Tag Archive | #fiestafriday

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?

image

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.

image

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.

image

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

image

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

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

No.

image

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?

image

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

Crab apple and Elderberry jelly

There are crab apples growing in the Glen House garden. Last year I didn’t use them, I hadn’t a clue what to do with them. However this year, I begged the lovely people from Ballymaloe cookery school to share their crab apple jelly recipes with me. Twitter is great for that! image These small, sour ornamental fruit of the wild apple tree- crab apples are generally too tart to eat raw. They’re more commonly made into a sweet jelly to accompany roasted meats and game and are also used to make crab apple wine. image I adapted the recipe from Ballymaloe  for the quantities of crab apples I had. I mixed in some normal apples form the garden alongside the beautiful little purpley elderberries. image As the recipe suggested, the crab apple skins were left on and they were placed in a large pot with water. image As the apples and berries broke down the colour changed to a warm pinky plum. image The contents of the pot were poured and  pushed through a sieve. The juice was put back in the pot with a cinnamon stick wrapped in an orange peel and sugar was added. Very quickly the liquid thickend into a sticky jelly….. Ta-da!! image So, now I have homemade crab apple and elderberry jelly! I’m bringing these cute little jars to Angie’s for Fiesta Friday. image Melissa xx

Scones, my way

Every now and again I really enjoy a good scone! Not the bland, boring, dry type but the crunchy topped, light, fruit filled type.

I’m not gonna talk about the referendum BUT…. Seemingly scones originated from Scotland but have become known around around the world as part of a typically English afternoon tea.

image

Ingredients:
450g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
50g butter
2 tbsp caster sugar
250 ml milk
100g raspberries
100g blackberries
1 egg and extra sugar for topping

image

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7.

image

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl. Rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs and then add the sugar.

Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk, stir together using a round bladed knife until it forms a soft dough.

image

At this stage I split the dough in two, and to one part I added raspberries and the other I added blackberries.

image

I rounded each dough on a lined baking tray and flatted. I then sliced through the dough the get 6 triangles. I finished them off with beaten egg and a generous sprinkle of caster sugar.

image

Bung them into the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. I took mine out just before this and separated the triangles to give the insides a crunchy finish.

image

Serve split open, filled with butter and jam or clotted cream and jam and a nice cup of tea! I’m bringing these little beauties to Angie’s place for Fiesta Friday 33! See you there…

image

Melissa xx

Fruity Garden Tarts- 100th post!

image

I can’t quite believe that I’ve written 100 blog posts in just 11 months. I’ve been visited thousands of times by people in 62 countries- lucky me!

To celebrate I’m using my garden grown produce to make some fruity free-form tarts to bring to Angie’s for Fiesta Friday.

The blackberries have really taken off in the garden, so as well as packing up the freezer, Dr Doolittle has made several scrumptious jars of blackberry jam. The apples are back too, so I picked a couple especially for these tarts. Oooh, has anyone got any elderberry recipes? We’ve got plenty of those popping up and I’d love some new ideas!

image

BLACKBERRY JAM & APPLE TARTS

INGREDIENTS

400g plain flour
200g cool butter, cut into cubes
50g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
6 tbsp blackberry jam (I used a jar of Dr Doolittle’s homemade blackberry jam)
200g of blackberries (a small handful per tart)
2-3 apples, cored and chopped
Brown sugar
Cinnamon

image

INSTRUCTIONS

Sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter to make ‘breadcrumbs’. Stir in the sugar. Beat the egg yolks then pour into the flour mixture. Mix gently with a round-bladed knife then mould by hand into a soft dough. If necessary, add a little cold water. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for 20 minutes before rolling out.

Preheat the oven to 190°, I turned the rayburn off!

Roll out the pastry and cut into 6 equal circles (I cut around a soup bowl) and place onto a lined baking tray.

image

Spread blackberry jam over the bottom of the pastry. Place a handful of berries on each circle. Dice the apples into small cubes and scatter evenly over the pastry, leaving a border to allow for a boarder.

Brush the pastry borders with beaten egg or milk and then pinch up the pastry to create a wall around the tart.

image

Sprinkle with a little brown sugar and cinnamon.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

image

Serve with icecream or cream or custard… Or just eat as it is!

image

Melissa xx

Remember you can join me on Twitter @the_glen_house

image

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.

image

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!

image

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

image

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…..

image

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

image

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).

image

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

image

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

image

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

image

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.

image

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.

wpid-2014-08-14-21-41-14_deco.jpg

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.

wpid-2014-08-15-18-50-31_deco.jpg

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

wpid-2014-08-12-22-11-39_deco.jpg

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

wpid-2014-08-12-22-10-31_deco.jpg

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

2014-08-12-22-09-19_deco

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.

wpid-2014-08-12-22-07-30_deco.jpg

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.

wpid-2014-08-12-22-06-44_deco.jpg

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.

wpid-2014-08-12-22-05-37_deco.jpg

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

wpid-2014-08-12-22-02-40_deco.jpg

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

Melissa xx

Dutch bar snacks

I’m just back from an incredible couple of days in the Netherlands. Nestled in the southeast provence of Limburg lies the beautiful town of Valkenburg.

image

Beautiful town

This friendly town is officially called Valkenburg aan de Geul . The Geul is a small river that flows through the centre of town. The houses and buildings were generally tall and narrow and had ornamented façades.

image

Roof tops

Valkenburg boasts the only elevated castle in the Netherlands. Originally built in the 12th century, it was rebuilt and added to several times over the generations until finally being destroyed in the 17th century to keep it out of the hands of the invading French troops.

image

Taken from a steam train

image

The castle

image

The food and drink was stunning. Valkenburg is known for its ‘Burgundy lifestyle’, meaning enjoyment, good food and extravagant display! There were streets full of cafés, restaurants and bars all with beautifully decorated outside terraces.  Flowers and plants sat alongside tables and hung from canopies while candles glowed in the evening. It was all so welcoming.

image

3 local beers and goats cheese

Bite-size snacks are commonly served as bar-food or side-dishes in the Netherlands. This clever little trick was meant to entice you to drink more to wash down the salty spicey morsels. Sitting outside a tiny traditional bar we sampled some Bitterballen and Vlammetjes alongside some cheese cubes and sausage.

Vlammetjes or ‘little flames’ looked like little golden envelopes and were packed full of spicy mince. They were served alongside a sweet chilli dip.

VLAMMETJES

Ingredients
10 Spring Roll Pastry Sheets
500g Minced Beef
5tbsp Sambal
Salt & Pepper
1tsp Vetjin (flavour enhancer)
1tbsp Garlic Powder
1tbsp Ketjap Manis (Indonesian Soy Sauce)
Oil (for Deep-frying)
2 Eggs (for sealing)

Method
Cut Pastry squares into quarters, then each quarter into two triangles for a total of 80.
Combine the mince with the other ingredients.
Roll 80 meatballs. Place one in each triangle, then smear a little egg around the edges. Fold the triangle closed so it’s still a triangle. Deep-fry in oil until brown.

image

Bar snacks

The little golden Bitterballen balls were crunchy on the outside but strangely gooey in the middle. I didn’t like the look of the inside of the ball- it looked like dodgy dog food! However, dipped in mustard the beefy mixture was fantastic.

BITTERBALLEN

Ingredients
4tbsp Butter
250g ground beef or veal
2 carrots, finely diced
1 onion, finely chopped
Salt & Pepper
1tsp Grated Fresh Nutmeg
1tbsp fresh lemon juice
2tbsp parsley, finely chopped
5tbsp flour
1 cup beef stock or milk
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp. water
Oil (for Deep-frying)

Method
Heat one tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over moderate heat and cook the meat, carrots, and onions until the meat is browned and the carrots are tender. Drain the meat in a colander, then place in a mixing bowl. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, lemon juice, and parsley and stir to combine. Set the meat mixture aside.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over moderate heat and stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook this for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the beef stock/milk. Continue heating, stirring constantly, until the sauce boils and becomes quite thick. Combine the sauce with the meat mixture, stirring to combine them thoroughly, and chill this mixture for at least two hours in the refrigerator, until it has become solid.

image

When the mixture has solidified, roll it into balls about 1 inches in diameter, using your hands. Roll the balls in the bread crumbs, then in the egg and water mixture, then in the bread crumbs again. Fry a few at a time in a deep fryer with at least 2 inches of oil at 190 degrees C until golden (about 2 to 3 minutes). Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

image

My final little discovery was this funky fruity liquer mixed up with some freshly squeezed orange juice.

I’ll be bringing a bottle and hopefully some snacks to Angie’s place for this week’s Fiesta Friday, take a look.

image

The castle

Melissa xx

Garden grown onion marmalade

The Glen House garden is full of these beautiful little shallots; several months ago we planted some vegatable bulbs and tiny stater plants (take a look at this post) and now we are starting to enjoy the produce.

image

Having just finished a shop bought jar of onion marmalade it was pretty clear what we had to try and make next….

Onion Marmalade

Ingredients:
Loads of little onions (or 4 large ones)
3 Cloves of garlic
65 g Muscovado sugar
175 ml Balsamic vinegar
¼ Nutmeg powder
1 Clove crushed
1 tspn Chilli powder
1 tspn Paprika
Salt and pepper

image

Method:
Peel and thinly slice the onions and garlic. Add a large knob of butter to your pan on a medium-low heat. Do not allow the butter to darken; when it starts to bubble, add the onions and stir.

Allow the onions to cook for 15-20 minute on a medium-low heat until they become translucent. Add the chopped garlic and stir. Cook gently for a further 3 minutes. Do not allow your pan to get too hot at this stage as the onions will become crispy and the garlic will burn, giving your marmalade a bitter taste.

image

After three minutes, add the muscovado sugar to the pan and stir in thoroughly, coating all of the onions with sugar. As the sugar melts, the mixture should turn brown and become sticky.

With the onions evenly coated, you can add the balsamic vinegar. Increase the pan to a high heat just before pouring in the vinegar, and stir your onions as you add the liquid. When your balsamic begins to bubble, reduce to a medium-low heat.

image

With your balsamic simmering, stir in the chilli, paprika, nutmeg, crushed clove, and salt and pepper to taste. As the mixture begins to reduce, you can balance the flavours by adding more sugar or vinegar to the pan. You are looking for a perfect balance between a tangy initial flavour, and a sweet, spicy after-taste.

Gently cook away all of the residual liquid until you are left with a thick and sticky jam. Place your cooked marmalade into a clean air-tight jam jar and seal. Allow the jar to cool to room temperature before storing the onion marmalade in your fridge. It can keep for several months and is delicious served hot or cold.

image

The marmalade is delicious with cold meats, cheese and bar-be-qued hamburgers!

image

We also pickled some shallots in a vinegar solution…. They should be ready to munch on soon too.

image

As always, I’m popping over to Angie’s place for Fiesta Friday, so I’ll bring a jar of each.

Happy Friday!

image

Melissa xx

Rocky Road

I’ve been a bit preoccupied over the last few weeks, I haven’t been posting very much.

image

So after sharing Mum’s suprise birthday, I thought I’d share the second cake I made her with everyone joining Angie over at fiesta friday. This is the most difficult cake that I have ever made, NOT! The hardest part is letting it harden in the fridge without eating it!

Rocky Road:
125g butter
300g chocolate
3tbs golden syrup
100g digestive biscuits
120g (1 pack) maltesers
100g marshmallows
Sprinkles

image

Chuck the butter, chocolate and golden syrup in a heavy based pan and melt!.

image

Bash the hell out of the biscuits and place in a large bowl. Add the maltesers and marshmallows (STOP EATING THEM).

image

Scoop out 125ml of melted chocolate mixture and set aside.

image

Pour the remaining chocolate over the biscuit mix and stir in.

image

Tip the mix into a clingfilmed square tin (24cm), flattening into place.

image

Pour the 125ml of chocolate mix onto the top.

image

Finish off with sprinkles and refrigerate….. It won’t last long in there!

image

Melissa xx

Sparkly Cosmo Cocktail

It’s friday, it’s fiesta time…. but hang on… there’s no cake?

Inspired by Angie’s latin lover cocktail at the novice gardener‘s Fiesta Friday part-tay last week, today i’m bringing you a blinged up version of my favourite cocktail!

image

Sparkly Cosmopolitan
Ingredients (or just wing it)
– 35ml vodka
– 15ml orange liqueur
– squeeze fresh lime juice
– 25ml cranberry juice
– twist orange peel and edible glitter, to garnish

image

Method
Place the vodka, orange liqueur, lime juice and cranberry juice into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake hard and then strain into a coupe glass or small Martini glass and sprinkle with edible glitter.

image

Hold the piece of orange peel over the glass and carefully flame with a match. Please don’t do this if you have had a few of these already… Garnish the cocktail with the flamed orange peel and serve.

Or….. Do what I actually did…. Use a bottle of pre-glittered berry juice, add the orange juice, vodka (my favourite at the moment is mango flavoured), the orange liqueur and ice… Then shake, shake, SHAKE!

Happy Fiesta Friday!

image

Mellllllllisssssssa xx
hiccup!