I woke up bright and early on the first morning of midterm break to a heartfelt request from an energetic little farmer, “Mom, can we pleeeease watch Attack of the Crab Monsters together this morning?”

I rubbed my eyes and blinked twice before yawn-smiling and stretching my arms out wide, “Morning sunshine, of course we can sweetie, now come here and give mommy a hug.”

But he was long gone on an intrepid search for a 1957 Roger Corman B-movie viewing device.

Lately there is far too much testosterone in this house.

I peel myself out of bed and totter on a trail of upsided darts Lego pieces that lead to the bathroom. The same Lego Ninjago trail that gets picked up and magically set down like clockwork every day.

After washing my face, pulling my hair back into something resembling a bobtail, and covering myself with the first three things I see in the closet, I go to my next order of early morning business: loading up the washer with slurry soaked dungarees and jumpers. Two pods/scorching hot/pre-wash/intensive/ medical rinse. Repeat.

Lately there is far too much testosterone in this house.

I go downstairs and make coffee. Standing at the kitchen counter I quietly slurp coffee and look out the window at the my garden beds which are weeping and weathered, but still alive with bits of chard and kale and new globe artichoke foliage peeking up. I smile. I turn to the living room and see Teddy’s dog grit smeared all the way across the top edge of our stone-tinted sofa (I know, you told me so). I drop my coffee cup and, well…..cry. No tears, but still.

Just then, Geoffrey skids into the room with an open iBook shouting in a burly voice with a timbre as towering as an NFL announcer, “YES! We can watch the Killer Crab Monsters now!”

I fall to the ground.

Lately there is far too much testosterone in this house.

Valentines came and went. We suffered a devastating gale the night before so Geoffrey challenged me to a fierce game of Settlers of Catan by candlelight while Richard was away with a group of men on farm business in England.

Lately there is far too much testosterone in and out of this house.

On a side note, we are surrounded by estrogen-charged maiden heifers ready to give birth any day.

Somehow there is still far too much testosterone here.

I patiently watch Attack of the Crab Monsters with my son. It is actually quite good.

I then try to convince him to take a shower. A task he once enjoyed.  We have to bargain about it.

Lately there is far too much testosterone in this house.

After watching one too many American sitcoms, my husband now has a man cave for when he’s home from the farm cave. There is a desk, a chair worthy of Larry Flynt, farm paperwork, whiskey books, a writing diary, a clunky old weight machine. Oh, and a weird wood carved wall hanging of Road Runner and the Tazmanian Devil.

I’m putting on my prettiest pinny and making sticky toffee pudding.

With whiskey.

And yeah, those are fighting words.


Sticky Whiskey Toffee Pudding


85g softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

225g soft Medjool dates, pitted and coarsely chopped

100ml Irish (preferably peated) Whiskey (optional)

175g flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

150g dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

For the sauce

300ml heavy cream

200g dark brown sugar

60g unsalted butter


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Butter 6 x 200ml individual pudding moulds.

2. Put the dates, whiskey and 100ml boiling water (or omit whiskey and add 200ml water) into a small pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, then simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the dates are very soft. Set aside to cool.

3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and a pinch of salt into a bowl and mix together well. In another bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar together with an electric hand whisk for 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition.

4. Alternate adding in the flour mixture and dates, a little at a time, mixing in each addition well before adding the next. Spoon evenly between the moulds, smoothing the tops. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of each pudding comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

5. Meanwhile, make the toffee sauce. Put the cream, sugar and butter into a pan and bring to the boil. Cook for 3 minutes, until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Pour the sauce over the warm puddings and serve immediately with or without ice cream.

Slan Abhaile,


PS. My blog is listed on The Kitchn’s Homies Awards…so far it has 22 nominations for best blog from abroad, but it sure would be lovely to get more as today is the last day for voting! Have a look if you like. Thank you ♥


Images and styling by Imen McDonnell 2013. The plate was handcrafted by the very talented Trish Riley  for Sweetgum Co

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35 Responses to “Sticky Whiskey Toffee Pudding”

  1. […] I love everything about this Irish blog, and am particularly keen to try these Sticky Whiskey Toffee Puddings […]

  2. Susie Wyckoff says:

    Hello from Indiana, USA. I too have had my share of stepping on Legos and wow it hurts! Especially in the dark.

    • Susie Wyckoff says:

      And can I also say how grateful I am that you’ve included a conversion chart for us who normally use cups and tablespoons. You’ve saved me from a lot of measuring errors! Your pudding looks so luscious that I’ll definitely have to give it a try.

  3. Gill says:

    Oh my, this looks yum!!

  4. Britney says:

    That’s an interesting recipe. It looks yummy. I hope this pudding will not get someone drunk. Hahaha…

  5. liuxin says:

    it looks so delicious !

  6. I enjoyed reading your post Imen, beautiful and funny ! The recipe looks delicious. Gorgeous photos xx

  7. Alice says:

    I love them fighting words. It’s just me & my sweetheart in our household, but by golly, if I get snagged on another fishing hook whilst vacuuming…well you get the idea! As for your delicious puds with the extra grown up shot of whiskey, I say yes please. Plus, it’s antiseptic for my insides 😉

  8. Kirti says:

    I shall live vicariously from here on, through your farm tales! A pair of third generation Irish Aussies watching HANDS DVDs ( over and over, dreaming of cows and currachs, greet you from Melbourne!

  9. Nessa Robins says:

    Imen, I really laughed reading this post. With four men in this house, I can definitely relate. That pudding looks divine. I’m going to make it as a special treat for St. Patrick’s Day!

  10. Canal Cook says:

    Whiskey and sticky toffee pudding. Two of my favourite things!

  11. sarah says:

    Love this! That is how my mornings start, too. Tripping on legos, wearing the same clothes every day, light saber fights all over the house.

    Your sticky toffee pudding looks amazing!

  12. Anne Mc Donagh says:

    Oh too bad! I just visited the Homie’s award site in the hope of voting for Farmette but it really had shut down! Too late. Bah. I would SO have nominated your blog. It makes me smile and a little homesick and occasionally envious (in a good way…) Keep up the good work 🙂

  13. Kelsey says:

    I want to eat this NOW.

    p.s. love this blog!!

  14. cheri says:

    Funny post. nice reading. Great looking dessert.

  15. Wow that looks DELISH !!!! I can’t wait to make it… uhmm… I mean, I really wish you were here in Canada and you could make it for me.

    We could sit in the girl cave, aka treehouse and eat sticky whiskey toffee pudding all the live long day. 🙂

  16. I completely identify with this. I’m typing while sitting at my desk while chaos/full on war rages behind me. Then again, one day when they’re older I’ll wish that they were here going crazy again! Lovely recipe Imen. xxx

    • imen says:

      I know, I worry about writing these things for fear of regret…but it’s how it is now and it helps to share…so glad you can relate! x

  17. Krista says:

    I’m laughing to myself because I’m craving femininity in my life right now after days of man stuff, of swords and armor, of wood-working and animal catching, of car racing and who knows what all. 🙂 I’m hibernating in my little spot with dark chocolate and hazelnuts, a very girly book, and hopes of a curling up with girly movies once this long weekend is over. 🙂 So glad you made beauty in the midst of your madness. 🙂

    • imen says:

      Hi Krista, I am so glad you could relate to this post! Sometimes we just need some girl time and that’s hard to come by around here! Here’s to chocolate and hazelnuts and curling up with a good book. Take care, Imen xx

  18. So glad to hear Richard has his man cave now, with a suitable place for Wil-E & whiskey!

    • imen says:

      Moya! I stand corrected, you are right! It’s Wil-E Coyote. Must make that copy edit! See you soon xx

  19. Karen says:

    I found your blog on the Kitchen Awards page. I think I picked a good one. The recipe looks delicious and can’t wait to make it this coming week. Thanks. Good Luck with the awards.

  20. Kat says:

    I had such a shock reading your post–I turn to your website for yummy recipes but did NOT expect a reference to my all time favorite trashy sci-fi movie!! Attack of the Crab Monsters forever! Have you seen The Monster That Challenged the World? another gem in the same vein

    • imen says:

      Oh my goodness, I am SO relieved Kat! I thought you were going to say that you thought I was crazy to write about such things. Am totally looking up The Monster That Challenged the World. Thank you! xx

      • Kat says:

        ha I wrote it that way on purpose! love your blog and photos. I am married to a Scotsman who grew up on a big farm estate but we are not able to live that life because of work –so love reading about your life. rock on girl

  21. Donna Baker says:

    Never had that but am sure I would love it. Anything sweet. I’m going to bake a cherry pie today and have it for dinner. Hubby has gone for a ‘loafing weekend” at the cabin, so I can eat whatever I want. No cowbabies but the chickens are hiding their eggs from me.

  22. Ciara says:

    Lovely to catch a glimpse at some of the goodies from the sweet gum co, I have a few of them on my wishlist! And also lovely to know that we’re all fighting the same mundane house wars (well maybe not quite the same, I can’t say I’ve tackled any farm washing and B movie watching lately, but you know what I mean! 😉

    • imen says:

      Sweetgum is so good, love all of it Ciara. Thank you for your comment, helps to know we are all in the same boat sometimes one way or another! xx

  23. Kathryn says:

    This is definitely a fighting pudding; you can’t beat a good hit of sticky toffee-ness on a gloomy February day.

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