Raspberry and Pine Nut Muffins

As I have already told you Mammy has instilled in me the importance of being a good host. She also has taught us that it’s not enough to be a good host but also a good guest. “Don’t leave wet towels on the floor”,  she would warn us before we stayed in anybody else’s house. “Offer to help around the house” “Be polite and don’t fight with each other” she would warn my sisters and I . Whenever we were packed off to stay with Aunties or friends our behavior was impeccable. We obeyed Mammy’s rules as we knew the significance of being a good guest. One other rule that Mammy had was bring something to the hostess. I have learned that the best sort of gifts for this occasion are the edible ones and brownie points if its is homemade and if it is homemade and contains a combination of butter and sugar, well then your just sucking up. Recently I spent two nights at a friends house while my family went to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Kerry. I obeyed all of Mammy’s guest rules, no towels were left on floors and I brought a homemade loaf of bread and these yummy raspberry pine nut muffins (I replaced the butter with oil so I am not quiet sucking up).

Rasberry and Pine Nut Muffins adapted from the BBC Good Food 
100ml of canola oil
25g lightly toasted pine nuts
1 tbsp milk
400g self-raising flour
175g golden caster sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 large eggs
284ml carton buttermilk
225g fresh or frozen raspberries

Preheat the oven to 180C

Line a 12 whole muffin tin with muffin cases. Mix the flour, toasted pine nuts, sugar and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs, then mix in the buttermilk and oil. Stir this into the flour mixture until almost combined – it will need only a few stirs and the mix will feel light and airy. Tip in the raspberries, give a few more stirs to finish the mixing, but don’t overbeat or the mix will toughen. Spoon the mix into the muffin tins using an ice cream scoop – they will be very full.bake for about 25 mins until risen and golden. Let them cool in the tin a few minutes, then move to a cooling rack best eaten on the day buat within 2 days.

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“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.

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

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

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.

The Best FroYo Sundae

Summer approaches and the weather is getting nicer… Who am I kidding I live in Ireland we already had our week of summer last March but the evenings are getting longer and their is a nicer summer breeze in the air.The sound of ice-cream vans ring around the town in the afternoons.  I was never a huge ’99 fan but their is something about them in the heat. The whipped ice-cream is filled with calories and saturated fat and their is always questions about the cleanliness of the machine it comes from. The above makes a lot of parents reluctant to give it to their kids. One cunning mother told her little boy that when the van plays music it means their is no ice-cream left. The poor innocent boy fell for his mothers  plan and evertime he heard the van he would say “Oh no, it has no ice-cream left”. Something relativly new to this side of the Atlantic is Frozen Yogurt. The ever so popular treat in America has just reached Irish shores within the last year with outlets such as Froberry opening up. Frozen Yogurt is simular to whipped ice-cream with less fat and caloires and hopefully more hygienic. I could eat it all day only problem is I can’t afford it. The healthy alternitive to ice-cream turns out also to be the expencive alternitive. After binge eating on not so healthy foods last week and with plans to do it again next week I deceided to begin my detox weekend with this Frozen Yogurt.

Mixed Berry Frozen Yogurt Sundae

This recipe is easy to make and a lot cheaper than the bought. The Yogurt can be frozen after making it but best eaten straight away. Don’t be afraid to experiment with whatever berries or frozen fruit you have. If you add more juice to the Fro Yo you it can be served as a berry smoothie mmmm….

makes two sundaes

for the yogurt

100ml of orange juice

one banana

3/4 cup of frozen raspberries

1/2 cup of frozen strawberries (slightly softened depending on the strength of your blender)

1/2 cup of frozen bluebererries

150ml of natural yogurt ( I always use Glenisk I don’t think any other natural yogurt compares to it but use the best you can afford)

for the sundae

200ml of  natural yogurt yogurt100

100ml of melted frozen berries

berries to top it

To make the yogurt put the juice, then yogurt, then banana then berries in the blender and blend to form a smooth creamy consistency.

Get your serving glass and put 100ml of natural yogurt in the bottem. Next layer the melted berries and finish with tree scoops of the Fro Yo. Top with the berries and whatevery garnishes take your fancy.

Enjoy

Our Daily Bread

I am mad about bread. I love all types but brown soda bread is something i believe to be above all other breads. I almost get offended at non-Irish people who announce their dislike for the bread. Maybe it’s because they haven’t tried homemade soda bread instead they are basing their judgement on the dry, sour green bread you get in supermarkets – not a scratch on the homemade version. Mammy and her Sisters  take bread very seriously they share recipes,methods and slices regularly (unfortunately one has been omitted from this circle since she was diagnosed with celiac disease, now she is pitied). I find wherever you may go if there is good bread the place can’t be too bad. I find kindred spirits in those who make bread. This Particular recipe is from a cousin of Mammy’s it contains lots of different grains and “healthy stuff” but the result is a really wholesome loaf. It is so simple to make and lovely served with anything from soup to paté but I like it with this homemade raspberry jam for breakfast.

Mary Breens Brown Bread

225g of wholewheat flour

70g of wholemeal flour

40g of wheatgerm

40g of oat bran

40g of wheat bran

40g of pin head oatmeal

3 rounded tsp of bread soda

pinch of salt

500ml of butter milk (or natural yogurt)

Seeds/rolled oats to top it (optional)

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 2b loaf tin with loaf liners (handy pieces of grease proof paper made to fit in a loaf tin availible at good supermarkets or kitchen shops) or grease it well. Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Slowly mix in the milk. Stir well until all the mixture is comined. It should resemble thick porridge. Pour into loaf tin and flatten with the back of a fork. Top with seeds or oats if using. Place in oven and cook for about 50 minutes. The loaf is cooked when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottem. I would reccomend taking it out of the tin for the last 10 minutes and turning it upside down.

Rasperry Jam

Any sort of berry can be used in this jam. Raspberries are the easiest as they have high level of pectin but logan berries, blackberries,  are also good. If using strawberries add a squeeze of lemon to help it set.

400g of Raspberries ( I use Frozen)

400g of sugar

Put a saucer in the fride this will be used to test the jam later.Put the raspberries into a large saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring slowly. Cook for 25 minutes. Meanwhile put the sugar in the bottom of a low oven to heat through. Stir the sugar into the raspberries and cook for about 15 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat up and boil for 10 minutes. To test the jam and see if it’s done, remove the saucer from the fridge and put a small spoonful of jam on it. Leave for a minute or so, then Push the jam with your finger if the it wrinkles it is set. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Remove any scum that has formed on the surface before potting in sterilised jars and seal tightly.

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

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.