Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hot chocolate cupcakes - by The Hummingbird Bakery...

Yes, yet another cupcake. And I was really never a big fan of them. But aren't they just perfect? A little treat, mini cake when you fancy that sweet treat. A few bits, just enough to go with your daily coffee or cuppa - and I don't know about you, but when I have a cupcake I feel less "guilty" than after eating a big slice of cake, don't know why it is like that...but suits me just fine! ;)
Today's version is a little bit of a continuation after Earl Grey tea cupcakes, as those are Hot chocolate ones! Again I didn't do the icing provided in the recipe, but went with my own idea. Was hoping to have some mini marshmallows in the cupboard - which would be ideal to stick in that chocolate on top - but found only sprinkles, which worked surprisingly well! :D



This time, was the very first time, that my little Baby J (aged 4) helped me take the picture. If you have little ones and you're trying to take a picture (being it of your food, flowers or anything else) the little ones will do everything and anything to "help you" take that pic! As the result, the amount of photos I have with little fingers out of nowhere, "moved" pictures because someone decided to jump on Mummy that very second ;) is endless... So, to end that pattern I decided to do it WITH her. You can't see her face when she was "modeling", but believe me when I say it was one very proud and happy little girl! :D




How to make it...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cauliflower steaks with ginger, turmeric and cumin...

Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that is very versatile. You can do literally everything with it - soup, mash, roast, bake, steam and I even saw it in a dessert once! Its taste goes well with many ingredients and because it's not over powering it takes different spices very well. I loved this version of it! Nice, different, perfect on it's own (with a little bit of rice or some fresh salad), but also works well as a side dish (especially to an Indian meal). Recipe idea taken from thekitchn.com. Enjoy!




How to make it...

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Lady Guinness recipe...

Everyone who knows me, knows well that I'm not a fan of Guinness. It's too bitter for me and too heavy, but surprisingly I like the smell :) They have Kir in French Brittany (made with Breton cider and a measure of crème de cassis - blackcurrant liqueur). I also heard that in pubs in Ireland they would add blackcurrant syrup to your Guinness if you ask - but it's view by locals as "desecration" ;) So thinking the same lines, not wanting to "dissolve" the strength of Guinness why not add blackcurrant liqueur instead of syrup. I vaguely remember reading about something like that online and I think it was called "The Lady Guinness". And what a surprise! I like it! :) It makes it sweeter, but not "weaker" and that very distinctive smell of Guinness is there too! Even if you don't like Guinness, give the below drink a go! I think you'll be surprised at how much you enjoy this little drink - and only 2 ingredients!




How to make it...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Recipes for St. Patrick's Day...

I think that there's not a person in this world that haven't heard of St. Patrick's Day. And if you happen to have an Irish among your family or friends, you're Irish or you live in Ireland - you can't do anything else but... Celebrate! :D So, I'm heading to the kitchen to bake my Chocolate Guinness cake and plan that festive full Irish breakfast for tomorrow morning. I'm leaving you with some recipes you might want to try - not only this time of the year, because of St. Patrick's day. Below recipes are great for any occasion or even that "spoil yourself" breakfast on your days off ;) Enjoy!



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Earl Grey tea cupcakes - recipe by Hummingbird Bakery...

All things small, "cakey" things, are very popular in my house. All the muffins, cupcakes and cookies are disappearing quickly! There's usually one culprit - little baby E who's 2 years old... as her older sister doesn't have a sweet tooth like E or her mummy ;) Baby J (only 4 years old) will eat gherkins, ham, fish (she just loves fish!), she'll eat cherry tomatoes like you would strawberries. She loves bread and sausages but give her cake... any kind of cake... she'll make a face and say "I don't want it! You eat it." But - and it's a big BUT - she ate those cupcakes. She ate 3 of them! :) We made them together (as always I had my 2 little sous chefs to help me) and then she helped me to decorate them, but they always do that. So maybe, maybe it's the cupcakes itself :) So, That's the best recommendation I can give to you - my little Baby J eating them!


Original recipe called for thick, butter based icing. I'm not a fan of those and I know it wouldn't go down well in my house either, so I simplified. I made a simple icing of Earl Grey concentrate mixed with icing sugar but the cupcakes looked "sad". I started thinking what goes well with a good "cuppa" and lemon was one of the first things I thought of. Luckily I had some mixed peal which both - looked pretty and gave a little bit of "zing" to the cupcakes!



How to make it...

Monday, March 10, 2014

Apple & fruit chutney...

I'm not a fan of vinegar - and that's one of the main ingredients of every chutney. But chutney is exactly the one and only form in which I will tolerate the taste and smell of vinegar. What's more - I'll like and enjoy it! Chutneys (or jams and marmalades) are perfect way of dealing with abundance of specific fruit or vegetables. This time - it was way too much apples - which were on sale in our local supermarket, 49 c per 1 kg bag! How's that even possible..?! Back to the topic - this chutney turned out great: very fruity and because I didn't chop my fruit too small, as I didn't want to have a complete "mush". I hope you'll try to make it yourself - experiment with different fruits too! The below list is what I actually had in my kitchen cupboard :)




How to make it...

Friday, March 07, 2014

Apple & blackberry streusel cake - recipe by The Hummingbird Bakery...

Recently I bough a new cookbook (yes, another one...) it's The Hummingbird Bakery "Cake Days: Recipes to Make Every Day Special" cook book. So many mouth watering photos and when you read through the recipes... OMG! I just can't decide what to bake next, as there's such huge and fantastic choice. My very first bake from the book was "Apple streusel cake". Made it twice actually, below version is my second attempt. First time round I found it a little bit too sweet and the apples were just missing "that something" for me, so... Second version has not only apples, but also blackberries which fit in here perfectly! The whole cake is more "uplifting" and the sourness of the blackberries cuts through the whole sugar very well. Good first bake from a new book - which always is very promising for the next cakes and cupcakes to come! :)




How to make it...

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Pancake Day...

So last week, by my Polish traditions, I celebrated Fat Thursday. Today it's time for celebrating Pancake Day - something I wasn't familiar with until I moved to Ireland almost 8 years ago now. Both days celebrate the end of Carnival and mark the start if Lent.




"Shrove Tuesday (also known as Shrovetide TuesdayPancake Tuesday and Pancake Day) is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Shrove Tuesday, a moveable feast, is determined by EasterIn the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, Shrove Tuesday is also commonly known as "Pancake Day" or "Pancake Tuesday" due to the tradition of eating pancakes on the day." - by wikipedia.org

Some of the pancakes I highly encourage you to try:

Monday, March 03, 2014

Galette bretonne / Crêpes de sarrasin / Breton buckwheat pancakes...

Gallette or crêpes de sarrasin, so pancakes made with buckwheat flour, are one of my favorite kind of pancakes. They are typical and traditional Breton pancakes. There are sweet and savory versions - I like both! To be more exact actually, I like having a savory one first (the one with everything - cheese, slice of ham and an egg) followed by a sweet one (my favorite being one with chestnuts and cream or just some jam). That way you have your lunch AND a dessert by making only one main thing - pancakes! :) When I'm eating those pancakes I always think about those sunny days in Brittany, smell of the sea and that slow, laid back French way of living :)




"Galette is a type of thin large pancake mostly associated with the regions of Normandy and Brittany, where it replaced at times bread as basic food, but it is eaten countrywide. Buckwheat was introduced as a crop suitable to impoverished soils and buckwheat pancakes were known in other regions where this crop was cultivated, such as Limousin or Auvergne. It is frequently garnished with egg, meat, fish, cheese, cut vegetables, apple slices, berries, or similar ingredients. One of the most popular varieties is a galette covered with grated Emmental cheese, a slice of ham and an egg, cooked on the galette. In France, this is known as a galette complète (a complete galette). A hot sausage wrapped in a galette (called galette saucisse, a tradition of Rennes, France) and eaten like a Hot Dog is becoming increasingly popular as well." - by wikipedia.org

How to make it...

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Double ginger cake - recipe by Nigel Slater...

So... a ginger cake. Never made any before. Ate few, but all not too good - either too gingery or not gingery enough... This cake, Nigel's version, is just right. You can taste the ginger, you can feel a little bit of heat of it, but it doesn't want to kill your taste buds. The cake keeps well - but I can't really say how long, as it disappeared in 3 days time ;) I was surprised how easy it was to make and the smell during baking -> so comforting and delicious! You HAVE to try it!





How to make it...