Freddy Buttons!

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This is my friend Fiona Dillon! I was so pleased today to make it up to Bloom to see her launch her wonderful series of books “Freddy Buttons” and show off the amazing show garden that Freddy lives in! I would imagine that any child or adult would be delighted to live in such a gorgeous garden filled with colour and fun! There are eggs to be collected, honey to be gathered, vegetables to be picked, flowers to smell and insects to watch in their hotel! In fact it sounds very similar to where Fiona lives in Co. Carlow!

Bloom continues for the rest of the bank holiday weekend so if you are interested in good food, landscaping, plants or just having fun be sure to pop in. Arrive early and stay late!

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The wonderful garden is sponsored by Glenisk! Be sure to pick up one of their delicious fresh smoothies located close by!

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My garden!

“The kiss of the sun for pardon

The song of the bird for mirth,

One is nearer to God in the garden

Than anywhere else on earth”

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I have always had a love of flowers and plants. My mother is a marvellous gardener and spends many happy hours pottering about planting seeds and bedding plants for an instant flash of colour, so she is delighted that she seems to have passed down to me her love for the great outdoors. We recently revamped our back garden and now I have the pleasure of looking out onto the calmest scene I could imagine. Lovely when the house is upside down and the children calling for their dinner just to take a moment to breathe in a bit of fresh air and see what new buds have appeared.

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We planted the garden with a mix of my favourite perennials so I am really looking forward to seeing an explosion of colour in the summer months, foxgloves, lupins, hydrangea and lazy susans to name just a few. We planted the garden on the day that we should have been celebrating my father’s 80th birthday so what a lovely way to remember him by. Not that I need this as a reminder as he is always in my thoughts but you know what I mean.

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I have been spending a lot of time in the garden this week as I have discovered we are the landlords of a robin family. They have been busy to and fro’ing from their nest at the bottom of the garden and I am eager to see can I spot their chicks yet. almost as exciting as waiting for news of the Royal baby!

I am looking forward to sharing with you some pictures of the garden in the coming months and telling of my successes and failures! What is your favourite flower in the garden? I would love to hear!

Till the next time,

Paula.

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I went for a run today.

I went for a run today.

I huffed, puffed and panted my way around 10km and at the finish I felt as if I had ran another marathon! (I had to throw in that line in in case you had all forgotten that I ran the Dublin Marathon 2014!).

January was a bad month for me fitness wise as was December. Too many late nights and calories consumed. My trousers were getting tighter and my cheek bones were disappearing under a layer of flab so action had to be taken. Am such a fad diet person and can be so easily led, you name it and I have probably tried it but the one thing that always works for me is eating less and moving more. Easier to say than do some days but I will get there.

Life is so busy as it is and sometimes the easier option wins for convenience sake. I think we expect so much of ourselves that when we do falter we see it as more than it actually is which makes us falter more. It’s a vicious circle and so hard to break the “normality” of it. I ran this morning and rewarded myself with a banana sandwich and a frothy coffee, I resisted a biscuit but the day is young yet! It looks like I will be on this roller coaster for the rest of my days which will hopefully be long and bright ones. xx

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus!

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I did well to remember my passwords to log in it has been so long! January is thankfully almost over and with it the promise of brighter evenings and spring blooms to look forward to. I have had a very healthy January with no alcohol consumed and lots of healthy eating. It was badly needed after a December of indulgence and it feels great to be back on track. This roasted red pepper hummus is absolutely delicious and completely guilt free, great to have as a dip or to spread on crackers. You don’t even have to feel guilty if you eat the whole bowl by yourself!

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Roast two red peppers in a hot oven for 20 minutes, leave to cool before peeling the skin away from the flesh. Discard the skin.

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Drain and wash a tin of chickpeas.

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Peel two cloves of garlic.

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Juice a lemon.

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Measure out 50ml of water.

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Measure out 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of cumin seeds.

Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blast until it is the consistency that you like. I like mine a little bit coarse. Delicious! Serve with warmed tortillas, carrot sticks, celery or just eat it directly from a spoon. Enjoy!

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Low & slow!

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Low and slow is probably one of my favourite ways to cook. A few minutes preparation and a long stint in the oven is a sure fire way to have a relaxed meal. I picked up some delicious meaty lamb shanks in my local butcher last weekend and they were a steal at 1.50 each. Lamb shanks are the perfect example of a cut of meat that needs to be slowly cooked so that the full flavour is developed and the fat broken down. When cooked slowly the meat becomes almost butter like and falls of the bone with ease. Delicious!

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This is the recipe that I used and whilst frying off the carrots, celery etc I added 250g of chorizo to the pan. I also cooked the shanks for longer than the recommended time, I put them in the oven at 11am and removed them at 5:30pm. They were devoured by 5:32pm, ;-) .

http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/408/heavenly-lamb-shanks.aspx

Most definitely comfort food at its best, just in time for those cold winter evenings.

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