Category Archives: Food

Apple Tart

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This is an apple tart just like my Mum makes. Apples with a hint of cloves enclosed in a shortcrust pastry and dished up with custard or vanilla ice cream. YUM!

Ingredients:

For the Pastry

255 g / 9 oz  plain flour

2 tbspn  icing sugar

pinch of salt

140 g  /  5 oz hard margarine or butter

6 tbspn cold water

For the filling

3 large cooking apples  { or 4-6 regular sized baking apples of your choice } peeled, cored and quartered.

If using cooking apples then stew and cool first otherwise leave to soften during the baking process

sugar to taste

1 tspn Cinnamon

3-4 whole cloves

Utensils

1 sieve, mixing bowl. 9 ” tart dish,  peeler/ slicer,  wooden spoon, knife, measuring spoons and a wire rack for cooling

Method

*Preheat the oven to  200°C / 400°F / / Gas mark 6

Sieve the flour, icing sugar and pinch of salt into the bowl from a height so as much air as possible is incorporated

Cut the margarine / butter into the flour and then with your fingertips rub into the flour lifting and letting it drop  from a height again adding more air which will make the pastry light. Do this part as quickly as possible to avoid melting.

Add the cold water a little at a time and using a knife to slowly mix together and then use your hand to firm up the mixture. The dough should now be a consistency for rolling.

At this point to make the dough more stretchy and easy to roll, place in a polythene bag and leave into the fridge for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into two halve. Take one half and roll our so it is big enough to fit the 9”  dish. Trim the edges with a knife.

Cover the pastry with the apples and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon to taste. Place the cloves inbetween the apples too.

Roll out the second half of pastry. Moisten around the edge of the bottom layer and place the second pice on top.

Press down on the pastry edges making sure it’s sealed. Trim any excess pastry with a knife in a downward motion and flute the edges with a pinching action.

Cut a small slit in the centre of the tart to allow steam to escape whilst cooking.

Bake for 30 minutes until the crust is a golden brown. Dust with caster sugar or icing sugar to serve.

^_^   Enjoy!

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Apple & Blackberry Crumble

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Originally uploaded by .•۫◦۪°•OhSoBoHo•۫◦۪°•

This is another one of those recipes that I have grown up on, and now I know why my Mum was always making Crumbles, dished up warm with custard or ice-cream (you can use cream too) they are so quick and easy to make, you really can’t go wrong. From making crumbles a lot, I have adapted this from my Mums original recipe but by adding in my own extras like oats in the crumble and softening the apples in a butterscotch sauce for extra flavour.

Ingredients:

For the Crumble

150g / 1 cup plain flour

50g  / 1/4 cup sugar  preferably pure cane washed sugar

113g  / 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) cold butter/ magarine chopped into cubes                                                    

1/2 cup of oats

1 tbsp of golden brown sugar or confectioners sugar for sprinkling on the topping after baking

For the fruit filling

Approx 5 / 6 Braeburn or Granny Smiths / cooking apples, peeled, cored & quartered.  (  If using only apples use 6 / 7 )

1/2 punnet / (3oz)  of ripe whole blackberries

150g sugar

100ml of water

1/2 tspn cinnamon

60g unsalted butter

These measurements are enough for an 8 x 8 inch Pyrex dish .

Utensils:

Mixing bowl, 1 pyrex dish, a non-stick saucepan, peeler/slicer, wooden spoon and teaspoon for measuring and a wire rack

Method:

*Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas mark 4

For the fruit filling; Place the sugar and water in the saucepan and simmer over a medium heat for approx 10 mins until it becomes a toffee colour, stirring occasionally. Add the unsalted butter pieces slowly and stirring as you do so.

Lastly add the cinnamon.  Once the butter is completely melted in you will have a golden butterscotch sauce.

Add the apple pieces and let soften slightly in the sauce for approx 5 -8 mins stirring once or twice so as not to let the fruit stick to the pan  ( If you prefer more ‘bite’ to the apples reduce the time as they soften further  during the baking process of the crumble )  then spoon from the saucepan into your baking dish and tuck the blackberries here and there throughout.

For the crumble ; Sieve the flour into a bowl with the oats and rub in the butter / margarine with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and mix.  (In a warm kitchen it is best to do the crumble mixture after the fruit preparation as you don’t want the butter to melt or soften too much before it goes in the oven)

Scatter the crumble mixture evenly over the fruit and bake for approx 30 mins until the topping is golden and the fruit is bubbling around the edges.  Sprinkle with golden brown sugar or confectioners sugar and let cool on a wire rack before serving with custard, vanilla ice-cream or cream

Basic Pancakes

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Prep work

A well over-due recipe on pancakes! Not that it has to be a special pancake day to enjoy them. I do mine the Irish/English way so they are thin and crepe -like but not as lacy in appearance and then served with the usual traditional toppings. Personally, I love mine with lemon & sugar…..So, how do you eat yours?

Ingredients:

110g / 4oz / 3/4 cup of plain flour

2 free- range eggs

200ml /7  fl oz milk mixed with 75 ml / 3 fl oz water

50g / 2 oz butter

Utensils:

A Sieve,spatula,whisk/fork,ladle,mixing bowl,small bowl, frying pan, palette knife or pan slice.

For keeping the pancakes warm as you make them –  A pot of simmering water covered by a  plate and some sheets of greaseproof paper should do the job.

Method:

Sift the flour into the mixing bowl. Hold the sieve high as you do this to let the flour get an airing.

Make a well in the centre of the flour and break the 2 eggs into it. Whisk the eggs and flour together adding  the milk /water mixture gradually as you do so.

Whisk until all lumps are well blended and use the spatula to scrape down the edges of the bowl ensuring all bits of flour are encorporated into the batter. Whisk some more until the mixture is completely smooth.

Now melt the butter in the pan and spoon 2 tbspn of it into the batter mixture, whisking it well again.

Pour the rest of the melted butter into the small bowl as this will then be used to lubricate the pan as you make each pancake.

Next get the frying pan really hot and then turn the heat down to approx medium just before you begin. Now use the ladle (or spoon the mixture into the ladle) to scoop and pour your batter mix easily onto the pan in one go. Usually the first pancake is a ‘test one’ to judge how much batter mix to use per pancake, it also depends on your pan size. I find approx 3 1/2 tbspns of the batter into the ladle covers a 9 inch frying pan – but this can be easily judged by trial and error. No need for exact measurements.

Don’t forget to keep whisking the batter in between pancakes too!

As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tilt it around until the base is evenly coated with the batter mixture. It should only take about 2 minutes or so to cook. Lift the edge to check for a golden colour and once this is reached it’s time to flip!

The other side will need approx 1 minute or less, then slide it out of the pan onto the plate. I like to sprinkle with caster sugar and the lemon juice straight away.

Stack the pancakes as you make them on the plate placed over the pot of simmering water and between sheets of greaseproof paper (to avoid sticking)

To serve, fold in half or into triangles or just simply rolled up.

Serve sprinkled with a little bit more sugar (& lemon –  if desired!) & try some honey too for more added flavour!☺

Pineapple uʍop-ǝpısdn cake!

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So this delightful and easy peasy cake is a recipe I learnt in school. It’s so simple to make, tastes yummy and you don’t have to always use pineapples – tinned peaches or apricots would make nice variations too. This is probably my favourite cake to bake, not because of how easy and fast it is but because it makes one of my favourite fruits into a gorgeous caramelised sweet topping. The cake itself (a madeira mixture -substituting milk for pineapple juice mind)  is moist but firm – perfect for slicing! It also looks kinda cool too.

Ingredients:

To line the base of the tin;

50g / 4 tbsp /1.76 oz butter/margarine (I prefer butter for a more caramelised flavour) & a little extra for greasing

50g/ 1.76 oz brown sugar

1 small tin of pineapple rings (drained) in juice – about 4-5 rings

4 or 5 glace cherries (optional- you’ll see from my image I didn’t have any so went nuts with the nuts!)

4 or 5 walnuts (whole) – I sometimes use chopped walnuts so about a handful is enough for a topping.

Madeira Mixture;

100g / 3 1/2 oz / 8 tbsp  butter or margarine chopped up & at room temperature

2 free-range eggs

1/4 tsp baking powder

100g / 3 1/2 oz  caster sugar

125g / 4 oz  plain flour

1 tbsp pineapple juice ( instead of milk to moisten)

1/4 tsp vanilla essence

Utensils:

7 inch (18cm) tin , two mixing bowls, spatula & mixing spoon, hand blender (not a necessity with elbow grease!) & wire rack

*Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas mark 4   & grease the tin well with the ‘extra’ butter*

Method:

For lining the tin – blend the butter and brown sugar into a creamy mixture and spread this over the base of the tin. Arrange the pineapple rings (cherries) & walnuts in an attractive pattern over this base. I usually fit 5 rings and fill in the spaces with the nuts and cherries.

Next make the madeira mixture.

Start by ‘creaming’ the  butter and sugar until combined into a pale and creamy mixture.

Beat in the two eggs, one at a time adding a tbspn of the flour after the 2nd egg to prevent the mixture from curdling.

Sift the flour and baking powder and  fold into the rest of the mixture and blend (this is where a hand blender is well, handy) until smooth.

Add the tbsp of pineapple juice to moisten & vanilla essence for more flavour and blend some more, until the mixture falls slowly from the spoon.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula and spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin, taking care not to lift the fruit and nuts out of place as this will spoil the ‘decoration’.

Smooth down using the back of the spoon.

Bake for about 30 minutes and then reduce the oven heat to about 150°C / 300°F / Gas mark 2, for a further 10 minutes until cooked through – 40 minutes in total.

The cake should be golden and have pulled away from the edges of the tin.

Leave to cool in the tin on the wire rack for about five minutes before placing a plate over the tin and turning upside-down. The cake should skip out easily.

Enjoy all on its own …or with custard!

Flour Power!!

Tea Scones

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Whenever I think of  fresh scones still warm from the oven, I think of home.This recipe is one my Mother has made all through my childhood ( and still does when I am back visiting) and can be made plain or with added raisins or currants. It yields about ten small sized scones (with a teensy bit of dough left over, that when I was very little was always made into a ‘mini’ tea scone for my Care Bear, Poppy ☺ and scoffed by me of course)

I personally like mine with real butter and jam (easy always on hand ingredients) whilst they are still slightly warm YUM! But as the scone is the main component of a ‘Cream tea’ or ‘Devonshire tea’  it probably should be served with clotted cream, jam and tea.  A delicious afternoon treat you can find in tea rooms up and down the UK, but especially in the South West of England. I had my first ‘Cream tea’ about two years ago in the Cotswolds one sunny Sunday with himself, and it was simply gorgeous. I wish we had the tea room tradition in Ireland – being avid tea drinkers ourselves and scone lovers too!

Makes 10 Scones

Ingredients:

8 oz / 225g Plain flour

1 tsp  baking powder

2 oz /  55g butter / margarine chopped up & at room temperature – plus a bit for greasing.

1 oz /25g caster sugar

2-4 tbsp of milk

1 free-range egg

(a squeeze of lemon juice if desired to slightly sour the milk for a more ‘buttermilk’ flavour)

Utensils:

A baking sheet, mixing bowl, rolling pin, hand whisk,  2 inch /5 cm cutter, a pastry brush & wire rack.

* Preheat the oven to gas mark 7/ 425°F /220°C

Method:

Sift the flour into the bowl and add the baking powder.

Next rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs and stir in the sugar.

Beat the milk and egg together separately using the whisk and  add it slowly to your mixture keeping back a little for glazing.

Mix together and finish off using your hands. The sides of the bowl should be clean. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If too dry add some more milk, a teaspoon at a time.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead lightly until smooth. Flour the rolling pin and roll out the dough until it is approx  3/4 inch / 2 cm in thickness.

Using the cutter, stamp out (do not twist) rounds until you have used up all of the dough.

Place the rounds onto the greased tin and glaze with the left-over milk/egg mixture before baking for approx 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown in colour & well risen.

Cool for approx 5 minutes on a wire rack before serving with a good jam/butter/clotted cream a freshly brewed pot of tea (preferably Irish tea ☺) …& Enjoy!


Sticky Toffee Pudding

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This yumdiddleyscrumptious recipe I got from my sister & is one of her ‘notoriously good’ desserts. It really is yummy and probably a favourite with many – it most certainly is with my husband which is why I will always have the necessary ingredients on hand in future! This is something he seems to order constantly as ‘pudding’ when we dine out. This is a classic British treat (Some say it has English origins others, Scottish) consisting of a very moist sponge made with finely chopped dates (sometimes prunes) and covered in a toffee sauce.

The cake itself can be kept in the freezer for later use, so it can be useful to make up several at once. Both the pudding and sauce actually taste better the day after baking I think, as it gives all those richer ingredients a chance to mingle and blend together. They can be re-heated then (separately!) and served with ice-cream or cream (I personally love good auld Vanilla Haagen Daaz) or custard.

Makes 2 loaf tins

Ingredients:

For the pudding

8 oz /16 tbsp butter chopped up – plus a tiny bit extra for greasing

8 oz / 1 cup of golden caster sugar

3 eggs

12 oz / 1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 1/2 tsp of baking powder

4 oz / 1/2 cup milk

4 oz / 1/2 cup water

1 tsp vanilla essence

12 oz / 1 1/2 cups of finely chopped & pitted dates

For the Toffee Sauce

16 oz / 2 cups of light muscovado sugar / tightly packed brown sugar

10 oz / 1 1/4 cups of double cream

2 oz / 4 tbsp butter

4 oz / 1/2 cup of finely chopped pecan nuts

Golden Syrup (if you have some in your cupboard, but not a necessity for the recipe)

Utensils: A loaf tin, a spatula, saucepan & a food blender if you have one, if not elbow grease works just as well 🙂

 *Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas mark 4   & grease your tin well with the ‘extra’ butter*

Method:

Start by blending together the butter and sugar until combined into a pale and creamy mixture.

Add the eggs one at a time. Using your spatula scrape down the sides making sure the eggs are combined well, and not stuck to the sides.

Combine the flour & baking powder and add to your mixture while slowly adding the milk and water as you combine all of the ingredients into a smooth batter.

Lastly fold in the dates and  pour half of the mixture into the greased tin.

Bake for approx 45 mins (times may vary depending on your oven 30 minutes may be sufficient) or until a fork inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Repeat with the remaining batter mixture for the second loaf.

Leave to cool on a wire rack in the tin for 5 mins before removing from the tin and continue cooling for another 10 minutes.

In the saucepan, bring the cream, butter and sugar to the boil stirring constantly. Reduce to a simmer, add the pecan nuts and continue stirring over a low heat for approx 5 minutes.  (For an even more toffee flavour add 1 tbsp of golden syrup)

Cut the loaf into slices, pour over the warm toffee sauce and serve with a scoop (or three!) of vanilla ice-cream…and enjoy!

Mince Pies

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Christmas in California prompted the start of what has become my ‘Baking Buzz’  for 2011. Americans don’t eat mince pies (!) I know. I couldn’t believe it either. Imagine with all the Irish & British living over here, you think it would have caught on by now! I think I need to start a trend. Mince pies are a necessity (for me) during the holidays & rightly so – what on earth would Santa think come Christmas Eve?! Served on their own or with cream/custard/ice-cream they really are simply scrumptious.

I was home two weeks before Crimbo so stocked up on a few jars of ‘Chivers Mincemeat’ (which is basically a fruit preserve (v) for those who have never heard/seen or tasted it. You can make this yourself  but at home you can get in in jars for handiness!) and brought them back bubble-wrapped safely in my luggage. They did cause suspicion mind and one jar was unwrapped and inspected at customs along with my Lyons tea stash. Blank faces then approved my sneaky food supplies, (phew!) they had already moved on to a Swedish lady with a huge salami (now that’s definitely meat).

And so the recipe goes

Serves 12

Ingredients:

100g / 3 1/2 oz  butter – plus a tiny bit extra for greasing.

200g / 7 oz plain flour – plus extra for dusting

25g / 1 oz icing sugar – plus extra for dusting

1 egg yolk

2-3 tablespoons of milk – plus extra for glazing

300g / 10 1/2 oz mincemeat

Utensils:

A Tartlet tin (mine was a 12-hole one) , two fluted cutters  (3 inch & 2 1/2 inch), a pastry brush & rolling pin

*Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas mark 4   & grease your tin well with the ‘extra’ butter*

Method:

Sift the flour into a bowl & then using you fingertips, rub in the remaining butter until your mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the sugar & egg yolk. Stir in enough milk to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface & knead lightly until smooth.

Roll your dough into a smooth ball & roll out to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Use the bigger (3 inch) cutter to to cut out 12 rounds (flouring the cutters in between each round) and line the tartlet  tin making little cases.

Half-fill each ‘case’ with mincemeat. Cut out a further 12 rounds from the  remaining dough using the smaller (2 1/2 inch) cutter to make lids for your pies. Using the pastry brush, glaze each lid before placing on top of each pie.

Bake in  the preheated oven for 15-20 mins until the pastry is a golden colour (times may vary depending on your oven )

Remove from the oven & cool on a wire rack. Don’t forget to dust with the ‘extra’ icing sugar before serving.

Christmas 2010