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!

Posted in Baking Day

Blackberry & Apple Loaf Cake

September is probably my favourite month of the year and not just because it is when my birthday falls. It’s the beginning of the new school year, a time when many people decide to take courses, a time to buy a new notebook and write out a plan. The days are still bright and it is a time of abundant harvest. Hedgerows are heaving now and it’s the last chance to forage and gather juicy, ripe blackberries.

lackberry & Apple Jam by Denis Kiely

For a number of years my husband has become a seasonal blackberry and apple jam maker. The berries are picked by his Uncle Paddy and stored for collection by his mother Kitty. He called to her a couple of days ago and indulged in her delicious blackberry pie before collecting his blackberries for jam making.

Kitty's Blackberry Pie
Kitty’s Blackberry Pie

Blackberries are rinsed and joined by chopped up cooking apple and caster sugar in a large saucepan where they simmer and bubble together merrily until he decides it is time. Jars of every shape and size are gathered and sterilized and he then proudly dispenses his jam. How lovely to see these richly filled jars lined up and glistening like the deepest jewels.

The jam will be used as a straightforward jam of course but we will also use it bulked up with more apple to make pies and crumbles. I couldn’t wait to test it out and today I used it to make this deliciously moist Blackberry & Apple Loaf Cake. It cuts beautifully and is perfect with a cup of tea… and while you’re waiting for the tea to brew you could vote for Gimme The Recipe to reach to Irish Blog Awards 2015 Finals – go on, go on, go on, go on, go on.

The vibrancy of the mixture is so beautiful it’s almost a shame to cook it.

Blackberry & Apple Loaf Cake Mixture

I hope your September is going well for you and that you’ll get to enjoy all that Autumn’s harvests have to offer.

Blackberry & Apple Loaf Cake Baked

Blackberry & Apple Loaf Cake Sliced

Blackberry & Apple Loaf Cake Slice

Blackberry & Apple Loaf Cake

You will need:
75g unsalted butter plus extra to grease loaf tin
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
250g self-raising flour
1 jar (350g approx.) thick-set blackberry & apple jam
Preheat a fan oven to 180C
Grease a loaf tin with butter and line the base with a long piece of baking paper.
Cream together the butter and caster sugar with an electric mixer.
Then beat in half the beaten egg and half the flour followed by the remaining egg and flour.
The mixture is quite heavy and thick so use a wooden spoon to stir in the blackberry & apple jam until evenly distributed.
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake in the hot oven for 40 minutes.
Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and to cool fully (if you can wait) until cutting as it will cut better.
‘Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Baking Day, Food & Health, Recipes

Chocolate Tartlets {sugar is not your enemy}

Chocolate Tartlets.

Chocolate tartlet bitesize close-up
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again it doesn’t matter what you eat it’s the amount you eat that matters if you want to reach and maintain a healthy weight.  I’ve witnessed people on ‘diets’ wolfing down tubs of cottage cheese and seen the triumphant tweets as another milestone few pounds are shifted on a diet that awards points to food.
Chocolate tartlet

Diets are not sustainable.  Variety is the spice of life so have variety. Do not restrict your diet, do not cut out anything but do cut back, just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to eat all of it now – you can have some more tomorrow. Be sensible.
Chocolate tartlets

Change your portion size at dinner – palm size of protein (palm does not include your fingers!), fist size of carbs (yours not Mohammad Ali’s), and have vast amounts of vegetables.
Tartlet tins

If you need to lose some weight then stop eating after 6pm and do some extra exercise until you shift the pounds, then maintain your healthy weight by moderately exercising and watching your portion sizes.
Chocolate tartlets upside down

Stop eating the kids leftovers. If you go out tonight and have a three course meal then dinner tomorrow should be vegetable soup or something light. It’s about balance and moderation. Be sensible.
Chocolate tartlets bitesize on platter

The latest food war being waged is against sugar, this in a world that has shifted from dissing butter, fat, eggs and salt.

Sugar makes things sweet and I like sweet things. Sweet things are for treats and desserts, they are for occasional indulgence. Sugar is not your enemy. Be sensible.
Chocolate tartlets bitesize side-on

Desserts in restaurants are huge so share them – you don’t really want to feel bloated do you, you just want to feel satisfied.

These chocolate tartlets contain butter, sugar, eggs & chocolate.  All real, good foods but too much of it will make you fat.  You don’t want to be fat so just have a little piece.
Chocolate tartlets bitesize from side

I would make these for a special occasion where there are lots of people around to share and cut each tartlet into bite-size morsels.
Chocolate tartlet bitesize close-up

When I’m cooking I think I’m like most people and regularly hurried and without the luxury of time to wait for things to set or rise etc. In this recipe I use a small quantity of shortcrust pastry to make a light biscuity base for the tartlets. Shortcrust pastry should really get to have a little rest in the fridge before it’s rolled but here I don’t and you know what it works out just fine.

Chocolate tartlets:

You will need {for the pastry base}:
6 tartlet tins with push up bases, pie weights
100g plain flour
50g butter (cold)
10g caster sugar
1 egg yolk {keep the white for the chocolate mix}
1 tbsp cold water
Method {for the pastry base}:
Pre-heat the fan oven to 180C.
Use a food processor to mix the flour and cold butter together until breadcrumb texture then add in the caster sugar, egg yolk and water and mix until comes together into a dough ball.
Lightly flour a work-surface and rolling pin.
Roll out the pastry and invert your tartlet tins to cut out pastry to their size.
Line each tartlet tin with a pastry base, don’t worry if it doesn’t reach all the way up the sides.
Use pie weights – I put them in a cupcake case – and then bake the pastry bases in the hot oven for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and reduce heat to 170C .

While the cases bake make the filling for the chocolate tartlets:
You will need {for the chocolate filling}:
125g chocolate (70%+)
75g butter
100g light brown sugar
3 tsp water
2 egg yolks
3 egg whites {use the 1 left-over from the pastry}
Pinch salt
Method {for the chocolate filling}:
Pre-heat the fan oven to 170C.
Break the chocolate and roughly chop the butter into a bowl and melt together in the microwave.
Place the light brown sugar in a saucepan, add the water and bring to the boil stirring to create a syrup over a high heat.
Use an electric whisk to add the syrup in to the melted chocolate and butter, keep whisking until smooth.
Whisk in the 2 egg yolks then place the bowl in the fridge to cool while you whisk the egg whites.  Whisk the 3 egg whites with a pinch of salt until beginning to thicken and hold soft peaks.
Remove the chocolate mixture from the fridge and use a spatula to gently fold and stir in the egg whites until all is well combined but without beating.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the semi-cooked pastry cases and return to the oven to bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow the tartlets to cool in the tin.
I suggest slicing each tartlet into 6 bite-size pieces.
‘Til next time, Sheila.
P.S. Voting for the Irish Blog Awards 2015 opens on 7th September for 2 weeks and I’d love it if you’d vote for ‘Gimme The Recipe’ to reach the finals of the Food & Drink category.

Posted in Baking Day, Recipes

Breakfast Scones

Breakfast Scones.
{made with cheese, bacon & spring onion}
breakfast scones 3

Perfect for breakfast or tucked into lunchboxes these savoury bites are delicious on their own as they’ve already got cheese, bacon and spring onion in the mix.
breakfast scone close up
breakfast scones 2

When a recipe calls for crumbling of butter into flour such as for scones or pastry I’m finding myself turning more and more to my KitchenAid food processor to quickly render a breadcrumb texture that would leave my fingers caked in butter and flour had I to do it by hand.
breakfast scones on wire trayThis recipe is from my first cookbook ‘Gimme the Recipe’ published in 2012.

Breakfast Scones:
Makes 15-20 medium size scones.
You will need:
450g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
100g unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
75g cheddar cheese
6 rashers
2 spring onions
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 egg
225ml milk
1 egg and milk to glaze.
Preheat the fan oven to 180oC.
Lightly grease two or three baking trays with a little butter.
Mix the flour and baking powder in a large bowl.
Cut the butter into cubes and crumble together with the flour with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and lightly fry the rashers.
Coarsely grate the cheddar cheese and add to the flour.
When the rashers are cooked use a kitchen food scissors to trim off the fat and then snip them in small pieces into the flour.
Rinse the spring onion and use a kitchen food scissors to snip them into the flour.
Add the mustard and use a fork to mix it with the flour, cheese, rashers and onion.
Lightly beat the egg and then add it with enough milk to moisten to a soft doughy texture (not too wet – if it is too wet just add a little more flour).
When the dough is combined gather it into a ball with your hands and lightly knead on a floured board.
Use a lightly floured rolling-pin to flatten the dough out to a thickness of approximately 2cm.
Use a round pastry cutter to cut out approximately 15-20 scones depending on size.
Place the scones on the greased baking trays and brush the tops and side with some beaten egg and milk mixed together.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until nicely risen and golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack.
‘Til next time, Sheila.