-Day_WEB-3 [Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]

[From the Kitchen] St.Patrick’s Day Irish Stew

BLOG_irish stew 1Here’s the recipe of the Irish Stew we made using lamb courtesy of BBC Good Food which was so simple to make with such great results. And the best part is that it went a long way (believe me, we actually had to transfer all the ingredients out of our casserole dish into a paella pan!) and tasted even better the next couple of days!! :) The lamb is so succulent and soaks up all the lovely flavours well! Wish we still had more left over!! Oh, we couldn’t get hold of any pearl barley so substituted it with Arborio Rice.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 200g smoked streaky bacon (cut into chunks)  **The next time I may use chorizo for a smokier flavour!
  • 900g stewing lamb , cut into large chunks
  • 5 medium onions , sliced
  • 5 carrots , sliced into chunks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • small bunch thyme
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 850ml lamb stock
  • 6 medium potatoes , cut into chunks
  • small knob of butter
  • spring onions , finely sliced

BLOG_irish stew 2 WEB

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole. Sizzle the bacon for 4 mins until crisp. Turn up the heat, then cook the lamb for 6 mins until brown. Remove the meats with a slotted spoon. Add the onions, carrots and herbs to the pan, then cook for about 5 mins until softened. Return the meat to the pan, stir in the pearl barley, pour over the stock, then bring to a simmer.
  2. Sit the chunks of potato on top of the stew, cover, then braise in the oven, undisturbed, for about 1½ hrs until the potatoes are soft and the meat is tender. The stew can now be chilled and kept in the fridge for 2 days, then reheated in a low oven or on top of the stove. Remove from the oven, dot the potatoes with butter, scatter with the spring onions and serve scooped straight from the dish.

Enjoy!!! xx

[From the Kitchen] St.Patrick’s Day Bake-off

BLOG_STRIP bailey's cupcakes WEBSo, for those who our celebrating St. Patrick’s Day over the weekend, I trust you had a might good one! We sure did, although not everything went quite to plan. The whole of Saturday B and I were busy cooking and backing up a storm for St. Patrick’s Day – B was in charge of the Irish Stew (recipe will follow in the next post!) and I was in charge of the baked delights: Chocolate Bailey’s Cupcakes with Bailey’s Buttercream icing! :) And this post features the latter……..a rather simple recipe that gave some scrumptious results! I really had to try hard to stay clear from the icing which FYI is the BEST flavour I’ve tried to date!! :D I did initially plan on going for Guinness-flavoured cupcakes but since none of us are a huge fans of it I simply omitted the Guinness and opted for Bailey’s instead.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 275g self-raising flour
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 275g softened butter
  • 25g cocoa powder, sieved and added to some hot water (NB you can melt plain or dark chocolate pieces if you wish for a much richer cupcake)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Baileys or other Irish cream liqueur

For the Buttercream icing:

  • 750g icing sugar
  • 250g softened butter
  • 100ml Bailey’s or other Irish cream liqueur – I may have put a tad bit extra! ;)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • green food colouring – add 1 tsp first and if you want it any greener then add a wee bit more.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C.
  2. Line your 12-hole cupcake/muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, gently whisk in the cocoa powder with a bit of hot water until smooth. You can use whole milk instead of the water as another alternative. Then add the softened butter and whisk it all together gently. And yes, it’s only when you start baking do you realise how much butter and sugar goes into these bad boys!! You can only imagine what must go in the next time you’re ordering a slice of cake! It’s quite shocking really but as long as you’re not consuming these on a regular basis, a bit of sugary goodness won’t hurt too much!
  4. In a larger bowl, add the flour using a sieve followed by the caster sugar. Then mix the chocolate mixture and whisk gently making sure all the ingredients are incorporated. Make sure you don’t over-whisk these though! Next comes the eggs – preferably whisked in a separate little bowl before adding this to the mixture. Once again, make sure everything is combined well for a nice smooth batter. At the very end, add the Bailey’s in!
  5. Spoon the batter into cupcake liners dividing evenly so that they are two-thirds full. Place the tray in the middle of the oven and bake for around 15-20 minutes if they are  large cupcakes – so just keep an eye out that you don’t burn them. I put mine  for roughly 12-15 minutes, and then turned the tin around on the shelf, leaving them in for another 5 minutes or until the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. You can also insert a toothpick in the middle of the cupcake to check if they are ready – if they come out dry then they’re done! Leaving them in for any further time makes the cupcakes too dry. Oh and if they look like they’ve erupted like a volcano in the middle, don’t worry. you can either trim that off before the icing goes on or use that shape when icing!
  6. Let cupcakes cool slightly and then transfer them onto a wire rack to fully cool, after which the icing goes on.
  7. For the icing, beat the softened butter and Bailey’s in a large bowl (using hand-held mixer, free-standing or by hand which is what I did!)  Sift in the icing sugar followed by the green food colouring, carefully incorporating all the ingredients until light and fluffy. Now, you can place icing in a piping bag with a desired tip or like me spread it on using a spatula for a more rustic look. If you choose to pipe then make sure you start at the outside of the cupcake and pressing out the icing consistently while moving around towards the center.
  8. I wasn’t able to get hold of shamrock-shaped sprinkles in time so kept it simple but if you have them or anything green or St.Patrick’s related then have fun adding that finishing touch!! :D

BLOG_STRIP bailey's cupcakes 1 WEBBLOG_STRIP bailey's cupcakes 3 WEBI did also make a small batch of experimental cupcakes where I added green coloured vanilla batter to the chocolate batter hoping i’d get a marble effect but it came out more ghoulish green than marbled! Tasted just as good though….so fluffy and moist! :D The icing is the best part by a mile!!!

Anyway…….HAPPY BAKING!!!!! :D xx

[Inspiration]: 10 creative and fun D.I.Y.s to try for St.Patrick’s Day Celebrations

Ohh am I pleased to see the end of the week! The weekend has officially begun and I couldn’t be happier! Well we’re only a day and half before the St.Patrick’s Day celebrations begin! So have any of you got anything planned for the weekend? I’m definitely jotting down a few ideas to try/do over the weekend which includes cooking up a nice Irish Stew, along with some baked green-coloured goodies  tomorrow (still not decided what that is yet but definitely some baking involved! Just stewing on whether to do something traditional or be a bit more experimental). And on Sunday I will of course be kicking off the celebrations with the traditional ritual of sporting something green with shamrocks a plenty and head out to check out the parade! No doubt squeeze in a few cheeky drinks too!

Anyway, here are a few things I thought could be something you and I could try this weekend? A little inspiration for your creative juices to flow! If you have other ideas, I’d be delighted to hear them in the comments section. In the meantime, have a lovely weekend folks and if you are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day – hope it’s a mighty good one!!! :) Oh, I’ll be posting pics from my shenanigans so watch this space! xxxBLOG_STRIP st paddys day

  1. Shamrock Wreath what a fabulous idea and one that can be made easily i’m sure!
  2. Shamrock Boutonnaires  by Martha Stewart
  3. Fabric Clover Art  by Flamingo Toes
  4. Shamrock Streamers by Kelly on Studio D.I.Y.
  5. Homemade Leprechaun Spirits by Design Sponge
  6. Irish Soda Bread by the Melangery
  7. Shamrock Cut-out Cupcakes by Glory of Glorious Treats
  8. Green Velvet Pop Cakes by Love From The Oven which are cute and fun alternative to the traditional cake
  9. Shamrock Tortilla Chips by Courtney on Spiced Blog make a brilliant St. Paddy’s Day themed snack to team up with your drinks!
  10. Guinness and Bailey’s jello shots by Jaimee Sire