Captain’s Stew


This recipe for Captain’s Stew is from The Scandinavian Cookbook by Trina Hahnemann that I reviewed recently.  If you follow the chapters in the book then technically it’s a March recipe but since we are once again feeling the cold here I decided a stew was exactly what we needed to warm ourselves up again for dinner yesterday.

What you need:

4 tbsp olive oil

1kg diced beef

1.5 ltres water

2kg potatoes, peeled and diced

1 onion finely chopped

4 bay leaves

1 tbsp whole peppercorns

1 tbsp sea salt

50g butter

salt & pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and, when medium-hot add the beef and fry until lightly browned.  Add the water and bring gradually to the boil, skimming any froth from the surface (this will take about 5 minutes)

Add the potatoes, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns and salt.  Simmer for 1½ hours or until the meat is very tender and falls apart easily – you may need to cook it for a further 30 minutes.

Stir in the butter.  Use a balloon whisk to mash the potatoes and meat together – though note that the stew has to remain lumpy.*

Season with salt & freshly ground pepper (if needed)

*I didn’t mash the potatoes and meat together as my potatoes were quite fluffy any way and this would have turned them into mush!
Posted in Potatoes, Stews and Soups | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Cookalong Part One – Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Semi Freddo

Well the first Friday of December has been and gone and that means only one thing – the Irish Foodies monthly cookalong.  This month’s theme was of course Christmas (well how could it be anything else?) and rather than cook an elaborate dinner, I decided to do a dessert and a bit of baking instead.

So the first recipe I decided on for the cookalong was Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Semi Freddo from Rachel Allen’s Home Cooking book.  Although (technically) its not actually cooking, this is one of the desserts I made last year to follow Christmas dinner.  Instead of freezing in a loaf tin as suggested, I lined a pudding bowl to give it a more Christmassy shape.

I was lucky to get the picture above as about 5 seconds after it was taken, child#2 somehow managed to knock the plate off the table sending it crashing to the floor!

Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Semi Freddo

What you need:

3 eggs, separated

150g caster sugar

500ml cream

100g dark chocolate finely chopped

100g chopped hazelnuts

What you do:

  • Line the base of a loaf tin with parchment or cling film, leaving the excess hanging out over the edges.
  • Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  • In a second bowl, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.
  • Finally, in another (spotlessly clean) bowl, whisk the egg whites (with a clean whisk) until they form firm peaks.
  • Gently fold the whipped cream into the egg yolk mixture then carefully fold in the egg whites.
  • Sprinkle a third of the chopped chocolate & hazelnuts evenly into the base of the prepared tin.  Pour half of the semifreddo mixture over the chocolate, followed by the next third of the chocolate.  Finally, pour over the remaining semifreddo and top with the remaining chocolate. Cover with the excess hanging parchment or cling film and freeze for at least 6 hours until solid.
  • Once it is set, carefully remove the semifreddo from the tin by turning upside down onto a plate and remove the parchment/clingfilm and cut into slices.

Posted in Christmas, Desserts, Irish Foodies Cookalongs | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

The Start of a Christmas Tradition…

When child #1 was born, we spent our first Christmas as a family living in a small rented flat while we were waiting for our own house to be built so we only had a tiny Argos Christmas tree as we didn’t have a lot of space.  So for our 2nd Christmas we splashed out and bought a larger tree, decorations and lights but what I also did was buy one decoration for the tree that was just for her and that was the start of our little Christmas tradition.  Continue reading

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The Scandinavian Cookbook by Trina Hahnemann (Quadrille Publishing)

picture from

I’ve been looking at this beautiful cookbook for the past few weeks.  I’ll be the first to admit I’m not familiar with Scandinavian food whatsoever so came at this book with a completely open mind.

The author, Trine Hahnemann is a leading Danish TV chef and food writer and here she introduces modern versions of Scandinavian home cooking with everything from seafood, breads, roasts and stews and of course Danish pastries and butter cookies!  There are 12 chapters and although unlike other cookbooks where the recipes aare divided in to sections like starters, mains etc, here the book is divided into months January through to December as the author tells us in her short introduction that she firmly believes in buying local produce so that your diet should evolve with the seasons. 

Each chapter begins with a stunning photograph of different Scandinavian scenes such as February showing a beautiful snow scene in Norway or a street scene in Stockholm in September.  The photographer Lars Ranek captures these scenes beautifully and I enjoyed looking at the book as much for the photographs as I did for the recipes.

Each recipe starts with a short introduction with serving suggestions.  They are all very clearly laid out, step by step so they are easy to follow with a photograph on the opposite page to the recipe.

So far I have only made this hot chocolate recipe but fully intend to cook more in the coming days especially some of the winter recipes which will go down a treat with the weather we are currently experiencing in Ireland.

The Scandinavian Cookbook by Trine Hahnemann is available from Amazon.


What you need

250g good quality dark chocolate

1 litre whole milk

1 tsp caster sugar

200ml double cream

Melt the chocolate very gently in a small, heavy based saucepan, then add a littile bit of the milk and stir until smooth.  Repeat until half of the milk is used, then add the sugar.  Stir in the rest of the milk.

Bring the hot chocolate to just under boiing point, stirring constantly so that it does not burn.  Turn the heat off.  Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.  (If you are not servind the hot chocolate immediately, keep the cream cold until you are ready to use it)

Serve the hot chocolate with spoonfuls of the cold whipped cream on top.

Posted in Reviews | 2 Comments

Apple Pie

After being stuck in the house for the best part of a week thanks to the recent snow falls, we were feeling rather sorry for ourselves yesterday.  So while himself and the two kids put up the Christmas decorations, I hid in the kitchen and set about doing a bit of baking.

Continue reading

Posted in Baking | 1 Comment

Texan Chilli Beef – Winter Warmers Cookalong

It’s taken me a while to write up this post for the Irish Foodies Winter Warmer Cookalong, there always seems to be something else going on and I kept putting it aside so when I noticed on Facebook that December’s cookalong is only a few days away I thought I’d better get my skates on!

This is the first time I have taken part in the cookalong, but when I read what the theme was I knew I had to choose this Texan Chilli Beef recipe which I adapted slightly from a Weight Watchers cook book. Continue reading

Posted in Irish Foodies Cookalongs | 3 Comments

Chocolate Cake – A Toy Show Treat!

It’s that time of year again! Time when children all over Ireland are allowed to stay up late, sat down in front of the television to watch the Late Late Toy Show on RTE1 and make those final adjustments to their letters to Santa (just incase they’ve forgotten something!) Continue reading

Posted in Baking | 2 Comments