Red Velvet Cupcakes!

It’s freezing here! Not snowing, because sadly the salt in the air stops that from happening, but freezing all the same. It’s the kind of cold that has your fingers screaming for mercy the second you leave the house and your stomach constantly growling for more food! So in the midst of this cold weather I decided that the perfect antidote would be a rich cupcake that, though Christmas is officially over, would keep some of the spirit alive. Hmmm, what jumps out? A RED VELVET CUPCAKE of course!!!

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These little beauties are rich, moist and best of all… Drumroll please! CHOCOLATEY! And what’s even better about them? Nobody has to know that you’re really eating a cupcake filled with the best quality dark cocoa. For all they know it could be strawberry. ūüôā

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Now these cupcakes don’t necessarily have to be Christmassy. If you’re one of those people who, on the 6th of January when the decorations come down doesn’t want to have to think about, in my opinion, what is the best time of year until next December, you can always omit the sprinkles. These cupcakes are just as good without them!

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Charmingly naked, you see?

I love chocolate. That’s a fact of life. And normally for me any part of a dessert that contains chocolate would be the star of the show for me. Well, that was until I met this frosting. It’s a little cloud of heaven just perched on top of a cupcake! My usual problem with cream cheese frosting is that it doesn’t hold it’s shape. I’m all for a thin icing on occasion, but usually I want my thick, pretty swirl on top of a cupcake. That was a problem, until I found a blog post from a genius at justataste! The secret: Heavy cream! Look at my cream cheese frosting, isn’t it just perfect! Here’s the link:http://www.justataste.com/2014/01/red-velvet-cupcakes-piped-cream-cheese-frosting-recipe/¬†

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So here’s the link to the recipe I used for the cupcakes themselves. I just know you’re going to love them! They were a massive hit here.

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/10/29/red-velvet-cupcakes/

xxx

Happy Baking!

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Banana Nut Muffins with a Cinnamon Streusel Topping!

Have you ever thrown a house party for no particular reason? Well, if you have you’ll know that having 50 people ’round Isn’t an easy undertaking. Between the mountain of food the needs to be cooked, the house that needs to be tidied and the entertainment to be organised it’s a hell of a lot of work.

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So these were one of the only foods that I managed to photograph (they were out of the oven first) while the light was good. I know I’ve done a lot of muffins and cupcakes, but they really are¬†my¬†favourite¬†things! And these ones are especially good.

The excessive amount of brown sugar makes these muffins almost caramelly! There’s barely any granulated in this recipe at all. And brown sugar is a bit healthier, right?

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Weirdly enough I don’t find many people who get as excited over a muffin as I do. There’s just something about the warm spongey cake studded with chocolate chips (always necessary) and hidden under the disguise of ‘a fairly healthy breakfast option’ ¬†that’s just so comforting! So these muffins are for anyone who joins me in the muffin fan club, they’ve even got a brown sugar cinnamon streusel on top! ūüôā

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/02/18/master-muffin-mix/ This is the link to the original recipe. All credit goes to Sally.

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These high rise muffins have to most glorious crispy crust on top. It’s the initial high baking temperature that makes them rise so high and form that amazing crust. The brown sugar in the streusel also gave them a caramel sheen. ¬†I think that these muffin tops would be worthy of Lorelai any day. If she were around I’d be making a muffin bottom pie for sure! (Sorry about that ‘Gilmore Girls’ reference there!)

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These muffins were gobbled up in no time. They were devoured even before the Avoca Carrot Cake, which is a sure fire favourite around here. It must have been that they were freshly baked and still steaming with the melted chocolate chips still warm in their centres and the aroma of cinnamon just drifting…… Sorry, I got a bit carried away there! All I meant to say was that these muffins are divine. And an amazing Autumnal treat. Perfect for the changing of the season.

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Well, happy baking guys! Hope you’ve had a good first month back to school.

xxxxx

The Missing Link: The Classic Victoria Sponge.

This has been long due. I didn’t feel that I had the right to call myself a baker (or bakress, if you’re a feminist) until I’d proved to you all that yes, I¬†can bake a victoria sponge,¬†and I can get it to rise!

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I made this recently for a host of guests that we had staying over. It seemed the perfect choice, who doesn’t like a victoria sponge? I thought that everybody did, that was one rule that I thought there was no exception to. Until……. I had an 8 year old boy come up to me and tell me that he didn’t like jam,¬†he didn’t like jam!¬†I’m still flabbergasted, sugary berryey goodness! What’s not to like? So I commissioned a special slice without cream for him. The problem was finding it once the second layer was on top!

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However, all in all, this cake went down well, scrap that, it went down amazingly! Screw modesty!¬†So why was I polite and took the smallest slice? When I went back for seconds it was all gone. ūüė¶

This is possibly one of the simplest recipes out there, and it’s foolproof, even if you only have one baking dish of the right size. ‘Looks down embarassedly’. Ok, I admit to it, I did have to bake the cake twice. I only have one 9 inch baking dish so I cut the recipe in half and did it again. Silly, but what could I do? (I really am in a rhetorical question mood tonight.)

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¬†The strawberries in the middle of the cake give it a summery zing that you just don’t get from the jam. And the buttons on the top are a kind of family tradition, my Mom’s been putting them on top of my birthday cakes since I was about 5.

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And for the leftovers.

And for the leftovers.

I’m going to write the recipe up because I’m not 100% sure where it came from, I’ve known it forever you see!

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Classic Victoria sponge Recipe:

For an incredibly moist, spongey and summery treat.

Serves 10. (8 if you want leftovers)

Ingredients:

For the cake:

300g caster sugar

300g butter

6 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

300g self-raising flour

1.5 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons of milk

For the filling:

250g strawberries

A tub of single cream

Berry jam

And chocolate buttons (optional but advised)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/ 170F/ Gas mark 5.
  2. Grease 2 9 inch silicone cake tins.
  3. cream together the butter and sugar.
  4. Add in the eggs and vanilla essence and mix until well combined.
  5. Mix in the flour and baking powder, do not overmix. This will knock any air out of you cake mix and will make it less light and airy.
  6. Then stir in the milk to thin out. Your batter should be smooth and creamy.
  7. Pour into your prepared cake tins and level with a spatula. (I got a new rubber one recently)
  8. Pop into the oven bake for about 20 – 25 mins or until the cake springs back when you poke it and a knife comes out with only a few small crumbs attached.
  9. Cool on a wire rack until your cakes reach room temperature.
  10. Then spread with jam, cover with sliced strawberries and dollop your cream on before dropping your second layer of cake on top and covering with you (optional) chocolate buttons!

Incredible low fat Brownies. Nothing more needs be said!

Is this my first post on them? If it is, I am so sorry I haven’t gotten here sooner. You deserve more. :p
Though it is the middle of summer and I should really mention more season friendly recipes that I’ve baked, I’m getting a brownie itch today, and I just have to scratch it!

 

First of all, I have to mention, often when people see the words low and fat together they immediately scroll off to find a more taste-bud friendly recipe. DON’T. This is the densest, fudgiest and richest brownie recipe that I’ve ever tasted. And it’s also the healthiest. In the original recipe there’s no white flour, no chocolate and no butter. Have you ever heard such good news?

What these brownies do have are rolled oats, cocoa powder, yogurt and some optional peanut-butter! They’re perfect for breakfast before your morning jog, the jog being optional in this case!

I did do a few things slightly differently from the original recipe. The oats weren’t a priority for me as I don’t jog so when I baked them I used half oats and half white flour, my blender is non-existant so I had to use a smoothie maker to turn them into a flour. Not ideal! I gave up half way, why persevere?!

I also decided to omit the peanut-butter swirls on the top, calories? No… Well, maybe!

But to me, I think if I had added it I would have made them almost too rich for me to eat. I shared them out with other people as I couldn’t manage more than 2. Those 2 were worth the slight nausea!

It’s midsummer here in Ireland so I should really bake something befitting to the weather but when brownies call… So thanks for reading and here’s the link:¬†http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/06/10/skinny-peanut-butter-swirl-brownies/

Hope you enjoy!

XXXXXXX

 

 

 

 

 

Summer, and special chocolate cookies…

The summer it is!

Alas, at last it has arrived, those long endless days and those months that seem to go on and on forever. We no longer live for the days during which the sun beats down on us as we cool ourselves off in the ocean, we are in those days!

So because of my truly contradictory nature and the fact that as I’m cycling up to 10 miles a day I decided to go for something a bit unorthodox but never unwelcome for this time of year. Chocolate!

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COOKIES!

And now you ask… ‘What’s so special about these cookies? They look pretty ordinary to me.’

And with a smile I reply ‘They are protein packed, on the cookie scale are rather healthy and are still absolutely delicious!’

Now do you see why they’re special? They taste like some sort of incredible fudge, except they’re cookies!

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The secret? No flour, lots of peanut-butter. I must admit, I was¬†terrified¬†when making the dough. When you find yourself scooping almost a WHOLE JAR of peanut-butter into a batch of cookies you can’t judge me for beginning to freak! But I had already gotten myself in too deep, I had to keep going. And anyways I thought, I’m giving most of the batch away. ¬†Well, about this much of the batch!

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They’re like some funny little army getting ready to march out!!!

These cookies are full of cocoa. I added chocolate chips instead of the recommended peanut-butter chips which was perfect for me because I have a really sweet tooth and though these cookies are absolutely out of this world they would be even better suited to someone who rathers dark chocolate to milk as they had that same slightly bitter tang to them. But regardless, everyone adored them!

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They would also be perfect to fuel a morning run, I know, chocolate for breakfast is frowned upon by a lot of people but with the amount of protein packed peanuts in this recipe it would keep you fueled for hours!

And an extra bonus is that they’re gluten free!

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So here’s a link to the recipe, SBA (yes I have started abbreviating it! :)) if you’re interested. Go on, add these to your get in shape for summer (or during summer) routine!

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/06/06/flourless-peanut-butter-brownie-cookies/

Hope you enjoy!

xxxx

 

 

 

 

 

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!!!!!

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These completely 100% deserve those capital letters!

Chocolate chip cookies are one of the most used and loved inventions in the whole of the baking world. And because of this they are also one of the most difficult. Not difficult to bake, not difficult to bake AT ALL! They are in fact some of the easiest and most forgiving baked goods out there. What is difficult is finding the right recipe. Some people are lucky, they have their great-great-great grandmother’s recipe that has been passed down through the centuries and is usually unrivaled by any other cookie recipe! However, not all of us are that lucky. Most of us have to scour cookbooks and the internet for that recipe.

And guess what?!? I’ve found it!!!!!

I’ve tried many cookie recipes in the last while, ones that call for cooking directly from the bowl to ones that call for refrigerating for almost a full week! (Insane I know, there was barely any dough left to bake by the end of it !) And even in these cases I found that I ate more of Sally’s dough in the 1 hour period than I did in nearly a week! So of all the cookies I’ve tried so far this one has to be the best, I’ve still got a couple to try so if I find anything on a par to Sally’s one I’ll send it on out!¬†

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And on that note, I was thinking a couple of nights ago: ‘I cook so much off Sally’s Baking Addiction that I might as well just stop writing this blog and send you over to hers instead’, so I went to one of the many trusted recipe books on our shelf and rustled up two batches of muffins for our guests. A triple chocolate batch and a lemon and blueberry chocolate chip batch.¬†

The verdict: ‘Nah!’ They were dry, the lemon was overpowering, and there WASN’T ENOUGH CHOCOLATE! So, my guilty feelings appeased for the time being I went back to my trusted baking adviser and made these cookies.

And they were good. ALMOST as good as the dough. Which is saying something! They were moist and fluffy and soft and chewy with the perfect chocolate to dough ratio (though I did use chopped up chocolate chinks instead of the chips as I had none on hand).

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I do believe that they were perfect. 

As far as I’m aware it’s the cornstarch that gives them their amazing texture. This, I believe, is what seperates the men from the boys, or in this case the good cookies from the not so good!

So now that I’m done tooting these cookie’s horns I think I’ll leave you this evening with an apology for the time between this post and the last and yet another photo of these cookies!

ūüôā

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(And also the link) 

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/08/06/the-chocolate-chip-cookie/

 

My First Go at Baking in our New House!

It ¬†was a very nerve wracking day for me. I hadn’t baked in a gas oven for over¬†half a year! Can you believe it? I know I certainly can’t. But for those of you who’ve been converted to either one or the other for the whole of your life I’ll just verify, it’s a¬†very different experience.

So I decided to try something very easy, scones.

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Scones for me are the constant of the baking world. They’re hearty, delicious and always remind me of my grandmother. But as they do not contain chocolate there’s always a slight reluctance in me to choose them over, let’s say, chocolate muffins. But ¬†every time I eat them I remember why they are worshipped all over the world. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† They’re delicious. They’re scrumptious. They’re yum-diddly-umptious!

And what’s even better is that yesterday I happened to find an especially amazing recipe. The cookbooks aren’t yet unpacked and that includes our Avoca one within which lies my go to recipe for scones. The recipe contains cream, which always bodes well. However, yesterday, as I wasn’t about to go rummaging through boxes I resorted to the internet. BBC GoodFood to be precise. And the scones were magnificent.

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And what’s¬†even better than all of that is that they only use basic store-cupboard ingredients. The only one I had to pop down to the shop for was a lemon, but that’s only because that’s not the kind of food you carry with you while moving.

These scones are also ¬†very quick and easy to make, they only take about 30 minutes altogether. For me they took a bit longer than stated in the recipe but not an awful lot, about 5 or 10 minutes. They were so worth the wait though. Fresh out of the oven… Yum!

I wonder where that one went?????

I wonder where that one went????? ūüėÄ

I added raisins to the scones that you see here. I really think that they give the scones a little bit more ‘oomph’! As I call it. Just a little something extra.

These scones were the perfect texture, they were moist and soft. Not too heavy but they weren’t about to float away on you either. Especially not with the amount of Jam and cream that I bogged them down with! (Absolutely necessary in my opinion).

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These scones were polished off in a matter of hours. ¬†As scone recipes go, this was one of the easiest and the best I’ve tried.

Here’s the link:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4622/classic-scones-with-jam-and-clotted-cream

Hope you try them, ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† They’re really good.

xxxxx

 

 

Special (belated) Mothers Day post. Blueberry Lemon 3 Tier Cake.

I know it’s about a week late but it’s been really busy around here for the last week. Moving house really does take up your entire life. Between shuttling stuff between the houses and trying to find enough boxes to pack all our stuff in (I can’t believe how much we fitted into our cottage, we’ve accumulated quite a lot) we’ve been pretty busy. Everything else has gone on the back burner. But now I’m back. And I hope you haven’t missed me too much!

This is a really special recipe. I know you must be sick of hearing about Sally by now and I¬†promise that at some point soon I’ll cook something that’s not off her blog but I just couldn’t resist this one. I saw it and thought how perfect this would be for my mom. And guess what? It was! Lucky that Mothers Day was coming up.

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I’m not usually a fan of any cake that doesn’t have the word chocolate in the title but this one broke the streak. It was gorgeous. It was airy and light melt in your mouth icing with popping blueberries and a slight tang of lemon all mixed together with a bit of love a lot of sugar and some vanilla essence! And yes, I did say all of that in one breath. It was gone within 24 hours of being made. With a little bit of help from 4 or 5 friends of course! And then we made it again for an event the next weekend. A big hit.

The cooking process took a little longer than expected. Between the cooling time (which I never listen to unless icing is involved) and all the other minor complications by 10 ‘o clock that night me and Jay were sitting at the kitchen table darting frequent looks at the fridge and clock just waiting for those final 45 minutes to tick by. The reason for this is that I only had one cake tin of the right size. And there was no way it was going to be a 2 tier cake, because that’s just not impressive, it had to be 3 tiers (silly me). So with a 4 ‘o clock start, no electric mixer and one cake tin I began to bake.

So we now know that complication:

1. Was the cake tin conundrum

2. Was the absence of an electric mixer

And of course, as the saying goes, ‘What happens twice always happens 3 times’. So now number:

3. There weren’t enough blueberries at the shop. So we had to make do with some strawberries.

And oddly enough, these were what made the cake so nice. I’d advise you if you’re cooking it to put in half strawberries half blueberries. Their sweetness goes really well with the overall tanginess of the lemon in the cake. Plus, they look extra pretty on the top.

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I wasn’t sure how to arrange them so I had to do a first draft. This is it! However, the top of the cake wasn’t quite this big so I had to cut it a bit short.

Oh yes! How silly of me, I forgot to tell you about complication no.

4. ¬†( It seems that what happens twice doesn’t happen only three times, but 4!) In the recipe it tells you to toss the blueberries in tablespoon of flour before putting them in the cake to stop them from exploding. This I did. And it worked very well. I had unexploded blueberries in my cake. But when tossing them I forgot to account for the blueberries that I’d have to put on the top of the cake. Oops! So as a result of this I spent about 10 minutes hand-washing and towel (or tissue) drying every single blueberry on top of this cake. Here’s a picture of me in action:

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These were squeaky clean blueberries by the end of it.

As you can see, this became quite a hectic day. So by the time I got around to icing the cake it was already a little late. And I was already more than a little tired. So icing made I set out to begin the icing process. And hungry as I was I ate the majority of it before it went on the cake. But never mind, I made the rest of it stretch.

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I got to this point without too many hiccups. Not looking too shabby, eh? But when I got to here I paused and took a deep breath. It was time to begin icing the sides. Here’s about the point where you begin listening to the Jaws Theme Tune and looking away in fright. As you can see from my pics of the finished product it obviously didn’t turn out too badly but there was a bit of a waterfall effect. I still haven’t figured out how to stop the icing from running¬†down the side of the cake and pooling on the plate!¬†¬†Am I making the icing too thin? Is there a special utensil that’s needed to ice a cake? ¬†Any advice would be greatly appreciated. ¬†ūüôā However by the end of a few minutes wrestling with the knife and icing I managed to coat the sides in an even layer of icing.

And then it had to go in the fridge.

And we waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

It felt like hours.

So after 25 minutes we took it out of the fridge!

And it didn’t crumble. The first slice came out perfectly formed.

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And so did the second.

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And the third as a matter of fact.

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This was one nice cake. The perfect springtime treat.

This evening is taken up with compiling a shortlist of possibilities for………… MY BIRTHDAY CAKE! Yay! And you can be assured that this will be no lemon cake. I have a sneaky suspicion that the word chocolate might be included in the title. I don’t think that even the nicest non-chocolate cake in the world could sway my loyalty to chocolate!

I’ll post this shortlist soon.

xxx

 

 

 

My First Recipe! Easy Vegetarian Lasagne.

Today is a big day for me, very exciting. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Firstly, I’m going to post my own recipe. Now, don’t go and get all excited, it’s incredibly simple, probably one that you all know like the back of your hand. I know I do anyway, I’ve been cooking it for as many years. But I thought I might share it anyway, just on the off chance that somebody might get some use out of it. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†And secondly, wait for it, I’ve got followers! Not very many, but a few. If it’s you that’s reading it I just want to say (this is going in caps because it’s so important) THANK YOU! Whether I know you outside of the blogging world or not, I really didn’t expect anyone to be interested enough in what I have to say to click that little button up in the top left corner of my blog. And to those of you who liked my posts I say the same ūüôā When I got that first email from WordPress saying ‘~~~~~~~~~~~~ followed your blog’ I did a funny squeal and started dancing around the house. My mother can verify that one for you if you wish. I haven’t decided yet If I’m proud of my weirdness or terribly embarrassed. So you’re lucky to be hearing that particular titbit of information.

I’m sitting here in front of the fire writing this. There’s been a complete turnaround on the weather front today. It’s hard for me to believe that just yesterday I was lying out in the garden under the blue sky reading a book and soaking up whatever small bit of vitamin D that I could. Though I was still in a jumper it was the warmest I’d felt in a weeks. And now again today the storms have returned. Rain and wind pound on the windows and the sky is a not particularly unpleasant shade of grey but grey all the same. That’s Ireland for you. It feels like a Monday.

However, the smell radiating from the oven of second night lasagne and first night garlic bread is sure to cheer me up. I’m going to go and set the table now. Dinner, here I come!

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Monday blues banished I’m back to fill you in on all the ins and outs of my:

 

                                                           Simple Vegetarian Lasagne Recipe. For 4 people. (or dinner the next night for 2!)

Ingredients:                                                                                                                                                                                          

For the Lasagne (tomato part):                                                                                                                                                                  

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†
  • 2¬†large white onions
  • 3¬†cloves of garlic )either crushed or cut small)

Assorted veg, here are some suggestions:

  • 2¬†bell peppers (whatever colours you prefer)¬†
  • 3 carrots (medium)
  • A very small head of brocolli
  • 8 (or so) white mushrooms¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†
  • I have even on occasion even added turnip!
  • 10 green olives, sliced in 3

I would use all of these (excluding the turnip) to my lasagne sometimes. It just depends on what veg you like, and feel like at the time you’re cooking.

Either:

  • A jar and a half of Dolmio or other pasta sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoons of tomato pur√©e

The richer you like you lasagne the more purée you add. I like mine quite rich to make up for the lack of meat so I add a bit extra.

 

About a teaspoon each of:

  • Extra basil
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • And (optional) thyme

or      

  • 2 tins of tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato pur√©e
  • A teaspoon of sugar

1 tablespoon each of:    

  • Basil ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†
  • Oregano ¬† ¬†
  • Parsley ¬†
  • 1 teaspoon of (yet again optional) thyme ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†
  • A dash of salt and pepper¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†

 

For the Béchamel (or white sauce):

  • 40 grams of butter ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†
  • Just under 1/3 of a mug (this is an Irish mug so about the size shown in the picture below) of plain or all purpose flour ¬†
  • 2.5 mugs of milk ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†
  • A sprinkle of basil
  • A dash of pepper

 

  • Red cheddar cheese
  • GARLIC BREAD
  • And last but not least,¬†the lasagne sheets.¬†¬†

 

  • You will also need a 20 x 20cm tin.

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An Irish mug measured up against a DVD case, and a very good one too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Method:  

  1. Add the olive oil to a wok or deep frying pan on medium heat until hot.
  2. Throw in your onions and fry until translucent.

I like my onions quite big, just cut in half and then down across 5 or 6 times, as shown in this pic. They break down a lot while cooking.

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3. Then add in your veg in this order: (depending on what you’re using frying¬†time will vary slightly)

  • Carrots- Fry for about 3 mins
  • Brocolli- Fry for another 3 mins
  • Bell Peppers and garlic- Fry for 2 mins
  • Mushrooms- Fry for another 2 mins until most of the veg are softened

You can always add a splash of water during the frying process if it begins to stick.

4. Pour in the Dolmio or tinned tomatoes with 3 table spoons of water that’s been shaken around in the jar to clean it, add chopped olives, and herb accordingly. Add the olives to the sauce now.

5. About now, preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius or 375 degrees fahrenheit.

6. While the sauce is simmering away start to make the béchamel.

  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan on a low heat.
  • Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until it congeals¬†(I really don’t like that word but that’s what it is)¬†together.
  • Keep this on the heat while stirring for about 2 minutes.
  • Then add in the milk slowly¬†while stirring. At first it will keep coming back into a paste, that’s ok. Persevere. Add more milk.
  • You will have to stir this over a heat for about about 10 minutes (don’t worry if you need an extra 2) until it thickens. Once it boils take it off the heat.
  • ¬†If you like a thinner sauce, add a bit more milk!
  • Add your pepper and basil. (Some salt too if you wish)

I cannot stress enough with this recipe to do what feels right for you. This is only a guideline. What veg are you in the mood for? Turnip, sweet potato? (please just be aware of cooking times). Last night I wasn’t in the mood for carrots, I left them out.¬†I enjoyed the lasagne much more because of it.¬†Do¬†you like parsley more than you like basil? Add extra. Have a weird aversion to olives that I really don’t understand? Throw them up in the air in celebration! You don’t need them!

7. Now that the b√©chamel is made, and the vegetables are relatively soft (the carrots don’t have to be 100% cooked through, they’ll ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†cook more in the oven) it’s time to put it together. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†You can grease the tin with a small bit of oil if you want but I never do.

  • Put half of the tomato mix on the bottom of the pan.
  • Cover in a layer of lasagne sheets.
  • Then pour half of the b√©chamel over that. Spread this around to cover the lasagne sheets.
  • Put the second half of the veg down.
  • Then another layer of lasagne sheets.
  • Then cover it with the second half of the b√©chamel.
  • Grate cheese over the top which gives it this gorgeous crispy topping.

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8. Put it in the oven for 30 minutes if your oven is fan assisted. If not, it will probably take a bit longer. About 35 or 40. My oven only took about 25 minutes but it happens to be exceptionally fast, it was a shock for us when we first moved into the               house, we kept on burning stuff!

9. With about 12-18 (oven variations! You know your own) minutes left, pop the garlic bread into the oven if it’s frozen and shop ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† bought. If it’s home made, put it in with abut 5- 7 minutes left. The garlic bread is not, I repeat,¬†not,¬†optional!

Note: Keep an eye on the cheese, if you see it beginning to over crisp throw some tin foil over it.

 

And this is just about what it should look like at the end of this not so long, not so gruelling process. ūüôā

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Now take into account that my photography skills are well, how to put it delicately? Atrocious, that’s the word! And my camera is not that much better. This lasagne is a staple in our house. It’s quick, easy, vegetarian and I can assure you that we’re never adverse to eating it again for dinner on day number 2, or lunch on day number 3 if there’s any left, which there rarely ever is.

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Birds eye view now, just in case you haven’t seen enough of it already!

Hope this recipe is helpful to someone out there, but I must abscond (to use the words of an old friend) to eat some more of Sally’s delicious muffins!

xxx

P.S. I apologise if the layout of this post isn’t completely up to scratch. I’ve been sitting her on the floor with it for nearly an hour after I’ve finished writing it up trying to get it to publish in the right format. It’s getting nowhere. So if it doesn’t work this time I’m going to leave it for tonight and maybe come at it with some fresh initiative tomorrow. I really am no good with technology. So basically, sorry to anyone who sees this before I try to fix it again. Although, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for good luck on this last shot.

 

 

                                                                                                                                    

Marvellous Midnight Muffins!

Very tired both physically and mentally I sit down to tell all of you non-existant readers all about my marvellous midnight muffins. These are undoubtedly the nicest muffins I have ever cooked or even tasted. They’re better than bakery muffins, better than chocolate muffins, they’re even better than Coco’s amazing chocolate chocolate chip muffins that go great in between a luxurious coffee and one of their delicious cranberry scones!

I got the recipe for these muffins on Sally’s Baking Addiction, a food blog that I am loving more and more every day. These muffins are a variation of her Jumbo Sized Rasperry Chocolate Chip Muffins. I didn’t have rasperries and chocolate chips aren’t big enough for me so I decided to make blueberry chocolate¬†chunk¬†muffins.

You have to try this recipe, no questions asked, you will honestly never need another muffin mix again!

Here’s the link:

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/06/11/jumbo-raspberry-chocolate-chip-muffins/

So as you know, yesterday was a busy day. I had planned to bake in the afternoon but sadly that didn’t happen. The thought of baking was the only thing that had gotten me through the week and I wasn’t going to give it up that easily, so at 11.30 on a Friday evening I began to bake.

As I was tired I became slightly delusional while baking and started taking strange pictures. For example:

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Mr. Eggy.

This recipe was perfect for my tired and delusional brain because it was incredibly easy, a two bowl affair.They were in the oven within ten minutes. And as I was so tired I sat on the floor and stared at them rising for the guts of 20 minutes while the dog did the washing up for me.

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Bowl number 1.

And then,

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Bowl number 2.

Needless to say I scrubbed them both pretty well afterwards. But all in all it was an easier job for me.

There was a moment while I sat there staring at the muffins rising that I began to worry. ‘Are these muffins going to do the disaster cookie submergance?’ I was honestly afraid that their beautiful muffin tops that were forming such perfect mushroom shapes in the pan were going to overflow and join together like one giant muffin top cake. But they didn’t, they stayed in their beautiful rounded, perfect dome shapes the whole way through the cooking process and for the following ten minutes until they were safely submerged together in both me and Jay’s (mum) bellies.

These muffins are the bee’s knees and the cat’s hat. They’re absolutely massive, you couldn’t wish for a taller more perfectly formed muffin. The recipe told me to put the mixture into 6 muffin tins, however I’m guessing that this was an American recipe as as hard as I tried, even when they were filled right up to the very top I could fit the mixture into no less than 9. I won’t complain though. They were bigger and better than I could have ever imagined.

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Up until last night I’d always disagreed with Lorelai (Gilmore Girls) when she said that the muffin tops are the very best part of the muffin. But these ones actually were! They were so perfectly browned and just a bit crispier than the rest of the muffin. Some of the muffins had blueberries and chocolate just cracking the surface and… and… Well, I could talk about the muffin¬†tops alone for hours. But for now I’ll move on to the rest of the muffin.

Basically, all I can say is sublime. They were sublime. They were fluffy without being too light and hearty without being dense. The brown sugar gave them a certain depth which along with the cinnamon practically melted my heart. And being the chocoholic that I am the chocolate chunks and the blueberries made the lot into a very strong contender (maybe even the strongest)  for the best muffin recipe. That is in my opinion respectfully of course.

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So these muffins being as good as they were it wasn’t long before they were, let’s say, not in such pretty photographic positions. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†And I wasn’t the only one interested. It seemed as though Freya had gotten a taste for the mixture!

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So now I must leave you with the hope that you will go ahead and give these beauties a try while I go and finish off that tin of natural yoghurt that I bought for the korma that I made last night (waste not want not) in some more muffins. These ones containing peanut butter. Yum! About which I will update you soon.

Bon nuit!                                                                                                                                                                                                     xxx