Saturday, 28 February 2009

Irish Boxty Bread or Potato Bread

Boxty on the Griddle,
Boxty in the pan,
The wee one in the middle,
It is for Mary Ann.
If you don't eat boxty,
You'll never get your man.

I'm not entirely sure where this little rhyme came from, but it does make me laugh.

Boxty Bread (makes 16 farls)

1lb raw grated potato
1lb cooked mashed potato
12oz plain flour
1/2 oz baking powder
1 tsp salt
4oz softened butter.

Preheat oven to 180C (350F).

Grate the raw potatoes and squeeze out some of the excess liquid.

Place all ingredients in a large bowl or basin and mix with your hands until well combined.

Empty dough out onto a flour surface, divide into quarters and roll each portion of dough into a circle about 1/4 inch thick.

Place onto a greased baking sheet and mark into farls (quarters).

Bake for 35-40 minutes and serve straight from the oven, swimming in butter.


Friday, 27 February 2009

Boiling Potatoes in their Jackets

I love to cook potatoes without peeling them. They taste a lot better cooked with their jackets on and I find it protects the potato and makes it less likely that they will be overcooked and waterlogged.

However, it can be a bit of a nightmare to remove the skins from hot potatoes once they are cooked. The easiest way to do this is to remove a band of skin around the middle of the potato, around 1cm wide and then boil. Once the potatoes are cooked the skins will slip right off.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes

Seriously, who doesn't like chocolate.

I love chocolate.

No. I really love chocolate. And I love cupcakes, so these little babies rock my world.

They're a bit different because they contain buttermilk (or vinegar and milk combined if you can't get buttermilk) so I wouldn't recommend licking the spoon. The batter just tastes weird.

Chocolate Cupcakes

1 1/4 cups plain (all purpose) flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa

1/2 tsp baking soda (bicarb)
1/2 cup (4oz) butter
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 180C (350F)

Cream Butter and sugar, add egg and vanilla and beat well.

Alternate adding buttermilk and flour until all is combined.

Line a 12 cup muffin pan and divide batter evenly.

Bake for 20-25 minutes a skewer comes out clean.

Remove to a cooling rack and once cool frost with;

Chocolate buttercream

4oz icing sugar
2oz butter

4 oz dark chocolate melted
(a little milk)

Cream butter and sugar together to make buttercream, add melted chocolate and beat again to combine. Add a little milk if the buttercream seems a little dry or you prefer a messier (nothing wrong with that) frosting.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Cauliflower Soup with Tarragon

Photo Courtesy of Supriya O on flickr

1 medium onion, finely diced.
a bunch of soup celery or 3 stalks of table celery, finely chopped.
1 tbls butter
2 tbls plain flour
1 litre of vegetable stock
1 cauliflower, chopped
300ml dried reconstituted milk (or fresh)
fat pinch of dried tarragon or small bunch of fresh.
Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.

Soften celery and onion in butter over a low/medium heat for five minutes then add flour and stir quickly to combine.

Add a little of the stock at a time and stir until about 1/4 of the stock has been added, the remaining stock may be added in 2-3 larger quantities. Allow to cook for a few minutes until mixture has thickened slightly.

Add cauliflower, bring to the boil, reduce heat and cover. Cook until cauliflower is tender (15-20 minutes depending on size of florets).

Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before blending until smooth, add milk along with the dried tarragon and seasonings (if using fresh wait until just before serving the soup to add), bring back up to simmering point and serve.

A handful or two of grated cheddar may also be added to this soup.