Hummus

My Hummus Trio
My Hummus Trio
A Perfect Supper
A Perfect Supper
A Lovely Lunch
A Lovely Lunch

I love hummus so much, its so tasty, inexpensive and quick to make. It’s also one that you can totally add bursts of flavours to with some extra additions of different ingredients. Below find my basic hummus recipe and the three variations on it: Basil Oil Hummus (delicious), Gubbeen Smoked Cheese Hummus (do I even need to explain why this is amazing?) and Lemon Cumin Hummus.

My boyfriend and I went to Schull, West Cork recently and did the Firehouse Bread course, and Laura who makes all the delicious food there made a delicious Gubbeen Smoked Cheese hummus, and so I wanted to try and make it myself. Also with an abundance of breads I thought it would be a handy dip for the fridge to use up all my leftover bread. I am absolutely in love with the Basil Oil that Flynn’s Kitchen makes! I put in on pasta or risotto, salads, fish etc and it makes everything taste better! I decided to put a swig of it into some of my hummus and it was amazing! I also just added extra lemon and cumin to the standard hummus recipe to give it a little extra kick. I bought a ring of Gubbeen Chorizo when I was home last, and it literally is the best chorizo in the world. I don’t know what they do down in that smoke house in West Cork, but everything they make is magic! The chorizo added some nice punch to the hummus and toast. I made the bread in Firehouse (fig and walnut) and you can check out the recipe for that here.

A Nice Moody Evening In Schull
A Nice Moody Evening In Schull
Exploring Around Schull
Exploring Around Schull
The Artisan Ingredients That Give It A Kick!
The Artisan Ingredients That Give It A Kick!

Get blitzing and experimenting, but definitely the smoked cheese and basil oil hummus are both an absolute must try! It’s a lovely snack after a nice walk in the fresh air, but also makes a nice lunch or dinner depending on what you put with it!

Ingredients:

2 cans of chickpeas (400g each)

2 tbsp tahini (creamed sesame seeds)

5 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic chopped

1 tsp cumin

juice of 1/2 a lemon

Keep the water that the chickpeas come canned in and set aside!

Put The Basic Hummus Recipe Ingredients in a Blender & Blend!
Put The Basic Hummus Recipe Ingredients in a Blender & Blend!

1. Blitz all ingredients in a blender apart from the chickpea water.

2. Now add in some of the chickpea water, bit by bit until you reach the desired consistency. It should be smooth but thick. Season lightly (as you will be enhancing it further later) to taste.

3. Divide the hummus into three separate bowls.

Basil Oil Hummus

1. Take one of the portions of hummus and blend in a glug (around 30-40 mls) of basil oil, or more to taste. Done!

Add In Your Basil Oil
Add In Your Basil Oil
Basil Oil Hummus
Basil Oil Hummus

Gubbeen Smoked Cheese Hummus

1. Grate about 50g of Gubbeen Smoked Cheese (or other good quality smoked cheese) into the hummus. You may need to stir in a little extra chickpea water to get the right consistency.

2. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and enjoy.

Grate In Some Gubbeen Smoked Cheese
Grate In Some Gubbeen Smoked Cheese
Gubbeen Smoked Cheese Hummus
Gubbeen Smoked Cheese Hummus

Lemon & Cumin Hummus

1. Add the juice of one more 1/2 lemon and about 1 tbsp (or more to taste) of ground cumin.

2. Season to taste, and stir in a little extra chickpea water if you need to loosen it out a little, though the lemon juice should have done this. This one is lovely eaten with carrot sticks.

Lemon & Cumin Hummus
Lemon & Cumin Hummus

Enjoy like I did with some nice chorizo, and homemade bread! It also makes a nice change for lunchtime in work!

I Was Looking Forward To This Bit!
I Was Looking Forward To This Bit!
Lovely!
Lovely!

Fig & Walnut Rye Bread

My Beautiful Fig & Walnut Rye
My Beautiful Fig & Walnut Rye
Here's Something We Prepared Earlier!
Here’s Something We Prepared Earlier!

You may have seen my last blog post about the Sourdough I made in Firehouse Bakery & Bread School last weekend. Well while between the 6 of us we made 24 types of bread and a few cakes, I now have an abundance of bread recipes to keep my inspired, but I felt this particular recipe I had to share too. Rye is probably my favourite bread (along with my mother’s brown soda of course), and I was quite keen to learn how to make a nice rye. I find they can often be dense like a block of concrete when you buy them in bakeries, and so I was looking for the perfect light, moist rye bread. While this isn’t a 100% rye bread, it’s really nice and full of flavour and bite thanks to the figs and walnuts. It’s lovely and moist and perfect with some soft goats cheese. I enjoyed mine with a round of soft Ardsallagh goats cheese and cranberry roulade.

In my last blog post you can see how our day in Firehouse started off, and in this one how it ended. After a great day of learning, a bit of craic and lots of eating we all sat down together to enjoy a delicious meal of quiche, breads, salads, cheeses, meats and wine which Laura had prepared, and had a chat about our day. We finished off with a sampling (feast) of the cakes we had made that afternoon. After lunch we divided up the bread we had made, (and when they say you can leave with as much bread as you can carry they mean it, we had about three bags of bread each!), and set off back on the boat to the mainland just as the sun was setting!

A Hard Day's Work Rewarded With A Delicious Feast
A Hard Day’s Work Rewarded With A Delicious Feast

We had such a great day in Firehouse and learnt so much, I’d highly recommend the course to anyone with an interest in food. It caters to all level, so really don’t be intimidated! It has demystified bread for me, and I’ll definitely be making a loaf this weekend! For now, enjoy Patrick’s recipe for his Walnut & Fig Rye bread below, and let me know what you think!

Leaving Heir Island
Leaving Heir Island
Getting The Ferry Back to Cunnamore Pier
Getting The Ferry Back to Cunnamore Pier

Sponge:

350ml water

200g rye flour

10g fresh yeast or 5g dry yeast (not the fast acting kind)

Dough:

300g strong white flour

10g salt

1 tbsp honey

50g walnutes

75g figs chopped

1. In a clean bowl combine the water, flour, and yeast for the sponge. Mix the ingredients together to form a thick batter consistency. Set to one side and leave to stand for about 30 minutes. The mixture should rise and then collapse. A sponge allows the yeast to get to work without the presence of salt. A sponge helps give your dough a bigger lift and is particularly useful when using doughs that have a lot of weight to carry.

2. To form the dough, combine the flour and salt together and add the sponge and honey. Combine all the ingredients to form a rough dough. Turn out onto a clean work surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes until the windowpane effect has been achieved (When you hold a piece of dough up it supports its own weight and the dough appears translucent as the weight pulls it downwards, instead of ripping and falling apart.) Once the windowpane effect has been achieved add the walnuts and figs to the dough and knead for one or two minutes until the walnuts and figs have been evenly distributed. (Patrick added a dash of water to my dough when I added the nuts and figs, to keep the moisture that the figs might drink out of the dough.)

3. Place the dough in a clean oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and allow to prove for 60-90 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size. Turn the dough out on to a clean work surface and knock back the dough, allow it to prove again for a further 60 minutes. It’s ready to bake when pushed lightly with your finger, it quickly springs back.

4. Pre-heat the oven to 230C/ Gas7 and place a roasting tray in the bottom of the oven. Place the dough into the preheated oven and pour a boiling kettlle of water into the seperate preheated roasting tray to release steam into the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Check on the dough after 12 minutes, if the dough is colouring to quickly (due to the honey in the dough) reduce the oven temperature to 200C and continue to bake.

5. Enjoy!

My Sponge
My Sponge
Mix Together My Dough
Mix Together My Dough
Let Prove Longer
Let Prove Longer
My Beautiful Fig & Walnut Rye
My Beautiful Fig & Walnut Rye
A Moist, Fruity, Nutty Inside
A Moist, Fruity, Nutty Inside

Sourdough Bread

My Sourdough
My Sourdough
All Our Sourdoughs
All Our Sourdoughs

I have been hearing a lot about Firehouse Bread, the bread school run by Patrick Ryan, in the last few months, and have been following their tweets filled with pictures of delicious breads, and pictures of Heir Island where they are set up. It seemed really cool, different and good craic so for Christmas I got my boyfriend and I a voucher to do the course, and last weekend we trotted down to West Cork for the ultimate bread making experience. The day started on Cunnamore Pier where we got the boat across to Heir Island and were greeted by Laura who runs Firehouse with Patrick, she drove us to Firehouse, a stunning house overlooking Roaringwater Bay. Here she brought us into their front room for tea, coffee, and some freshly baked biscuits before we got started. There were 6 of us on the course and we all quickly got chatting.

Arriving at Heir Island
Arriving at Heir Island
We Were Greeted With Tea and Homemade Biscuits
We Were Greeted With Tea and Homemade Biscuits

After Patrick introduced himself we were led into the “class room” for lack of a better word, where we immediately started on our sourdough, the first bread of the day. It was actually quite therapeutic kneading away at the sourdough if a little tiring! Sourdough is made with a “starter” and apparently the older the better. Making starter is easy but takes a while, and you feed it like a plant to keep it living, each time you make a sourdough you take a portion of your starter for the bread, and replenish the remaining starter with more water and flour for the next time you make bread. And so the cycle continues! Patricks starter was 4 years old, and apparently the older it gets, the better it tastes. (I can vouch for this, our bread tasted amazing!)

Some of the Treats We Baked Throughout The Day
Some of the Treats We Baked Throughout The Day

Sourdough is time consuming as it takes time to prove, the knock back, then prove again. However it tastes delicious, makes the best sandwiches and toast in the world, and freezes quite well. I’m sure if you get into the habit of making it though, it becomes routine. It’s also worth it for the smug “Oh I made this myself” boasts as you eat your lunchtime sandwich. It’s a great one to make on a Sunday to keep you going through the week. In fact Laura said that when the sourdough is 3 days old it’s perfect sliced, grilled and lightly oiled for bruschetta bread.  Check out Patrick’s recipe below for the perfect sourdough bread!

To Make Your Starter:

Day 1: Heat 175ml milk gently. Place 75ml natual yoghurt in a bowl and stir in the milk. Cover and leave in a warm place for 12 to 24 hours until thickened. Stir in any liquids that may have seperated.

Day 2: Stir 120g white flour into the yoghurt, incorporating evenly. Cover and leave in a warm place for 2 days. The mixture should be full of bubbles and smell pleasantly sour.

Day 5: Add 175g flour to the starter, and mix in 40ml milk and 100ml water. Cover and leave in a warm place for 12 to 24 hours.

Day 6: The starter should be quiet active now and be full of little bubbles. Now you can get cracking and see how many years you can keep your starter going for, some families have the same starter for generations!

White Sourdough Recipe:

500g strong unbleached white bread flour

300g sourdough starter

250ml water

10g salt

10g brown sugar

1. Mix together the flour, starter and water in a bowl. Add the salt and sugar. Turn out on to a clean kitchen surface and knead for 10 minutes or until the windowpane effect is achieved. (This basically means when you hold up a piece of the dough it supports it’s own weight and rather than tearing and falling away, it holds it self up creating a  translucent effect rather than tearing).

2. Put into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and let it prove for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. You won’t notice as much as a rise in the dough as you would with a normal yeast bread, it takes much longer.

3. Turn out the dough on to a clean surface and knock back (just kneading again), shape into whatever shape fits your proving bowl (bread tin will work). Flour generously and place each loaf seam side up in a bowl, lined with a couch cloth (a heavily floured tea towel will work fine), this helps you turn out the loaf. Leave prove for a further 2 1/2 hours.

4. This dough can be made the day before, allowing the fermentation process to be extended further. Once rolled place the dough into the fridge and leave overnight. Remove 1 1/2 hours before baking

5. Pre-heat the oven to 230C/ Gas7 and place a baking tray with some water or ice cubes in it in the bottom of the oven to steam the oven. Turn the loaf out on to another baking tray. Flour and score the loaf and put in in to the oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a good crust has formed and the loaves sounds hollow when tapped on the base.

After First Prove
After First Prove
Let Prove
Let Prove A Second Time
The Bread is After Proving For a Few Hours
The Bread is After Proving For a Few Hours and Is Ready For Oven
Into The Oven Go Our Little Babies...
Into The Oven Go Our Little Babies…
My Sourdough
My Sourdough
Very Proud Of My Sourdough
Very Proud Of My Sourdough

Enjoy your delicious bread with some cheeses, tapenade and salads like we did! In front of the fire with our feet up!

Our Bread Feast At Home That Evening
Our Bread Feast At Home That Evening

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Delicious Chocolate Fudge Cake
Delicious Chocolate Fudge Cake
Chocolate Fudge Cake
Chocolate Fudge Cake

Last weekend I made some Chocolate Fudge Cake for my boyfriend’s birthday and it went down a treat with him, and also my housemates who were also on hand to help get through it! After watching another episode of Rachel Allen’s Cake Diaries TV show, I decided I had to try her recipe. I think I’ll probably end up buying the Cake Diaries book as the recipes I have tried from the show so far have been great and uncomplicated!

Rachel’s recipe is for a very larger cake (serves 12), but I halved the ingredients to make a loaf sized fudge cake, though a round tin would be great too. My mum used to buy a loaf of Chocolate Fudge Cake from a stall in the Coal Quay market in Cork when we were younger, so I had a nostalgic gravitation towards the idea of a loaf.

This is a foolproof recipe. I can say this with certainty, as I accidently added the melted chocolate two steps to early and my egg whites didn’t whip properly and it still was delicious! It’s great hot from the oven with creme fraiche and orange zest, and just as good a day or two later with a cup of tea. It’s very moist and so keeps well. Why not give it a go tonight for your special Valentine?!

Ingredients:

110 g dark chocolate broken into bits

115 g butter

160 g caster sugar

3 eggs separated

100 g ground almonds

35 g plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

For the icing

140 g icing sugar

50 g cocoa powder

60 g butter

85 g caster sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 160C and butter and line a loaf tin.
2. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie and set aside when melted. Cream the butter until soft. (You’re meant to do these separately but I added the butter to the melted chocolate and it still worked!)

3. Add the sugar to the butter and beat until light. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Mix in the ground almonds and the melted chocolate, followed by the flour, baking powder and vanilla.

4. Tip the egg whites into a separate bowl, add a pinch of salt, and beat until stiff but still smooth in appearance careful not to over-beat. Fold the egg whites into the cake mixture and then pour the mixture into the prepared tin. (If you like me, don’t manage to whip your eggs whites properly, don’t worry, the cake will still be delicious!)

5. Bake for about 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean but moist. Leave in the tin for 20 minutes before carefully transferring to a serving plate to cool down fully.

6. For the icing: Sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder into a mixing bowl. Throw the butter, caster sugar and 50ml water in a saucepan and melt over a medium heat. Stir all the ingredients together until the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved, then pour into the dry ingredients and mix together well.

7. When the cake has cooled, pour over the icing, allowing it to drizzle down the sides. Serve with creme fraiche or cream with some orange zest or toasted almonds!

Melt Chocolate in a Bain Marie
Melt Chocolate in a Bain Marie
Mix In Ground Almond and Flour
Mix In Ground Almond and Flour
Ready To Go Into The Cake Tin
Now Time To Add In The Egg Whites
Ready For The Oven
Ready For The Oven
Let Cool and Remove From Tin
Let Cool and Remove From Tin
Top With Fudge Sauce
Top With Fudge Sauce
Delicious Chocolate Fudge Cake
Delicious Chocolate Fudge Cake
Moist and Chocolatey
Moist and Chocolatey
Chocolate Fudge Cake
Chocolate Fudge Cake

Creme de Marron Pancakes

Creme de Marron Pancakes
Creme de Marron Pancakes
Creamy and Chestnutty
Creamy and Chestnutty

Tomorrow is Pancake Tuesday, and so people all over Ireland are preparing to furiously flip pancakes for breakfast, lunch or dinner (or all of the above)! I started flipping pancakes on Saturday morning for brunch and was quite pleased with the results. I had a tube of Creme de Marron that I bought in The English Market a while back that I wanted to use. I decided to make Creme de Marron Pancakes with Creme Fraiche, Toastsed Almond, and a little Orange Syrup. Don’t have a tube of Creme de Marron handy? Try nutella instead, it will go really well with the creme fraiche, almonds and orange.

I made mine a bit thick, I blame my carb lust as I decided to make these after coming home from the gym on Saturday morning, but they’re probably best a little thinner (I used a cup of milk to a cup of flour, but try using a cup and a half of milk to a cup of flour). It’s best to make the batter the night before and let it set in the fridge.

These are easy to make, and a nice change from the norm on Pancake Tuesday, give them a whirl and let me know what you think.

Ingredients:

1 cup flour (whatever flour, white is the norm, but I used spelt)

1 1/2 cup milk (For a thinner crepe style pancake, I used 1 cup flour for a thicker pancake)

1 egg

1 tube Creme de Marron (or Nutella)

1 tub creme fraiche (about 2 tbsps per pancake)

Handful flaked almonds

1 large orange

1. Whisk together your milk, flour and egg until all are well combined and you reach your desired consistency. It should be a little bit runny for a thin pancake.

2. Heat a pan on a medium flame with a little oil or butter. Spoon a ladle of mixture onto the hot pan and flip when golden underneath. When cooked, transfer to a plate an pop in an oven preheated at 100C to keep your pancakes warm. Place your serving plates in the oven too, cold plates make cold pancakes!

3. Toast your flaked almonds on a dry hot pan until golden, be careful to watch them as they can burn easily.

4. Grate the zest of your orange and set aside. Then juice the orange and heat the juice lightly in a pan.

5. When all pancakes are cooked, prepare them by smearing a spoon of creme de marron (or nutella) and two spoons of creme fraiche in the centre of the pancake and roll it up. Serve with a few spoons of heated orange juice over the pancakes, a sprinkling of flaked almonds and a sprinkling of orange zest.

Whisk Until You Get Your Desired Consistency
Whisk Until You Get Your Desired Consistency
Let Batter Fry On A Medium Heat
Let Batter Fry On A Medium Heat
Fry Until Golden
Fry Until Golden
Keep Your Stack Warm in The Oven as You Fry
Keep Your Stack Warm in The Oven as You Fry
Smear With Creme de Marron and Creme Fraiche
Smear With Creme de Marron and Creme Fraiche
Creme de Marron Pancakes
Creme de Marron Pancakes
Man Sized Portion!
Man Sized Portion!

Fruity Seeded Spelt Scones

Delicious Fruity Seeded Spelt Scones
Delicious Fruity Seeded Spelt Scones
Fruity Seeded Spelt Scone
Fruity Seeded Spelt Scone
Delicious
Delicious

Since last weekend in Tipperary I have had scones on the brain. Every morning when we got up, our gracious host in our B&B had fresh brown soda bread and fresh scones waiting for us. They would set us up nicely before our morning walks around Tipperary, especially one particularly mucky morning in Lisvarrinane (Which called in Irish, Lios Fearnain, means fort of the fairies)! An apt name for a mucky, impassible and wild walk! Scones are one of those easy, comforting things that everybody loves. There is nothing better than a scone hot from the oven with butter melting into it, heaped with a dollop of home made jam and a dollop of fresh cream, or creme fraiche if like me you prefer a bit of a tang.

I had already discovered the perfect white scone recipe with blueberries and almonds which I put up on the blog last summer, however I wanted to make a spelt version that was a bit more wholesome and healthy! I found this recipe on Teresa Cutter’s blog and it was delicious, so soft on the inside and crumbly on the outside. I put some chopped prunes, apricots, raisins and mixed seeds in mine.

I love mine with either a homemade blackberry jam or apricot compote. As apricots are everywhere at the moment I made a compote by throwing two punnets of sliced apricots in a pot with one cup of water and two tablespoons of sugar, stirring until soft. These got the seal of approval, and were delicious warm with butter, compote and creme fraiche! If you try one thing this weekend, let it be these little beauties!

Fruity Seeded Spelt Scones
Fruity Seeded Spelt Scones
And Off We Trekked, Full of Scones
And Off We Trekked, Full of Scones

Ingredients:

280 g wholemeal spelt flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp Mixed Spice/ All Spice

100 g butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon honey

150 ml milk

100g dried fruit (I used a mix of chopped prunes, apricots & raisins)

50g mixed seeds

50g  rolled oats

1. Mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, mixed spice, dried fruit and seeds.

2. Rub in the butter to the flour mix.

3. Mix together the milk, vanilla and honey and mix it into the dough and work it together lightly until it combines. Don’t worry that it isn’t a wet mix, its a bit solid but it cooks perfectly. You may need a little bit more milk when mixing together to make it bind.

4. Spinkle some oats on a work surface, lay the dough on top and cut out the scones from the dough with the top of a pint glass. Let it be around an inch high.

5. Pop in an oven preheated at 200C to 220C. Bake for around 20-25 minutes, or if you have an oven like mine that has seen better days it could take about 30 minutes. They’re done when they’re golden brown all over.

6. Enjoy them warm with butter, jam and cream! They are best eaten hot from the oven, but it’s best to give them a few minutes before slicing open with a very sharp knife to avoid them falling apart.

Ready For The Oven
Ready For The Oven
Ready For The Oven
Ready For The Oven
Hot From The Oven
Hot From The Oven
A Perfect Brunch
A Perfect Brunch

Celeriac and Walnut Soup

Celeriac and Walnut Soup
Celeriac and Walnut Soup
Mmmm....
Mmmm….

I spent last weekend in Tipperary for a friend’s wedding, which was probably the best wedding I’ve ever been to! The craic was mighty! These two love birds are total foodies, and the food was exceptional… I’m still plodding along even now after the weekend of gluttony. Last night I decided to give Celeriac Soup a bash, it was on their menu, and I love the taste of celeriac. This is ridiculously easy to make, so give it a go. I decided to add walnuts as I think the nuttiness is a nice addition. My version is much thicker though as I love a thick soup, feel free to add more stock if you like yours lighter.

As well as all the festivities over the weekend, I managed to get a few walks in. We were staying really close to The Glen of Aherlo, which is a big walking attraction, so Saturday morning we got up early to do a nice walk from The Christ The King Statue. This statue overlooks the Glen and apparently blesses the Glen, its people and all those that pass by! It was a gorgeous morning and a great way to start the day!

Glen of Aherlo, Tipperary
Glen of Aherlo, Tipperary
Christ The King Statue, Aherlo, Tipperary
Christ The King Statue, Aherlo, Tipperary
Ready For A Morning Walk
Ready For A Morning Walk
A View From Our Walk
A View From Our Walk
Walking Walking Walking
Walking Walking Walking

Ingredients:

1 Celeriac Peeled and Chopped Into Cubes

2 Leeks Chopped

1 onion chopped

2 cloves garlic crushed

1.5- 2 litres Chicken Stock (depending how thick you want it)

1 Large Handful Chopped Walnuts

1 tbsp Oil

Salt and Pepper

1. Heat oil in your largest, heavy bottomed pot. Add in garlic, onion, leeks, and celeriac and let them sweat for about 10 minutes.

2. Add your chicken stock and let it simmer for about 20- 25 minutes. You don’t want it to boil, a medium low heat is grand.

3. Blitz with a hand blender. (This sounds obvious but take it off the heat for the part, you don’t want to scald your face with the splashes). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Chop up walnuts and throw most into the soup and stir, reserve some for serving.

5. Serve in nice warmed bowls with a sprinkling of walnuts on top.

Chop Up All Veggies
Chop Up All Veggies
Sweat The Veg For A Few Minutes
Sweat The Veg For A Few Minutes
Add Stock and Let Simmer Away
Add Stock and Let Simmer Away
Season To Taste
Season To Taste
Stir in Walnuts
Stir in Walnuts
Celeriac and Walnut Soup
Celeriac and Walnut Soup