Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chocolate Puff Pastry Balls

I made these little sweet treats this morning for my guests, as many of them have been with us now for a few days and I wanted to bake something different for them from the muffins I've been making daily.
The little pastries actually just took minutes to prepare, and only 20 minutes to cook in the oven. I'm almost embarrassed at how easy they are to make, and calling it 'baking' I think is probably a stretch!!!

Nonetheless they are soooo good. I normally do not eat any of my breakfast baking when doing B&B (if I did I'd wobble continuously), but I could not resist these little puppies this morning. They were gobbled up in minutes, will have to make double next time.
These balls are being served as a sweet breakfast treat, however it would be a great idea also to tart them up a little and serve them hot from the oven with some vanilla ice-cream as an easy dinner party dessert.

Makes 12


  • 1 sheet of ready made puff pastry (defrosted if frozen)
  • 12 tsps of chocolate hazelnut spread (i.e. Nutella)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp of oil 
  • Icing sugar to dust


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees
  2. Cut the puff pastry sheet in 12 even squares
  3. Brush a mini muffin tray with oil
  4. Place each square in each greased muffin hole
  5. Place one teaspoon of the chocolate spread in the centre.
  6. Fold down all the corners of the pastry.
  7. Brush with the beaten egg
  8. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes
  9. Cool on a wire rack and then dust with icing sugar. (do not put the sugar on too early or the heat will melt it)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sika's Simple Irish Pancakes

Sika Lodge's pancakes are by far the most requested breakfast option for the kitchen. It must be 60-70% of guests go for the pancakes surprisingly. In fact, a very surprising fact is that the 'Full Irish' is the least requested breakfast option!!! I know, I was shocked too!!!!!

A request from past guests (namely the utterly fabulous Lenochs from Kansas) for my pancake recipe, has prompted me to put the recipe I use daily up on the blog. I previously blogged about pancakes (low fat version), however this recipe has evolved from testing and re testing measurements. This batter I think is the perfect batter and I can now make this in my sleep. zzzzzzzz........

My mom always believed that pancakes taste best when the batter has 'rested'. Its for this reason that I always make the batter just before bed time.

The batter is simple to make, and it's just flour, eggs, milk, baking powder. If you have little kiddies, this is a great recipe to use to get them involved in cooking in the kitchen (under supervision of course)

Makes 9 pancakes


  • 100g of flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 300ml milk
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of sugar (optional)


  1. Sieve the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar into a bowl.
  2. Pour the milk into a jug and whisk the egg into the milk.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and using a wooden spoon, pour the milk mixture into the well and stir the flour into the liquid.
  4. Keep stirring until the mixture is smooth (you may use an electric blender if you are short on time).
  5. Pour the mixture into a jug and keep over night (if you have the time but the batter is just as good for immediate consumption)
  6. To make the pancakes, get a non stick pan on a medium heat.
  7. Pour a tbsp oil (sunflower or vegetable) into  the batter and mix through.
  8. Add a knob of butter and a tsp of oil to the pan.
  9. Use a ladle as the measure.
  10. Pour a ladle full of batter into the pan and swirl until the pan is evenly coated.
  11. You know the pancake is ready to flip when little air holes appear on the cooking pancake. This is normally 1-2 minutes. The pancake should come away easy from the pan, if it sticks, its not ready for flipping!!!
  12. Flip and cook for a further minute or so on the other side.
  13. Remove and keep covered in foil in a warm oven, while you repeat the process with the rest of the pancakes.

I serve my pancakes with Irish strawberries (in season) and maple syrup. But my own personal favourite accompaniment for this recipe is simple - lemon juice and a sprinkle of caster sugar, old fashioned I know, but its the pancakes that we grew up on, and how mammy used to serve them. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Got Leftover Chicken? - Low Fat Chicken & Avocado Salad Mexican Inspired

Still trying to maintain the low fat vibe (whilst I secretly snack on breakfast muffins and leftovers from the bun display), here's a really quick salad I threw together in 2 minutes flat, using leftover roast chicken and my neighbours Peter and Betty's amazing lettuce fresh from their garden. (Best lettuce ever tasted).

Serves 1


  • Good lettuce
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tomato, deseeded and cut into strips
  • 3 inch piece of cucumber, deseeded and cubed
  • 4 tbsp of chopped coriander
  • 1/2 a deseeded red chilli
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 4 tbsp of red kidney beans from a can, rinsed
  • 2-3 slices of leftover chicken
  • 1/2 lime


  1. Wash all your ingredients well and dry.
  2. Its a simple assembly job of everything on a plate, scatter with the chilli, drizzle with the oil and lime juice.
  3. Simple, yet fresh and tasty.

Sika Lodge: From Shabby to Shabby Chic

What a crazy rollercoaster ride the last few months have been!!!! My passion for blogging didn't even get a look in the weeks were sooooo crazy busy. But now, open a few weeks and I'm beginning to hit my stride, find my feet, develop my routine, and make time to blog about the start of Sika Lodge B&B so far!!!

We met the construction deadline of 2 months with an hour to spare before our first guests and a full house. (we were powerhosing throughout the night and doing the final perfection adjustments.)

To get a feel for the kinda of scale I'm talking about, I've demonstrated with a few before and after pics of my kitchen.

My Office Pre Renovations

My Office During Renovations

My Office Post Renovations

So far, I'll been working my socks off to make sure all our guests are happy and fed little bunnies, because happy customers is where you reap the rewards of your hard work. I've already have  Europeans, Americans, New Zealanders, British, Irish (of course) and South Africans......all a real pleasure to cater for and some with very interesting backgrounds and stories. 
We have been very fortunate so far that our travellers have liked their expereience so much with us that they have given us full marks on Tripadvisor, helping us go from #89 out of 124 to #4 of B&Bs in Killarney within a month of opening!!!! Its really unbelievable. I'm so chuffed, it's spurred me on even more! But now that we have reached higher status, the pressure is on to maintain it. 

Tripadvisor Link to our traveller comments :

For those of you who have following my food blog, you'll know that my favorite meals to cook are lunches/dinners. I do love breakfasts, though in the past it was hard to give breakfast the time in deserved (most important meal of the day), when running out the door for work at 6.45am. Now, the story is different. I'm 100000% committed to creating yummy, tasty, breakfast dishes for my guests, using locally sourced ingredients where possible. 

I've found that in the B&B business the single most important ingredient you need is good eggs!!!!!!!! I can't stress it enough. We now get out eggs delivered daily to our door from Beaufort Eggs a local supplier with very happy free range hens. I've found no subsitute for free range eggs, be it in baking or even just boiling an egg. The taste of a free range egg can not be beaten. And your eggs are your most important element of your breakfast!!!

I went to Darina Allen's breakfast course in Ballymaloe to get the insider knowledge on the perfect breakfast! She was as always full of expertise, giving loads of recipes and advise for bed and breakfast operators like myself. I've been using her Tradtional Irish Cooking cookbook for a few months now and many of the recipes on the course are in that book. We covered everything from juices to breads and cereals to the hot cooked breakfasts. I'm much more experimental and confident having completed the course. 

I'd never baked muffins in my life, but after watching Darina do it in minutes, I said I'd give it a lash and now I have blueberry muffins baked and cooled in just under 35 minutes in the morning. 

I'll share my recipes and breakfast tips along the way, I've quick developed a love for baking, so watch out for plenty of scones, buns, and breads recipes. As well as my poached apricots and my hot breakfast options.

Full Irish Breakfast

Our Most Popular Option: Pancakes and Irish Strawberries

Muesli with Mashed Strawberries, Cream & Honey (my personal fave)

So that's what I've been at guys for the past few weeks, I have been cooking loads, and photographing , but not had spare time to blog the recipes!!! That will change now. Promise! I'll leave you with just a few snap shots I took on my phone of the views near the house when out running.... Killarney, oh what a wonderful place to live!

Please come visit us at Sika Lodge, when you'll leave with a smile on your face and a very full tummy!!!!

Visit our new elegant website:

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