Coconut and Chocolate Oaties


The recipe for these cookies is from an old book Mammy got years ago as a Christmas Present – Maida Heatter’s (rhymes with eaters) Book of Great Cookies first published in 1977. I never paid much attention to the book or Maida herself but there was one recipe that got a lot of attention in our house – Chocolate Oatmeal Cripsies.  Mammy used to make these cookies so often, we all loved them. Not only because they tasted good when they were cooked but because the raw mixture was delicious we used to fight over who got to lick the spoons.  I had been to busy making new recipes from blogs or new cookbook I hadn’t made the cookies in ages. They are really easy and the best part is licking the bowl clean at the end ( I have been making a lot of bread recently where you don’t get to do this). As the cooked an amazing aroma of chocolate and coconut filled the house, a smell I will forever associate with Mammy. I love how smell can evoke memories of people. These cookies are so delicious on their own but twice as nice sandwiched with vanilla ice cream enjoy.

Coconut and Chocolaty Oaties

  • 170g of semi-sweet chocolate (I used ½ semisweet and ½ bittersweet), cut into pieces
  • 60g  sifted all-purpose flour
  • 60g of wholemeal flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 150g of granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 90g old-fashioned or quick-cooking (not instant) oatmeal
  • 100g of dessicated coconut

Adjust two racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat to 170C. Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats or dus with flour.

Melt the chocolate in the top of a small double boiler over hot water on moderate heat. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, sift together the plain flour, baking soda, and salt, add the wholemeal flour and set aside. In the small bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter. Add the vanilla and the almond extracts and the sugar, and beat until blended. Beat in the egg and the melted chocolate. On low speed gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula and beating only until incorporated. Mix in the oatmeal and the coconut.

To divide the dough evenly: On a long piece of wax paper, place the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls in 15- equal mounds. Roll each mound between your hands to form a ball and place the balls on the cookie sheets at least 2 to 2½ inches apart, no closer.

Press the tops of the cookies with the back of the tines of a fork to flatten them to ½-inch thickness. First press all in one direction, and then press in the opposite direction.

Bake for about 15 minutes, reversing the sheets top to bottom and front to back once to ensure even browning. When done, the cookies will feel crusty on the tops, but semisoft in the centers— they will harden as they cool.

With a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to racks to cool.

“I’ll go tomorrow” Porridge

How do you start your mornings? In Spain I started my morning with this, a big bowl of cherries from the fruit shop next door to the apartment, and a crusty roll from the bakery two doors down. Then I went for a dip in the Sea in 20C water. I think it wold be a lot easier to get up everyday if I lived in Spain.

Back home in Ireland I usually start my day with a bowl of cereal or toast and whatever fruit is left in the bowl never very exciting.

Sometimes I go for a run ( only sometimes)

Other days I role over in bed and come up with some excuse and not even these will work. On the ” I’ll go for a long run tomorrow” mornings, I make myself this porridge so I feel good about myself. I find porridge is so wholesome it almost compensates for the run, or lack of it.

Porridge My Way 

I make porridge with pinhead oatmeal a.k.a  steel-cut oats a.k.a Irish oats. They take longer to cut but I prefer the texture. You could over course use rolled oats just follow the instructions on the packet. I cook it with all water but again thats just a preference use all milk or half and half for a creamier porridge. I make a big batch of pinhead oatmeal refrigerate it and then heat it up through out the week with a little water. 

Ingredients

One cup of steel cut oats

Four cups of water

Put the oats and water in a saucepan over the heat. Bring to the boil then simmer on a lower heat for 20-25 minutes. When the oats are creamy and tender, remove from heat . Serve immediately or allow to cool before transferring into air tight containers in the fridge. In the morning, add a splash of milk or water and reheat in the microwave or on the stove-top.

Toppings

For a little variety I like to serve my porrige with toppings here are some suggestions.

Nuts for Bananas porridge

1/2 a banana sliced.

4-5 almonds and hazelnuts (toasted)

3 tablespoons of toasted dessicated coconut

drizzle of maple syrup.

Arrange the slices of bananas on the porridge. Scatter over the nuts and coconut. Then drizzle with the syrup.

Blueberry Bliss porridge

1/2 cup of blueberries (frozen is okay)

1/2 cup of flaked almonds (toatsted)

drizzle of honey

Gently heat the blueberries over a low heat or microwave them for about 45-60 seconds. They should be soft but still hold their shape. Place on top of the porridge and scater over the flaked almonds. Drizzle with honey for sweetness.

Peach Melba Porridge

One peach sliced into wedges.

3-4 tablespoons of natural yogurt

4-5 raspberries

drizzle of honey

Place the yogurt in the center of the porridge. Then top with peaches and raspberries. Drizzle with honey

Apple Crumble Porridge

One apple chopped up

2-3 tablespoons of coconut

2 tablespoons of flaked almonds

1 table spoon of sunflower seeds

Fry the apple slices over a low heat with a little butter or oil to soften them. Toast the coconut, almonds and seeds until just golden. Arrange the softened apple on top of the porridge and scatter with nut topping.

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

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..

Bircher Muesli


Anybody who knows me knows I love breakfast. It is my favourite meal of the day. It is the only meal where it is acceptable to eat anything from Cake to sausages. Given my attatchment to the morning meal you can only imagine my excitement when I recently breakfasted at McNean house I had heard a lot about the breakfast and it didn’t fall short. One thing that I truly enjoyed was the Bircher Muesli. I am not a huge Muesli fan as I have voiced before but the Bircher muesli is a whole different ball game. I had heard about this type of muesli where the oats are soaked in milk and yogurt the night before but dared not make it for fear it would be soggy. Infact it wasn’t soggy at all it was extremly tasty and with just under 200 calories per serving it’s the perfect kick start to my detox weekend. Bircher muesli was first created by a 20th century physician to feed patients, althought it has been adapted to suite our modern taste, the idea remains the same.

Bircher-Style Muesli

adapted from the Jamie Magazine issue 26 February 12

This recipe is made the night before you wish to serve it. You can chop and change this recipe to suite your own personal change. I added fresh berries before eating it, instead of the dried fruit. Bananas, Kiwis, peaches and cubes of mango would aslo be rally nice in it.

makes 5 small servings

1 apple

1/2 a pear

1/2 a lemon

40ml of orange or apple juice

1/2 a small handful of dried fruit (optional)

1/2 a small handfull of nuts and seeds (optional) I used pumpkin, sunflower, almonds and pine nuts

250g of plain yogurt

50g of dessicated coconut

1 tbsp of honey

100ml of milk

Prepare the muesli a night in advance. Grate the apple and pear skin and all. Transfer to a bowl squeeze in the lemon juice add the orange juice. Roughly chop the dried fruit and nuts, add to the bowl. Add the yogurt and oats. Mix well to coat all the oats in the juice and yogurt. Stir in the honey. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge overnight. The next morning loosen with the milk . Serve in bowls with your cchoice of topping – honey, fresh or dried fruit, toasted nuts ect.  It will last 2 days covered in cling film in the fridge

Crunchy a.k.a Granola

Granola, or crunchy as it’s known in my house, has always been the naughtier cousin of the healthy muesli. Then again food is about enjoyment and who honestly enjoys a bowl of muesli. I love anything oaty but there is something about the dry uncooked oats that gives me the shivers. Granola is is enjoyable and this homemade recipe unlike the shop bought version contains no sugar ( just honey so the calories are still there) so it’s a little healthier. It’s delicious served with natural yogurt and fruit for breakfast it’s also yummy,, or so I’ve been told, as a topping to ice-cream sundae. Another option layer it in pretty jam jars with fruit or compete, granola and yogurt and serve for breakfast or healthy dessert. I also like to nibble at it dry through out the day but that’s just me.

Granola

makes one large tub that lasts a week in a airtight container

Measurements don’t have to be exact use it as a rough guideline

250g of oats

5 heaped tbs of honey

3 tbs of olive oil

handful of pumpkin seeds

handful of sunflower seeds

small handful of chopped almonds

small handful of hazelnuts (raw)

50g of dessicated unsweetened coconut

Preheat the oven to 180C. Put the oats and coconut in a saucepan and put on a low heat for about 2 minutes stirring regularly. Add the coconut and continue to stir. Add the seeds and nuts. Then add the honey continue to gently heat and mix it so the honey covers all the oats. Take off the heat and mix in the oil (the oil makes it crunchy). Pour onto a baking tray and cook in the oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Take it out every 5 minutes and give it a stir as the pieces on the edge cook quicker than the center.

The above recipe is just a guideline the first three ingredients are the base after that you can add what you wish.  Seeds and nuts go in before baking just ensure they are unsalted and raw (from experience poppy seeds don’t really work) dried fruit or chocolate can be added after baking. You can add as much or little extras as you like.

P.S I think the coconut is really nice in it so I would recommend  that unless you have a coconut phobia.

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

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.