Tuesday 16 March 2010

More Soda Bread

Well it is Saint Patrick's day and Soda bread is an Irish tradition so this is my contribution. It is a slightly different version from my usual recipe. Well I need to be adventurous now and again. This was not a huge change but the results blew me away as I was expecting the usual disaster to happen. The change was.............I used Bread flour instead of the usual plain. Tah Dah! Risque no? It made a great difference to the texture and it had a lovely crispy crust. I wanted a savoury loaf so I added cheese and spring onions. Totally delicious. Perfect toasted with some cheese. The spring onions added a little traditional green to the occasion. I made it in a long cob shape instead of the tradional round. I slashed the top diagonally three times to replace the usual cross too let the fairies out. I don't think Saint Patrick will worry about this slight deviation do you?


250gms/ strong white (bread) flour
250gms/strong wholemeal ( bread) flour
50 gms butter
400mls approx buttermilk or milk soured with the juice of a lemon
1 egg beaten
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
Good pich of cayenne pepper
100gms grated cheddar
5-6 spring onions chopped


Pre heat oven to 180.C/160.C fan/gas 4/355.F

Grease a baking sheet

Mix the flours, salt, cayenne pepper, soda bic and cream of tartar together.
Rub in the butter until well dispersed.
Stir in the cheese and onions.
make a well in the centre and add the egg then the buttermilk.
Mix until well combined. Don't add all of the liquid at first. The mix should combine easily but not be too sticky. It's easier to add a little more liquid at a time should it be too dry than take it away if too wet.
Place the dough on a floured work top and shape gently into what ever shape you want.
Place on the baking sheet
Slash the top deeply and bake for approximately 45 minutes. Test with a skewer to see if it is ready.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

Saturday 13 March 2010

Irish Blog Awards

This is so exciting. As you can see my Blog has reached the short list of The Irish Blog Awards. I can't believe my humble little Blog has reached this stage. The judging for the finalists starts on Friday. Thank you to she/he/ they who nominated me. Also without the sponsors the event would not be possible. The organisers and the judges who give of their free time to do this deserve a huge round of applause. It's a massive undertaking. I don't expect to get any further but to have been shortlisted is just wonderful. Thank you everyone.

Wednesday 10 March 2010

Flying Scotsmen

I love 'Come Dine With Me' My net book is beside me on the work top when I am cooking so I can watch away. It sometimes makes me cringe and also makes me laugh. Some of the recipes are very good and it's helpful seeing someone throw it together. This recipe came from a Scots contender. No surprise there. I love chicken and haggis and I thought what a great way to combine the two. It is very pretty when cooked and slices nicely if you want more delicate servings. I know it's not easy for people to get haggis. I imagine it would work nicely with sausage meat infused with some spice. I also wonder what it would be like with pate. All these are on my must try list. When I am in Scotland I buy the haggis in large sausage form and slice it for the freezer. Very convenient to use. My supply is nearly out though and as I have no visits planned to go across the water in the near future I really have to see if I can buy on line. Can't do without my haggis fix. The Flying Scotsmen are served with a whisky cream sauce. Couldn't be simpler to make and can be prepared well in advance ready to pop in the oven. It's yet again a really tasty way to use chicken breasts.


1 chicken fillet per person battened out flat between two sheets of cling film.

2 slices of streaky bacon per chicken fillet spread out flat with a knife (or you can use pancetta)
A little oil or butter
1 tablespoon of whisky (optional)
Approximately 1 tablespoon of haggis per chicken fillet

Whisky Sauce

100 mls chicken stock
100 mls of double cream
2 tablespoons of whisky
cornflour to thicken if needed


Pre heat oven to 180.c/160.c Fan/Gas 4/355.F

Mix the whisky if using with the haggis in a bowl to marinate for a few minutes

Spread the haggis on each flattened out chicken breast and roll up tightly. Don't make the layer too thick or it will just squish out.

Wrap the two bacon slices round each parcel

Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with a little oil/butter and bak for approx 45 minutes.

Whisky Cream Sauce

In a small saucepan boil the stock. Add the whisky and let it bubble for a few minutes.
Add the cream and heat through
You can use a little cornflour to thicken but I found it wasn't necessary


A Pie For Grannymar

My Blogging friend Grannymar has a dairy intolerance. I know she uses 'Pure' which is a dairy free spread. I wondered if it could be used for making pastry instead of my usual butter and white fat. My other half gets terrible indigestion with pastry and I was unsure whether it was the fat or the dairy part. I decided to experiment. Unfortunately it would seem it's the fat causes my hubby's problems but Grannymar if you like pastry this works very well. It does make the dough very short so a bit footery to work with but the result was lovely short crisp pastry. The filling in the picture is mango and pear. I needed to use them up. It made a gorgeous filling. Worth repeating I think. I always use the same pastry recipe. It came from my Aunt who is in her nineties and her pastry recipe was always a closely guarded secret until fairly recently. It makes the crispest pastry ever.
So Grannymar enjoy your pie.


225g /8oz Self Raising flour (If using plain add a teaspoon of baking powder)
100gms/4oz butter
50gms/2 oz white fat
1 tablespoon icing sugar
Milk to bind

I do my pastry in the food processor
Whizzing the flour and icing sugar together
Add the fats and whizz until like fine breadcrumbs
Then add a little cold milk to combine (It will form a ball)
Add the milk in very small amounts. Easy to add hard to take away and you don't want soggy pastry dough. It should be quite firm
If doing by hand, rub the fats into the flour with your finger tips until it looks like fine breadcrumbs and then stir in a little milk to combine.
Wrap the dough in a plastic bag or cling film and pop in the fridge to rest for a little while.

This amount will make a dinner plate sized tart.

Sunday 7 March 2010

Pimp The Biscuit

Over at The Clayton's Blog, Gail is running a competition to 'Pimp The Biscuit' that is, choose an everyday biscuit/cookie then make a large cake in it's image. I stole Gail's idea of a Jaffa Cake (sorry Gail) For those of you who have never met a Jaffa Cake they are the small biscuits at the front of the picture. The prize for the winner is (Drum Roll)

A Batter Finger.

Now who wouldn't want one of these hilarious items in their kitchen. The competition is open to everyone. So please have some fun and enter. The entries have to be in before the end of March .Gail runs a communal blog and there are some great contributors and lovely recipes. You will find everything you need to know about the competition here.

The humble Jaffa cake has been around for as long as I can remember. The base is spongy and curved so I decided to bake a sponge in a pasta bowl. As there is an orange filling in the biscuit, I used some Jelly marmalade to spread on top of the sponge I then made a chocolate ganache for the topping. It's nice and glossy so looks like the chocolate topping on the biccie. There are little squares marked on the top of a Jaffa cake so I plonked the cooling tray on top of the ganache to make these. To be honest it made such a nice cake I would make it again.

For the sponge I used an all in one mixture using soft brown sugar to give a slightly darker colour to the base


Grease and line the bottom of a sandwich tin ( or in this case a pasta bowl)
Pre heat your oven to 180.c/160.c fan/ 355.f/Gas 4

100gg/4oz Self raising flour
100g/4oz softened butter or margarine
100g/40z soft brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk

Orange jelly Marmalade for the filling

For the Topping

200 g dark chocolate
120 mls double cream
A knob of butter about 1oz/25g

Just beat the cake ingredients all together until nice and soft. Spread in to the tin/bowl leaving an indentation in the middle. This will keep the surface nice and flat.
Bake for approx 15-20 minutes until the top bounces back to the touch.
Leave to cool completely before removing to a cooling rack or plate.

To make the Ganache topping place the double cream and butter in a small saucepan and break the chocolate into small pieces and place in another pan
Bring the cream just to boiling point and pour over the chocolate.
Beat until the chocolate is well combined and melted.
Leave to cool and thicken then spread on top of the cake.

I think chocolate ganache is one of the nicest cake toppings. Lovely and glossy and oh so rich. The higher the ratio of chocolate to cream the thicker the ganache will be. The usual ratio is 100 g chocolate to 60 of cream. I wanted mine quite thick for this and this ratio was perfect
The butter added gives extra gloss

Thank you Gail for this bit of fun I am keeping my toes crossed for the prize!