Posted in Baking Day, Recipes

Apple and Blackberry Pudding

Pudding.  There’s something about that word that conjures up comfort.  Something you’ll be hankering as Autumn envelops you bringing darker evenings, cooler air and while you sleep a sprinkling of frost may even be dusting your doorstep.  I can’t get enough of apple in desserts at this time of year; crumbles, tarts and yes oh yes please, pudding.  This would be epic after a long Sunday lunch or an evening of entertainment and something sure to send the recipients over that edge into blissful food coma.

Apple and blackberry pudding

There are some blackberry stragglers still clung to the hedgerows if you get a chance to look or you’ll find them with fruit in the supermarket and those cooking apples are still abundant and inexpensive.  The battery mixture of this almost forms a cake but with all the moistness of the fruit it will never dry into sponginess but will remain sumptuously soft and yielding.  As moist as it already is I do recommend that you take it to the next level and serve with some softly whipped fresh cream.
Apple and blackberry pudding

Apple and Blackberry Pudding : (Serves 9)

You will need:
175g unsalted butter
250ml carton whipping cream
225g caster sugar
3 eggs
400g cooking apples (2 large or 3 medium)
300g plain flour
300g blackberries
Butter to grease the dish
Preheat the oven to 180oC/Gas Mark 6 and grease a baking/pudding dish 25x25cm with butter.
Heat the butter and cream together in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Leave to cool a little.
Whisk the caster sugar and the eggs together for a few minutes until thick and set aside.
Prepare the fruit by coring, peeling and slicing the apples into rings, and washing the blackberries.
Add the butter and cream mixture to the eggs and sugar mixture, and whisk together.
Gently fold in the sifted flour to make a thick batter.
Pour the mixture into the baking dish and push in the apple rings.
Scatter the blackberries over the top and push some of them down into the batter.
Bake for 45–50 minutes and test the mixture with a skewer – if it comes away clean the cake is cooked.
Great served hot, straight from the oven, with some cream.

Enjoy! Sheila.

Posted in Baking Day, Recipes

Breakfast Muffins

Apple & Raisin Wholemeal Breakfast Muffins
Breakfast Muffin

Look at that.  You can see those chunks of apple peaking out at you can’t you?  Now is the time.  Autumn is here full of its ‘mellow fruitfulness’ and none so mellow as those wind-fallen apples currently waiting to be gathered – but hurry they won’t hang around for long! Cooking apples are at giveaway prices at the moment – I got 6 Irish Bramley Apples for 49c last weekend.  These muffins only needed two of those so I’ve plans to stew some others to put on top of porridge with cinnamon in the mornings – if you haven’t tried that it’s an unreal combination.  Dessert for breakfast.  Nothing like a little sweetness to wake you up and a little hit of warming spice.  If you can’t find ‘mixed-spice’ for these muffins you can just use cinnamon instead.  I do hope you get to try them.

tray of breakfast muffins
Breakfast muffins on wire tray
Makes 12 to 14
You will need:
350g extra coarse whole-wheat flour or any whole-wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
150g light brown sugar, plus extra for sprinkling ( or any type sugar)
Good handful of raisins
2 eggs, beaten
200ml natural yoghurt
4 tbsp sunflower oil
2 apples (bramley cooking apples is what i used, other eating apples like pink lady etc. work well too)
Preheat a fan oven to 160°C.
Line a 12-hole muffin tray with muffin cases.
Mix the flour, baking powder and mixed spice in a bowl, then add the brown sugar and the raisins.
Make a well in the centre and add the beaten eggs, natural yoghurt and sunflower oil.
Mix together with a wooden spoon until just combined.
Peel and core the apples, then cut into small cubes and stir them through the muffin mixture.
Spoon the batter into the cases, crumble a little extra brown sugar on top of each one and bake in the oven for 35 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Enjoy! , Sheila

Posted in Baking Day, Recipes

Oreo, Lemon & Raspberry Cheesecake

Oreo, Lemon & Raspberry Cheesecake.
Double Strawberry & Oreo Cheesecake or Lemon Pick 3

Something to celebrate? This year has been ridiculously good in terms of things to celebrate for me personally. Speaking as a now wise woman who has just turned 50 I feel like I’m sage enough to dispense some advice. Celebrate everything. If you have two feet under you and the ability to walk, then celebrate. A sense of taste and smell that enables you to savour the pleasure that food can be, then celebrate. Fresh air. Freedom. Family. Friends. Health. Celebrate it all. In life some days, months and years will be better than others. There will be times of joy and times of sadness. There will be triumphs and there will be disappoinments. When the good things happen, celebrate. And what does that mean? It can be as simple as taking a minute to appreciate the moment, that leaf crunching underfoot in Autumn, that cricket chiming in the late evening warmth if you’re lucky enough to get away somewhere warm. Celebration doesn’t have to mean a party, you can celebrate with a smile.
& then there’s Cheesecake. Cheesecake is also a great way to celebrate!
Double Strawberry & Oreo Cheesecake or Lemon Pick 2

Double Strawberry & Oreo Cheesecake or Lemon Pick 1

Note: You’ll need a 20cm+ spring-form tin to make this cheesecake (the kind of tin that has a spring-release side and a removable base). If you don’t have one, just used a well-lined deep cake tin, but be warned that it will be very difficult to get the cheesecake out.

Another Note!: It is best to make the cheesecake the evening/day before for adequate setting time.

Final Note!: The strawberry version also pictured can be made by using strawberry jelly and strawberry syrup in place of lemon jelly and lemon juice and fresh strawberries instead of raspberries

You will need:
28 Oreo cookies (2 x 154g pack)
75g unsalted butter
135g packet raspberry jelly
100ml cold water
1 lemon
Handful of fresh raspberries
450g Philadelphia cream cheese (2 x 225g pack)
50g icing sugar
150ml cream
Fresh raspberries to decorate
Lemon zest to decorate

Preheat the fan oven to 160oC/Gas mark 4.
Put the oreo cookies in a plastic bag and crush into crumbs with a rolling pin or blitz in a mini chopper.
Melt the butter, combine with the cookie crumbs, and mix well.
Press the cookie mix into the cake tin (use a ‘spring-form’ cake tin that has sides that release to remove the base) and compact well together with the back of a spoon.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, take them out and leave to cool. Switch off the oven.
Make the jelly according to pack instructions – for me = put the jelly in a microwave proof jug with 100ml cold water and microwave for 1 minute. Mix well until fully dissolved.
Bring the level of the jelly up to 400ml in the jug by adding in the juice of the lemon and cold water.
Place the jelly in the fridge to semi-set for 1 hour.
When the jelly has been set for 1 hour use an electric mixer to cream the Philadelphia cheese and semi-set jelly together with 50g icing sugar until smooth.
Lightly whip 150ml of cream until just beginning to form peaks and then fold the cream and a handful of fresh raspberries into the cheesecake mix and pour over the cooled Oreo cookie base.
Leave to set for a few hours or ideally overnight.
Serve decorated with fresh raspberries, and lemon zest.
Enjoy! Sheila.

Posted in Baking Day, Dinner Party, Recipes

Chilli Con Carne

With three of my kids studying away from home this year I’m cooking with them in mind lately at home too.  This means that what I’m sharing on my Instagram feed may give them some ideas that are simple, tasty and easy should they take the figary to chop an onion.  Chilli Con Carne is one of those versatile dishes that can serve a party or a gaggle of students.  Usually served on rice I really find a baked potato to be a more satisfying vessel on which to prop the chilli.  And by the way if you don’t eat the skins of your baked potato you are really missing out on something special – load with some sour cream, some melting butter or better again melting cheese – delicious.  This recipe is one of the mainstays from my first book ‘Gimme the Recipe.’
Chilli con carne Pick 3

Ingredients – serves 6

You will need:
1 tbsp olive oil
500g round steak mince
2 medium onions
1 red pepper
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp oregano
500ml beef stock
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g can kidney beans
Fresh parsley or chives to garnish
Baked potatoes or boiled rice to serve.
Heat the olive oil in a large deep frying pan or saucepan and brown the mince over a medium/high heat until the juices run clear.
While the mince is browning, finely chop the onions, dice the pepper into small pieces and crush the garlic.
Push the browned mince to the side of the pan, add the chopped onion and red pepper to the centre, and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
Push the onion and pepper towards the sides, add the garlic, chilli powder, paprika and cumin, and cook for 1 minute.
Add the tomato puree, sugar, oregano, beef stock and canned tomatoes and mix well.
Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Strain, rinse and add the kidney beans and return to the boil.
Reduce heat again and simmer for 5 more minutes.
Great served with a baked potato and a dollop of sour cream with a garnish of chopped fresh parsley or chives.
Enjoy! Sheila


Posted in Baking Day, Christmas, Recipes

White Christmas Biscuit Cake- Recipe 12 of 12 from Enjoy!

White Christmas Biscuit Cake

Food photography Marta Miklinska, Food Styling by Jette Virdi (from cookbook Enjoy!)
Food photography Marta Miklinska, Food Styling by Jette Virdi (from cookbook Enjoy!)

Ta Dah! Recipe 12 of 12.  So I set myself the task of sharing 12 recipes from ‘Enjoy!’ over 12 weeks until Christmas and here we are!!!! It really does just sneak up in the end.  I love it.  I love the lights.  I love the buzz.  I love the frenzy in town and even the panicky feeling that you’ve forgotten something.  I did tweet during the week about something that bugs me though, the idea of the ‘PERFECT’ Christmas, that’s absurd.  We’re being sold perfection as something achievable and desirable and if it does exist then it would imply that there is just one version, the ‘perfect’ version of Christmas.  But Christmas is a unique experience to us all, the things that make us buzz, the movies that we want to watch, the rituals of gift-opening etc.. they vary in every household.  I’m wishing you all a unique and real Christmas.
In light of uniqueness here’s a recipe for a Biscuit Cake instead of traditional fruit Christmas Cake.  There’s still plenty of time and if you’ve kids they’ll love getting involved in the decoration.
A ‘springform tin’ is one used for cheesecakes that has a spring release on the side so that you can remove it easily.
White Christmas Biscuit Cake
You will need:
For the biscuit cake:
110g unsalted butter, softened
110g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
110g caster sugar
225g McVitie’s Rich Tea biscuits
Assortment of finger biscuits and sweets, to decorate
For the topping:
5 x 58g Mars bars
3 x 100g bars of white chocolate
Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper . Place the ring of a springform tin on the paper – you aren’t using a cake tin, just the ring with the base removed to shape the cake.
Beat the butter until it’s smooth, then beat in the caster sugar.
In a separate bowl, break the biscuits into almond-sized pieces.
Melt the dark chocolate (I use the microwave) and gradually beat it into the butter mixture until smooth. Add the broken biscuits and stir well to cover with the cake mix.
Spoon the chocolate biscuit mix into the cake ring. Press it down and out to the sides with the back of the spoon until it’s even. Place the cake in the fridge to set overnight.
The next day, remove the cake ring from the set cake. Turn the biscuit cake upside down and place it on a wire rack – the bottom will be smoother, and it will now be the top. Put some parchment paper underneath the wire rack to catch the drips from the melted chocolate.
Cut the Mars bars into small pieces and melt them in a saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of water, mixing well to form a smooth topping. Pour the melted Mars bar topping onto the biscuit cake and chill it in the fridge for 1 hour. You can keep the piece of parchment paper to use it again for the next layer of melted chocolate.
Break the white chocolate bars into small pieces and melt them in a bowl in the microwave. Remove the cake from the fridge and set the rack back over the piece of parchment paper. Pour the melted white chocolate over the chilled biscuit cake, then carefully transfer the cake from the wire rack onto a cake stand or serving plate.
Have fun decorating with Christmas-themed sweets on top and white chocolate finger biscuits around the side.
& Have a wonderfully unique Christmas!! Sheila.

Posted in Baking Day, Christmas, Recipes

Golden Granola – Recipe 11 of 12 from Enjoy!

Golden Granola
Treat yourself over Christmas to a delicious crunchy start to your day with this scrumptious golden baked granola.  Thankfully most of my kids don’t eat it & I’ll have a jar of it to sprinkle over yoghurt etc. during the holidays.  Makes for a beautiful gift if you get hold of a nice jar.

Food photography Marta Miklinska, Food Styling by Jette Virdi (from cookbook Enjoy!)
Food photography Marta Miklinska, Food Styling by Jette Virdi (from cookbook Enjoy!)

You will need:
150g porridge oats
150g combination of mixed dried fruit, nuts and seeds (you choose)
50g desiccated coconut (leave it out if you’re not a fan)
4 tbsp golden syrup or runny honey
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
Preheat a fan oven to 160°C.
Mix the oats, mixed fruit, nuts and seeds and the desiccated coconut on a baking tray.
Drizzle the golden syrup or honey and the oil over them and mix thoroughly with a fork so that nothing is left completely dry.
Toast the granola mixture in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, tossing it with a fork at 5- or 10-minute intervals as it cooks to ensure even toasting.
Leave to cool on the baking tray, then store in an airtight container.
To serve for breakfast, layer up the granola with some natural yoghurt and fruit.
Enjoy! ’til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Baking Day, Recipes

Gluten Free Olive & Sundried Tomato Bread

A bag of Gluten Free flour got purchased by accident lately! Not one to waste anything I knew that gluten-free bread needs a bit of a helping hand to push it towards flavoursome and bready.  This recipe is based on one for ‘Olive Loaf’ in The hummingbird bakery ‘Home Sweet Home’ cookbook.  The Gluten Free flour that I used is called ‘Odlums Gluten Free Tritamyl White Bread Mix’.  It’s got too many ingredients for me to mention here but the main one I was looking for was a raising agent and it has that so I pressed on.
GF Olive and Sundried Tomato Loaf2
GF Olive and Sundried Tomato Loaf
GF Olive and Sundried Tomato Bread SlicedNice eaten with some Irish cheeses and relish, even more delicious toasted with some garlic butter on top.
You can view an Instagram video of the bread preparation here

Gluten Free Olive & Sundried Tomato Bread
You will need:
600g Odlums Gluten Free Tritamyl White Bread Mix
Half teaspoon garlic granules
Good grinding of salt and black pepper
80g green olives
50g sundried tomatoes
125ml sunflower oil
250ml milk
1 tbsp honey
2 eggs
Pre-heat a fan oven to 180C.
Prepare a 2lb loaf tin by greasing it with some oil and lining the base with a length of baking paper.
Chop the olives and sundried tomatoes.
Place the flour, garlic granules, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
Use an electric mix to beat together the sunflower oil, milk, honey and eggs  in a separate bowl or jug (or you can whisk by hand).
Gradually add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl beating them together and then stir in the olives and sundried tomatoes.
Pour the bread mixture into the prepared tin.
Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown,  remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin for ten minutes or so, remove from tin and allow to cool completely before slicing.
‘Til next time, Sheila

Posted in Baking Day, Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Irish Farmer Cheese Souffle – A recipe from The Farmette Cookbook

Irish Farmer Cheese Souffle.cheese souffle

What is ‘farmer cheese’ you may well ask, as did I. Imen McDonnell the author of ‘The Farmette Cookbook’ explains it as a simple cheese made with just raw milk and white vinegar.

Have no fear, I did not dip my toe in the whey of cheese-making and asked instead for a suitable substitute and was told either a cottage cheese or a soft goat’s cheese and I opted for the latter.
Cheeses for souffle and cup measuresArdsallagh is one of my favourite Irish cheeses and in advance of making this recipe I was lavishing it on toasted sesame bagels embellished with red onion relish. Divine.  The other cheeses pictured grated above are gruyere and parmesan.  Also pictured is a set of measuring cups.  I picked these up eons ago because I liked how they look but most of my baking etc. is done in grams or ounces so I usually use a scales.  Today I pulled out the cups and used both and found measuring flour by the scoopful is much faster than having to weigh it out.  Imen McDonnell is an American living in Ireland and has just launched her cookbook ‘The Farmette Cookbook’ on both sides of the Atlantic hence my use of cups though they are not a necessity as Imen gives metric measurements  too.
9 cheese soufles on tray
I hope you are as impressed as I am by my beautifully risen and golden souffles (just ignore the tad overdone one bottom-right please, still tasted delicious).  Sublime.  Knowing that oven heat is all important in souffle making I made sure my oven was pre-heating in advance of starting to cook.  Milk and cream was infused with carrot, onion, herbs and peppercorns and allowed to cool.  A roux was made and coaxed into a silken sauce with the infused creamy milk, then joined by the grated and crumbled cheeses, egg yolks and finally whisked egg whites.  My mixture filled 9 standard kitchen ramekins plus 2 slightly larger ones.

cheese souffle

I made these on a leisurely Sunday morning when the eight of us were all around to enjoy them served with crispy bacon and golden buttery mushrooms.
Imen’s book is breathtakingly beautiful.  When you peruse it first you might think it’s one for the coffee table, starting off with a chapter on Traditional Dairy Skills not only informing you on dairy products such as buttermilk, various cheeses, butter, yoghurt and ice-cream etc. but also teaching you how to make them if you will. But as you move onwards the chapter ‘In the Bread Box’ presents you with a variety of breads, scones and baked goods with images that have you declaring ‘I’m going to try that.’  Onwards through the potato patch into the ‘Orchard’, a chapter then ‘From the Sea’ followed by a foray into foraging if you’re up for gathering wild garlic, nettles perhaps, lavender maybe, wild hazlenuts and crab apples etc.  For now I will mostly be an armchair forager as that much wilderness is not outside my door but I usually do get to raid the hedgerows in West Cork towards the end of the summer and we have been known to make jams and pies from foraged fruits.  Moving from armchair onwards to a chapter on ‘Sweet and Savoury Pies and Tarts’ with recipes for the various pie crusts and some amazing looking pies there’s plenty here to please.  Country Suppers is where the ‘Irish Farmer Cheese Souffle’ is nestled though we had ours for breakfast.  Imen’s photography is stunning (see the image at the end of this post).
The picture of the ‘McDonnell Family Christmas Pudding’ has you wishing for a Christmas dusted with snow and full of stuffed roasts followed by decadent cakes. There’s a glorious chapter called ‘Puddings, Cakes and Confections’ which stating the obvious is laden with temptation including Imen’s spectacular ‘Rich Chocolate ButterMilk Cake.’

Having tried the souffle I can’t wait to try more.  Imen’s instruction is clear and easy to follow and even if you don’t feel like cooking just pull up a stool and a mug of coffee and she will speak to you through each recipe introduction and after you’ve flicked through go back to the beginning and read how ‘Girl Meets Farmer’ and how this American girl ends up living ‘with grace in the Irish countryside.’
A beautiful book.

Here is the recipe for IRISH FARMER CHEESE SOUFFLÉ from ‘The Farmette Cookbook’ by Imen McDonnell.


Makes eight 6-ounce (177-ml) ramekins or one 2-quart (17.75-liter) soufflé

5 tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing the ramekins
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
1 cup (240 ml) milk
1 small carrot, peeled and diced
1 small onion, quartered
4 to 5 black peppercorns
1 lemon thyme sprig with flowers, if in season, a few flat-leaf parsley stalks, and 1 bay leaf
½ cup (60 g) all-purpose flour
5 large organic eggs, separated
1 cup (110 g) farmer cheese, crumbled
¾ cup (75 g) Gruyère cheese, finely grated
½ cup (50 g) mature Parmesan or Coolea cheese, finely grated
Generous pinch of salt, cayenne, freshly ground black pepper, and nutmeg
2 teaspoons fresh lemon thyme leaves and flowers, for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Brush the bottom and sides of six 3-inch-deep ramekins (or six soup bowls) with melted butter; set aside.
  2. Pour the cream and milk into a saucepan, add the carrot, onion, peppercorns, and fresh herbs. Bring slowly to a boil over low heat, then remove from the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain, discarding the flavorings.
  3. Melt the butter, stir in the flour, and cook for 1 or 2 minutes. Whisk in the strained cream and milk, bring to a boil, and whisk until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Add the egg yolks, farmer cheese, Gruyère cheese, and most of the Parmesan or Coolea cheese (reserving some for the topping). Season with salt, peppers, and nutmeg. Taste and correct the seasoning if needed.
  4. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form, and fold them gently into the mixture to make a loose consistency. Spoon into the prepared dishes, scatter the lemon thyme leaves on top, and sprinkle with the reserved Parmesan or Coolea cheese.
  5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes (9 to 11 minutes for the individual soufflés), or until the sides and top are nicely puffed up and golden—the center should still be creamy. Garnish with lemon thyme leaves and flowers, and serve immediately.

Recipe above & the following Image are from The Farmette Cookbook, © 2016 by Imen McDonnell. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications Inc., Boulder, CO.

Image and Recipe were furnished to me by a PR company for Bord Bia however the book review was unsolicited and book I used is my own copy of ‘The Farmette Cookbook.’  I was not asked to review this book.  I only write about and promote what I LOVE!!!

MG The Farmette Cookbook_ p. 205_ Cheese Souffle_ Roost Books copy-1
Image from ‘The Farmette Cookbook’

‘Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Baking Day, Recipes

Black Cherry Gateaux

Mother’s Day is a week away and if you’re stuck for funds a homemade cake is always a welcome and special gift.  Combining chocolate, cherries, liquor and cream makes this a grown-up cake that everyone will enjoy.
chocolate cake
With six children our days and weeks are very busy and time appears to fly by.  It was so lovely to wake up this Sunday morning to a beautiful crisp blue spring sky and the knowledge that I didn’t have to drive anywhere today other than to get supplies for dinner and tomorrow’s school lunches.  Sunday generally either means a huge fry-up brunch and a lighter tea later in the evening or a Sunday roast.  Today was a day for a beef roast and I was also in the mood for baking and we all dug into this delicious Black Cherry Gateaux with extra cream, cherries and syrup for dessert.
chocolate cake
chocolate cake
chocolate cake
chocolate cake
chocolate cake
chocolate cake
chocolate cake

The bases will bake in 35 minutes and will need 30 minutes to cool them before decorating.
Black Cherry Gateaux.
You will need:
For The Cake You Will Need:
2 tbsp cocoa powder
5 tbsp hot water
200g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
200g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
For Decorating:
1 tin black cherries
100ml kirsch or creme de cassis (I use the latter)
125g caster sugar
150ml whipping cream
2 bars chocolate 70% cocoa solids
Icing sugar for dusting.
Preheat the fan oven to 170C.  Grease two round 8 or 9cm cake tins with some butter and line the base of each with a round of parchment paper.
Mix the cocoa powder with warm water to make a thick chocolatey paste and leave to cool.
Mix the flour and baking powder together and set aside.
Use an electric mixer to soften the butter and then add the caster sugar and beat well.
Add one egg to the mix then some flour and continue doing so until all eggs and flour/baking powder are added and mixed.
Finally mix in the chocolatey paste then divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for 30-35 minutes, (test with a skewer to see if baked)
Remove cakes from tins and allow to cool on a wire rack before decorating.
To Decorate:
While the cake are baking strain the liquid from the cherries into a saucepan and mix in the caster sugar and the liquor.
Mix well and bring to the boil and simmer for around 5 minutes until reduced by about half and thickening to a nice syrupy consistency.
Pour the syrup into a jug and allow it to cool.
Whip the cream.
Once the cakes are completely cool break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a bowl in the microwave for a minute or two mixing well to make a nice chocolate sauce.
Once the cake has completely cooled top one of the cakes with a good dollop of cream and scatter the cherries on top.
Pour over a generous drizzling of the cherry sauce then top with the second cake.
Pour over most of the melted chocolate, top with a few cherries and then dust lightly with a little icing sugar.  Serve with extra cream and syrup.
‘Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Baking Day, Recipes

Lemon Polenta Buns

Every magazine I open lately has someone or other decrying sugar.  I can’t see myself ever abandoning any food stuff and cutting it out of my diet for good – definitely not sugar.  I stay away from artificial sweeteners and additives when I can but I adore sugar.  Real sugar, real food, real good.  I need a little sweetness in my life and I will never give it up.  These buns are tasty and filling and they’re also gluten-free.
12 lemon polenta buns
tray of iced lemon polenta buns
three lemon polenta buns on plate
lemon polenta bun cut open

Lemon Polenta Buns
You will need:
140g butter
140g light brown sugar
120g polenta
30g ground almond
30g corn flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
3 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 lemon
100g cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
225g icing sugar
Pre-heat the fan oven to 160C.
Line a bun tray with 12 cupcake cases.
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and brown sugar together.
Put the polenta, ground almond, corn flour and baking powder  into a bowl together and mix to combine.
Beat the 3 eggs together in a bowl.
Add half the polenta mixture into the beaten butter and sugar and begin to mix with the electric mixer adding in half of the beaten egg.
Add the remaining polenta mixture and flour and mix well.  Use a spatula to mix in the natural yoghurt.
Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and prick all over with a cocktail stick.  Pour over juice of half the lemon and leave the buns to cool.
When ready to decorate mix together the cream cheese, sieved icing sugar and juice of half a lemon and combine until smooth.  Poor spoonfuls of the creamy lemon icing over the buns.
‘Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Baking Day, Recipes

Beetroot & Carrot Muffins

Beetroot & Carrot Muffins

Frosted muffin group
Naked Muffins from the side

What to do with leftover beetroot? Leftover beetroot you sneer with raised eyebrow, who actually buys raw beetroot? I rarely do but a week or so ago I decided to try out a vibrant red thai vegetarian curry – a recipe from The Happy Pear that I saw online- and its vibrancy was due to the use of a grated beetroot. So when buying the beetroot I bought 2. As you do. I only needed 1 but I put 2 in the basket – turns out I’m an impulsive beetroot buyer and when it’s in your basket you can’t really put it back on the shelf.
Naked muffins from overhead
Beetroot & creamcheese frosting
Frosted muffin centre front

I know I say this about everything I blog but these muffins are soooo good. Deliciously moist and if eaten unfrosted relatively healthy when compared to your average muffin.

frosted muffin centered

Note: When grating the beetroot wear rubber or plastic gloves – highly recommend using a food processor with a grater attachment when grating.

Makes approx. 15 muffins.

You will need:
300g beetroot (peeled weight)
100g carrot (peeled weight)
200g light brown sugar
2 eggs
200ml sunflower oil
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
100g shelled walnut halves
1 lemon
100g low fat soft cream cheese
200g icing sugar

Pre-heat a fan oven to 160C. Prepare a muffin tray with paper cases.
Use a food processor with grater attachment to grate the peeled raw beetroot and carrot and place into a large bowl – use a fork to evenly disperse the carrot through the beetroot.
NB – set aside a large pinch of grated beetroot for the frosting.
Mix the brown sugar, eggs and sunflower oil together. Add in the plain flour, baking powder and cinnamon and mix well to a thick batter, pour this in on top of the grated carrot and beetroot. Grate in the zest of the lemon and add in the roughly chopped walnut halves. (Reserve a couple of walnuts to finely chop for decorating.)
Mix well to evenly combine everything – it’s thick and difficult to mix but you’ll get there.
Drop large dollops of the muffin mixture into the cases and bake in the hot oven for 25-30 minutes.
While the muffins cook make the frosting. Use a mini-chopper or a knife to finely chop the pinch of grated beetroot – this is being used to naturally colour the frosting.
Mix together the cream cheese, icing sugar, finely chopped beetroot and enough lemon juice to make a nice thick frosting – refrigerate until using.
Once the muffins are cooked, remove to cool completely on a wire tray before decorating with the cream-cheese frosting and a scattering of chopped walnuts.
‘Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Baking Day, Recipes

Blackberry & Apple Mess

My all-time favourite simple dessert is fresh fruit and Irish Dairy cream.  Simple. Add one more step of crushing up some shop-bought meringue nests and you can elevate it to something that looks quite classy despite the name ‘mess.’ Based on Eton Mess here I’m using stewed fruit – Blackberry and Apple, but you can use whatever fruits you have – stewed rhubarb for example would work equally well or just some apple on its own.
Blackberry & Apple Mess

To be as visually appealing as possible serve this in nice sparkling glasses and layer up whatever way you choose.
stewed blackberry and apple

crushed meringue

layered fruit and mess

I came across these meringue nests in SuperValu today made by ‘The Tipperary Kitchen‘ and there are 2 ingredients : Irish Free Range Egg whites from O’Egg and Caster Sugar.  I love discovering great Irish Food Products.
The tipperary kitchen meringue nests

blackberry dusted closeup

Blackberry & Apple Mess:
You will need:
6 meringue nests
350g stewed blackberry, apple & sugar (50g) cooled
280ml double cream (approx. carton sizes vary)
Roughly crush the meringue nests and set aside.
Whip the cream until holding soft peaks.
Spoon a little of the stewed fruit in the base of a glass and top with a layer of crushed meringue.
Mix the remaining stewed fruit (reserve 1 tbsp for later) with the whipped cream and then stir through the remaining crushed meringue (reserve a little crushed meringue dust for decorating).
Spoon the creamy mixture on top of the fruit and meringue layered in the glasses.
Top with a little fruit and a blackberry and then sprinkle with meringue dust.
‘Til next time, Sheila.
p.s. A final shout out for your Vote for Irish Blog Awards please –  vote for Gimme The Recipe to reach to Irish Blog Awards 2015 Finals -voting closes tomorrow 21st September – fingers crossed!