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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Asian...In Ballinspittle

Bangkok...Satay Stand

Ross..... Thai cooking with Queers!

hello there, it's me, shannen...yes it has been along time since i have posted in the blog...but i have been a bit distracted!!
We have been very busy in the cafe and...I am happy to report that the bread sales are up! I have also decided to open two nights a week until 10 pm...the food that we will be serving will be slightly different from the things we do during the day..small plates, as well as main entrees...the focus will be on local, organic and seasonal....right now i am trying a recipe for baby back is an asian inspired dish, using sweet chili, kecap manis(sweet soy sauce), root beer(i am using coke) and Sriracha hot sauce.... I will let you know how it goes...and if you are wondering what kecap manis is, so was I!!! so i did a little search and found out its a thick syrupy sauce used in malaysia and can make your own by boiling down soy sauce with brown sugar, until it reduces to half..i added 4 star anise...then you are meant to add palm sugar, but i didn't have that, so i left the sauce as is...and it was great...salty and sweet!

Since we are talking about asian food...for the past few months i have been wanting to write about food of the world, places i have been where a particular meal or dish has stood out in my mind..I have been to quite a few countries, it seems a bit overwhelming, so I am going to take it one country at a time over the course of a few month's...I will start with Thailand..

In thailand it has to be street food..the best that i have night, in Bangkok the streets are lined with make-shift kitchens, and they whip up the most amazing dishes right before your eyes..the first time i was in Bangkok, i travelled with a lovely girl, Maya...we went to the same pad thai woman every night...for 1 euro we had the best noodles that i have ever tasted! then , the second time I stayed at the Sanctuary,(I was there the first time, but couldn't afford to stay long ) on Koh Phangan... it was there that i met the amazing Ross...he is in the picture...he and I took a cooking class... seriously hung over, and taught by the funniest thai queen...i don't know if he knew he was a queen, but we thought so....the queen taught us some pretty basic stuff...however, he did teach me something new...the amazing pad thai! in previous attempts I had produced a gloppy noodle mess, this time...the noodles were perfect, the flavours balanced and it looked just like the noodles I had eaten 2 years before! Success!!
Now, back to those ribs...FYI they were beautiful...and will be on the Diva evening menu...
good night!

Chocolate Cake Tip

Baking Tip:
when looking for a good chocolate cake recipe, experience and much trial proves that recipes with boiling water and cocoa make the best chocolate cake! sounds weird huh? (you'd think pure chocolate is better, right?) just try it! have a nose around different books, the boiling water does the trick. my theory is.... that the heat of the water thickens the cocoa creating thick moisture throughout the cake.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Diva will be hosting an exclusive interview with BBC, in the VERY near future! Television public: HERE WE COME!

more details to follow.......


Friday, June 18, 2010

derreen gardens

i as well have been preoccupied, seems the beautiful weather has distracted everyone! so im going to post about a beautiful location we visited last tuesday. Derreen Gardens, just outside of Kenmare, Co. Cork, on the Ring of Beara. shannen suggested i go check it out since it has been so beautiful. i was also in the area, because i have recently found myself in part ownership of a caravan in allihies! beautiful spot as well, right on the beach. so nearly half my week gets spent away in pre retirement bliss.....
heres some pics:

the house, owned by Lansdowne Family, in Derreen Gardens, with fig tree in front

ponds overlooking caha mountians in west cork

rhododendron and kilmakilloge harbour

sub-tropical tree ferns, Dicksonia Antartica were brought from austrailia and tasmania in 1870

Views of McKillicuddy Reeks in Kerry

its worth the visit, there's over 12km of paths to wander on 60 acres of land


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

the sun has been out!!!

sorry guys, have not been blogging lately..the sun has been out and my mind has been pre occupied..I have an idea for a new post but that means sitting my ass down in front of this computer and writing..but I have been wanting to enjoy the glorious sun!! and when night comes, I's jus wanna have me a glass o wine an enjoy the evenin's... I have also been checkin out other blog's for some hang in there...we will be posting some new stuff soon!!!! :)
TTFN...gotta a glass of rose waiting..

Sunday, June 6, 2010


just noticed a little play in words in my, "just a little hint" post...
when using the lemonade mixture, fill the glass half way with the mixture, then top up with your choice of mixer, then keep the rest in the fridge for later use..In the cafe at the moment we are making strawberry lemonade...D'lish!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

its all in the retail placement....

so funny discovery and a great tip for retail sales. put what you want people to buy right in front of them! since we've been baking bread its always lived on top of our pastry case. the sales have been just okay. BUT, we moved them on thursday to the sales counter, and bam they are gone gone gone! its a good feeling and a lesson in retail. . . .
play around with you retail space and use ALL of it! the bread has always been there, it was just out of the impulse buying range.

baking tip:
when mixing cake batter CREAM the living crap out of your butter and sugar, first: leave the stand mixer going at med speed and go have a smoke, or do some dishes, or watch a bit of QVC, or get the mail. the more air you incorporate into this stage of your cake batter the higher and lighter the cake will be. ten minutes is a good time. then slowly add your eggs one at a time to the mixture. scrape the bowl and alternate your dry with your wet ingredients till a light creamy mixture is accomplished.


Friday, June 4, 2010

just a little note...

As i was thinking of ways to 'pimp' my stand, i found a mirror that i bought in France..perfect for the petit to all of you guys and gals who want to add a little somethin', somethin' to your dining table or if you are havin friends over for drinks, look to your walls for inspiration...curtains also make great table clothes...oh yeah, another summer tip for that your gardens are starting to come into their own, start using your herbs in homemade lemonade...basil is lovely...rosemary and lemon are almost made for one another, as goes for lavender(there could be a fight to which one is actually better with lemon) thyme, lemon balm the list goes on and is a quick no fail recipe that makes beautiful lemonade...1 cup water 1 cup sugar, boil until sugar dissloves(at this point you can steep your favourite herb in the simple syrup) add 1/2 cup lemon juice 1/2 cup lime juice, add fresh bits of the herb of your choice(the same that you used to steep, I know you probably all know this but you can never be too sure) add half of the lemon mixture to a glass with ice and top up with any of the following: sparkling water, sparkling wine(yum!) or sparkling water and vodka or all three :)

630 pieces

whoppppee!! so we did it..BAM just like that, 630 pieces of cake in 27 hours... That is our first big cake order. I got the call on thursday, thanks to Rose-Anne Kidney from Goldiefish Productions for suggesting us, and on Monday night we were burning the midnight oil makin cake..
This is what we made: 320 cupcakes, carrot, chocolate, peanut butter and our Diva-lite(fat free and wheat free)...the chocolate went first, then the carrot, peanut butter and surprisingly the Diva-lite wasn't as's always the way...when you have the wheat free, the only thing people want is the good stuff....we also made the cake pops that Taylor mentioned in an earlier post...those went like hot cakes, as well as petit fours...they were so cute!! red velvet and lemon lavender, with a little marshmallow top...check out the pictures...
and i have to say it was great working with Michelle at Stryker...also a big thank you to my friend Bebhinn, who came to the rescue with her van...I was a bit worried the night before as to how i was going to transport all of these cakes...i rang everyone i knew that had a van...and my princess is beach ware came to help me out....
one of the great things that happened was that it all went without any major drama...yes we were all cross eyed from looking at little cakes, but all of the pieces were delivered intact and looking that we got the first big one done, bring on 1,000!!!
hope you all are enjoying the Blog, if you are a G-mail user you can leave us a comment... :) hint hint..