I love food! Not just eating it, but creating it. What beats an afternoon in the kitchen, making a mess as well as scrumptious treats? But when a friend had to alter her diet due to food intolerances I realised not everyone can carelessly indulge. So I set out to make a cake she could eat, and when I achieved a flourless, vegan chocolate cake that tasted pretty good I wondered what else was possible. And so my journey begins into a world of baking where there is always something missing...
time for some more Christmas baking fun and as the big day gets ever closer
overindulgence now rules! The yule log or Bûche de Noël is a traditional
Christmas desert but not something that has ever been a major part of our
celebrations (we are much more of a Christmas pudding family!). And I had never
attempted to make a yule log…until now that is, and after reading a few tips from The Guardian website I came up with a pretty delicious treat. And the great thing about the light
and airy sponge that makes the base of the yule log is that it is often
naturally gluten free and many recipes contain absolutely no flour but are just
lots of whipped up eggs and cocoa powder, so a perfect gluten free addition to
the Christmas dinner table, and not as tricky to make as you may think!!
large eggs, separated 150g caster
sugar 60g cocoa powder
jar of chestnut jam (you can make your own by checking out this recipe)
frozen cherries (or other red berries as preferred)
the oven to 180°C. Line a swiss roll tin (or shallow rectangular baking tin)
with grease proof paper, being careful to fully tuck the paper into the corners
of the tin so that they are neatly folded in as this will allow the cake to
the eggs dividing the egg whites and egg yolks into separate bowls.
the sugar to the egg yolks and beat with an electric mixer until a thick and
glossy mixture is formed. Add the cocoa powder to the mixture and continue to
beat until fully combined.
that the electric mixer is fully cleaned and has no traces of the egg yolk
mixture and then beat the egg whites until soft peaks are formed.
fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture a little at a time until
fully combined. But be careful not to knock all of the air out of the egg whites.
the mixture into the prepared tin and place in the centre for about 25 minutes
until firm to the touch.
the cake from the oven, place another sheet of baking paper on top of the cake
and invert onto the kitchen surface. Carefully remove the cake from the tin and
peel off the baking paper that had lined the tin. Then, using the paper now
underneath the cake carefully roll the cake up along the longest edge until a
tight roll is formed. Leave the cake to cool rolled up (you can make the cake
the day before you require it and leave it rolled up overnight before
decorating the following day).
you are ready to construct the Bûch carefully unroll the cake (don’t worry if
it cracks a little at this point, any little faults will be covered up with all
filled mine with chestnut jam which I had previously made (following this
recipe, but if you don’t have a personal supply of chestnuts and enough time to
make yourself some jam sweetened chestnut puree will work just fine) and sweetened
mascarpone which I made by combining the mascarpone with the icing sugar.
Spread the chestnut jam evenly over the cake. Then sprinkle with the cherries
and top with the sweetened mascarpone. Carefully re-roll the cake using the
baking paper for support as you roll.
transfer the roll to your serving plate and then liberally coat with chocolate
ganache which is made be breaking the chocolate into a heat proof bowl, then
bring the cream to the boil in a small pan, as soon as the cream begins to boil
remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Stir the mixture until the
chocolate has melted and a smooth glossy mixture has formed. Stir in a glug of
rum and then pour the ganache over the cake and spread across with a spatula
until it is fully covered.
melted a little extra chocolate and piped out holly leaf shapes onto some
non-stick baking parchment and once set used these to decorate my yule log but
a liberal dusting of icing sugar would look just as festive.
get stuck in and enjoy this gorgeously indulgent chocolate desert…it is
Christmas after all.
Christmas really is fast approaching now, and although I am
a right scrooge when I hear Christmas songs in the shops in September my ‘Bah Humbug’
attitude quickly dissipates once December arrives. This week I have been
getting rather festive in the kitchen and have been having a massive kitchen
baking session with cheesy Christmas music playing in the background whilst I
have been liberally dusting every surface with icing sugar.
Now Christmas isn’t Christmas without a copious amounts of
mince pies but I like to experiment a little with my mincemeat! And after
making mincemeat Danish pastries last year I thought I would get creative again
and so the mincemeat cookie was born. If you aren’t a big fan of pastry these
are a perfect yule time treat with a little dollop of the sticky mincemeat mix
hidden inside a gorgeous almond and vanilla cookie.
150g golden caster sugar
100g almond butter (you could use peanut butter here if you
can’t find almond butter, but it is available in many supermarkets and all good
health food shops)
2 tablespoons golden syrup
Seeds from half a vanilla pod
25g ground almonds
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
150g plain flour
50 g rye flour
1 jar of mincemeat (or if you feel a bit more adventurous
you can make your own!)
Makes approx. 20
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the almond butter, egg, golden syrup and vanilla to the
mixture and continue to beat until smooth and well combined.
Finally mix in the ground almonds, baking powder,
bicarbonate of soda and both flours and fold in until a firm dough if formed.
Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
To construct the biscuits begin by taking a small ball and
making a dent/well in the centre. Place a teaspoon full of mincemeat into the
Take another piece of the dough and form into a small round
disc and place over the top of the mincemeat.
Then work the two bits of dough together forming a fat disc
of cookie dough with the mincemeat hidden inside.
Place the cookies on a lined baking tray, leaving a little
bit of space between them so they have room to spread a little.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool a
little before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Will keep in
an air tight container for a few days….but I doubt these delicious cookies will
last that long!!!
Before the year runs away with me and we all get engulfed by
Christmas I wanted to post this autumnal recipe. I have previously blogged
about my love of chestnuts and how I am fortunate enough that my parents garden
contains a couple of chestnut trees, so I have grown up picking these little
mahogany balls of yumminess straight from among the leaves on the ground
each year, rather than having to fork out a considerable amount of cash for a
small little net in a supermarket. And in the last couple of years I have
experimented with the many different uses of the chestnut from chocolate
pots, and truffle
cake to gnocchi.
When my mum started bragging about how plump and delicious
this year’s crop of chestnuts are I immediately put in my order and started researching
possible recipes to use the chestnuts in. This was when I came across quite a
few pesto recipes that replace the pine nuts often found in pesto with
chestnuts instead. Pine nuts can be quite an expensive ingredient so I loved
the idea of replacing them with something foraged for free. I’m also not a big
fan of pine nuts so this seemed like a perfect substitution for me. I made a
very chestnut heavy version of pesto but you could easily increase the proportion
of the other ingredients to suit your own tastes, but I didn’t want the
chestnut to be over powered by the basil in this recipe. The resultant pesto is
great stirred into freshly cooked spaghetti with a few wild mushrooms thrown in
for good measure or a little fried up smokey bacon to create autumn on a plate.
80g raw, shelled chestnuts
A large handful of fresh basil
80ml of good quality olive oil
25g grated parmesan
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
A good pinch of sea salt.
After peeling the chestnuts (this can be a little time
consuming and I find if I slit the top of the chestnuts with a sharp knife and
then plunge into boiling water for a few seconds it is a lot easier to remove
the chestnuts from their shells) place in a saucepan of boiling water and cook
for about 5 minutes until they are just starting to cook but are still firm and
Drain the chestnuts and place with the remaining ingredients
in a food processor. Blitz until a slightly grainy paste is formed (adding a
little extra olive oil if needed to reach the desired consistency).
Use as you would with any other pesto.
Store in the fridge.
Disclaimer: I feel that I should say that unless you are
100% certain what you are eating it is best to buy your chestnuts rather than
go foraging for them, conkers for example are not edible and should not be
confused with chestnuts!!
I had vaguely heard of bubble tea before but it was not
something I had ever got around to trying…I’m not sure if this Taiwanese trend
has really hit the streets of Northern Ireland yet. And for the rest you who
may not be in the know bubble tea is a Taiwanese beverage that contains little
chewy tapioca pearls. For someone who has a real fear of rice pudding and isn’t
all that keen on its milky pudding cousins of semolina and tapioca I must admit
that the thought of enjoying tapioca in a drink wasn’t all that appealing! But
ages and ages ago thanks to a foodie pen pal I received all the kit I needed to
make myself some bubble tea at home. And so I thought it was about time that I
bit the bullet and embarked on a tapioca tea journey. Natalie who sent me the
pen pal parcel directed me over to her friend Lyndsay’s
blog for directions on making bubble tea so I adapted these to use the tarococonut milk tea powder that I had been sent to make my drink.
Put the tapioca and water into a small saucepan, set over a
medium heat and bring the water to the boil. The tapioca should double in size,
this should take about 5 minutes. Once cooked remove from the heat, drain the
pearls and rinse under cold water. At this point you can stir in a little honey
to sweeten your tea. Then set the tapioca to one side.
Bubble tea can be made with any tea or fruit juices that you
enjoy but I was given taro coconut tea to use so followed the instructions on
the packet on how to prepare this (which basically involved dissolving the tea
powder in 100ml of hot water). I then mixed this with the almond milk and
transferred the mixture to the fridge to cool.
Once my milky mixture was cooled I mixed in with the tapioca
pearls and sip away. This is best enjoyed with a big chunky straw so that you
can slurp up and then chew on the gooey tapioca balls at the bottom of the
So go on and give it a try….even for a rice pudding-phobe I
rather enjoyed this tea!!
night isn’t such a big celebration in Northern Ireland as it is back in
England, which is a real shame as I think it is one of my favourite events of
the year. As a child we always had family and friends gather in the back garden
wrapped up in our winter hats and adorned with mittens and bobble hats ready to oooo
and ahhh at the roman candles and screeching rockets that would be let off from the end of
the garden before we wrote our names in the air with sparklers and congregated
around the bonfire that was topped with a guy (which was normally hastily made
by stuffing newspaper into some of my Dad’s old clothes that were waiting for a
charity shop drop). Food played a really important part in these evening with
cauldrons full of pumpkin soup being served alongside barbequed sausages and
roasted chestnuts. And although I may not have a bonfire to huddle around on
this cold autumnal evening I’ve been busy in the kitchen instead cooking up
this batch of gluten free cornbread muffins that would be perfect dunked in
some of the pumpkin soup my mum always makes at this time of year.
yellow cornmeal / polenta
teaspoon baking soda
teaspoons baking powder
Preheat your oven to 200ºC / 400°F.
Grease a 12 pan muffin tin with a little vegetable oil.
Place the cornmeal, salt, paprika, baking soda and baking powder in a
large bowl and mix until fully combined. Then fold in the grated cheese.
In separate bowl beat together the egg, butter and butter milk.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold together until combined.
Dollop the mixture into each of the muffin tins. Sprinkle with a little extra
cheese and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from the oven, use a palette knife to remove the muffins from the
tin and serve warm.
This is a
celebratory blog post with two momentous occasions that deserve a little recognition!
Firstly 2 years ago my blog was born with a rather special vegan and glutenfree chocolate cake recipe. Since that time I have embarked upon a world of
baking in which many things have been missing and I have learnt that tofu
whizzed up in a food processor can act as a butter milk substitute and a frozen
banana is a vital ingredient to many vegan desserts!
so happens that my second birthday post is also the 100th recipe I
have published. It appears I have spent quite a lot of time in the kitchen over
the past couple of years!! So for this centenary/2 year post there was only one
suitable thing to make….a cake, and not just any cake but a gooey indulgent
chocolate fudge cake. After 99 posts where ‘something’ has always been missing
I am going to deviate a little here as this recipe if fully loaded with butter,
eggs and gluten-full flour. The only thing that was missing when I first made
this recipe for friends a few years ago was my sanity!! As the special secret
ingredient in addition to the usual flour, eggs and sugar is a tin of condensed
tomato soup. Yup you read that right. And whilst we are used to the addition of
courgette or beetroot in a chocolate cake recipe I doubt many of us have
thought to reach for that tin of soup lurking at the back of the cupboard. But
this works, and doesn’t taste of tomato (honest), the soup just helps to keep
the cake incredibly moist. So give it a go if you dare….and see if your friends
and colleagues can guess what the secret addition to this recipe is!!
caster sugar 2 eggs 275g
cups plain flour 60g
cup cocoa 1
teaspoon baking powder 1
teaspoon bicarbonate soda 60ml
tin condensed tomato soup
150g icing sugar
1 tbspn water
Pre-heat oven to 350 °F or 180 °C
and grease and line two 20cm round sandwich tins with greased proof paper.
butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs to the mixture one
at a time and beat together.
in the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix together until fully
Finally add the soup and butter milk
and beat to a smooth batter.
Divide the batter between the 2 tins
and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes until the cakes are firm and a
sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Leave the
cakes to cool slightly before removing from the tins and cooling completely on
a wire rack.
Meanwhile melt the butter for the icing
in a small saucepan.
Once melted remove from the heat, add
the icing sugar and cocoa and beat until a smooth glossy icing is formed.
Allow the icing to cool slightly before
using a little to sandwich the two cakes together. Then pour the remaining
icing over the top of the cake and smooth out with a palette knife. Decorate as
desired (I used sugar sprinkles) and then tuck in and celebrate with a big fat
I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a little while and we
are now well past the end of blackberrying season
(although the fat little purple fruits do seem to nestle amongst the hedges a
bit longer here over in Northern Ireland compared to England). But after making
and blackberry granola muffins a few weeks back I had enough blackberries
left to make something a little less healthy. Although I did replace any
chocolate in the recipe with carob
to ensure there was a little something missing from this tray bake recipe.
If you haven’t got a stash of locally picked blackberries or
don’t want to wait until next year before trying out this recipe any variety of
frozen berries could be used instead.
100g fresh blackberries
100g bramley apple (peeled and chopped)
15g caster sugar
1 tablespoon water
150g caster sugar
75g carob powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
120g plain flour
200g cream cheese
100g caster sugar
30g corn flour
Place the blackberries, apple, 15g of caster sugar and water into a
saucepan and place over a medium heat until the apple begins to soften and the
juices are released from the blackberries (this will probably take about 10 to
15 minutes). Then remove from the heat and place to one side.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F.
Grease a 20cm x 30cm baking tin and line with non-stick baking
Place the butter into a saucepan and place over a medium heat until
melted. Then add the 150g caster sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from
the heat and sift in the carob powder, cinnamon, baking powder and flour. Once
fully combined add the eggs one by one and stir again until a smooth batter is
In a separate bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth before adding the
egg, remaining caster sugar and corn flour. Then mix in the blackberry and
apple mixture to the cheese until distributed throughout.
Spread 2/3 of the carob mix into the lined tin and then spoon the cream
cheese mix on top. Spoon the remaining carob mixture in blobs over the
cheesecake mix and using the tip of a sharp knife swirl the 2 mixtures
Bake for 40 minutes until the cake is firm and the carob mixture is
Allow to cool in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool
completely. Then slice into squares and serve.
This recipe was inspired by this recipe
from Beantown Baker.
I was perusing the content of the blog recently and realised
that I hadn’t posted a savory recipe for ages (well I haven’t posted anything
for ages but we will gloss over that one quickly)! So I thought I had better
get up to date and add to my gnocchi recipe collection (see my previous Chestnut
Potato varieties). This is another gluten free recipe, which is packed full
of cheese rather than potato, as is often featured in Gnocchi. I used mascarpone,
parmesan and blue cheese in this recipe but you could play with the
combinations and quantities of these used to come up with your own cheesy
concoction. I then served my gnocchi with a fresh tomato and spinach sauce so
this is veggie friendly, but a little crispy bacon would go perfectly with this
15g parmesan, grated
30g blue cheese, crumbled
190g gluten free flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
Salt and pepper to season
In a large bowl mix together all three cheeses and the egg
until well combined and season to taste.
Fold in the flour and xanthan gum and bring the mixture together
until a smooth dough is formed, but try not to overwork the mixture. Don’t
panic if the mixture seems a little wet at this point!
Transfer the mixture to the fridge for at least an hour
Remove the dough from the fridge and after lightly flouring
your hands form the dough into small gnocchi sized balls.
Bring a large plan of salted water to the boil and transfer
the gnocchi parcels to the water. Once the gnocchi begin to float they are
done, so drain before mixing with the accompanying sauce of your choice and
This blog post is a first for me….a product review. I was
fortunate enough to be sent a couple of packets of ‘Nice and Nobbly’ Gluten
Free Granola from Nature’s Path. As a newbie to this opinion-casting web entry
I should probably start with the little official bit and say despite being sent
this product for free the comments I make are all my own and not influenced by
Anyway moving on from the Ts and Cs I was sent 2 varieties
of the Granola. A Strawberry, Rasberry and Blueberry versions and a Pumpkin
Seed, Raisin and Almond version. The berry granola had a real fruity punch and
as the description may suggest there really are some generously sized nobbly
chunks of granola within the mix. The pumpkin granola is a little less sweet
than the berry version with subtle cinnamon flavours in addition to the hidden gem of
large coconut flakes that I found lurking within the mix and which I loved. Both of these granolas are a
great gluten free product that use organic ingredients and provide a good
addition to the breakfast table.
But if you fancied doing something a little more exciting
than just adding the granola to a bowl with an addition of milk or yoghurt ‘Nice
and Nobbly’ can also be used in this recipe for gluten free blackberry and
apple breakfast muffins.
Juice from 1 lemon
320g gluten free flour (I use Dove’s)
2tsp gluten free baking powder
1 medium apple (80g), cored and chopped
50g gluten free granola (plus a little extra for sprinkling on top of
Pre-heat the oven to 170°C / 340°F.
Line a muffin tin with 12 muffin cases.
Peel and mash the bananas in a small bowl with the lemon juice and set
to once side.
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and then add
the egg and milk and stir until combined.
Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and fold together.
Fold in the mashed banana along with the chopped apple, blackberries and
granola into the mixture until distributed well throughout the mixture.
Spoon evenly between the 12 cake cases and sprinkle each muffin with a
little extra granola before transferring to the oven.
Bake for 25 minutes until lightly golden in colour and springy to the
Allow to cool before tucking in….these are great served with a big blob
of homemade blackberry jam on top!
It was recently my housemate’s birthday and in my book any
birthday has to be accompanied by a cake. The problem is my housemate isn’t the
biggest cake fan. Last year for her birthday rather than a cake I made her a
loaf of bread as a celebratory substitute. But this year I didn’t think I could
repeat the bread trick so wanted to make a cake that my housemate would enjoy,
which basically involved a cake that isn’t too cakey!! A bit of trawling of the
internet and I came across a Russian Apple cake or ‘Sharlotka’ recipe over at Smitten Kitten.
This is a recipe where layers of apples are covered in a batter and then baked
to make a cake that is more apple than anything else…so a perfect non-cakey
cake. And as a bonus there is no added fat so this is a great dairy free
addition to the blog.
I adapted the original recipe I found over at Smitten Kitten
to include some blackberries from our garden along with some ground almonds to
add a more English autumnal twist to this Russian recipe.
500g tart eating apples e.g. Granny Smith (8 small)
½ cup blackberries
250g caster sugar
Seeds from ½ vanilla pod
20g ground almonds
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C or 360°F and line a 25cm diameter,
loose bottomed tin with non-stick baking parchment.
Peel and core the apples and slice into 2cm thick chunks.
Fill the lined tin with layers of the apple interspersed
In a large mixing bowl beat together the eggs and sugar
until thick and creamy.
Fold in the vanilla, flour and almonds until fully combined,
being careful not to overwork the mixture.
Gradually pour the batter over the apples and blackberries
ensuring the mixture fills all of the gaps between the fruit.
Transfer to the oven and bake for 1 hour until firm and
golden brown on top.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin before
removing and transferring to a cooling rack.
This cake can be served warm with cream or custard or cold
as an afternoon teatime treat.
I thought I had better write this recipe up quickly before the sun disappears from the sky and an autumn chill creeps across the land. There was a little mini heat wave at the weekend though, and after an afternoon of gardening in the sunshine I was in need of some cooling refreshment. And so I raided the freezer and the fridge and whizzed just three ingredients together to make a summer fruit shake. And rather than the usual milk and ice cream added to a shake I used up some of my frozen banana stock and almond milk to make a vegan friendly beverage!
85g frozen banana
50g red berries of your choice (I used frozen summer fruit mix)
200ml almond milk
Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and whizz until blended.
My patio plant are currently laden with bulging crops of
mange tout, potatoes and carrots. My tomato plants are only just beginning to
flower however and my cucumber and courgette seedlings didn’t survive beyond the
slug and snail massacre of the spring. Some of my colleagues with larger
gardens (and better slug deterrent methods) are currently drowning in the
produce and have been sharing courgettes with the rest of the lab. I love
courgettes and have already added these grateful gardening gifts to risottos, ratatouille
Courgettes also make great additions to baked goods
providing moisture in cake and bread recipes. I decided to try something a
little more alternative with the remaining courgettes hanging around my kitchen
and opted for a biscuit recipe instead. I took inspiration from this
recipe over at Two Peas and Their Pod making a few adaptations so that the
recipe was vegan friendly. On leaving the oven these chocolaty treats properly
resembled a fudgy cookie but after a day in the biscuit tin they took on a much
more cakey texture (although still as delicious), and either way a great way to
get some of your 5 a day into a sweet treat.
¼ teaspoon baking powder
100g vegan friendly spread
60g cocoa powder
150g caster sugar
50g soft brown sugar
75ml coconut milk
120g grated courgette/zucchini
Pre-heat the oven to 175°C / 350°F.
Line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper or
non-stick baking parchment.
Melt the vegan spread in a small saucepan over a medium
heat. Once melted remove from the heat and add both sugars and the cocoa powder
and stir until a thick paste-like consistency is reached. Then add the coconut
milk to the mixture and stir until well combined.
Sieve the flour and baking powder into the saucepan and stir
until combine, then fold in the grated courgette until evenly distributed
among the mixture.
Take a large desert spoons full of the dollop onto the
baking tray, leaving a little room between each cookie for the mixture to
spread a little.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until firm.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes
before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
I love sesame seeds and I am partial to the odd sugary treat
so adore a sesame
snap. And what is even better is that they only contain sugar and sesame
seeds so are vegan and gluten free and as I recently found out really even easy
to make. I decided to spice my snaps up a little with the addition of a little
ginger as well as some sunflower seeds and sent some of these off to my recent
foodie pen pal. The remaining snaps were used to fuel myself and my friends
through a recent bog
snorkelling competition…..and on that note here is the recipe!
100g sesame seeds (toasted)
40g sunflower seeds
2 teaspoons ground ginger
225g caster sugar
Line a baking tray with non-stick baking parchment and
grease the paper with a little vegetable oil to prevent the snaps from
Place the caster sugar in a saucepan and place over a medium
heat. Leave the sugar until it start to turn golden around the edges and then
stir until all of the sugar has melted and a golden caramel has formed.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the sesame and
sunflower seeds and the ground ginger.
Stir together using a wooden spoon or spatula that has also been
lightly greased with vegetable oil.
Spoon the mixture out into the prepared baking tray and
smooth out using the spoon/spatula. Score the top of the mixture with a sharp
knife marking out rectangles and leave to set. Once set snap along the scored
lines into separate portions.
It’s the end of the month so it is Foodie Pen Pal Parcel
reveal day. This month I sent a parcel to Charley of Charley’s Kitchen,
and received a lovely parcel from Alice
who is from Denmark so the parcel was packed full of lots of lovely continental
And the parcel contained;
Mashed potatoes with
mushrooms – a camping favourite of Alice and her family, I haven’t had a
chance to try this yet and may have to save it until the next time I am off
camping too to keep with tradition!
Candied rose petals
– a great baking ingredient that I hope to use in something pretty soon.
Sahefest – This is
a special little ingredient to add to cream before whipping to help it hold its
shape, another useful store cupboard ingredient.
Kinder Bueno – This
didn’t last long!!!
Lemon Muffins – Made
from a German recipe and absolutely delicious.
Bread Spice – A
little pot of bread spice and three bread recipes (one of which includes the
spice) to make.
So thank you Alice for a lovely parcel full of some great
things that I haven’t come across before. I haven’t had a chance to make the
spiced bread that Alice included a recipe for yet but I have made the fruit
bread which is delicious, and I have included the recipe below with a few minor
changes (the recipe called for ALL BRAN but I didn’t have any so swapped this
for oats instead. The original recipe from Alice also only included dried
apricots but I threw in some dates as well and the result was really good.
260g brown sugar
50g dried apricots
300ml butter milk
Pre-heat the oven to 225 ° C
Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Add the buttermilk and stir until well combined before
pouring the dough into a greased loaf tin.
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until golden brown.
This blogpost marks a rare occasion, an occasion when I am
posting an ice cream recipe (which isn’t particularly rare) when the sun is
actually shining (which is!!!). It seems to have become a common practise to
nip out of work at the end of the lunch hour to feed my ice cream addiction.
And with this zesty recipe I have been further feeding my habit out of my own
freezer at home.
Some left over lemon curd in the fridge inspired the lemon
curd ripple ice cream (which is adapted from the lemon and poppy seed ice cream
cake recipe from the Guardian).
Another condensed ice cream recipe, I love these because they are so easy to
make, require no churning and don’t contain any eggs!!
The accompanying basil and lemon syrup was inspired by my
bumper basil crop. I have always attempted to grow my own basil from seed, and
have always failed miserably. But this year, thanks to the wondrous appearance
of a golden ball of warmth that seems to be permanently visible in the sky, my
basil is blooming! And so I thought I would experiment a little, so that I
could enter my ice cream recipe into this months Bloggers
Scream For Ice Cream challenge over at Kavey Eats…..the theme for which
this month is herbs.
The basil syrup is rather subtle but makes a really fresh
syrup to accompany this zingy ice cream. And as suggested by Kavey I have also
entered this recipe into the cooking with herbs challenge as run by Lavender and Lovage.
FOR THE ICE CREAM
1 tin condensed milk (397g)
150ml plain yoghurt
250ml double cream
100g lemon curd
Zest and then juice both lemons.
Put the condensed milk into a large mixing bowl and stir in
the lemon juice and zest until combined.
Then stir in the yoghurt.
In a separate bowl whip the cream until soft peaks are
formed. Fold the cream into the condensed milk mixture.
Transfer the mix to a freezer-proof container. Finally
Dollop the lemon curd on top of the ice cream mix and ripple into the mixture
using a ford until distributed throughout the mixture.
Transfer to the freezer until frozen (I left mine over night
before tucking in!).
FOR THE SYRUP
A large sprig of basil
Peel and juice from 1 lemon
75g caster sugar
Peel the lemon using a vegetable peeler before juicing the
lemon. Add the juice and peel into a small saucepan with the basil, sugar and
water. Place over a low heat and allow the sugar the dissolve.
Increase the heat a little and allow the mixture to gently
bubble until reduced to a syrup.
Pass the syrup through a sieve to remove the basil stalks
and lemon peel, allow to cool and spoon over the ice cream to serve.
I love a good foodie programme on TV and am a self-obsessed
MC (a.k.a MasterChef addict)!!! I love MC in all its varieties whether the contestants
are professionals, celebrities or general members of the public. I also enjoy
watching the numerous versions of this TV show that are filmed elsewhere in the
world. Australian MacterChef takes the show to a whole new level with teams and
egg breaking challenges accompanied by a judging panel who have a complete
inability to eat food off of the same plate so all dishes cooked up by the
contestants have to be meticulously divided between plates for them before
tasting can begin (there’s no Gregg just digging straight in and indulgently
liking the chocolate fondant off the back of his spoon).
Now that I live on the other side of the Irish Sea I’m also
aware of MasterChef
Ireland, for which applications are now open for the new series. So if you
think you have what it takes to be the best chef in Ireland and be in with a
chance of winning €25,000 go apply.
As much as I like to think I am a little Master Chef in my
own kitchen I don’t think I am quite ready to take on the challenge of MC….but
in recognition that applications for MC Ireland are now open I thought I would
attempt to make a recipe from the last series. I went for what was originally a
and frangipane tart made by Fidelma Boyce. Frangipane is a great tart filling for anyone
who is lactose in tolerant as it is naturally dairy free unlike things like creme
patissiere. By substituting the butter in the pastry of the original recipe
with a dairy free spread I made this recipe suitable for anyone who is dairy
free. (I also didn’t have any peaches so swapped them for pears, but it turned
FOR THE PASTY
180g plain flour
120g dairy free spread
Zest 1 lemon
70g icing sugar
FOR THE FILLING
150g icing sugar
180g ground almonds
60 g plain flour
Mix the flour and icing sugar for the pastry together in a bowl and stir
in the lemon zest. Rub in the spread until fully combined with the mixture
resembling breadcrumbs. Then add the egg and bring all of the ingredients
together using your hands until a ball of dough is formed.
Wrap the pastry in cling film and transfer to the fridge for an hour to
allow to cool.
Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 180°C and grease a loose bottomed 30cm
diameter flan tin with dairy free spread.
After an hour roll the pastry out on a floured surface and carefully
line the tart tin with the pastry gently pushing it down into all of the edges.
Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans
(or uncooked rice) and blind bake for 12 minutes. Then remove the baking beans
and paper and return to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes until the pastry
is golden brown.
Next place the icing sugar, almonds, eggs and flour into a bowl and
beat until well combined. Spread this mixture evenly into the pre-baked pastry
Core and slice the pears into 2cm thick slices and arrange on top of
the frangipane until the case is full with pear slices. Put the tart back into
the oven for another 20 to 25 minutes until the frangipane is firm.
Once the tart is removed from the oven you can use a little fruit jam
to add a glaze to the tart if desired.
Then allow to cool slightly and tuck in!!
THE SEARCH IS ON TO FIND IRELAND’S NEXT MASTERCHEF!
Are you an amazing amateur cook with a passion for food?
Do you dream of pursuing that passion and possibly changing
Have you got what it takes to impress in the MasterChef
If so, we want to hear from you!
Don’t miss out, APPLY NOW for the chance to become the next
MasterChef Ireland Champion and win a cash prize of €25,000!
I’m (once again) a little bit late with my foodie pen pal
post for this month. I’m actually still waiting for my parcel, although it is
on it’s way, so a post regarding it’s content should be following shortly. But
in the meantime I thought I would post the recipe for the goodies that I made
for Ioanna in Greece. I sent Ioanna a package full of trears from Ireland and
England and thought I should make something suitably traditional. Having just
received a set of ‘Ninja’ Bread Men cookie cutters for my birthday gingerbread
men seemed the obvious choice. I then stumbled across this recipe for Vegan Guinness Gingerbread over at No Meat Athlete. Having no egg replacer handy I
actually turned these into a non-vegan treat by adding a couple of eggs but the
original vegan recipe can be found here. And below can be found the recipe with
my slight alterations, so not vegan, but still dairy free!
235 ml Guinness
80 ml vegetable oil
100g icing sugar
60 ml molasses
250 g flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
Put the Guinness into a small saucepan and simmer gently
until reduced by half.
Sift all of the dry ingredients together into a large bowl.
In a separate bowl mix together the molasses, oil, eggs and
60ml of the reduced Guinness mixture until well combined.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until a firm dough is
produced (you will probably need to get your hands dirty to bring the dough
Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for an
In the meantime pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line a baking
with non-stick baking parchment.
Roll the dough out on a well floured surface until about 2
cm thick and cut out in your desired shape (it doesn’t have to be a ninja!!).
Transfer to the baking tray and bake for approximately 10 minutes until golden
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before
removing from the tray.