Friday, October 2, 2015

Marmalade Cupcakes (Gluten Free)

Adapted from the Breakfast of Champions column in the Saturday Guardian magazine. I loved the look of these prima ballerina's favourite breakfast muffins, but wanted to make them gluten free... and decrease the sugar load by quite a bit. They are light and fluffy, more cupcake than muffin texture, with a rich, tangy marmalade flavour. Paddington would most definintely approve!

80g cornflour
70g ground almonds
15g brown rice flour
5g potato flour (if you don't have it just use 5g more of cornflour)
1 tablespoon baking power
60g caster sugar

75g cooled melted butter
1 large egg
Zest and juice of one orange
75ml milk
130g marmalade

Makes 9

Heat the oven to 170C fan and put muffin cases in 9 holes of a 12-hole muffin tray.

Combine the dry ingredients, crumbling them together with your fingers, getting rid of any lumps.
Briefly whisk the wet ingredients together to combine, pour into the dry along with the marmalade, and mix briefly by hand until just combined (over-mixing makes for tough, dense muffins).

Fill the cases two-thirds full, and bake for 15-20 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean.

These are DIVINE warm... they are quite grainy and dry the next day.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Snickerdoodle Apple cake

I love the flavours of snickerdoodles - a classic American cookie which I first discovered thanks to Nigella Lawson's How to Be a Domestic Goddess. For the non-US readers in the house, these have nothing to do with Snickers bars, there is not a peanut or chocolate in sight. Instead a simple, rather old fashioned mix of some of my favourite spices: vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. And they're all flavours that go superbly well with apples... so a new recipe idea was formed!

We are really lucky that my father in law is an incredible grower of produce... but often that means that at this time of year we have a bags of produce that we can't eat, that need turning into something when they're a little past their best. Apples are one of those - our kids love crisp juicy apples, but after a couple of weeks home grown apples are soft and a little fluffy. Or are starting to get brown bits here and there. 

This recipe is great for using up eating apples that have gone this way in, and almost everyone in the family loves it. My kids don't like cinnamon, so this is a way I can make a cake that both adults and kids love - you can just slice the spice top off for fussy eaters.

150g soft butter
170g caster sugar 
200g plain flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
3 lg eggs
2 tbsp full fat milk
3 med eating apples, peeled, cored, brown bits cut out, and sliced into 1 inch chunks.

Preheat oven to 180C (170 fan)

Cream the butter and sugar with an electric whisk. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the apple) whisk till light and well combined. Stir through the apple with a spatula or wooden spoon.

Line a large loaf pan or 9 inch, deep cake tin. Tip in the mixture, Smooth it off. 

Cook for 15 mins, then cover with foil, and cook for an extra 20-30 mins - check after the second 20 mins with a skewer - to see if it's done, if not return with foil still on. Any wobbly or wet mix coming out on the skewer and it's not done.

When cooked remove from tin and sprinkle with 2 tbsp demerara or caster sugar or a mix. 5 gratings nutmeg and 1/2 - 1 tsp ground cinnamon depending on how much you like it.

Eat warm with ice cream. Or cold. Keeps 3-4 days well.

(Gluten Free Note: I have made this with my gluten free flour mix - see here - it's fine... but much nicer not GF, as it needs quite a long bake, which doesn't work so well for GF flours.)

Friday, September 18, 2015

Raw Lemon and Cardamom Oat Cookies (Gluten free, dairy free, sugar free)

When the lovely Lucy here put out a call for "free-from" recipes I just knew I had to jump in. Not simply because I consider myself (in all modesty) a bit of an expert in the field of free-from baking (more on that later), but quite honestly, I have no other outlet just now for my creations (except my tummy). It's only fair to warn you, expert or no, that I have always been a haphazard baker. When I was about four I watched my Dad make drop scones without measuring any of the ingredients, and from there I never looked back.

Now, the only reason I measure when baking is:
1. If I'm using a mixture of ingredients I'm unfamiliar with, and
2. In retrospect when creating new recipes, in order to vaguely remember the formula for next time. There: you have been duly warned

I came to free-from baking in a long, roundabout way. I have always experimented with different ingredients that entice and excite me. But like most, it has also been an enforced health journey for me. I first gave up dairy, and instantly cured many congestive complaints. Then I gave up wheat, and finally gluten altogether - curing me of chronic fatigue and digestive upsets.

More recently I have experimented with giving up sugar (of all kinds) in a bid to kill a chronic candida overgrowth (terrifyingly common in today's culture of refined foods, and basely responsible for most chronic illnesses). Suffice to say most of my bakes and creations these days are dairy, gluten AND sugar-free, and often vegan too (beat that GBBO!). This makes them no less tasty (I am particular on that front!) and above all they are QUICK and EASY, because I like pretty instant results.

I'm going to share two biscuit recipes over the next month - because what's more British than a biscuit? One is raw (and a favourite of Lucy's!) and the other is a bake I just created this week. Unusually for me, neither contains chocolate (sorry about that) but I do use cacao butter. If you can't source cacao butter easily, feel free to substitute as you see fit.

(Just like a posher version of the oaty biscuits in an orange packet)


1/3 cup GF whole oat groats/ flakes
1/3 cup whole almonds
1/3 cup dessicated coconut
1 cardamom pod (or more if you're feeling brave/in need of more zing)
1 tbsp honey or favourite syrup
1 tbsp sultanas
1/4 cup cacao butter (Lucy's note: this gives me migraines so I use half white choc and half coconut oil instead).
 Zest of 1/2 lemon
Pinch crystal sea salt

To Make:

Split open the cardamom pod and extract the seeds for use then grind together the oats, almonds, cardamom seeds and salt to a rough flour (not too fine).

Melt the honey/syrup and cacao butter together over a bowl of hot water then add in the lemon rind. Mix everything together to form a dough. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and shape the dough into little cookies.

Freeze or chill until firm, then enjoy with your favourite hot beverage. These are particularly good dunked in my decadent Morning Macaccino.

If you liked this recipe, do try out my first ebook, Real Food Raw, which contains lots of fun, quick and easy wholefood recipes especially created for a free-from diet. There's also lots of great tips and help in there to support you in transitioning between food habits, and how you can make it easy for yourself.

 Zoë Foster is a Life Energy Alchemist at, where she helps soul-driven women balance their natural energetic highs and lows and find their own rhythm - one that maximises both creative output AND self-care on a whole-person level. Zoë is also a writer and yoga teacher and lives on the edge of magical Dartmoor in Devon, UK with her young family.

 You can connect with Zoë on Facebook, Instagram, Periscope, Pinterest and Twitter at @ZoeKMFoster.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Italian Almond Delights - Ricciarelli (Gluten free, dairy free)

These are my go to, GF baking indulgence. Super fast, from first craving to in your mouth in under half an hour, these little Italian confections use ingredients that I tend to always have in my store cupboard, make the kitchen smell divine and give you a great homemade sugar hit... and last for days.

Perfect for dainty afternoon teas, as a mid-morning coffee biscuit or an after dinner petit fours, they are grown up treats of understated elegance. I am not a fan of marzipan, but these, these... oh my. The vanilla and the lemon zest cut the almondy-ness... I have decreased the almond essence hugely... but if you hate marzipan, then leave it out altogether.

This is my version of Nigella Lawson's recipe from her How to Be a Domestic Goddess. She recommends leaving them to dry for 24 hours before baking. That has NEVER happened in our house.

2 large egg whites
225g caster sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond essence
250g ground almonds (have an extra 50g on standby just in case the mix is too soggy)
icing sugar, for dusting
Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
With an electric mixer, whip the egg whites until they are stiff and then gradually whisk in the sugar. It will end up a bit like marshmallow fluff. Add the lemon zest, vanilla and almond essences. Then add the ground almonds, folding in with a spatula - it will become quite a dense mixture. If it is too wet to shape (see below) then add the remaining 50 g of ground almonds.
Shape tablespoonfuls into diamond shapes and place (evenly spaced) on the tray. It is a sticky mixture, and Nigella suggests dusting your hands periodically with icing sugar while you are shaping. Roll them in sieved icing sugar before putting on the baking tray.

Heat the oven 140C (slightly lower if yours is a fan oven), and cook for 20 minutes. They'll be pale and a little cracked when done. Check and see, if they are still very soft you will need to pop them back in for a little longer. Under done they are a moist and lightly chewy, the more they cook, the harder and chewier they become.

Cool and then dust with more icing sugar if you wish. They keep really well for several few days in an airtight container, but good luck getting them to last that long!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Queen of Puddings is Named One of the Top 50 UK Food Blogs to Follow

I was very honoured to be chosen as one of the Top 50 UK Food blogs to follow. Hurray! Top 50 Food Blogs In UK


Friday, August 28, 2015

Lemon Drizzle Cake (Gluten free)

So... my first recipe... back in the saddle. I feel I should be charging for this. Or set up production.

It is my own creation... and you REALLY cannot tell that it is not PROPER cake... rather than gluten free.

It is golden, with a soft crumb, moist, bouncy, crumbly. JUST LIKE PROPER CAKE.

And best of all it's super flexible. I have used it as an all-purpose sponge mix for making:

  • Vanilla Cupcakes
  • Banana Muffins
  • Upside Down Plum Cake
  • Speedy Steamed Sponge Pudding
  • And our favourite... Lemon Drizzle Cake
In fact you can replace this flour mix in pretty much any standard sponge cake recipe. And it works!

Every person who eats it cannot believe it's not real cake... and asks for the recipe.

So here it is:

Weigh your eggs (in their shells) - as with a Victoria Sponge. We will go on the average of 45 grams an egg.

So your flour mix for a four egg recipe - which is what we use for our Lemon Drizzle Squares.

70g cornflour
70g ground almonds
15g brown rice flour
15g tapioca flour
10g potato flour

Lemon Drizzle Squares

180g butter
170g sugar
180g of magic GF flour (above)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs
zest of one lemon finely grated

Cream butter and sugar with electric whisk, add other ingredients and beat. put into small roasting tray - 30x20cm. Bake for 20 mins at 180 C till golden, and a toothpick comes out clean.

When out, leave in tin, sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of caster sugar and pour over the juice of the lemon. Cut into squares.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I'm BACK and baking!

Hi folks!

I'm back. Two things coincided - my writing career taking off... four books in two years... suddenly I went from hobby blogger, to professional writer, and needed to focus my time on my other blogs... and books. I was having to write all the time, for everything, I didn't have the time to bake, take pics, and WRITE. ONE. MORE. BLOG.

Another factor feeding into me not baking was discovering that I had a wheat intolerance. And cutting sugar right back. Suddenly the love of my life cake... and baking... was no more. For months I was in mourning. If I couldn't bake proper cake, then I wouldn't bake anything.

Next came months of experimentation with gritty, nasty, gooey, YUCK, gluten free recipes.

And now here I am... mainly wheat-free - except for the odd gluten loaded, I'll risk the consequences recipes of sheer delight.

And I missed this place. I missed food writing. Sharing recipes.

Teaching food blogging the past couple of years at the Ballymaloe Cookery School I felt a bit of a fake... because though I started off food blogging I had let the Queen of Puddings go. Sure I was Darina's blogging consultant - I get to live my food writing dreams vicariously through my work with her.

But MY CAKES... I miss sharing them.

It took my best friend ( a TOTALLY impartial critic) to tell me a few weeks back that she was just starting to work her way through my recipes here, and "oh, what a treasure trove of goodies you have there."

So I'm back. To share my recipes... and make this world a little better through my love of good cake. Don't set your watch by me... Don't count on perfect photos.

But the recipes.

You know you can trust them!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Harvest Cake

A cake to celebrate the season and our glut of apples. Gluten and sugar free cos that's how I'm rocking right now... But still want to bake and eat cake.
Can be dairy free too very easily

Fry 3 peeled sliced eating apples in 2 tsp of butter or oil,  5 mins till soft in a sauté pan that can go in the oven.add 1 tbsp honey and a punch of cinnamon.

Cake batter: 2 med eggs, pinch salt, pinch cinnamon, 11/2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 4 tbsp sunflower oil, 180 g apple sauce(sugar free), about 60 g ground almonds, 50g rice flour. Mix all together till combined. Dont over mix. Add a little more ground almonds if needed to make it to a thickish but still runny batter, the texture of a good thick yogurt.

Pour batter over the apples, smooth over. Cook at 170 for 15-20 mins till golden. Loosen edges, turn over onto a plate like a tarte tatin, drizzle with honey. Delicious served warm with cream.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

No-bake PMS bars

So at a certain time of the month, the need for chocolate becomes as strong as our need for extra sleep. We women are wired for it.
Image credit:
But if we're not careful we can load up on too much sugar and feel really crappy. Also concentration can be tougher premenstrually and we can be clumsier.

I am currently not eating wheat and sugar, but I wanted a snack to get me through the tunnel of PMS - and this one takes the biscuit! A recipe that needs no chopping or baking, and minimal work, which has no added sugar, but is nutrient rich with nuts, seeds and oats, giving you the nutritional boost you need premenstrually, without the sugar rush. And most importantly a rich, dark, deep hit of chocolate.

The only part of the recipe which requires a little vigilance is the first, toasting the nuts, seeds and oats. But it only takes about 10 minutes. So have a cup of tea and sit in stillness in front of the cooker. Or set a timer!

2 cups rolled oats, not the powdery porridge ones
1 cup almonds (with skins on)
3/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
200 grams 70- 75% dark chocolate
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 packed cup pitted dates

 Pre heat the oven to 170C (fan), about 350F.

Pour the oats onto one large baking tray, and the nuts and seeds onto the other. Pop them into the hot oven. Check after 6 minutes. If the nuts smell toasty and are a little darker, take them out. Toss the oats so the ones on bottom are now on top, and pop into the oven for another 5 mins. If about 1/4 are starting to turn golden brown then you can take them out, if not, toss again and put in for another couple of minutes.

Pour the nuts,seeds, oats and salt into a steel bladed food processor and grind until gritty.

Then add the pitted dates, vanilla and chocolate (broken roughly into pieces)for another minute until it is all brown and has come together, stop once or twice to push any stray oats down into the chocolatey mush.

Pour into an 8 inch square brownie tin which is lined with baking parchment. Cut into 16 squares and chill in the fridge for an hour or so before eating.

Thanks to for the original recipe inspiration which I have adapted.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

And the winner is...

Many congratulations to Rea Halleran - who has won the pair of tickets to the Ballymaloe Garden Festival - see you there!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A GIVEAWAY that comes up smelling of roses!

Do you have a passion for roses? Then be sure to read to the end for a great giveaway... 

I make no secret of my passion for roses. Not the tight-lipped imported ones, but the big blowsy, highly scented old fashioned ones which have graced the gardens of cottages and castles for centuries. There is nothing more sensual, exotic and heavenly for me, than the scent of roses... they are my favourite flowers...

I have filled our garden with roses, light and dark pink,yellow, white... and even a rather odd lavender coloured one! But I don't celebrate them just for their visual beauty, or even their scent... but for their flavour. If you haven't discovered roses as edible magic then follow me on Pinterest and  check out my board on edible flower delights!

A couple of weeks back I shared my recipe for raspberry and rose sorbet (which resulted in a couple of friends knocking on my door asking if there was any left to sample!)

My son makes a divine rose petal lemonade. This summer I have been living off my own fairy flower tea of fresh lemon balm, rose geranium leaf and rose petals... and my favourite chocolates are... yup, you guessed it, rose creams!

Ha! I've just realised that my tea pot and tea cups and chintzy plates are all covered in roses too... ooops this is becoming a little obsessive!

I want to share my passion for roses with you in person, and offer you the chance to win a pair of tickets, to a very special event at the inaugral Ballymaloe Garden Festival in East Cork, Ireland. 

Bring a friend to hear award winning gardener, Helen Dillon, of The Dillon Garden in Dublin, & Rory O’Connell ex-head chef of Ballymaloe House for a sensual celebration of roses. Helen will talk about growing roses and Rory will talk about the many wonderful uses of roses in the kitchen. It's on Saturday August 31st from 11.30am to 12.45pm in The Grainstore, Ballymaloe House. You will also get to meet The Queen of Puddings in the flesh - that'd be me - I'll be wearing a pink rose in my lapel!!!!

The Ballymaloe Garden Festival is dedicated to sustainable gardening, and features names like Alys Fowler, Michael Kelly, Joy Larkcom and Darina Allen who will be joined by experts on rare plants to garden design, wetland systems, urban gardening, herbal medicine, through to flower arranging and watercolour painting. There will be a family friendly fringe festival of fun and food, plant stalls, and free guided tours around the Ballymaloe Cookery School Gardens. Tickets for individual events are available at the doors on the day, and day passes can be purchased from The Grainstore.

Click for a complete programme of events.

To enter the GIVEAWAY you need to:
1) LIKE the Queen of Puddings page on Facebook 
2) Share this post on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest
3) Leave a comment here or on FB to let me know you've shared.

The winner will be announced next Thursday, 22nd August by midday (BST). I will give you the tickets in person at the event! Good luck!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Any Season Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

For me the quintessential taste of summer is strawberries. And the quintessential summer treat is ice cream. So this one combines the two of them, but with the added bonus that it can be made at any time of year, because it uses frozen strawberries. These are picked and frozen in their prime, so their flavour is captured at its height. I dare anyone to guess that it was made from frozen berries. My theory is - they're going to be frozen anyway, so what's the point in paying premium prices for fresh... and then have to do the work of hulling them?

This recipe was adapted from the Ballymaloe recipe which can be found in Darina Allen's book Ballymaloe Cookery Course


500g frozen strawberries
Syrup made with 250ml water and 220g sugar. Chilled in fridge for an hour.
300 ml whipping cream
1/2 juice orange and
1/2 juice lemon


Put the sugar and water in a pan, stir to dissolve over a medium heat, remove from heat just before it boils. Chill in fridge for an hour.

Whip cream to just before soft peak stage.

Blend strawberries with cool syrup, so you have a fancy looking slush puppy! There is no need to sieve this.

Fold strawberries into cream, add lemon and orange juices. It should be slushy, so actually no need for an ice cream maker - if you have one it'll improve the texture a little.

Put into freezer tub. Stir once after an hour. Ready to eat after 2-3 hours.

Heaven served garnished with scented geranium leaves, as in the picture - the perfume from them exalts the flavour sensation!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Raspberry Rose Sorbet

Summer is well and truly here, we've been basking in a heatwave for weeks now, which is unheard of for Ireland. We have been living off ice cream, and so, after years of dithering, I finally invested in an ice cream maker. And mama are we having fun with it.

This was one of our first frozen delights. An intense ruby red sorbet which taste of pure summer. The tart juiciness of raspberries, mingling with the airy floral notes of rose. A match made in heaven.

We were looking to recreate a divine raspberry sorbet that we had whilst wandering the sweltering streets of Toulouse, France, on the first day of this month. I humbly think we bettered it!


1 pack frozen raspberries (350g) (about 4 1/2 US cups)
Sugar syrup made from 1 cup water and 1 cup granulated sugar
1/2-1 teaspoon rose water.


First make the sugar syrup, by dissolving the sugar in the water in a pan, stir until fully dissolved and almost simmering.  Cool in fridge for an hour. Put the fruit in a blender, still frozen, pour over the cooled syrup and liquidise.

If the syrup is cold and raspberries frozen you should have a slush (this is very handy if you don't have an ice cream maker). Sieve. Discard pips. Add rose water, less is more, try 1/2 teaspoon first, then add more if desired. Remember it should taste over-sweet at the moment, it will seem less sweet when frozen.

Put in cream maker, (or straight in freezer tub and take out and stir once after an hour.) It should be ready to eat after 2-3 hours.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dreams of MasterChef

I am a total MasterChef fanatic. COMPLETE. I watch them all. But not having RTE, I didn't know that there was an Irish version. Long story. Somehting to do with a brand new RTE aerial sitting in our garden for the past two years.... But I digress.

So when I was on my holliers in sunny Barcelona, I smugly said I was going to do NO work. Especially not checking emails, as he scrolls through his work emails on the i -phone.

"Not even one from MasterChef?" my hubby says to me, knowing just what  fan I am. "No!" says I, "Of course I don't have one from MasterChef. You're just trying to break me. To get me to check my emails so I can't win the smugness award."

"No he says, you really do, you have an email from MasterChef Ireland."

The conversation goes backwards and forwards like this. Until he starts to read it.

"Dear Lucy..."
OMG!!!! I've won, I've won.... my brain goes... forgetting the logical bit about how I had never entered, nor been in any stage of the comp, so how could I win.

But they contacted me. Personally. To ask me, to tell you that YOU can apply for the next series. So I thought I would. Just in case you're as big a fan as me... and have a functional RTE aerial!!

Are you an amazing amateur cook with a passion for food?
Do you dream of pursuing that passion and possibly changing your life?
Have you got what it takes to impress in the MasterChef kitchen?
If so, we want to hear from you!
Don’t miss out, APPLY NOW for the chance to become the next MasterChef Ireland Champion and win a cash prize of €25,000!

Application deadline is 22nd July 2013
For more information and to apply go to:

Monday, June 3, 2013

Lucy Loves... Cupcakes

OK, let's talk cupcakes. The baking sensation which defined the noughties, turning us all from grown ups into born again children with a sprinkling of edible glitter and golden dragees.

I am not a huge fan of style-over-substance cupcakes, as you will have noticed of this blog. My decoration is sweet and simple. I know I have admitted before about my terror of piping bags! For me taste is king, but I do appreciate the artistry that goes into the most exquisite examples... though I'd feel guilty actually eating one... almost like eating someone's painting, or child... (weird, no idea where THAT came from!!)  And surely guilt is supposed to come after, not before?!

This is my red velvet with white chocolate cream cheese frosting.

On my Cupcake Heaven  Pinterest board I have plenty from both camps, from stunning peacock adorned ones, to the divine sounding Vanilla Chai with cinnamon buttercream, and the pistachio pudding ones that are on my to-do list as a matter of urgency! Do check them out and follow my board.

What is your favourite cupcake? Do you have any tips to get over my piping terror? Do share them below and inspire me!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Thick and chewy American choc chip cookies

These are the real deal. Thick and satisfying. Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside. And quick and easy to bake - they don't need chilling before they are baked. They are my new perfect!

I added 80g toasted chopped walnuts to the child-free half of the batch. Toasted hazelnuts or pecans would be yummy too.

These are adapted from Nigella Lawson's Kitchen. They are lower in sugar, and chocolate than hers, and use choc chunks rather than chips. And salt... Must have salt!

150g melted butter, cooled slightly
120g soft brown sugar
80g white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 fridge cold egg and 1fridge cold egg yolk
300g plain white flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
200g bar milk chocolate, chopped into chunks

Makes 24 large cookies
Preheat fan oven 160C

Pop eggs in the freezer if you don't normally keep them in the fridge.

Whilst the butter is melting (I put it in a small bowl into the preheating oven, along with the nuts on a baking tray - but keep an eye on both!)  Put the sugars in a large mixing bowl and de lump the light brown sugar by rubbing together with your fingers. Leave the butter to cool for 2-3 minutes. Pour into the bowl with the sugar and whist with an electric whisk. Then add the egg and yolk and vanilla, whisk until smooth.

Add flour, salt and sieve in bicarbonate of soda making sure there are no lumps. Fold in with a spatula. Then fold in chocolate chunks and nuts if using.

Scoop out with  an ice cream scoop onto lined baking sheets. Do NOT flatten these mounds! This should make 2 sheets of 12. Unless you have an oven where they can cook side by side it is better to bake one at a time. They also keep in the fridge uncooked for a few days. Or you can also freeze the uncooked dough, scooped out and frozen on a tray, then transfered into a bag when frozen.

Cook 15 mins. Checking every couple of minutes after 10 mins. It's better for them to be on the under, rather than over done side. Try to restrain yourself to less than 4... especially if you have been nibbling on the dough - these are addictive... you have been warned!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Buttermilk blueberry cake

Tender, light, easy as pie to make...and eat. Seems plain... Everyone had seconds and thirds.  Finished in one sitting.

Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cake Bible. Hers is a plain cake, mine builds on one that I used to love at the Stephen Pearce cafe. And it's a great way to use up spare buttermilk. It was eaten so fast I didn't get a chance to take a pic - so here's how it should look...

Image from BBC Good Food.

200g plain flour
180g caster sugar
110g butter
1 tbsp baking powder
4 egg yolks
140ml buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 punnet blueberries (120g) 1/3 reserved

150g icing sugar, perhaps more to taste and till correct texture
120g cream cheese
40g unsalted butter, very soft
Reserved blueberries

Bake for 30-40 mins at 170 c
9 inch spring form tin

Using electric whisk, whisk butter into dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients together and add slowly.
Beating all the time. Pour into lined tin. Cook till golden on top and cooked through. Cool thoroughly before icing.

To make icing beat icing sugar and butter. Carefully mix in cream cheese, do not overmix. Decorate with remaining blueberries.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

GIVE AWAY!!! Tickets to Food Blogging and Self Publishing events at LitFest this weekend!

It’s all go here, hence the quiet.

I have just submitted the manuscript for my third book to my publishers, and now this weekend we have the long-awaited Ballymaloe LitFest, all my culinary super-heroes, and me, on my backdoor step! Well OK, not literally, but almost!

So on Saturday morning I will be leading a workshop on Food Writing for the Digital Generationalongside Caroline Hennessy, co founder of the Irish Food Bloggers Association; Aoife Carrigy, freelance food journalist and lecturer and Michael Kelly, founder of GIY Ireland. So if you want to get a behind-the-scenes scoop on how blogging works, what’s hot in food writing now and ask us your questions, then do come along.

Straight after that I will be introducing Michelle Darmody of the Cake Café in Dublin who will be talking about another hot topic – What’s the Big Deal? Going the Self publishing Route. As a self-published author myself, who has transitioned to the mainstream, I will be helping to field questions from aspiring authors, so do come along and pick our brains.

I will of course have signed copies of my books available to buy!!

And as a special treat I have a pair of tickets to each event available for you to win. Leave a comment below letting me know which you want to win.

You must be able to travel to Co. Cork on Saturday for the event.
Entries close at midnight tonight, Thursday May 2nd, British Summer Time. Winners will contacted by email tomorrow morning, so be sure to choose a commenting option which provides us with your email address.
The prize is a ticket for you and a friend, for the stated event, either 
  •  Food Writing for the Digital Generation 
  • OR
  • What’s the Big Deal, Going the Self publishing Route. 

The prize does not include travel or accommodation, remember I was only joking about it being on my doorstep – I do not expect to find you outside my front door on Saturday with your suitcase in hand!!

I really look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Little Pieces of Heaven (aka mini donuts)

You know when your 7-year-old puts something into his mouth and groans "Ohhhhhhh! Pieces of heaven!" that you have just scored major mama-points!

We have had quite enough healthy baking on this blog recently. So these are full-fat donuts - no parsnip or butternut squash in sight. 

For some reason I always thought donuts were difficult. Needing yeast and rising time and specialist equipment. Which is why I was so chuffed with my earlier Instant Donut recipe. But these. These are as good as the best donuts I have ever eaten, sold by a man on the streets of Dorchester. We had some this Easter, which my daughters adored a much as me, so I know my taste memory is not dusty. These truly earn their moniker. They are nothing short of heaven.

If your only experience of donuts is shop bought jam filled. Then let me kindly and gently say: YOU HAVE NEVER LIVED UNTIL YOU HAVE EATEN A FRESH, HOT DONUT!

And these, with three kids under 8 helping were done from first weighing out, to first donut in mouth in ten minutes. 

THEY ARE SO EASY. So I demand that you try them. NOW!!!! And then come back here and kiss me!

They are adapted from The Hummingbird Cafes's latest book Home Sweet Home - they make them to go on jam filled cupcakes - I say WHY? And they roll them in cinnamon sugar - again WHY?

So here we go. After a write up like that, I now require your trust. I know what follows looks like a sloppy scone mix. It is. But holy mother of all things wonderful, it makes donuts that will take you straight to paradise.

Preheat deep fat fryer to 160 C (medium)

Makes about 16

250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp baking powder
35g cold butter cut into cubes
35g caster sugar
1 large egg
120ml full-fat milk

Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Rub in the flour with your fingertips as you would making scones until there are no lumps of butter left. 
Whisk up the milk and egg in a jug with a fork. Make a well in the flour mix, pour in the milk and egg. Mix gently with a blunt knife. 
Pour onto some lightly floured baking parchment, it will be like a loose scone dough. gently squash together with your hands (coated in flour) and pat down to 1 cm thick. 
Now either use a small cutter (about 2cm across), or take heaped teaspoon sized pieces in your hands and gently roll into balls and put onto a plate. Cook in batches of 6-8. Put them in using a spatula or deep frying implement with holes in. They take about 2 minutes on each side, you need to turn them over half way. Cook  till golden.
Take them out and drain for 1 minute on kitchen paper, before tossing in a bowl of 100g caster sugar. 

Eat and enjoy! These do not keep and must be eaten within a couple of hours, but preferably when still warm!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Hot Cross Buns... with a side of Food Blogging Events

I have no time for baking I'm afraid, real life is FAR too busy... Oh except for Hot Cross Buns! How I love that seasonal treat - it's so special to make something just once a year in these times when nothing is that sacred. I couldn't find my normal recipe (from Margaret Costa's Four Seasons Cookbook, so decided to try) - and of course adapt - I just can't help myself! - Nigella's from her Feast book, that I had photocopied many years ago. You'll have to wait till next year for me to share them!! But here's a pic to whet your appetite!

I am just finishing off my third book, The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood  and will be sending it off to the publishers at the end of the month (you can see an extract from it this week over on my personal blog, Dreaming Aloud) so you'll have to excuse my relative quiet here at the mo.

But that's not all, oh no!

I have been helping Darina Allen with her blog prior to the Ballymaloe LitFest of Food and Wine which is almost upon us.

I will be on a panel on Food Writing for the Digital Generation at the LitFest, alongside Caroline Hennessy, co-founder of the Irish Food Bloggers, Michael Kelly, founder of Grow Your Own Ireland, and Aoife Carrigey of Holy Mackerel. I will also be answering questions in the next session which is all about self publishing, sonething which I've been immersed in for nearly two years now!

Then, on 18th May I will be teaching Food Blogging at Ballymaloe Cookery School - this half day course is perfect for those wanting to start out, and those who have recently started but are wanting to grow their blog.

And finally I am delighted to share that a piece of my food writing, The Taste of Cherry Blossom, has been accepted for BlogHer's new anthology entitled Roots: Where Food Comes from and Where it Takes Us, which this time focuses on Food and Traditions. It will be launched at their June conference in Chicago!

Busy times!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...