Titles can be deceiving.

Especially in this case.

As you can see, there is a bit more going on in that bowl than just your standard, run-of-the-mill smokey Irish oat crumble. Indeed. But, smoked oaty crumble is a damn fine bed in which to share with the denseness of deep dark chocolate and farm fresh creamy dreamy mascarpone. What’s more? When that oat-y cradle happens to be combination of the quintessential Irish oats brand, Flavahans, blitzed up with a new spin on a tradition that is Ditty’s Smoked Oatcakes, you get a bed as heavenly as a Hästens that you will want to nestle into as much as humanly possible.

Or, at least I do. And, hungry, chocolate-loving Irish farmers appear to be quite grateful as well.

First of all, make the mascarpone using this recipe for farmer cheese substituting cream for whole milk. After that, make your chocolate filling. Lick the spoon. Lick it again. Then, blitz up the oat crumb in the food processor to your taste. Layer into individual ramekins or medium ceramic baking dish; a sprinkle of crumble on the bottom, ladle chocolate mixture over, dot spoons of mascarpone on top and then cover with more of that sultry crumb. Eat warm, and if you are feeling indulgent, serve with a scoop of ice cream or a little bit of pouring cream.

Remember, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner….

Chocolate Mascarpone Smoked Oat Crumble

250ml heavy cream

200g dark baking chocolate (I used Áine Irish chocolate), chopped finely

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs, beaten

Pinch of plain flour

150g freshly made or store bought Mascarpone cheese*


4 Ditty’s Irish Smoked Oatcakes**

100g Butter

50g Brown Sugar

50g Flavahan’s Organic Oats***

30g flour

In a small saucepan set over low-medium heat, bring the cream to just simmering. Remove it from the heat, and stir in the chocolate and vanilla until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is completely incorporated. Whisk a small amount of the hot chocolate cream into the eggs. Transfer the tempered egg mixture back into the hot chocolate and whisk the mixture until it is smooth. Leave to cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 200C or 400F

Place all crumble ingredients in food processor and pulse until crumbly. Add more brown sugar or smoked oatcakes to your taste/texture preference.

Sprinkle a bit of crumble into base of baking dish or individual ramekins. Pour over chocolate mixture.  Dab dollops of the mascarpone cheese on top. Cover with crumble. Sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar.

Place in hot oven for 35-45 minutes until crumble is golden brown and chocolate is bubbling.

Serve warm on its own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a drizzle of pouring cream.

*if you make your own mascarpone, be sure to use a mixer to create a smooth, creamy texture once you have strained the cheese

**or any other brand of smoked oatcakes if they exist!

***available in the USA

Slan Abhaile,


Photo and styling by Imen McDonnell 2013










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Jet-Set to Farmette

29 Nov 2010

Foreward: Often people ask just how exactly myself and himself met, so I thought it would be handy if I put together a little series of posts laying out the low-down with as many details as can tastefully be shared. If you are not into sappy love stories, I’d give it a skip.

As you may have guessed by now, I was not e-x-a-c-t-l-y the kind of girl who dreamed of breaking away and living a grow-it-yourself-country-life complete with the strapping fella and the charming beat-up Land Rover. In fact, I had never even been on a real working farm in my life and outside of “roughing it” in a rustic cabin with friends for a weekend, I wasn’t much for spending time outside of the city. Five years later, I have developed a true fondness for country living and all things farm. But the truth is, when I fell in love and made the decision to move to Ireland and marry my farmer, I hadn’t a clue what I was in for and just how different life would become….(insert Green Acres theme here)

I met my dashing farmer {MDF} when he was visiting the United States one particularly freezing week in February. It was his second visit this Twin City in the American Midwest. He had come to visit a childhood mate who had moved to the USA after secondary school. On the evening we were introduced, I hadn’t wanted to go out, but I was persuaded by a girlfriend who was desperate for a fun night after a long week at work. I wasn’t feeling the best that day, so I prettied myself up as nice as I could and got on with it, as you do.

We were having cocktails with some others at a stylish downtown lounge when my farmer breezed past our group, turned his head and shot us a smile. As he was waiting for his drink order from the bar, my friend starting chatting with him. He was handsome and by the lilt in his voice, I noted that he was clearly not from the USA though I couldn’t quite place his accent. With sandy hair, light complexion and high cheekbones I passed him off for Scandinavian, as a good majority of the population in the area are descended from that gorgeous part of the world.

As the night unfolded, our two little groups became one and we all moved to another place to see some live music.  MDF* had overheard in conversation that I loved champagne and secretly ordered a fabulous bottle to share when we arrived. I was impressed. As the others trailed off in conversation and dance, we found ourselves at the table alone and began to get to know one another. He revealed that he lived on an 18th Century farm in the Irish countryside {not Norwegian as I had suspected}, had a degree in philosophy {Wowsers. Kant, Hobbes, Plato were impossible for me to get my head around in my studies } and his star sign was Aquarius {as is mine}. I warmed to him. Though I occasionally found it hard to understand his thick Irish brogue, he had no shortage of charming and funny stories, which kept me in stitches all evening long.

At the end of the night, he said he would only be in town for a few more days and asked if I would join him for dinner the following evening. Somewhat reluctantly, I agreed, and he told me to choose my favorite place. We exchanged phone numbers and went our separate ways.

Early the next morning he texted me to say he was looking forward to our dinner. I was still not sure if I really wanted to go, I just wasn’t keen on romance at the time. Happily busy with a creative career that kept me working and traveling globally, I had convinced myself that I had no time or energy to put into developing a rewarding relationship. Still, he was awfully handsome and really quite charismatic, so despite my hang–ups, I agreed on the stipulation that my bubbly Aussie friend and her lovely husband would join us. After all, a girl can never be too careful, right?

We met at a lovely new restaurant that had been getting rave reviews. When I first saw him all refreshed, pressed and dressed, I confess to feeling a tinge of excitement in my tummy. I introduced him to my friends and the conversation flowed all night long. The food was outstanding and we were having a brilliant time. I will never forget the perma-grin that I was sporting from ear to ear all night. At the end of the meal, MDF excused himself and discreetly paid the entire bill. Totally unnecessary, but clearly chivalry was not dead to him, and I very much respected that. Later that evening he privately told me it was his birthday. I marveled at his modesty, as such information would have certainly been divulged during dinner had it been me.

He was planning to return to Ireland on Valentine’s Day and inquired, “so, tell me, who is going to be your sweetheart this year?” I demurely replied, “why, my dad, of course”.  When I arrived at my office on the morning of his departure, I was greeted with an enormous bouquet of beautiful flowers and a card that read, “Well, you’re my Valentine”.

I swooned.

End of Part One

Slan Abhaile,


*My Dashing Farmer

Photo courtesy of Farmette

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