Sunday, 23 December 2012

Mince Pies

This is a great Christmas treat, as a gift idea or if you wanted to make them instead of buying them this mix will make over 36 mini minced pies and the cost will minimal as most of the ingredients would be what you have at home already: flour, eggs, sugar, butter all you need to have in stock is a jar of minced meat.

                                              Ingredients;
1kg Sweet Pastry
1 Jar of Mince Meat
Frangipane: equal quantities of ground almonds, whole eggs, sugar, butter. 
I used 200g of each which made the 36 minced pies.




Method: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees/gas mark 6.
  2. Make the sweet pastry as described in the recipe below, leave for 30 minutes before using.
  3. Grease the tray and then line, I used a tian ring to cut out the bases, its lines the try and leaves a small rim in which to in-case the pie. 
  4. Then I put a small teaspoon amount of the mincemeat on each of the cases and then top with some frangipane, you only need a teaspoon as this will expand. 
  5. Then you pop the whole tray in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden and then set aside to cool, arrange on a plate and dust with icing sugar, there you have it mini homemade mince pies. 

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Pommes Fondant (Stock potatoes)

This recipe is great is you want a change for your Sunday dinner, The prep time isn't that much but the flavours are great!, I have decided to use these in the Christmas dinner this year, they never disappoint  This recipe is for about 8-10 People 


Pommes Fondant (Stock potatoes)

1.5kg Potatoes, Turned
250ml Clarified Butter
500ml Chicken Stock
Salt
Cracked peppercorns
Chopped Parsley


Method:

  1. Toss the potatoes in the butter until coloured
  2. Cover 2/3 with chicken stock and place in the preheated oven 220/ gas mark 7 for 45 minutes
  3. Brush with melted butter halfway through cooking
  4. Arrange on vegetable dishes and brush with melted butter and garnish with chopped parsley

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas Cake aka Fruit Cake

This is a classic in many Irish homes around the 8th of December homes will be filled with the smells of Christmas cake, the fruits, the spices, the alcohol. The cake is then offered to every visitor that walks in your door over Christmas, it is a shout out to Old Irish Traditions! In my family it isn't so much about the eating of the cake but stirring the batter and making a wish, it is a tradition we have been doing for as long as I can remember - that to me makes the Christmas cake.

454g Butter
454g Soft Brown Sugar
113g Currants
623g Sultanas
623g Raisins

170g Cherries
56g Dried Apricots
56g Ground Almonds
510g Plain Flour
8 Eggs
56g Dates
1 Tsp Mixed Spice
1 Tsp Cinnamon
113g Mixed Peel

Method:


  1. Cream the butter and the sugar, 
  2. Beat 6 eggs in a bowl and add to the batter, alternating with half of the flour and make a batter
  3. With the other half of the flour, cut all of the fruits in half; dates, apricots, cherries and mix through the flour
  4. Add the fruit to the batter and the rest of the ingredients 
  5. Adjust the consistency with whiskey
  6. Leave to sit overnight 
  7. Cook for 3.5 hours at gas mark 2/150 degrees 
  8. Decorate with almond paste or marzipan, then with either royal icing or fondant



Thursday, 13 December 2012

Gateaux Mille Feuille

This is a custard slice they aren't normally known by their french names. you can alter this to just creme Chantilly and by adding some coffee essence to the fondant and make a coffee slice. there are no measurement below because its all up to you, these are the ingredients but the sizes you want or the amount of fillings you want is entirely up to you!

Gateau Mille Feuille

Puff Paste Trimmings
Crème Patisserie
Raspberry Jam
Boiled Apricot Jam
Fondant Icing
Chocolate

Method:

  1. Cut the cooked paste into three even pieces, spread two layers with a light coating of jam. Spread an even layer of pastry cream on the first piece, place the second piece on top, repeat the process once more, finally placing the final layer on top with the reverse side up.
  2. Brush with boiling apricot glaze; allow to cool, pour a thin layer of fondant over the top, using a palette knife spread evenly over the top taking care not to draw crumbs through the icing.
  3.  Pipe lines of chocolate on top the length of the piece, using a small knife, draw the fondant and chocolate backwards and forwards at even spaces, thereby creating a marbled effect on top.
  4. To create the design (its called feathering) get a matchstick and before the mix sets run it against the chocolate piping. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Pecan Pie

Like the lemon tart this can be made in a large mould or divided out into tartlets, which are easier to serve but can me more time consuming to prep.

Pecan Pie

1 lb Sweet Pastry
250g Pecans
125g Hazelnuts
250g Brown Sugar
½ Large Spoon of Golden Syrup
2 Tablespoons of Brandy
100g Butter
3 Eggs

Method:

  1. Melt sugar, syrup, brand and butter over bain maire, mix eggs, vanilla and salt together. Beat egg, mix into cooled syrup and fold in roughly chopped nuts.
  2. Line a 9 in. flan ring with sweet paste.
  3. Pour on the pecan mixture. Bake 190 degrees/ gas mark 5 for 45-50 mins.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Creme Patisserie

This is more like the custard you would make for strawberries and custard. it does have custard powder in it other variations have only egg yolks but the can often result in sweet scrambled egg if not done properly. This makes a rich custard with the butter. This recipe would serve 4.

Crème Patisserie

1 ltr Milk
200g Sugar
80g Custard Powder
50g Butter
8 Egg Yolks

Method:

  1. Place milk and vanilla in a large saucepan and bring to the boil.
  2. In a separate bowl beat in egg yolks and sugar until a ribbon is formed when whisk is lifted from the mix.
  3. Work in the custard, taking care not to over mix.
  4. Strain and Pour the boiled milk onto the egg mixture, whisking quickly in order to avoid lumps forming.
  5. Return the mixture to a clean saucepan, place on a simmering heat and cook until the mixture boils and becomes thick and leaves the sides of the pan, it is important to whisk thoroughly while the mixture is being cooked Pour into a clean bowl, sprinkle with caster sugar, cover and allow to chill prior to use.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Sauces for Chicken

Chicken Veloute: 

80g Roux
½ Litre of Stock

Method:

  1. Cook the Roux until it reaches a blond stage and then add in the chicken stock bring to the boil and simmer for 30 mins. 
  2. Skimming every 10 mins.

Chicken Supreme: 

500ml White Chicken Stock
100g White Mushroom Trimmings
800ml Chicken Veloute
100ml Cream
75g Butter

Method:

  1. Place the white chicken stock and the mushrooms in a saucepan and reduce by half. 
  2. Add the chicken Veloute and reduce to a coating consistency. 
  3. Pass through a fine trainer. 
  4. Mix the butter in thoroughly away from the heat. 
  5. Finish with the cream and adjust the seasoning.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Chicken Bourguignon

This dish can be made in advance and then out in a slow cooker you dont have to use the chicken cut for saute you could use all breasts for a quick version or all oyster thighs for the long version. Anything on the bone would need more time to cook this should serve 4 people 

100g Butter
200g Lardons Blanched
30 Button Onions
40 Button Mushrooms
10 Portions of Chicken Cut for Sauté - an earlier blog post 
100g Finely Chopped Onion
300ml Red Wine
1 Clove of Garlic Crushed
10 Heart Shaded Croutons
500ml Demi-Glace
Parsley Chopped

Method:

  1. Heat the butter in a sauté pan then add the lardons, onions and finally the mushrooms, quickly fry until brown and remove. 
  2. Season the chicken, place in the saute pan and colour quickly on both sides. 
  3. Replace the garnish, cover with a lid and cook more slowly on the side of the stove. 
  4. Remove the breasts and the wings first; the legs will require extra cooking time. 
  5. Dress the cooked chicken and garnish in earthenware dishes, cover and keep warm. 
  6. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook. 
  7. Drain off the surplus fat, add the wine and reduce by two-thirds. 
  8. Add the demi-glace and reduce to a light coating consistency. 
  9. Adjust the seasoning, pass the sauce through a fine strainer over the garnish and the chicken, finish with the croutons with have had the tips dipped in parsley
Demi Glace: 

50g Clarified Butter
50g Flour
25g Tomato Puree
500ml Beef Stock

Method:

Add the ingredients to a pot and reduce by half


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Chocolate Sauce

This is a great accompaniment for ice-cream or brownies or chocolate fondant.

1000ml Cream
500ml Milk
600g Chocolate
Vanilla Pod

Method:


  1. Add the milk and cream to a pot and bring to the boil
  2. Add the vanilla pod and the chocolate and stir until all are fully combined
  3. Strain and allow to cool.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Ice-Cream Base

This is a nice recipe and it actually works, it makes Vanilla Ice-cream but of course you can add whatever flavour you want to it but make sure you add extra cream so it still has its smooth texture and will be easy to scoop. This recipe will make 2.5 litres of ice-cream.

TOP HINT: Make sure to check out the department stores after the holiday season just as the sale starts, I managed to find an ice-cream maker original price 90 euro and it was reduced to 40! - Bargain!

1700ml Cream
1500ml Milk
2 Vanilla Pods
800g Castor Sugar
800g Egg Yolks

Method:


  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the egg yolks
  2. Bring the mix to the boil
  3. Cool gently 
  4. Add the milk/ cream mixture to the egg yolks and whisk vigorously
  5. Return to the pot and cook until thickened
  6. Strain and cool.
  7. Then add to the ice cream maker, the one I have says to chill the bowl for 24 hours then churn the ice cream, done in 20 minutes and it's great. However if you don't have an ice-cream maker, you have to stir it while it is freezing to stop the ice crystals from forming.
  8. Once you have the basics you can add your flavours to this, although what is nicer then homemade creamy vanilla ice-cream? Well....chocolate ice-cream. 

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Shepherds Pie


Shepherds pie, is such a classic a great way to fill you up on a cold day, especially this time of the year, you can make it the night before so then all you have to do is put it in the oven and heat it. Serves 4.


Olive Oil 
700g Lamb Mince 
1  Carrot - finely chopped
1  Onion - finely diced
Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Thyme
2 Cloves of Garlic 
Salt
Pepper
Worcestershire Sauce 
Tomato Puree 
75ml Red Wine 
75ml Chicken Stock 


Potatoes:

660g Rooster Potatoes
35g Milk 
75g Butter 
Salt
Pepper
Egg Yolks (2)
35g Parmesan Cheese 


Method:


  1. Boil some water, throw some salt and your potatoes in, and set a timer for 15 minutes – start on your filling.  
  2. Upon the timer going off, take your potatoes out and strain the water off. 
  3. Put potatoes back into the pan, or into a medium mixing bowl.
  4. Mash the potatoes with their ingredients from above and keep warm (your filling should be about done by this point)
  5. Pour Olive Oil into a hot, rather large pan, then add meat. 
  6. Stir meat as if your life depends on it for a few minutes so it’s nice and brown, and broken into very small pieces. 
  7. Add your Rosemary, Thyme, and Garlic, then stir some more. 
  8. Quickly add your Carrot, and Onion, stir a little longer. 
  9. The idea at this point is to get everything to a minced consistency.
  10. Add Worcestershire Sauce, stir, add Tomato Puree, stir, add Red Wine and sweat down for a minute or two. 
  11. Add chicken stock and cook for 3 more minutes.
  12. Scoop your meat mixture into a deep casserole or other oven safe dish and then spoon the mash over the top. 
  13. Spread the mash over the top of the mix with the bottom of the spoon and then sprinkle a generous portion of Parmesan cheese over the top. 
  14. Poke the top with a fork several times to give it a peaked look and stick it in the oven at 200 degrees/ gas mark 6 for 18-20 minutes to brown the potatoes and set the pie. 

Monday, 29 October 2012

Pumpkin Soup


I was carving pumpkins for Halloween, and decided I was going to make a pumpkin pie and try out an American classic but halfway through stewing my pumpkin I decided that I would prefer soup - it's cold outside and everyone loves a bit of soup when it is cold outside! Serves 4. This recipe is slightly edited as I didn't roast the pumpkin but it makes it so much easier than scooping it out of the pumpkin.

1 Pumpkin - cut in half remove seeds
2 Small Onions - Rough Dice
2 Carrots - Rough Dice
1 Chicken Pot
Salt
Pepper
25g Butter
Cream
Parsley - To Garnish
Olive oil

Method:


  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200 degrees and put the pumpkin on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast until soft about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Preheat a saucepan and add the onions and carrots, cook for a few minutes then add the butter and put the lid on, leave for 5-10 minutes stirring occasionally. 
  3. When the pumpkin is cooked, scoop out the flesh and add it to the sweated vegetables.
  4. Blitz with a handgun and pass through a fine strainer.
  5. Add to a clean saucepan and bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Adjust the seasoning.


Saturday, 27 October 2012

Swiss Roll

I love Swiss Rolls i think they look great you can have whatever flavour you want i went with strawberries and creme Chantilly, but you could do chocolate and cream if you wanted. This makes 1 large swiss roll (no really it is quite large)


Swiss Roll Sponge

10 Eggs
226g Plain Flour
280g Caster Sugar
1 Tablespoon Liquid Glycerin
Vanilla Flavoring

Method:

  1. Weigh all ingredients carefully, prepare tins or sponge by lining with baking parchment and lightly brushing with melted butter and dusting lightly with flour.
  2. Sieve the flour onto a sheet of greaseproof paper.
  3. Place the eggs, sugar and glycerin in a mixing bowl, beating over warm water for five minutes until the mixture has reached a temperature of 37-38 degrees.
  4. Transfer the mix to machine and whisk until thick and creamy.
  5. Carefully fold in the flour taking care to avoid lumps in the mixture.
  6. Pour on to prepared trays, spread the mixture evenly to about 9mm in thickness using a palette knife or scraper.
  7. Bake in a hot oven at 232 for about 8 -10 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven, allow to cool, turn over onto sugared paper, the tops may be covered with a slightly dampened cloth to avoid edges drying or cracking

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Thai - Crispy Chicken with Basil

I decided to do something different and this dish is great, the oyster sauce and the fish sauce will last for ages in your cupboard its worth buying them you find them quite often in ethnic dishes. This recipe serves 2.


500g Chicken Breast, Thinly Sliced
1 Medium Onion, Thin Wedges
4-5 Garlic Cloves 
Red Pepper, Bite Size Pieces
4-5 Small Red Bird’s Eye Chili*         
½ Tsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Fish Sauce              
2 Tbsp Vegetable/Chicken Stock
2 Tbsp Oyster Sauce          
2 Handfuls Basil leaves

* this chili is really spicy if you don't really like spice go for a regular chili!

Method:

  1. Mix the chicken, garlic, chilies, fish sauce, and oyster sauce in a bowl.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Heat oil in a wok over a medium heat.
  4. When the oil seems hot, drop a few basil leaves into it.
  5. If they sizzle immediately the oil is ready.
  6. Fry three quarters of the basil leaves until they are crispy.
  7. Lift out and allow to drain, discard the oil.
  8. Heat oil in the same wok ad stir fry half of the chicken.
  9. Add stock and sugar to the wok, then the pepper and onion, and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
  10. Stir in the fresh basil leaves.
  11. Taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  12. Garnish with the crispy basil.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Scallops and Black Pudding

This is the type of fusion food that is common in Ireland you wouldn't normally a mix of meat and fish on the same plate. The flavours in this really compliment each-other. The only thing is I dont know if you can get black pudding in most other countries you could substitute for venison sausage or a spicy Italian sausage (you have to grill it so it has to be a fresh meat sausage) This is a single serving, usually I would say 3 scallops depending on the size is equal to a portion;


2/3 Scallops
1 Slice each of Black & White Pudding
I heaped tablespoon of Red Onion Marmalade
Pesto
Olive Oil

Red Onion Marmalade:

2 Red Onions
Glass of red wine
Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Caster Sugar
  1. Cracked Black Pepper
  2. Water 


Method:


  1. Heat a ridged grill pan and cook the slices of pudding. On the same pan, sear the scallops for 1 minute on each side
  2. Place the onion in the centre of the plate, stack the pudding and the scallops neatly on top and drizzle with the pesto.
  3. Marmalade: Slice the onions and sauté in oil over a low heat for several minutes. Season with the pepper, add the sugar, water and wine and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes until it reaches a shiny, jammy consistency.
  4. Pesto: Blend together 4oz Basil leaves, 1 teaspoon Pine Kernels, 4oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 4oz Grated Parmesan Cheese. If the consistency is too thick, add a teaspoon of cold water.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Cupcake Adventures; Mighty Mini Attacks

This week was the beginning and the end of the shortbread, I was finally done with the wedding favors but on with the Scottish themed shortbread - so shortbread with a variety of decorations to the Highland cow, to a thistle to a Scottish terrier, it was different getting to be very creative with the shortbread this week, all good things must come to an end though. Shortbread week ended and it was an attack of the Mighty Mini Cakes and the even Mightier Mini-Mini Cakes, it was a fierce battle some were fruit cakes which meant I had to face the dreaded marzipan - even thinking about it is horrifying, everything about marzipan is just wrong - I'm digressing. The Mini Cakes and the mini-mini cakes needed to be iced and then decorated, some were to be with a Scottish theme so with thistles and flags, some terriers, and some roses I also decorated some with flowers, stars and Happy Birthday just for the general public. This week though ended on a cupcake high with the "Wicked" themed cupcake tower, which was vanilla cupcakes with green decorations and it was on a black iced board with a green ribbon.

That's on for this installment of Cupcake Adventures tune in next time!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Black Bream with Basil and Peas ‘Bonne Femme’

This fish dish is great, Sea Bream can be quite expensive but if you buy it from a fishmongers and not a supermarket you would get a much better deal. Great for a Friday night dinner and the peas that accompany it are so good! This recipe serves 6


6 Black Bream Fillets, Skin On, About 175g Each
Small Handful Of Basil Leaves

 
Peas 'bonne femme':
250g Unsmoked Bacon Lardons
Olive Oil, For Cooking
Few Sprigs Of Thyme
150g Pearl Onions
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
600g Fresh Or Frozen Peas


Method:

  1. Remove any small bones from the fish fillets with tweezers. Score the skin of the bream fillets at 1cm intervals.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and place a few basil leaves on the flesh side.
  3. Place each fish fillet on a large piece of cling film and drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Wrap up to enclose the fillets in the cling film, twisting the ends to seal.
  5. For the peas bonne femme, fry the lardons with a little olive oil for 8-10 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
  6. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Add the onions and thyme to the pan and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender.
  7. In the meantime, bring a large pan of water to the boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer.
  8. Add the wrapped bream fillets and gently poach for about 10 minutes until the fish is opaque and cooked through. If the centre is not cooked through, poach for a further 2-3 minutes.
  9. Add the peas and crispy bacon to the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes until the peas are tender. Season well.
  10. Divide the peas. Unwrap the bream fillets and place on top of the vegetables, skin side up. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Cake adventures - June 2012

I have now completed my first month of cake adventures there has definitely been highs and lows, but it has all
been new and exciting adventures. After a well deserved break (in my opinion) I will be returning to Scotland after my brief reappearance in Dublin where I once again reclaimed my role as head chef!

Just a few words on cake adventures as I sit here in Starbucks in Dublin airport gloating over the fact I got through security with a bagful of Irish classics in my hand luggage! I have some soda bread, some homemade brown bread, a selection of soups, some chocolate and butter, I know what your thinking "surely chocolate tastes the same in Scotland" - no it doesn't it's a bit sweeter there, well to me!

Thinking about the nice weather there was a bit in Dublin this weekend unlike Scotland where the rain is the only thing you can be sure about but I will adapt I will return in 2 months with webbed feet I'm sure!

The cake adventures this month have been plentiful if I think about how much I got to do - some photos I have posted to my Facebook and how much I have learnt in only one month I can only imagine what I will get to see and do is very exiting for a young Irish girl to go to Scotland they expected me to come to work all "top of the morning laddy" and I expected them to wear kilts all the time and have bagpipes as a ringtone - they don't which is a bit disappointing!

Scotland has definitely been a change but something I'm not going to forget anytime soon, will keep you posted on how things are going.

Tune in next time for the next instalment of CAKE ADVENTURES!!!!!!!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Prawns in a Blanket

This is great for finger food, there isn't much prep or cooking involved, marinating and some careful folding of the pastry so the prawn doesn't fall out. If your doing finger food I would say allow 3 prawns per person. This is a great recipe as it requires you to go to the Chinese supermarket, if you haven't been there before this is going to be a treat. You could serve this with either some rice, some steamed vegetables or a simple side salad. Enjoy!


12 Large Prawns 
Chili Sauce/Plum Sauce
1 Tbsp Plain Flour              
Peanut Oil
2 Garlic Cloves    
12 Spring Roll Sheets
3 Coriander Roots              
White Pepper
Ginger, Roughly Sliced      
1.5  Tbsp Oyster Sauce

Method:

  1. To make the prawns easier to wrap, you can make incisions to straighten the prawns.
  2. Mix the flour and 3 tbsp of water in a small saucepan until smooth, stir and cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes or until thick and remove from the heat.
  3. Using a pestle and mortar / small blender, pound or blend the garlic, coriander roots and ginger together.
  4. In a bowl, combine the garlic paste with the prawns, oyster sauce, pepper and a pinch of salt.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for 2 hours, turning occasionally.
  6. Place a pastry wrap – fold the sheet in half, remove the prawn from the marinade and place it on the sheet with the tail sticking out of the top.
  7. Fold the bottom up and then the sides in to tightly to enclose the prawn.
  8. Seal the joins with the flour paste.
  9. Heat the oil; fry the prawns until golden brown.
  10. Transfer onto a serving plate, serve with chili or plum sauce.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Custard Sauce

This is perfect with crumble, its isn't custard it is a custard sauce which is a bit thinner than custard so don't worry if its not thick - its not supposed to be, Enjoy!

Custard Sauce

50g Castor Sugar
25g Custard Powder
½ Litre Milk
Vanilla Pod

Method:
  1. Mix sugar and custard powder together and dilute with a small quantity of cold milk.
  2. Boil remaining milk, with the vanilla pod , add in the custard and milk mixture and stir continuously to make sure there are no lumps and strain and cover 

Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Basics - Shortcrust Pastry

As I have said before I tend to make my own shortcrust and sweet pastry, this is more firm in texture and give a crumbly texture when cooked. Perfect for apple tarts, for the fruit tartlets from a previous post. This is a great recipe to start off then build your way up, the pastry can be frozen once made into a dough so some for now and some for later. If you are going to freeze it, it needs to be wrapped in cling film but try not to have it in a large ball, roll it to about 1-2 inches thick, this makes it slimmer for storage and won't take as long to defrost. Enjoy!

900g Soft /Cream Flour
456g Butter (Unsalted)
227g Castor Sugar
1/4 Pint of Milk
3 Eggs

Method:

  1. Mix the butter and the flour to a breadcrumb texture.
  2. Add the milk and the sugar.
  3. Add the eggs to form a dough.
  4. Wrap in cling film and store in the fridge.


*you need to allwo it to rest for 30 mintues before using.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Edinburgh and my cake adventures

Edinburgh is such a nice city to work in, even though I'm working 20 mins (by train) outside of the city it's still a quaint town to work in. With friendly people and some good craic it's almost like a home away from home, although they are very much into their tea and I'm so much more of a coffee person that's something I have to say I miss is coming down in the morning to a fresh pot of coffee mmmmm...... But now it's tea I like tea but coffee is my love - writing this while drinking a grande cappuccino from Starbucks.

I'm loving the cake adventures; making display cakes, getting some insider secrets to the world of decorating and coming up with new cupcake combinations - the possibilities are endless. I could pull a JK Rowling and one out with a best seller book called cake adventures about a girl from a far away land who travels across the wide ocean (ocean sounds better than Irish sea) to a far off magical place.... It could write itself!

I have been here ten days now and have gained so much experience I can only hope to gain so much more over the coming weeks and I will be a force to be reckoned with in the Irish cake community you can count on that.
You might want to start placing your orders now I might get to busy and too famous to do them - I wish!

Keep an eye out on the next instalment of Cake Adventures!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Fruit Tartlets

Now here is when you can show off all of the skills you have learned either from what I have given you so far (modest I know), cookery shows, cookbooks whatever or where-ever you get the inspiration These are  perfect for dinner parties as a great way to finish off the meal. It also makes it seem as if you have a great deal of skill when its actually a lot easier than it looks.

This isn't really a recipe it's a how to put it all together.

What You Need:

  1. Creme Patisserie Recipe 
  2. Sweet Pastry Recipe
  3. Selection of Fruit; strawberries, oranges, raspberries, blackberries ect..... apples and bananas don't really go well as once they are cut the oxidation process begins and they turn brown which doesn't make for an attractive dish. 
  4. Apricot Jam
Method:

  1. Make the pastry as stated in the recipe, 
  2. Bake blind* at 180/gas ark 4 for 12 minutes until the pastry is cooked
  3. Make the creme patisserie as stated in the recipe 
  4. Fill into the cooled, cooked pastry cases 
  5. Place the chopped fruit on the creme patisserie 
  6. Put the apricot jam in a pot and bring to the boil
  7. Using a pastry brush gently brush the apricot jam (now glaze) onto the fruit to give them a shine
*When baking blind you could using baking beans and then again you could not waste your money. Get cling film (it has to be oven proof - not all of them are!) or parchment paper and cut it an inch bigger than the mould  so that the sides don't collapse. Then fill the tarts with rice grains - you normally have this at home and it doesn't hinder the grains when you go to cook them after. Ask yourself what is better for your wallet - €5 for 70g of baking beans (bare in mind you need about 8 of these to blind bake 4 tartlets at a time) or spend €1.60 in Lidl or Aldi and buy 500g of rice - tough question I know. 

Friday, 25 May 2012

Tart Tatin

The thing about tart tatin is that it is made in a pan and put straight in the oven so you need to make sure your pan is oven proof, I bought a cast iron pan in Lidl for €25, make sure you keep an eye out for deals. That’s the main problem with tart tatin you could….. caramelise the apples a little and line a tart mould place the apples in and some puff pastry on top prick a few holes and cook it that way you could do individual ones and it would be a way around making them if you didn’t have an oven proof pan. Alternatively you can make mini individual ones using mini tart-let moulds with the apple on the bottom if it is not non stick you may need some parchment paper to help to take out the tart.



6 Medium Dessert Apples (Bramley)
1 Lemon – Juiced
113g Butter
227g Caster Sugar
255g Puff Pastry Trimmings

Method:

  1. Peel, core and halve the apples, sprinkle with the lemon juice, set aside to chill.
  2. Spread the butter evenly on the base of a sautuer, sprinkle the bottom of the pan with the sugar.
  3. Arrange the apples rounded side down on the bottom of the pan, cook on top of range till just coloured then cover with a disk of puff paste.
  4. Transfer to a hot oven and cook for a further 20 minutes, until the pastry is risen and golden.
  5. As soon as the tart is cook, carefully turn it out on to a round serving dish, the pastry is now on the
  6. Bottom with the apples on top, serve hot with vanilla ice cream

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Lemon Curd

Lemons, zingy, sweet, sour they are a little bit of everything, very versatile; lemon tart, lemon and poppy seed muffins, lemon ice-cream, lemon meringue pie. For most of these recipes you need a curd then you add that curd into whatever dessert you want. Light and refreshing - definitely something to try out. when you have it pop into a jar and leave it in the fridge, if all of the ingredients are fresh I would leave it maximum of 10 days.

Here is an idea for a quick fix dessert: all you need is some egg whites and some store bought puff pastry and you have easy lemon meringue pie. Lemon curd can also be added to a tartlet to make mini lemon tarts.
Lemon Curd:
180g Lemon Juice
400g Icing Sugar
50g Butter
100g Egg
200g Egg Yolk

Method:
1.      Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan and cook until it bubbles
2.      Stirring continuously
3.      Allow to cool

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Banana Sticky Toffee Pudding

This recipe is great for dinner parties as you can make a lot at one time, it is so indulgent and rich and yet it is surprisingly light with the banana and goes great with some butterscotch sauce and some vanilla ice -cream (homemade or store bought),  I was thought this recipe while on my summer placement, enjoy!

This should make 20-25 portions approx. and can last up to 10 days wrapped well and kept in the fridge, perfect for a party!

300ml Water
16g Bread Soda
333g (Dried) Dates
(you need to soak these ingredients overnight)

333g Bananas
250g Butter
500g Sugar
7 Eggs
500g Self-Raising Flour
3g Mixed Spice
3g Cinnamon
100g Yogurt

Method:


Prep Work:

  1. Combine all of the dry ingredients.
  2. It may be easier to pulse the date mix quickly just to break them down so you don't have large pieces of dates in the puddings.


  1. Cream the butter and the bananas, then add the sugar.
  2. Combine the yogurt and the dates. 
  3. Add the yogurt mix to the banana/sugar mix.
  4. Add the eggs to the mix.
  5. Then add the dry ingredients.
  6. Mix well and cook at 175/180 degrees or gas mark 4 for 30 mins. 
  7. Check it's cooked by using a knife.
Once these are done turn out onto a wire tray and allow to cool. while they are cooking in the oven you can be making the Butterscotch Sauce, now this can be tricky but i'm going to try and explain it as best i can:

This should make about 1 litre, it may seem like a lot but you need some to seal the puddings and then for serving. This dish is such a comfort food dish its perfect for winter. The sauce will also keep in the fridge and can be served with some ice cream it will last up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.

220g Sugar (252g)
64ml Water (96ml)
*64g Glucose
400ml Cream
20g Butter

* i didn't have glucose at home when i made this recipe, if you do fantastic but if you don't im gonna try and explain how to do it and get the same/similar results.

Method:

  1. Heat a saucepan on high heat, i have a gas cooker so its more of a direct heat and would give the best results electric stoves tend to remain at a set temperature. But everyone knows how to work in their own kitchen and knows how to use their appliances.
  2. Add the sugar, water and glucose to a saucepan, (if you have no glucose add half as extra sugar and half the amount as extra water, i have the measurements above in brackets).
  3. Bring this mix to the boil.
  4. Cook to a caramel stage, do not stir. 
  5. Allow the sugar to completely dissolve in the water.
  6. The colour should be reddish-brown, if you go further than this you risk burning the sugar.
  7. Once you have reached this stage add the cream, the sauce should slowly begin to thicken.
  8. Then add the butter.
  9. Allow to cool.
  10. Keep stored in the fridge. 
Next Stage:

Keep some of the sauce on the heat and dip the puddings into the sauce the just lightly coat them then return to the tray to cool, this just helps to retain their flavour by sealing them. This also helps to prolong their shelf life, it also gives them a moist appearance. 

And that's it! i really hope you enjoy this recipe, its a winter and party favourite yes the sauce is rich but the pudding itself is so light. I would serve this with some good quality vanilla ice-cream i usually make my own as i love the rich home-made ice-cream flavour. 

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Hob Nobs

I love Hob-Nobs they are a great biscuit for dipping, quite resilient. The portions of this mix depend on you whether you cut them big or small so i don't have a yield here. sorry.

450g Plain Flour
450g Butter
450g Castor Sugar
450g Porridge Oats
2 Tsp Baking Powder
4 Tsp Water
8 Tsp Golden Syrup
2 Tbsp Vanilla Essence

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees/ gas mark 3.
Cream the butter and sugar.
Add the flour, baking powder, oats.
Add the syrup and water.
Combine the mix well.
Bake for 5/8 minutes.
Allow to cool.

Enjoy!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Mango and Red Pepper Salsa

This recipe is perfect for a little starter of chips and dip or if your having people over and you dont want ot use the generic store bought salsa. I sometimes use this with Fajitas as the mango gives off a really nice sweet flavour and mixes well with the spices.

Mango and Red Pepper Salsa


1 Mango, Diced Small      

2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1/2 Large Red Bell Pepper, Diced Small    
2 Tsp Honey
50g Diced Red Onion, Diced Small               
½ Red Pepper, Finely Chopped
Chopped Coriander          
Pinch Dried Chili Flakes
2 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice  
½ Garlic Clove, Sliced
1 Tsp Ground Cumin       
½ Lemon -Juiced
Pinch Sea Salt    
1 Tsp Fish Sauce
1/2 Tsp Tabasco Sauce    
2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil     

Method:    

  1. Chop mango, red pepper, and red onion into pieces about 3/8 inch square, and combine in bowl.
  2. Mix lime juice, olive oil, ground cumin, green Tabasco and salt in small bowl, whisk together, and mix into salsa.
  3. Add chopped coriander and stir until combined.
  4. Add the soy sauce, honey, fish sauce, lemon juice, garlic, chilli and red pepper into a small bowl and stir well.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Moloughney's Clontarf

I went to Moloughney's in Clontarf for a Sunday lunch and it was just brilliant. The presentation was great and they really don't skimp on the portion sizes. There was three of us for lunch with each having 2 courses, 2 soft drinks and 3 coffees coming to a total of €71 euro. If you haven't been to Moloughney's you have to, with the brick walls and dark wood it creates such a nice setting for the restaurant. 


I opted for the chicken with a honey glaze which was served with baby carrots, mashed potato and a roast potato, the chicken was so moist, and the sweet and sticky honey glaze was really nice, it wasn't just a typical roast chicken dinner. The carrots were a bit al-dente which was perfect and the mash was seasoned perfectly and was proper mash -no lumps!


For the dessert I had the lemon tart, something light and refreshing at the end of the meal, this was served with some creme chantilly (cream with vanilla pods and some icing sugar) and a raspberry coulis, the lemon tart was fresh and zingy and the coulis was sweet the flavours all worked really well together and the plate was presented well with clean lines.


Overall really enjoyable meal, having been there more for breakfasts having the dinner was a nice change, will definitely be returning to Moloughney's


http://www.moloughneys.ie/ 
3 Vernon Avenue  Clontarf, Dublin 3
01 8330002



Thursday, 19 April 2012

Genoese Sponge

This is a great recipe for birthday cakes, different than the traditional sponge cake recipe. This makes 1 large cake.


Genoese Sponge

8 Eggs
226g Caster Sugar
255g Plain Flour
113g Melted Butter
Vanilla Flavoring If Required

Method:

  1. Weigh all ingredients carefully; prepare tins or sponge rings, by brushing bases and sides with melted butter and dusting lightly with flour.
  2. Sieve the flour into a dry clean bowl or sheet of grease-proof paper.
  3. Melt the butter and allow to cool.
  4. Place the eggs and sugar in a bowl, sit in a warm ban marie, beat the eggs and sugar until warm, whisk thoroughly until the mixture has increased in volume by at least three times carefully fold in the flour using a metal spoon, quickly follow this with the melted butter, make sure that all the flour has been incorporated and that no lumps have caught in the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Transfer the sponge mixture to the prepared moulds, filling to three quarters from the top.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 177 for 30 – 35 minutes, when cooked remove from oven, allow to cool, store and use as required NB Chocolate sponge : proceed as for recipe above except replacing 113g of flour with 113g cocoa powder or drinking chocolate
You can then make it look well fancy by piping on a design onto the top of the cake but practice first on a plate because if you make a mistake you can't take it back, its just about confidence I kind of messed up on my design some of the lines are thick and others are thin, but it doesn't matter it adds character :)

Monday, 16 April 2012

What's For Dinner? - Chicken Parmigiana

I was so tempted to title the post "Anyone can cook!" as this is not my own recipe it's my sisters - so all the credit goes to her! She has had dish dish several times, especially in Australia - apparently is a staple on the menu over there. This serves 4

4 Chicken Fillets
4 Slices of White Bread - Bread-crumbed
Salt and Pepper
100g White Cheddar Cheese -Grated
1 Tin of Tomatoes
1 Pinch of Sugar
1 Tsp Fresh Basil
2 Eggs

Method:


  1. Preheat the oven to to 190 degrees / gas mark 5
  2. Place the chicken on a chopping board and put some cling film over it and using a wooden mallet or a rolling pin, flatten the chicken fillet slightly - don't beat it to a thin strip!
  3. Beat the eggs into a bowl and then coat them int he breadcrumbs
  4. It would be best to season the bread-crumbs with a little salt and pepper
  5. Place a non stick pan on a high heat - NO OIL, and cook the chicken on both sides, til slightly firm
  6. Then put on a roasting tray and put in the oven for 7 minutes
  7. To make the sauce combine the tin of tomatoes with some salt and pepper and a bit of sugar, then add the fresh basil
  8. After the 7 minutes add the sauce to the chicken and cook for a further 7 mins 
  9. Then add the cheese and remove from the oven once the cheese is melted 
  10. You can serve this with pasta or with a salad during the summer 

Friday, 13 April 2012

Beef Strognaoff

Beef Stroganoff, is one of those classic dishes but i have added some extra vegetables and a bit of spice to give a different flavour. I like my food with a bit of a spice, but if you don't you could always leave out the peppers and Tabasco. Serves 2

Beef Stroganoff

500g good quality beef (sirloin)
Mushrooms
1 white small-medium onion
½ red pepper
½ green pepper
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
500ml light cream
Dash of Tabasco 

Method:

  1. Chop the meat up into dice size cubes and quickly fry on a hot pan until lightly browned then remove immediately
  2. Then in the same pan soften the onion, mushrooms and peppers then add the mustard and seasoning if desired, then add the cream and reduce by half once the cream has been reduced  add the meat and cook until the meat is still soft to touch and then  serve immediately. 
  3. This dish is best served with rice pilaff.