Zen and the Art of Baking It!

You know when you’ve had a number of very busy days and you go through the daily routine, get the kids to school, walk the dog and in my case for the past while follow through on PTA chores!! Then you get a day where you can take a breather for a while before the circus (life) starts again. Well I had a couple of hours like that this morning.

I brought the kids to school and set out for my walk with my dog Mac and instead of going my normal route I took a diversion.

Meet Mac, my walking buddy, confidant (thank God he can’t talk!) and sticking plaster when everyone has left for the day.

Usually we take our daily walk on Killiney Hill, a beautiful area in South Co. Dublin that boasts the most incredible panoramic views of Dublin Bay. However, due to a small accident on Mac’s behalf (which I won’t go into) and his requirement to have a dunk in the sea I decided to take the THOUSANDS of steps down from the hill to Killiney Beach so Mac could have a swim. I knew it would be a challenge on the way back up, but it was really worth it.

Although the day started off with a touch of ground frost by the time we were walking there was a real sense of spring with the hazy sunshine and definite warmth in the air. On the climb down to a small beach in Killiney called White Rock the sun was dancing off the sea and it reminded me of a quote from one of my favourite books, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society………‘When I got up this morning, the sea was full of sun pennies – and now it seems to be covered in lemon scrim’.

We continued on and Mac had a frolic in the sea while I tried not to get soaked by the waves crashing against the rock I was standing on! So I could get a proper shot of the beach!

After a while we started the long climb back up from the beach and back up Killiney hill. Clearly Mac found this a much easier task than me, the old four legs work better than two me thinks!

Come on slow coach

Oh boy! I think I hear the train coming!!

You can do it, just 4,500 more steps to go :O)

Finally we reached the top and I felt great! There’s nothing I like to do more when I feel energised and buzzed from being out on an amazing spring morning and that’s baking.
At the weekend and as a treat to myself I bought the latest edition of The Good Food magazine and in it was a baking supplement. The kids had spotted a cake which they were badgering me to bake and this is it:

JaffaDrizzle Loaf:

  • 140g/5oz butter softened
  • 200g/7oz self-raising flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 200g/7oz golden caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 tbsp milk
  • finely grated zest of 1 large orange


  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 5og/2oz golden castor sugar
  • 50g/2oz dark chocolate


Preheat oven to 180c/350f/gas 4, butter line a 2lb loaf tin.
I did mine in the food processor, using the same method I use for my lemon drizzle cake.
Beat the butter, sugar and orange zest together till creamy in texture.
Then gradually add the flour and eggs, alternating a little at a time.
Then add the milk until you have a nice, smooth mixture without being too runny.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and back in the oven for 40 – 50 minutes, until golden brown.
Meanwhile, gently heat the orange juice and sugar in a small pan, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved.

When the cake is cooked, prod the top, several times with a wooden skewer and then spoon over the orange and sugar mixture. Allow the cake to cool in the tin then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
Finally break up the chocolate and melt in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave. Once melted and using a spoon, drizzle over the cake and leave to set.

As you will see from the picture, the demand for a slice was too much for the boys to wait until the chocolate had fully set!
It was delicious and really quick to make.

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8 Responses to Zen and the Art of Baking It!

  1. What gorgeous photos.. I love blogging because I get to travel to different parts of the world… Places I’d never see, if it wasn’t for you! I love love love your sweet pup! He must have loved that swim. That climb home, well I think you’ve earned such a yummy cake!

    • Rhoda Kirwan says:

      Thanks Barbara, happy to bring you, if only through the medium of photos, to my part of the world! The inspiration for doing a blog that is very different from what I usually do came from YOU! I tend to just write about food and recipes but today I thought it would be good to share my part of the world with fellow bloggers. My pup is a dote and loved by all the family, he’s totally spoilt! And yes I felt completely justified to have a very large slice of cake after my climb home. Rho x

  2. Mark Kirwan says:

    Dear Sister,

    Thanks so much for putting a smile on my face. After a crazy work period and the engine running low on steam, it was so refreshing to read your words and imagine myself having a walk like you did. Keep up the good work.

    MK xx D’Brudder.

  3. These pictures are fabulous and Mac is seriously so adorable! It is great that you are so sweet with him.

  4. Malou says:

    I love the recipe and the amazing pictures of your walk. 😉

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