Thursday, 27 March 2014

Easy Peasy Pavlova

I've been baking for a while now but this, believe, it or not, was my first attempt at a meringue of any kind. To my surprise, it might actually have been the simplest thing I have ever made. There's not really much to it but it looks fantastic served at any occasion. Any amateur baker could whip up something spectacular by following this super easy recipe. I decided to top the pavlova with fresh cream and summer berries which went down a treat at home. Dad, who isn't usually too keen on dessert even went back for a second piece - I think that says something!


12 Egg Whites 
345g Caster Sugar
345g Icing Sugar
Fresh Cream
Berries of your choice 


1) Preheat your oven to 100C and line a baking tin with greaseproof paper 
2) Using your hand mixer, beat the egg whites in a clean metal bowl until they resemble clouds and stand in stiff peaks when the beater is lifted 
3) Add the caster sugar slowly, one spoon at a time as you continue to mix until all is the caster sugar has been added. The recipe should be thick and glossy when done
4) Then sieve a quarter of the icing sugar into the bowl and, using a metal spoon, fold it in. Repeat this until all the icing sugar has been added. 
5) Then using your spatula, spoon the majority of the mixture onto the lines tray and spread. If you like you can then use a piping bag to pipe the remaining mixture around the edges

6) Bake for 1 hour and 20 mins @ 100C and leave to cool before assembling 
7) Spread the cream over the base, top with berries and serve - enjoy!! 

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Barcelona Baby

I was well and truly spoiled rotten last week when my fab boyfriend Dave whisked me off to beautiful Barcelona for the long weekend. We explored the absolutely gorgeous city for three brilliant days and were blown away by its stunning Gothic and modern architecture, friendly people and, most importantly, the fabulous food! We ate Tapas, drank Champagne Sangria, and, became obsessed with the city's incredible food market, which was definitely the highlight of the trip. Stalls stacked with chopped fresh fruit, fresh smoothies and fruit juices, meats, vegetables, artisan chocolates, macaroons, caramelized nuts and so much more lined the market space. The buzz was incredible with locals haggling with the tenders and tourists making their way through the hustle and bustle of the place. 

I couldn't get enough of the cups of chopped fresh fruit and delicious smoothies. We walked down to the market each morning for breakfast and its safe to say that I was actually in Heaven.

The coated nuts, artisan chocolates and macaroons were absolutely delicious. I got a little carried away and spent €30 on nuts alone the first day that we visited the place. But, in fairness, who could resist?

The Champagne Sangria was delicious but, beware, its a bit stronger than you may be used to! Cointreau, Honey Rum and fresh lemon and orange are added to the champagne which makes it pretty hard to resist. 

Take it from me, Barcelona is a must see city for anyone with an interest in culture, architecture and most importantly - food.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Mississippi Mud Pie

South Carolina was the place to be last summer when myself and a bunch of friends traveled over to the states on a J1 visa. While there, my keen interest in food and baking had me trying every tasty treat that my broke Irish behind could afford to sample. Although the dessert doesn't originate in South Carolina, my all time favourite had to be Mississippi Mud Pie. This traditional southern dessert with it's rich chocolaty filling and it's whipped cream topping will have you feeling guilty for a week after eating a slice but believe me, it's well worth it! I've baked the dessert on a couple of different occasions since I've been home, and, each time, the delicious smell of the pie in the oven brings me straight back to that sunny southern state. 

You might have guessed that the dessert in question is in fact the infamous pie featured in The Help, but, you'll be extremely glad to know that unlike Mini's, my mud pie doesn't have a horrendous secret ingredient! 

Recipe adapted from Love Food's gorgeous book 'Bake'.



175g Plain Flour (sieved)
25g Cocoa Powder (sieved)
40g Light Muscovado Sugar
85g Butter (softened)
3 tbsp Cold Water 


85g Dark Chocolate
85g Butter 
85g Light Muscovado Sugar 
2 eggs (lightly beaten) 
100ml Whipping Cream 
1 tsp Vanilla Extract 


250ml Whipping Cream
100g Dark Chocolate 


1) Preheat your oven to 200C/ 400F/ Gas mark 6 and grease your round tart dish with melted butter
2) The water for the pastry works best when it's really cold so place a small glass of water into the freezer at the beginning 
3) Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl and stir in the sugar 
4) Add the butter, and, using your fingertips rub the butter into the mixture until it resembles small breadcrumbs 

5) Add the tbsps of water until the mixture binds a dough 
6) Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface - make sure that it's large enough to cover your pie dish 
7) Prick the base multiple times with a fork, cover with greaseproof paper, and fill with baking beans. If you don't have baking beans, simply sit a small plate on top and bake in the oven for 10 minutes
8) After the 10 minutes have passed remove the base from the oven and reduce the temperature to 180C/ 350F/ Gas mark 4
9) For the filling, melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan on a low heat
10) Whisk the sugar and eggs together until smooth and then stir into the chocolate mixture along with the cream and the vanilla extract 
11) Pour the mixture over the base and bake for 20-25 minutes until firm

12) When ready, leave to cool while you whip the cream 
13) When the tart is fully cool spread the cream over the filling. Then drizzle melted chocolate over the cream using a spoon or, if you want to be extra fancy, fill a plastic food bag with the chocolate, pierce it with a cocktail stick and squeeze the chocolate over the top. 

Serve chilled and enjoy!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Horaaaay For Pancake Tuesday!!!

You might call me an overgrown child, but my eyes light up at any mention of pancakes, and, Pancake Tuesday is definitely one of the highlights of my year! The tradition of Pancake Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday, dates back to the beginning of the Christian festival of Lent, when, for 40 days, in the days leading up to Easter Sunday, Christains resisted eating any 'luxury' food. Christians made pancakes in order to use up any 'luxury' items and also to resist temptation throughout Lent. Pancake Tuesday is still celebrated in many countries around the world, not only by Christians. 

I'm a huge fan of pancakes of all kinds - traditional style, American style and crepes, however, on Pancake Tuesday I always stick to the traditional....

Makes approx. 12 Pancakes 

300ml Milk
4oz Plain Flour (sieved)
2 Eggs
Pinch of Salt 

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1) Lightly whisk the eggs, salt and flour together in your mixer
2) Gradually add the milk as you mix
3) Leave the mixture to sit for at least half an hour before making the pancakes
4) Put your pan on the ring and melt one tsp of butter and a few drops of oil 
5) Spoon one ladle of batter onto your heated pan cook evenly on both sides 

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Some of you might prefer the slightly thicker American style pancake so, just for you...

Makes approx. 12 pancakes

260ml Milk
270g Plain Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
4 tbsp Butter (melted) 
2 Large Eggs

4 tbsp Caster Sugar

1) Whisk your milk, eggs and melted butter together in a bowl / jug
2) Sieve your flour and baking powder into another bowl, mix and then combine the wet with the dry using a handheld mixer 

3) Put your pan on the ring and melt one tsp of butter and a few drops of oil

4) Spoon one ladle of the mix into the pan and using your spatula, shape the mix into a round shape

5) Flip until both sides are evenly cooked

To name a few of my favourite toppings....

> Nutella and Strawberries 
> Maple Syrup and Pecan Nuts 
> Nutella and Coconut
> Nutella and Icecream 
> Fresh Orange Juice and Sugar
> Ice cream and Baileys