If you are anything like me, you never know when you get the craving for some cake! While was home one night with a craving for cake but not an urge to go grocery shopping. I was flicking though the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I love smitten Kitchen, she is such an amazing cook and this is such an easy recipes.If, again, like me you horde cooking items, you probably have everything in the house to make this except perhaps the fruit and maybe the cream….!
Ingredients, Serves 10-12
- 115g butter, plus more for pan,
- 115g dark chocolate (minimum 70 percentage cocoa solids)
- 3 large eggs-separated
- 45g light brown sugar,
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- ¼teaspoon sea salt
- Pinch or ground cinnamon (optional)
- 120g single cream
- 2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- icing sugar, for dusting
- Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C (Fan)/Gas 4. Line a 15 cm round springform tin with parchment and butter the side and parchment. In a small saucepan melt and butter over a medium heat.Quickly remove for the heat and stir in the chocolate until melted and smooth. Cool the chocolate mixture.
- With an electric mixer beat the egg yolk, brown sugar and vanilla together until the mixture thickens
- Slowly beat in the chocolate mixture. The mixture will become very thick at this stage but do not worry.
- In another bowl, beat the egg white and salt until firm peaks form. Add a pinch of cinnamon.
- Stir one-third of the egg-white mixture into the chocolate mixture. Fold the remaining two-third in gently. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes until a tester or skewer come out clean.
- Let cool in the rack for 10 minutes. Than run a knife around the cake and release the springform side. Let it cool the rest of the way on the base. Once cooled flip onto second plate or rack and removed the parchment.
- To server, whipping the cream with the granulated sugar until soft peak form. Dust the cake with icing sugar, place a dollop of cream and strawberry in the middle. Serve and enjoy.
Fabian very nicely gave me a voucher for Cooks Academy in Dublin for Christmas, so one Saturday in January I headed off to learn all about fish. I come home with the mostly lovely fish stock and keen to cook to Seafood Chowder. There something about a warm bowl of chowder on cold winter day to warm you up.
- 25 g butter
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 leek, trimmed and diced
- 1 small carrot, diced
- 5-6 baby potato, cubed
- 50 g smoked salmon slices (cut into julienne, long thin strips)
- 120 ml dry white wine
- 450 ml fish stock or water
- 225 g mixed fresh fish fillets (skinned and cut into bite-sized pieces – cod, haddock, hake or salmon)
- 100 g raw prawns
- 100 g of mussels (scrubbed clean)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 175 ml cream
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Chop onion, leek, carrot and potatoes. Julienne the smoked salmon.
- Heat a large pan over a medium heat. Add the butter and once it is foaming, tip in the onion, leek, and carrot. Fry for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the potato fry for another 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the wine into the pan and allow to bubble down and reduce by half.
- Add the fish stock or water and bring to a simmer, then add the fresh fish and shellfish.
- Return the pan to a simmer and add the parsley, cream, and smoked salmon then season to taste.
- Cover with a lid and simmer gently for another 2-3 minutes until the fish and prawns are tender and all of the mussels have opened, discard any that do not. Serve and enjoy.
Posted in Fish, Supper
Tagged Dinner, Easy, Fish, Food, Lunch, Mussels, Prawn, Recipes, Seafood, Seafood Chowder, Smoked Salmon, Supper
I pretty sure I’ve confess my obsession with Foodgawker before. If I have few minute spare I usually flicking though the dessert section. One day I came across a Lemon and Passion Fruit cupcakes. I love Passion Fruit but never quite sure how to incorporate them into my baking. They are lovely light cupcake, passion fruit is nicely balance by the lemon. I’ve use Felicity Cloake from the Guardian ultimate blueberry muffin recipes, as basis for my version.
Ingredients-Makes approx 20 cupcakes.
- 240g plain flour,
- 110g butter, softened ( leave out the night before)
- 200g Muscovado sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½tsp salt (optional)
- 240ml buttermilk
- 6 tablespoon Passion Fruit Coulis
- Zest of one lemon
- 70g/2.5 oz butter softened
- 140 g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 tablespoon Passion Fruit Coulis,
- Preheat the oven to 18oC/374oF/Gas mark 5/ 160C Fan oven. Line a cupcakes tin with papers cases.
- Beat the butter in a food mixer until it is very soft and beat in the sugar. Then the beaten egg, and mix until well combined.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and ½tsp salt if using, in a separate bowl and mix well.
- Add in the lemon zest and Passion Fruit Coulis. Fold half these ingredients into the mix, then half the buttermilk, then the remaining flour and buttermilk.
- Spoon into the prepared tin (about 2/3 full) and bake for about 25-30 minutes until risen and golden. Bake of 18-22 minutes, until rise, golden and an inserted skewer into the centre comes out clean.
- While the muffins are cooling a wire rack. Beat the butter until soft. Add the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the milk, Passion Fruit Coulis until well combined.
- Pipe onto the cool muffins. Serve and Enjoy.
Posted in Baking, Gift Ideas, Pot-Luck
Tagged Baking, Coulis, Cupcakes, Dessert, Easy, Food, Lemon, Passion Fruit, Recipes
Macarons are one of the favour thing to bake! I be honest I love traditionally French baking. There nothing like pull off as a difficult bake time and time again. My originally inspiration was a starry night sky, however I found when I did the first batch I could not get them black enough, However I found the end midnight blue was much pretty. I think macarons are perfect for Christmas season, they need to made in advance so no worries about a baking disaster, plus everyone one love them, I never heard of someone not liking them. So hear I have used a travel size bottle of Champagne as I was find one however any type of Sparking wine would do like Cava and Prosecco.
- 100 grams ground almonds
- 180 grams icing (confectioner/powdered) sugar*
- 100 grams “aged” egg whites, at room temperature**
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)
- 35 grams superfine or castor white sugar***
- Sugarflair colours-pasta paste concentrate-black
- 230 g/8 ounces of white chocolate,
- 180 ml/3/4 cup of double cream (heaving whipping cream),
- 2 tablespoon/30 g of unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoon of champagne
* Use powdered sugar that contains cornstarch (corn flour).
** Separate eggs at least 24 hours before using (or up to five days). Cover with paper towel and place in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.
*** Make superfine sugar by processing regular granulated white sugar in your food processor for about 30 seconds or until sugar is ground very fine.
- First off, if your like me and terrible at piping consistently you need a make a template as guide. A good size for me is the top off a milk bottle. Draw around a clean on parchment paper with bright colour paper and flip over. On side no make sure the baking pan has flat bottoms.
- Place the ground almonds and icing sugar in a food processor and process until finely ground (about 1 – 2 minutes). Sift the mixture to remove any lumps.
- Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar, in a electric mixer if using, and on a low-speed until foamy.
- Gradually add the sugar, and continue to beat, on medium speed,until the meringue reaches a soft peaks stage (when you slowly raise the whisk the meringue has a droop, called a ‘beak’ present). At this if want some favour or colour you can add them, however use the most concentrated form you can find.
- Now continue to beat until the meringue just holds stiff peaks (when you slowly raise the whisk the meringue is straight up, no drooping, called a ‘beak’) (but do not over mix the meringue or it will ‘break’). I stop mind machine every 30 seconds to check, to be on safe side.
- If like me you have enclosed electric mixer for the next stage move to a large bowl. Then, in three additions, sift the ground almond/sugar mixture over the meringue. When folding, cut through the meringue and then fold up and over, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Once the almond mixture is completely folded into the meringue, the batter will fall back into the bowl in a thick ribbon, it is time to pipe the Macarons.
- Place your pastry bag fitted with 1cm/1/2 inch tip in tall glass and fill with about half the batter. Pipe rounds circles onto the parchment paper, using the template as a guide. Then gently tap the baking sheet on the counter to break any air bubbles (can also break air bubbles with the end of a toothpick). Let the Macarons sit at room temperature for about 30-60 minutes (depending on the temperature and humidity of your kitchen) or until the tops of the Macarons are no longer tacky.
- Meanwhile preheat your oven to 160 oC/ 325 oF. Bake the cookies (two sheets at a time) for about 14 – 16 minutes, rotating the pans top to bottom, front to back, about halfway through baking. The Macarons are done when you can just barely separate the cookies from the parchment paper. Remove from oven and let the Macarons cool completely on the baking sheet placed on a wire rack.
- Heat the cream, butter and chopped chocolate in bowl over a pan of simmering water , and leave for few minutes to melt. Add the champagne, and stir and leave to cool. Pop into your fridge to cool a little if your a little impatient. Once it add the right consistency ( i.e. not to runny or to set), put the mixture into a piping bag.
- To assemble the Macarons, take two cookies and sandwich them together with your filling (place filling on flat side of cookie). These macarons are best left for 24 hours before serving as it flavour can mature. Serve and enjoy!
Posted in Baking, Gift Ideas, Pot-Luck
Tagged Champagne, Champagne Macarons, Chocolate, Christmas, Dinner, Food, French Baking, Homemade christmas Gift, Recipes, White Chocolate, X-mas
So when it come lunch I’m a bit for bread fiend, however lately I’ve been trying to eat less bread, so I’ve been on the looking out for tasty alternative to sandwiches. This salad is one recipe that I came across. It is a nice balance of taste and textures and is easier to prepared and transport. I made few alternations, as I found the dress a bit sweet for my liking.
Ingredients –serves 2
- 2 oranges,
- 2 Little Gem lettuce, leaves separated,
- 1 ripe avocado,
- 1 lemon,
- 140g cooked prawns,
- ¼ small red onion, finely sliced,
- small bunch coriander, leaves picked,
- 1 tablespoon sweet chilli dipping sauce,
- Juice 1 lime.
- Stand each orange on a board and cut away the peel and pith with a sharp knife. Cut the oranges into segments.
- Cut the avocado in half, rolling the avocado so you cut around the stone. Twist the two halves to separate. Use a teaspoon to remove the stone from the centre of the avocado. Use a dessert spoon to scoop the whole avocado flesh out from the shell. Chop into large pieces. Drizzle with some lemon juice to prevent the avocado going brown. Finely slice the red onion and chop the coriander.
- Mix the sweet chilli dipping sauce and lime juice together.
- Place all ingredients into bowl, toss them with the dressing. Serve and enjoy
Posted in Lunch
Tagged Asian, Avocado, Easy, Food, Healthy, Homemade, Lime, Lunch, Orange, Prawn, Quick, Recipes, Red Onion, Salad
July is always a busy time in year for me, my little sister birthday and my mum birthday are 7 day apart. This year as part of the her present I told her to pick out a pick and I bake it for me. My one condition was nothing that would take hours and hours to make as I was coming off my long week at work. After a little negotiation she decided in this one. Boy was this a winner! The chocolate cake is light, fluffy and moist! And the spearmint and chocolate combination is classic one, would does not like chocolate mint ice-cream!
Ingredients –serves 12
- 85g/1 Cup/3 oz unsweetened cocoa powder,
- 2 teaspoon instant espresso powder,
- 250ml/1 Cup/ 8 fl. oz boiling water,
- 115g/ ½ Cup/ 4oz,
- 2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract,
- 236g/ 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter,
- 338g/1 ¾ Cups/ 12¼ oz granulated sugar,
- 2 large eggs,
- 180g/1 ¼ Cups/plain flour, plus more for dusting the pans,
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder,
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 354g\1 ½ Cups\ 3 sticks of unsalted butter,
- 475g\ 3 cups\ 16 ¾ oz icing sugar,
- 2 tablespoon milk,
- ½ vanilla bean paste,
- pinch of salt,
- 1 teaspoon spearmint extract,
- Green food coloring,
- Chocolate Curls to decorate
- 2×8 inch round cake tins
- Rotating Cake stand
- Angled or straight Spatula
- Icing Smoother
- Oven temperature (really hand to know what temperature your oven is at, this can vary as much a 50ºC)
- Cake board/Drum
- Make sure all your ingredient are at the room temperature. Combine the cocoa powder and instant espresso powder in a bowl. Add the boiling water and whisk to combine. Leave to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF, with a rack in the middle position. Butter two 8 inch round cake tins. Lin the bottom with baking parchment. Butter the parchment and dust with little flour. Tip out the excess
- Now add the sour cream and vanilla to the cocoa/coffee mixture as it should have cool my now. Stir to combine.
- Combine and butter and sugar on a medium speed in your mixer until fluffy and almost white, about 3 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one a time. Mixing for full minute after each addition. Scrape down the side of our mixing bowl, when you finish mixing the last one.
- Sieve together the flour, baking power and salt.
- Add low speed, add in one third of your dry ingredient and one third of cocoa mixture. Mix until combine. Than repeat two more until all of the cocoa and flour have been combined. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix again briefly.
- Now divide the mixture between the two tins. I zero a weight scale with the bin on tip, try to get the close as possible. Baking until the cake feel firm at the centre and a toothpick come out clean, about 23 minutes.
- Let the cake cool completed in the time on wire rack. Once cooled turn out onto rack and peel off the baking paper.
- Combine the butter, icing sugar, vanilla, milk, pinch of salt for several minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the spearmint extract ( more or less might be need depending on the strength of your extract, so remember to taste as add this. You can always add more but if the frosting is not minty enough). Now once your happy with your mint flavour, add the green food colour. I’ve used some highly concentrated one, so only tiny amount was need, but again this will vary depending on the type you have.
- Place you cake board on your rotating cake stand. Put small amount of icing in the centre of the cake board, and place 1st layer on top (this will keep your cake for sliding around the place). Now add generous amount of icing on top and smooth out to the edge. Now add the 2nd layer at top.
- Now add the crumb coat, this a layer of icing so thin that you will see the cake and crumbs. Smooth the icing as best as you can using your straight spatula and Icing Smoother. Chill for 30 minutes until dry. The crumb coat needs to be dry to the touch before you dry to put the final layer of icing on.
- Now use the remaining icing to ice the cake. This can be hard to get right, but there are lots of video and method on the web now about how to do this. Finish decorating with the chocolate curls.
Posted in Baking
Tagged Baking, Birthday Cake, Buttericing, Cake, Celebration Cake, Chocolate, Chocolate Fudge Cake, Dessert, Food, Mint Buttericing, Recipes
There is nothing quite like classical Lasagne it is such an amazing dish. I just adore the combination of Bolognese and cheese sauce. I will not lie this is time consuming dish, definitely a weekend. The one in the supermarket just do not measure up the home-made one. There something quite satisfying about cooking lasagne from scratch. However it is not a really “healthy” dinner but it carefully about portion size, but I cannot stand the ones that replace the cheese sauce to that ricotta mixture….it just does not work!
Ingredients –serves 10-12
- 4 tablespoon olive oil, plus a little extra
- 2 chopped onion
- 2 garlic gloves, minced
- 250g lean mince steak
- 3 sausage meat skin removed ( I used Tesco Finest Mediterranean Sausages)
- 4 Celery sticks, chopped
- 4 Carrots, chopped
- Pinch of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of oregano
- 2x400g canned, chopped tomatoes
- 1 pack, fresh lasagne sheets
- 230g/4 oz freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
- salt and pepper
- 11×9 inch dish
- 600ml/20 fl oz milk
- 2 bay leaf
- 12 black peppercorns
- 2 slice of onion
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 tablespoon butter
- 6 tablespoon plain flour
- 4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 140g/5 oz Cheddar cheese, grated
- 140g/5 oz Gruyère cheese, grated
- Heat the oil in the pot over a medium heat, once warm, add the chopped onion and garlic, stir occasionally, cook until softened, approximately 10 minutes.
- Mix the sausage and beef together.
- Add to the onion, breaking up with a spoon until brown. Than add the celery and carrots and cook for 5 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper. Add the sugar, oregano and tomatoes. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for minimum of 30 minutes but the more time the better.
- Meanwhile make the cheese sauce. Add the milk, peppercorn, bay leafs, onion and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg. Heat gently until just below the boiling point. Than removed from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
- Strain the milk into a bowl or jug.
- Melt the butter in a clean saucepan. Sprinkle in the flour and cook over the a low heat. stirring constantly for 1 minute. Removed from the heat, and gradually stir in the warm milk.
- Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring until thickened and smooth. Stir in the mustard, cheddar cheese and Gruyère cheese, than season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan oven/ 375°F/ gas mark 5. Using a little olive oil, light cover the side and base of your dish, this will help you get the lasagne out in one piece one to serve.
- Place a layer of meat sauce, followed by lasagne sheet, followed by the cheese sauce and parmesan . Repeat until you fill the dish and use all of meat sauce and cheese sauce.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the top if brown and bubbling. Serve immediately. I always serve mine with a little garlic bread and nice side salad.
Carmel Squares are one of these universal thing that everyone loves! I think it is the combination of the crumbly biscuit base, chewy carmel and chocolate top, when in the right proportion really hit it off. It also nice tidy, small cake and not too large and imposing. These were big hit when I brought them into work! Try to buy the best quantity ingredient you can afford as it will make a difference.
Ingredients –make 16 squares
For the base
- 2 tablespoon butter, for greasing
- 175g/6oz plain flour
- 25g/1oz cornflour
- 50g/2oz golden caster sugar
- 85g/3oz finely chopped toasted almonds
- 140g/5oz unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
For the caramel
- 125g/4.4 oz unsalted butter,
- 400ml / 13.5 fl ozof tinned sweetened condensed milk
- 90g/3.1 oz of caster sugar
- 3 tablespoons of maple syrup/golden syrup
For the topping
- 225g/9oz dark chocolate, 70 per cent cocoa solids
- For the base, preheat the oven to 160C/310F/Gas 3. Grease a 20cm x 23cm/8in x 9in baking tin with butter.
- Sift the flour, cornflour and sugar into a large bowl. Stir in the almonds, then rub in the butter and vanilla seeds.
- Press the mixture into the base of the prepared tin. Lightly pricking the top of the shortbread with the tines of a fork before baking. This allows the steam to escape and prevents a bubbly, uneven top or cracking as it let the steam escape. Transfer to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow to cool
- Now combine your butter, condensed milk, caster sugar and maple/golden syrup in a small saucepan. Stir over a low heat (be careful the butter can burn if not stirred enough) for 15 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick, smooth and lightly coloured. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Pour over the biscuit base and smooth the surface.
- For the topping, melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water.
- Pour the chocolate over the caramel and smooth out with a wet palette knife. Place into the fridge and chill for at least 30 minutes, until firm. Cut into 16 pieces. Serve and enjoy.
Posted in Baking
Tagged Baking, Carmel, Carmel Squares, Chocolate, dark chocolate, Dessert, Easy, Food, Quick, Recipes, sweet shortcrust pastry