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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Mussels with leeks, dijon mustard and cider

I made these mussels for my dad a few weeks ago, he brought home some lovely mussels and I wanted to try something different with them. This is a great recipe with the sweetness of the leeks and the bold flavor of the dijon mustard. I would definitely recommend trying this one.

How to prepare mussels:
  • Make sure they are fresh and eat them on the day you buy them.
  • Throw away and mussels which are broken and ones which do not close if tapped or lightly squeezed.
  • Do not soak the mussels in water as they will drown, give them a few rises instead to get rid of any dirt or grit.
  • Clean the mussels under running water - take a knife and remove any barnacles from the outside shell, also pull out the 'beard' which is the fibers which emerge from the mussels shell (you can pull this out or cut it off with a knife).
  • You can store them in a bowl under a damp cloth in the fridge until they are needed.
Serves: 2 as a main or 4 people as a starter

  • 1kg mussels
  • A small knob of butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 medium leeks, finely sliced
  • 200mls of cider
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2–3 tablespoons double cream
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped parsley


  1. In a large saucepan melt the butter with the olive oil, add the leeks on a medium heat and allow to soften (not to colour as they will get bitter).
  2. Turn up the heat then add in the cider and mussels and cook with the lid on for 2-3 minutes or until the mussels have opened up.
  3. The stir in the cream, mustard and season with salt and pepper. Stir though some parsley and its ready to serve with crusty bread to mop up that great sauce.
Enjoy :) 

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Marinated shark steaks

My dad loves fish and always goes to the market in Bury St Edmunds every Wednesday and Saturday to see what they have in. He brought some shark steaks last night so we tried them on the BBQ with this great marinade, you can also use this marinade for any fish or meat. The shark was lovely, a little like tuna but meatier. 


  • 2 Shark steaks
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 cloves of minces garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil

Serves 2


  1. Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl, pour over the marinade and leave for 1-2 hours. You can leave it longer or over night if you had the time.
  2. Cook on the BBQ or grill until the shark is cooked, this should take 10-15 minutes on the BBQ.
Serve with a fresh salad and enjoy!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Chorizo and broad bean bruschetta

I love broad beans and as they are in season right now I made this great bruschetta for dinner, its a really quick simple supper and its healthy too. Great also as a starter as a dinner party or a light lunch on a sunny day.


  • 150g broad beans
  • 125g chorizo, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • Ciabatta loaf
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Parmesan to finish
Serves 2

  1. Double pod the broad beans and set aside, for more information on how to do this see my last blog post.
  2. In a frying pan cook the chorizo (you won't need to add any oil to the pan) and cook on a medium heat until it is crisp. Remove the chorizo and leave the oil in the pan.
  3. Then add a little more olive oil to the chorizo oil and cook the onion for 10 minutes untill soft, then add the garlic for another 5 minutes. 
  4. Add the broad beans and chorizo to the pan and warm through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Slice the ciabatta and toast.
  6. On a plate add the toasted bread and pile with the broad bean mix, drizzle over olive oil and finish with a sprinkle of  parmesan.

Monday, 3 September 2012

How to double pod broad beans

I love broad beans but some people don't, I think that is because most people don't double pod them! If you don't they just look grey and their grey skins are not very inviting. So give double podding a try, you can then use them in soups, pasta dishes and much more. My next blog post will be a  and broad bean bruschetta which is a great and healthy meal.

  • First remove the beans from their pods.
  • Put boiling water into a pan and boil the broad beans for 5 minutes, then drain.
  • Place the beans into a bowl of cold water.
  • Then you can just pop the beans out of their skins, out will come 2 halves of bright green broad beans.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Creamy bacon, mushroom and asparagus pasta

I made this recipes up last week after deciding I wanted a cream pasta for dinner but couldn't find any recipes which weren't too heavy. I love pasta, and this is such a quick and easy dish. You can swap the asparagus for peas or anything you like. Great served with some garlic bread.

Serves 2 (can easily be doubled up to serve 4 people)

  • Half a pack of smoked bacon chopped (you can use unsmoked if you prefer)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 small glass of cider or white wine (if you prefer not to use wine or cider you can use a little chicken stock)
  • Handful of chestnut mushrooms thinly sliced
  • 125g asparagus sliced into inch long pieces
  • 250g fresh pasta
  • 142ml double cream
  • Some fresh parmesan
  • a small handful of parsley chopped


  1. On a medium heat cook the bacon in a little oil until crisp and set aside.
  2. Using the same oil you used to cook the bacon soften the onions for 10 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes until the garlic is just beginning to colour.
  3. Add in the cider (of what ever you prefer) and allow for the alcohol to cook off (this should take 5-10 minutes).
  4. Cook the asparagus for 3 minutes and set aside into a bowl of cold water.
  5. To the sauce add the cream and mushrooms and allow to thicken for 5 minutes (do not cook for too long otherwise the sauce will split) then add in the asparagus so it can warm through. Season and add in the cooked bacon.
  6. In the meantime cook the pasta as pre the packet instructions and drain.
  7. Mix the pasta and sauce together and serve with parmesan and the parsley.
I hope you like this recipe as much as I did, please let me know your thoughts!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Vegetarian Cornish Pasties

Wikipedia states "Side-crimped pasties gave rise to the suggestion that the miner might have eaten the pasty holding the thick edge of pastry, which was later discarded, thereby ensuring that his dirty fingers (possibly including traces of arsenic) did not touch food or his mouth".

I made these for our Jubilee picnic and they were really tasty. They are great for picnic's, lunch or a quick snack. These pasties are filled with cheese, potato and Marmite which is a match made in heaven!


  • 500g potato, grated
  • 200g mature grated cheddar
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 1 bunch of thinly sliced spring onions
  • 2 eggs
  • fresh chopped herbs
  • 500g short crust pastry
  • 2 tbsp Marmite


  1. Mix the potato, cheese, breadcrumbs, spring onions and 1 egg in a bowl.Sprinkle over salt and pepper to taste and add in some fresh chopped herbs (use any you have, I used chives and parsley) and mix again.
  2. roll out the pastry so it is just slightly thicker than a pound coin (3.5 mm). Cut the pastry into circles using a 16-17cm round plate as a template, you will probably have to re-roll the pastry a few times.
  3. Warm the Marmite in a small pan with a splash of water so it is runny. Brush the pastry with the Marmite leaving a 2-3cm boarder.
  4. Divide the fillings between the middles of each circles, then beat the left over egg and brush around the boarder of the pastry. Bring up the 2 sides and crimp - if you don't know how to just watch this video .
  5.  If you want to freeze the pastry to cook later just pop them on a tray in the freezer until hard, then put into a freezer bag until required.
  6. Warm the over to 160°C and brush the pasties all over the beaten egg. Cook for 50 mins - 1 hour until golden brown.
  7. Eat warm with brown sauce and lots of salad (or what ever you fancy!).

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Coronation chicken sandwich

I love coronation chicken sandwiches so I had to make these for the Queens diamond jubilee picnic me and my family had! Perfect for lunch, in a picnic or no bread with lots of salad.


  • Poached chicken - 2 legs and 2 breasts (see my recipe for poaching) or any left over cooked chicken you have cut into chunks
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
  • 3 tablespoons mango chutney (to taste)
  • 3 teaspoons mild curry powder
  • Small bunch of coriander chopped
  • Crusty bread
Serves 4 people


  1.  Add the chicken, mayonnaise, yoghurt, and mango chutney to a mixing bowl and mix gently. Add the curry powder a little at a time to taste, then add the coriander. Give it one final mix and make into sandwiches.
  2. There ready to eat! You can add in dried apricots and raisins if desired, I like my sandwiches with crisp lettice inside.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

How to poach chicken

For my coronation chicken I wanted to poach the chicken, I found it quite difficult to find a recipe on the internet after trying it out I thought it would be a good idea to add it to my blog to anyone who also wanted to try it. 


  • 2 chicken breasts and 2 legs
  • medium  onion, cut into quarters
  • 4 small garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)


  1. Add all of the ingredients to a heavy bottomed pan and bring to the boil.
  2. Cook for 20 minutes then remove the chicken breasts and cook for a further 10  minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and slice the chicken ready for serving - or set aside for my coronation chicken recipe coming soon!
To make stock from the left over water and bones put the pan back on a low heat for 1-2 hours until it smells divine (I put mine in the slow cooker over night on a medium heat).

Monday, 21 May 2012

Apple, raspberry and blueberry crumble

Crumble is really quick and easy to make, perfect in winter or summer and a great end to any meal. You can use any fruit you fancy, this combination is really light and fresh.

For the filling
  • 4 large cooking apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 punnet of raspberries
  • 1 punnet of blueberries
  • ½ the juice of one lemon
  • 50g sugar
For the topping
  • 105g rolled oats
  • 105g white flour
  • 60g sugar
  • 105g cubed butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Serves 8 people
    1. Preheat the oven to 190oc. Mix all of the filling ingredients in a deep oven dish and then put to one side.
    2. Add all of the topping ingredients to a mixing bowl and rub lightly with the tips of your fingers until it resembles bread crumbs. Then sprinkle over the topping.
    3. Bake for 30-40 minutes until crisp and golden, serve with cream or ice cream.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Bacon and asparagus risotto

I love risotto, its so comforting and goods to eat. You can make it sticky and gooey for the winter or light and healthy for the spring/summer This recipe is prefect for the Spring also asparagus is in season right now!


  • 3 large knobs of butter and 2 tbsp olive oil for the risotto
  • 1 pack of smoked bacon
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 400g/14oz arborio (risotto) rice
  • 1 glass white wine (optional)
  • 2 pints of hot stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus chopped into large chunks
  • parsley, chopped to finish

  1. Chop the bacon and fry it in the pan on a medium with 1 tbsp of the oil, when it is golden and crispy remove it from the pan and set aside.
  2. In the now empty pan add in the butter and the rest of the oil then onion and cook for 5-10 minutes until softened, add the garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Add the rice to the pan and stir for about a minute until the grains are coated with the oil and butter. Pour in the wine and stir continuously until it has cooked into the rice. Add a good ladle of hot stock and and season well with salt and pepper. 
  4. Turn the heat down so the stock is simmering gently. Keep adding ladles of stock as it cooks into the rice, stirring and moving the rice around in the pan. 
  5. After about 15-20 minutes the rice should be soft but still have a bit of bite left in it. The texture of the risotto should be thick and creamy, but not too loose. Add extra stock if necessary.
  6. Add in the asparagus and cook for a further 5 minutes. Then turn off the heat, pop and the lid and leave for 5 minutes to rest.
  7. Sprinkle over the chopped parsley and its ready to serve!
Serve with cheese, garlic bread and a nice glass of wine (makes this recipe a bit less healthy!)

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Garlic butter roasted mussels

Today is national garlic day, to celebrate I have made garlic stuffed mussels! Healthy, simple and good for you.

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 25g/1oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander, plus extra to garnish
  • 6 green-lipped mussels, de-bearded and cleaned, one shell removed
  • 75g/3oz fresh breadcrumbs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ lime, cut into wedges

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, butter and coriander.
Place the mussels on a small baking tray. Divide the butter between the mussels, then sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes.
To serve, transfer to a warm plate and sprinkle with coriander and lime wedges.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Peppermint Creams - by Lorraine Pascale

I saw this recipe on  Lorraine Pascale's TV programme and I just had to try making them, my boyfriend adores pepper mint creams as they remind him of his Grandmother. I made them for my friends and family for Easter and they were a big hit, great for any occasion and perfect for a gift for someone special.


  • 320g icing sugar
  • 130g condensed milk
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract - I added in a little extra to get a nice mint flavour
  • 200g dark chocolate (i used milk as my family don't like dark chocolate)

  1. Add the icing sugar, condensed milk and peppermint extract in a bowl. Mix all the ingredients together until you can form a icing sugar dough ball (you might need to work it a little).
  2. Place the dough onto a floured (with icing sugar) work surface and roll it out until the dough is between 3 and 5mm thick.
  3. Cut out your shapes using whichever tool you prefer, a shot glass/spirit measure give a great size.
  4. Place your peppermint cream shapes onto a parchment lined surface (I didn't have this so I used cling film) and leave in the fridge for at least ah hour to set.
  5. Then melt 200g chocolate in a pyrex bowl over a simmering pan of water (make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl as it will make it too hot).  Take your peppermint creams out of the fridge and dip them in the chocolate half way or allow the first half to set in the fridge before coating the other half to cover them completely.
Wrap in little bags with ribbon or on tissue paper in small boxes.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Rhubarb and Coconut Meringue Pie

My mum picked out this recipe as the dessert for her Mothers Day meal as she loves rhubarb. I have never made a meringue pie so it was a first for me! I really great way to impress friends and family, also most of it you can make a day ahead.


For the pie
  • 700g rhubarb cut into 3cm pieces
  •  160g caster sugar
  • The zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 4 tbsp cornflour
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 50g melted unsalted butter 
For the pastry
  • 50g dessicated coconut
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 110g unsalted butter (cold and cut into cubes)
  • Aprox 2 tbsp iced water
For the meringue
  • 3 Large egg whites
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 40g  dessicated coconut

  1. For the pastry, put the coconut into a food processor with 1 tbsp of the flour and pulse into a fine mixture. Add the flour, coconut and sugar  into a large bowl and mix, add in the better and using your finger tips rub into the flour mixture until it resembles find breadcrumbs. Add just enough iced water to bind. Knead briefly until smooth (try to touch the pastry as little as possible), wrap in cling film and put it into the fridge for 20 mins.
  2. While the pastry is chilling mix the rhubarb with 70g of sugar and the zest and juice of the orange. Scatter into a roasting tray and cook for 20 minuets at 190°C. Process the rhubarb and the juices in a food processor until smooth and pass through a sieve with a wooden spoon. Set aside.
  3. Turn the oven up to 200 °C. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a 20cm x 3.5cm fluted loose bottomed tart tin. Line with baking paper and fill with baking beans or rice and blind bake for 12 mins on a baking sheet. Remove the baking beans and paper and cook for a further 5 minuets or until crisp and golden. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl mix the remaining sugar, corn flour and some of the rhubarb purée to make a paste. Add into a pan with the rest of the rhubarb purée and bring to the boil on a medium heat, allow this to bubble  for a minuet, then remove it from the heat. Taste and if is too tart add in some more sugar. Mix the egg yolks with the butter, add in the rhubarb mixture to make a curd. Scrape into a bowl, cool and then chill.
  5. Pour the curd into the pastry case and bake for 30 minuets at  190°until set. Allow to cool completely. (if your making this a day ahead leave in the fridge until you are ready to finish the dessert).
  6. Then to finish make the  meringue . Whisk the egg white until stiff, then add in the sugar 1 tbsp at a time whisking until still each time. Then fold through the coconut and spoon the  meringue  over the rhubarb tart base. Bake in the oven for 15 minuets at  190°until the meringue is golden and crisp on the outside. Then cool and serve!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Ravioli with bacon, peas and courgette

This recipe is a real week night wonder. Simple, easy and really divine! I served mine with a chilled glass of white wine and some stone baked garlic bread.

Preparation - 5 mins
Cooking - 10 mins
Serves - 2 people


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 rashers of bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium courgette, grated
  • 1 cup of peas (you can use a mug, small glass depending on how many peas you like)
  • Tortellini (any flavour you like, one pack usually serves 2)


  1. Add the oil to a frying pan and fry the bacon until crisp, drain off the bacon and set aside leaving the oil in the pan. Soften the onion on a medium heat for 5-10 minuets then add the garlic for 3-5 minuets (don't let the garlic go a golden brown it will have burnt and will taste bitter). 
  2. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, while it is cooking add the courgette and the peas to the onions and add in the bacon.
  3. When the pasta is cooked drain it then and add it to the bacon mixture, then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve and cover in parmesan, lovely with garlic bread.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Miso grilled aubergines

A great healthy recipe recommended by my sister, really yummy and healthy. A perfect light lunch or healthy dinner served with steamed rice.


Serves 2 people
  • 1 large aubergine
  • Vegetable oil (enough for shallow frying)
  • 4 Spring onions
  • 4 tbsp of light (sweet) miso
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 small piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  1. Wash the aubergines and cut in half, then score the cut side of the aubergines diagonally, forming a diamond pattern in the flesh.
  2. Heat about 0.5cm/0.25in oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan. When it's hot, add the aubergine halves, cut side down. Fry the halves until lightly browned, about three minutes. Turn over and lightly fry the other side for a further minute or two. The aubergines should be fairly soft. Remove and set aside on kitchen paper.
  3. Pre heat the grill to medium, then prepare the miso topping. Place the miso into a bowl and stir in the sugar. Grate the ginger into the bowl, then stir in the shoyu or soy sauce and mirin.
  4. Place the aubergines onto a baking sheet, cut-side up. Spoon the miso topping over the aubergine halves, then place them under the grill. Grill until the miso topping is just beginning to brown and bubble slightly, but don't allow it to burn.
  5. Place the aubergine on a plate and scatter with the finely chopped spring onions and serve! 

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Curry popcorn!

I first tried curry popcorn in Paul Rankin's restaurant Cayenne in Belfast. You can't beat it - so simple, easy and full of flavour. Great for party good, drinks party's or just a night in on the sofa!

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp mild curry powder (or hot if you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp sun flour oil
  • 75g popping corn
  • Salt to taste

  1. In a small pan toast the cumin seeds over medium heat until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Remove and set aside.
  2. In the now empty pan melt the butter over low heat. Add the curry powder and stir-well. Bring to a simmer, also set aside.
  3. Now in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and the popping corn. Swirl to even coat the popcorn. Cover the pan with a glass lid (so you can see the corn popping). Once the popping begins, hold the lid and gently shake the pan do they do not burn. When the popping becomes slower remove the pan from the heat and let rest with the lid still on for a few seconds.
  4. Put the popcorn to a large bowl. Drizzle on the curry butter while tossing the popcorn to evenly distribute the butter. Sprinkle on the toasted cumin seeds and some salt, if desired, and toss. Serve immediately.

Champ for Saint Patrick's day!

At the moment spring onions are in season, as its St Patrick's day I thought I ought to add champ to my blog recipes! For those of you who don't know champ is basically mashed potato with spring onion. Mashed potatoes is my ultimate comfort food and you just cant beat the sweetness of the spring onions.


  • 1kg potatoes peeled
  • 250mls milk
  • 1 bunch of spring onions
  • 50g butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Serves 4 people


  1. Fill a large pan with boiling water and a teaspoon of salt, add the potatoes and cook until tender (20 minutes aprox).
  2. Drain the potatoes and leave for 5 minutes to dry out (cover with a clean tea towel).
  3. Mash the potato, I find that a potato ricer works well but you can use just a normal masher (NEVER use a food processor to make mashed potatoes. They will become gooey and gluey).
  4. Melt the butter and cook the spring onions for 1 minute,  add the milk and on a low heat  warm through the mixture.
  5. Add the milk mixture to the mashed potatoes and mix. Season with salt and pepper and serve!
Perfect on its own or with cooked meat/fish.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Coffee and walnut cake

Coffee and walnut cake is an absolute classic cake. My favourite bit is the butter cream icing which I could eat most of before it even gets on the cake - but do wait as its really worth it!

  • 125g butter (not straight out of the fridge as it will be too hard!)
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs (I prefer to use organic eggs)
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 heaped tbsp dried coffee mixed with 100mls of water
  • 100g walnut halves
For the icing you will need 200g of softened butter and 250g of icing sugar.


  1. Line a deep 18cm cake tin (loose-based or springform cake tin will be easier to get the cake out at the end). 
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Gradually mix in the egg, alternating with the sifted flour and add in the baking powder. 
  3. Beat in 1 tbsp of the coffee mixture and then add up to another tbsp little by little until the mixture drops easily off the spoon. Keep the rest of the coffee mixture for the icing. 
  4. Chop half of the walnuts and mix into the cake batter, keep the rest for the cake decoration.
  5. Spoon into the cake tin and cook for 40 minutes at  170C. You can check the cake to see if its cooked in the middle by putting a knife into the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean then the cake is cooked.
  6. For the icing add the icing sugar, butter and remaining coffee mixture to a bowl and mix until smooth.
  7. To decorate the cake  cut the cake into 3 slices horizontally and then sandwich the layers together with some of the icing (like a thick layer of icing). Ice the top of the cake with the rest of the icing and decorate with the rest of the walnuts.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Mussels aka moules marinière

Mussels are in season ANY month as long as it has an 'R' in the name (September to March). My dad always let us try his fish dinners when we were younger, it felt like a real treat to be eating what he was and I have grown up adoring mussels. This recipe is prefect with crusty bread and a large glass of white wine, so simple and it will definitely impress friends and family!

How to prepare mussels:

  • Make sure they are fresh and eat them on the day you buy them.
  • Throw away and mussels which are broken and ones which do not close if tapped or lightly squeezed.
  • Do not soak the mussels in water as they will drown, give them a few rises instead to get rid of any dirt or grit.
  • Clean the mussels under running water - take a knife and remove any barnacles from the outside shell, also pull out the 'beard' which is the fibres which emerge from the mussels shell (you can pull this out or cut it off with a knife).
  • You can store them in a bowl under a damp cloth in the fridge until they are needed.

Serves 4 people
  • 1 bag or mussels or 1.75 kg
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 100mls white wine
  • 120mls double cream
  • Chopped parsley to serve

  1. Fry the onion and the celery in a large pan for 5-10 minutes until softened, add in the garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes .
  2. Add in the wine and the mussels, give it a stir and leave the lid on for 4-5 minutes until the mussels have opened.
  3. Add in the cream and scatter the parsley.
Serve in big bowls with chips or crusty bread to mop up the juices with!