Ice Cream Cake - a recipe, a good one 

Summer is over.  Sadly!  Are you crying?  I have to admit I'm not overly happy about the prospect of chilly air, feet in shoes and socks, and leaves falling.  Well scrap that last one actually, leaves falling is a canopy of glorious colour.  But the dark nights, not so sure about those.  Yet again there is the rather special light in November.

Lots of people will be giving you recipes for potpies, apple tarts, warming rustic soups, and me, well I am giving you a recipe for ice-cream cake!  As ice-cream although associated with summer, is really perfect anytime of the year, night or day.  Ice-cream soft, slippery and sensational, sweet on the tongue, cooling on the throat and rich.  It is the most beautiful food.

Over the summer I saw a picture of an ice-cream cake, and was immediately intrigued, and started playing with recipes.  Ice-cream cake is really a question of layering, the ingredients, wrapping, flash freezing and serving.  You can trust me when I say, it will all be gone, all of it in one go.

Children adore making ice-cream cake.  It's controlled messy.  Piles of sweeties, squishy marshmallows, oreo cookies to crunch, sprinkles, lots of sprinkles, because truly, sprinkles just make everything better.

If you are making this with children, make sure their hands are very clean, and keep some anti-bact wipes on hand as little hands go into the ice cream and into bowls of sweeties.  As well as into little mouths.

With children and teens back at school this week, a comfortable treat is needed at the weekend, and ice cream cake is possibly the most decadent divine dessert to make at times like this.

You can shake up the ingredients as much as you wish, the secret is all in the layering.  I've made this one with chocolate swiss roll cake, but you could just as easily use pound cake spread thickly with nutuella.

Ice Cream Cake Recipe



  • 1 pound cake thinly sliced and spread with nutuella or 1 chocolate swiss roll sliced
  • 2 litres of ice cream - I used a litre each of vanilla and raspberry ruffle
  • 1 packet of oreos crushed
  • 1 bag of mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of smarties
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup of sprinkles depending on how many children you have helping


There are two ways to do this, either using a clear glass bowl which will look beautiful as the layers of the ice cream cake can be seen clearly through glass.  Or use baking paper to line a dish then place on a serving plate.



  1. Using a freezerproof bowl layer slices of cake with ice cream and sweets, cookies and sprinkles alternatively, until you have used all your ingredients.
  2. Flash freeze for up to 30 minutes - too long and it will go rock hard and be very unplesant to eat
  3. Serve in slices or scoops



That's it for now ...



Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable


q&a with Marie Lacey

It is really exciting to kick off our new series q&a with Marie Lacey, the Director of the Belfast Community Gospel Choir.

As a journalist it is my job to find and listen  'the story'.  In pursuit of this I have had the honour of meeting a lot of people throughout the world and getting all sorts of insider glances and glimpses of their lives.  It is a real privilege and one of the most favoured parts of my job - to talk to and interview people and hear some of their story, so I am thrilled to introduce this new series q&a to you.

q&a short for question and answer it is a new series of interviews on Salt and Sparkle, taking the form of a question and answer format.  

Each interview will feature the same questions but I can assure you the answers will be very different and really interesting.

q&a will feature interviews with people from across the world, who I have met, or have been introduced to.  

Who are you, what’s it like being you ...

I’m Marie Lacey, daughter of Alex and Margaret Leebody (sadly both gone now) sister of older brother John, wife of Lynas and Mum of Jonathan.  I’m the Director of the Belfast Community Gospel Choir who are just AWESOME! I can honestly say I love being me. I know that could come across conceited and I don’t want it to, but I really do love who God created me to be.

I love the family and friends He has put in my life and I love the experiences, challenges, highs and lows that life has brought as in every situation I’ve proved God to be faithful. Now do I like everything ABOUT me, well that's another matter. I would love to be slimmer, have thick hair and perfect skin, no arthritis, no back ache, blah blah blah - but I am what I am and I’m contented.

Where are you from, where are you based ...

Born and bred in East Belfast, just off the Newtownards Road. I still live in East Belfast. My mum once said “when you cross the bridge you’re in another city” and that seems to have stuck. I cannot imagine myself living anywhere but in the East!


Talk about your work ...

I spent most of my working life as an office administrator and enjoyed singing, performing and leading the worship in my church in my free time. That all changed in 2009 when I formed the Belfast Community Gospel Choir and that is now my full time job … rather my vocation for it is 24/7 and I love every minute of it.

What are your future plans ...

Home life – Lynas and I hope to sell our house and downsize to a little bungalow (in the EAST lol!) I very much hope that my 28yr old son will settle down and make me a granny! I want to tour more with BCGC as our recent tour to New York was absolutely tremendous and changed us as a choir, both in our relationships with one another and our performance skill.

How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...  

In great music artists are write amazing, truthful songs. I absolutely love KIRK FRANKLIN and all the great black gospel performers. They take music to another level!

Describe your space ... 

Warm and welcoming, not always tidy – in fact seldom tidy, but I live in an atmosphere of PEACE and that’s what’s most important.

How are you feeling today ... 


A non-negotiable in your life is ...


Most encouraging words you have ever heard ...

I am more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ!

Your work life philosophy is ...

Do everything to the glory of God.

What is your favourite smell ...


Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ...

At the minute TASHA COBBS her voice is incredible

Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ...

Medium cooked rib eye steak with buttery mash, sautéed mushrooms and onions.  CHOCOLATE. CHOCOLATE and CHOCOLATE!

Three things or products that have changed your life ...

" title="" class="">Macbook Pro " title="" class="">Dulop Latex PillowBible.

How do you relax ...

TV and Movies. Bit of an addict actually – when I find the time.

What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ...

Phone calls from my son. Saturday or Sunday road trips with Lynas. Great scenery! Great food!  Great music!  Having said all that, I know this is shallow but you’ll never find me more happy than when I’m strolling around an AMERICAN SHOPPING MALL – they’re the best.

What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ...  

I absolutely love visiting the USA and have visited quite a few states. Would like to visit Colorado and more of the southern states like Alabama and Louisiana.

What do you most value in your friends ...


What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ...

I’m not a reader – never have been. I’m too impatient to get to the end of the story. My favourite words are LOVE. PLEASE. JOY. PEACE. HOPE.

Share some words of wisdom ...

NEVER give up on a dream. Do not waste your time in the company of negative and cynical people. Surround yourself with positive, encouraging and honest friends. 


It was a pleasure to talk to you Marie.

Until next time.

That's it for now ...



Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable



End of Summer


As the long evenings end, and light begins to fade, feet that had made for flipflops and going barefoot, slip uncomfortably into shoes.  Socks feel constricting and I mourn the lost of the length of light in the day.

That's it for now ...


Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable


Stay creative over the weekend

How do you like to stay creative?

That's it for now ...


Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable


The Thief of Joy


That's it for now ...



Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable


Secret Garden at the Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast

The Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast was filled with the ethereal light for its summer party. The lobby transformed to a luminous glade from Shakespeare's Midsummer's Night Dream.   

Florist Tim Kirkpatrick from Floral Earth used soft and delicate blooms arranged with gentle grace in tones of pale pinks and blue, against green mosses, and branches.  Tim's talent shone through in the refinement of his arrangements, the causal eclective nature of the arrangements which takes a very trained and skilled eye to achieve so readily.

Jam jars packed with poseys, sat on side tables the sweet heady scent of sweetpea filling the air.

Hydrangeas in blues and greens, sat with hurricane lamps and flickering candle light.  The trendy lobby of the Fitzwilliam Hotel took on the atmosphere of a secret garden, to which only a few had a key.

Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Coach at FrankFit Brian Cahill joined by the manager of Tommy Hilfiger, Belfast, Sarah Cahill.

Glamourous and fun Grainne McGarvey owner of Pulse PR, and writer of G-Spots for The Belfast Times

The Fitzwilliam's lobby was filled with the sound of funk jazz.

Sarah from Smarts Communicate looking very pretty with flowers in her hair.

The Fitz Berry Blitz - my favourite soft cocktail combining bramble berry flavours and mint, was refreshing with just the right amount of zing.

Glasses of wine, and funky martini's in hues to match the flowers were the alcoholic drinks of the evening.

But the food, oh the food.  The Fitzwilliam Hotel do canapes brilliantly.  And I was dazzled by the sweet salty flavour combinations during the summer party.  Salted caramel eclairs with chocolate salt meringue and lemon meringue mini pies.  The lemon curd was zesty and soft which contrasted well on the palate with the smooth crisp of the meringue, and the pastry cases were crunchy and perfectly cooked.

Dill brought a fresh flavour  to the sweet brown bread, goat's cheese and roasted pepper bite sized canapes.


 The Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast is one of the best Hotels and venues the city has to offer.  Its fresh funky boutique appeal, excellent service (the staff remember your name), well thought out menu and bar, the clean interiors and wonderful beds make the customer feel very special.  It is one of my favourite places to hang out and I hope it will become yours too.

That's it for now ...




Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable


Sláinte its Friday, time for a Dingle Vodka Lemon Drop 

Sláinte its Friday! Cocktail time.  Are you excited, because I am.  Today we are delighted to share with you a recipe that has got our tastebuds popping, using a sublime Vodka from a place called Dingle on the south west coast of Ireland.  

Dingle Distillery Pot Still Vodka

Doesn't the word Dingle, just make you smile.

Say it aloud for a moment.


Now add Pot Stilled vodka, and think Friday cocktail, and I know for sure your smile has just got bigger.


Dingle Distillery is an artisan distillery launched in 2012, one of five in Ireland, situated in the old Fitzgerald saw mill the copper stills and casks are beginningage the spirit which will in turn become Dingle whiskey.  

The spirit needs to be aged for at least three years to be called whiskey, so while the Dingle spirit is aging, the distillery have produced bottles of both Dingle Vodka and Gin.  

Vodka is a neutral spirit which can be distilled from virtually anything that ferments including potatoes. However, the very best vodkas start their lives as a grain - like the Spring Wheat used to make Dingle Vodka.  

'Whiskey is in the waiting' and the quality of water is intergal to the end product.  Dingle Vodka benefits from using the same water as its whiskey.  Water which has filtered through the beautiful Dingle Mountains for hundreds of years before being pumped up from nearly 300 feet below ground.

Created in a single copper pot still, Dingle Vodka is the purest vodka I have ever tasted.  I would go so far as to say it is one of the very best sipped by Salt and Sparkle.

It has a clarity and internal smooth energy that is not found easily.  

Clear, clean and sweet Dingle Vodka has a soft gentle flavour, that is creamy on the palate, with just an aroma of vanilla.

Dingle Distillery Vodka has a freshness that makes it very enjoyable to drink without ice or mixers.  The vodka however, should have been in the freezer preferably overnight to allow it to become really really cold.

Good cocktails, just like good food, always begin life as superb ingredients.  And, the clean fresh flavours of Dingle Vodka, heavenly match with lemonzest and lemonsugar syrup.

Lemondrops are simple and sublime, are favourite type of food and drinks.   Make lemon sugar by mixing lemon zest and superfine caster sugar, then add in equal measure to lemon juice, and stir untill dissolved. The sweet zesty scent, will transport you towards heaven while you do so.

Squeeze a lot of lemons, I typically go for two per drink, add the zest to the bottom of a pitcher or glass, and cover with ice, then stir in the vodka and lemon sugar syrup.  Serve immediately with straws if the fancy takes.

Dingle Vodka Lemon Drop Recipe mixes four large cocktails


  • 3 cups ice cold vodka
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • Zest of eight lemons
  • Ice




  1. Make lemon sugar by mixing lemon zest and sugar
  2. Add the lemon juice to the sugar and stir to dissolve
  3. In a pitcher or mixing glass stir the vodka, lemonjuice sugar and ice
  4. Add either lemon slices or zest to the bottom of tall glasses, fill the glass with ice then pour over the cocktail.


That's it for now ...



Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable


The Dingle Whiskey Distillery, Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland

 +353 86 829 9944