Sunday, 8 March 2009

A shining star of wonderful gorgeousness

I would like to publically apologise to the shining star of wonderful gorgeousness English Mum for not having her on my blogroll. I am a shoddy fellow Irish blogger and I sincerely apologise for my oversight and extreme shoddiness!! This mistake has now been rectified!!!

I also apologise to my readers for not updating my blog aswell, I am a bad blogger and have no excuse apart from laziness! I've been baking but not updating! The last scones were gorgeous though!!! I will be back soon....................................and remember I love you all!!!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Pesto, herb n cheese scones

Now I don't often "post savoury" here but these are so good I had to share! I got an urge this morning to make scones but having a teeny bit of a cold I was too lazy and had to make do with some nasty white bread toast (that was sssssoooo good) and coffee! So after the caffeine kicked in and I'd read the March issues of Delicious and Taste Italia magazines I decided some savoury scones might in be order for lunch.

I've never made a savoury scone before, I've had them in Avoca but never actually thought about going and producing my own but now that I have the possibilities seem endless and I'm already thinking these would be nice with some olives in them, or leave out the pesto and herbs and do sundried tomato and cheese scones......................................yum!

So here's a basic soda bread recipe that can be turned into a loaf or made into scones, it can be flavoured or not and sweetened or not depending on your tastes.

For the basic recipe you'll need:

450g plain white flour
1 tsp bread soda/bicarbonate of soda
400ml buttermilk
1 tsp salt

To this you can add:

1 tbsp basil pesto (you could use any pesto you want here)
1 tbsp thyme leaves finely chopped
salt and pepper (only use salt if you've not used it already above)

Preheat the oven to Gas 8/230.

Sift the flour, salt if using and bread soda into a large bowl.
Add the finely chopped thyme to the flour.
Mix the pesto into the buttermilk and add to the flour mixture.
Mix well with your hands until you have a loose sticky dough.
With floured hands turn the dough out and pat into a round. Cut into wedges or into circles with a cutter.
Bake for 10-15 mins, the bottom will sound hollow when they're done.

I really think now the possibilities are endless for this recipe, any flavours could be added to the dough adding dry ingredients to dry and wet to wet if that makes sense.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Sunshine Citrus Muffins

In an effort to inject some sunshine into a dull Saturday morning I decided to make these from one of my favourite cookery books - Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. I got this book in America and it's so beautifully photographed and the recipes are fantastic taking you from the basics of dough making right through to beautiful cakes, muffins and scones. The measurements are in cups you'll need a set of these if you intend to get this book and I would definitely recommend it.

Himself was still asleep when I made these and the gorgeous smell of orange and lemon wafted up the stairs and manged to wake him so he had to come downstairs, naturally to make sure everything was alright and not for a warm muffin fresh from the oven..................

These smell fantastic and made the house all summery and citrusy smelling, they are also great with cheese as I discovered last night after a few wines too many!!!

So you'll need:

115g sugar
grated zest of 1 orange
300g plain flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt (I didn't use this as I use salted butter in my baking, scandalous as that may be!)
250ml freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp lemon extract (I probably used closer to 1/2 tsp as I wasn't being overly careful pouring)
4 oz butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
Optional: 150g moist raisins/sultanas (I didn't use these)

So, preheat your oven to Gas 5/190c. Spray your muffin tin with spray oil or butter the molds.
Rub the sugar and orange zest together (this is fantastic and makes the sugar smell A.MAZ. ING) in a large bowl. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt if using.
In another bowl or jug whisk the orange and lemon juice, butter, lemon extract, and eggs together. Add to the dry ingredients and mix.
Fold in the raisins/sultanas if you're using them.
Spoon the mixture into the 12 muffin shapes and bake for 20 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.

Serve on it's own with a giant latte or with some cheese!!!

Also on a totally non-recipe related note, at the moment TK Maxx have fantastic cast iron pans and skillets for next to nothing from a range called Old Mountin so anyone who is in the market for one this might be a good time to take a look!

I also got a gorgeous book called The Dairy by Leanne Kitchen (cheesetastic name or what) for €7.99 and a complete bargain as the recipes are wonderful and all surround anything dairy related and the photos are so well shot. There's a series of 4 books with 3 more after The Dairy called the Butcher, The Baker and The Greengrocer and they're already on my amazon wishlist!!!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Bread glorious bread............

just dripping with butter................

How do you like my "rendition" of the bread version of Food glorious food? I have to confess I'm a bread fiend! Any type even the nasty white sliced bread from the supermarket, as long as it's fresh or warm or toasted with butter or like this mornings breakfast dripping with lemon curd!

I've made this bread a lot of times and it's the same recipe I use to make my pizza dough. It's from Jamie Oliver's first book The Naked Chef and it's such a versatile recipe with lots of possibilities for flavouring the bread if you want to. Me, I just like it fresh from the oven and don't even need to put anything on it!

In saying that though have been consciously trying not to eat bread for about the last 6 months going from eating a full loaf of my favourite sliced bread Big Toast Brown every week to maybe eating only a couple of slices of the husbags beloved white sliced type and sometimes none at all! This was something I had wanted to make all week, once I got passed my lemon/citrus and pear cravings on Tuesday and Wednesday, curd and pear crumble followed these.

So after all my rambling here's what to need;

1lb of plain white flour, I use Tesco Organic plain flour or you could use 500g plain flour an 500g semolina flour
3x 7g sachets of dried yeast
1oz honey/sugar
1 pint tepid water
1oz salt

Blend the yeast with the honey/sugar and half of the water together.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the yeast mixture.
Make a claw shape with your hand and bring the dry ingredients into the flour until all the yeast mixture is incorporated.
Pour in the rest of the water and mix together, don't be afraid to add more a little at a time if it's kinda dry as different flours can vary I think and use more or less water.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 mins until the dough has come together and is springy and smooth.
Oil a large bowl (or use the one you've made the dough in washed out with warm water and the warmth will help the rising begin, tip courtesy of the domestic goddess Nigella) and put the dough in, scoring the top as this will help with the rise aswell.
Cover tightly with clingfilm and leave to double in size, this will take approx an hour. I normally turn my oven on to heat at this stage as it warms underneath the bowl and again helps the gluten to develop and the dough to rise.

Once the dough has doubled in size, knock it back for about a minute or so. Shape into whatever shape you want and allow to rise so it is doubled in size again.
My loaf was made by shaping the dough into 5 equal sized balls and then putting them into a 10 inch springform tin, 1 in the middle and 4 around the sides so it's shaped like a flower.
Once risen, bake the bread at gas 7/225C for 20-25 mins or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom (you'll need to take it out of the tin for this).
Allow to cool and enjoy.

We had this with an amazing chickpea soup below that's a meal in itself from the Jamie's Italy book that I'll blog about again, I've made it for my lunches this week and should get 2 days out of it. It's flavoured with rosemary and so fragrant and the best of all weight watcher friendly!