Tag Archives: rachel allen

Chocolate Orange Nutty Brownies

Chocolate Orange Nutty Brownies
Chocolate Orange Nutty Brownies
Nutty Rich Orange Chocolate Brownies
Nutty Rich Orange Chocolate Brownies
Perfect Served Up With Creme Fraiche
Perfect Served Up With Creme Fraiche

It’s the time of year again when the Great British Bake Off starts again on TV and people around the world are gripped to their tellies, not quite sure why their worry over whether or not their favourite contestant’s choux pastry has them on the edge of their seats, or why indeed they laugh derisively at the poor contestant whose creme patissiere ends up a mess despite having never made it themselves (yes I am guilty of this).

If I have learnt one thing from watching GBBO last year, is that this is not a show to watch without a cake to eat whilst watching it. Last year trying to satisfy my cake craving with a measly biscuit didn’t cut the mustard, so this year I was more prepared when it started again. I made a batch of rich and indulgent chocolate brownies to munch away for the occasion.

This fudgy, squidgy, moist brownie recipe I first stumbled upon while watching Rachen Allen make a batch of her White Chocolate and Raspberry brownies on TV. I have stuck to the general fudge chocolate brownie recipe she used but omitted the raspberries and white chocolate, and instead used orange, hazelnuts and cocoa nibs for an entirely different flavour. I also used quite dark chocolate making these really rich which works well with the orange. The hazelnuts and cocoa nibs give a nice bit of crunch too. These are the easiest and best brownies I’ve ever made, which is quite a statement, I know, but you have to give them a try yourself.

These are to be enjoyed while laughing condescendingly at the far more talented bakers on GBBO, from the safety of your couch.

Rich Orange Chocolate Nutty Brownies
Rich Orange Chocolate Nutty Brownies

Ingredients:

100g dark chocolate (85% cocoa)

100g orange flavoured dark chocolate (not milk chocolate unless you want a much sweeter brownie)

150g butter

225g sugar

3 eggs

150g self-raising flour

100g chopped hazelnuts

2 tbsp cocoa nibs

Zest of 2 oranges (and extra for decorating if you wish)

Cocoa powder (optional- for decorating)

Creme fraiche to serve

1. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt with the butter in a bain marie. This is a bowl sat over a pot with some hot water in it simmering away, this gently and slowly melts the chocolate and ensures it won’t separate.

2. When melted take the bowl off the pot and stir the sugar into the chocolate mix with a wooden spoon. Then stir in the eggs one by one.  Gradually stir in the flour and then finally stir in the grated orange zest, hazelnuts and cocoa nibs.

3. Grease and line a brownie tin and pour the mixture in. Pop the brownie mix into an oven pre-heated to 180C for 35- 45 minutes. They will be done when they are slightly firm on top.

4. To decorate dust with a little cocoa powder sieved on top and grate a little extra orange zest over that. Serve with a spoon of creme fraiche.

Grate In The All Important Orange Zest
Grate In The All Important Orange Zest
Stir In The Goodies
Stir In The Goodies
Slice Up When Cooled
Slice Up When Cooled
Best Chocolate Brownie Recipe
Best Chocolate Brownie Recipe
Easy and Delicious Chocolate Brownies
Easy and Delicious Chocolate Brownies

Blackberry and Basil Homemade Bagels

My Delicious Blackberry and Basil Homemade Bagels
My Delicious Blackberry and Basil Homemade Bagels
The Perfect Bagel Brunch
The Perfect Bagel Brunch
My Blackberry and Basil Bagel
My Blackberry and Basil Bagel
My Brunch of Homemade Poppyseed Bagels
My Brunch of Homemade Poppyseed Bagels

Every now and then I get a notion to make something I’ve never made before. I think I must have had bagels on my mind after my trip to New York last month, bagels with creamy cheese, smoked salmon, tomatoes and capers for breakfast was a particular treat on my last morning in NYC. However, back in Ireland, you just can’t get really good bagels in many places, which is probably why I was never too bothered by them before. The only ones available in most supermarkets are a bready excuse for a bagel that would make most New Yorkers shudder. However my recent trip to New York wooed me and since then I have had them on the brain.

With the weather being so amazing at the moment (to non-Irish readers, this means actually being able to sunbath and swim in July… a rare occurrence) I decided to make an outdoors brunch for my parents the last time I was home. There is nothing nicer than taking the time to have a nice breakfast, especially when it can be enjoyed outside in the sun. Coffee and Tea, fresh bagels, fruit and the Sunday newspaper al fresco… It’s hard not to relax in such a situation.

I make bread a lot at home, so I figured that bagels couldn’t be much harder to make. They actually were pretty easy to make, and a lot of fun too, the process of boiling them into a spongy ring before baking them was pretty cool. My only advice would be to double the quantities below as they make seven, and they will all be eaten straight away if your family is like mine. It’s worth making a second batch, slicing and freezing them for a quick morning breakfast as if you go to the effort of making these, you should really get more than one morning out of them. These were my favourite bake in months, so I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. I thought blackberry and basil with thick cream cheese would be an unusual but delicious topping, and it really worked out great. If you have any other unusual bagel toppings though, I would love to hear them as I plan on making them again soon!

Bagels Hot From The Oven
Bagels Hot From The Oven

Ingredients (The standard bagel recipe used is a Rachel Allen recipe):

450g/ 1lb strong white bread flour (used a French T65 flour)

250ml warm water

1 x 7g fast acting yeast sachet

2 level tsp salt

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp vegetable oil

3 tbsp treacle or molasses (I didn’t have either so used honey… worked perfectly)

1 beaten egg

1/2 cup poppy seeds

1 tub full-fat cream cheese

2 punnets of blackberries

1 bunch of basil leaves

  1. Sift together the flour, salt and mix in the yeast in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Stir the honey and oil into the warm water. Make a well in the flour and pour in the wet mixture and mix together with your hands. When it has come together, pop it out onto a clean floured surface and knead for 10 to 15 minutes. (This dough is tough and stiff, so if you’re used to make your own breads you may worry that the dough is quite tense/tough… but this is totally normal.)
  3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, toss it around in it to coat lightly in oil, cover with cling film and let to prove for 1 to 3 hours. I only had an hour as I was under time pressure, but it tasted fantastic. However the usual rule is the longer you prove the better it tastes. Also be careful not to oil the bowl and bread too much as it will be very difficult to shape afterwards.
  4. After proving knock back the bread and portion into 7 equally sized piece. Shape into a ball, stick you finger through the centre creating a ring. Set aside to prove for 20 more minutes.
  5. Bring a large pot of water to the boil, add the 3 tbsp treacle or honey and then let it come down to a simmer. Pop in two or three bagels at a time (depending on size) for 2 minutes and then flip them onto their other sides and boil for two more minutes. Then take them out and let them drain on a wire rack. Continue this step for all your bagels.
  6. Coat the top of the bagel in egg wash and sprinkle generously with poppy seeds. Place all the bagels onto a well oiled tin, spaced far apart (I used two trays for my 7 bagels). Put into an oven at 220C for 15 minutes, then take them out and flip them over to cook the bases, I egg washed and sprinkled my bases with poppy seeds again, and then pop back into the oven for 10 more minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before serving.
  7. Slice in half and smear the bagel with cream cheese, press in some black berries and basil leaves and serve immediately while still warm.
Bagels Boiling Away Nicely
Bagels Boiling Away Nicely
Boiled Bagel
Boiled Bagel
Seeded and Ready For The Oven
Seeded and Ready For The Oven
Homemade Poppyseed Bagel Hot From Oven
Homemade Poppyseed Bagel Hot From Oven
My Homemade Bagels
My Homemade Bagels
Delicious Flavour Combination of Blackberry and Basil
Delicious Flavour Combination of Blackberry and Basil
Brunch is Served
Brunch is Served

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

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

Tomato Relish

Tomato Relish
Tomato Relish

 

There’s nothing easier to make than this tomato relish: add ingredients to pot, let stew for an hour, cool down, and now it’s ready! Ballymaloe Country Relish is my favourite and is such good quality, so I usually don’t bother making relish myself, but I thought it would be nice to make a batch and stock up with a few jars for Christmas. They make nice little gifts for people too if you wrap a ribbon around your jar. I haven’t done that myself, but it’s a nice idea for the more organised people out there!

This recipe is adapted from a Rachel Allen recipe (and as a Ballymaloe cook, her recipe is probably closet to their famous Country Relish), so give it a go and enjoy.

 

Ingredients (makes four jars):

800g vine tomatoes chopped

200g cherry tomatoes chopped

250g cooking apples chopped (I used a mixture of cooking apples and cox’s apples)

250g chopped brown onion

225ml white wine vinegar

175g raisins

300g sugar

2 tsp salt

1 tsp all spice

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp nutmeg

 

1. Throw all ingredients in to a big pot. Let sugar dissolve and then bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Then bring down to a simmer and leave to simmer for an hour, stirring the whole time to avoid the end of the pot burning (using a heavy bottomed pot will help prevent this).

2. When done, let to cool. Taste and season if required with extra spices or salt/pepper.

3. When cooled put into sterilised clean glass jars. (You can sterilise them by placing them in the oven at 180C for 5 mins). Secure lids tightly. These are best enjoyed if left to mature for a week or two first, but I had some of mine that day and it was really nice too.

Chop Tomato and Onions
Chop Tomato and Onions
Add in Sugar, Spices and Seasoning
Add in Sugar, Spices and Seasoning
All Ingredients In
All Ingredients In
Start to Simmer
Start to Simmer
Almost Ready
Almost Ready
Tomato Relish
Tomato Relish