Monday, 26 August 2013

Death by Chocolate Cookie Muffins...



 Yes you read that correctly. Muffins and cookies!

Are there days you want a cookie, but you also want a muffin? Well now I have combined both into treat! Inspired by Sally, these are too good not to try!


I started off with her muffin mix, which are so, so tasty! Then I made a delicious buttercream icing and layered it on top. I then used her recipe for cookie dough balls for the top. But instead of eating them raw, I baked them for about 10 minutes.


The result?? A wonderful, to-die-for tasty rich treat! I really hope you try these out, they are too good to miss out on!


Ingredients:

Cookies:

1/4 cup Butter-soft
1/4 cup light Brown Sugar
1/8 granulated Sugar
1 tbls milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cups Plain Flour
Pinch of Salt
1/2 cup Chocolate chips

Muffins:

1/2 cup Butter
2 oz Chocolate
1/2 cup Cocoa powder
3/4 cup Plain Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Eggs (Room Temperature)
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup light Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 cup Buttermilk

Icing:

140g Butter (soft)
280g Icing Sugar
1-2 tbls Milk
1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence

Method:

Cookies:

1. In a bowl, beat the butter and sugars together until light and creamy. 

2. Add the milk and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Turn the mixer off and add the flour and salt. Mix on low speed at first, then turn the mixer up to medium speed and mix until combined. 

3. The dough will be thick and crumbly, just keep mixing until it comes together. Mix in the chocolate chips.

4. Roll the cookie dough into tiny balls and place on the cookie sheet. Place in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Then flatten slightly and bake for 10 minutes until fully cooked and golden.

Muffins:

5. Preheat the oven to 180c. Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each time. Stir until smooth and set aside to slightly cool.

6. In a bowl, mix the cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together until thoroughly combined. Set aside. 

7. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and brown sugar together until smooth. Add the cooled butter/chocolate and whisk until smooth. 

8. Add half of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk. Repeat until everything is added. Stir until just combined; do not overmix.

9. Divide the batter evenly into the liners. (12 muffin cases or 18 regular bun cases) Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before icing

Icing:

10. Beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla, with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes.

Assembly:

11. First take a muffin. Using a palette knife, place some icing on top of the muffins. You can create any design you wish, ensuring it is spread out evenly on the bun.

12. Then take a cookie and place it on top. You can place it down flat, or for a more unusual look you can stick in one side so that the other side pops up!

13. I then took some sprinkle type decorations and put some on top. You can add whatever type you desire.

And that's it! I know it is alot of steps, but it is really worthwhile, that are very chocolaty, rich and moreish!  


Siobhán
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Saturday, 24 August 2013

Vegetarian Lasagne



Vegetarian Lasagne?

No meat?

Yes you read that correctly.. No meat, but packed with vegetables. As in, your five a day in one slice! Ok, maybe not five, but definitely alot!


This recipe is one of my favourites! Very different I know, it certainly isn't for everyone. But, you must try it!

Infact, this recipe is from a teacher of mine. A few years ago we had to do this as an assignment. I had never made it before, but I was interested in trying it out! So my partner and me got together to decide on what vegetables we could stick into this dish. Surprisingly alot!


I know this dish is very different and may not be for everyone, but you should definitely give it a try! It is well worth it!

Ingredients:

1 Onion
2 cloves Garlic
1 Cans chopped Tomatoes

1 Aubergine
6 Mushrooms
4 florets Broccoli
1/3 Butternut squash
1 Carrot
1/2 Red Pepper
1/2 Yellow Pepper
1 Courgette

2tbls chopped Parsley
125ml Red Wine
250g Lasagne sheets
250g Mozzarella
200g Ricotta


Method:

1. Preheat oven to 190c. 

2. Heat some oil in a pan. Add the chopped onion and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Prepare all vegetables according to kind. Add some oil to a pan and on a medium heat cook for 2-3 minutes.

4. Then add in the tomato sauce, wine and parsley. Cover, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Spread out one third of the vegetable sauce on the surface of a lasagne dish. Cover with a layer of lasagne sheets. Spread one third of the ricotta on the lasagne sheets and sprinkle on one third of the mozzarella. 

6. Repeat this layering twice more, finishing with the cheeses. Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the cheeses are golden and the sauce is bubbling.

Enjoy!

Siobhán
x

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread.

If there is one thing that I try to add to dishes, its cinnamon. Honestly, do you not love its smell?


I adore cinnamon! Cinnamon buns, cinnamon bread, cinnamon and apple tart. Basically anything with apple in it, I throw in a bit of cinnamon too! Its just so nice! Sometimes I just eat an apple and dust some cinnamon over the top! Weird? Try it!


This recipe is another of my Cinnamon favourites! I have only made it a handful of times, but my, it is always in my mind. This is a yeast based bread, but unlike others, you don't have to wait around hours and hours waiting for it to rise. Bonus!

This recipe is originally from Joy the baker but it has had a few tweaks made to it by Jamie. This is an amazing bread. It is quite sweet so not for lunch, but it is perfect for tea and guests. It is called pull-apart bread as the way it is baked, you can tear apart a slice after! So handy and easy to do! Enjoy :)


Ingredients:

Bread:
1 cup Milk
4 tbls Butter
5-6 cups Flour (Enough to form a dough that it stiff and comes together)
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
3/4 cups Hot Water
7g sachet Yeast

Filling:
8 tbls Butter
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 cup Light Brown Sugar

Glaze:
1 cup Icing Sugar
1-2 tsp Water
1/4 tsp Cinnamon

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 70c. Heat the milk in the microwave for 1 minute. Then place the butter into the hot milk and let it sit for a minute or two, or until the butter starts to melt. 

2. Then mix 2 cups of flour, salt, sugar and eggs in a bowl. Then, mix in the hot water. 

3. Add the milk/butter mixture. Then add in the yeast and mix until combined.

4. Add the rest of your flour slowly until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Knead the mixture for 5 minutes (by hand/2 minutes by machine) 

5. Cut the dough into two equal parts. Shape each half into a round ball and let it rest for about 5 minutes. 

6. Roll each ball of dough out into a large rectangle. Spread 4 tablespoons softened butter over the top of each rectangle. Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar over the butter and spread out with a palette knife.

7. Cut the rectangle into three long strips.Cut each strip into 6 or 7 pieces.Stack the pieces on top of each other and carefully set them into the loaf pans. 

8. Place them into a 170 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the dough has risen up and over the top of the pans. 

9. Then turn your oven temperature to 180c, leaving the pans in the oven to rise a bit more as the temperature increases. Bake the loaves for 15-20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the loaves are cooked through.

10. While your loaves are baking make the glaze. Into a small mixing bowl place icing sugar, cinnamon and water. Whisk it all together with a fork until it’s nice and smooth.

11. When the loaves are done baking take them out of the oven and let them rest for about 10 minutes. Then remove the bread from the pans to a serving plate and drizzle the glaze over the tops. Then serve and enjoy!



Like Cinnamon? Try my Cinnamon buns

Siobhán
x

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Potato Salad..

 
So, once again I am posting another salad recipe! I know, I know, its not baking. But I really like to cook too and I guess I am just keeping you on your toes!

So a few days ago I made this Delicious salad! I have been trying to make one for ages. But they never tasted perfect. Until now!


I loved going out to cafes and restaurants to eat whee some salad is always served on the side! I loved the variety and I loved the taste. Now I can have it at home!

This recipe is really really easy and only takes a few minutes to prepare. I used cold cooked potatoes, but you can of course boil them specially if you don't have cooked on hand. (just wait for them to cool)


Ingredients:

4 Medium Potatoes
2 tbls Mayonnaise
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp White Wine Vinegar
1 tbls Fresh Parsley

Method:

1. Add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix.

Try my other salad recipe Crunchy Carrot Salad

Siobhán
x

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Saucy Chocolate Pudding..

This pudding is so delicious. Like really.


What more could you want, than after a meal to indulge in a rich, saucy, chocolate-laden pudding! So divine! For this pudding, it really is love at first bite!

This pudding is really rich and with an abundence of chocolate sauce all around the side of the tin, it will leave you wanting more!. This is perfect for dessert after a meal and even works well for a special occasion. I make this in one big dish. However, you could just as easily divide the mix into small ramekins and bake it that way. This dish will look unsual when pour over the sauce as it is very water-y. But don't worry, that is what makes the sauce!


Serve this tasty treat with a scoop of ice-cream and with a dusting of icing sugar. I am sure this pudding would last well for about two days, however it will always be eaten up before then! Enjoy!


Ingredients:

Pudding:
50g Dark Chocolate (melted and cooled)
120g Caster Sugar
120g Self-raising Flour
10g Cocoa
120g Butter
2 Eggs
2 tbls Vanilla

Sauce:
75g Milk Chocolate
75g Soft Brown Sugar
200ml Water
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tbls Sifted Cocoa Powder

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180c and grease a shallow 900ml dish.

2. Place all the pudding ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined with an electric mixer. Spoon into the dish and make sure it is level on top.

3. Place all the ingredents for the sauce in a saucepan. Place on a medium heat and stir until smooth.

4. Then pour the sauce over the pudding mixture. 

5. Place in the oven for 45 minutes or until the pudding has risen and the sauce has formed and sunk to the botton of the dish. 

Dust over with icing sugar and enjoy with a scoop of ice-cream.


Siobhán
x

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Crunchy Carrot Salad..




As much as I love to bake, (which is alot) I do like to eat healthy enough. (I know, hard to believe!) Salads are one of the most healthy things you can eat. Fill them with protein by adding in meat and make them filling by adding some chickpeas or pasta.



This carrot salad is a must for any salad display. At a buffet, a barbecue, or even a small get together, it is really adds alot! It is a bright, colourful salad, full of textures. Soft, crunchy and moist, this salad is a real crowd pleaser.


Multiply the recipe as required

Ingredients:

3 Carrots peeled and grated
1 tbls Cranberries
1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
1 tbls fresh Parsley
1 tbls Mayonnaise
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Mixed Seeds (such as poppy,sunflower,pumpkin,flax)
Salt and Pepper

Method:

1. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix it up.


That's it! It is really simple to make, but looks so fantastic. Enjoy!

Siobhán
x

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Chocolate and Caramel Layer Cake

I have a confession. I love cake.

Ok, its out there. I can move on.

Then again who doesn't! There is always time for cake! Whether its a simple sponge for tea time, or an extravagant layer cake for a wedding, cake is always on the cards.

My favourite cake is chocolate. Who doesn't love a rich, iced, moist, dark chocolate cake. The variations of chocolate cakes are endless. My mission: Try them all!

Ok, maybe that's impossible. However this take on a chocolate cake is certainly different. This layered cake is unusual, combining both Caramel and Chocolate layers. Definitely one to put down on your to-do list!

Weather you have this for a special event or even just tea time, it is sure to leave you wanting more! Enjoy this Chocolate and Caramel combo!

This is an adapted recipe from Rachel Allens 'Cake'

Ingredients:

290g Butter
300g Caster Sugar
6 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
300g Self-Raising Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
2 tbls Cocoa Powder
1 Tin Dulce de Leche (Recipe here)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Line three 8 inch cake tins.

 2. Cream the butter until soft in a bowl. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.



3. Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a separate bowl. Gradually add the eggs to the butter mixture, beating all the time.



4. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in gently to combine. 

5. Tip one-third of the batter into one bowl. Add the cocoa powder the this and mix to combine. Then pour into a prepared cake tin and smoothen the surface. 





6. Divide the remaining mixture evenly into the other two cake tins. Place the tins in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

7. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Then take out of the tins and place on a wire rack until fully cool.



8. Place one vanilla cake upside down flat on a surface. Evenly spread half of the dulce de leche from the tin over the top. Then place the chocolate layer over this and add the remaining dulce de leche. Then place the final vanilla layer, right side up on top.








After all that, enjoy! You can design or ice your cake as you wish.
For a simple decorative idea, sprinkle icing sugar over the top. For a more sophisticated look, cover with buttercream and design the top as you wish.

What are your favourite cakes? :)



Siobhán
x

Friday, 2 August 2013

Braided Yeast Bread...

There is nothing better than a white loaf of fresh bread, than when it comes in a pretty little plait! This bread (beyond its cuteness) is seriously tasty. As in... you can't stop. Whether you have it for breakfast, lunch or even a snack, you won't get tired of it.

This recipe comes from one of my teachers. She gave it to me thinking I hadn't made yeast bread before. Of course I had but I said I would bite the bullet and try her 'special' recipe. To my amazement, her recipe really was wonderful and I didn't hesitate to complement it when she asked if I tried it. If only she knew I was using it here, she would be so so proud and happy!

Besides braiding it, you can of course place it in a loaf tin, make rolls, have one big circular bread or even small individual loafs. All in all, it will taste great! In this recipe I sprinkled poppy seeds over the top, however you can also leave it plain, or use other seeds. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

300ml Lukewarm Milk
5g Dried Yeast
1/2 tbls Sugar 
500g Strong White flour
3/4 tsp Salt
50g Soft Butter

Method:

1. In a jug, mix 60ml of the milk with the sugar and yeast. Set aside and allow to froth for about 15 minutes.

 2. In a bowl, add the flour, salt, remaining milk, butter and yeast mixture. Mix to a dough and knead until smooth.




3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and place in a warm place for a few hours.


4. Once the dough has risen, punch it back down and knead again. Leave it rest for one hour.




 5. Knock the dough back again and divide into three lumps. Roll out each with your hands in a 'sausage' form so that you are able to braid them.



6. Braid the three strands together, ensuring the start and end are tightly pressed together.



7. Brush over with some milk and sprinkle some poppy seeds on top. Place a tea-towel over the dough and allow to rest for about 40 minutes.





8. Then place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes at 180c. Remove when evenly brown and a tap on the bottom will give a hollow sound.

Then enjoy! This bread is wonderful and delicious. Let me know if you try it out!





Siobhán
x

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Growing your own...

A few years back I decided it would be interesting to grow a few vegetables. 
So I stuck on my wellies and in cold, raining and frosty February weather, I went out to my plot and began digging. I started off with some onions and potatoes. After a year or two, I was growing pumpkins (or 'pumpkin' to be precise), beetroot, parsnips and peas. I really enjoyed it and I checked it everyday. I loved harvesting my organic, homegrown vegetables. I would be beaming when I used to bring in fresh lettuce and spinach into my family and loved to eat them.

This year, I did not have much time for the gardening. As I was in my final year of school, studies took over and I had to abandon my hobby. However, a few weeks back (after I finished school forever!) I went to see what was happening out there. Behind the foot long grass, moss covered flowerpots and weeds the size of cabbages, I noticed some fruit continued to grow. So I cut back the grass (well, actually my dad did), weeded and cleaned the place up. 

To my delight, I found that there was strawberries growing! A few years back I planted three 99 cent plants in the plot. Now, a few years on, they have expanded and grown and taken over there land! Runners have growing and now there is about 8 or 9 strawberry plants! Of course I am delighted with this! Last week I harvested some and I made my Strawberry Crumble Muffins






Last year I planted raspberries. When August time came, I was a little bit more then excited, to harvest my crop. However, I was disappointed when I collected all TWO of my fruit. Yes, I grew two raspberries! This year was different. The plant produced at least fifty or so berries, much to my delight!



About seven or eight years ago, we purchased an apple tree. It was really unique as it had two main branches. The first branch would produce red apples and the second branch would produce green apples. A few years on and our tree really has grown. It produces buckets of apples (if the birds don't get there first!) and they are tasty for eating or in apple dishes. This was definitely a good investment.






Growing organically home produced food really is worth it! The fruit is fresh and tasty and you know it is all natural. You don't have to worry about pesticides or irradiation. Above all else they are simply delicious. I think they taste extra nice and you can taste all your hard work!

Let me know what you grow in your garden. Anything unusual? Do you dedicate your time to it? 

Siobhán
x