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This week’s recipes are for festival food. Yes, festival food, the more I alliterate the less attractive it seems. But fear ye not, I do not come armed with soggy noodles and limp breakfast rolls. I come with slow roasted tomatoes and hummus, two simple things you can make in the comfort of your own home and take with you to Electric Picnic next weekend.

Taking your own food, aside from bags of crisps, is not the coolest thing to be seen doing (who cares about cool anyway?) but it is quite possibly the cleverest thing you could spend a little time thinking about. Not only will you notice the difference in your wallet (€7 crepes anyone?) but you’ll also save yourself dodgy festival belly on Monday morning.

These two recipes are easy to prepare and bring with you to the festival. Add some crackers, cheese or whatever else you feel like and lunch is sorted on one day, at least. If you’re not going to Electric Picnic or any other festival the recipes are ideal snack foods; the tomatoes are delicious stirred into hot pasta.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Slow Roasted Tomatoes, tupperware-tastic © Ciara Norton

Slow Roasted Tomatoes, tupperware-tastic © Ciara Norton

Ingredients: you can vary the amounts, make as much or as little as you want.

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Fresh Basil leaves
  • Dried oregano
  • Olive Oil
Pre-oven cherry tomatoes © Ciara Norton

Pre-oven cherry tomatoes © Ciara Norton

Method: This is an overnight one, with very little effort involved.

  1. Preheat your oven to its highest temperature
  2. Half each tomato and place onto a baking tray seed side up, as shown in picture
  3. Sprinkle a light layer of sugar, then salt, onto the tomatoes
  4. Tear up some basil leaves and scatter over the tomatoes
  5. Sprinkle your dried oregano – or any herb you like – over the tomatoes
  6. Cover the tomatoes with a layer of olive oil (not extra virgin unless that’s all you have)
  7. When your oven is as hot as it can get put the tomatoes in, close the door, turn off the oven and leave for the night. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR! When you awake in the morning the tomatoes should be soft to the touch and absolutely delicious. Add them to salads, use with bruschetta, toss them into hot pasta, spread with cheese on crackers etc etc

Electric Hummus

Ingredients © Ciara Norton

Ingredients © Ciara Norton

Ingredients: makes LOADS of hummus, enough for a long weekend. You might want to divide by two or three for a more sensible amount

  • 3 x 400g tins of chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons Light Tahini (dark or roasted also works)
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 teaspoons of Paprika (I used mild, smoked could be delicious too
  • 40ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic, crushed or chopped finely
  • Salt ‘n’ Pepper


  1. Drain the chickpeas from the tins and rinse in water
  2. Put all of the other ingredients into a bowl and blend until smooth
  3. Your hummus is ready, and it’s delicious.

Recipes by Ciara Norton from The Crazy Is Catching

Hummus, a sprinkling of paprika and Suggs © Ciara Norton

Hummus, a sprinkling of paprika and Suggs © Ciara Norton

    Forget April; August is surely the cruelest month. Sartorially speaking, of course. Irish weather has been having an indecisive moment of late, and it’s wreaking havoc with wardrobe choices and causing all kinds of mood swings.

    And what to eat amid all of this confusion? It’s too grey and overcast to really enjoy ice-cream, too warm and humid to indulge in wintery desserts, try though we may. This is where the cupcake comes in, namely a cupcake that is both sweet and salty, a cupcake that is the perfect antidote for a summer that barely arrived before it was already gone.

    The cupcake & La Rousee Gastronomique © Ciara Norton

    The cupcake & La Rousse Gastronomique © Ciara Norton

    This week I baked vanilla cupcakes wth a rhubarb compote filling, topped with vanilla icing and salted pistachios. Rhubarb, like last week’s raspberries, is in season at the moment and is one of my favourite things to eat during the summer months. The compote filling can be eaten alone or with ice-cream, and can be made and stored in the fridge for a few days. As it’s so sweet it is a perfect accompaniment to the salty pistachios atop the cupcakes, sort of like mixing your popcorn and chocolate at the cinema but far, far, classier.

    Vanilla cupcakes with rhubarb compote filling, vanilla icing and pistachio topping © Ciara Norton

    Vanilla cupcakes with rhubarb compote filling, vanilla icing and pistachio topping © Ciara Norton

    Ingredients: Makes 6 big cupcakes:

    Rhubarb Compote:

    • 250g Rhubarb, cut into 5mm pieces
    • 75g Caster Sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract


    • 1 Vanilla Pod
    • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
    • 125g Butter
    • 125g Caster Sugar
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 150g Plain Flour
    • ¼ tsp Baking Powder

    Vanilla Icing:

    • 50g Butter
    • 100g Icing Sugar
    • 2 Tablespoons Cream
    • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
    • 1 Vanilla Pod
    • Shelled salted pistachio nuts
    Chopped Rhubarb © Ciara Norton

    Chopped Rhubarb © Ciara Norton



    1)Put the rhubarb, sugar and vanilla extract in a saucepan to boil. Stir to help dissolve the sugar.

    2)Cover the pan and simmer for four minutes. Uncover and heat until the fruit is just soft, but not falling apart.

    3)Allow to cool, and place in the refrigerator until needed.


    1)Preheat your oven to 180˚C and line a muffin tray with cases

    2)Cream the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add the sugar and vanilla pod scrapings and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy TIP: If you’re not a big fan of vanilla or feel like something different you can add the grated zest of half a lemon here for lemon cupcakes.

    3)Gradually add the beaten eggs then sift in the flour and baking powder and fold into the mixture.

    4)Divide your batter among the paper cases and place into the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until risen and golden and a fork inserted into them comes out clean.


    1)Cream the butter until soft

    2)Add the icing sugar gradually and beat into butter

    3)Add the vanilla extract (or zest of half a lemon if you want lemon favoured icing) and blend into the icing along with the cream.

    4)If you find the consistency of the icing is off add more icing sugar or cream, depending on whether it’s not soft or too hard.

    5)You can substitute the cream for crème fraiche for a slightly different, but still delicious, taste.

    To construct the cupcakes:

    1)Wait until the cupcakes have cooled and using a sharp knife cut a hole in the top of them that leaves enough space to insert the compote. Use the instructions on this website to guide you.

    2)After replacing the top of the cupcake cover with a layer of icing and sprinkle over the salted pistachios.

    3)Eat and enjoy!

    If you’re not a big rhubarb fan you can change the filling to whatever you like or not use a filling at all. The toppings can change too, I used Cadbury’s Crunchie here instead of nuts.

    Recipe by Ciara Norton from The Crazy is Catching with inspiration, as always, from The Cupcaketologist


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