Sweet Potato & Carrot Soup

My Inedible Pumpkin
My Inedible Pumpkin

 

This recipe is delicious and very like the soup my Mum used to have waiting for us after school each day. It’s a great one to throw your leftover pumpkin from Halloween in to.

 

We had a massive Halloween party in my house last week & I was exited to use my leftover pumkin. However my pumpkin wasn’t the best so I didn’t have any leftovers, but you could definitely add yours in with a little extra stock for some seriously tasty soup!

Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic chopped

1 onion chopped

3 carrots chopped

1-2 sweet potato chopped

Leftover pumpkin if you have it

2 sticks celery chopped

1 can chopped tomatoes

1 litre veg or chicken stock

 

1. Get a big pot and heat a little oil. Drop in garlic and onion and let soften for a few minutes. Add carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, celery and stock.

2. Add in chopped tomatoes and let cook for 30-40 minutes on a medium heat.

3. Season, blend with and electric hand blender (be careful to avoid hot splashes!)

4. Serve with brown bread and butter.

Add Veg to Pot
Add Veg to Pot
Let Bubble Away
Let Bubble Away

 

Ready
Ready
Yum Yum
Yum Yum

 

Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Glaze Icing

Pumpkin and Pecan Muffins
Pumpkin and Pecan Muffins
Delicious Moist Pumpkin and Pecan Muffins
Delicious Moist Pumpkin and Pecan Muffins
Beautiful Pumpkin and Pecan Muffins
Beautiful Pumpkin and Pecan Muffins
The Things Pumpkin Dreams Are Made Of
The Things Pumpkin Dreams Are Made Of

Seeing pumpkins everywhere and seeing Halloween outfits in shop windows have gotten me in the festive mood! I decided to bake something festive this week and popped in to Fallon & Byrne for pumpkin purée  I had in mind that I wanted to make moist pumpkin muffins and stumbled upon this recipe from Lily Higgins blog, you’re always guaranteed to find the best cake recipes on her blog! Apparently the recipe comes from the Primrose Bakery. These muffins are really moist and light, and the maple syrup icing and pecan nuts adds to that festive Halloween feel without having to go OTT on decorating your cakes so literally! Just to note these muffins feel much softer than buns do when they come out of the oven, don’t feel compelled to keep them baking longer as you’ll lose that lovely moistness. Once a knife comes out clean from the muffin, they’re done

These are easy to make and really yum, I was so pleased with them. I had to make two batches to please both my housemates, colleagues and friends but it was well worth it. They are actually one of my favourite bakes, I might buy a few more cans of pumpkin purée for my cupboard for later in the year!

Pumpkin and Pecan Icing Muffins
Pumpkin and Pecan Icing Muffins

Ingredients:

110g butter (room-temperature… unless your house is freezing like mine)

240g Soft Light Brown Sugar

2 large eggs

½ tsp vanilla extract (much better than vanilla essence)

100g pureed pumpkin

125g self-raising flour

120g plain/cream flour

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

125ml buttermilk

12 whole pecans

Maple Icing:

8tbsp icing sugar

2tbsp Maple Syrup (I used local Apple Syrup)

1-2 tbsp hot water

  1. Cream together butter and sugar until pale and smooth using electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time and then vanilla.
  2. Add pumpkin until just combined.
  3. Mix flours, cinnamon and ginger together. Add a third of the flour mix to the wet mixture, beat together and then beat in half of butter milk. Keep doing this until all flours and buttermilk are mixed in.
  4. Smooth mixture into muffin cases until 2/3 full. Put in an oven pre-heated to 160C for 25 mins.
  5. Let cool for 10mins and then decorate with Maple Glaze Icing and Pecans.
Beautiful Bright Orange Pumkin Muffin Batter
Beautiful Bright Orange Pumpkin Muffin Batter
Pop These Pumpkin Beauties Into The Oven for 25 Minutes
Pop These Pumpkin Beauties Into The Oven for 25 Minutes
Delicious Pumpkin Muffins Hot From The Oven
Delicious Pumpkin Muffins Hot From The Oven
Mix Together Your Icing
Mix Together Your Icing
Mix Your Chopped Pecans Into Your Icing
Mix Your Chopped Pecans Into Your Icing
Pumpkin Muffins- Waiting For You To Bake and Eat Immediately
Pumpkin Muffins- Waiting For You To Bake and Eat Immediately

Double Chocolate Caramel Brownies

Stuffed Olive Brownie
Stuffed Olive Brownie
Barleycove West Cork
Barleycove West Cork
My Still Slightly Melty Double-Chocolate and Caramel Brownies!
My Still Slightly Melty Double-Chocolate and Caramel Brownies!

 

Last night was the final of the Great British Bake Off (GBBO) and I was going to be damned if I didn’t have my cake and eat it! Every week I watch with tummy rumbles and I never have anything sweet to eat as  I watch the contestants whip up tart after tart. My mind has been wandering back to a recent trip to West Cork when I indulged in a delicious brownie from The Stuffed Olive (an amazing place!). I decided it had been a while since I made brownies, but wanted to give them a twist! So last night I decided to make something chocolatey and gooey. It wasn’t quite the stuff that the French Patisserie tartes from the GBBO are made of, but whatever- my double chocolate caramel brownies were a welcome treat. Like a cross between millionaires shortbread and gooey brownies,  double-chocolate caramel brownies, or “Millionaires Brownies” were born!

 

They are delicious but seriously heart attack inducing so if you’re making a batch, be ready to share! Also good quality chocolate goes a long way. I didn’t bother making my own caramel as I was just after coming home from work and the gym, so bought a can of caramel, but by all means, make your own! Also to note is that my trusty little brownie tin went missing so I had to use a mammoth tin which made the brownie base thinner (and so cut the baking time in half), however I strongly recommend using a smaller tins for higher brownies to enjoy the full goo quality.

 

Ingredients (makes 12 to 16 depending on size):

200g dark chocolate (I use 75% cocoa chocolate)

150g butter

225g caster sugar

3 eggs

150g self-raising flour

For the topping:

300g-400g Chocolate (I used a mix of milk and dark)

1 can of caramel

 

1. Melt 200g dark chocolate with butter in a large heavy bottomed pot over a very low heat, mixing continually.

2. When melted, stir in sugar, then eggs (which should be beaten first), then flour.

3. Place in a lined and greased brownie tin, pop into your preheated oven at 180C for 30-40 mins. (If using a large brownie tin like me they will only take 15-20mins… Just keep checking, when knife comes out clean they’re done).

4.When brownies have cooled, layer on caramel evenly.

5. Melt remaining chocolate in heavy bottomed pot on low heat, stirring constantly (I used 200g dark and 200g milk) and layer over the caramel. Don’t worry these will layer easily, the caramel and chocolate won’t mix.

6. Let cool for the chocolate to harden (takes about an hour to harden), or cut up when chocolate is still slightly melty for an extra gooey experience!

Melt Chocolate and Butter
Melt Chocolate and Butter
Silky Melted Chocolate
Silky Melted Chocolate
Add Sugar & Stir
Add Sugar & Stir
Stir in Eggs
Stir in Eggs
Stir in Flour
Stir in Flour

Spread Caramel on Brownie Layer

Spread Caramel on Brownie Layer
Caramel Layer
Caramel Layer
Chocolate Layer
Chocolate Layer
Let To Cool
Let To Cool
Time to Slice
Time to Slice
Ready to Dig In!
Ready to Dig In!

 

Bread & Butter Pudding

Bread & Butter Pudding
Bread & Butter Pudding
Dessert Time
Dessert Time
Hot From the Oven
Hot From the Oven

The are some pluses and minuses to having a food blog. I arrived home on Friday night to a mother who has been keenly reading my blog and made a little list of things I was to make on Saturday. (Those Chorizo burgers are proving quite popular!) You can tell I’m at home from the pictures as the kitchenware is so much nicer than my slap-dash set! This dessert happened by chance off the back of an epic fail when I tried to make custard tarts yesterday. I was left with weird pastries but lots of lovely yummy runny custard infused with vanilla pod, orange zest & cinnamon that seemed a shame to throw out. So with the addition of some white bread, butter, nutmeg & raisins this tasty pudding was born.
I love bread and butter pudding! All pudding type desserts (sticky toffee pudding, hot chocolate pudding etc) are just so comforting and easy.This is crazily easy to make and always tends to be a crowd pleaser. Just two notes: Make sure you use good quality bread (sliced pan doesn’t cut the mustard), secondly I forgot to put brown sugar on top of mine which is why it’s not slightly caramelised, it still tasty yummy though. Give it a go & you won’t regret it!

Ingredients:

1 loaf of fresh white bread cut into nice even slices (not too thick, not too thin)

1 whole nutmeg & grater

butter

Raisins (about a handful or two)

3 tbsp brown sugar

For the custard:

100g caster sugar

2 tbsp cornflour

500ml whole milk

4 egg yolks

zest of an orange

pinch of cinnamon

1 vanilla pod (insides scraped out)

 

1. To make the runny custard milk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and slowly whisk in the milk. Add orange zest, cinnamon and vanilla and set aside

2. Cut the crusts off your bread and butter on one side. Get a nice casserole or lasagne dish and make a bread layer with the buttery side facing down. Then spinkle with grated nutmeg (freshly grated is best) and raisins. Repeat these layers until you reach to the top of the dish but don’t sprinkle raisins or nutmeg on the top layer. Instead pour over your custard slowly and evenly. Sprinkly with a little brown sugar.

3. Pop into an oven preheated at 180C for 30-40 minutes. Serve with cream.

Make Your Custard
Make Your Custard
Add Orange Zest, Vanilla & Cinnamon to Custard
Add Orange Zest, Vanilla & Cinnamon to Custard
Get Helper to Slice & Butter Bread for You
Get Helper to Slice & Butter Bread for You
Start Layering You Pudding
Start Layering You Pudding
Layer Two
Layer Two
Pour Custard Over Pudding
Pour Custard Over Pudding

 

Ready For Oven
Ready For Oven
Ready To Eat
Ready To Eat

 

Eat Me
Eat Me
Enjoy With Cup of Tea
Enjoy With Cup of Tea

 

Chorizo Burgers

Frankies BBQ
Frankies BBQ
Frankies in Action
Frankies in Action
My Version!
My Version!

About a month or so ago I took a trip home to head to the Taste of West Cork Food Festival. I tried lots of nice stuff & bought quite the bounty of local artisan food produce. However, after that trip my mind kept wandering back to a chorizo burger I ate from Frankies BBQ. It was a revelation! Chorizo in a burger? Who knew! It’s super easy to make, but fools all those you’re cooking for in to thinking that you’re a real pro! Yes I know I am just talking about a burger, but these are seriously delicious. I recreated it using Gubbeen chorizo (at this point people must think I have an obsession with Gubbeen… and I do, so shoot me.) Coupled with some homemade garlic mayo and a few tasty extras, this really is one tasty burger. I recreated them when I was back in Dublin, and used the Bretzel Bakery’s onion baps which are amazing. I didn’t make a side with these as they are so big, but if you’re ravenous, wedge some sweet potatoes and sprinkle with oil & smoked paprika and bake for 40 minutes or until soft, the garlic mayo is perfect for dipping wedges into too!

Ingredients (Makes 6 small or 4 large burgers):

350g minced beef

150g chorizo minced (I just unpeeled the skin from my chorizo sausage & roughly grated in to bits)

1 small onion finely chopped

1 egg

Salt & pepper

1 avocado sliced

1 tomato sliced

Mixed salad leaves

Bread Baps

Ballymaloe Country Relish

Sliced Cheese (I used Gubbeen smoked cheese… the smokiness went with the chorizo quite well)

 

For the Garlic Mayo:

2 egg yolks

1 tbsp Dijon Mustard

Small pinch salt

2 crushed garlic cloves

300ml nut oil (the milder flavour of this is less overpowering than olive oil- alternatively you can blend the two)

  1. For the garlic mayo: Whisk together the egg yolks, mustard, salt and garlic. Slowly whisk in the oil bit by bit, then give it one nice last whisk and it should emulsify in to a nice thick garlic mayo.
  2. Mix together the chorizo, steak mince, onion, egg yolk, salt & pepper. Form in to burger patties.
  3. Fry patties in a little olive, turning to cook through. Meanwhile pop the bread baps into the oven for a few minutes to warm and very lightly toast.
  4. When the burgers are done place the sliced cheese on top to let them melt slightly.
  5. Spread one half of your bread with your garlic mayo, and the other with Ballymaloe relish. Pop the burgers in and top with your tomato, avocado, lettuce and enjoy!
Ready to Mix
Ready to Mix
Meaty Mix
Meaty Mix
Pretty Little Patties!
Pretty Little Patties!

 

Tasty Toppings
Tasty Toppings
Whisk in Oil
Whisk in Oil
Garlic Mayo
Garlic Mayo
The Assembly Line
The Assembly Line
These Are Not For The Fainthearted
These Are Not For The Fainthearted
Yum Yum
Yum Yum

Rainbow Vegetable & Bacon Gratin

Rainbow Gratin
Rainbow Gratin

I have been using the freezing weather as an excuse to cook more hearty meals when I come home in the evening and decided to revamp the classic potato gratin. Usually it comes as a side, but I wanted to make it a main. I used layers of sweet potato, rainbow carrots (yes you can get purple, white & yellow carrots… it was news to me too), a mix of leek, smoked bacon & béchamel sauce, and finally topped it with a layer of mixed sweet potato and rooster potato. It was glorious, so colourful and packed with flavour! It makes a great main as you’ve got your meat and vegetables all in one.

 

I would definitely recommend making this, there is something comforting about a nice potato-y meal, hot from the casserole dish that reminds me of coming home from school when I was younger. Rather than making one large gratin (this recipe serves 6), I made two small gratins and froze one for a quick dinner the week after. You can get adventurous with this and use other root vegetables; celeriac would be nice and has great flavour. All veggies used are seasonal. Give it a go and let me know what you think!

Rainbow Carrots & Potatoes Finely Sliced
Rainbow Carrots & Potatoes Finely Sliced
Leek, Onion, Garlic, Bacon & Parsley
Leek, Onion, Garlic, Bacon & Parsley

 

Ingredients For Gratin:

1 Large or 2 Medium Sweet Potatoes Finely Sliced

1 Large Rooster Potato Finely Sliced

4-5 Rainbow Carrots (Or normal carrots) Finely Sliced

2 Leeks Finely Sliced

1 Onion Finely Chopped

2 Cloves Garlic Crushed

1 Packet Chopped Smoked Streaky Bacon (I used Gubbeen… love the stuff!)

Salt & Pepper

Chopped Parsley (Optional, use whatever herbs you prefer!)

Handful Grated Parmesan

 

Bechamel Sauce:

750ml Whole Milk

60g Butter

50g Plain/Cream Flour

70g Grated Parmesan Cheese

 

  1. Make sauce by mixing all ingredients except cheese, when sauce thickens turn off heat, add cheese & continue to stir. Season well with salt & cracked black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Heat large frying pan, add tbsp oil, add garlic then add onion & leek. When leek starts to soften (after 3 mins or so) push leek to side of frying pan and add bacon. When bacon starts to cook, stir all together and add parsley. Add 1/3 of béchamel sauce and stir well. Turn off heat under the frying pan.
  3. Start layering your casserole dish. First apply a layer of sweet potato to the dish. Then add layer off your leek mix. Add layer of carrot. Add another layer of leek. Add final layer of rooster & sweet potato. Cover with remaining béchamel sauce & cover with casserole lid or tinfoil.
  4. Put in preheated oven at 190C for 40mins (or until cooked through, use knife to test), then take off lid, add grated cheese & allow to brown and crisp for a further 10 mins (Reduce heat to 170C).
  5. Enjoy with a side salad, I added some balsamic vinegar to mine. Simple!
Add Bechamel to Leeks
Add Bechamel to Leeks
Layer One
Layer One

 

Layer Two
Layer Two
Layer Three
Layer Three
Layer Four
Layer Four
Final Layer
Final Layer
Cover With Bechamel Sauce
Cover With Bechamel Sauce
Sprinkle with Parmesan
Sprinkle with Parmesan
Rainbow Gratin
Rainbow Gratin

Pistachio Shortbread & Hot Chocolate

O'Conaill's Chocolate Shop, Cork
O’Conaill’s Chocolate Shop, Cork
O'Conaill's Sweet Treats
O’Conaill’s Sweet Treats

Sometimes you just need a sweet treat and a couch night, and this recipe combo is just the ticket! I stumbled across this recipe in the Sunday Times as a teenager and have been making it every now and then since. My Dad is a bit of shortbread fiend. Shortbread and a cup of tea (Barry’s of course!) and he is happy, so that was why I made it originally but I have loved it ever since. This recipe is much nicer than the shop bought stuff and it lasts about 5-7 days in an airtight container.

The last time I made it, I decided to be very indulgent and make a hot chocolate from O’Conaill Chocolates in Cork to go with it. O’Conaill Chocolates is amazing, I started going there in school with a friend before our French grinds and it quickly became a weekly ritual! Not only is their handmade chocolate melted down with fresh creamy milk to make their famous hot chocolate, you can also add praline, orange oil, white chocolate… the list is endless and it really is like nothing you’ve ever tried before! You can also buy beautiful chocolate fudge, tiffin, brownies, cakes and more recently chocolate cake pops! It is soooo worth a visit if you are in Cork. My sister gifted me with a hot chocolate set from there, but if you aren’t from Cork you can do the same with any good quality chocolate.

It’s a delicious but heavy combo, so not recommended after a big meal!

Plate of Amazing Shortbread
Plate of Amazing Shortbread
O'Conaill Hot Chocolate
O’Conaill Hot Chocolate

 

Pistachio Shortbread Ingredients:

90g caster sugar

240g butter softened

360g plain flour

¼ tsp sea salt

75g pistachios chopped (you can use a hand blender for a few seconds to chop- this will make some nuts powdery but some chunky which gives a nice texture & taste throughout)

  1. Preheat oven to 165C.
  2. Cream up sugar & butter until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in flour and salt
  4. Add in nuts until just combined.
  5. Remove dough from from bowl and shape in to two rectangular logs.
  6. Chill for 30mins.
  7. Brush cold logs with a few drops of water, sprinkle with caster sugar and then slice the logs in to 1cm biscuits & place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
  8. Leave space between biscuits to bake evenly.
  9. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (they should remain pale in colour)
  10. Let cool on wire rack.

 

Hot Chocolate Ingredients:

One glass of milk

One heaped teaspoon cocoa (I used from O’Conaill’s kit)

Two tablespoons of O’Conaill’s chocolate drops (mine were a mix of white, milk & dark chocolate- any good quality chocolate chopped up would work well though)

  1. Mix cocoa with 2 tbsp milk in a saucepan until it forms a paste. Stir in rest of milk, and turn on the hob to a medium heat. Add in chocolate until melted. Enjoy!
Cream Butter and Sugar
Cream Butter and Sugar
Add Pistachios
Add Pistachios
Start Shaping your Dough
Start Shaping your Dough
Chill the Dough
Chill the Dough
Slice up Biscuits
Slice up Biscuits
Happy with my Shortbread
Happy with my Shortbread
Add Chocolate Drops to Cocoa Milk
Add Chocolate Drops to Cocoa Milk

 

Munchie Time
Munchie Time