Thursday, August 22, 2013

And the winner is...

Many congratulations to Rea Halleran - who has won the pair of tickets to the Ballymaloe Garden Festival - see you there!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A GIVEAWAY that comes up smelling of roses!

Do you have a passion for roses? Then be sure to read to the end for a great giveaway... 

I make no secret of my passion for roses. Not the tight-lipped imported ones, but the big blowsy, highly scented old fashioned ones which have graced the gardens of cottages and castles for centuries. There is nothing more sensual, exotic and heavenly for me, than the scent of roses... they are my favourite flowers...

I have filled our garden with roses, light and dark pink,yellow, white... and even a rather odd lavender coloured one! But I don't celebrate them just for their visual beauty, or even their scent... but for their flavour. If you haven't discovered roses as edible magic then follow me on Pinterest and  check out my board on edible flower delights!

A couple of weeks back I shared my recipe for raspberry and rose sorbet (which resulted in a couple of friends knocking on my door asking if there was any left to sample!)

My son makes a divine rose petal lemonade. This summer I have been living off my own fairy flower tea of fresh lemon balm, rose geranium leaf and rose petals... and my favourite chocolates are... yup, you guessed it, rose creams!

Ha! I've just realised that my tea pot and tea cups and chintzy plates are all covered in roses too... ooops this is becoming a little obsessive!

I want to share my passion for roses with you in person, and offer you the chance to win a pair of tickets, to a very special event at the inaugral Ballymaloe Garden Festival in East Cork, Ireland. 

Bring a friend to hear award winning gardener, Helen Dillon, of The Dillon Garden in Dublin, & Rory O’Connell ex-head chef of Ballymaloe House for a sensual celebration of roses. Helen will talk about growing roses and Rory will talk about the many wonderful uses of roses in the kitchen. It's on Saturday August 31st from 11.30am to 12.45pm in The Grainstore, Ballymaloe House. You will also get to meet The Queen of Puddings in the flesh - that'd be me - I'll be wearing a pink rose in my lapel!!!!

The Ballymaloe Garden Festival is dedicated to sustainable gardening, and features names like Alys Fowler, Michael Kelly, Joy Larkcom and Darina Allen who will be joined by experts on rare plants to garden design, wetland systems, urban gardening, herbal medicine, through to flower arranging and watercolour painting. There will be a family friendly fringe festival of fun and food, plant stalls, and free guided tours around the Ballymaloe Cookery School Gardens. Tickets for individual events are available at the doors on the day, and day passes can be purchased from The Grainstore.

Click for a complete programme of events.

To enter the GIVEAWAY you need to:
1) LIKE the Queen of Puddings page on Facebook 
2) Share this post on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest
3) Leave a comment here or on FB to let me know you've shared.

The winner will be announced next Thursday, 22nd August by midday (BST). I will give you the tickets in person at the event! Good luck!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Any Season Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

For me the quintessential taste of summer is strawberries. And the quintessential summer treat is ice cream. So this one combines the two of them, but with the added bonus that it can be made at any time of year, because it uses frozen strawberries. These are picked and frozen in their prime, so their flavour is captured at its height. I dare anyone to guess that it was made from frozen berries. My theory is - they're going to be frozen anyway, so what's the point in paying premium prices for fresh... and then have to do the work of hulling them?

This recipe was adapted from the Ballymaloe recipe which can be found in Darina Allen's book Ballymaloe Cookery Course


500g frozen strawberries
Syrup made with 250ml water and 220g sugar. Chilled in fridge for an hour.
300 ml whipping cream
1/2 juice orange and
1/2 juice lemon


Put the sugar and water in a pan, stir to dissolve over a medium heat, remove from heat just before it boils. Chill in fridge for an hour.

Whip cream to just before soft peak stage.

Blend strawberries with cool syrup, so you have a fancy looking slush puppy! There is no need to sieve this.

Fold strawberries into cream, add lemon and orange juices. It should be slushy, so actually no need for an ice cream maker - if you have one it'll improve the texture a little.

Put into freezer tub. Stir once after an hour. Ready to eat after 2-3 hours.

Heaven served garnished with scented geranium leaves, as in the picture - the perfume from them exalts the flavour sensation!


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