Saturday, May 7, 2011

My sister Méabh's scones....

Christ on a bike it's absolutely lashing here today, perfect day for tae and scones. Nice little scone recipe here .. notable for the speed it can be thrown together!

Preheat oven to 220C/430F

Sieve 16oz self-raising flour with 2 heaped teaspoons baking powder into a large bowl.
Take 3oz butter from the fridge and rub in til something resembling breadcrumbs results.
Add 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and a pinch of salt.
Pour in 10oz of milk and barely mix together. Turn out on a counter and flatten into a round about an inch high.
Make scones with cookie cutter or a drinking glass or whatever you have lying around. Brush the tops with milk and stick them in the pre-heated oven until done.

The recipe my sister gave me was half this amount and would make 9 small scones for her. It only made six for me however so I doubled the recipe to make a dozen larger scones. Also, because her scones were smaller, they only needed 8 mins in the oven .. my scones needed about 13 mins before they were done so just bear all that in mind people!

These are very tasty crumbly scones although I did accidentally use baking soda instead of baking powder so might try and make them with the right ingredients next time .. right I'm off to make swiss roll...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lamingtons Oscar Style

Well I first heard about Lamingtons from my old friend Emma from Wellington. I didn't taste one til quite recently though even though I heard of them years and years ago... not readily available in Ireland!
I made them a few weeks ago but the recipe I have, which is a Kiwi recipe, left me a little underwhelmed .. or else I made the sponge incorrectly.

So I decided to put my own little Lamington recipe together.

You start off by making the sponge from the preceding Lemon Cake recipe Instead of making a lemon syrup I made a syrup from blood orange.
Syrup Recipe:
Zest and juice from two blood oranges (medium size)
3/4 cup of white sugar
10 cloves

 This is then poured over the sponge which I have sliced and pricked with a knife all over so as to aid penetration of the juice. You allow this cool pretty completely.

Chocolate Coating:
In the Kiwi cookbook I have they use a cocoa-based coating but I'm not a particular fan of that so I just took 190 g of milk chocolate and 190g of cream and cooked them together on a low heat.

Allow the chocolate to cool and thicken  a bit before you roll the lamington squares in it. The thicker it is then the thicker the coating of chocolate will be on it. I went for something about the consistency of honey ish. Take the dipped Lamington and then roll it in dessicated coconut and leave to cool in the fridge.

And that's about it ... I had two with a big mug of tae last night and I have to say I thought they were extremely tasty. Normally I don't like to make anything that takes a lot of prep but these are worth it ...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Sister Deirdre's Brown Bread....

Well it's a treasured thing to come across a really good brown bread recipe and this is one of the best ones. Not really what you would call a traditional Irish soda bread as there are loads of ingredients in it. Most traditional ones have a fairly minimal set of ingredients. One of the important things in this kind of bread is that where it calls for coarse wholewheat flour you should really not substitute for just wholewheat flour. Tis worth seeking it out even if it's not available in the local shop. In Vancouver (possibly in the rest of N. America) they don't seem to have coarse but they have flour labelled 'stone-milled' which is pretty rough.
And here is the recipe.....

120g Cream flour (all-purpose will do)
120g wheat bran
90g wheat germ
90g oat bran
300g pinhead oatmeal
325g coarse wholemeal flour
325g extra coarse wholemeal flour
1 heaped tsp baking powder
3 heaped tsp bread soda
1.3 Litres of buttermilk

If you can't get the extra coarse then just use 650g  of coarse.
Preheat oven to 450F/230C.
Mix it all together dry in a bowl, must be well mixed to ensure the baking powder and baking soda get evenly distributed. Add 1.3 litres of buttermilk and mix thoroughly. If you can't get buttermilk (or just don't have it handy) then get one 1.3 litres of normal milk and add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to it. Swish it around and leave it for 15 mins and then lash that  in instead.
Prep the loaf tins by rubbing butter all round the inside and then coating in wheat germ...
When that's done divide evenly between three loaf tins and pop it in the oven.
10 mins on 450F/230C and then turn down the oven to 270F/130C for another hour.

Forgot to say that you can sprinkle oatmeal or sesame seeds (as pictured) over the top as the final step if you wish...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Simplest Lemon Cake ya might ever bake...

This is mostly  a Darina Allen recipe with a bit of tweaking from me ... this is a simple simple cake .. it's one of those wonderful recipes, that I love so much, that involves putting everything in the mixing bowl and blending it into one big mess.

3/4 Cup /170g soft butter
3/4 cup/190g superfine/castor sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups/250g self-raising flour

Put everything in the mixer and give it a right lash til tis smooth.
Get her into a shallow roasting/baking dish  .. sometimes called a jelly-roll tray here  in North America I believe.

Bake at 350F/180C for 25 to 30 mins until it's nice and brown.

Take it out of the oven and leave to rest a bit.

That's your basic cake. As you'll see it doesn't contain any lemon in it. For a really juicy moist cake the simplest way iks often to add the moisture after the cake has been cooked. That's the way me Aunty Nellie made them and she makes the best lemon cakes in the world!

Lemon Addition
Get a wee saucepan (this can be started as soon as you have taken the cake from the oven), you want the juice of two lemons and the rind of one in the saucepan. To that you add 3/4 cup/190g ordinary sugar. While that's heating up and the sugar is dissolving in the lemon juice get a stick of cinnamon (or a half teaspoon if ya don't have sticks) and about 6 cloves and add to the lemon and sugar in the pot. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 mins then take off the heat.

Cut your cake into nice portion-sized squares, take the pan of lemon mix and pour it all over the cake, cover it as evenly as possible. Eat as soon as the cake has cooled a bit.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blaas again...

Ok .. so I'm a bit obsessed with Blaas .. and why wouldn't I be .. one of the most beautiful breads in the world. Making them might become a career for me yet .. only a couple of places left in Waterford making blaas!

So this is going to be my definitive blaa recipe. The last time I posted about them I had only made them once. I have probably made nearly ten batches of them since and they've been getting better every time til I feel confident in putting this out on the blogosphere as a final recipe.

This makes a dozen blaas and is measured so that you can fit the 12 on a normal large baking tray and they will join together as they rise same as they came from Harney's back in the day.

900g flour
40g fresh yeast or 20g of instant yeast (Fleischman's type)
600ml water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Add the salt to the flour.

Mix the yeast with lukewarm water and add the teaspoon of sugar in there as well. Let that rest for a minute or two and give it a stir to make sure tis mixed all the way through. 

Add this yeast/water mixture to the flour and salt.

Mix in a machine with a dough hook
put your flour out on a bench and make a hollow in the centre. Pour the liquid in the hollow and almost exactly like mixing cement bring the two together slowly and carefully. If you have a large bowl it can of course be also done in that. Keep mixing till the whole lot comes together and knead until you have a dough that's thoroughly mixed and elastic
Get a large bowl (plastic, steel .. doesn't matter) and rub the inside surfaces with a little bit of olive oil to stop the dough sticking to it. Put the dough in there and then cover with a clean tea towel or some plastic. I use a fairly thick plastic bag that I brush with some more olive oil and it works really well and I can use it over and over again. 

Leave to rise for one hour. 
Important to note that if you have a really cold kitchen or you accidentally used cold instead of hot water for the dough then it may not rise as nice as you'd like. If this is the case then just leave it for longer .. it should be about twice the size you started with in the bowl.

After one hour press down with your fingers  to force the air out and give it a wee massage to get the yeast activated again. Don't really heavy on it. Just push down on it and massage it for about 3 seconds and that's it.

Leave to rise for another hour.
After this time it should come up to about the same size it was after the first rise. Tis now time to divide the dough into a dozen.
Using a weighing scales or your eye if you don't have a weighing scales, weigh out 125g to 130g lumps of dough. 
(if you are thinking of investing in an electronic scales I've found the Myweigh 8000 to be the shot)
Roll them into flattened balls. The traditional blaa isn't like most rolls and doesn't have a big dome top but more of a flattened shape.
Flour the baking tray and lay them out like in the picture with the spaces in between.

Allow to rise for between 2 and 3 hours. 

This is an awful long time to be waiting so do please hack into these on a day when you're home early from work or not working at all. The total time from start to finish is probably about 5 to 6 hours.
Before you stick them in the oven you can dust the whole lot down with flour (my favourite) or if ya want a crusty blaa then either put a bowl of boiling water in the bottom of the oven or oven the door after 5 mins and ten mins and spray the blaas with a mist of water.

Cooking time on these is about 15 to 17 mins at 425 degrees F/220 degrees C.

I had these with a stew I made last night and then had them with Jalapeno crisps today  .. both are recommended.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pizza pizza pizza

Pizza dough recipe courtesy of Marco Ropke.

There are lots of pizza dough recipes in the world .. this is just the one I have. It is meant (I believe) to be only for thin-crust pizzas. I haven't tried to make a thicker one from this dough so ya never know it might work for that too?

400g Strong flour
6g Salt
20/25ml Olive oil
8g instant yeast
240ml water
Normal craic with this one .. mix the yeast and water separate give them a minute and a bit of a stir to dissolve and then if you're using a machine just throw everything into the bowl and set to mix for about 8 mins on medium speed. If you're mixing by hand then put your flour and salt out on the bench and make a wee well in the middle and get all your wet ingredients in there. Mix it up slowly at first and then lash into it and knead knead knead. 

This will result in a firm but elastic dough. You can roll this out straight away and make pizza out of it, no need to wait for rises or anything! The few that I have made out of this have turned out pretty tasty. I put them in the oven before putting the toppings on them to give them a bit of a cook. The picture on the left is the pizza after that initial blast of heat. I am going to try putting my pie weights on the dough the next time to stop it blowing up like that, not that it make a whole lot of difference really.

Anyway I didn't have any toppings lying around really so I went minimalist Italian on it and I just put tomatoes and cheese with a drizzle of olive oil and some black pepper and cayenne for seasoning.

Things to note about making this pizza. The recipe I have given makes TWO large pizzas. As you can see by the picture this pizza covers and entire large (half-sheet) baking tray. However because it is so thin and there was a very light arrangement of toppings on there I did manage to eat the whole thing myself. I'm a hungry bastid though and I was full as an egg after it.

Another tip for this is that when you're rolling it out it won't want to stretch to a really large size and, like an elastic band, will want to return to a small round. The way to get around this is roll it out as far as you can then walk away. Leave it for 4 or 5 mins and then come back to it and you'll find it will roll out to twice the size no problem,

Last thing is that this dough will keep for about 2 days in the fridge (all wrapped up nicely with nothing left open to the air) .. after that you're not seeing the best results methinks.

Amendment Nov 2010: I have since realised that you can leave the dough in the fridge for a lot longer and still get tasty results. As long as it's in a fairly airtight bag you could get away with 4 or 5 days no bother. Also you can freeze it for ages and then just take it out the day before you want to use it.

Amendment April 2011: It has just been pointed out that I had no temp or cooking info in this 'recipe'  .. I throw it in at about 450F for 3/4 mins with no toppings on it then take it back out pop a couple of holes in the blister that will inevitably appear and load the toppings on and put it back in for 10 mins on the dot ... job done. Sorry Jodie!

That's it .. enjoy your Italian pizza...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Oscar's Original Bread Recipe

I have realised that I haven't actually given out any recipes thus far. So what I am going to do is make my own up and give that out as the first recipe!!

I have no idea what kind of bread it's going to be, this is how I'm starting it.

2 cups of flour and 2 cups of water (one from the hot tap and one from the cold)
Add to that 1 teaspoon of active dry yeast.
Place it in  a large bowl mix it thoroughly with your hand and cover it with cling-film or a lid if you can make it airtight..

This is going to be the pre-ferment for whatever I decide to do tomorrow. This should be put in a large bowl and allowed to go mad. It will probably look like a witch's cauldron by tomorrow and I will take further pictures of it then. You can just see the bubbles of C02 rising already from it. This is a good thing. This is the fermentation process which will impart an extra shot of flavour into the bread we make tomorrow. This should really not be done till late tonight but I'm going to give it about 20 hours instead of the usual 15 to do its thing.

Ah I love the process of experimentation....


Ok there was quite the hiatus there but that doesn't mean I didn't make bread .. I did and lots of it.

The pre-ferment (or Poolish as it is know) looked like this the next day.

As you can see, lots and lots of activity there and you can imagine the stink that was off it. Yeasty/alcohol of some substance. This was left in a lot longer than is normally recommended but I don't see anywhere for the flavour to go so I don't think it is a major problem, AND I'm making up a recipe so I don't have to do very much that's recommended if I don't want to.

Baker's Percentage: For this bread I decided to use something called baker's percentage. Basically you call your flour 100% and everything else is stated as a percentage in weight. 
For example; if you had 1000g of flour and you wanted to make a bread that was around 60% water then you would add 600g of water. Brilliantly simple isn't it! 
Why would ya want to do this? 
Well it makes recipes really really easy to scale. You wanna make a smaller amount of some bread then you add only 2 cups of flour instead of the 8 that the recipe calls for .. you wanna make 20 loaves of bread? Then you just scale up the flour and everything else will fall neatly into place.
My new scales that I bought has a button which gives you baker's percentage without even having to think about it. I wanted a bread that was about 70% water. That would make really big airpockets and give a ciabatta type bread. This is one of the wettest doughs that is commonly made. You also have to remember that the poolish I made was 100% water and that raised the overall percentage by even more. I didn't calculate exactly how much.
I put about 4 cups of flour in.
70% water
2% yeast
1% Salt
This is what resulted. An extremely wet dough which I basically poured out of the KitchenAid onto the counter. FUN!

I forgot to take a picture after I had allowed to rest but it was very similar to the baguette picture earlier in this blog. Dough like this doesn't really go up .. it just spreads out.

This is what resulted from my efforts. I made a few baguettes and a loaf in the loaf tin also.
As you can see .. massive air pockets which is exactly what I was after; a really airy Italian bread perfect for dipping! It's a pretty tasty bread in fairness, I have invented a recipe and it was that easy. It's not anything particularly unique but it just goes to show that you can really pick figures out of your head with very little guidance and make a bread.  Happy Days...