I dream of scones

Okay I have a problem… last night I had my third dream this month that included baked goods. The first was about chocolate cake, the last two have been about scones. Yes I have dreams about round sweetened biscuit like cakes. In these dreams the scones are  lightest, yet flakiest most perfect scone I have ever eaten and I am against the clock to find the recipe for them. Real thriller material.  So while most girls my age dream of this…..

I dream of this….

So this morning I decided, after I went for a run (keeping to my To Do List), I needed to make scones. Real scones, not the american biscuit like scones that are nice but taste more like cookies than scones. These are genuine round fluffy scones. Made with white flour, butter, eggs, buttermilk and sugar. They must be round, not triangle or square shaped, they can not include oats or any wholemeal flour or they will loose their fluffiness and despite what some recipes think they must contain eggs. This combination makes them buttery but not short, fluffy but not spongey, light yet crumbly – In other words heaven in a bite

So here it is my Perfect real scone

makes 15 scones

450g of self raising flour

30g of sugar

85 of softened butter

1/2 tsp of baking powder

220ml of butter milk

1 egg beaten

150g of mixed berries ( I use frozen)

egg and milk to glaze

Preheat oven to 185C. Sift the flour, baking powder into a bowl, add the sugar. Rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then using your finger tips lift up the crumb like mixture a few times to incorporate air. Make a well in the center and pour in the  egg and half the milk. Using a fork mix the mixture. Now add in the berries and mix.

Add in the rest of the milk, you want a moist yet dry dough so you might not need it all. Then quickly work the dough into a ball. Do not over work or knead the dough. Flatten out on a floured surface and flatten to about 3cm thick. Using a 6cm round cookie cutter cut out roughly 15 scones. Place on a floured tray and brush with glaze cook for 15-20 minutes. Until they are lightly golden and well risen.

variations: There is limitless ways to serve these here are some suggestions

  • plain
  • add 60g of coconut with the flour
  • change the berries for raisins, currants or other dried fruit
  • add lemon and orange rind with the flour
  • put almond essence in with the milk and put slices of pear on top before cooking
  • chocolate chips

The list is endless but the result is usually delicious

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Summer Solstice Cake

It’s summer solstice today from this day forward, we’ll start losing just a bit of that precious sunlight day by day, until we reach the shortest day of the year,  Dec. 21.It’s hard to be in that summery mood since it’s  been raining non stop since five o’clock. Despite that I decided to make a summer to do list ( I didn’t get very far).

  1. Run more
  2. Eat less
  3. Bake more ……..

With the third To Do on my To Do List I got distracted and the list transformed into a To Bake list. I spent hours scrolling through Smitten Kitchen  marking the recipes I want to make this summer. I ended up wanting to make almost everything in the blog – how I am going to fit 6 years of baking into two months beats me. The other problem is my To Bake list didn’t stop with Smitten Kitchen I explored other blogs and soon my list spilled off the internet and into my many cookbooks. This research also began to question my ability to keep To Do number 2. Maybe if I just run more then I can allow myself that extra indulgence after… it is summer after all.

I began my summer baking with fruit and and nut bread which rose unlike last time

Then I moved on to a sort of Swiss roll or Roulade with a summer inspired cream and raspberry filling.

Rolly chocolate cake with raspberry and cream 

3free-range egg whites

15g/1oz granulated sugar

11g/8oz ground almonds

115g/8oz icing sugar, sifted

3free-range eggs

20g/1½oz plain flour

20g/1½oz cocoa powder, sifted

40g/3oz butter, melted

Filling

75ml of cream

two handfuls of raspberries

topping

80g of dark melted chocolate

30ml of cream

Preheat the oven to 200C. Whisk the egg whits until stiff then mix in the caster sugar. Mix the almonds, icing sugar, whole eggs in another bowl for about three minutes until it is thick and has increased in volume. Sift in the flour and cocoa and fold in. Fold in the butter and then the egg whites. Grease and line a 46cm x 33cm/18in x 13in baking tray. Pour the mixture in to the tray and spread to the corners. Bake for 5-7 minutes, firm to touch and cooked through. Remove the cakes from the oven, cover with a large piece of greaseproof paper and carefully turn out the cakes. Peel off the greaseproof paper from the bottom of the tin. leave to cool while you make the filling. Whip the cream until it is thick then spread on cool cake. Scatter the raspberries over the cake and roll up.

Roll up like a Swiss roll, starting with one of the short edges, roll tightly to start with and use the paper to help. Don’t worry if it cracks – that’s quite normal and part of its charm! to make the topping mix the melted chocolate with the cream and pour on top. I garnished the cake with chopped hazelnuts

Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb

Mammy came back from Nanny’s with one and half kilos of fresh rhubarb. The bag had been sitting in our back kitchen while I debated what to do with it. I had recipes for crumbles, cobblers, cakes, muffins and even macaroons floating around my head. Finally I decided on rhubarb “tart”. Rhubarb tart is a traditionally Irish afternoon tea specialty. It is not actually a tart in the sense of lemon tart or chocolate tart and it isn’t baked in a traditional tart tin instead it is baked in a special tin made for Irish rhubarb and apple tarts. They are similar to plates but have a deeper dish than a dinner plate (some people use plates). In my family these tarts are made for every gathering or occasion. I have gotten to know the tart plates of the good cooks so I know which tart to look out for on the table. The qualities of a good tart are debatable first of all the pastry must be light, crisp and just the right amount of flakiness, the filling should be neither to tart nor to sweet and cooked to perfection. It is the quantities of each that create the controversy. I like lots of fruit and thin pastry while my granny likes to be able to cut her tart and for it to keep shape, for this she is mean with the fruit and generous with the pastry. When my little sister was born my auntie came over with heaps of tarts, bread and ham to bagsie the role of Godmother. Mammy says she couldn’t turn her down after she tried the tarts. Tarts last well about a week, my nanny stores hers in the oven which often results in disaster as the oven is preheated for dinner and the tart forgotten about until the smell of burnt sugar and pastry emerges from the oven. This tart is lovely served warm with ice cream or custard or cold with a cup of tea. In my family tarts are served with cups of tea like other people serve biscuits.

Rhubarb tart

makes two tarts

1 quantity of pastry from smitten kitchen – best pastry I have tried to date

1,300 g of rhubarb chopped

300g of brown sugar

200g of granulated sugar

50g of ground almonds

squeeze of lemon juice

1 egg yolk blended with milk to glaze

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a tart tin or deep dinner plate. Roll out 1/4 of the pastry very thinly using lots of flour. Line the tart tin with the pastry. Mix all the ingredients bar the glaze together. Put half of the rhubarb on top of the pastry it will pile high. . Using a little of the glaze brush it around the edge of the pastry so that the top will stick to it. Roll out another quarter of the pastry very thinly. Put it over the rhubarb and using a fork press it to the pastry on the bottom. Run a knife around the edge of the tin to get rid of any excess pastry. Glaze the top with a pastry brush and the egg yolk mixture. Prong a fork into the pastry lid to stop steam building up inside. Repeat with the remainder pastry and fruit. ( I usually get bored by this stage and make rustic free standing tarts. Simply roll out the pastry a little thicker. Pop the rhubarb on top and scrunch up the edges over the rhubarb.) Put in the oven and cook for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden and the fruit is soft

Daddy’s Day Coffee Cake

Today is the day dedicated to Daddies all around the country, it’s a small way of saying thanks for all the wonderful things they do for us. Th

e first word of most children is Da Da or some variation of the paternal name. As we grow up we begin to use this title to help us deal wit

h our little daily distresses.

When the computer just shuts down I scream “Dad”

When the lawn has to be mowed “Dad”

When we need money to go out “Dad”

When a mouse can be heard scratching
in the walls “Dad”When somebody wakes up at four in the morning and gets sick all over the bed “Dad”

When helps is needed with maths “Dad”

When the rooms need repainting “Dad”

When a lift to match/training/rehearsals is needed “Dad”

Despite all the abuse my daddy receives living in a house with four girls he was perfectly happy to paint the bathroom when it needed painting and didn’t object to the chosen colour….. pink whisper. I think Daddy has accepted the fact he is outnumbered and will just set back and watch desperate housewives or rent the newest chick flick to watch. He is quiet conte

nt at the table as we discuss shoes, clothes, hair ect. He understands that hair clips/bands/bobbins can hurt when you are wearing a helmet playing camogie. Daddy has gotten used to the feminine life that surrounds himbut sometimes he needs a break when we go away he has a shoot ‘m up movie marathon and every day he sneaks away down to the local coffee shop for his daily intake of cappuccino. Daddy loves his coffee and that is why I am dedicating this recipe for Coffee Cake to my daddy who has driven me all over the country for matches, has sat threw my less than pleasant school concerts and will protect me from any harm in the future.

Coffee Cake adapted from BBC GoodFood 

1 tbsp coffee granules, plus 1 tsp

225g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

50g ground almonds

85g light muscovado sugar

50g golden caster sugar

eggs , beaten

250g natural yogurt

75ml walnut oil/canola oil/ sunflower oil

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Oil and bottom-line a 25cm round (6cm deep) loose-bottom tin. For the cake, mix the coffee with 2 tsp warm water and set aside. Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the

baking powder, ground almonds, both sugars (use fingers to rub out any lumps from the muscovado)  then make a dip in the center. Put the eggs, yogurt, oil and coffee mix into the dip and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon so everything is evenly mixed. Spoon the mixture into the tin, smooth the top to level it, then bake for 40-45 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the tin briefly, then turn it out and peel off the lining paper. Leave to cool completely before serving.

I like to serve this cake plain with a cuppa as a mid morning snack but if you want to serve it as as dessert it would be nice iced with a chocolate ganache or coffee butter cream. The original recipe uses a cream cheese filling which sounds really nice and a coffee fondant to top..

My Very Retro Upside Down Pineapple Cake

My recent trip to Madison, Wisconsin has put a vintage theme on my life. Madison is a quirky town studded with vintage shops and hippies. On returning to the cold and wet Dublin I tried to continued my life in retro style. Yesterday I enjoyed a shopping spree into town with me, myself and I. It was a wonderful experience I could go where I wanted when I wanted, I wasn’t had no time limits or agenda and just wandered from shop to shop. I spent most of my time in George’s Street Arcade which is filled with quirky shops I bought a ring made of a 5p coin in Beaux bows and a vintage style clock pendent necklace in bobay banshee. I also enjoyed wandering around in the other vintage shops along the street including Om Diva which has vintage clothing but also new Irish designers . Apart from having cute shops Georges street Arcade has wonderful foodie outlets I enjoyed a FroYo from Yogism, where if you guess the weight correctly you get the yogurt free I was off by about 100g (maybe next time). I decided to continue on this vintage theme into  my cooking and what screams retro cake more than upside down pineapple cake. I know it’s cliche so I tweaked it a little bit. Instead of the sickening red glace cherry I used raspberries and I used a wholemeal batter for the cake and omitted the caramel topping . Simply because I bought the wrong ones I used cubes of pineapple and not the usual rings that top the traditional rings which are probably nicer. This cake is one of those cakes that you will go for a second slice because it seems healthy despite the butter and sugar and then maybe take serve up another slice the next morning for breakfast because it is wholemeal after all how bad can it be for you. In my opinion cake for breakfast is the ultimate luxury.

Retro Upside Down Pineapple Cake

For the cake adapted from whole wheat pound cake from joy the baker

250g  of white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour

30g of   of plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

15og of butter, at room temperature250g of caster sugar
1/2 cup honey

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

for the topping
8 pineapple rings or 200g of cubed pineapple
handful of raspberries fresh or frozenre
prehheat oven to 160 degrees C.  Butter and flour the a 28 cm round tin

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whip the butter, sugar and honey on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the vanilla extract.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about one minute after each addition.  Scrape down the bowl as needed.  Add the d

ry mixture and buttermilk in three additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is evenly incorporate. Lay the pineapple rings or cubes in the prepared tin. In the center of each ring place a raspberry dot the spare raspberries around the place. Pour the batter on top in spoonfuls then spread it out.

Put it in preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes  . leave to cool slightly before turning up and putting on a wire tray pineapple side up.

It all started with a cookie ….

I began this blog back in March with a cookie recipe since then it has grown and expanded. Like this blog, this recipe for Chocolate Chip Oat Bars began with or as a cookie recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks. I changed the recipe around and was delighted to take out of the oven the most delicious wholesome oaty cookies. I love that feeling you get when you stumble upon a new recipe to add to your collection.  I decided to make these cookies again as they are so easy, just mix all ingredient together, but I was feeling extremely lazy at the time and didn’t want to roll out each cookie individually. Instead I divided the mixture in three and pressed it into three lined loaf tins. When they came out of the oven I cut them into bars. The result was more than amazing, they were like flapjacks only they didn’t have that sickeningly sweet golden syrup taste.

Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

250g of rolled oats

125g of wholewheat flour

45g of wheat bran

2 eggs

200ml of rapeseed oil

130 of golden brown sugar

1 tsp of baking soda

1.5 tsp of baking powder

200g of dark chocolate chopped

1tsp of vanilla essence

50g of dessicated coconut (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Then add in the chocolate chips and mix again. Stir in the wet ingredients. Stir well with a wooden spoon to incorporate all of the dry ingredients. Divide the mixture into three and press into three lined loaf tins. Cook for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cut the loafs each into 5 bars to give you a total of 15 bars.

Variation

Instead of cooking them in the loaf tins you could spoon them out onto a tray (it makes about 20) flatten them and cook them at 180C for 15-20 minutes

For the love of Cookbooks

I love Cookbooks. I read them like novels, each recipe is a new chapter . Usually I am not a fan of cookbooks that don’t have pictures but there is one exception – “The New Baisics Cookbook” by Sheila Lukins and Julee Russo, former owners of the Silver Palate Deli. This cookbook was given to Mammy by a close friend about 30 years ago in America. The spine has fallen off and it the book has divided into about four different sections. Pages that have fallen out are stapled back on other loved recipes are stained from eggs and cake batter. To make matters worse it smells of old, damp paper but despite all its faults Mammy refuses to replace it. I recently went to visit the giver of the book  in the States I discovered her book had, had a similar fate. I was delighted to discover that she had the third book by the “Silver Palate Girls” “The Good Times Cookbook”. Shelia Lukins and Julee Russo, who co-owned the small deli in  Upper West Side New York, were my heroes when I was little. The Whenever we had  a dinner party there book was referred to for the famous “Chicken Marbella ” which has become Mammy’s signature company dinner. At Christmas it was there “Old Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies” that Santa enjoyed and there brownie was served on our table long before it became popular this side of the Atlantic. In this new book I stumbled upon a recipe for biscotti or more correctly known as biscotti de Prato. I was never a huge fan of the very hard twice baked biscuit I found it almost impossible to eat but decided to give it a try .  This recipe the biscuit is a little bit softer than the traditional biscuit but the flavour is really good what can go wrong with hazelnuts and chocolate

Chocolate and Hazelnut Biscotti

makes 20

Adapted from “The Good Times Cookbook” by Sheila Lukins and Julee Russo

2 eggs

50g of dark chocolate chips

50 g of hazelnuts toasted, skinned  and bashed with a rolling pin

50g of sugar

20ml of vegtable oil

1 tsp of vanilla extract

150g of white flour

60g of wheat bran/wheat germ or a combination

1 tsp of baking powder

1/2 tsp of salt

Preheat the oven to 190C

Beat eggs and sugars in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Add oil and vanilla; mix thoroughly. Whisk flour and wheat bran/germ, baking powder and salt together in another bowl; add to sugar mixture. Mix until blended; stir in nuts and chocolate.

Briefly knead the dough. Firmly shape into a log 3 inches wide ( be sure to make the loaf compact. Pat it solidly, so when you cut it into slices, the cookies won’t crumble). Place log on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake until golden, 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand until cool enough to handle. Cut log into slices about 1/2 an inch thick. Return to the oven for about 5 minutes on each side (longer if you want them crunchier). Leave to cool before serving they last up to a week in an airtight container but can be frozen for as long as three months.

Variations: You could change the nuts to pistachio, almonds ect. Dried fruit could replace the chocolate. The original recipe is Apricot and Pistachio which sounds like a really nice combination. The biscuits could be drizzled with melted chocolate after cooking. Or if you are not a fan of whole meal or don’t have wheat bran white flour or ground almonds could replace it. If using the ground almonds replace the vanilla with almond extract for extra flavour.

Eagle Egg and Meringues

Okay okay I haven’t been that good recently on writing posts but I have reasonable excuses I have been very busy. First I was preoccupied with Gaisce hikes and end of school trips Sailing and Carlingford when I returned home I was in no mode to cook, then there was my trip to Chicago which I am still recovering from and unlike other jet lags this one has not sprung upon me an unreasonable need to bake bread at three in the morning. So this post will be short and sweet. I will finally get the chance to share with you the incredibly large egg that I bought in the farmers market.  Nicknamed eagle egg.

Image

I used the egg to make meringues which are oh so simple to make, delicious to eat and very forgiving on your figure.

Meringues 

50g of caster sugar for every normal sized medium egg white

I usually use 4 egg whites to make about 12 large meringues

I like to swirl pink food colouring into the mixture for a little bit of prettiness

Preheat the oven to 120C Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff with an electric mixer. The trick is to turn the bowl upside down and if the the mixture falls out it wasn’t stiff enough. I have yet to have this problem be careful not to overbeat. Fold in the sugar 20g at a time. When all the sugar is incorporated swirl in the pink colouring to get a marble effect. Don’t overmix as you don’t want a pink meringue. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and swirl out into disks it should make about 12-15 large meringues. or 24-30 smaller ones. Cook for one hour then turn the oven off and leave to cool in the oven. Serve with fresh fruit and cream.

Variations

you could fold in 3-4 tablespoons of roasted chopped nuts or dessicated coconut. Fold 2 tbs of sieved cocoa for chocolate meringues and sandwich them together with a chocolate ganache.