I am leaving this rainy country for sunnier climate, I am off to Spain tomorrow. One week of Sunshine and beach… hopefully. Beach and sunshine also means bikini and my body hasn’t been so forgiving to the scones, cookies and cakes I have been filling it with. Before I go I would like to share this feel good chocolate cake. I spent a while coming up for a name for this cake, I didn’t want the word healthy in the title as that suggests some tasteless, dry chocolate cake, which this is not. It is decadent and fudgy cake almost like a brownie. The wholemeal flour adds a nutty flavour and the honey creates a light sticky sweetness. It is not a low fat, weightloss cake but more of a whole food cake you eat to feel good. Its decadent but you feel happy after eating it plus their is no sugar or white flour. Enjoy and adios por ahora!!
Feel Good Chocolate Cake
I created a new way for adding chocolate to the chocolate cake. I finely ground the chocolate in a food processor until it resembled powder almost like cocoa powder. It adds to the fudgyness of the cake. I also use wholemeal flour but feel free to subsitute it with all purpose flour,
45og of wholemeal flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
3/4 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of oil
1 cup of honey
1 cup of yogurt/buttermilk
200g of chocolate powder (see above) or cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 170C degrees with a rack in the middle. Butter and flour an 20×20 square cake pan (I used a le crueset square stone dish 23cmx23).
Put the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Mix the egg, honey and oil in a jug. Add the yogurt and mix. Then pour the wet ingredients into the flour. Then add the chocolate powder and mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared dish and place in the oven for 40-50 minutes. The cake will be fudgy and slightly sticky so the skewer test wont work .Leave to cool and make the chocolate cream to frost.
1 cup of cream
150g of dark chocolate
80g of icing sugar (omit if not using very dark chocolate)
Melt the chocolate. Whip the cream to stiff peaks (but be careful you want it thick and creamy but you don’t want butter) Pour the chocolate over the cream and stir it in until all the chocolate is incorporated. Then fold in the sugar.Top the cooled cake with the chocolate frosting and spread evenly over top. Use a n offset spatula to create little swirls on the top.
I love going into town (Dublin) on a lazy Saturday not to shop but simply stroll around. I love rambling around Temple Bar especially Cows Lane, home to the lovely Queen of Tarts. Temple Bar is described as the cultural quarter of Dublin. It comes alive at night with it’s tourist focused lively night life but I love it during the day with its medieval streets and quirky shops. I love the little markets that take place in the meeting house square. Temple Bar is our little Greenwich Village. The other part of town that I love is between Grafton street and Temple Bar. It is probably less well known to tourists but these streets are filled with little cafes and vintage shops that create a holiday vibe. Georges Street Arcade is filled with fun shops and cafes. I am a huge fan of Yogism a self serve frozen yogurt bar that gives you a free yogurt if you guess the correct weight ( I did ). As you can imagine my when I go into town with friends I don’t drag them from food shop to vintage shop instead we spend our time on Grafton Street or Henry Street shopping on the high street which I do enjoy but sometimes I like to get away from it all and go to on a “me” trip into town. Occasionally I drag Sister No. One with me. Last time I took her I dragged her from Vintage store to Food store. I took base in Falllon and Byrne where I spent an hour “looking at bags of flour” to quote my sister. I loved it, as my sister pointed out only I could get excited at a shelf that had different types of flour. I finally decided on buying rye flour, I had never used it before but heard of it’s health benefits and eaten bread made from it. I returned home from Dublin satisfied with my two purchases a bag of bulgar wheat and and rye flour, Oh and a FroYo ( I didn’t guess right this time). I then looked for a nice sourdough rye to make with my new purchase but stumbled upon a pizza recipe form Green Kitchen Story I subsituted the spelt flour for rye and voila we had yummy pizza snacks.
200 ml of lukewarm water
2 tsp instant dry yeast
2 tsp sea salt
250g rye flour (we used light)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 can of tomatoes
1 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried oregano/basil
salt & black pepper to taste
4 pre boiled potatoes
250 g marinated artichoke hearts
100 g kalamata olives
1 courgette/pepper (cooked)
4 brown mushrooms, cut in quarters (cooked)
1/4 fennel, thin slices
300 g small tomatoes
Put the Rye flour in a bowl with the yeast make a well in the centre. Mix the salt and warm water in a jug and pour in the water until it comes to a kneadable dough. Knead for a couple of minutes, add additional flour if it sticks to your hands. Put the dough back in the bowl and drizzle it with olive oil. Work the dough until it’s completely covered in the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place for 1 – 2 hours.
Make the sauce by sauteing the onion and garlic in the oil. Then add the tomatoes and oregano. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes under a lid.
Preheat the oven to the HIGHEST temperature abour 270C if you have a pizza stone put it in the oven. Work the dough for about 1 minute, on a floured surface. Make 8 to 10 small portions. Stretch and flatten the dough until you get the desired size and thickness that you prefer and move it to a baking pan covered with parchment paper. Rye flour doesn’t stretch as good as wheat flour but if you work carefully and flatten it with the palm of your hand you will get it right. Brush the dough with 2 tbsp tomato sauce. Cover them with topping of your choice. Bake for about 10-15 min until the outer part of the topping and the edges are slightly burnt. Sprinkle with fresh goat cheese, a bit of olive oil, fresh aragula, salt and freshly grounded pepper. Serve immediately.
The bad thing about living in my house is I never get to be a guest in it. Mammy is a lot of things but one of her attributes is a wonderful host. Food plays a major role in her hosting skills. She buys and cooks everything and anything that the guest may or may not like. When you are staying in somebodies house getting feed well can change your whole opinion of the household, from somebody who went on Spanish exchange and only got one proper meal. This weekend we had two lovely girls staying in our house for Feile. A nationwide G.A.A competition for under fourteens. (Well done to Sister No. One and her team who made it to semi-final where they were beaten by a point to the eventual winners). When people stay in our house we live by the motto “remember as far as anybody knows we are a normal family”, the house is tidied, new towels are bought to match the bed linen, (Mammy has a thing about new towels) and lots of yummy food is bought. The milk get served from a jug rather than the usual carton, sugar put in a sugar bowl and the butter is put on the table, in a butter dish rather than the aluminum gold foil it comes wrapped in. I always think that breakfast is one of the most important meals to serve a guest but maybe that’s just because I am a breakfast lover. If I stay at somebodies house it just makes me all the happier to got a nice breakfast that morning. The Feile girls got pancakes, well technically they are crepes but the silky french crepes made it across the sea to Ireland before the fluffier american pancake. We have always called them pancakes unless they served in a French creperie of course. This crepe recipe is adapted from a Darina Allen recipe that has been used in our house every pancake Tuesday I can remember and other days in between. I didn’t want to scare the girls early in the morning with any buckwheat, rye or other brown healthy stuff, but the crepes would be lovely if you replaced 75g of the plain flour with buckwheat flour.
175g of plain flour
pinch of salt
2 eggs and 1-2 egg yolks
200 ml of water
225 ml of milk
Oil to grease pan
Put the flour and salt in a food processor and whizz to sieve. Beat the eggs and yolks in with the water and milk. Then with the processor still running slowly pour it into the flour. Leave to rest for a few hours or overnight in a fridge if possible, if not cook straight away. Remo ve from fridge and mix up the batter as it may have separated while resting. Grease a frying and pan and put it on the heat. Ladle in just enough batter to cover the base when you tilt and swirl the pan. Put the pan back on the heat; loosen the pancake around the edge with a non metal slice. Flip over, cook for a few seconds on the reverse side. Slide over onto a plate. Repeat until all the batter has been used up greasing pan every two or three.. Serve with toppings of your choice sweet or savory though I only ever serve them sweet
My serving suggestions maple syrup, toasted nuts and banana, honey and lemon, berry compote and yogurt, nutella and banana, chocolate sauce and almond
So it was Gay Pride week here in Dublin last week and the Gays and Lesbians of Dublin took to the streets and filled the City with colour.
The theme of this years parade was show your through colours and that certainly happened on the streets of Dublin last week. The festival was a huge success. Dublin is said to have more gay or bisexual per capita. Although Ireland has come along way in the last twenty years we are still have a long way to go. Same sex marriage is not recognized in Ireland although Civil Partnership entitles them to similar rights as married couple. This reminds me of a slogan I saw on the subway in New York ” If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married”. It’sissues like this that make me embarrassed to be part of the Catholic Church who have a zero tolerance of gay rights. To celebrate how far Ireland has come on the issue of LGBT rights, and to hope we can go further to allow these men and women equal rights, I made multicolored buns (not cupcakes)
Gay Pride Buns
makes 12 buns
I use imperial units as it is easier to remember for the buns
6oz self raising flour
6oz caster sugar
6oz of margarine
two to three drops of food colouring red, blue, yellow and green (I had no blue)
for the frosting
3 egg whites
280g of caster sugar
1 tsp of cream of tartar
Put 12 bun cases in a bun tin. Preheat the oven to 160C. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Sieve in the flour and mix well. Divide the mixture into five bowls put more in the first bowl and less as you go down the bowls. In the first bowl put the red colouring, the second put yellow (or orange), third put green, fourth put blue and fifth make purple with blue and red. Put a small spoonful of red into each case then using your finger make a little hole in the base to put the second colour in, repeat with each colour until you get to the purple. Then put in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes. Take out and leave to cool on a wire tray. Meanwhile make the frosting, Beat the sugar, cream of tartar and egg whites, in a heatproof bowl,unitl volumised ( I think its a word) and stiff. Then put it over a double broiler ( saucepan of hot water on the cooker) and continue mixing for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Then pipe on cooled buns.
I love to run but there are some mornings when I get up and the last thing I want to do is put on my running gear and go running. It’s never as bad when I have left the house but for some reason. I saw a slogan saying “The hardest steps for a runner is the first one out the door” I completely agree. I have come up with a few methods of getting myself out of bed and out the door.
Don’t think just do it. Make it part of a must do ritual like you wouldn’t start the day without brushing your teeth
Don’t allow any excuses-its cold, I have blisters, I am don’t feel well …. They all mean I am too lazy
Don’t think that one run won’t make a difference, it will make more of a difference than sitting at home.
Tell yourself you will only go out for a short one, then once you are out their decide how long it will be. Your up and out now might as well make it count.
Though there are some times when I am half way round my run I start sucking air. This is when I have to chant to myself ” I don’t stop when I am tired I stop when I am done”. I know they all sound cheesy but they work for me.
Another tip is tell youself you will whip up a batch of these pancakes when you get home, or even better get somebody else to make them while you are out.
So go on get up and run then stuff yourself with these
Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl Add the salt and sugar. Beat the egg with the milk and mix into the dry ingredients. Beat well making sure there are no lumps. Grease and heat a frying pan. When the pan is hot scoop spoonfuls of the mix onto the pan and turn down the heat. When the tops start to bubble flip the pancakes over and cook for 1-2 minutes on this side. Serve straight away with maple syrup or dusted with sugar.
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
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
The list is endless but the result is usually delicious
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).
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.
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
20g/1½oz plain flour
20g/1½oz cocoa powder, sifted
40g/3oz butter, melted
75ml of cream
two handfuls of raspberries
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
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.