Tag Archives: easy

Hot Cross Buns

Delicious Buttery Hot Cross Buns
Delicious Buttery Hot Cross Buns
Hot Cross Buns
Hot Cross Buns
Beautiful Hot Cross Buns
Beautiful Hot Cross Buns

There are some foods that I haven’t eaten in years, but every time I revisit them they totally bring me back to memories of when I was younger. Hot Cross Buns are one of them. Around Easter time every year, I would come home from school and find my Mum had bought a few hot cross buns which we would toast and slather in butter and jam. Those spicy hot cross buns were so comforting and such a nice treat to come home to.

While experimenting (and failing) with a few breads last night, I decided to give some hot cross buns a go and thankfully they turned out perfectly! These are actually quite easy to make, but as they use yeast you do have to wait for them to prove twice. Still that’s no big deal if you’re at home for the evening. They made the perfect late night snack.

For the crosses just mix some white flour and water and roll out into a spaghetti size piece and press into the buns. The more flour you use though, they harder your crosses will be, so try keep them as liquid as possible to avoid your teeth breaking off when you bite into them.  (Note- this particular time I used more of a paste and the crosses pretty much disappeared while baking so I outlined them in icing sugar once baked… So make sure to make the spaghetti style pieces for the crosses!) For the sticky glaze on top of the Hot Cross Buns, I used some Llewellyn’s Irish Apple Syrup which was delicious. I picked up a bottle in the Dun Laoighre market at the weekend, and their stuff was amazing. However you could use honey, maple syrup, melted marmelade etc.

I hope you enjoy these buns, and they take you back through memory lane as well.

Delicious Hot Cross Buns - Perfect with Butter and Honey or Jam
Delicious Hot Cross Buns – Perfect with Butter and Honey or Jam

Ingredients:

450g Bread Flour

Pinch Salt

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

100g butter (melted)

7g fast acting dried yeast

25g light brown sugar

2 eggs

225ml warm whole milk

150g raisins (I used some chopped dried apricots too for colour)

Orange zest

Apple syrup/honey to glaze

1. Mix together the flour, salt, spices, brown sugar, spices, raisins and orange zest in a bowl.

2. Add a teaspoon of sugar to the warm milk and add the dried yeast, stir together and leave sit for five minutes. Add the yeast milk mixture, the melted butter and one of the beaten eggs to the flour mix, and mix together until it forms a dough.

3. Place the dough out on a floured surface and knead lightly for about 10 minutes. Then cover lightly with sunflower oil, place in a bowl and cover in cling film. Leave it for an hour to prove and it should almost double in size.

4. Knock back the dough (very lightly knead again for a minute) and portion into 10 to 12 pieces. Mix together some white flour and water and form little spaghetti like pieces of dough and squish into the buns in a cross shape. Brush the buns with the remaining beaten egg and leave in a warm place to prove again for about 30 minutes.

5. Pop into an over heated to about 200C for 15 to 20 minutes. When they’re done take them out and brush lightly with your apple syrup (or other chosen sticky stuff). Enjoy hot with plenty of butter and jam! They’re great the next day toasted too.. Hot Cross Buns must be served hot after all!

Mix Wet and Dry Ingredients
Mix Wet and Dry Ingredients
Mix Ingredients Into a Dough and Knead
Mix Ingredients Into a Dough and Knead
Let Dough Prove
Let Dough Prove
Hot Cross Buns - The Perfect Easter Treat
Hot Cross Buns – The Perfect Easter Treat

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!

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

Bakewell Cake

Delicious Bakewell Cake
Delicious Bakewell Cake
Eat Me!
Eat Me!

What better way to start the 1st of February than with a cake! I think everyone has eased up now on their January diets and are ready for a nice slice of cake! Last night I baked Rachel Allen’s Bakewell Cake. I saw her making it recently on her show Cake Diaries and knew that I would love it as it has two of my favourite things in it: almonds and raspberries. I love Bakewell Tart, and I thought Bakewell Cake would be a nice change and less hassle to whip up.

We are actually fundraising in work for a charity, Soul Of Haiti, and the cake is being raffled off, so unfortunately I won’t get to eat it, but at least it’s going to a great cause. I had the pleasure of travelling to Haiti with the charity this time last year, and met so many amazing people, and saw so much amazing work being done that supporting by baking a cake was the least I could do!

This cake is really easy to make, and I’m sure it tastes amazing (I can only go on the smell, look and feel of it as I can’t eat it.) I’ll definitely be making it again next week for me!

Visiting a Bakery in Port au Prince
Visiting a Bakery in Port au Prince
A Local Baker in Port au Prince
A Local Baker in Port au Prince
A Farm Created by Soul of Haiti
A Farm Created by Soul of Haiti
Welcome to Ile a Vache, Haiti
Welcome to Ile a Vache, Haiti
Even All The Cares in Haiti are Colourful
Even All The Cares in Haiti are Colourful
Ile a Vache
Ile a Vache
My Last Night in Beautiful Haiti
My Last Night in Beautiful Haiti

Ingredients 

150g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

150g caster sugar

2 eggs

A few drops of almond essence or extract

50ml milk

150g self-raising flour, sifted

150g ground almonds

150g fresh or frozen(and defrosted) raspberries

25g  flaked almonds

Icing sugar, for dusting

Softly whipped cream and fresh raspberries, to decorate

20cm diameter cake tin with 6cm sides

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C then butter the sides of the cake tin and line the base with a disc of baking parchment.

2. Cream the butter until soft in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Mine looked a little lumpy as my kitchen was freezing so the butter hadn’t softened very well, but it’s all fine once it goes in the oven.

3. Whisk the eggs and the almond essence together, then gradually add the eggs to the creamed butter mixture, beating all the time. Next beat in the milk, then add the flour and ground almonds, carefully folding these in just until they are mixed.

4. Next add the raspberries and fold in gently so as not to break them up too much. Tip the batter into the prepared tin, then scatter over the flaked almonds (they will be nicely toasted once the cake is done). Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Loosen the edges, then remove the cake from the tin and leave on a wire rack to cool down completely before transferring to a serving plate

6. Dust with icing sugar. Rachel suggests serving with softly whipped cream if you wish, or decorate with fresh raspberries. Or if you’re me give it away without tasting it 😦

Cream up Batter
Cream up Batter
Mix Raspberries Into Batter
Mix Raspberries Into Batter
Lay Batter Out in Tin
Lay Batter Out in Tin
Scatter With Flaked Almonds
Scatter With Flaked Almonds
Let Cool
Let Cool
Yum...
Yum…
Delicious Bakewell Cake
Delicious Bakewell Cake

Orange Spiced Curd

Orange Spiced Curd
Orange Spiced Curd
Orange Curd
Orange Curd
Jar of Orange Curd
Jar of Orange Curd

This is a yummy thing to have in the cupboard over Christmas! Orange Curd, yum yum! Okay, I had never made curd before, or even eaten it for that matter but I decided to give it a go anyway. I thought it would be handy over Christmas on top of scones, with a mince pie instead of cream, at the base of frangipane tarts, between a layer of cake.. the opportunities seemed endless!

I decided to make orange curd instead of the traditional lemon curd as I wanted to add some Christmas spices, and I thought that they would go better with orange. I added in one lemon though for some extra zing. It did taste really delicious when it was done, the flavours were great.

This is very very easy to made. I read on-line that blending all ingredients before adding them to the pot prevent curdling, and it was true. This takes no time at all to make, and makes nice little gifts for those who appreciate a nice pot of curd! Perhaps you could splash out on some nice ribbon.. I could only find some twine left over from my mum’s Plum Pudding and so it looks a little shabby rustic!

Ingredients (for 5 jars):

450ml freshly squeezed orange juice (About 4 large oranges and I added a lemon in too)

Zest of four oranges

1kg sugar

250g butter

7 large eggs

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground clove

1. Cream butter and sugar. Mix in eggs. Mix in juice. Mix in spices. (You can add in more spices to your taste if you like).

2. Heat over a low heat in  a heavy bottomed pot for about 5 minutes until smooth, stirring continuously.

3. Now raise the heat to medium (never boil) and let thicken which will take about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir it the whole time. When the curd coats the back of your spoon it’s done. This is where I freaked out as I didn’t realise that it thickens further as it cools, so don’t worry too much at this point. Don’t expect it to be the finished consistency while still hot in the pot.

4. Take off the heat and pour in to sterilised jars. Let cool, then cover the top of the jar in a little cling film (apparently this helps avoid a skin forming) and put on the lids when cool.

5. Keep in fridge and it should keep around 2 to 3 weeks.

Cream Butter and Sugar
Cream Butter and Sugar
Add in Eggs
Add in Eggs
Add in Spices
Add in Spices
Mix in Orange Juice and Zest
Mix in Orange Juice and Zest
Heat and let Butter Melt
Heat and let Butter Melt
Heat and Stir for Ten Minutes
Heat and Stir for Ten Minutes
Let Thicken
Let Thicken
Pour in to Jars Straight Away
Pour in to Jars Straight Away
Orange Curd
Orange Curd
Jar of Orange Curd
Jar of Orange Curd

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