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This page gives people a view into our daily lives living in the west of Ireland. It includes posts about our projects in the ceramic studio as well as projects in the garden, home and kitchen. 


Filtering by Category: Food

Blackberry & Bramley Apple Pie

Alexis Bowman

Picking the brambly apples

Picking the brambly apples


The end of the blackberry harvest meets the start of the apple one so its only natural that we should throw them together in a pie. A good pie filling consists of a smooth sauce with chunky bits as well. So I pre-cook the apples and blackberries to form the sauce and then I add chunky bits of uncooked fruit. I also think its important that the filling is not too sweet so I don't use much honey. Its good to let the tartness of the big sour bramley apples shine through, especially when your serving it with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. 


Sweet Shotcrust Pastry:

175g plain white flour

75g butter

40g caster sugar or icing sugar

1 egg

Pie Filling:

Some bramley apples

A big handful of wild blackberries

Some honey

A sprinkle of ground cloves


1. To make pastry just throw everything into a food processor and whizz until it forms a ball. Roll it out and cover the base of your tin, saving half for the lid!

2. To make apple sauce peel and chop apples keeping half the pieces to one side. Add honey & ground cloves. Simmer with the lid on until soft and fluffy. It doesn't take long so watch out, you don't want it to burn.

3. To make blackberry sauce throw blackberries & some sugar in another pot and simmer until soft. Run it all thru a sieve to make a gorgeous smooth & thick sauce. 

4. Pop the two sauces into your pie base. Chop in some chunky pieces of apple and whole blackberries. Roll out the pastry lid. Glue it on using egg wash & pinch the edges to join them together. Brush more egg wash or milk on top and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Pop in the over at 180 degrees Celsius for around 30 - 40 minutes (until golden brown). Serve with either whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. YUM!


Pickled Beetroot

Alexis Bowman

My friend Colleen gave us some beetroot seeds that she collected from South Africa. They have produced the biggest and juiciest beetroots that we've ever grown. We usually pull most of our beets up in September but this year we forgot a few.  They are a little woody and bitter at this stage so the best way to use them up is in a pickle. This pickled beetroot is great on a chicken and mayonnaise sandwich but it is also great with cold meats. This recipe makes 3 x 400 ml jars. 



3-4 large pre cooked beetroots, sliced

200 grams white sugar

350 ml water

200 ml white wine vinegar


To sterilise jars put them in the oven and set it to 180 degrees Celsius. Soak the lids in a sterile solution and rinse with boiling water. 

Meanwhile, put the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Hold it for 3-5 minutes then add the beetroot and boil a further 2 minutes. Add the vinegar. As soon as it reaches a boil again turn the heat off. Pour directly into hot sterilized jars and put the lids on. These will keep for months. 


Caramelised Butternut Squash and Chestnut Pie

Alexis Bowman

This dessert is inspired by the American thanksgiving pumpkin pie. Its texture is just like a cheesecake. 


1 medium butternut squash

6 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons caster sugar

1 1/2 cups cream

3 eggs lightly beaten

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

pinch ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup chestnut paste

1/2 cup icing sugar

1 pre baked 9 inch pie crust


Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Peel and chop the squash and place it on a baking tray along with the butter and caster sugar. Bake for around 40 minutes or until the squash is soft and the sugar has begun to caramelise. Leave to cool. 

Puree the squash and caramelised sugar in a food processor. In a bowl take 1 cup of pureed squash and mix it with 1 cup of the cream as well as the eggs, brown sugar, spices and salt. 

In a separate bowl combine the chestnut paste with the remaining 1/2 cup cream & icing sugar. Spread it on the pie base then top it with the butternut squash mix. 

Bake until the pie is firm to the touch but jiggles when moved which is about 1 hour. Leave to cool before serving. It's even better the next day after the flavours have had more time to develop.