Showing posts from 2013

Bourbon Egg Nog

Oh my word this is the first time I have made eggnog and its all kinds of yum. This drink is like nectar of the god for a custard fanatic, its very much like a spicy boozed up custard drink.. GLORIOUS. Before I give you the recipe Homer Simpson summed up how good egg nog really is, enjoy my friends!

Marge: Homer, didn't you get any milk? All I see is egg nog.
Homer: 'Tis the season, Marge! We only get thirty sweet noggy days.
Then the government takes it away again. [pours some on his cereal] Lisa: [chokes on her cereal] I think I'm having chest pains.

Egg Nog ( courtesy of Alton Brown )
4 egg yolks
43g sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
500ml whole milk
230ml heavy cream
85ml ounces bourbon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 43g sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and br…

Rye & Raisin Cookies - Courtesy of Dan Lepard

These cookies are my new favourite and they come courtesy of Mr Dan Lepard the judge of the Great Australian Bake Off and resident food writer for the Guardian. Dan's food and baking recipes are my favourite to read and I especially love his book "Short & Sweet", its one of the best books I have got this year. Also if you have not seen the Great Australian Bake Off then you need to check it out on Youtube, its my personal favourite of all the bake off incarnations. I know you are gonna love these cookies, they are truly scrumptious.
*Picture courtesy of Foodie Bugle

Ingredients Makes about 15.
125g butter 125g soft brown sugar 125g caster sugar 2 tbsp cocoa 1 tsp vanilla essence 1 egg white
150g rye flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250g raisins

Method Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Using an electric mixer, whisk the butter, sugars, cocoa and vanilla with the egg white until smooth and fluffy, then switch to a wooden spoon and beat in the flour and bicarbonate of soda un…

Farmgate Cafe - English Market - Cork City

That picture above fills me with great joy because for me that's one of the nicest shepherds pies I have eaten in this country. This weekend myself and Joanne were staying in Kinsale at the Blue Haven which I will be reviewing over the coming days. However when you mention Cork to Joanne or me we both know within an instant where we will be eating lunch that day. Farmgate is one of those places we always return to and it just so happens that it is in the English Market, which is excellent in itself. There is so much good food on sale there, I would go as far to say its my most favourite thing about Cork,  even the Queen of England loves it!

I love Farmgate though, its always packed with diners and has such a lovely buzz about the place. In fact knowing its always packed we made sure to book a table this time round which turned out to be a very wise stroke on our behalf. I also inquired was the shepherds pie on the menu as we had been down in Cork in the summer and it wasn't o…

My Chocolate Fondants

I am in love with chocolate fondants, they always look and taste incredible but up until last week I had never even attempted making them. Guess what they are absolutely easy to make especially with the recipe below.
Ingredients(adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman)
114g butter, more for greasing
114g 70% chocolate
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
50g sugar
2 teaspoons flour

Grease and lightly flour 4x120ml dariole moulds and tap out the flour.In a bowl set over simmering water, heat the butter and chocolate together until completely melted. Beat together the eggs, yolks, and sugar with a whisk or electric beater until it leaves a trail in the mixture.Whisk together the melted chocolate and butter, it will be quite warm. Pour in the egg mixture, then quickly beat in the flour, until combined.Divide the batter into the molds. Refrigerate for 20 mins.Preheat the oven to 230c/210c Fan/450°F and bake the molds on a tray for 8 minutes. The centre will be quite soft, but th…

My Deep Filled Almond Crumble Mince Pies

Yesterday evening I decided to make some mince pies in practice for a class I am teaching in a few weeks. This recipe is an amalgamation of something I saw over on the BBC Goodfood site. I would love to say they taste lovely but I am on a diet and couldn't taste them, which for me was like torture as I love mince pies, they are my favourite. Least the smell last night in our apartment was amazing :)
Makes 12 
Pastry 200g very cold butter, cubed 400g plain flour, plus extra for dusting 100g ground almonds 100g golden caster sugar zest 2 oranges 2-3tbsp of milk
Filling  400g of good mincemeat
For the crumble topping 25g ground almonds 25g flaked almonds pinch ground cinnamon 25g unsalted butter, melted 25g soft light brown sugar
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4Mix the butter, flour and ground almonds in a food processor until the butter has disappeared. Add in the sugar and the orange zest. Add the milk a tbsp at a time and keep blitzing until a rough dough comes toget…

Porter Cake

As a child I absolutely despised fruit cake I found it horrible. My favourite part of the Christmas cake was the icing and marzipan. However as the years went on my taste buds changed and started to appreciate fruit cake more, this opened me up to absolutely adoring the likes of Christmas Pudding or a good old fashioned Oxford lunch. Recently however I had porter cake as part of an afternoon tea and god was it good. Oh so very moist and full flavoured. This Saturday past I decided to put out a request online to my twitter pals asking did anyone have a good recipe, and they duly obliged. Karie Murray & Rosanne Hewitt Cromwell ( Like Mam Used To Bake ) both sent me pics of  their fave recipe out of the McDonnell's cookbook from the early 80's. Also Siobhan Cullen  hooked me up with her Aunty Mary's recipe which also is very similar to the recipe below, in fact Siobhan's 93yr old aunty has been making it a lot longer than the McDonnell's recipe. Its fantastic hav…

My Gingerbread House

This weekend I had the pleasure of baking the gingerbread house above at Kitchen Complements. I had an excellent bunch of people in this week and 3 very enthusiastic kids who helped me out decorating. I am truly loving my classes at the moment in Kitchen Complements, in the new year I hope to offer a bread making one so make sure to stay in touch with me for updates on that. Anyhow here is my gingerbread house recipe with loads of help from James Morton, without his gingerbread recipe I would have crashed and burned in my class. I am also going to include my template that I used courtesy of Martha Stewart which can be found here.
500g unsalted butter 400g dark muscavado sugar 400g golden syrup 1200g plain flour 20g bicarbonate of soda 20g ginger 20g cinnamon
Royal Icing
525g icing sugar 4 large egg whites 1tbsp cream of tarter
Decoration - you can use anything so be creative.
Preheat the oven to 200c/gas (fan 180c). Have at least 2 baking sheets to hand.Weigh out all…

Mulberry Garden - Donnybrook D4

Hello there friends, I am back from a little quiet period. These past few weeks I wanted to calm things down blogging wise and take a break from churning blogs out 3/4 a week. These past 9 months have been topsy turvy to say the very least so I am trying to get back in the groove of blogging following the climax of that baking competition I participated in. This post has just gone live but I actually wrote it last night.....I sit here listening to obscure Christmas music, I am trying to get in to the spirit of it all early this year as most years despite being bombarded with Christmas down my throat I still cannot get in to it all like when I was a child. I always find myself saying "it just doesn't feel like Christmas".
I am also a little hypnotised right now as I write this by the smell of a roast bacon loin in the oven, blooming heck it smells good. I reckon it smells extra good because 1) its pig and pig is the best animal to grace our plate, and 2) I started back o…

White Chocolate with Blackberry Preserve Macaron

This weekend I had to do an order for 50 macaron so I decided on my personal favourite white chocolate with blackberry preserve. I made this during the summer and here is how they were back then when I first made them and they were not the best looking as you can see below:

Ingredients (makes 70 macaron)
225g old egg whites
300g ground almonds
300g icing sugar 
300g caster sugar
75g water  2 drops of purple food colouring
400g of creme fraiche 360g of white chocolate Bonne Maman blackberry preserve
You are gonna need to do some pre requisites. First of all you are gonna have to separate and set your egg whites aside in a container at room temperature for 2-5 days, I recommend 5 days as they work out best. Next up you need to blitz your ground almonds as fine as you can in a food processor for about 2-3 mins, this will ensure your macaron come out nice a smooth.
Also you need to line a baking tray with baking parchement and marked with circles.

Fast forward 5 days...
Sieve the almonds and i…

Merrion Hotel - Art Tea

This post has been a long time coming and I have finally gotten a chance to write it. The Merrion Hotel has been on my list of afternoon tea venues for quite some time along with The Shelbourne which I have yet to sample. It just so happens that the man behind the afternoon tea or as its termed in The Merrion "Art Tea" is none other than Paul Kelly. As I am sure you all know Paul was one half of the judging duo along with Biddy White Lennon on the Great Irish Bake Off. I will be honest here prior to the Bake Off I had no clue who Paul Kelly was despite knowing and seeing the afternoon tea The Merrion had to offer. Naturally having worked with or been judged should I say on the bake off I thought one day I would love to go see what the man himself can produce. I got that opportunity back in late September, I took my mum there for her birthday aswell as my brother Steve. It was my mum's third time going for afternoon tea this year and boy was she treated to 2 great ones a…

Teaching Joanne How to Bake - Wholemeal Bread

I am back ladies and gentlemen, I decided to take yesterday off from blogging as I didn't get a chance to blog Sunday as I was banjaxed tired from baking in Arnotts Saturday. One of the greatest things that has happened from the bake off  is Joanne's interest in baking has really developed. She knows all the techniques and terms by proxy watching me practice like a lunatic for the past 7 months so surely she can bake right? Well over the next few weeks I am going to introduce a few posts of me teaching my best friend how to bake. All weekend she was telling me that she was gonna bake some biscuits or small buns, however I suggested we tackle one of the most supposed difficult things to work with in the kitchen "Yeast"! This was met with the following "ah here Will I haven't a clue what to do when it comes to making yeast bread I can only do Soda bread", well it was my goal to teach Joanne and all of you there is no mystique or difficulty in working wit…

Great Irish Bake Off - The Final - No More Cake

Well there you have it the Great Irish Bake Off has come to an end and we have a well deserved champion in Stephen Chisholm. I want to congratulate him on winning the title, he was from day one just brilliant. When I landed at Clonabreany house the minute I met Stephen and spoke to him I knew he was gonna be a tough nut to crack, and if I was to win the show I would have to beat him along the way. His knowledge is incredible as well as his skill and talent. Today he deserved the win, his petit fours were pretty damn good and his gingerbread castle was captivating. It was also good fun, sorry I needed to say that as outside the tent that's Steve's catchphrase.

Now for Maryanne, she is a terrific baker and excels in sugar work decoration. Maryanne's Georgian door cake was so perfectly finished on the day as well as the fact she was so damn good through out the show. It was an honor to share the tent with both Stephen and Maryanne in the final. Now for me, I enjoyed the last…

FIFO evenings @ Rigbys

For some time I have been going to Rigbys over on Leeson St. Dublin for lunch, they do fantastic sandwiches which I have in the past reviewed here. However for a long time I have been meaning to go to Rigbys for dinner, I finally got my chance last Thursday evening. I made my reservation via Twitter which was accepted in a matter of minutes. What I love the most about FIFO is its intimacy there must be only 6 tables in the restaurant. I also love that the menu changes on a regular basis which gives James (the head chef and owner) the chance to keep the menu always seasonal. Myself and two friends made our order after very short period of waiting, I decided upon the foie gras terrine, figs & pulled ham for starters  and then for mains seared Tipperary duck breast with potato rosti & swede confit.
I have to say FIFO is seriously fast, our starters arrived 5 minutes after ordering. My foie gras terrine was delish even the salad was damn good, I was very happy only wish I had mor…

The Mothership's Irish Beef Stew

There is simply nothing better than on a cold day coming home to a big bowl of gorgeous beef stew. Its like getting a big warm hug of yumminess. This recipe comes courtesy of Joanne's mam Betty, its still the best stew I have ever had so I am sharing with you the family secret. It's incredibly simple to make and does not require any fancy cooking skills or techniques. Also before I start it's worth noting that with stews or casseroles they are always best made the day before eating allowing for the flavours to grow and develop with each other.
600g of round beef steak cut in to 2cm cubes 450g of good quality steak mince 3 large carrots diced in to 1cm cubes 2 parsnips diced in to 1 cm cubes 1 large onion finely chopped 3 celery stalks finely chopped 1 bouquet garni Salt & pepper 1 packet of oxtail soup 1 packet of farmhouse vegetable soup 1300ml of cold water Rapeseed oil 2tsp of butter Fry the mince with 2tsp of oil in a large saucepan 30cm in diameter. Fr…

Christmas tree Meringue Kisses

Good day everyone I apologise before I begin, I know we are nearly a month and a bit away from Christmas but I couldn't resist. I got the best book ever on Saturday in O'Mahoney's bookstore down in Limerick city called the "Meringue Girls Cookbook". I love meringue its one of my favourite things to work with in the kitchen and you all know how much I love macarons. So with the girls book to hand I followed their perfect instructions and dug out some spring green colouring from Wilton, produced those babies above. I am chuffed with how they look and turned out :), I know I am going to be making so many more of these beauties in the near future. I hope you enjoy this everyone, so so so simple to make too.

150g egg whites 300g caster sugar Green food colouring Few drops of peppermint extract
Pre-heat to 200c/180c fan/375F/gas mark 6.Line a roasting tray with greaseproof and fill with the caster sugar. Bake for 5 mins, baking allows for the hot caste…


Well there you blooming have it, I am in the final of the Great Irish Bake Off, yes a Finalist. I never envisaged this happening, I can honestly say when I went in to this show I didn't think this could actually happen. In the tent on the first day I didn't think I had a hope in hell looking at all the other bakers.  This week I loved because I got first in the technical which was a nice change of pace doing a Biddy challenge. The quiche was beautiful but I would not be so keen on the carrageen dessert, the flavour I wouldn't particularly like, reminded me of blancmange. Something I would love to eat that actually includes carrageen is Myrtle Allen's carrageen dessert it looks so yum!  Nessa from Nessa's family kitchen has a fantastic version found here.
On to my signature bake, I decided to make an orange flavoured chiffon cake filled with a honey mead buttercream. The brief stated we were required to bake a cake that represented our journey in the show. So the re…