Sunday, 31 October 2010

Exceptional Banana Bread

This banana bread is moist and tasty and is perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. Best eaten slightly warm.

The Ingredients:
250g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
0.5tsp pinch salt
120g butter
120g dark brown soft sugar
2 eggs
510g mashed over-ripe bananas         
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tbsp Honey

The How-To:
 Preheat oven to 180c.
Cream the butter and sugar together until creamy.
Add the two eggs one by one to the mix.
Mash the banana up and mix into the butter and sugar mix.
In a separate large bowl sieve together the flour, bicarbonate soda and salt.
Stir the banana, sugar and butter mixture into the dry mix.
Add the cinnamon and honey.
Mix well to combine but do not over mix.
Place in two bread tins or if you don't have those use two aluminium takeaway cartons which work equally well!
Bake in the oven for 60 mins.

You're Done!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Scary Halloween Double Chocolate Cupcakes

In theme with Halloween is another recipe which is perfect to make with kids and will certainly get them in the mood for Halloween! This cupcake is chocolate sponge with Chocolate frosting and a dusting of coconut on top.

The Ingredients:
Cupcake :
75g Coco Powder
300g Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
250ml Milk
175g Flour
2 tsp baking powder
0.25tsp bicarbonate soda
1tsp vanilla extract or essence
40g Butter
0.25tsp Salt

650g Icing Sugar
100ml Milk
175g Butter
1tsp Vanilla extract or essence.

The How-To:

Preheat oven to 180c.
Cream the butter and sugar together.
Add the eggs one at a time ensuring each is combined before adding the next.
Stir in the vanilla.
In a separate bowl sieve all the dry ingredients together.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet mix alternating with the milk until all ingredients are combined well.
Place the mixture into bun cases, it will seem quite thin but they cook perfect. 3/4 fill the cupcake cases.
Bake in the oven for 15 mins.
Remove and allow to completely cool before frosting.

Making the frosting:
Cream the butter until smooth.
Slowly add the icing sugar and coco powder alternating with the milk.
The mixture should be spreadable. Spread onto the cupcakes using a knife.

Dusting with Coconut:
For best results here I use green food colouring so slightly dye some shredded coconut to look like grass.
Use a spoon to sprinkle this over the frosted cupcake and tip upside down to remove any excess.
Place a spider or other creepy insect on top to complete the cupcake.

Your Done!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Halloween Cupcakes!

This is an excellent recipe where the kids can help out too. You will need to make the cupcakes from our “simple vanilla cupcake” recipe which you can find here and the “customisable frosting” recipe which you can find here.

The First Option:  Vanilla cupcake with grave decoration:

To make this cupcake the recipe stays the same as here but the frosting is coloured green using green food colouring. This makes the grass. You will need some ready rolled icing similar to here but also available in loads of other brands to make the headstone. You will also need some Oreo cookies which you will crush to make the soil on the graves.
Experiment with different piping attachments to find one you like for the grass, alternatively if you don’t have any piping bags you can use a freezer bag with the corner cut off or even just spread the frosting on with a knife. For the headstone you will need to cut out a headstone shape in icing (make sure it is thick enough to stand up, you may need to double it up), you can also write what you want on the headstone with an icing pen if you want but this is optional.

1.       Bake cupcake and leave to cool completely.
2.       Make frosting and top the cupcake
3.       While the frosting is still soft stick in the icing headstone and decorate the grave with the crushed Oreos.
4.       Leave aside to harden.

The Second Option: Pumpkin orange cupcake with orange flavoured frosting:

This is a simple but delicious cupcake! Simply make the batter for the vanilla cupcake again, but before spooning the mixture into the bun cases add some orange food colouring, be generous to achieve a nice bright orange sponge.
Now make the frosting here but leave out the vanilla, instead grate some orange zest into the frosting. You will probably need about the zest of two large oranges but you can add this to taste.
Frost the cupcakes in whatever way you want, you can either pipe the frosting on or simple spread it on, finally decorate with any disgusting Halloween jelly sweets such as eye balls.

You’re Done!

Cupcake on FoodistaCupcake

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Dainty Bread Rolls

This recipe for bread rolls is simple, straightf forward and always yields best results. A lot of people have the impression that baking bread is something reserved for the more experienced bakers, this is not true at all and I would encourage everyone to give it a go.
This recipe will make 24 dainty bread rolls or if you want them slightly larger (the size of a normal bread bap) will make about 16.

The Ingredients:
500g Plain Flour
360ml Water
4tbsp Caster Sugar
1.5tbsp Dried Yeast
2 tsp Salt
1tbsp Vegetable Oil
50g Butter

The How-To:
Sieve the flour, sugar, yeast and salt into a large bowl.
Mix in the butter until there are no large lumps of buter left.
Mix in the water.
Mix until this forms a dough, I find the dough hooks attachment to an electric whisk works wonders here. (dont worry if you dont have one, just mix really well).
Lightly flour the worktop and knead the dough for about 20 mins, this will help combine any smaller bits of butter still left in the dough.
Rub the 1tbsp oil over the ball of dough and place in a large bowl, cover with a cloth and leave to rise for 1 hour.
After 1 hour you will see that the dough his almost doubled in size. Use a sharp knife to divide this up and form small rolls.
Place on a baking sheet (about 9 on a large baking tray) and cover with a cloth, leave to rise again for 45 mins this time.
Bake in the oven for 10-12 mins at 200C. (If you decide to make the larger baps it may take slightly longer)

You're Done!
Bread on FoodistaBread

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Chewy American Cookie Deliciousness

These are so simple to make, only a few steps and they turn out perfect. Cook these and you will certainly impress your friends. Again like so many of my recipes they are customisable. You can add other things like m&m’s, toffee pieces etc.

The Ingredients:
375g Plain Flour
200g Caster Sugar
220g Dark Brown Soft Sugar
220g Butter
350g Dark or Milk Chocolate Chips
1tbsp Vanilla extract
1 tbsp Hot Water
1 tsp Bicarbonate Soda
0.5tsp Salt
2 Eggs

The How-To:
Preheat oven to 180c
Cream the butter and the two different sugars together until they form a smooth mixture.
Beat the two eggs into the mixture.
Stir in the vanilla extract.
Mix the 1 tsp Bicarbonate Soda with the 1 tbsp hot water in a separate container and add to the mixture.
Mix in the salt.
Now stir in the flour and the chocolate chips (as well as any other additions you decide to use).
Place 1 tbsp amounts of the mixture on baking sheets. These spread quite a bit so I wouldn’t put any more than 4 on each large baking tray. You will be able to make about 6 batches with this mix.
Bake for about 10 mins. Do not be fooled that they are still soft  as they harden up as they cool. You want them to remain slightly soft/chewy in the centre.

You’re Done!


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Great British Book of Baking - Review

We know that a vast majority of this blogs followers are not from the UK, even though we try and post plenty of traditional British and Irish recipes if you would like a comprehensive guide book to a vast amount of British Baking recipes we highly recommend The Great British Book of Baking.
This book, unlike many others on British baking mostly uses traditional ingredients. With easy to follow instructions and many illustrations it is simply a joy to read.
Consisting of 120 of the best loved British baking recipes it is a must for everyones kitchen shelf. Whether to just refer to in those times of need or whether to read cover to cover, this book suits all needs.
The price of this book is very reasonable, being a hard back book as well it is ideal for rough and tumble of kitchen use. This book is available for just £10 or $28 on amazon.
If your looking for a Christmas present for someone who loves baking, you've just found your perfect present!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Delicious Chocolate Truffles

This is a very simple recipe to follow and the results are always outstanding. It is very simple to vastly alter the outcome of this recipe by substituting either the dark chocolate for milk chocolate or white chocolate. Alternatively you can substitute the vanilla essence for Malibu, orange flavouring or any other flavouring which takes your fancy! 
The Ingredients:
200g Cream Cheese
500g Plain Dark Chocolate
350g Icing Sugar
1.5 tsp Vanilla Essence
Coatings of your choice (coco powder, ground almonds, grated coconut etc)

The How-To:
Beat the cream cheese until smooth.
Slowly beat in the icing sugar until well combined.
Melt the chocolate in a separate bowl and stir this into the cream cheese and icing sugar mixture also adding the vanilla essence.
Stir this together with a spoon until mixture is a solid colour. I.e. no streaks of cream cheese showing.
Place bowl in fridge for 2 hours to allow to set.
Place some coco powder in a shallow bowl. Also coat your hands in coco powder.
Scoop teaspoon amounts of the truffle mixture out of the bowl and roll into a ball in your hands.
Roll the truffle in the coco powder.
You can leave the truffles like this or you can continue to dip into more chocolate and then dip into another coating such as coconut or ground almonds.

You’re Done!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Traditional Irish Soda Bread !!

A very traditional bread in Ireland, both north and south. Try it and see what you think!

500g Plain Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Salt
1tsp Sugar
500ml Butter Milk

The How-To:

Preheat oven to 200C
Sieve the dry ingredients together in a bowl creating a well in the centre.
Now add the butter milk.
This will form a dough. However the butter milk and baking powder start reacting as soon as they are mixed so you have to work quickly.
Quickly kneed the dough lightly and form into a fistful sized ball.
Place on a baking sheet on a baking tray and flatten the dough slightly. Score with a knife on the top.
Bake for about 30 mins until the loaf sounds hollow.

Your Done!

Scotch Pancakes

There is not a better way to start your Sunday morning other than some nice pancakes with jam or honey!

This recipe is a traditional Irish recipe which has been passed to me by my grandmother. I think the English name for these are 'dropped scones'

250g Plain Flour
Half tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar
250ml butter milk
1 large egg
Half tsp baking powder

The How-To:

Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl and create a well in the centre.
Add the egg
Pour in butter milk
Mix this together, do not beat as this will prevent the pancakes from rising.
Add dollops of this mixture to a moderately hot pan. Cook the mixture straight away.

Your Done!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Classic Banoffee Pie !!

This is the simplest banoffee recipe. Anyone can make this and it really doesnt take long!

200g butter
400g digestive biscuits
1 pint of double cream
2 bananas
2 tins of condensed milk

**Top Tip** Most big supermarkets now sell tins of toffee, the same brand as the condensed milk but it is already boiled for you. This will save you time and energy if you can get this instead!

The How-To:

Place all the biscuits in a freezer bag or similar and smash up.
Melt butter in a pan and combine with the crushed up biscuits in a bowl.
Put this biscuit mixture in the bottom of a cake tin and compress with the back of a spoon.

Put the cake tin in the fridge and leave to harden.
Boil the two tins of condensed milk in a pan of water for about 2 hours. This turns it into toffee! (if you bought the tins of caramel skip this step).

**Be very careful to keep enough water in the pan at all times to cover the tins or they will explode!**

When cool, spread the toffee over the biscuit base.
Slice up the bananas and place these on top of the toffee.
Use an electric whisk to beat the double cream in a bowl until it begins to form peaks.
Place the whipped cream on top of the bananas and toffee.
Grate some high quality dark chocolate over the cream. Dark chocolate goes excellent with bananas!
Put back in the fridge for about half an hour.

Your Done!

**For an extra special Banoffee Pie drizzle some chocolate syrup over the top! **


Poll Result - Cupcake vs Muffins

Well the poll results are in and it seems that Muffins won by 18 votes to 11 for Cupcakes.
To celebrate this we will be posting an amazing Muffin recipe tomorrow! 

Devilishly Good Chocolate Pudding

This is truly an indulgent chocolate pudding. Although its extremely simple to make!

125g butter
125g good dark chocolate
3/4 cup of sugar
3 eggs
3 tbsp flour

The How-To:
Microwave the chocolate and butter in a bowl on low heat, making sure not to burn the chocolate.
Add the 3/4 cup of sugar, 3 eggs and 3tbsp of flour and mix until well combined.
Pour into 4 buttered ramekins.
Cook for 10 mins in an oven at about 180c

Your Done! Enjoy your gooey chocolate treat!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Brown Sugar Shortbread

This is a slightly different recipe to my previous one for shortbread. This recipe uses brown sugar instead of white. It works well! I recomend to make both to see which one you prefer!

455g butter
220g brown sugar
560g plain flour

The How-To:
Preheat oven to 160c
Cream butter and sugar together
Add most of the flour leaving just enough to dust a bench to roll it out
Use your hands to mix in the flour, kneeding it until it becomes a ball of dough
Kneed the dough on a worktop coated in flour so it doesnt stick, kneed for about 5 mins.
Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick
Transfer onto a baking tray covered in a sheet of greeseproof paper
Mark out into fingers
Bake for 18-20 mins
Leave to Cool

Your done!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Traditional Scottish Shortbread

Traditional Scottish Shortbread is a recipe which has always been in my family. I hope the below recipe tastes as good to you as it does to me. Simple to make and well worth the effort.

Ingredients :
100g Butter
150g Plain Flour
50g Caster Sugar

The How-To:
Preheat oven to 150C
Rub the flour and butter together using your hands. You can use a food processor however I prefer doing it by hand. Continue until everything comes together.
Add the sugar and work this through the mixture. Knead until you can form it into a ball.
Place this ball of mixture onto a piece of grease proof paper on a baking tray. Flatten to form a disc about half an inch thick. 
Use a knife to mark the disc into triangles. Do not cut all the way through. Prick each triangle 3 times with a fork.
Bake in oven for 30 mins. They should be a light golden colour. 
Take out, Sprinkle with a little caster sugar and leave to cool.

Your done!

Edge Lasagne and Brownie Pans - Review

Sold by Firebox, these pans offer the lazy mans way to cook lasagne and brownies. The method of this of course is simple, that you just need to cut the squares and lift the sections out.
However the high edges of these pans make it difficult to get utensils deep enough in to lift out without creating the same mess you normally inflict on your lasagne. I certainly don't understand why they made the brownie pan so deep as its just not required. It seems that this company is using the same design concept and trying to match it with as many uses as possible.
Another downside to these are that they are not dishwasher safe, a major put off for some people.
The price however is the main downside to these products at £29 for the brownie pan and £39 for the lasagne one they certainly don't come cheap! This seems a bit steep for all they are. They may be non stick pans but you can buy normal non stick pans in PoundLand or other discount stores. Some examples of ones we recommend are to the left.
These pans are marketed towards those of us who want to make our lives easier in every possible way without thinking of the cost.
Unfortunately I fail to see any major positive aspects of these pans except for the fact they are non stick.
This is obviously just our opinion. There are plenty of independent reviews to read about them, many of which are positive.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Simple Chocolate Chip Vanilla Muffins

Ive done the recipes for simple cupcakes and simple cookies. Now for simple muffins!

220g Self Raising Flour
110g Butter
75g Caster Sugar
1 coffee mug of chocolate chips
270ml of Milk
2 Eggs
1tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Vanilla Extract or Essence

The How - To :
Preheat oven to 200C
Line a muffin tray with 12 muffin cases. If you don't have a muffin tray you will have to triple up the bun cases so the mixture doesn't spill out during baking.
Mix the flour and baking powder together in a bowl.
Chop the butter up into cubes and add to the flour/baking powder mixture.
Use your hands to rub the butter into the flour mixture. This should take a few mins. You will know you are done when there are no more lumps of butter left and the texture is that of rough breadcrumbs.
Stir in the sugar and the chocolate chips.
In a separate bowl mix together the milk, eggs and vanilla.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and slowly add the milk, eggs and vanilla mixture.
Stir until all ingredients are combined.
                                   Spoon the batter into the muffin cases and bake for 20 mins in the middle of the oven. 

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Simple Sponge Cake Recipe

I have covered the simplest cupcake recipe, now I am going to show you the simplest sponge cake recipe. And it really is simple!

The Ingredients:
175g Caster Sugar
175g Unsalted Butter
175g Self Raising Flour
3 eggs

 The How To :
Pre heat oven to 180 C
Lightly butter two sandwich cake tins (best size for this recipe is 20cm), and then put a circle of grease proof paper on the bottom of each tin. 

**Top tip for doing this quickly, draw an outline around the bottom of the cake tin onto the paper and cut it out just a little smaller than the circle you have drawn.**

Cream the butter and the sugar together using an electric whisk until they are light and creamy.
Gradually add the 3 beaten eggs to this butter and sugar mix.
Fold in the sifted flour (Do not over stir, you want to keep as much air in the mixture as possible to keep it light and fluffy).
Bake for 20 mins. Leave to cool and then run a knife around the outside of the cakes. They should then tip out. 

**Top tip for testing if the cake is cooked inside is to dip a wood or metal skewer into the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean without cake mixture on it, its ready!**

This is a sandwich cake so you will then have to add a filling and a topping. The most common filling for this cake is cream and jam. 500ml of double cream whipped up until stiff works perfectly as well as any strawberry jam.
A simple but effective topping to this cake is a dusting of icing sugar. Use a sieve to create this light dusting which leaves the cake looking professional.
And your done!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Oaty Soft Cookies

**Revised Recipe** (20th Oct 2010)

This is a recipe which I have tweaked over the past few months to make it perfect. These cookies are so soft and oaty with a sugary syrup taste. Simple to make and always a winner!!

The ingredients which you will need are:
  • 85g porridge oats
  • 100g plain flour
  • 65g desiccated coconut
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 115g butter
  • 1tbsp golden syrup
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
The How To :

Pre heat oven to 180°C
Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the golden syrup.Mix until combined.
Add the bicarbonate of soda to 2 tbsp boiling water, then immediately stir into the golden syrup and butter mixture.
Put the oats, coconut, flour and sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the butter and golden syrup mixture. Stir until everything is coated in the butter mixture.
Put dessert spoonfuls of the mixture on buttered baking sheets, leave about 2cm apart to allow room for spreading.
Bake for 8-10 mins until golden. We use the baking sheets to the left, they are non stick and the cookies just slide off.
They will be quite soft when they come out of the oven but the harden up a bit as they cool. 
                                   Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Saltan Turkish Delight

Today at St Georges Market in Belfast City Centre we came across a small stall with over a hundred bags of very creatively wrapped Turkish Delight complete with ribbon bows.
The stall holder, a very courteous women offered us samples of each of the flavours (Rose, Mint, Hazelnut, Coffee, Strawberry, Cinnamon, Almond with Coconut, Ginger, Clove and Pistachio), a vast selection im sure youll agree.
It is very noticeable that this Turkish Delight is home made, each cube is hand cut and dusted with a fine layer of icing sugar. These are truely melt in your mouth tasty treats! The texture is soft but still slightly chewy and defiantly completely different to shop bought boxed Turkish Delight!
Saltan Turkish Delight is defiantly something everyone should try!
Head down and see their stall on Saturdays or alternatively call into their small shop in Smithfield (at the back doors to Castle Court shopping centre in Belfast).