Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mixed Berry and Apple Crumble

I always think that a good crumble makes a real comfort dish. My mother regularly made apple crumble and I always loved it. A crumble is a dessert that can be easily made up while waiting for the dinner to cook. Alternately you could have the crumble made in advance and simply assemble the dish just before cooking. I prefer to serve it with custard but it is also delicious served with cream or ice-cream.



Mixed Berry and Apple Crumble

Ingredients
For crumble
150g plain flour
60g caster sugar
70g butter
40g porridge oat flakes
For fruit filling
1 large cooking apple, sliced
150g mixed berries, fresh or frozen
A pinch of cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Lightly grease an ovenproof dish.
2. To make the crumble, place the flour in a bowl and rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Stir in the sugar and oats.
4. Mix all the ingredients for the fruit filling together.
5. In the base of the prepared dish, place the fruit mixture and top with the crumble.
6. Bake in the oven for 30-40mins until fruits are soft and crumble is lightly browned.
7. Serve hot with custard or whipped cream.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Creamy Vegetable Soup


I use to only make croutons on special occasions but now the boys usually put in an order for a bowl of croutons to accompany their soup almost each time I make soup (which is about once a week). I generally give into their food orders, once they are fairly healthy, as I am much more content when I know they have eaten a good filling meal. Also I find it very fulfilling when I have 3 boys at the table who are really enjoying what they are eating. I simply love to cook and when that cooking is appreciated I never feel like my time spent in the kitchen is wasted.
Generally I don't stick to exact quantities of veg and use a combination of whatever veg I either have in the fridge or garden. I have been using thyme in my soup recipes as it is the only herb in my garden which has lasted through the tough winter.


I love to use fresh herbs in cooking. For this soup I used thyme but 
you could also use rosemary or marjoram or a combination of herbs.


Fionn helps to prepare the veg!!



Creamy Vegetable Soup

Ingredients
25g butter
5 carrots
1 small parsnip or half large parsnip
1 onion
white part of 1 leek
1 large potato
125g mushrooms
2 sprigs of thyme
1 knorr vegetable stock pot, dissolved in 600mls boiling water
Freshly ground pepper
120mls milk
60mls cream

Method
1. Prepare the veg to equal sizes.
2. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the veg, thyme leaves and some freshly ground pepper.
3. Cover with a butter wrapper or a square of grease-proof paper and the lid of the saucepan.
4. Sweat over a gentle heat foe about 10mins.
5. When the veg are soft, but not coloured, add the boiling stock and continue to cook until the vegetables are soft.
6. Puree the soup with a hand blender or food processor.
7. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
8. Stir in the milk and cream.
9. Garnish with a swirl of cream and a few croutons.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Jack!!



Tiarnan giving a helping hand!!

The finished product
Before decorating

Yesterday Jack turned 8 and I made him a cake using a mould that I was delighted to receive last Christmas from my brother in law John and his wife Petra. Its a train cake mould from Lakeland (a British based store) and turned out to be a very impressive Birthday cake. The cake mould is heavy and of good quality which meant that the individual carriages turned out perfectly, making decorating quite easy. The boys each decorated their own carriages, sticking on as many sweets as possible. I will have to invest in a few more moulds as we were all delighted with the result of this one.

I used my Basic Bun Mixture which worked well.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Toffee Krispies






I love tray-bakes, especially ones that are as easy to make as this one. I tend to line the tin with grease proof paper instead of greasing the tin as these treats are buttery enough without adding more. This recipe was printed on the back of a Rice Krispie box as far back as the 1950's. If you have a sweet tooth you will love these.


Toffee Krispies

Ingredients
100g/3 ½ozs. butter
100g/3 ½ozs. wrapped toffees or a slab of toffee
100g/3 ½ozs. marshmallows
100g/3 ½ozs. Rice Krispies

Method
1.Put the first 3 ingredients into a large pan. Melt very slowly over a low heat, stirring constantly.
2.Remove the saucepan from the heat,and tip the Rice Krispies into the melted mixture.
3.Stir the Krispies thoroughly so that all of them are well coated with the mixture.
Tip the contents of the saucepan into a buttered Swiss roll tin or a tin lined with grease proof paper.
4.Press the mixture down, and smooth it level with a palette knife.
Leave the tin in a cool place to set.
5.Drizzle some melted chocolate over the top and let it set before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight tin.
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