Archive for February, 2009

:: Caramel Apple Sauce

Happy Pancake Tuesday!  I hope you have your batter ready!  If not find the recipe in the post below.  This caramel apple sauce is perfect for pancakes and ideal to jazz up pancake Tuesday.  I’m in Stockholm and away from the kitchen this week so have a few pancakes on me.

Caramel Apple Sauce

I originally made this to go with pancakes but it works so well as part of other desserts like waffles, ice cream, and even my American style oaty pancakes!

75g of butter.
5 tablespoons of golden syrup.
3 golden delicious apples, peeled and cored.
1 tablespoon of caster sugar.
1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder.

In a small sauce pan bring the butter and golden syrup to the boil.  Allow to simmer and bubble for approximately 4-5 minutes or until the sauce thickens.  Set aside.
Chop the apples into chunky slices.  Melt a knob of butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the apples slices.  Sprinkle over the cinnamon and caster sugar, toss to combine.  Fry the apples, tossing every now and then until you get a nice golden colour on all sides and they have become soft (About 3-4 minutes either side).  When the apples are ready, add them to the butter and golden syrup sauce and stir gently to combine.
Serve the sauce with homemade pancakes and some sneaky vanilla ice cream!

February 24, 2009 at 7:28 am 18 comments

:: Basic Pancake Recipe

Since it’s pancake Tuesday tomorrow, I thought I’d post a basic pancake recipe so you can prepare the batter ahead of time- Tomorrow I have a super tasty caramel apple sauce to post which goes perfect with pancakes, so stay tuned for that!

This recipe is a little nostalgic for me, it comes from a Delia Smith cookbook, “Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course”, which is one of the oldest cook book’s we have in our house.  The first page is signed by my auntie Ann who had bought it for my mom as a belated Christmas present and is dated January the 22nd 1983.  The book is full of old cards, notes, and handwritten recipes which have been collected over the years.  Pancakes were one of the first things I learned to cook and when I actually went to check up the proper quantities, the pages were partially stuck together and full of splatters- which is for me, the sign of a truly great recipe!

Basic Pancake Recipe

You can easily make this batter the night before to save time in the morning.  Have a little melted butter in a bowl and some kitchen paper so you can wipe the pan before adding a ladle of the batter.

Makes 12-14 recipes.
110g of plain flour.
A pinch of salt.
2 large eggs.
200ml of milk.
75ml of water.
2 tablespoons of melted butter.

Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and with a spoon make a well in the center.  Break the eggs into the well and using a whisk slowly incorporate them with the flour.  Don’t worry too much about lumps as they should disappear when you add the rest of the liquid.  Gradually add the milk and water until you have a light batter.  Heat a little butter in your frying pan over a hot heat, and add 2 tablespoons of melted butter to the batter, stir through to combine.  Add a ladle full of the batter to the hot pan and move from side to side until it evenly covers the surface of the pan.  Reduce the heat and cook for about a minute each side or until the batter begins to take a nice golden colour.  Feel free to try your hand at flipping half way through!
Serve straight away with your filling of choice, or try the classic filling of lemon juice and sugar.  You can cook all the batter off and save the pancakes for later.  Simply layer the crepes on top each other, cover with some cling film and store in the fridge.  They should heat up well in a microwave.

February 23, 2009 at 1:20 pm 6 comments

:: Basic Cupcake Recipe

I have never seen a better reaction from one item of food in all the time I have been cooking.  When a plate of cupcakes enter a room, eyes light up, people make strange noises, and adults are quickly reduced to children when they have to make their selection!

If the Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies and Cream Cupcakes were a bit too rich and heavy for you, you may be more interested in these regular cupcakes.  This is the recipe we used and is really easy to throw together.

Basic Cupcake Recipe

This recipe again comes from aunt Erica, and is adapted from her fairy cake recipe.  If you are making these to decorate with kids, and want to limit the time it takes to put everything together, it may be easier to make the cupcakes ahead of time.

Makes approximately 8 cupcakes.
175g of self raising flour.
110g of caster sugar.
1 teaspoon of baking powder.
110g of soft margarine or butter.

2 large eggs.
50ml of water/milk.

For the butter cream frosting:
170g of softened butter.
225g of icing sugar.

Preheat the oven to 180oC and line a cupcake tray with paper cases.
In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center of the bowl and break in the 2 eggs and add the butter in small pieces.  Using an electric hand mixer beat all the ingredients together until combined.  Add in half the milk/water and beat again until combined.  You are looking for the batter to be light and creamy.  Add the rest of the liquid if you need it- you may not.
Divide the batter evenly into the paper cases and place in an oven for 15-20 minutes or until firm and light brown on top.
Allow to cool on a wire rack before applying the frosting.
In a bowl beat the butter and add the icing sugar bit by bit until it is all incorporated.  At this point you can separate the frosting into a few different bowls and stir through different food colourings.  Spoon the frosting into an icing bag and ice away!  Let your imagination go wild!

February 20, 2009 at 9:52 am 15 comments

:: Sundried Tomato, Basil and Goats Cheese Pasta

Pasta is a super way to beat the credit crunch, not only is it cheap but it is also a great source of carbohydrates, which provide the body with energy.  I buy wholewheat pasta as it contains more fiber and has more health benefits than its plain counterpart.  You can easily choose wholemeal pasta in most supermarkets and Irish brand Roma has wholewheat options on both its penne and spaghetti.
Sundried Tomato, Basil and Goats Cheese Pasta
This is a tasty variation on my mushroom and goats cheese pasta, for those of you who just can’t stand fungi!  I actually originally made this with sunblushed tomatoes but I think sundried give a more intense flavour to the dish.

150g of sundried tomatoes (plus a little of the oil they are stored in).
75g of goats cheese.
25g of fresh basil leaves.
250g of wholemeal penne pasta.
A good pinch of sea salt.
A few slices of good crunchy toasted bread to serve.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, remove the tomatoes from the oil they are stored and set aside to add to the pasta later. Roughly chop the basil leaves and sundried tomatoes and set aside.
When the pasta is cooked drain in a colander and put back in the pot.  Drizzle with the sundried tomato oil and add the basil and sundried tomatoes, stir to combine.
Crumble in the goats cheese and using a large serving spoon stir the cheese through the pasta.
Serve straight away or this also works really well as a tasty lunch box filler.

February 18, 2009 at 9:43 pm 9 comments

:: Chocolate Chip Oreo Cupcakes!

I had spotted these on tastespotting.com a few months ago and have been craving them ever since.  My brother and I were a little bit obsessed with Oreo cookies when we were kids.  They only arrived on Ireland’s green shores in the late 90’s commercially, so they quickly became the coolest thing to have in your school lunchbox at the time!  We were banned from eating them when my mother realised we were addicted after catching us devouring a whole box in one go.  When she couldn’t see our teeth because of the black biscuit she never bought them again!

Cookies and Cream Chocolate Chip Oreo Cupcakes

This is my aunt Erica’s cupcake recipe and it could not be easier to make.  You can easily adapt this recipe to make a regular plain cupcake mixture also, simply remove the cocao powder and chocolate chips from the ingredient list.

Makes approximately 8 cupcakes.
175g of self raising flour.
110g of soft margarine or butter.
110g of caster sugar.
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder.
1 teaspoon of baking powder.
2 large eggs.
50g of good quality chocolate chips.
50ml of water/milk.

For the Oreo Cream frosting:
250ml of fresh cream.
25g of icing sugar.
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
8 oreo cookies, crushed.

Preheat the oven to 180oC and line a cupcake tray with paper cases.
In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients except for the chocolate chips.  Make a well in the center of the bowl and break in the 2 eggs.  Using an electric hand mixer beat all the ingedients together until combined.  Add in half the milk/water and beat again until combined.  You are looking for the batter to be light and creamy.  Add the rest of the liquid if you need it you may not.
Divide the batter evenly into the paper cases and place in an oven for 15-20 minutes or until firm and light brown on top.
Allow to cool on a wire rack before applying the oreo cream.

For the Oreo frosting, simply beat the cream, vanilla extract, and icing sugar until it becomes thick.  Gently fold in the oreo cookie crumbles and spoon the mixture into an icing bag with a large round nozzle.  Squeeze the oreo cream onto the cupcakes and top with broken cookies.

February 17, 2009 at 10:35 am 30 comments

:: What reccession? Let them eat cake!

With all the doom and gloom in the media at the moment, what better time to indulge in a little luxury.  After a lovely Valentines Day breakfast on Saturday, Sofie and I headed over to my aunts house to do some baking with my little cousin Maisy. Although cupcakes aren’t exactly what I would class as “Good Mood Food”, they certainly put a smile on the faces of those who got the chance to sample a few- No sample isn’t the word, I think scoff would be far more appropriate!

We made a basic cupcake mix and then a chocolate chip cupcake mix for the yummy oreo style cupcakes. It’s amazing and suprising how theraputic decorating cakes can be, I think I may have found a new hobby.  You don’t really realise how stunning the little cakes look until you see them altogether.  It’s easy to see how they have become so popular in recent years.

If you want to try your hand at some decorating my best advice is to pick up a great assortment of food dyes or gels which can all be bought online.  My aunt picked up some great edible spray food colouring which creates some really cool effects.  We used a butter frosting for the cupcakes, mixed with a few handmade flowers made from ready to roll icing and a sweetened whipped cream for the oreo cupcakes.  Stay tuned recipe coming up in the next post!

February 16, 2009 at 8:16 pm 15 comments

:: Garlic Mushroom and Goats Cheese Pasta

On Tuesday I traveled down to Cork for the first time ever to meet with the guys in Mercier press to discuss the release of the cookbook and the interior design.  When I arrived they had a full mock up of the book to leaf through and I’m really thrilled with the look were going for.  There’s lots of bits to add here and there but it’s much easier to work on it when you can see something that resembles the finished product. 
I’m finally getting settled back into a some sort of normal routine after a fairly exciting but disruptive Christmas period, which means I’m getting to do a lot more cooking and photo’s!  I cooked two pasta dishes with goats cheese yesterday, one with sundried tomatoes and basil and this one here with garlic and mushrooms.  
I’m a huge fan of goats cheese not only because of its distict flavour but there is recent research that suggests goats milk and cheese can be digested by the human body far easier than cow’s.  As it contains a similar calcium and nutrient content as cow’s milk, it’s has become common knowledge that people who suffer from a lactose intolerance can often use goat’s milk and cheese as a dairy alternative. 
Garlic Mushroom and Goats Cheese Pasta
Garlic and mushroom is a classic combination and works super in this tasty pasta dish.  Crumbling the goats cheese over the hot pasta creates a creamy coating and leaves the dish with a distinctive tangy taste.  The dish only takes the time to cook the pasta and is perfect to make a little extra and stick in a lunchbox for tomorrow.

250g of wholemeal penne pasta.
1 tablespoon of olive oil.
3 cloves of garlic chopped finely.
1 onion chopped into thin half moon slices.
150g of mushrooms sliced thinly (Approx. 6 large mushrooms).
75g of goats cheese.
A generous pinch of black pepper.
A generous pinch of sea salt.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the pasta.  While the pasta is cooking prepare the garlic and onion.
In a large frying pan heat the oil, add the garlic and onion and fry gently until softened and browned.  Then add the mushrooms and cook until soft.  The mushrooms will turn from white to a nice creamy brown colour.
When the pasta is cooked drain in a colander and put back in the pot.  Drizzle with a little extra olive oil and add the mushrooms, garlic and onion.  Crumble in the goats cheese, add the salt and pepper and stir together until everything is combined evenly.
Serve straight away in deep dishes and season with a little extra black pepper.

February 12, 2009 at 3:52 pm 21 comments

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