Homemade Easter Eggs

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I can’t believe it is only just over two weeks to Easter, having Easter fall so close to St Patrick’s day is making this year trip along far to quickly. If you are celiac the options for easter eggs can be limited, my Mum meets this challenge by making her own, including the one above, studded with gluten free Oreo cookies for my celiac nephew.  Here is a repost from last Easter on how to make homemade Easter eggs, last year I posted this after Easter, this year I am giving you enough time to make your own! Make sure your chocolate, candies adn any other decoartions are all gluten free if you are making a treat for  celiac family or friends. The moulds for the eggs can be found in catering or cake decorating stores or online.

I am not the biggest fan of chocolate, in terms of dairy based treats I am more of a cheese girl however I do love the snap of crisp easter egg shell, cold from the fridge, I love holding a whole chocolate egg in my hand and whacking it inelegantly off the table top until it shatters. I am still getting over the fact that you don’t find sweets nestled inside eggs anymore, that they are separately packed in the box. I love that most people I know still get giddy about chocolate at this time of year. I love that yesterday, in the midst of a very busy work day  people in my office took the time to search for the chocolate bunnies I had hidden throughout our offices. I like that I  know people my age who still give up chocolate for Lent who are now carefully planing exactly what kind of chocolate they are going to eat and in what order this Sunday.

Last year I went home to Cork for the Easter Holidays and when I arrived in my Mum was in the middle of making Easter Eggs for my nephew who is celiac. Is is possible to find Easter Eggs that are gluten free but they tend to be dark chocolate and designed more for adults than teenage boys. Much to her well concealed annoyance I whipped out my camera and  started photographing the process. As it was already Easter I didn’t post the images but just in case you have the time or the inclination over the next two days to play around with some melted chocolate and sweets I thought I would pop them up today. This isn’t the most detailed of posts as I discovered that making home made Eggs is a much simpler process than I had thought and just takes a bit of imagination  to create some personalized Easter treats.

For 1 Easter Egg

1 Standard sized Easter Egg mould. Available in catering or cake decorating shops.

250 grams of 40% chocolate (GF), chopped or broken into pieces and divided in 2 quantities of 125 grams.

Sweets or cookies (make sure these are GF if making a gift for someone who is celiac) for decoration. My Mum used a gluten free Oreo type cookie which I still cannot find in Dublin!

Melt one half of the chocolate either in a bowl over hot water or  in a microwave at 30 second intervals, checking regularly.

Once this chocolate is melted add in the the second quantity of chopped chocolate to the bowl and stir in to the melted chocolate.

This will reduce the temperature of the melted chocolate and also temper it to give a lovely sheen.

VO19EasterEgg1

Once the chocolate is fully combined spoon it into one side of the mould and move the mould around to fully cover the inside. Leave to set in the fridge. When it has cooled spoon in some more chocolate to build up the shell to your desired thickness. Again place in the fridge to cool

For the decorated side of the egg, place your sweets or broken cookies in the mould and drizzle over the melted chocolate to hold them in place, allow to cool before spooning in the chocolate to cover the inside of the mould. Follow the same process as for the first half of the egg, building up the shell until you are happy with the thickness. Return to the fridge to cool

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Once both shells are fully cooled and hardened remove them from the fridge.

Heat a metal tray under a hot tap and then dry it. Remove the shells from the moulds by turn them upside down on a table or other flat surface, if they don’t come out easily rub your hand over the outside of the mould and the heat of your hand will help release the shell from the mould.  Place the shells on the heated  tray to melt the edges of the chocolate and place the shells edge to edge until they stick together. If you want to put sweets in the egg put them in before you stick them together.

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Leave the eggs for a few minutes so the edges can cool and harden and then you can drizzle over some more chocolate for an extra decoration.

You can place the egg in a tissue paper lined basket or wrap it in clear cellophane tied with ribbon to make a beautiful Easter gift.

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Peach Pie: Gluten Free

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Being the season of mist and mellow fruitfulness I was inspired to bake a fruit tart however I cheated slightly and used tinned peaches as all of the peaches in the grocery store were of the rock hard ripen at home variety and to be honest every time I try the to ripen at hoe the fruit goes from unripe to furry by the time I remember to use them. In my defense I have seen both Mary Berry and Nigella Lawson use tinned fruit in recipes and if they are ok with it than who am I to argue.

Deeply golden, with the occasional sliver or orange peeking through the delicate almond filling and a perfect crisp sweet shortcrust, this Peach Pie is one of the best things that I have baked in a long time.  It is the kind of desert to serve with some spiced apple cider and enjoyed in front of a warm fire.

I don’t know what went spectacularly right with this pastry but it was the best Gluten Free pastry shell I have ever made, crisp, sweet and a beautiful deep brown it was a pleasure to eat so I am going to stick with this simple method for a while. Usually I never take the time to roll out GF pastry as it tends to crumble, most of the time I just press the pastry in to the tin with my fingers but this time I was determined to get a very tine, even shell so I careful rolled the pastry between two sheets of baking parchment and then even more carefully laid it in to the in. I peeled the parchment back very slowly and then filled any tears and gaps with the excess pastry and this has resulted in an excellent pastry shell.

Peach Pie

Pastry

Ingredients

8 ounces of Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour

1ounce of caster sugar

4 ounces of cold butter

1 large egg

2 tablespoons of cold water

VO105Peachpie1a

  • Butter an 11 inch, loose bottomed pie tin. My tin is about 1.5 inches deep and easily fit all of the pie filling.
  • Stir the flour and sugar together in a bowl
  • Grate in the cold butter and rub together until you get the texture of coarse bread crumbs.
  • Add the egg and stir it in with a fork
  • Add the two tablespoons of cold water and use your fingers to bring the pastry together in to a smooth ball
  • Place the pastry between two large pieces of baking parchment and roll until the pastry is quite thin, about 1.5 mm and the diameter of the pastry is a good bit wider that that of the tin.
  • Very carefully peel back the top layer of parchment.
  • Place your hand beneath to pastry and lift it on the layer of parchment over the tin.
  • Carefully (this word is used a lot in this recipe) flip the pastry over and lay it in the tin. Press it in before, yes, carefully peeling back the second layer of baking parchment.
  • This being gluten free pastry and therefore extra delicate, your pastry will tear and stick to the parchment and you will have holes but don’t panic, with lightly floured fingers use the excess pastry to fill any gaps.
  • Place the pastry lined tin in the fridge while you are making the almond filling.

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Almond Filling

Ingredients

6 ounces  of softened butter

6 ounces of caster sugar

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon of brandy, optional

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or almond essence which I never seem to have when I need it

6 ounces of ground almonds, check to make sure they are gluten free plus one tablespoon to sprinkle over the base of the pastry shell

2 tins of peaches in juice, not syrup

Preheat the oven to 170/ Gas 3 / 325

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  • Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  • Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating until fully incorporated.
  • Beat in the brandy and vanilla or almond essence.
  • Using the mixer on slow or a wooden spoon add the ground almonds and mix until just combined.

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  • Strain the peaches in to a bowl reserving the juice.
  • Dry the peaces by placing them on a doubled piece of kitchen paper and pressing a second piece of paper over the tops, this will stop the filling from being too wet.
  • Slice the peaches, I got four thick slices from each peach half.
  • Remove the pastry shell from the fridge and prick the base with a fork and then evenly sprinkle over the extra tablespoon of ground almonds
  • Layer the peach slices over the base in as even and pretty a pattern as you can manage, I can never get a nice circular pattern going
  • Spoon over the almond filling and use a spatula or flat knife to spread the filling evenly ver the peaches slices
  • Place the pie tin on a flat baking sheet, this will save you having to scrub peach juice of of the floor of your oven
  • Place the pie on the tray in your preheated oven for 50 minutes, until the top is golden and firm. I them left the pie in the oven with the heat off for a further 20 minutes.
  • While the pie is cooling take three tablespoons of the reserved peach juice in a small pan over a medium heat and allow to reduce to a simmer.
  • Brush this syrup over the pie to give a lovely sheen and a bit of extra peach flavour.

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Serve the pie warm with whipped cream or ice-cream or to be extra indulgent  with warm custard and whipped cream.

Let There Be Lips!

I. Love. Lipstick.

My first lipstick experience was at my friend Dominque’s beauty parlour birthday party in the first grade. I was hooked. I mean, I loved to colour – and wasn’t allowed to colour on myself – so the very idea that there were adults who were allowed to draw on their face just filled me with wonder.

Since then, I feel like I’ve been on a continual quest for the perfect red lipstick. It’s iconic, it’s fun, it’s sexy, and – in my opinion – takes a certain confidence to pull off. I’ve kissed a few frogs in this quest, so to save you from doing the same I’d like to offer up my humble opinions on some of the brands and shades on offer at the moment. (I do all my make-up shopping in Boots, so apart from the one M.A.C. suggestion, these are all basic drug-store options – leaves some room in the budget for experimentation!)

 

Red Lipsticks

M.A.C. Russian Red (€19.50)

I feel like most people opt for Ruby Woo as their go-to M.A.C. red – it’s lovely, but doesn’t work as well with my colouring. My favourite thing about M.A.C. is how matte they are – I’m not a shiny lipped person by any means. However, they can be quite drying so keep that in mind if you tend towards dry lips. (I’d also highly reccommend “Diva” if you’re looking for a deeper, more wine-coloured red).

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet (€12.49)

A new favourite – they’re not kidding when they say this is velvetty. It feels incredibly soft going on. The coverage/staying power isn’t ideal, but with some blotting and reapplying this is a gorgeous, blood red colour.

Maybelline Superstay 14 Hour in Cranberry (€10.49)

This is your best bet in terms of price and quality. The staying power is great, the colour is vibrant, and it’s matte without being too drying. It’s got a funny cranberry scent that I kind of dig, but be warned in case it isn’t you’re thing.

Maybelline Superstay Bold Matte 24 Hour Lip Colour (€13.49)

This lip colour WILL NOT COME OFF. Which is great for a night out – but you will need some serious make-up remover. For me, the 14 hour version is preferable, but if you really want to put it on and forget about it, go for the 24 hour.

L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Exclusive Reds in Blake (€10.49)

This one is a little less matte than the others, but not shiny – it lives in a good in between space. It’s a slightly more retro red – very bright – and goes on smoothly. Staying power only so-so.

Revlon Colourburst Matte Balm (€10.99)

Unforutnately, there’s not a great red in these, but for all your other colours it’s a great option. They’re matte but still moisturizing, and so easy to put on. To be honest, the giant crayon aspect is probably a big part of what makes these so appealing to me. This is the cheap version of the wildly popular Clinique Chubby Stick; the extra money does make a difference – the Chubby Stick has a stronger pigment and is, to me, a better moisturizer, but if you want to test the waters the Revlon versions (both matte and regular) are decent alternatives.

Rimmel London Apocalips in Big Bang (€7.99)

THIS IS CALLED APOCALIPS WHAT MORE COULD YOU ASK FOR

(Being a lcquer, this is definitely not matte so, you know, be prepared to drink with a straw and opt for air kisses – but great, vibrant colour, and a bit of shine once and awhile is fun. It’s not super-shiny so you won’t get the wet look [which I personally can’t abide]).

Rimmel – Kate Lasting Finish Lipstick (€6.99)

I’d give this one a miss, to be honest. I found that while the colour was nice and bright, it just kind of…smeared across the lips, rather than offering penetrating colour.

I’ll end with this – a lot of people might feel that a red lip should be reserved for ladies of the night, or at the very least, the night. I say NAY. A bold lip and tiny sweep of eye-liner and mascara can be a great every-day look, so long as you find the shade that works for you.

Remember to blot, darlings.

Bonus – Rocky Horror Lips

Getting the Chop, or My First Pixie Cut

When I was about 6 years old, I decided I wanted a short hair cut. My mother kindly obliged and took me to the hairdresser.

Now, looking back at those pictures….well, I don’t look back at those pictures. I looked horrible.

I’ve never had long hair – it’s too thin and processed to ever really grow out in a satisfying way – but I’ve remained fairly consistent between shoulder length and bob for the past 23 years.

But then…I started seeing pictures of friends pop up who had done the chop and “would never go back”. I usually wore my hair back in a (sloppy) French twist and people would walk in and exclaim “You’ve cut off all your hair! It looks great!”

I turned 29 recently. I like lists. I decided there were probably some things I’d like to say I did before I turned 30 (or rather, things I wanted to do, and it seemed like a good idea to put an arbitrary timeline on it). So I made a 30 Before 30 list and put as the number one thing – get a pixie cut.

2 days into being 29, I went to my hairdresser, Brian, in House of Colour on D’Olier Street. Brian is great. I can go to Brian and say, I want my hair the colour of this pewter tray that my great grandmother had, and he’ll oblige. When, in December, I wanted dark, dark purple hair, and after we dried it I thought it looked too fuschia, I had no problem saying “Let’s add more blue!” – which he did. There’s no judgement, and I can be honest with him. Which is why I knew that, after two years of giving me bleached silver/lilac/light blue hair with no cut beyond a trim, if I went in and said “Cut it all off! Rosemary’s Baby style! And let’s dye it black as well!” I’d hear no argument from him.

So I did it.

 

No Hair Don't Care
No Hair Don’t Care

Which is not to say I wasn’t nervous. I was especially worried I would have Tiny Head Syndrome without the cotton-candy halo of fluff I was used to. But, a few days in, and I’m feeling pretty good.

What I’ve learned about having short hair so far:

  1. Getting my hair ready in the morning takes 30 seconds. My straighteners and curlers shall gather dust.
  2. Faux hawks!
  3. Phantom Hair is a thing (I keep trying to run my fingers through it to style it).

Thinking of doing the chop? I recommend it. Change it up!  There are loads of different ways to have a pixie. Soft and vintage, spiky and punky – shop around and see what works for you. Look for pictures with people with your face shape/colouring/etc. I knew that with my hair being so thin, if I kept the white bleached look and had short hair, you would probably see my scalp. I didn’t want that. I also felt that if I was going a bit punky, then I wanted a slightly more “normal” colour. But you do what you want!

Or maybe your hair challenge isn’t a pixie cut. Maybe you’ve always wanted a different colour, or extensions, or to shave half of it, or dreads, or whatever – I say, just do it. You can change it again if you don’t like it – it will grow, after all.

Perfect Primer to suit you

Topic: Beauty, Makeup, Primer

What is a Primer?

Primers are the kind of beauty products which most people are either unaware of or just don’t really see the point in using on a day to day basis, I’m here to convince you otherwise.

Primers aren’t just one universal product that simply make your makeup stay on longer, they come in many different forms and sometimes can provide effective long-lasting results to existing skin conditions.

When Should I Apply a Primer?

A primer is best applied to the skin after the skin has been cleanse, toned and moisturized, before the supplication of any foundation or mineral powders. (Unless the packaging says otherwise)

Top Picks

So here are some of my top picks of primers for each skin type……

 

Best for Those with Slightly Larger and More Noticeable Pores

smashbox.com
smashbox. com

This oil free formula is perfect for those who find their face hits those awkward shiny phases throughout the day. With a guarantee lasting lock and hold finish to your foundation for up to 8 hours and a thick, non-clogging and silky formula this is definitely a must have in your makeup kit if you do find you suffer with larger visible pores.

Best for Those with Drier Skin

lauramercier.com
lauramercier. com

This hydrating primer from Laura Mercier is a vitamin and moisture-rich formula which not only holds foundation into place all day but also nourishes skin to stop any moisture being lost from within the skin. It rehydrates, plumps and enriches the skin with a combination of vitamins A, E and C making it the perfect primer for those who find there foundation tends to flake off their skin throughout the day.

Best for Those with Oilier Skin

boots.ie
boots. ie

If No.7 is not a brand you tend to reach for this primer will certainly change your mind. This long lasting mattifying primer creates the perfect barrier between your skin and foundation to ensure your face stays shine free all day. It contains ingredients which not only obliterate shine but also minimises blemishes and contains cooling and soothing properties which help to calm irritated skin, making it perfect for those with acne or blemish prone oily skin.

Best for Those with Duller Skin

ulta.com
ulta. com

If you find yourself feeling like a 2D newspaper comic strip character after you apply your foundation it’s probably due to the lack of natural luminosity to your skin, but don’t panic L’Oreal have your back. With light reflecting and pearlescent particles blended into its formula Magic Lumi gives you that glow from within sort of look which would make even a zombie look alive and healthy!

Best for Those with Finer Lines and “Age Waves”

Maybelline.com
Maybelline. com

Instant Age Rewind gives the skin an overall glow and plumping action which not only firms and tightens skin but also smooth’s out the appearance of any fine lines or wrinkles which may appear on the skin. Making it an out and out winner in its category!