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Brown soda bread with sunflower seeds

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Brown soda bread with sunflower seeds

I always make three of these together in loaf tins using those paper liners – I get them from Lakeland. This mixture is enough for three tins where the cavity is 9″ long by 41/2″ wide and 21/2″ deep. You don’t need any special equipment just a large bowl – a heavy one is preferable because it won’t move around when you’re stirring. To mix this I use a large slotted serving spoon. The ingredients and method are slightly different to the white soda bread.

By the way, the sunflower seeds will look green after they have been cooked in the bread – it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them.

First pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7/220C/425F.

Ingredients (for 3 loaves)

  • 450g (1lb) wholemeal flour
  • 450g (1lb) plain white flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (bread soda)
  • 100g sunflower seeds
  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 800ml buttermilk
  • 2 eggs

Method

  1. Insert the paper liners into the three tins; or grease the tins with butter and dust with flour.
  2. Sieve the wholmeal flour into a large mixing bowl (the last few tablespoons may not go through the sieve so just toss them into the bowl).
  3. Sieve the rest of the dry ingredients into the bowl.
  4. Lightly beat the eggs with a fork.
  5. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and quickly stir in the buttermilk, eggs and oil. The mixture will be quite wet.
  6. Divide the mixture between your three tins.
  7. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes then turn the heat down to gas mark 6/200C/400F and bake for another 30 minutes.
  8. When the bread is cooked the loaves will sound hollow when you tap them on the base.
  9. Remove the papers and cool on a wire rack.
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Written by SOKNH

March 16, 2010 at 1:18 pm

White soda bread with sultanas

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I always cook three loaves at a time and use paper liners for the tins. You can reuse these liners three or four times

I always make three of these together in loaf tins using those paper liners – I get them from Lakeland. This mixture is enough for three tins where the cavity is 9″ long by 41/2″ wide and 21/2″ deep. You don’t need any special equipment just a large bowl – a heavy one is preferable because it won’t move around when you’re stirring. To mix this I use a large slotted serving spoon. I now always use yogurt instead of buttermilk – it results in a loaf that is softer, sweeter and fluffier – but buttermilk works well too.

First pre-heat the oven to gas mark 8/230C/425F.

Ingredients (for 3 loaves)

  • 900g (2lb) plain flour
  • 2 level tsp bicarbonate of soda (bread soda)
  • 2 level tsp salt
  • 2 level tsp caster sugar
  • 800ml of plain yogurt (and about 150ml of ordinary milk) or 800ml of buttermilk
  • 200g sultanas

Method

  1. Insert the paper liners into the tins; or grease the tins with butter and dust with flour.
  2. Sieve the flour, bread soda, salt and sugar into a bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Stir in the sultanas.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture and pour in the yogurt.
  5. Stir to combine. Don’t fold in the mixture as you would with a cake, but hold the spoon vertically and move it around like a paddle. The mixture will seem a bit dry. Now quickly stir in just enough ordinary milk so that the mixture sticks together.
  6. Divide the mixture between the three tins and put into pre-heated oven.
  7. After 15 minutes, reduce the heat to gas mark 6/200C/400F and bake for another 30 minutes.
  8. When cooked the loaves will sound hollow when you tap them on the base.
  9. Remove the papers and cool on a wire rack.

Written by SOKNH

March 16, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Chocolate cake or chocolate cupcakes

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Delicious chocolate cake with light sponge and rich icing.

Chocolate and lemon-raspberry cupcakes

This mixture is really easy and will make either one divine chocolate cake or 24 iced cupcakes – fairy cake size. You don’t need any special equipment as you can easily mix it with a handheld whisk.

You can use an ordinary hand whisk; or an electric beater; or a food mixer.

The sponge is really light and almost has the texture of an Aero chocolate bar.

The icing is rich and easy to spread.

I came by this recipe, which is from the BBC, via Donal Skehan’s Good Mood Food facebook page

You will need either two 18cm (7 inch) sandwich tins; or two 12-hole fairy cake tins and 24 paper cases.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

Ingredients

  • 175g (6 oz) self-raising flour
  • 2tbsp cocoa powder – I use Green and Black’s organic
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda (bread soda)
  • 150g (5oz) caster sugar

    Squeezy golden syrup is easiest to use

  • 2 freerange eggs, beaten
  • 150ml sunflower oil
  • 150ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 2tbsp golden syrup (the squeezy stuff in plastic bottles is the easiest to use)

For the icing and filling

  • 75g very soft butter (preferably unsalted)
  • 175g icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1-2 tpsb milk.

Either grease and line your two sandwich tins or put paper cases in your fairy cake tins.

1 Sieve the dry ingredients into a bowl

2 Squeeze in the golden syrup

3 Beat the eggs with a fork before adding

4 You can add the 150ml milk to measure jug and then add oil on top until it reaches 300ml

5 Cook until risen and firm to the touch

Method

  1. Sieve the flour, cocoa powder and bread soda into a the bowl of a food mixer or an ordinary bowl.
  2. Add the sugar and mix well.
  3. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and add the syrup, eggs, oil and milk.
  4. Whisk briefly until mixture is combined. You can use a hand whisk; or if using a food mixer use the whisk attachment. You could also use a handheld beater – preferably using the whisk attachment. This only takes a few seconds.
  5. If you are making the fairy cakes it is worth puring the mixture into a jug and then distributing between the 24 fairy cakes. If you are making the large cake just pour the mixture between the two tins.
  6. Bake the cake for 20-25 minutes; or the fairy cakes for 15-20 minutes – until risen and firm to the touch.
  7. Leave the cake to cool before turning out on to a cooling rack. Leave the fairy cakes in their cases and put on a cooling rack.

To make the icing

  1. If you have a food processor but the cocoa and icing sugar in it and turn it on for about 10 seconds – this will remove any lumps.
  2. If you are using a hand-held beater or whisk, sieve the cocoa and icing sugar into a bowl.
  3. Add the butter and either turn on the food processor for a few seconds; or beat them in with your beater.
  4. Add the milk to the icing and blend again so that the mixture is nice and light, soft and easy to spread.

Icing the cakes

  • If you have made the large cake, when it is completely cold sandwich the two halves together with the icing; and use the remainder to ice the top and the sides.
  • If you have made cupcakes just ice the top of each one using a small spatula or knife.

Written by SOKNH

March 15, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Lemon raspberry cupcakes

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Makes 12 cupcakes.

Lemon-raspberry and chocolate cupcakes

These little cupcakes are especially moist and lemony due to the lemon syrup added after they are baked.

You will need a 12 hole fairy cake or muffin tin lined with 12 fairy cake paper cases; a handheld electric beater, or a food mixer; or a food processor.

First make your lemon syrup (there will be some left over).

Ingredients lemon syrup

  • 500g sugar
  • 250mls water
  • Strained juice of one lemon

Method lemon syrup

  1. Put sugar and water over gentle heat.
  2. Stir till sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Stop stirring when it reaches boiling point.
  4. Remove any frothy stuff that forms on top.
  5. Boil rapidly for 3-4 minutes.
  6. When cool, add the strained juice of one lemon. Store in screw top jar in the fridge.

Ingredients lemon-raspberry cupcakes

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C, (350F), gas mark 4.
  • 125g (41/2 oz) butter at room temperature
  • 125g (41.2oz) caster sugar
  • Finely grated zest of half a lemon. Either use a fine grater, or peel of the rind thinly and chop finely in a mini electric chopper.
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 150g (5oz) plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 12 large raspberries, fresh or frozen

Method, by hand

  1. Beat the butter until soft.
  2. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the lemon rind.
  4. Gradually add the beaten eggs.
  5. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in.

Method, using a food processor

  1. Mix the butter for about 10-15 seconds
  2. Add the sugar and mix again – for about 20 seconds
  3. Add the lemon rind and pulse for a couple of seconds
  4. Add the eggs and mix until well mixed in
  5. Add the flour and baking powder and pulse for as little as possile – just until it is mixed in.

Next stage for both methods

  1. Distribute the mixture evenly between 12 fairy cake paper cases.
  2. Press one large raspberry into the centre of each fairy cake.
  3. Bake in the oven for about 18 minutes – depending on your oven. The cakes should be risen, golden colour and springy to the touch when cooked.
  4. Leave in the tin until you drizzle with lemon syrup.

Drizzle with lemon syrup

Be warned this is a bit messy!

  1. Pierce each cake about three times with a fork.
  2. Drizzle about a teaspoon or so of syrup over each cake.
  3. Remove from tin. You may find it useful to put each fairy cake inside another paper case so they are not sticky to handle.
  4. Leave until cool.

Written by SOKNH

March 15, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Chocolate mousse – easy and you can prepare it in advance

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Based on my trusty Constance Spry: for this chocolate mousse, you need flat-bottomed containers with straight sides.

This is the chocolate mousse I served at the first supper club last Saturday 13 February.

I like it because it is dead easy and doesn’t contain any gelatine, which I’m a bit squeamish about using.

From experience I find that it is best to use flat-bottomed ramekins or glasses like the ones pictured. If the base is curved sometimes it can lead to pooling of the liqueur or the egg white in the bottom of the mousse.

You need to use very fresh eggs that really need to be free range – they are only cooked by the heat of the melted chocolate. I have never had any problems after serving this, but pregnant women or anyone with a compromised immune system are advised to avoid mousses like this and mayonnaise.

The only other thing really is that you need to make sure you beat the egg white until it is really stiff, but don’t overbeat it so that it collapses. I find a handheld electric beater is better for egg whites than something like a Kenwood chef (which I use for other things). This is because it seems easier to get more air in when you can wave the beaters around a bit.

I use a large, light stainless steel bowl to beat the egg whites in. Keep an eye on the egg white as it stiffens and after a minute or two, take the beaters out and if the mixture stays firm and in position when you tilt the bowl almost completely over, then it is probably done. If there is any liquid at all left in the bottom of the bowl, the egg whites are not beaten enough.

I have experimented with different chocolate and find that Bournville works best. Very high cocoa content chocolate will not work for this recipe because you do not add any extra sugar to this mousse. So you need to use chocolate that has a decent amount of sugar already in it.
For the alcohol you can use whiskey, brandy or black rum – I like whiskey best but I use whatever is on hand.

Ingredients (to fill 10 small glasses – it is very rich)

  • 285g, 10oz dark chocolate like Bournville
  • ¼ pint, 120ml water
  • 30g, 1oz butter
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of whiskey, black rum or brandy

How I do it

  1. Break the chocolate up into squares and put it in a medium sized saucepan with the water. Melt over a very low eat, stirring frequently.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to cool for about three minutes. Or if you’re impatient, have some cold water in the sink and sit the saucepan in that for a minute, stirring a couple of times.
  3. Use a small whisk to beat in the butter.
  4. Add the alcohol.
  5. Beat the egg yolks in one at a time making sure they are very well mixed in.
  6. Beat the egg whites until stiff as described above.
  7. Stir the egg whites briskly into the chocolate. You can be quite vigourous about this even though you have gone to the trouble of beating them up so nicely.
  8. Divide the mixture between your 10 ramekins or glasses and chill in the fridge overnight.

Serve with whipped cream (some people prefer them plain).
Toasted, flaked almonds sprinkled over the top are very nice too.

Chocolate mousse - add cream if you dare

Written by SOKNH

February 19, 2010 at 2:17 pm

In praise of Yorkshire Pudding – and it couldn’t be easier

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Often I don’t feel like making potatoes when eating beef stew leftovers, Bourguignon or otherwise, on the second day. Then I take the easy way out and make Yorkshire pudding instead which everyone loves.

It is best to make the batter and let it stand for at least an hour, but you can make it in the morning and let it stand while you go about your day.

I use a 12-hole muffin tin (a fairy cake tin would be fine too). It is important to pre-heat the tin, with a little olive oil in each cavity, before adding the batter – this is what makes the puddings puff up so gorgeously.

Allow at least 2 puddings per person, although I must admit that now our daughter is away at college, I still make 12 puddings even though there are only three of us to eat them!

Yorkshire Pudding (enough for a 12-hole muffin tin)

Ingredients

  • 120g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml full fat milk
  • Tsp of olive oil per pudding

How I do it

  1. Put all the ingredients (except the olive oil) in a liquidiser or food processor and blend until well mixed – about 30-60 seconds.
  2. Let stand for at least an hour.
  3. Pre-heat oven to gas mark 7, 450F, 230.
  4. Add a little olive oil to each muffin tin and put tin (without batter) into oven on second to top shelf for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove tin from oven.
  6. Distribute batter between the 12 holes.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes.

Eat immediately.


Written by SOKNH

February 17, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Boeuf Bourguignon for 12 people

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Ingredients

This is what I made for the main course at my first supper club. I got the excellent organic beef from Coolanowle organic farm (http://www.organicmeat.ie/), which deliver all around the country.

I use a slow cooker but you can also cook this in a conventional oven – gas mark 2 for three hours.

  • 2 kilos of stewing steak cut into chunks
  • 24 small onions or shallots (shallots are much better), peeled and chopped into large chunks (I usually chop each shallot in four).
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic.
  • 8 streaky rashers, rind removed and chopped up.
  • 350g large flat breakfast mushrooms, chopped into small chunks about 1″.
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • One bottle of red wine, Bourguignon or Bordeaux (cheap is fine but better if it is one you could actually drink).
  • About 3/4 pint of stock (I use 1 Kallo organic stock cube).


How I do it

  1. Have ready your slow cooker with the bouquet garni in the bottom.
  2. In a large frying pan heat about 3tbsp olive oil.

  3. Sear the meat in the olive oil – brown on one side, then the other until it is browned all over. You may need to do this in two batches.
  4. Place the meat in the slow cooker.

  5. Add the onions to the pan and cook over medium heat for about 8 mins until just beginning to brown all over.
  6. Add garlic to onions and cook for another couple of minutes. Remove them to slow cooker.

  7. Fry the streaky rashers until just beginning to brown.
  8. Add mushrooms to frying pan and fry for a few minutes. Add rashers and mushrooms to the slow cooker.

  9. Melt about 150g butter in the frying pan. Add 3 tablespoons of plain flour to frying pan and stir, cooking it for a minute or two.
  10. Add bottle of wine to flour.

  11. Stir to remove lumps and cook for 3-4 mins over highish heat.
  12. If there are still lumps either strain the sauce through sieve, or liquidise it.

  13. Add sauce to slow cooker.
  14. Use the 3/4 pint of stock to get rest of juices off the pan and add to the slow cooker – the liquid should not quite cover the rest of the ingredients.

  15. Cook in the slow cooker on low for about 7 hours.

Serve with mashed potato and carrots tossed in parsley, butter and lemon juice.

Written by SOKNH

February 16, 2010 at 12:40 pm