Sunday, 25 May 2014

Brown Butter Cinnamon Squares

I can only apologise for my absence over the past few days, but I was struck down with tummy troubles again, which meant my interest in eating was at an all time low, so needless to say, baking and cooking wasn't too high on the priority list. After bed rest and a little TLC from my better half I am on the mend and dare I say I'm looking forward to returning to work tomorrow. 

Another lazy Sunday today catching up on the housework and getting ready for the busy week ahead. We had a beautiful roast dinner with the in laws which was a nice transition back to normal food. I am a stickler for bringing dessert on Sundays and today was no exception even though I knew I wouldn't be up to eating much. All the same, these cinnamon and chocolate gooey squares were a big hit with barely a crumb left by the time we left. Somewhere between a brownie and a blondie, these chewy squares are absolutely incredible, particularly when served warm with a nice cold, glass of milk. 

Monday, 19 May 2014

Brown Sugar Spice Cookies

Just another manic Monday, which is thankfully, done and dusted. It can only be onwards and upwards after a day like today. And after such a crazy work day, I needed to unwind this evening by baking something nice to treat myself ( I must say this is becoming a regular occurrence chez moi). What better way to do that than with a fresh batch of spiced cookies.......heaven. I was all ready to go, butter, sugar, flour. Badda bing and hey presto, a mound of crumbly dough, my worst nightmare. Though the end result was most definitely worth it, I won't lie, these cookies definitely weren't the easiest to roll out and bring together.The mixture is quite crumbly and floury and took some work to combine. But with a little hard work, and sheer determination, I wasn't left disappointed as I sit munching with satisfaction as I type.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

I do love a little bit of lemon. Lemons and chocolate can always be found hiding somewhere in my kitchen. Truth be told I never return from my weekly shop without at least two lemons and 100g of 70% dark chocolate. That's just how I roll. Lemon posset, lemon meringue piezesty lemon chicken, the list of lemon loveliness is endless. This evening's recipe is no exception. These luscious lemon crinkle cookies are a gift I made for a fellow lemon lover who has just moved in to her new home. They are the perfect combination of crunchy and chewy, crisp and soft, light and lemony. Now for the hard part, leaving them all wrapped up and trying not to touch them. Challenge accepted.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Quick & Easy Sesame Chicken

On any given work day, arriving home and having the time and energy to rustle up something tasty for dinner can be a challenge, even for a food fanatic like myself. The key to tasty week day dinners, is a stocked fridge, avoiding junk food as a fix and quick and easy dinner recipes. This sesame chicken is just the ticket and is surprisingly easy to put together (honestly). Ready in fifteen minutes, this tempting dish won't break the bank either and can be served up for under €6.00 and feed a family of four. So ditch your usual uninspired menu and liven things up with this fabulously frugal feast.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Orange Madeira Miniature Cake

Summertime has arrived (though you may not have noticed here in Ireland) and this afternoon I got all inspired to make something petite and pretty. I got this little cake stand as a present about a year ago, and keep it in my sitting room. Since then, I have been meaning to make a little cake in order to put it to good use, and this afternoon my good intentions finally resulted in a little action. This cake is a moist orange Madeira covered in orange buttercream and fondant icing. A perfect cake for two people, the joys of a picture perfect cake without all the tempting leftovers.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Roasted Vegetable and Chorizo Medley

For me the weekend is all about splurging on the foods I love, eating out, and trying new places. This weekend is no exception as Molly (my wonderful husband) and I head off to the Heritage in Killenard for an overnight break for some R&R. Of course as wonderful as spending time together is and all that jazz, the highlight of the stay is sure to be our visit to the Arlington Room restaurant. I have already checked the menu online and essentially made my choices (I am aware this is somewhat weird) because, well in all honesty, I'm a fanatical planner.

So in preparation for my splurge this evening in the form of a 5 course meal, last night I opted for a healthier dinner, which frankly for a Friday night, just isn't like me. Healthy and all as it was, there is no denying it was really tasty, very satisfying and so flavoursome. Chorizo is such a fantastic ingredient to work with, because a little goes a long way. In a meal like this, the chorizo are like golden nuggets that are a wonderful surprise to find buried in a sea of vegetables and potato. But the best thing about this recipe? That fact that it takes no more than 5 minutes to prepare and can all be tossed into one dish. Friday night cooking just got a whole lot easier.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Raspberry Crumble Cupcakes

Team meeting day in work is always a good excuse to get into the kitchen and whip up something dangerously delicious. I say this, as sometimes when I am dreaming up a recipe, I am very aware the possibility of me eating an entire batch is very likely, thus an occasion is always a welcome deterrent to gluttony. I wish I was one of those people who enjoyed a square of chocolate or a sliver of cake, but alas I am not, and as a result my friends and family will be fed well in an ongoing attempt to disperse the fruits of my labour. In preparation for tomorrows meeting, I have been brainstorming about cupcakes all day in work and by 4 O'Clock was itching to get home to my kitchen to put this recipe to the test. 

Cupcakes are everywhere you look these days and are very in vogue. As much as I do like a tasty cupcake cooked to perfection, sometimes they can be heavy, overly sweet and are often smothered in frosting. Though I do enjoy a traditional cupcake, sometimes something a little different is a welcome change to the classic cupcake. These Raspberry Crumble Cupcakes are perfect with a cup of tea instead of a biscuit or slice of cake. Though they are indeed sweet, the crumble topping makes for an alternative style of cupcake that will go down a treat. 

The cupcakes themselves have a great combination of flavours and textures, from the zing of the lemon zest to the crunch of the crumble topping, they really are a feast for the senses. Wonderfully moist underneath, these crumbly treats are best served warm. I opted to use vibrant raspberry coloured cupcake cases to compliment the hint of raspberry in each cake. The delicious smells wafting through my kitchen this evening, would leave anyone feeling hungry going to bed. 

Monday, 5 May 2014

Pink & Ivory Vintage Wedding Cake

When a friend gets engaged it’s always an exciting time. From the chit chat about rings, dates, dresses and beyond, talking about weddings and marriage seems to never get old. So for me, when the excitement of a friends engagement news settled down and I was honoured with the special request of making the wedding cake, needless to say I was unbelievably excited and so chuffed to be asked. Making your own wedding cake is one thing, but when doing it for someone else, particularly a close friend, funnily enough the standards are so much higher and you want everything to be absolutely perfect.

I worked closely with the ‘bride to be’ on what kind of elements she wanted to incorporate into the cake, what was her style? What was the colour scheme? And probably most importantly what kind of cakes did she want?

Brainstorming together we decided on an ivory and white cake, incorporating a touch of the pink which the bridesmaids would be wearing. The bride liked vintage style and fashion which encouraged me to incorporate vintage patterns and designs where possible. It was agreed that I would try and incorporate an ‘arch’ pattern to mirror the pattern on the wedding stationary and invitations. I knew I needed to make a five tier cake at least based on the number of guests. So from there I sketched out a design and the end result turned out to be really dramatic and fitted the brief exactly. Luckily the cake photographed superbly, tasted delicious and most importantly was a hit with the beautiful bride.