Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Creepy Little Cakes

Happy Halloween all! In the spirit of Halloween, last night I rustled up these really quick and easy 'Pumpkin' head cakes. I picked up the mould for these in Aldi last week for under €3.....bargain. These cakes are really sweet and moist and are perfect for handing out to 'treat or treaters' and family alike. I used food colouring to achieve the bright pumpkin orange colour. Happy baking!
Not to worry if you don't have a Pumpkin Mould.....without the mould, you can still make fantastic orange coloured cakes using a regular cupcake mould and add some black butter-cream frosting for dramatic effect!

Creepy Little Cakes

Makes 8-10 Cakes


125g melted butter
190g Self-Raising Flour
150g light browen sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of golden syrup

1. Preheat over to 170°C. Grease your cupcake cases or tins.
2. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, and syrup in a large mixer and combine well until smooth. 
    Then gently fold in the flour and mix until combined. At this stage you can add the food  
    colouring  of your choice. I picked orange for these pumpkins. 
3. Bake for 20 minutes or until risen and firm to touch. Leave to rest in the moulds for 4-5 
    minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.               

E-D's Notes
- If you want you could ice and decorate these cakes with black royal icing for the eyes 
  and mouth to make the details really pop.
- Although these cakes have been made in Pumpkin moulds for Halloween, this sweet cake 
  mixture can be used year round for all different types occasions. 

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Bread and Butter Pudding

It's the first day of the working week, it's cold, miserable and I'm already counting down the number of sleeps 'til Friday! So in order to cheer everyone up, yesterday I made a winter favourite. This recipe is an 'Oldie but a Goodie'. Bread and butter pudding is making a comeback so I've decided to share this brilliant recipe I came across in my cooking bible 'Delia Smith; A Complete Cookery Course'. This dessert is really easy to whip up, and doesn't require any crazy off the wall ingredients. Best served warm, this treat is real comfort food and perfect for chilly winter dinner times!

Bread and Butter Pudding

8 slices of bread
10g of candied lemon peel
50g currants or sultanas
275ml milk
60ml cream
50g sugar
grated zest of 1 lemon
3 eggs
Grated nutmeg

1. Butter the bread and then cut each slice in half (leave on the crusts).
2. Place one layer of buttered bread on the base of a baking dish, next sprinkle the candied  
    lemon peel and then half the currants (or sultanas). 
3. Next cover with another layer of bread and then the remainder of the currants.
4. Meanwhile, mix together the milk, cream, lemon zest and sugar in a separate bowl. Whisk 
    the eggs separately and then add to the milk mixture.
5. Finally pour the milk mixture over the bread, sprinkle with nutmeg and cook for 30-35 minutes
    at 180C. 

E-D's Notes:
- This recipe is adapted from Delia Smith's 'Complete Cookery Course'
- Serve the pudding warm and with freshly made custard.
- If you don't have currants, or if you don't like them, you can use sultanas instead.
- Only 3 more sleeps 'til Friday!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Halloween Hunger!

With Halloween around the corner, I thought I would do a somewhat 'Spooky' post in the spirit of things. Given that I put so much of my energy into Christmas (which I LOVE), Halloween isn't as big a deal in our house. I live in a gated apartment block which is somewhat like Fort Knox, so I don't think we'll be getting many Trick or Treaters! All the same, over the last two nights, whilst watching numerous movies with Molly, I have been working on this 'Haunted Handiwork'. I'm hoping my little cousin's who I made the cake for will find it somewhat amusing as well as delicious!

Haunted Halloween Cake

For the cake:
280g self-raising flour
5 large eggs
280g butter
228g sugar
5 drops of vanilla extract
Apricot jam

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 28x18cm tin with greaseproof paper, creating a pleat in 
    the centre of the tin with the greaseproof paper (as pictured).
2. Beat together the butter and sugar in a free-standing mixer until light and fluffy.
3. Add in a few drops of vanilla essence, then beat in the eggs a little at a time.
4. Fold in the flour and then place half of the mixture in a separate bowl. Add some 
   orange colouring to one half of the mixture and stir in well. Add one teaspoon of cocoa and black 
   food colouring to the other half of the mixture.
5. Place the two mixtures on either side of the pleat. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden 
6. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool. Cut each cake in half and then half again, lengthways 
    (trim the cake so they are exactly the same size). You should then be left with 4 orange and 4 
     black strips.
7. Spread the jam on the sides of the cake and assemble together in alternating colours. 
    Once assembled spread jam on the outside of the cake too if covering with fonadant, or leave 
    plain if covering in chocolate icing as I did.

For the icing:
85g butter
4 tbsp milk
1 tbsp cocoa (sieved)
240g icing sugar

1. Place the butter, milk and cocoa in a saucepan and heat gently until melted. Do not let the 
   mixture boil. Then put aside and allow to cool.
2. Once cooled, pour into the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
3. Ensure that the cake is completely cooled, then smooth the icing onto the cake, leaved the 
   chequered ends of the cake exposed. Use a palette knife and cold water to smooth out any 

Halloween Sugarcraft
- To decorate the cake I made some Halloween figures from fondant icing. I dyed white fondant icing 
  using Wilton gels, with the exception of the black fondant which I bought from Black 
  fondant can be very difficult to dye by hand and it proves more cost effective and just a whole lot 
  easier to buy black fondant (the same can be said for the colour red). 
- As you can see on the cake I made two pumpkins, a ghost, a coffin complete with an escaping 
  zombies hand and a superstitious black cat.

E-D's Notes
- If you want to give modelling with fondant a go, YouTube is a wash with really great, short and 
  simple tutorials. Just Google an idea and you'd be surprised what you can come up with.
-This cake can be changed to accommodate any occasion  Halloween, Christmas, a Christening or 
  even a birthday. The colours, and fondant decorations are what make this cake, so get creative, 
  change them around and see what you can come up with!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Simple Smoked Salmon Mousse

Loving my lazy Saturday morning, catching up on reading other 'foodie' blogs and getting some inspiration. I haven't managed to make it to my kitchen today but whipped this dish up during the week and thought I would share what turned out to be a very successful experiment! I had been toying with the idea of a smoked salmon mousse for a while now. I love smoked salmon and love all forms of paté on crackers or toasts. I needed to work out a way to marry the two, so with a little inspiration from Clodagh McKenna and Rachel Allen, I tried tested and tweaked a few recipes until I came up with this combination. 

Smoked Salmon Mousse

200g smoked salmon
80g creamed cheese
40g créme fraiche
Juice of 1 lemon
ground black pepper

1. Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth.  
2. Place in individual ramekins for individual portions, or in one large ramekin for a 
    sharing platter. 
3. Serve with melba toast or on brown soda bread.


To Make The Parcel
If you want to serve this mousse as a starter, why not make it into a 'parcel. Line a small ramekin or dish with cling film. Next place thin slices of smoked salmon around the ramekin (as pictured). Then fill the lined dish with the salmon mousse. Cover over and chill for 2-3 hours. 

E-D's Notes:
- Don't be afraid to get creative with presentation. Whether you decide 
  to serve the mousse on it's own or as a 'parcel' there is always room to 
  be innovative and original. The 'Smoked Salmon Parcel' is the perfect 
  portion for one as a starter. The combination of textures and flavours 
  really works and the presentation will no doubt be a talking point at   
- What I love about this mousse is that it requires no cooking and no 
  fuss yet is packed full of flavour. It can be served as a starter, be 
  incorporated into canapés or just served as a really tasty everyday 

Friday, 26 October 2012

Barbecue-Glazed Pork Chops

It's so nice to be able to cook again and watching my Mom in action over the last two weeks has me all inspired with some new savoury dishes. This recipe is ridiculously simple, but very tasty. Pork chops are good value and a welcome change from chicken. I picked up 6 pork chops for €4.99 in Aldi. For those of you who are wary of Aldi's meat be assured their meat is in fact great value, great quality and most importantly it's locally sourced Irish meat, which cannot be said for all supermarkets. 
Barbecue-Glazed Pork Chops

Serves 3 (6 Pork Chops)

50g Honey
50g Soy Sauce
50g Tomato Ketchup

1. Spread chops out in a baking tin.
2. Mix the honey, soy sauce and tomato ketchup in a separate bowl and drizzle over the 
3. Bake the chops in the oven for minutes at 180C. After approximately 20 minutes, remove 
    from oven and brush with the chops with the glaze in the tray. Place in oven and bake 
    for an additional 10 minutes.

E-D's Notes:
- I served these with some delicious dauphinoise potatoes, such a great combination....recipe 
  to follow!
- As you can see I'm all about Aldi, they do such a great range condiments and meat products. 
  You would be surprised how much you can save if you switch from  another supermarket to 
  Aldi! Embrace the value!

Tangy Tarte au Citron

Happy Friday all....and better again Happy Bank Holiday Weekend! I am beyond excited about my complete and utter lack of plans this weekend....for once! My plans are a cinema marathon  a little light shopping followed by baking, crafting and relaxing with Molly.....Bliss! Why do I love the weekends so much (apart from the obvious....not being in work!).... I love the weekend because it means desserts, desserts and more desserts! Getting my dessert packed weekend off to a start, Tarte au Citron is the recipe of the day and I kept a winner for my favourite day of the week! A delicious pastry crust filled with a tangy lemon curd filling.....heavenly!

Tarte au Citron ( Lemon Tart)

Serves 6

225g plain flour
115g butter diced
2tbsp icing sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
6 eggs, beaten
350g sugar
115g butter
grated rind and juice of 4 lemons
icing sugar for dusting

For the Pastry:
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Using  a free standing mixer sift the flour into the bowl, add 
    the diced butter, mix until it resembles fine bread crumbs.  Stir in the sugar.
2. Next, add the egg, vanilla essence and a scant tablespoon of cold water, then work to a 
3. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and use to line a 23cm/9inch tart tin.  Line with 
    foil or baking parchment and fill with baking beans.  Bake 'blind' for 10 mins.

For the filling:
1. Put the eggs, sugar and butter into a pan and stir over a low heat until the sugar had 
2. Add the lemon rind and juice, and continue to cooking, stirring, until the lemon mixture 
    has thickened slightly.

The Assembly:
Pour the mixture into the case.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until just set.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Dust with icing sugar before serving.

E-D's Notes
- Serve the Tarte warm and topped with freshly whipped cream.
- This delicious tarte will last a couple of days if covered properly...but it's not too likely it will last 
   that long!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Cupcake Sugar Cookies

The great thing about writing a blog and sharing all your thoughts is you end up stumbling upon other great blogs and ideas. This post is an example of just that. I had never made sugar cookies before and don't generally ice my biscuits or cookies but after seeing this concept on another blog I decided it was something I definitely wanted to try. There is no doubt these pretty 'cupcakes' were time consuming, but just look at the result, weren't they worth the time? Not only do they look great, but they were actually a front runner for one of my favourite biscuits I've ever made. At first when they came out of the oven they were quite hard to bite into, but once topped with the colourful royal icing they were just the right texture.

Cupcake Sugar Cookies

200g butter at room temperature                                
280g sugar                                                                   
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract                                          
1 egg                                                                              
400g plain flour
a pinch of salt

Royal Icing
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
310g icing sugar
Food colouring

For the Cookies
  1. Put the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a free-standing electric mixer and cream until light and fluffy (You can also use a handheld whisk). 
  2. Add the egg and mix well, scraping the sides of the bowl intermittently to ensure all the ingredients are incorporated well.
  3. Add the flour and salt, mixing well. The dough should look light, feel soft and be easy to handle.
  4. Dust a clean surface with flour and roll out the dough using a rolling pin. Cut out the shapes of your choice ( I chose these pretty cupcakes) . Place the cookies on a well greased or lined baking tray (you will need at least two large trays) and bake for 10 minutes at 170C.  
  5. The cookies should be very light golden on the outer edges and paler in the centre.  Once cooked remove the cookies from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
For the Royal Icing
Beat the egg white and lemon juice together in a free standing mixer. Gradually add the icing sugar and contune to whisk until the icing forms stiff peaks. (Word to the wise, making royal icing can be hard in your machinery so take it easy!). Seperate mixture out and add desired colours.

The Assembly
These cookies were inspired by a post on an amazing blog entitled 'Bake at 350'. This blog is truly inspirational when it comes to decorating cookies and biscuits. This blog inspired me to try icing biscuits which I had never done before. You will need the following tools to get going:
- cocktail sticks
- a piping bag (with a small and medium sized nozzle)
- sweets or coloured fondant icing for the top of the cupcake
- royal icing (colours of your choice)
- Sprinkles

What to do.....
1. I used a very thin nozzle and stiff royal icing coloured brown for the outline of the design.
2. I then mixed up some green royal icing, and added a little water to make it 'runny'. When my 
    brown outline was completely dried, I put a slightly bigger nozzle on a piping bag and 'pooled' 
    the green icing onto the cookie. I used a cocktail stick to push the icing right into the outlined 
    edges, ensuring to burst any obvious air bubbles.
3. I then repeated the process with the pink icing for the top of the cupcake.
4. Finally I added the lined detail for the base of the cupcake and sprinkles on top.

E-D's Notes
- Handy tip....when filling your piping bag, place the piping bag 
  into a pint glass and then fill it with icing (as pictured above). 
  Makes life a lot easier and also makes minimal mess.
- I love this trio of cupcake cutters I got as a gift. You can buy 
  them on, see the link below.
- I tried using a funnel initially to pool the icing on the cookies  
  and it was a disaster.....wouldn't recommend it. Using different 
  sized nozzles on a piping bag is definitely a stress free 

E-D's Links
Cupcake Cutters (Amazon)
Bake at 350

     This 'Sugar Cookie' recipe was adapted from 'The Hummingbird Bakery' cookbook.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Tiffany & Co. Birthday Cake

At the weekend it was my brilliant Aunty Moira's 50th Birthday celebration and Shaud and I needed to create a cake as fantastic as Moira (no mean feat I assure you!). This is what we came up with; a spectacular tiered pink and brown number complete with pearl and diamond detail. The cake is made up of a three different layers; a plain Madeira, a rich chocolate cake and a lemon Madeira. 

The Details:
I picked up this pretty pack of Dr.Oetker embellishments called 'White Christmas' (pictured below). I used these for the quilted detail on the top tier of the cake, giving it a cushioned appearance. We also used these pearls to decorate the edge of each cake.

We used Wilton gel food colourings to colour the fondant in the following shades;
For the Pink (Rose)
For the Brown (Brown)
For the Blue (Sky Blue)
Techniques & Tools
This tutorial is really clever if you want to attempt some quilted detail on a cake as pictured:. You don't need any fancy equipment just follow the instructions in the video.

Pick yourself up a smoother to achieve this perfectly smooth finish when working with fondant or buttercream icing. They are relatively cheap and will give your cakes a professional looking finish.

A rotating cake board is a great investment if you plan on taking up cake decorating. It makes turning and decorating your creations much easier, particularly fine details which may need to by attached or hand painted. These rotating boards are readily available in any good cake decorating shop.

The How To.....
-  My aunty Moira loves all things that sparkle! So incorporating 'bling' into the cake was an    
   absolute must.The Tiffany's bag was made from roll out icing, which was coloured the perfect 
   'Tiffany's shade of blue. Shaud then used a paintbrush and food colouring to add the 'Tiffany &  
   Co.' detailing.
 - Shaud used a flat flexible spatula to smooth and spread the delicious chocolate icing.
-  Everything on the cake is edible with the exception of the dimante as we were unable to 
   access edible diamonds in Ireland and didn't have time to order them from the U.K. We 
   picked up these 'dimante' embellishments from my favourite store 'Dealz' for €1.49.
- We decorated each tier separately, before finally assembling the grand design! Shaud 
   inserted 4 small dowels into two of the cakes to support it.

E-D's Notes
- If anyone needs an idea of quantities to make a cake this size, drop me an email or comment 
  and I will send you on the recipes/quantities.
- Drawing out a sketch of your ideas is always a good idea when embarking on the creation of  
  a cake this size. Playing around with colours and shapes on paper will definitely pay off in the 
  long run!
- Happy Birthday again Moira, hope you loved the cake as much as we loved making it!

Chicken Liver Paté

Chicken Liver Pate has become a family gathering staple in our house at home. Whenever we all arrive home for an occasion or family gathering, Shaud (my darling Mom) always has some crackers, home-made pate and red wine at the ready, and we love her for it. There is nothing I love more than sitting around a table with some good wine, family, good friends and home-made pate....Bliss! For the price you often pay in Irish restaurants for 'home-made' pate, you would expect that it is difficult to make.....well good news, it's actually incredibly simple.

Chicken Liver Pate

Serves 6

600g chicken livers
65ml brandy
65ml port
65ml sherry
70g butter
4 cloves of garlic chopped

1. Marinate the chicken livers overnight in the alcohol and place in the fridge.
2. The next day, fry the chicken livers in pan with butter and garlic ( ensuring to add the
    juice of the marinate to the pan).                                                                                    
3. Take off the heat and blend until smooth using a hand blender.                                   
4. Place into small ramekins or dishes of your choice and chill.

E-D's Notes
- I picked up these very cute dishes in Meadows and Byrne on sale for €1.00 per
  dish....bargain! They came in a pack of 3 so I decided to pick up two packs. They would 
  be perfect for individual sized portion of this delicious pate at a dinner party and are just 
  a lovely way of presenting a very simple starter.
- I like to serve my pate on freshly made Melba toast or crusty white bread with onion 

Monday, 22 October 2012

Lemon Posset Love

I absolutely adore this dessert. My first memory of this zingy number was from my time working in Dromoland Castle as a teenager. We used to serve this in the Fig Tree Restaurant and I have a weakness for all things lemony so I was instantly in love. I was really surprised at how easy this dessert was to whip up, but was not disappointed by the taste. It was exactly how I remembered, creamy, fruity and down right delicious.....not a bad combination. This evening's posset was filled with nostalgia, and evoked happy memories of all the delicious desserts I used to 'volunteer' to eat in Dromoland. This recipe yields enough mixture to fill about 3 tumblers or 4 champagne flutes, depending on how you wish to serve it. So double, half, subtract or multiply the quantities as needed.

Lemon Posset

2 lemons
184ml Cream
65g Sugar
100g Frozen/Fresh raspberries

1. Place the cream and sugar in a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil, stirring 
2. Meanwhile, place the juice and rind of the lemons in a separate bowl. Once the cream 
    mixture begins to boil, remove from heat and stir in the lemon mixture.
3. For the raspberry coulis mix together the raspberries with 10g of sugar and mash 
    together gently. Place the coulis in the base of the tumbler.
4. Finally top the coulis with the lemon mixture and chill for 2-3 hours until set. To serve, 
    top with fresh or frozen raspberries.


E-D's Notes
- Ensure your lemon zest is fine and from unwaxed lemons, otherwise you will be left with 
  stringy, waxy clumps in your posset, not to mention an unpleasant waxy taste in your 
- Though you may be tempted, leave the possets until they are fully set (overnight if  
  possible). They are far nicer once fully set, so do attempt to embrace some self control, 
  it'll be worth the wait....I promise.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Funnel Cake Fanatic

I'm back! It has been a very long week, and I am very pleased to announce I am finally starting to feel right after been my long and painful stretch of tendonitis. In celebration of my return I decided to share a really simply and amazing recipe for Funnel Cake. There is no doubt about it 'Funnel Cake' is an 'All American' treat, and one which needs to be recognised and embraced here across the pond....pronto! If you have ever been to Disney World you should know what funnel cake is, and if you don't...then shame on you! Funnel cake is often associated with carnivals and fairs in the U.S. or in my experience with Typhoon Lagoon in Florida when you're starving after running around like a lunatic for three hours. This recipe is super easy and has me questioning why on earth I didn't think to make it before. Made up of a thick batter, deep fried and sprinkled with icing sugar.....what's not to love! 

Funnel cake

Serves 6 people

2 eggs
250mls milk
100g sugar
370g self raising flour
50g icing sugar
200mls vegetable oil

1. Beat the eggs and milk together.
2. In a separate bowl combine the sugar and flour together.
3. Gradually add the beaten egg and milk to the dry ingredients. then heat the oil in a large 
    pan and using an icing bag (or funnel) pipe the thick batter into the oil starting in the 
    centre and working out in a web pattern.
4. Turn the cake once during cooking (Making sure you turn the funnel cake away from 
    you so you don’t get splashed with hot oil!)
5. Plate it up and sprinkle with icing sugar.

E-D's Notes:
- Though entitled 'Funnel' cake, I actually found that using a piping bag with a finer sized 
   nozzle made the whole process much easier. This batter is quite thick and can be 
   difficult to pass through a funnel. I just didn't' think that 'Piping Bag Cake' quite had the 
   same ring to it!
- Funnel cakes can be served with all kind of wonderful other tasty accompaniments 
  including fresh fruit, cinnamon and cream. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Rainbow Cake

I cannot even convey how excited I am about today's post. Dreaming up a recipe involving multiple layers of colour has been something playing on my mind for quite a while. I have seen pictures of this kind of cake before and been in awe and then got to thinking, how hard can it be? After trawling the internet for recipes I was somewhat dismayed to find that a lot of the recipes for these fantastic creations were made from boxed 'cake mix'.....big 'no no' in my book! So I decided to put my thinking cap on and develop a recipe to create this colourful masterpiece. I settled on an adapted version of Madeira style mixture with cream cheese frosting. Thanks to my Mom, Shaud for helping out with this endeavour given my continued one handed status, being honest she was the manpower behind the magic today! Being on onlooker and calling out the recipe is hard when your used to getting stuck in, but I'm under strict orders not to use my right 'paw' given how sore it is. This cake is absolutely colossal and is an afternoons work, but as you can see the result is more than worth all the effort. It is a feast for the eyes and tummy!


Serves 30+ people 

Cakes                                            Frosting
570g butter (melted)                      150g butter
570g sugar                                     900g icing sugar
10eggs                                           375g cream cheese
850g self-raising flour
Vanilla essence                              2 packets of skittles for decorating
10g Cocoa powder

For the Cakes
1. Cream the melted butter and sugar together in a free-standing mixer until well 
    combined. Meanwhile whisks the eggs and then add to mixture a little at a time. Finally 
    fold in the flour.
2. Split the mixture into seven different bowls and add the food colouring, mixing until you 
    achieve a rich, bright colour. 
3. Place the cake mix into the pre-greased silicone moulds (8cm in diameter). Place each 
    cake in the oven at 180C for 10-12 minutes or until firm to the touch.
4. Remove the cakes from the oven turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Frosting
Cream the butter and icing sugar together. Next add in the cream cheese. Mix the frosting for 5 minutes until light and fluffy, ensuring to scrape the sides of the mixer intermittently.  

The Assembly
Choose the arrangement of colours aiming to stack contrasting colours on top of each other. Coat the top of each cake with a thin layer of frosting and stack. Then coat the outside of the cake with the remaining frosting, smoothing with a spatula or palette knife. Use the skittles (or M&M's if you prefer) to decorate.

E-D's Notes:

  • I picked up my silicone cake moulds from Dealz for just €1.49 each. They are the perfect depth and width for this Rainbow cake and are easy to clean and store.
  • Good quality food colouring is essential in order to achieve bright vivid colours. I used Wilton food colouring gels. However for the red layer I mixed some liquid red food colouring (Dr.Oetker) with 10g of cocoa and three drops of vanilla essence forming a paste which I then added to the mixture. This meant that the red layer was a rich red colour and didn't turn pink when the red colouring was added to the mixture.
  • Before icing the cake, ensure all of the cakes are totally cooled, otherwise the cream cheese frosting will simple slide off.
  • I only had three silicone moulds therefore I made the mixture in batches so that the mixture wasn't sitting around on the counter-top (which can affect the raising agent in the flour).