Sunday, October 30, 2011

Baked Boozy Apple Bombs

4 big apples

Filling:
70 g butter,soft
50 g roasted hazelnuts
50 raisins
3 tbsp sugar
brandy for taste

For serving:
vanilla ice cream
chocolate sauce
2 passion fuits or passionfruit syrup

Crush the nuts slightly.
Mix the filling together.
Cut off the top ca 1 cm of the apples,core & scoop out some flesh.
Divide the stuffing among the apples.
Cover with foil & bake at 200C for 15 min,take foil off & bake until ready.
Serve with ice cream,chocolate sauce & passion fruits on the side.



Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cheese Crackers


ca 35 crackers

150 g flour
150 g grated cheddar cheese
150 g butter
1 egg yolk
sesame seeds for sprinkle

Mix together the flour & grated cheese.
Add butter pieces & rub everything using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add egg yolk & knead until you get smooth dough.
Chill ca 30 min.
Roll out the pastry onto the floured surface,you want the dough to be fairly thin.Cut ca 6 cm rounds & place onto the prepared baking sheet.
Brush with whisked egg white,sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake at 200C for 20 min until golden.
Cool on the wire rack.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls in a Sour Cream Sauce


1 large head of cabbage
500 g ground pork (or ground chicken, turkey or beef)
1 cup cooked rice
1 medium onion, chopped fine
salt & pepper

For a sauce:
1 cup of water
2 tbsp flour
2-3 tbsp sour cream or yogurt
salt,pepper

Core the center of the cabbage
Carefully place the cabbage in a large pot of boiling water.
Remove the outer leaves as they become tender being careful not tear them.
In a large bowl mix together the meat, rice,eggs,onion,salt & pepper.
Place about 1 tbsp mixture at stem end of each leaf & roll the leaf around the filling, tucking in the sides.
Secure the rolls with toothpicks or thread.
In large pot brown the rolls on all sides.
Add hot water as needed to keep rolls just covered with liquid,bring to a boil, reduce the heat, then cover and simmer ca 40 min.You can also cook it in the oven.
If you used the thread to secure your cabbage rolls,then try to remove them now before making the sauce:
Mix together all the sauce ingredients,season & pour over the cabbage rolls.Heat until sauce thickens.

Best if served with boiled potatoes or mash.

There are  many variations and recipes for stuffed cabbage,I  just described my recipe that I love the most.
The most important part of stuffed cabbage is the meat. Everyone has their own opinion about the type of meat to use & usually go with ground beef. I use pork which adds a bit more flavor & is really tender after cooking.
Though this is a very easy recipe, it takes some time to prepare & cook,but in the end, make them once & you'll be asked to make them again & again.

I also found very helpful video to show how to prepare the cabbage rolls:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Peach & Almond Muffins


1 orange
2 peaches,cut into small pieces
handful of almond flakes
handful of goji berries
300 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
100 g sugar
2 eggs
110 ml sour cream or yogurt
110 ml milk
vanilla
50 ml melted butter

Grate the orange zest into the mixing bowl,add the juice of the half orange & goji berries.
Sift the flour & baking powder into the separate large mixing bowl.Add the sugar & almond flakes,mix together.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Grease a 12 hole muffin tin with butter & line with paper muffin cases.
In a separate bowl whisk the eggs lightly.
Measure the sour cream or yogurt & milk into the jug,add vanilla & butter,mix well.Pour in the eggs.
Pour the egg mixture onto a flour.Quickly & gently mix everything together.Don't over mix.The mixture will be slightly lumpy.
Add the orange juice & goji berries,quickly mix through.
Spoon the mixture into the muffin holes & bake for 20-25 min until golden.
Cool in the tin slightly,then lift on a wire rack to cool.
Use the another half of the Orange for a Glaze:
50 ml dusting sugar
juice of half orange
Mix together.Add more dusting sugar if needed.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Blackcurrant Chocolate Cake


For chocolate sponge:
5 eggs
200 g sugar
vanilla extract
8 tbsp corn flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder

Beat the egg whites with pinch of salt until fluffy,then gradually add the half of the sugar,still whisking until stiff.
Separately whisk the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar until pale in colour.Add the egg whites.
Mix together the flour,baking powder & cocoa powder.Sift the mixture gently into the egg mixture.
Bake in the 23cm(9 inch) spring form cake tin,lined with baking paper at 200C for 25-30 min or until ready.Check with toothpick,if it comes out clean,its ready.
Cool in the cake tin at first under the clean towel,then turn onto the wire rack to cool completely.

Filling:
370 g Blackcurrant Conserve

1-2 cups of blackcurrants,can be frozen(I added some red currants as well)
500 ml double cream
5 tbsp sugar
vanilla extract
100 ml apple juice

Whisk the cream  until until it's stiff,be careful not to over mix or it will turn into butter!
Add the sugar,vanilla & gently mix in the currants.
Filling can be done with gelatin also,if that the case,then you should use ca 4 tbsp of gelatin for this amount of cream.Follow the instructions on packet & stir in along with the berries.

Truffle Ganache:
300 g dark chocolate,chopped
100 g butter
250 ml fresh cream or double
50 g ground almonds
2 tbsp amaretto liqueur or drop of almond essence

Heat the cream & butter until just starts to boil.
Take off the heat & mix in  the chopped chocolate until all melted & smooth.
Add the ground almonds,cool completely.
Add liqueur or essence.


Split the cake in three horizontally.
Place the first slice onto the serving plate,moisten with apple juice & spread with half of the jam then top with half of the cream.
Place the second sponge on top,moisten again & spread with jam, finish with the rest of the cream.
Moisten the third slice with apple juice & lift on top.
Press the cake slightly down,until cream starts to slip out from between layers & with palette knife run around sides to get it tidy.
Cover the top & sides with ganache.Chill for at least 1 hour.
Decorate before serving.

This cake got to be my daughters birthday cake.
Deliciously moist,rich,chocolatey,light,sweet & sour.all in one:)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Samhain


Its time to get in mood with all these carved pumpkins, dancing skeletons, smiling ghosts, and witches riding on brooms.
Samhain is the most important holiday of the Celtic calendar. It is the Celtic New Year.This is a good time to make new year resolutions(I make them twice in a year now:) in case i fail I still have 1.jan one left over). In addition to celebrating the year’s end (Samhain literally translates to “Summer’s End”), it is also a celebration of the beginning of Winter.
The doors are opened between the worlds & the paths are travelled by the spirits going back & forth on this night. This world & the Otherworld become equivalent to each other & no barriers exist between the dead & the living, that is, the “Veil” is at its thinnest.
Light a candle for a loved one who has passed on.
Dont forget to leave out food(champ or colcannon) for the fairies on Halloween night at home or at the nearest hawthorn or whitethorn bush (where fairies were known to live) to appease the spirits.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds



Whilst carving your Jack O’Lantern,save the seeds. Roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious & are rich in nutritious minerals such as zinc.

Preheat the oven to 120C.

Wash the pumpkin seeds to remove all the pulp & place in a bowl. Melt a bit of butter in a pan & then pour in the seeds slowly, tossing while you go. Do not use too much butter, but just enough to lightly coat the seeds. Add salt, spread the seeds out over a baking pan & bake, turning occasionally, until crisp & lightly golden browned. Overcooking causes the nuts to toughen and lose flavor.

Irish Champ
Classic Irish recipe of mashed potato & scallions or spring onions (you can use leeks instead).

750 g-1 kg potatoes, peeled & quartered
1 cup scallions/spring onions
55-75g butter
75-100 ml milk
Salt and pepper

Simmer the potatoes in lightly salted water until cooked.
Finely chop the white part of the scallion/spring onion & roughly chop the green part. Keep to one side.
Drain the potatoes & add the butter & milk & mash until smooth & creamy.
Add the finely chopped white part of the onion and mix well.
Season well with salt and pepper. Serve with the green part of the onion sprinkled on the top.

Colcannon
also has a special meaning at Samhain. On Samhain, colcannon has divination properties,it contains charms -- a ring to symbolise marriage, a coin to symbolise wealth, a pea to symbolise poverty, a thimble to symbolise spinsterhood & a stick to symbolise "one who will travel far."

1kg (2 lbs) potatoes, freshly cooked and mashed
250g ( ½ lb) kale or white cabbage, just cooked, drained & finely chopped
Milk, butter, salt and black pepper

Mix potatoes & kale or cabbage together. Heat some milk with a generous knob of butter. Beat it into the potato mixture until smooth & creamy. Season well.


Did You Ever Eat Colcannon?*
(Traditional)

Did you ever eat Colcannon
When 'twas made with thick'n'd cream
And the greens and scallions blended
Like a picture in a dream?
Did you ever scoop a hole on top
To hold the melting cake
Of clover-flavoured butter
That your mother used to make?
Did you ever eat and eat, afrain
You'd let the ring go past,
And some old married sprissman
Would get it at the last?
Gods be with the happy times
When trouble we had not
And our mother made Colcannon
In the little, three-legged pot.

Scary Shortbread Cookies:
SCARY SHORTBREAD COOKIES


Another Halloween treat is a Barmbrack, a rich Irish fruit bread. Again,the “charms” baked into each loaf would fortell the future of the recipiant. Placed in the barmbrack were: a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth & a ring. Whovever received in their slice the pea, would be unmarried; the stick, would be a fighter; the cloth or rag, would be poor;& the ring, would get married within the year.

Barmbrack is usually baked in a round (20 cm or 8″) cake tin with a loose base.
2 tea bags, or 3 tsp. loose tea (a strong black blend works best)
350 g mixed dried fruit (raisins, golden raisins/sultanas, currants, candied peel)
240 ml milk
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. dried active yeast or 25 g fresh yeast
450 g strong bread flour
1 tsp. salt
25 g brown sugar
75 g butter
1 beaten egg
1 tsp. mixed spice

Make 2 cups of strong black tea.
Soak the dried fruit in the tea for few hours or up to overnight.
Warm the milk until it is hand-hot. Stir in the teaspoon of sugar & the yeast & leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes or until it becomes frothy.
Mix the flour, salt & brown sugar in a large bowl. Rub in the butter or margarine. Add the yeast, the beaten egg & the spice. Drain any remaining liquid from the fruit, then add the fruit to the mixture. Mix well to make a smooth dough (add extra flour if the mixture is too wet).
Turn the dough onto a floured board & knead it throughly. Place it in a buttered tin, cover with a clean towel or cling film & leave in a warm place to rise for 45 – 60 minutes; the dough should have doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Place the tin in the oven & bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the loaf from the tin, turn it upside down & put it back in the tin or directly on the oven shelf. Bake for another 20 minutes or so. The loaf will be ready when it sounds hollow when you tap on each of the sides. Cool the loaf on a wire rack before serving.

Chocolate & Blackberry Tray Cake

2 bananas
2 dl sugar
1,5-2 dl blackberries
100-150 g chocolate,chopped
4-4,5 dl flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 dl melted butter
1 egg
juice of half lemon
1 lemon,grated rind
1 orange,grated rind

Mash the bananas & whisk with sugar,lemon juice & rind of lemon & orange.
Mix together the flour,baking powder,cinnamon & chopped chocolate.
Add the banana mix,egg & melted butter.
Gently mix in the blackberries & zest of lemon & orange.
Butter the 25x35cm baking tray.Line with baking paper.
Preheat the oven 200C.
Bake the cake ca 50 min,or until its ready..
Cool.
Can be covered with icing:
170 g soft cheese
1 dl icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Basil & Cheese Rolls


400 g flour
25 g fresh yeast or 7 g dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
30 g butter
250 ml water

For the filling:
handful of basil leaves,
100 g cheddar cheese,grated
2-tbsp mayonnaise or 1 tbsp olive oil

Make dough:
If using dry yeast then follow the instructions on the package.
If using fresh yeast:
Boil half of the water & pour it over the butter,mix until completely melted.
Add the rest of the cold water,you should get lukewarm mixture.
Add flour & salt.
Melt the yeast with sugar & mix everything together.
Knead for 5 min or until dough starts to come off the hands & bowl. Sprinkle over little flour & leave to stand in warm place,covered with cling film or clean towel for 30-40 min or until its doubled in size.
Roll the dough out on the floured surface into the 30x30 cm square.
Spread over some mayonnaise or olive oil.
Cover evenly with grated cheese,sprinkle over the chopped basil.
Roll it up into a big sausage.Cut into ca 12 pieces.
Place the buns onto the prepared baking tray,cut side down.
Cover with clean towel & leave to rise for 30-40 min.
Brush with egg & ,sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake at 200C for 20-25 min or until lovely & golden.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Layered Chicken & Vegetable Salad


4 eggs,hard boiled
3-4 potatoes,cooked
2 carrots,cooked
cup of corn,can be from frozen
100 g pineapple pieces in juice
200 g cheese,grated
2-3 chicken fillets,cut into strips or pieces
cup of mayonnaise
handful of pecans

Fry the chicken on the pan with butter or olive oil,season with salt & chilli or paprika.
Grate the potatoes with big grater & place on to the bottom of the serving dish.
Now grate the carrots with big grater & lift onto the potatoes.
Spread some of the mayonnaise thinly over the first layer.
For the second layer scatter the cheese over the vegetables & cover with some mayonnaise.
Now lift in the pineapple pieces & crumbled egg yolks.Cover with mayonnaise.
Next layer will be corn & chicken pieces,spread with mayonnaise.
For the last layer slice the egg whites finely & scatter over the salad.
Decorate with walnuts or pecans & with some greens,like parsley or chives.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chicken Nuggets & Cold Curry Sauce


600-800 g chicken fillets,slice
0,5 cups of milk
1 cup flour
2 eggs
0,5 tsp salt

Mix the batter ingredients together.
Heat the generous amount of oil on the frying pan.Use the heaviest pan you have for this (cast iron is perfect) as you want something that will hold the heat.


Toss the pieces of chicken in the batter and then lift them into the oil.
Make sure that each piece is completely covered in batter.Don't crowd the pan as this will drop the oil temperature & you will get greasy chicken.
Fry the chicken nuggets turning them occasionally, until they are golden brown all over and crispy.Drain on the paper towels.

For the Curry Sauce:

1 dl sour cream or natural yogurt
0,5 dl mayonnaise
0,5-1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Mix it all together.

Serve everything on rice or just snack away dipping nuggets into the sauce.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Oven Baked Sausages & Tomatoes


Sausages
1 onion,sliced
5-6 garlic gloves
600 g cherry tomatoes
handful of basil leaves,thorn
olive oil or butter
salt,pepper

In the roasting tin toss everything together & season.
Bake at 200C 20-25 min or until ready.
Serve with mashed potatoes...

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