Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Great Gatsby

My boyfriend is a total movie buff- he has to arrive about forty-five minutes beforehand (not a bad rule considering I'm chronically late to everything!) I was so excited to go see The Great Gatsby that I didn't even protest this rule... Especially when he threw in dinner! ;) 

The Great Gatsby is AMAZING! It has me yearning for the Roaring Twenties! I'm a huge fan of Baz Luhrmann! I think Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge were both epic! I love the juxtaposition of modern music with a historic theme. I think it reflects how the themes are timeless- it's just the context that changes.

Down to business... To find out how to recreate the fabulous scene below, tune in here!
This is possibly my favourite show to date, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Bonus points: you'll get a teaser of The Great Gatsby soundtrack!

I can't wait to read F. Scott Fitzgerald's book now. I usually read novels before watching the film adaptation but I changed track this time. What did you think of the movie? Or the book? 

If you're interested in having a night time soirée, check out this blog post for some inspiration... Don't forget to put the Moët on ice!

Have a Great weekend, I'm off to party like Gatsby ;)

Stay sweet, ole sport! x

Update: Just finished the novel, by far my favourite novel of the year! Short, sweet, scrumptiously written and so tragic. A head-spinner surely if you haven't seen the movie but I love how the story has stood the test of time. Dix points, ole sport! ;) x

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Nutella Pillow Cookies

The cookies I made last week were such a hit that last night I recreated them using only what I had in the cupboards. I love that you don’t need chocolate chips to have an incredible cookie. 

Best part is, they took less than thirty minutes to make, or the time it took the boyfriend to go to town and rent Django Unchained (granted, it's a smaller batch!) You’ll never have to buy cookies again!

This recipe requires a measuring cup, if you don't own one don't try to use average cups- chaos will ensue! You can buy really cheap ones here or use this handy cups to grams converter.

Cream the sugars and butter until they look fluffy, as shown above.

This is the consistency of your finished dough... Which also tastes incredible raw,FYI.

Cookie baking can be a messy business... One of those things you wish you had three hands for! :)

You can probably tell from this picture just how much these beauties spread while baking.

You can see that straight from the oven this cookie is golden on the outside and spongey in the centre! I love the marbled effect from some Nutella-strewn dough! :)

Yield: 5 huge cookies (just double up to make a larger batch, but don’t underestimate how big these guys are!)

You will need:

3/4 Cup Self-Raising Flour, sieved
1/4 Cup Butter at Room Temp.
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Medium Egg
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
5 Dessert Spoons Nutella

  1. Preheat your oven to 170degrees Celcius.
  2. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  3. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the sugars and butter until fluffy.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla extract while beating.
  5. Once incorporated, turn off mixer.
  6. Sift in 1/4 cup of flour. Beat until incorporated.
  7. Repeat step four twice more so that all of the flour is added.
  8. Here comes the messy part! Scoop out some dough onto the palm of your hand.
  9. Place a tablespoon of Nutella on top of the dough.
  10. Place another spoon of dough on top of this. Ensure that all of the Nutella is sealed by the dough, place on prepared baking tray. *Act quickly as the dough will melt from the heat of your hand. Scrape off excess dough/Nutella from your hand back into the mix, you'll need all the dough you have!*
  11. Sprinkle some sea salt on the cookies before baking, this really adds depth to the flavour.
  12. Bake for 14minutes, until slightly golden at the edges but still spongey/soft in the middle. These cookies continue to cook once you remove them from the oven so DO NOT OVERBAKE. Removing them any later than 16minutes will result in rock hard, inedible cookies trust me!
  13. Leave to cool on the baking tray for 5-10minutes.
  14. Remove onto a wire rack.
  15. Enjoy!
Although this is a small batch it's easy to double up but I liked having all the cookies gone in one night-less temptation the following morning!

These cookies got a great response on Facebook, a few people have already recreated the recipe- let me know what you think in the comments section below!

Don't forget to tune into sUCCulent 98.3fm on Thursday 11-noon!

Until then...

Stay sweet! x

Monday, May 20, 2013

Giant Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

I discovered these cookies on Two Peas and Their Pod. Maria Lichty is the undisputed Queen of Cookies, and this is yet another one of her genius brainwaves. These were perfect for last Thursday's show (mostly because I didn't have enough chocolate chips to make decent cookies!) They turned out even better than I had expected. 

Think Nutella lava cakes, but better! I hear you- how could anything be better than those sweet little cupcakes? Because the juxtaposition between the crunchy cookie, and the vanilla-sugar taste of the dough is deepened by the addition of luscious addition of Nutella... I could sit here and drool over my keyboard all day. YUM! I intend on making these again soon minus the chocolate chips but with extra Nutella, as a kind of pillow cookie... Watch this space ;)

These cookies were HUGE! I scooped them into relatively medium sized balls yet they still spread so much during baking. Here's a large baking tray that just fits my oven (as in, slots into the tray holders at the side). Yes, it only held four cookies!

I did find that my yield was a little smaller than the dozen Maria had suggested; nonetheless every morsel was delicious!

I've been saying this a lot lately, but these cookies could just be the nicest thing I've ever baked!

Apologies for the lack of 'before' shots, my brain was not in blogger mode... I made these at 8.30am last Thursday! You probably already knew that if you follow me on twitter @orlmurf. FYI, you can use your twitter account to follow the blog, so handy!

They're incredibly easy to make though, just bung everything into a stand mixer and let it do all the work! :) This is a really great base cookie dough recipe and until I find a better one (if that's even possible) I'll use it as my standard one! 

Two exceptions to the listed recipe: 

  1. I didn't include any salt in the actual cookie because I used normal butter (some claim that by using unsalted butter, you can regulate how much salt you bake with by adding it in yourself after, personally I find unsalted butter hard to come by so I just used regular Irish Creamery Butter!). I did however sprinkle sea salt on top of the cookie dough mounds before baking, definitely a must-do! 
  2. I only used a teaspoon of Nutella inside the cookies **Confession: this was a mistake, my sleepy eyes misread the quantity! But it worked out great, as you can see below!**

I love the philosophy behind these cookies, the same as that of a Baked Alaska, or the Mint Cupcakes I made for St. Patrick's Day... Once you seal in whatever you're hiding inside your dessert it won't melt. So the world is your Nutella-stuffed cookie! Check out Picky Palate for loads more stuffed cookie recipes!

I also compared these cookies to Subway's Chocolate Chip Cookie (all in the name of research!) and found that this is a much more similar cookie to those I made last year (however the Copy Cat Cookies have a much larger yield so might be better for large gatherings!)

Make your Monday a little brighter, and bake these cookies!

Stay sweet! x

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (May 15th) & Eurovision

Chocolate chip cookies, an absolute classic dessert! I'll be honest, I'm not fussy when it comes to these- I'll eat a store-brand just as quick as a fancy artisan cookie. You really can't beat a good one though! That's what Andrew Nestlè thought when he discovered Ruth Wakefield's recipe... Listen here to find out more ;)

These Nutella-stuffed chocolate chip cookies were incredible, the recipe is coming up in the next post!

Feeling Eurovision Fever? Tune in to hear how you can have your own Eurovision party and tell me what you think of the acts!

Update: I was really surprised by Denmark's win! I didn't hear it prior to the announcement, but I loved it!! Also, so glad Ukraine were up there- I could get a job on the X-Factor yet ;) Hard luck for dear old Ireland... Maybe next year...? 

Monday, May 13, 2013

My Favourite Blogs

I didn't begin blogging of my own accord- no way! I would never be this creative! The best thing about blogs I feel is when bloggers link each other, if it wasn't for shared recipes or experiences I never would have came across half of these blogs.

My first ever favourite blogger was Emily Schuman of! I loved her style, home decor, DIY projects and of course the recipes!! This led to me searching for culinary blogs, but you'll soon see they are few and far between! Many morph into lifestyle blogs (still addictive, don't worry!)

Angie of Bakerella, the creator of cake pops, has an adorable blog. It's candy coloured, with a hint of humour, more than anything else she showcases her talent- what an artist! Her treats are miniature, and oh-so adorable!

Angie led me to Jenny Flake of Picky Palate. This is one of my daily checks, yum yum! Jenny's recipes are a mix of sweet and savoury, and her cookies are always over-the-top delicious!

I was then directed to Two Peas and Their Pod, which has the most amazing recipes!! You may have already seen the cinnamon banana bread I posted here earlier... If not, get those bananas peeled, you're gonna wanna make 'em straight away!! I love how their recipes are connected- you know what's in Josh and  Maria's fridge because the ingredients feature in two or three successive recipes.

Kevin and Amanda have a lifestyle blog with an emphasis on sweets which I love! Definitely worth checking out!

Ree Drummond of the The Pioneer Woman has an overwhelming blog- seriously she is Superwoman! I focus mostly on the recipes, but also love the decor and nature shots particularly of the wild mustangs. She also writes childrens books- makes you feel pretty insignificant huh? But it's really not intimidating as her posts are hilarious and self-indulgent minus the guilt, love love love. Definitely a go-to!

My newest find has been; love how she stacks up similar recipes on the one post (kinda like an inspiration board!) but also her directions are so honest and genuine "no need to measure, just eyeball it up!" Love her recipes and can't wait to share them with you! :)

Also Sweetapolita is an awe-inducing site which will have you yearning to own a bakery! A macaron-topped lemon blueberry cake? Whatever next!

Love Sweetopia, a home economics teacher turned sugar cookie extraordinaire! Marian's post have the air of a teacher- kind, patient and encouraging which is a good thing since her inspirational cookies (yes you read that right, click over now if you don't believe me!) will have you itching to try out something new!

If you're looking for good tips on sugar cookies, Anna from The Sweetest Tiers, gives great advice on her Facebook page.

So that's my round up of my favourite blogs! They really have spurred me on to making Milis the best I possibly can! :)

What are your favourite blogs? Or do you have your own? Let me know below in the comments box!

Until then, stay sweet! x

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Banana Bread with Cinnamon Sugar Topping

The best banana bread ever, hands down! Dump your other recipes folks because this is life changing!
I found this recipe on the Two Peas and Their Pod blog, I've made it loads of times since with variations such as mixing in glacè cherries or chocolate chip at the last minute- so try whatever you like  and let me know how it turns out! :)


I accidentally added an extra teaspoon of cinnamon to the batter (along with the dry mixture) and it GREATLY enhanced the recipe!! Banana Bread 2.0 ;) Let me know in the comments if you'd prefer me to write out the whole recipe again, if necessary I will.

Don't question the two raising agents in this... they work!

For the cinnamon sugar, mix 1/3 cup of sugar with 1tbsp of cinnamon, yum yum!

The good news about this treat? It's packed full of potassium from the bananas, and with NO margarine (only 1/2 cup of olive oil) it's as healthy as you can get :)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Plan the Perfect Picnic and Become a Kitchen Beautician

Find yourself spending too much on skincare and cosmetics?  Sick of boring dinners indoors?? 

Eat al fresco with great skin! Ha, seriously this week's show was a real pot-luck content-wise. A lot of the students at UCC are now preparing for exams so procrastination is at an all time high!

Here lies the perfect penny-pinching pick me-up, a picnic! Or have a night in with the girls and pamper yourselves with face masks, a lip tint, hand scrub or body scrub using only what you have in your own kitchen! 

Here's the show, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Stay tuned for some scrumptious cookies ;)

Stay sweet! x

Ice Cream Parties

As you read here, I love ice-cream! With summer coming, Down Syndrome Ireland are encouraging people to hold ice-cream parties (with the help of the one and only Pierce Brosnan!)

Tune in here to get some scrumptious recipes, and let me know what you think!

If you're interested in hosting your own ice-cream party you can find more details on the Down Syndrome Ireland website. The party pack includes vouchers for HB ice-cream, yum!

Apologies for the poor show- I had the beginnings of the flu! I hope you enjoy nonetheless.

Stay sweet! x