Tag Archive | #dessert

Apple pastries

I wasn’t going to share this recipe because it’s embarrassingly easy, but I’ve been asked to…. I don’t have any photographs of the process so you’ll have to use your imagination!

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I had been given a bag of home grown bramley apples by a dear friend and have had great fun making pies, turnovers and chutnies. These apple turnover pastries can be made and in the oven in minutes.

Ingredients:
1.3kg/3lb Bramley apples, peeled, core removed and quartered
75g/2½oz soft light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 lemon, zest only

For the pastry:
Plain flour, for dusting
500g/1lb 2oz puff pastry
1 egg

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Roughly chop the apples into bite-sized pieces. Put them in a large saucepan with the sugar, cinnamon, ginger and three tablespoons of water. Stir together well, cover with a lid and put on a low heat to cook for about eight minutes. Then give it a stir and cook for another 8-10 minutes, or until the apples are soft but not too mushy.

Remove the apples from the heat. Finely grate the zest from the lemon over to taste, and leave to cool completely.

I used ready roll pastry and manged to get four oblongs out of each sheet; cut down the middle of both sides and arrange them on the lined baking sheet.

Crack the egg into a mug, whisk it lightly and then using a pastry brush, brush around the edge of each pastry rectangle. Then put a couple of chunks of the apple on one half of each rectangle. Then fold the other half of the pastry over the apple and use your fingers to press the edges down to seal. Press in nice and tight to the apple so everything is snug and cosy. I used a fork to crimp the edges.

Brush the pies liberally with the remaining egg and sprinkle with caster sugar and mark a hole in the top of the pastries with a sharp knife. Put them in the oven for about 25 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

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It might be Saturday, but the party will still be in full swing over at Angie’s place for Fiesta Friday!

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Melissa xx

Lemon and Raspberry Muffins

A few weeks ago the lovely people at Donegal Rapeseed oil tweeted that they were looking for recipes using their oil. I cheekily tweeted back that I’d be happy to come up with a recipe if they sent me a bottle, so they sent me four!!! I was utterly shocked to receive a beautiful gift box containing lemon, chilli, garlic and a honey and mustard dressing.

It is multi-award winning oil; the garlic infused oil has a wonderful ‘just pressed’ garlic flavour ideal to cook fish and seafood, or simply used to roast potatoes or drizzle onto pizza. The chilli flavoured oil is perfect for adding spice to your cooking. It is great for stir-fries or use to inject some spice to any casserole, soup or pasta dish. The lemon infused oil is zesty, refreshing oil that will ignite your taste buds. It is fantastic for cooking fish and chicken, and delightfully refreshing drizzled on a summer salad.

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gift box

Donegal Rapeseed Oil website explains that it has less than half the saturated fat of olive oil, resulting in it being one of the healthiest culinary Oils in the market.

It says it contains no artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives, and is a natural source of healthy fats known as omega 3, 6, and 9. Omega 3 and 6 are essential in the diet and are well known for their health benefits. They help to maintain normal cholesterol levels in the body, which is important for a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. It is a rich source of vitamin E, a natural antioxidant which helps to protect the body’s cells from damage.

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beautiful colour

Sticking to what I know best, I thought that I would bake something sweet. I decided to go for some classic, easy to make, fruity muffins and use the lemon oil, which smelt incredible and had a wonderful fresh zesty flavour!

Lemon and Raspberry Muffins

250g plain flour

150g caster sugar

2.5 teaspoon baking powder

0.25 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

240ml milk

115ml Donegal Lemon Rapeseed Oil

2 eggs

190g fresh raspberries

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muffin mix

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a muffin tray. In one bowl whisk together the oil, milk and eggs and in a second bowl combine the dry ingredients.

Stir half on the dry ingredients to the oil, milk and egg mixture, ensuring that it is mixed thoroughly. Then fold in the second half of the dry ingredients.

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mix

Finally, fold the raspberries into the mix. Using a teaspoon carefully place the mix into the muffin cases and pop into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, until slightly golden.

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muffin cases

Leave to cool on a wire rack.

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lemon and raspberry muffins

The smell and the taste of these muffins are incredible! The Donegal Lemon Rapeseed Oil works brilliantly to give these muffins a wonderful light texture and fantastic taste.

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Lemon and Raspberry Muffins

I’m bringing these beauties to Angie’s party over at Fiesta Friday!

Melissa xx

Lemon Meringue Pie

Dr Doolittle has been ‘collecting’ lemons! There must be over a dozen sitting in the fruit bowl this morning, he says he’s going to be preserving them…. I was very tempted to remake the recipe I’m sharing with you today, just to take some more photographs- but I thought better of it!

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Yesterday was Thanksgiving and although I’m not American, I love the idea of giving thanks. I also love the idea of a gathering of people celebrating life with food. I must admit when I think of American desserts, I think of pies; pumpkin pie, apple pie, mississippi mud pie and the one I’m bring to Fiesta Friday, lemon meringue pie.

The base of the pie is ‘pate sucree’, a sweet pastry.

Ingredients:
110g plain flour
Pinch of salt
55g softened unsalted butter, diced
2 egg yolks
55g caster sugar
1 drop fesh vanilla

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Place the butter into the centre and work into the flour until it forms breadcrumbs and add in the sugar. Add the egg bit by bit and stir in the vanilla. Work the mixture until the pastry comes together. Pop the pastry into the fridge until ready to use.

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Lemon Curd:
50g butter
110g caster sugar
100ml lemon juice and zest of 3 lemons
5 egg yolks

Meringue
3 egg whites
Pinch of salt
225g caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and lightly grease a 20cm flan tin.

Roll out the pate sucree and use to line the tin. Prick the base well with a fork, then cover with parchment paper and place baking beans on top. ‘Blind bake’ in the oven for 20 minutes, then remove paper and beans and pop back in for a further 5 minutes.

To make the curd, melt the butter in a heavy based pan on a low heat. Add in the lemon juice and zest and blend well. On a low heat, slowly add the eggs and sugar and stir until a custard is formed. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, this will thicken as it cools. Spoon into the flan case and spread out.

Beat the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl for a minute, then add the sugar and salt bit by bit. Place the meringue onto top of the pie and place in an oven at 160 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

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Next time, i’ll make sure that the meringue is whipped until it’d fluffier and that the top is slightly burnished…

Melissa xx

Halloween Profiteroles

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Happy Halloween

As you know, I blog from my mobile phone, meaning I use the WordPress app instead of sitting at my laptop (I just don’t get the time). Blogging on the go is so easy and convenient.

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Scary stuff

However recently I haven’t been getting many posts into the ‘blogs I follow’ page. At first I just presumed that you were all too busy to blog, but the other day my very own post didn’t appear…. Even after hours of refreshing the page nothing happened. I even uninstalled and then reinstalled the app. Still nothing.

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I’m sorry that I haven’t been visiting your blog, but i’ve made Halloween profiteroles for you all to make amends! Oh, and one more thing…. This is the last post that my rubbish SD card will ruin. I’ve lost the photos of the choux pastry process! You’ll be glad to know that i’ve now taken the SD card out of my phone and banished it to the depths of The Glen House…

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Chocolate Profiteroles

Ingredients:
For the choux pastry
200ml cold water
1/2 tsp caster sugar
85g unsalted butter, diced small
Pinch of salt
115g strong flour
3 medium eggs beaten

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Place the butter, water, pinch of salt and sugar into a pan. Place over a low heat until the butter has melted and the liquid looks milky. Then increase the heat and allow the mix to come to the boil, as it starts to boil take it off the heat and add the flour and mix well. Return to the heat for a couple of minutes and beat vigorously until a smooth paste is formed.

Once the paste curls away from the side of the pan take it off the heat and let it cool. Beat in the eggs one by one, stirring vigorously until the paste is smooth and glossy.

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Place the mixture into a piping bag and allo. I find standing the filled bag in a glass makes it easier to manage.

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Pipe the mix onto a lined baking tray. Rub the top of the piped mix (on the right) with a wet finger (on the left) to ensure a crisper top. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Don’t open the oven. Remove the buns from the oven and prick the base of each one. Place back on the back on the baking tray with the hole facing upwards and return to the oven for a couple of minutes. This will help dry out the middle of the bun.

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For the cream filling:
450ml cream
1 tbsp icing sugar

Lightly whip the cream and icing sugar until soft peaks are formed. When the profiteroles are cold, using a piping bag fill the holes in the buns.

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Filling with cream

For the chocolate topping:
100ml cream
175g good quality chocolate

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Break the chocolate up and add to a bowl with the cream over a pan of hot water. Stir until glossy and then allow to cool a little.

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Halloween Profiteroles

Happy Halloween! Join me over at Angie’s blog The Novice Gardener for her weekly #FiestaFriday party!

Melissa xx
You can find me on Facebook and Twitter, stop by and say hello!

Celebration Cakes

I made a wonderful birthday cake for a dear friend, a grateful friend, a few days ago. I was all set to share the recipe and method with you today… And then technology let me down!

I blog from my mobile phone, not a laptop. I find that it’s a quick and easy way to fit blogging into my lifestyle. However all the photos I’ve taken over the last few days have been deleted from my SD card boo hoo…

This is the only photo I have of the chocolate sponge cake filled with fresh whipped cream and strawbwerries. It was delicious!

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As i’ve just celebrated my first blog anniversary so I decided to bring all my favourite cakes to Angies for Fiesta Friday. It’s also #NationalChocolateWeek so all the recipes are chocolate cakes!

Chocolate and Cherry cake
This was a quick and simple pantry cake, with cherries from a jar!

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Chocolate Berry Celebration cake
This gorgeous chocolate cake was smoothered in chocolate ganache before being topped with berries.

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White Chocolate cake
This pretty white chocolate and orange cake was finished off with white chocolate cigarillos and fresh strawberries.

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Happy Friday!

Melissa xx

Chocolate Crispie Celebration Cake

Two disasters in one night left me in tears on Tuesday… I started questioning whether I really am any good at this baking and cooking lark?

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Here is the first of the disasters (I’ll keep the second disaster for another day). It was a cake that I made for a friend’s birthday (she loved it). I’m bringing this to Angie’s to cheer myself up on this glorious Fiesta Friday.

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The recipe was meant to be the actual celebration cake a disaster inspired by Jamie Oliver’s celebration cake in his new book Comfort Food. I started by making the spongy brownie cake part:

250 g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
150 g quality dark chocolate (70%)
2 tablespoons olive oil
300 g caster sugar
6 large free-range eggs
150 g self-raising flour
4 tablespoons quality cocoa powder

So I melted the chocolate, butter, sugar and oil in a bowl over a saucepan. Then I added the eggs one by one and finished by sieving the flour and cocoa in. I popped it in the oven for 50 minutes, took the cake out of the oven, and left it to cool…. When I got around to slicing it IT WASN’T COOKED! What was I thinking? I had checked it with a skewer so I don’t know how I managed it?

I went bananas….. I remade another sponge (having tripled the quantities in this chocolate muffin recipe) and carried on with Jamie’s idea. I made two sponges and sliced them both in half, giving me four layers.

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I kept going and made the crispy layer to put it on the slices of cake, but I decided to use whipped cream (with vanilla) instead of the nougat frosting. I was worried that it wouldn’t travel well to work the following day.

For the chocolate rice layer:
300 g quality dark chocolate (70%), plus extra to serve
1 large knob of butter
1 splash of double cream
100 g puffed rice cereal

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I finished the cake off with milk chocolate and white chocolate curly shards.

I was exhausted by this stage. Was it worth it?

No.

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So the following day I was feeling crap about the cake, I was met with some really ungrateful people. They either refused my cake because they “couldn’t eat that because of all the calories, no wonder you say you’re putting weight on…” Or happily took a slice and then didn’t finish it.

It was a celebration cake; the birthday girl cut extremely thin slices because it was so rich AND to ensure that everyone that wanted a slice, got one. So do people not realise that it’s an insult to throw my cake in the bin?

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Why are people so mean?

What happened to people’s manners?

And why have I started to question myself…. I thought I loved baking?

Melissa xx

My name is Melissa & I’m a blogger

I had a light bulb moment last week. I’m a blogger! Does that sound daft considering I’ve been blogging for nearly a year?

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I might not have thousands of followers (yet) but I do have hundreds of extremely loyal ones. I also work in a jungle with hundreds of people who all know me and know how much I love to bake! Word of mouth and trust speaks volumes……

Last week, on my birthday I was invited (as a blogger) to a Dr Oetker baking event in Dublin. I knew the brand already because my pantry has always had Dr Oetker products in. Gone are the days when you had to wait for the postman or courier to bring tasty toppings, I just pop to my local supermarket.

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Lots of gorgeous new home baking products were on display to try out. For the first time cake toppings are as tasty as the cakes they are displayed on. I’ve never been a fan of gold or silver balls because I’ve never been a fan of cracking my teeth on hard sugar! These were different, with these ‘pearls’ you bite into delicious chocolate.

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These are the cakes that I decorated myself that evening; on the left hand side I used cupcake vanilla icing with Eaton Mess and Sugar Hearts. On the right I used cupcake pink icing, cupcake white icing and Rainbow Popping Candy. For the bottom cake I used cupcake chocolate icing and Chocolate Gold Pearls.

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This Madagascan Vanilla Grinder was the most exciting find of the night. This little jar holds chopped, dried vanilla pods in a pepper grinder. GENIUS! It means you can have a fresh vanilla flavour all the time without wasting the remainder of the pods (there are only so many canisters of sugar that I can put used vanilla pods in).

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I’m looking forward to using the rest of my goodies at The Glen House.

Melissa xx

Remember you can find me on Twitter @the_glen_house

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Garden grown blackberry crumble

It’s that time of year again, the time when beautiful little blackberries start popping up in abundance in Irish hedgerows.

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Luckily, they seem to be making a staggered appearance around The Glen House garden, giving us plenty of time to pick them. Just to note, we’re not picking them all, there are PLENTY left for the birds!

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So this week I’ve decided to bring a blackberry and pear crumble to Angie’s place for Fiesta Friday.

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My favourite crumble recipe is from Rachel Allen’s book Bake! It adds oats to a traditional crumble mixture to give it a really crunchie texture. This is my version…..

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Ingredients:
400g blackberries
2 pears
150g plain flour
75g butter CHILLED
25g porridge oats
75g soft brown sugar

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Place the flour in a large bowl, add in the butter and using your fingertips rub it in until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. Then add in the sugar and oats and combine (I used a spoon, so that I wouldn’t warm the butter up).

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Lay the blackberries and chopped up pear in a 1 litre pie or oven dish, then sprinkle with the crumble mixture.

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Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 30-40 minutes until golden brown on top.

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I served mine with greek yogurt, but custard or icecream would be just as yummy!

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I stumbled upon a poem by the wonderful Irish poet Seamus Heaney that sums up this time of year….

Blackberry Picking
Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for picking.
Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn’t fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.

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Melissa xx

Frozen Strawberries

Ahhhhhh, I’ve just lost this post as I went to post it! How bizarre!! This is the re-hashed version.

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So…. Where was I?

Firstly, I was thanking Angie over at the Novice Gardener for ‘featuring’ me at Fiesta Friday this week. Most Fridays, I try and attend the blogger party bringing with me all sorts of goodies. Last week I brought tales of my adventures in the Netherlands along with some Dutch bar snacks. Angie’s party’s are a great way of meeting new bloggers, sharing ideas and discovering lots of new recipes.

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This week I was going to bring a gorgeous frozen strawberry yogurt, courtesy of a Mr Jamie Oliver. I had thrown a punnet of strawberries into the freezer the morning we flew to the Netherlands, so they were perfect for this recipe (or so I thought). I also had a tub of Greek yogurt nearing its use by date and some store cupboard orange blossom honey.

Jamie’s Ingredients:

  • 1 x 500g pack frozen berries
  • 150g fresh blueberries
  • 1 x 500g tub natural yoghurt
  • 3-4 tablespoons runny honey

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So, the first mistake I made- I left the stalks on the strawberries, instead of taking them off before I froze them! DOH!

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The second mistake was to leave them whole. I should have quartered them before I froze them! OOPS!

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Anyway, I threw the tub of yogurt and some honey into the food mixer and whizzed. I then added the strawberries and whizzed, and whizzed and whizzed to try and break them down. It took ages.

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Eventually, the strawberries broke down, but so did the yogurt mixture. By the time I’d finished the mixture was all runny, it looked NOTHING like the photographs in Jamie’s 30 minute meal book.

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I served Dr Doolittle a portion poured over a meringue, and I ‘drank’ mine! It was cool, fresh and creamy, with a hint of strawberry- quite strange really.

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The photographs don’t do the colour justice, it was a gorgeous reddy-pinky colour.

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At least after all the messing around, it tasted ok…. Just gutted that it wasn’t perfect!

Melissa xx