Thursday, September 1, 2022

Carrot Cake with a buttercream icing

Very simple and easy carrot cake. The Icing makes a nice change from the usual dry off the shelf type.

2 eggs
150 ml (5fl oz) sunflower or vegetable oil
200 g (7oz) brown sugar
300 g (11oz) peeled and grated carrots (weight when grated)
75 g (3oz) walnuts, chopped (optional)
175 g (6oz) flour
2.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
A squeeze of orange juice and some orange rind.
1 tsp Whiskey (optional)
1 tsp mixed spice

Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F/Gas 2), and line the base and sides of the loaf tin (900g/2lb) with baking parchment, with the paper coming above the sides of the tin to enable the cake to be lifted out easily.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl to break them up, then whisk in the oil, sugar, grated carrots and chopped nuts.

Sift in the remaining ingredients and bring the mixture together using a wooden or large metal spoon.

Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin, smoothing the surface with a palette knife, and bake in the oven for between 1 hour and 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes, then carefully lift the cake out of the tin with the lining paper. Peel away the baking parchment and place on a wire rack to cool down fully before you ice it.
While the cake is cooling, make the icing. Beat all the ingredients together, then use a palette knife to spread evenly over the cake.

For the Buttercream Icing.
Really nice, a bit richer and creamier than the usual, and does not require icing sugar.

120g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour
125ml milk
1 teaspoon whisky or vanilla extract.
In small saucepan cook flour and milk until it forms a ball, stirring constantly. Cool to room temperature.
With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
Beat both mixtures together on high speed until fluffy and smooth. Add vanilla and beat until combined. Refrigerate for about 1/2 hour, until it is of spreading consistency.

Whack it onto the top of the cake and hey presto. 
A nice addition is to spread a layer of carrot marmalade, lemon curd or blackberry curd between the icing and the cake.
Lemon curd in particular gives a nice foil to the sweetness.

Been a while !!

 Hi Folks, been quite some time since I posted but I hope you, dear reader, take the time to look through the archives for advice on gardening and cooking in Ireland.

Over the next few days I will be doing a few posts on new preserves

Stay tuned !!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Buerre Blank Steak Sandwitch with Cashel Blue cheese

OK, so it’s not the lowest calorie of dishes, but in my defence it has salad.
It’s a great alternative to hamburger for a meal for one – with a side, say a cous-cous salad or the like.

This was a scratch meal, but obviously peppers and mushrooms would be a great addition.
Also, chopped chives in the sauce would - I think - be great

Before making the minute steak, the main feature to the meal is the buerre blank sauce – traditionally for fish or eggs (sort of an easy hollandaise) it is great with steak.
It has a pinch more pepper than the traditional version, and I really think chopped chives would really add to flavour and texture.

This makes EASILY enough for two people, and that’s heavy use.

Two shallots / One small onion chopped finely
Glass white wine – 100ml
25ml Lemon Juice
25ml White wine vinegar
170 grms butter
Tablespoon cream
Good pinch white pepper
Pinch salt.

Put the onions, wine, lemon juice and vinegar into a saucepan.
Reduce until syrupy – about 5 or 7 minutes.
Add cream, salt, salt and pepper – boil for about a minute.

Reduce the heat and add the butter bit by bit.

Use a whisk to blend in the butter, you are going for a hollandaise style consistency.

Pass through a sieve and press –
In future I plan to add chopped chives after straining

Serve warm, good over fish and veg, I like it on the steak.
You can keep in in a thermos until your ready to serve.

For the steak sarnie, put some mustard on a soft bap
I had some Cashel Blue cheese underneath – bloody great.
Some pan fried veg (I only had onions) on the steak, some dressed mixed salad, eat.
Have cardiologist on speed dial, but it’s a winner.

Great with a glass of Claret.

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Flakey Hake with Mushroom sauce on a Rich Seaweed Risotto bed

Firstly, to all readers a Happy and Prosperous 2016.
Thanks for checking in, and I especially appreciate all the comments left.
Please do take the time to leave a message or suggestion - I really appreciate it.

So - I usually get more unusual fish, but Hake is a reasonably sustainable white fish and a great alternative to cod.
Fish, as almost always, purchased from Ballycotton Seafoods in the English Market.

Normally poached with lemon I just wanted to do something a little different - and saw some frozen Wakame in Jia Jia Chinese supermarket on the Coal Quay / Cornmarket Street in Cork city - so that sort of started this recipe.

The flaky hake, rich risotto and moist mushroom sauce make this a real texture as well as flavour dish.

Wakame is a wickedly good seaweed, sweet when cooked which offsets the sharper citrus and wine notes in this recipe. Spinach is a great compliment to it.

 Sincere thanks to Krystine for the great photo BTW.

So, this is really a dish in three parts - the seaweed risotto, the mushroom sauce and the fish.
I'll start with the risotto, it takes the longest - about 20 to 25 minutes.

Half a liter fish or vegetable stock as appropriate
1 small knob of butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion , finely chopped
2 cloves garlic , finely chopped
200 g risotto rice
1 glass dry white wine
salt and pepper
About 50 g Parmesan cheese , freshly grated

Spinach, fresh or frozen - a good handful

Wakame seaweed - fresh or frozen - chopped added at the end

Samphire also a good addition to throw in at the end

A great addition is frozen prawns or mussles.

Make the stock from a cube, or frozen, make sure its warm.
In a separate heavy pan, heat the olive oil and butter, add the onions, garlic (you can also add celery) and sweat gently 5 - 10 minutes without colouring.
When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.

The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring until the wine has evaporated.

Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside.
Keep adding ladles of stock, stirring the rice gently, allowing each ladle to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes.
Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully.
If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.

Remove from the heat and add the defrosted and chopped seaweed and spinach, stir to mix well and show off those colours.

Now add Parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 5 minutes for the greens to heat through.
This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes creamy.

Sliced button Mushrooms
Dash white wine
Plain flour

Quick and easy. In a pan or pot, throw in a knob of butter and gently sweat a handful of sliced button mushrooms in a dash of wine, season with salt and pepper.
When they are soft, but not browned, and the wine is absorbed/evaporated use a tablespoon of flour to create a basic roux.
Add the cream and allow to thicken - if it goes too thick, add milk to thin it out.
I find a good pinch of dill in the sauce really adds to the dish.

FOR THE HAKE (or other meaty whitefish)
Have a plate or lid for the pan.

Fish Potions
Seasoned flour
Lemon Juice
Dash of dry white wine

Heat a mixture of olive oil and butter in a pan - don't brown or burn the butter.
Unsalted butter is best for this.

Dust the fish portions in seasoned flour and add to the pan.

Start skin side down and fry until crispy, then turn.

Now, add a dash of white wine and a good belt of lemon juice and cover the pan, allow to poach for 3-4 minutes

Plate up and serve.

And once again, Happy new year from Delaney and myself (Molly was shy)

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