Tag Archive | Cake

Marvellous Madeira

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I’ve been absent from my blog for a while, only managing to post every now and then. Life seems to have run away with itself, but in a good way. I have a new job and I love it! It’s not that I’m working really long hours, i’m just commuting a little longer each day.

However, it was time for a break…

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Dr Doolittle and I decided to head to the beautiful island of Madeira. This archipelago, which is part of Portugal, is located in the Atlantic Ocean, 978km southwest of Lisbon. It comprises of the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo, Desertas and Selvagens. Only the first two islands are inhabited. The latter two are nature reserves. Thanks to its magnificent location, Madeira remains warm all year round.

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The climate really helps produce some amazing fruit and vegetables. The market in the old part of Funchal was full of the stuff. Every meal we ate was accompanied by salads.

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Tropical fruits such as mangoes, bananas, avocadoes and passionfruit were used in a great variety of puddings, mousses and ice creams. Oh the ice cream! I had to try a peach melba…

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Owing to their proximity to the sea, most restaurants specialised in fish and shellfish dishes; there was octopus and shrimp dishes, tuna steaks and black scabbard fish fillets. I’d never heard of scabbard, but it tasted and looked like cod. As well as the fish, I also had one of the best ‘meat’ meals of my life (more about that next week).

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There were plenty of fresh natural fruit juices such as passionfruit, papaya, pineapple and mango, as well as the famous “poncha”, made with white rum, bee honey and lemon. I tried a fair bit of the stuff and have brought some home to experiment with!

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So to celebrate my holiday adventure I’m bringing my favourite sweet treat to Fiesta Friday. I haven’t been to the online party for a while, so I’m looking forward to catching up with old friends!

Portuguese Custard Tarts
Ingredients:

250ml double cream
150ml milk
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp cornflour
115g caster sugar
150g chilled ready-made puff pastry
Flour, for dusting

Method:

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Preheat the oven to 190c.

Put the cream, milk, and lemon rind in a saucepan.  Scrape the seeds from the split vanilla pod into the saucepan and drop in the empty pod too.  Bring to a simmer, then take off the heat.

Whisk the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar in a bowl until it comes together in a paste.  Pass the milk mixture though a fine-mesh sieve into the bowl of egg paste and mix together quickly. Return it all to the saucepan and heat over a moderate heat until it thickens but don’t let it boil!

Then roll out the pastry on a lightly floured worksurface as thin as you can.  Roll it up into a long sausage shape and cut 12 discs.  Roll out each disc to about 9cm and put into greased muffin tins. Prick the bottoms with a fork androfill just over halfway.

Bake in the preheated oven for about  for 18/20 mins until browned on top.

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Melissa xx

In My Kitchen

Bloom 2015 took place in the Phoenix Park Dublin over the June bank holiday weekend, from Thursday 28th May until Monday 1st June. Over 100,000 visitors headed to the Phoenix Park in Dublin. There were show gardens, cookery and craft demonstrations, free gardening advice from the experts, Irish food produce, live entertainment and gardening workshops, oh and rain… Lots and lots of rain.

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Goal garden at Bloom 2015

Unsurprisingly,  I bought lots of goodies for my kitchen!

In My Kitchen…

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… Are butters from local producers Blast and Wilde! I love Love LOVE this stuff! Their infused butters are incredible on meat or fish, or even on a bit of bread. I also picked up a pot of delicious garlicky pesto…

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In My Kitchen…

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Is was a packet of Kilbeggan oat chocolate chip cookies. We ate them! They were soooooo good! However there is a packet of oats left, so I might attempt my own version or i’ll make tasty porridge.

In My Kitchen…

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… Is the latest addition to the Newgrange Gold family. The smokey Rapeseed oil is delicious. I’m a huge fan of their oils and recently attended an earlier morning breakfast there as part of the Boyne Valley Food Series.

I also picked up a bottle of WildWood blackberry vinegar. It’s amazing! It has a wonderful sharp, sweet taste.

In My Kitchen…

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… Are these spice mixes by the brilliant Green Saffron. Green Saffron is a multi-award-winning family business based in Cork, Ireland. “We passionately produce stunning spice blends, sauces and chutneys from spices sourced by family members in Moradabad, India….” I can’t wait to try them.

In My Kitchen…

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… Are several jars of Big Red Kitchen jams and their yummy butterscotch sauce which is great at this time of the year with icecream.

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In My Kitchen…

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… Was a suprise from Dr Oetker yesterday! They sent me their new cupcake centres. I can’t wait to try them out and report back.

Melissa xx

In My Baking Kitchen

This month I’m sharing my baking and sugar craft kitchen! I can’t explain just how proud I am of the pieces in this month’s post. I always thought that I was heavy handed and impatient, but I’ve proved myself wrong!

In My Kitchen…

…Sits my new friend Bertie, who is made of modelling and sugar paste. He sits on a chocolate biscuit cake that I decorated. I attended a sugar craft course at Baking Academy Ireland and was taught amazing skills by a brilliant teacher.

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In My Kitchen…

…Lives a caterpillar, bee and some butterflies! This fruit cake is covered in almond paste and icing. I was so nervous placing and then glueing my name down onto the cake.

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In My Kitchen…

…Sits this flower paste rose spray! I thought it looked a bit old fashion, but the more I look at it, the more I love it! It was painstakingly made so i’ll be keeping it forever.

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In My Kitchen…

…Lives the Easter bunny! I made this Easter cake at The Cooks Academy in Dublin. The chocolate madera cake was covered in chocolate butter icing before being iced.

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In My Kitchen…

…Lies new sugarcraft cutters! I’m now the proud owner of butterfly, flower and leaf cutters.

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In My Kitchen…

…Sits a couple of modelling tools to help me with my sugarcraft ventures!

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In My Kitchen…

…Are these beautiful Easter flowers from Dr Doolittle (instead of a chocolate egg). Underneath lies a small plate of pear tarts with homemade pear and ginger jam.

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Celia from figjamandlimecordial.com shares all the brilliant In My Kitchen posts from around the world, pop over and take a look.

Melissa xx

Easter Simnel Cake

I was off to see my wonderful Grandparents yesterday and instead of bringing them chocolate eggs for Easter, I decided to make them a Simnel cake.

Simnel cake is a light fruit cake with almond paste or marzipan, that is toasted, and eaten during the Easter period. Conventionally eleven, or occasionally twelve, marzipan balls are used to decorate the cake, with a story that the balls represent the twelve apostles, minus Judas.

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All the recipes I found for a traditional Simnel cake seemed very heavy, like a Christmas cake. I didn’t want that. So I decided to adapt a light fruit cake recipe and top it off with marzipan.

PEAR FRUIT CAKE

Ingredients :
200g butter, softened plus extra for greasing
200g dark muscovado sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp black treacle
200g self-raising flour
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp baking powder
2 pears, grated (approx 100g each)
300g mixed sultanas and raisins
Almond paste
Apricot jam

Heat oven to 180C and line the bottom of a deep, round 20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper.

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Beat the first seven ingredients together in a large bowl (electric hand- beaters are best for this), until pale and thick. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold in the fruit until evenly combined.
Spoon the batter into the tin and bake for 50 mins-1 hr or until the cake is dark golden colour.

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Next, brush the top with apricot jam. Roll out almond paste and use the cake tin as a guide to cut out a circle to fit the cake. Carefully place this on top. Finally, roll 11 balls out of the left over almond paste and place on top.

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Pop the cake under a hot grill to burnish the top- KEEP AN EYE ON THE CAKE AT ALL TIMES!

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Happy Easter to everyone at Fiesta Friday!

Melissa xx

Coole Swan Chocolate & Coffee Muffins

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I posted this last year and will continue to post it every year until people GET IT RIGHT!

Sorry, there’s no green food or bacon and cabbage at The Glen House today, there is however, great local Irish produce (and stew for tea)! It’s St. Patrick’s Day today and all around this tiny little world millions of people will be celebrating the guy that got rid of all the snakes. That pretty much sums it up in a nut shell, oh, and he marked the arrival of Christianity here too.

Last week the lovely people at Coole Swan sent me a gift box containing all sorts of Coole Swan goodies. Coole Swan was born by blending the finest Single Malt Irish Whiskey with White Belgium Chocolate and Fresh Cream. Coole Swan is 100% natural and is now regarded as the world’s most delicious tasting Irish Cream Liqueur. The guys are based on a real farm in the Boyne Valley; their cows produce the fresh dairy cream and their grain is used for the whiskey.

image Along side sample of the gorgeous liqueur were some great little recipe books with ideas for afternoon tea and other scrumptious treats. I’m making some of their Coole Swan Chocolate and Coffee muffins to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Ingredients: 2015-03-17-11-03-30_deco 300g Self Raising Flour

275g Caster Sugar

300g Soft Butter

2 Tablespoons of Coole Swan Ground Coffee

40g Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

6 Eggs

2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

150ml Coole Swan

100g Chocolate Chips

Method:

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.

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In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients except the Coole Swan and chocolate chips and combine.

image Add the Coole Swan slowly to form a smooth batter, then add the chocolate chips. 2015-03-17-11-06-19_decoDivide the batter into muffin cases and bake in a preheated oven for 18-20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

These are gorgeous little treats, for a very special day. Happy St Patrick’s Day!

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Coole Swan Muffins

Melissa xx

Guinness Chocolate cake

It’s nearly St Patrick’s Day and every foodie in the land seems to be posting an alcoholic cake of some sort, (not helping the Irish stereotype of course), so I thought I would too! I’ve only ever used alcohol in Christmas cakes, never in a normal cake, so this was an interesting challenge. It would have bee easy to have used Donal Skehan’s recipe, or Nigella’s but I decided I’d amend one of my own.

2015-03-13-09-30-23_decoI didn’t take any photographs while I was making the cake as I was making dinner at the time, but the recipe is easy!

Ingredients:

100g butter
150g brown sugar
2 eggs
200g plain flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
100 ml Guinness
80ml milk

2015-03-13-09-34-06_decoButter Icing:
75g butter
125g icing sugar
50ml Irish Cream Liqueur

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a 10inch cake pan. Cream the butter and sugar together and then beat in the eggs one by one.  Sift in the dry ingredients and fold together with a metal spoon. Pour in the milk and Guinness and mix. Place in the oven for about 34-40 minutes.

2015-03-13-09-32-06_decoRemove the cake from the oven and leave to cool completely. Meanwhile, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix with the butter. Slowly add in the liqueur and then leave mixture to firm up slightly. Finally, spread the icing over the cooled chocolate cake and serve!

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The cake turned out lovely and moist! So I’m taking what is left of it to Angie’s place. Happy Fiesta Friday….. AND HAPPY ST PATRICK’S DAY TOO!!!

Melissa xx

P.S. I received a lovely gift from a local company today, so watch out for a second St. Patrick’s Day post next week!

My review of 2014

The lovely people at WordPress have put some stats together for 2014:

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You crazy, lovely people are all over the world!

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Remember you can find me on Facebook and Twitter too.

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These are the top 5 most viewed posts of 2014…

1. In My Kitchen September 2014

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2. In My Kitchen October 2014

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3. In My Kitchen November 2014

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4. In My Kitchen December 2014

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5. Dutch Bar Snacks

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Do you have a favourite post (or cake) from 2014? Here’s a few of mine…

Fresh Vanilla Sponge

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Chocolate Crispie Cake

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Gold Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes

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Who knows what 2015 will bring to The Glen House???

Happy New Year!

Melissa xx

Advent Calendar Day 24: Christmas Cake part 2

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I’ve finally finished my first ever iced Christmas cake!

It all started a last month when I made
the cake. Since then I’ve been topping it up with a drizzle of spicy rum every now and again.

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On Monday I gathered some marzipan, icing and apricot jam…. I’ve never finished a Christmas cake before so it was my first time using marzipan.

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I rolled it out in icing sugar until it was large enough to cover the cake.

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I covered the cake in apricot jam.

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I placed the marzipan on top and smoothed it out, cutting away the extra.

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I left it to settle for a day and then placed the ready rolled icing on top, smoothing it out with this funky tool.

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Finally, I studded a star shape in gold balls on the top and wrapped a gold ribbon around the edge.

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Simple, but stylish.

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So that’s it! My 24 day Advent Calendar is complete. Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas or indeed a Happy Holiday!

Melissa xx

Advent Calendar Day 22: Light Christmas Cake

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My Dad loves a good fruit cake, but not the heavy Christmas Cake kind. So at this time of year I make a lighter version for him; less fruit, less eggs, no raising agent and a smaller tin (because he’ll eat the whole thing himself)! This has got all the bits he likes, ginger, spices and loads of fruit.

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Ingredients :
zest and juice 1 orange
zest and juice 1 lemon
140g unsalted butter, softened
140g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
175g plain flour
100g raisins
100g dried apricots, roughly chopped
100g cranberries
100g golden sultanas
100g brazil nuts, roughly chopped
50g crystalised ginger
150ml rum
1 tsp mixed spiced
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon

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Soak all the dried fruit in the rum (or tea or apple juice) over night.

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The next day add the brazil nuts and ginger.

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Grease and double-line the base and sides of a deep, 15cm cake tin. Wrap a double layer of greaseproof or brown paper around the outside of the tin, too, then secure with string (with a pretty bow).

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Heat oven to 160C

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy and light. Beat in the eggs gradually. In a small bowl mix the zest and juice of the orange and lemon.

Fold the flour and spices, then dried fruit, nuts and ginger into the creamed mix, followed by the juice and zest mix.

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Spoon the mix into the prepared tin and bake for 30 mins, then turn oven down to 150C and bake for another 1 hr 45 mins until risen, golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

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Leave to cool for 15 mins before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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The cake will keep well wrapped in a cool place for up to 1 month.

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Happy Christmas Daddy!

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Melissa xx

Advent Calendar Day 20: Edible goodie round up

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It’s the weekend before Christmas, so I thought I’d bring you a collection of all the edible pressies I’ve made just on case you need a last minute gift!

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Delicious mince pie with homemade mincemeat in flakey puff pastry.

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Fabulous no-bake festive florentines with cranberries and nuts.

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Special chocolate shimmer cakes.

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Crazy oreo pops with an assortment of sprinkles.

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Cranberry, Malteser and marshmallow rocky road.

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Stunning Forrero Rocher cupcakes for very special people!

Melissa xx