Shortbread in the morning

I woke up way to early this morning. I was too lazy to go for a run so after stuffing my face with bagels, toast and a little bit of the left over lemon cake(my healthy eating habits go out the window on a morning after a party) I made shortbread, plain simple shortbread. I know shortbread can seem boring. It only has three ingredients butter, sugar, flour but that makes it all the more exciting. Shortbread can be dolled up and made posh simply add lavender, rosemary,mint, ginger, cinnamon, chocolate chips, hazelnuts, almonds, cocoa, the list is endless and to be honest a lot of them don’t sound that appetizing. Of course shortbread can also be used as a base to many bars – millionaire shortbread, lemon squares ect. but with all this changing people have began to overlook the basic recipe for a plain biscuit perfect with a “cuppa”.   There are a few shortbread recipes a want to try I think lemon mascarpone and olive oil shortbread sounds really nice but it was early in the morning and I didn’t have mascaropone or lemons so plain shortbread it was. Next time I might try make a wholemeal version of some kind. This recipe is loved by my 90-year-old Nanny so although It disobeys all diets I still insist on making it every now and then a one of life’s little luxuries when you get to 90 and have been through as much as her you deserve a lot of luxuries.

Shortbread

makes about 20 biscuits

adapted from “The Silver Palate Cookbook”

120z of softened butter

15oz of plain flour

4.5oz of granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 150C and line a prepare a baking tray sprinkling it with a little flour. Cream the sugar and butter. Mix in the flour to form a dough use your hands to form a dough. Roll it out to about 2cm thick and cut into desired shapes. P;ace on prepared baking tray (at this point you are meant to put them in the fridge it stops them from spreading when they cook I never have time to do it.) Cook for about 30 minutes they should still be pale on top but underneath will be golden. They will be soft and not look cooked but take them out as they firm while cooling. Sprinkle with some Caster sugar and leave on tray until cool as they break easily.

Sometimes when I am lazy and don’t want to stamp out 20 biscuits I divide the mixture into two balls and flatten with your hands in a round 25cm greased cake tin. I then make a few piercings in it with a fork and press  and go around the edge pressing down with a fork to get a nice pattern.  Cook for about 50 minutes and then, without moving it from tin, cut it up into wedges (like a pizza) when still hot. So you get triangle shaped shortbread

 

 

 

When life gives you lemons make Lemon Cake

Although it’s only March the weather has me in a summery mood and this lemon cake (requested by Sister Number one as her Birthday cake) seems like the perfect summer cake. Usually i make a plain Madeira mixture and add lemon zest and juice but a Jamie Oliver recipe caught my eye. “My Nans Lemon Drizzle Cake”. He adds poppy seeds which I love but Sister number one wanted plain lemon cake. Jamie also makes a lemon syrup which he pours over the cake before icing I omitted this.This cake has the addition of Almonds which makes it denser yet moister than regular Lemon cake. I divided the mixture in two tins and sandwiched them together with lemon curd for the photo. Then I made marzipan roses to top the cake.

Lemon Cake

adapted from Jamie Oliver “Cook with Jamie”

makes one 20cm cake

114g of unsalted butter

115g of caster sugar

4 large eggs

180g of almonds

zest and juice of one lemon

125g of self raising flour

for the icing

225g of Icing sugar

juice of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 160C

Grease a 20cm round spring form cake tin.

Using and electric whisk beat the butter and until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time. Fold in the almonds, lemon juice, zest and flour. Spoon into the tin and cook for 40 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean.  Allow cake to cool completely on a rack before icing. Mix the sugar and lemon juice together. Put on a serving plate and pour the icing into the middle of the cake. Then let it flow all over the cake to get the drizzle effect down the side. Gravity will eventually take over and give you this drizzle effect so don’t give it a helping hand or you will end up with too much drizzle.

Summer Sun and Moldy Bananas

As I have stated before I love many things about Ireland but the weather is not one. So when we do get a few days of sunshine the populations goes a little mad, sundresses are taken out from the back of wardrobes (for their annual wear), shops sell out of ice-cream and burnt faces and farmers tans surround the town. With the heat comes moldy bananas which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it gives you an excuse to make this Caribbean inspired banana bread.

Image

Serve with a fresh fruit salad and eat for breakfast in the sun for an ultimate Caribbean experience

Coconut Banana Bread  

Adapted from book Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant

makes 1 loaf

100g of softened butter

75g of brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup of mashed banana (about 3 bananas)

3 tablespoons of natural yogurt

1 tablespoon of lime (optional)

1/2 tsp of salt

3/4 cup of toasted dessicated coconut

125g of plain flour

60g of wholemeal flour

{30g of oat bran, 15g of wheat germ, 15g of wheat bran} OR 60g of wholemeal flour

1tsp of baking powder

20g of dessicated coconut to top

Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease of line a 9x5x3-inch loaf tin (standard loaf). Cream the butter and sugar. Stir in the eggs, yogurt, lime juice and bananas. Add the salt and coconut. Then sift in the dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and sprinkle the leftover coconut on top. Cook for 30 minutes reduce  heat to 160 and cook for another 30 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from tin and leave to cool before eating.

Variations: Add 1/2 tsp of ground ginger with the coconut, Add a handful of nuts or dried fruit before pouring into tin.

You could also add a handful of chocolate chips but I would leave out the lime then.

Mothers Day Almond Buns

Mothers day came late in our house but still it came. I think mothers day is a wonderful day its the one day a year where everybody celebrates the work of their mothers. Mammies have so much influence on our life and I am thankful that of all the mothers i could have got I got my mammy. Even though Mother’s day like Valentine’s day is a day promoted by the card, flower and chocolate industry, I don’t find it at all tacky ( and it’s not just because I am single). My mammy is a wonderful women she is the person who taught me how to cook from an early age. It is her I have to thank for introducing me to the wonderful world of food. She was the first person to feed me, cook for me and teach me to cook. She always encouraged us to try new foods and the importance of knowing how to prepare food. There are two foods I associate with my mammy they are coconut and almonds. Anytime I see any of those two ingredients I instantly think of Mammy. This recipe for Almond buns is a favorite of my mammy.Her sister used to get her these macaroon style pies from bakery and my mam treated them like gold dust. She had a rule that you must be quizzed to see your love for almonds before you can even try one. Any lack of enthusiasm for the humble nut and there was not a chance you were getting a bite of the almond bun. Even now that I have created my own recipe for almond buns you still must be quizzed before you cant try an almond bun.

Image

Almond Buns 

Adapted from Good Food Vegetarian magazine Christmas Special 2002

makes 12

for the pastry 

225g of plain flour

140g of butter

50g of golden caster sugar

one egg yolk

For the filling

175g of caster sugar

175g of ground almonds

25g of flaked or chopped almonds or cocunut (optional)

3 egg whites

1 tsp of almond essence ( this has quiet a distinctive taste omit if you don’t like it)

12 tsp of raspberry jam

50 g of flaked or chopped almonds to top

Make the pastry mix all the dry ingredients and butter together in a food processor to form crumbs. Add the yolk to form a dough add a tablespoon of cold water if needed. Chill for 20-30 minutes ( if you have time)

For the macaroon filling- mix the dry ingredients together stir in stiffly beaten egg whites and essence.

Preheat the ovend to 200C/ Gas 6

Roll out the dough fairly thinly and stamp out 12 3 inch/7.5cm rounds with a cookie cutter. Use them to line a greased bun tin. Put 1 tsp of jam in each pie and top with a large spoonful of macaroon. Top with the flaked or chopped almonds.(You can freeze the buns now for ukp to 6 months) Bake for about 15 minutes until the the top has gone chewy and golden. Leave in tin for 5 minutes then remove and cool on a wire rack

Variations: For a Christmas themed bun you could substitute the jam for mincemeat. Chocolate sauce or spread would make another substitution

This can be cooked in one large try and cut into squares. If doing use a 25 by 25 cm square tin and cook for 30-40 minutes at 180C

Butternut squash Muffins

In the past few years  I have seen cakes made from all sorts of vegetables – beetroot, parsnip, courgette etc. For some reason we find it perfectly acceptable to have carrot cake but when it comes to any other vegetable we shudder. I came across a recipe from Jamie Oliver for butternut squash muffins and with an old butternut squash at the back of the fridge I decided to give it a try.  Butternut squash, which is technically a fruit since it contains seeds, (so is a tomato, cucumber and courgette) outshines all other squashes when it comes to health benefits. It is low and calories  has no fat, sodium or cholesterol which makes it a perfect weight burning vegetable (or fruit). As well as aiding weight loss it also has high amounts of Vitamin A (good for your eyes) which gives it its vivid orange colour.  It is high in Fiber and Omega 3 fatty acids. You will also get plenty of vitamins when you eat butternut squash including Calcium, manganese and potassium. If its health benefits haven’t got you going to the shop to stock up on it, it also tastes really good roasted in a little oil. These muffins were tasty but I have to say I still prefer carrot cake. The butternut squash is a lot sweeter so I reduced the amount of sugar in the muffins still its a good recipe to use up butternut squash


Image

Butternut Squash Muffins

adapted from Jamie Oliver – Jamie at Home

makes about 12 large muffins

400g of butternut squash grated = one small squash (whizzed up food processor is easiest, no need to peel)

4 eggs

200g of plain flour

100g of wholemeal flour

2 tsp of baking powder

180g of light brown sugar

150 ml of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line a muffin tin with cases. Mix together the eggs and sugar. Add the grated butternut squash  then sift in the flour and baking powder. Finally mix in the oil. Using an ice cream scoop. Put a large scoop of mixture in each muffin case. Cook for 30 minutes.

Variations : They could be iced for a more luxurious muffins Jamie Oliver ices them with cream cheese icing but I think a marshmallow Italian meringue frosting might also go well with it for those who have a sweet tooth. For a healthier topping sprinkle granola or seeds on top before cooking

Nuts, raisins or seeds could be added after the oil

Sweet Potato could replace the squash

Yes I made it :-) Louis Vuitton Cake

It’s a friends Birthday tomorrow and I decided to make a cake to bring in to school for her. Lying in bed this morning I was trying to think of something witty or personal to make. My mind wasn’t working very well at seven this morning and I wasn’t able to think of anything all I could think of was a Louis Vuitton style cake. Now my friend likes fashion as does any 16 year old girl but she has not particular ties to Louis Vuitton. I decided I was up for a challenge and was going to make an LV cake. I goggled f or inspiration but most of results were professionally made cakes. I am just a girl with no training what so ever but anybody can do wonders with a bit of food colouring and ready roll icing.

about 15 oz of  sugar, 15 oz of butter and a lot of time and shouting this is what I got.  I am pretty proud of it to be honest. I am expecting a phone call from from Louis himself to hire me.

When I am making a cake I get frustrated and shout a lot at people around me (sorry sisters I didn’t mean it). I got up at seven and  made a Madeira cake.  Then I went back to bed and rose again at 11.00 to finish my creation.  I trimmed the cake and covered it in ready roll icing (left over from Christmas). Then for the tricky part stenciling in the trademark LV pattern.  I didn’t have a stencil so I printed of a pattern from the internet and then set down to work. I used a narrow paint brush and three food colourings green, red and yellow which i mixed to get an orangey shade as well.  Anybody who knows me will know that I turn into a wagon when I am cooking especially anything as intricate as this. So poor Sister number two got some nasty shouting this morning when she decided to eat her breakfast at the table beside where I was working. Despite all the anger the production of the cake ran relatively smoothly nothing burnt or fell, touch wood. It still has to survive a car journey to school tomorrow morning and make it in one piece until lunch when it will be devoured. We always notice that when you have a cake in school you suddenly get a lot of new friends around lunch time – but isn’t that what food is for sharing.

Madeira Sponge

I use ounces in this recipe because it has been handed down to me. It makes it easier just use the same amount of Self raising flour, caster sugar and Margerine and then half the amount of eggs

80z of self raising flour

80z of caster sugar

8oz of margerine

4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 160

Mix all the ingredients together in a food processor then pour into a prepared tin. I used a 28 cm round silicone tin. Cook for about 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.  Use a wooden skewer as stainless steel has not stick properties( A tip I learnt from the pastry chef at Chapter One).

Leave to cool

Meanwhile make a buttercream to stick the royal icing to the cake

Butter-cream

70g of butter softened

140g of icing sugar

Mix the above together and put aside

200g of ready roll white icing

100g of bought white marzipan ( I usually use homemade but when it comes to sugar craft the bought stuff is the perfect colour)

 1 custard cream biscuit or any rectangular biscuit

 4 shades of food colouring – I used green, red and yellow and made orange but obviously the best three to have are the primary colours)

4 small silver balls

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When the cake is completely cool trim the bottom off  to give it a flat bottom see photo. Then thinly, as if you were buttering bread, butter the butter-cream all over the cake. Next roll out the ready roll and cover the cake with it. Use your hands or palate knife to smooth out any creases and stick it to the cake. Trim off any extra around the edge. Neaten the edges with a palate knife. Then take a sheet with the LV pattern on it and place on top of the cake. With a pin, pressing firmly, trace over the pastern so it indents the cake.  Remove the sheet and place cake in bright light so you can see the pattern. Using a fine brush, food colouring and a lot of patience paint on the pattern. Leave to dry. Any mistakes can be rectified by rolling out a thin piece of ready roll,  covering the mistake and rubbing in the creases. When the food colouring had dried in roll out thin strips of Marzipan and put around the edges of the cake. Cut out two fan shaped pieces to cover the bottom corners and a thick stip for the handle. I made buckles for the handle from two biscutis cut to the size of a stamp with a smaller rectangle cut out of the middle. Use water to stick the marzipan to the cake.  I put two silver balls in the corner of each cake.

Stand back and admire your masterpiece. Take photos quickly incase any accidents happens to it.

xoxo T. Scrumptious

Whole Wheat Raspberry Scones

Today I started my second work experience placement today unlike last term, in Chapter One http://www.chapteronerestaurant.com/, this term is less exciting. It’s in a garden centre. To be fair its one of those “Celtic Tiger” gold five star garden centres that sells everything from jewellery to beds.How did I end up in a garden centre you might ask, well to be honest I’m not really sure. I applied to work in the cafe in the Garden Centre went for an interview and ended up being told I would work in the book section. I know nothing about gardening. All day people were coming up to me looking for plants or gardening accessories I had never heard of. One woman was looking for a Money plant??. Unknown to myself I found it and the women thanked and complemented me for my excellent knowledge of plants. The worst part of the day was as I was leaving the Garden Centre to go home I saw the bus drive right past me I tried, but failed, to chase after it. I then had to wait 40 minutes in the rain for the next bus. I arrived home starving and decided to make  scones. Though in previous posts I have praised the cookie I find I am more of a scone girl. I don’t mean the traditional English afternoon tea scones, thought I do like them, I mean the new modern “healthy” scones created by the Americans. This scones were first introduced to us this side of the atlantic as dry sandy scones by starbucks, but we saw the potential and improved them.  They are more like a mix of both the the English scone and American muffin with a little  bit of cookie thrown in. They come in all shapes and sizes (triangle, round, square etc.) and contain a variety of delicious health boosting super food from oats to goji berries. This particular recipe contains whole wheat (which I just found out is two words as is health boosting and super food) and one of my favourite ingredients ……. RASPBERRIES. This recipe was inspired by the famous wholewheat ricotta scones from Smitten Kitchen.but I adapted the recipe to suit my likings and my fridge. I make to adaptions of the recipe to see which I preferred best. After much nibbling and crumbling form an excellent tasting panel consisting of Mammy, Daddy and Sister number one  we decided on the winning scone. These scones don’t rise that much when cooking so resemble a fat cookie but they taste amazing

Whole Wheat Raspberry Scones
Makes 7 good sized scones


140g of wholewheat flour
135g of plain flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
65g of caster sugar
85g of softened butter
1/2 cup of natural yogurt
1 egg
half a cup of milk
1 cup of raspberries ( I used frozen)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Rub in the butter. Add the raspberries and crush them up a little with the wooden spoon. Be gentle thought you don’t want a puree. Then add the wet ingredients and combine well. When the mixture is almost all combined use your hands to bring it all together. The mixture should be a little wetter than a typical scone which makes it harder to work with but the result is delightfully moist. Flatten on a floured surface to a little over 1 inch tall. Stamp out into about 6-7 rounds and place on floured baking try. Cook in oven for about 20 minutes or until they are lightly golden all over and dry to touch on the bottom.

Award winning Oaty Raspberry Crumble

From 4th of March
Today is one of those days in Ireland that tricks you. I left my house this morning to go to my sisters camogie match looking out the  window I saw that the sun was shining and the sky was blue. “What a lovely day” I thought “I won’t need a jacket” but boy was I wrong. I spent all morning freezing on a sideline. I should have known, it is March after all, who am I kidding you need a jacket in June in Ireland. I was deceived by the blue sky  . I then feeling very energetic despite the cold went for a swim. There is something about swimming that makes you very hungry afterwords. I wanted something sweet but not wanting to undo my mornings work swimming I decided upon this Award Winning Oaty Raspberry Crumble. I love it because anybody who knows me will know I am healthy, I love oaty things and fruit. This is a combination of all three and of course it is award winning. Well I lie it’s not actually award winning but Runner Up Oaty Raspberry Crumble doesn’t have the same ring to it and I think it was worthy of first place.
The story is Sister number two who was only seven at the time entered this recipe  a kids cooking competition one night and we thought we would hear nothing of it again. Then about a month later Daddy received a phone call to say she had been chosen as a finalist and had to go to Hamleys Dundrum to prepare her dish. There was great excitement Sister number one and I even skipped training to go to Hamleys with her.  All the contestants were given a station to prepare their dish. Mammy, Sister number one and I watched anxiously from afar as Sister number two prepared the dish. It was one of the most nerve raking experiences of my life. “Oh no she is going to forget the sugar” or “How long has it been in the oven” we said to each other, but we should have trusted her she knew what she was doing. She didn’t forget the sugar and cooked it to perfection. Sadly to say she didn’t win despite all of us agreeing that it was the best dish there. So here it is our Almost Award Winning Oaty Raspberry Crumble.
Oaty Raspberry Crumble 
Serves a family of five or six
100g of oats
20g of coconut desiccated
10g of chopped almonds
5g of butter
2 tbs of honey
600g of raspberries ( I use frozen)
30g of sugar
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Put the oats, chopped almonds, butter, and cocunut into a saucepan and heat over a low heat, stirring constantly, until the butter has melted. Then add the honey and continue to heat for 2-3 minutes until it has turned slightly golden. Put the raspberries and sugar in a 25 by 25cm pie dish. Scatter over the oat mixture and place in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the raspberries are hot through and the tip is a dark golden colour. Eat warm served with natural yogurt ( for a healthy option) or vanilla ice cream ( for a naughty option).
You could of course use any fruit of your choice – apples, rhuabarb, pears ect. but if using a hard fruit I would stew it first and add sugar according to taste. I love  raspberry and apple together but try out whatever fruit you want to decide you like.

First Post and The Almighty Cookie

So here I am its a breezy March morning and I am about to post my first post on my blog. . I have taught long and hard about what should be my first recipe as first impressions only happen once. I decided on the last thing I made, which just happens to be Chocolate Chip Cookies (Adapted from the Avoca recipe). I have yet to met somebody who doesn’t love a cookie. There is something about cookies that makes them so appealing to all. The first chocolate chip cookie was make in 1937 when Ruth Graves Wakefield , of Whitman, Massachusetts, was making her favorite biscuit recipe and decided to add chunks of chocolate assuming they would melt into the mixture to form an utterly chocolate biscuit. Instead the chocolate held there shape and the first chocolate chip cookie was created. All I can say is thank God for Ruth Graves Wakefield.

This particular recipe  is a European cookie which is more like shortbread than the traditional soft baked american cookie . They are, or so  I have been told by friends, even better than the Marks and Spencer Cookies. Chewy yet crispy, deliciously buttery and just the perfect sweetness. They are so good that Mammy and Sister number one broke there Lenten promise to eat one, or two. I am sure God will forgive them for they are irresistible. They are in fact heaven in a bite . You use this as a base to any cookie and add what you wish. I used half and half white and milk chocolate but you could use any chocolate chips you wish or create your own combinations omitting the chocolate for dried fruit such as raisins, smarties, toffee chips or nuts. Personally I don’t like nuts in my cookies I always find you bite into them expecting it to be white chocolate and realize to your disappointment its a macadamia nut. I also don’t use chocolate chips instead I chop up a chocolate bar into large chunks so instead of lots of little pieces of chocolate you get large mouthfuls oozing from the cookie. Some people disagree with this method as they fear a bite of a cookie with no chocolate but, I say, that’s okay if you are guaranteed  the next bite will have a large chunk  Also if you want a chewier cookie you substitute the half the sugar for soft brown sugar. The world is your oyster when it comes to cookies enjoy. To make extra scrumptious sandwich two cookies together with vanilla ice cream to make a cookie sandwich mmmmmmmmm……..


My Utterly Irresistible Chocolate Cookies 
This recipe makes about 15 good sized cookies.

225g of butter
200g of granulated sugar
1 egg
1 drop of vanilla essence
250g of plain flour
1/2 tsp of baking soda
250g of chocolate chips of your choice

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla. Sieve in the flour and bread soda, then mix in the chocolate chips. Divide into 15 even sized balls and flatten. Place in lined baking sheet ( warning they spread while cooking). Leave in the fridge for an hour. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees or Gas mark 3. Cook for 20-25 minutes. I put them under the grill for 30 seconds to brown a little BUT WATCH THEM LIKE A HAWK if you do.

They are best served slightly cooled so that the biscuit has firmed but the chocolate is still gooey but either way they disappear fairly fast