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 CafĂ© 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!


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