Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Lemon Cheesecake - National Cheesecake Day

So like most mornings, when I woke up today I checked my social networking sites and emails. It wasn't long until I discovered that it was NATIONAL CHEESECAKE DAY! I was beyond happy as I adore nothing more than a succulent cheesecake of any flavor. Over the past few years I have made strawberry cheesecakes to Malteser cheesecakes and I knew I would be devouring another today!

I knew I must celebrate the day (much to my delight) with a cheesecake. So as I rooted through the fridge and pantry, I discovered lemons and thought, hey, lemon cheesecake it is! So I rolled up my sleeves and got cracking! Enjoy :)

Ingredients:

Base:
120g Digestive Biscuits
40g Butter

Cheese Mixture:
200g Cream Cheese
25g Icing Sugar
1 Lemon (juice and zest)
Splash of Double Cream

I used a 7 and 1/2 inch circular tin

Method:

Base:

1. Blend the biscuits in a food processor until they have broken down finely.

2. Melt the butter. Add to the biscuits and mix.

3. Tip the biscuits into a lined tin and press down until even. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.



Cheese Mixture:

4. Add all the ingredients for the cheese mixture into a bowl.


5. Beat with an electric mixer for a few minutes until thick.


6. Pour out onto the prepared base and level it evenly.



7. Place in the fridge for a few hours to set.


Now you are complete! I really is a very simple to make and you will have it ready in no time. Let me know your favourite cheesecake recipes! Will you be celebrating National Cheesecake Day?

Siobhán
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Tasty Stuffed Potatoes

Potato jackets or stuffed baked potatoes are perfect for all sorts of meals! Small ones for partys, big ones for lunch and medium ones for serving with dinner. The combinations of ingredients are endless and you could eat thousands of different ones (although not recommended all in one day!) 

The recipe I have for you today is a ham, onion and cheese recipe. This is so simple yet so tasty and delicious. It is basic enough, however the flavours are immaculate! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

4 medium-large Potatoes
125ml Milk (I used Glenisk Whole Organic Milk)
2 Rashers
3 Spring Onions
1 tbls Cream Cheese
40g grated Cheese
Salt and Pepper
Extra Cheese for sprinkling


Method:

1. Boil the potatoes until fully cooked. (Or use ones from the previous days dinner)




2. Cut open the top of the potato about one third of the way in.



3. Scoop out the potato of the covers and shells. Be careful scooping the shells. Do not scoop thinly as they could break.





4. Fry the onions and rashers for a few minutes.

5. Add the milk, onions, meat, cream cheese and cheese to the potatoes. Season and mix well until combined.



6. Scoop out the mixture and place generously into each potato shell. Sprinkle some cheese over the top of each.






7. Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes.



Enjoy! These are really tasty and perfect for so many occasions! 

Siobhán
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Sunday, 28 July 2013

Brown Bread Recipe

This recipe is a firm family favourite. A few years back I was at my friends house. We were having food and her mother brought this bread to the table. I thought it was so delicious! Later I learnt that she had made it herself! I was gobsmacked it was so tasty and delicious! I just had to get my hands on the recipe!

So a few days later I casually asked her. Turns out, my friend even knew the recipe off by heart! She had made it so many times, she knew it off! So as she called it out, I typed it into my phone saved it and waited anxiously until i could try it out! 

Years later I still make this bread. One day my Aunt called over and I served this up. As the recipe makes two loafs, I decided to give her one on her way home. That night she rang to thank me. Turns out she kept the loaf hidden from her family because she wanted to eat it all herself!

This really is a fantastic recipe which I hope you try out! I can say that this really is a tried and tested recipe! I hope you enjoy baking and eating it!

Ingredients:

12oz Brown Flour
4oz Plain Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
2oz Wheat Germ/Wheat Bran (Or one ounce of each)
2oz Oat Germ/Oat Bran (Or one ounce of each)
          (NOTE*Make sure you use a mixture of bran and germ and not all bran or all germ.)
Fistful of Mixed Seeds (I use Sunflower, Pumpkin, Linseed, Flax and Poppy seeds)
2 Eggs
3 tbls Olive Oil
1 Pint Buttermilk

This recipe makes two loafs.

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180c. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl with a wooden spoon.



2. Add in the eggs, oil and milk and seeds. Mix until fully combined.




3. Pour the mixture into two lined loaf tins.



4. Scatter seeds over the top.


5. Place n the oven for 40-50 minutes, until evenly brown and a skewer inserted is clean.



6. Remove from the oven  and take the loafs out of the tin. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool. 



And that's it! It really is a simple little recipe but so so tasty and homely. I hope you try out this recipe. Let me know how you get on! Do you have a secret recipe for brown bread? How often do you make fresh bread?

Siobhán
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Friday, 26 July 2013

Strawberry Crumble Muffins!

I love muffins! They are so easy to do and there are so many different combinations of ingredients! I also love crumble! Apple crumble and strawberry crumble! So when I came across this recipe for a smaller version of a crumble I had to give it a go. I have made a few adjustments to the original recipe from 'Real Mom Kitchen' which I think makes them even more delicious.

These buns are so tasty and moist. They can be eaten plain, dusted with icing sugar or even served with ice-cream as a complete dessert! They are great for all occasions, dessert, snacks, even parties. I hope you enjoy baking these!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Butter
3/4 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Milk
2 cups Strawberries, chopped

Crumb Topping:

1/4 cup Butter, melted
1/3 cup Brown sugar
1/3 cup White sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 cup Flour

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180c.

2. Mix the butter and sugar in a large bowl.

3. Then mix in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add vanilla.

4. In another bowl, add the baking powder, salt and flour.


5. Alternately add the flour mixture and the milk until everything is combined.

6. Then, add in the strawberries.




7. Using a large spoon, or ice-cream scoop, add the mixture to each bun case.

8. In a small bowl combine all the ingredients for the crumb topping.

9. Sprinkle the crumb evenly over the tops of the batter.



10. Bake for about 15 minutes in the oven. Then let them cool and enjoy!






These muffins will not last long, as they will be snatched up! But if they do, they last well for up to two days in an air-tight container.

Let me no know about your favorite crumbles :)


Siobhán
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Thursday, 25 July 2013

Turkish Food Haul

So after spending the last two weeks in Turkey, it is safe to say I got a clear image of the Turkish food lifestyle. I think it can be narrowed down to a few words... Fresh, vegetables, fruit and spices. Each and every restaurant have pages and pages of dishes to serve you. 

However, I always looked under the Turkish section, to see what it is the Turkish people eat. I mostly discovered a lot of chicken and kebabs. Each dish is served with tasty rice and a lot of vegetables, including raw arrangements.

I often travelled to the market, excited to see what vegetables they had. I was amazed by the large amount of veg and fruit as well as some very unique and exotic fruit. On my travels I discovered huge plantations of banana trees and would then see many in the local shops and markets. What I loved was that everything was so cheap. This was then an excuse to try out all the the different and unique veg.

The weekly market

Fruit stalls

More displays

I also had the opportunity to eat out quite often. I had many dishes and loved all the restaurants. I had unique dishes, often ordering things I couldn't even pronounce and specials I had never heard of. This was exciting as I had no idea what I was about to eat! 

This was a chicken dish with the signature Turkish rice and salad.

This was a unique dish of beef wrapped in chicken served with Bearnaise and mushroom sauce.

Over the weeks I also managed to pick up a few cooking things which I am excited to try over the next few weeks.

Apple Tea:

This is a very traditional drink in Turkey. Whether you go to a five star restaurant or a small corner cafe, apple tea is guaranteed to be on the menu. It comes in powder from which you add hot water to. It is served in tradition small glasses and often with sugar cubes.

You can find it here

Meat spices:

One day at the markets, I came across a little stall selling traditional spices. Through a very difficult conversation with me, a young girl who didn't have a word of Turkish, and an old man without a word of English, I managed to gather that this is a bag of a mixture of spices that can be used for meat marinades. I have no idea what spices are in it but never-the-less I will be sure to try it out!


Turkish spices and herbs:

I saw these in several shops. What they consist of is a mixture of spices and herbs. They are all from Turkey. Some are traditional whereas some are common all over the world. I also got a strip like this a few years back in Turkey with different spices and I was very happy with them.





Vanilin:

A few months back, I was at home watching a Laura Vitale video on YouTube. I noticed that in some of her recipes she uses Vanilin powder instead of vanilla extract/essence. I was curious as to what it was, but never investigated it. However, when I saw it in a grocery shop, I decided to pick it up. 

I have now learnt that it is often used in recipes instead of vanilla essence. It can also be dusted over finished buns/biscuits etc. to give a sugary vanilla taste. 

You can find it here


Tomato spices:

While getting groceries one day I came across this small packet of spices. I am still unsure of what they are! However, some day I will chance sprinkling some on meat and see what the result is like.  These are a tomato-y and basil flavor.


So it is safe to say I picked up a few bits! Noting major, but I do like to try out different cuisines. I hope you enjoyed my little haul. Do you ever buy things abroad as you cant get them at home? Have you tried out anything I have bought? How was it? 

Siobhán
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Strawberry and Banana Smoothie

As you may know, I just spent the last two weeks in Turkey. I had an amazing time with the sun beating down everyday. One thing I loved is the endless supply of fresh fruit available nearby. All the shops had displays of the freshest fruit. Also with two weekly markets, they were easy to find.

For me, smoothies became a ritual every day. Using the organic fresh fruit, I prepared them almost each morning for breakfast. The list of combinations were endless and I loved their uniqueness.

Today, I will show you how to prepare a strawberry and banana smoothie. This is my favourite. These can be found in most smoothie bars here, however that can be quite expensive. This is why it is always good to know how to do it yourself.

Ingredients:

Two handfuls of Strawberries
1 Banana
2 Apricots
3 Oranges
Ice

Method:

1. Prepare all the strawberries, banana and apricots and place in the blender.


 2. Juice the oranges and add to the fruit.


3. Then add as much ice as you wish. I like mine cold, so I always add a lot.

4. Blitz and enjoy. This mix made four large glasses.


Variations:

- You could add add a teaspoon of honey for a sweet taste
- Frozen yogurt gives a nice creamy taste
- Frozen fruits automatically makes the mix colder, great for the summer.

Siobhán
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Chocolate Chip Cookies...

Cookies! Everyone loves the humble chocolate chip cookie! Throughout the years I have tried recipe after recipe of cookies! Some fail miserably, and some are really tasty.

These cookies and soft, chewy and really chocolaty, just what you want. I also have a recipes for amazing double chocolate chip cookies, which I will share soon.

These cookies are fantastic. It includes basic ingredients, easy to prepare and also make a big batch. I often make these and place some raw mixture in the freezer for another time. They taste just as good. Also these cookies, unlike some, taste great the next day. They are great straight from the oven, with the chocolate oozing from them,  but they are also lovely cold, with the chocolate chips hard. The dough is great the next day also as it remains soft, unlike some which go crispy. These stay tasty for about 3 days, provided they are in an air-tight container.( if they last that long!)

This recipe is an adapted recipe from Levain Bakery.

Ingredients:

3 cups bread flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 tsp Salt
1 cup Butter
3/4 cup and 4 tsp Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups Chocolate Chips


Method:

1. Sieve the dry ingredients into a bowl.


2. In a separate bowl, beat the butter until soft. Then add both sugars and beat again.


3. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.


4. Gradually add the dry mix into the wet, beating well after each addition.

5. Then, with a wooden spoon, mix in the chocolate chips.



6. Using two teaspoons, scoop out the mix and place on a baking tray. Put six scoops on each tray (depending on size). Make sure they are well spread out as they spread when cooking.




7. Then place in the oven for 12-15 minutes. When cooked, remove from oven and leave the settle for a few minutes. Then using a fish slice, place on a wire rack.

The final product

Then watch them disappear. Enjoy these fabulous little cookies full of chocolate and full of flavour.



Siobhán
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