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Homemade Tortilla Wraps

11 Sep

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If, like me, you have always marveled at the magic of a tortilla then look no further. These are honestly so easy to make, not even any tricky yeast in these to catch you out. So there is no reason not to give it a whirl. These are best served hot from the pan as they are still very soft and easy to fold then but will keep for up to three days if you keep them airtight. These don’t have the same leathery feel as some shop bought tortillas, they are much softer and are actually more durable when folding, wrapping and generally over loading your tortillas. They only have to be rested for 30mins and will have all family and friends astounded by your culinary expertise.

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Homemade Tortilla Wraps (Makes about 10)

3 cups plain flour

1tsp salt

1/2tsp baking powder

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup hot water

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder.
  • Drizzle in the oil and use your fingers to work it through the flour until it resembles crumbs.
  • Make a well in the middle and pour in most of the hot water. Mix until it forms a soft ball adding the rest of the water if needed.
  • Place in a clean bowl, cover with a tea towel or cling film and let rest for 30mins. It won’t rise as there is no yeast only baking powder, so don’t worry if you come back and it is the same size.
  • Divide the dough into ten balls and roll each one out into a thin disc on a well floured surface.
  • Heat a large frying pan over a medium/high heat and cook the wraps for 1-2mins or until brown and blistered then turn and repeat on the other side.
  • Serve warm, also suitable for freezing.
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Mature Cheddar and Sage Scones

19 Aug

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There is something soothing about going into the kitchen early in the morning and turning simple, everyday ingredients into something magnificent. It really relaxes me and always ensures I have a really calm and happy day. Things are so hectic at the moment because of the Florence trip (I’m soooo excited!) so I really needed something to chill me out, this was the perfect answer. Not only did I have a great baking “therapy” session to start my day but I ended up with these fantastic scones and believe me nothing smells better coming out of the oven then super cheesy scones!

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The sage and mustard are subtle but compliment the cheesy flavors well. The one thing I would highly recommend is that you use really tangy mature cheddar so that you have a real sharpness from the scones. These are great as is or used to accompany loads of different meals such as scrambled eggs for a decadent brunch, a steaming bowl of soup for lunch or alongside a meaty main for dinner.

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Mature Cheddar and Sage Scones (Makes 5-6)

225g plain flour

1tsp cream of tartar

1/2tsp baking soda

a pinch of salt

50g butter, cold and cubed

70g mature cheddar, grated (Plus extra for the top)

1 heaped tsp dried sage

21/2tsp mustard powder

a pinch of salt and pepper

1/4 pint milk, plus a drop extra for glazing)

  • Preheat the oven to 230°c/450°f.
  • Sieve the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and rub into the flour using your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the grated cheese, sage, mustard powder and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Make a well in the centre and add most of the milk. Mix together with a wooden spoon, add the remaining milk if necessary until it forms a soft dough.
  • Turn out onto a floured surface and roll out to about 1inch thick, cut into roughly five rounds.
  • Place the rounds on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Brush with some extra milk and top with more grated cheese.
  • Bake in the oven for 10mins until golden.

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Crusty No Knead Loaf

28 Jul

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I always thought kneading was an essential part of bread making and to be honest, I love it that way. I know it is the focal point of many peoples bread making nightmares but I completely disagree. It is really therapeutic and and a great arm workout all rolled into one!

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But for those of you that want to be able to create that crusty loaf with an airy, fluffy centre that looks like it belongs on the table of an Italian grandmother then this is the recipe for you. It involves (pretty much) no kneading and it tastes like something out of my most ambitious bread making dreams. There is only one draw back in this recipe… it has to be left to rise for 8-24hrs. I know this seems a bit of a task but really if you just plan a day in advance it is easy as pie.

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I must say though the curiosity to see how it would turn out nearly killed me the first time! It is baked in a dutch oven, a big casserole dish with a lid or if necessary a baking dish covered with tin foil. I’m sure most people would have some sort of a casserole dish though especially in Ireland, sure the stewing pot would be perfect for this.

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Crusty No Knead Loaf (Makes 1 loaf)

3 cups plain flour

2tsp salt

1tsp dry active yeast

1-1 1/2 cups warm water

  • In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt and yeast.
  • Make a well in the centre and pour in a cup of the water. Use a wooden spoon to combine it, adding more water a little bit at a time if necessary until all the flour is incorporated and you have a rough dough.
  • Tip it out onto a floured surface and gather it all up making sure  its all in one ball of dough. Give the bowl a quick wash and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
  • Return the dough to the oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel or some cling film. Leave in a warm place to prove for 8-24hrs.
  • Tip the dough out onto a floured surface using a spatula to scrap all the dough off the bowl. Knock the air out of the dough and knead briefly just so that you have a smooth ball of dough. Cover with cling film and let rest until the oven is ready.
  • Place your casserole dish or dutch oven in the oven and preheat to 230°c/450°f.
  • Once preheated take the casserole dish out of the oven and place a sheet of baking parchment on the bottom. Lay the ball of dough in and put the lid back on.
  • Bake in the oven for 30mins then remove the lid and bake for a further 7mins roughly just to brown the top.
  • Munch away on your amazing creation 🙂

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Whole Wheat Garlic and Coriander Naan

21 Jul

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I had never even considered making my own naan breads until we were having a guest over for dinner. I made a chicken curry (Post coming) and I thought I would make a bit more of an effort then usual and make homemade naan to boot. I originally found a plain naan recipe that didn’t use yogurt, egg, oil or whole wheat flour but I changed my mind and decided to challenge myself a bit.

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I will have to give the other recipe a go sometime but this one was so good, I don’t know how I’ll be able to top it! It was soft and fragrant from the garlic and coriander and the seeds gave the top a slight crunch. It was actually surprisingly easy to rustle up and I will definitely not be going back to shop bought any time soon. They obviously work magnificently with a big curry, to soak up that amazing sauce but they would also be handy to use as a pizza base, open top sandwich or even topped with scrambled eggs for an Indian twist on breakfast.

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Whole Wheat Garlic and Coriander Naan (Makes 6-8)

1/2 cup warm water

1tsp caster sugar

2tsp active dry yeast

2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup white bread flour

1/2tsp salt

1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup natural yogurt

1 egg

Toppings: dried coriander, poppy seeds, sesame seeds and minced garlic

olive oil, for frying

  • In a large bowl, mix together the water, sugar and yeast and let sit for 5mins.
  • Pulse the whole wheat flour in a food processor until it is quite fine.
  • Next stir in the two types of flours,salt, olive oil, yogurt and egg and mix until you have a soft dough.
  • Turn out onto a well floured surface and knead for 4-5mins.
  • Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let rise in a warm area for about 1hr until roughly doubled in size.
  • Knock the air out of it and knead for 1-2mins then divide into 6-8 even balls.
  • Roll each one out into a thin oval then sprinkle with a little bit of each of the toppings or whatever you fancy and press into the dough lightly.
  • Heat a tiny bit of oil in a large frying pan or griddle and over a medium/high heat and place about two naans on at a time. Flip once the bottom is golden cook on the other side.
  • Serve hot with a curry or as a pizza base etc.

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Banana Bread with Chocolate Crumble Layers

18 Jul

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Because of the wonderful weather, we decided to go camping for a night. Food is a major part in this and we opted for easy meals all the way through (Post coming soon!) but for a handy dessert/something to have with a hot cup of tea, I made this banana bread. Usually when I make banana bread it is more of a spicy, rustic loaf with raisins and nuts like my recipe for the Best Banana Bread in the World but this one is basically the complete opposite.

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It is a more refined, cake like banana bread that of course is more indulgent and not as good for you as my other recipe but everyone has to have a bit of yummy, sinful banana bread in their life, right? I think so! This loaf has a lovely moist banana cake part with layers of rich, rough chocolate crumble. Because of the chocolate pieces in the crumble, the middle layer becomes wickedly gooey and fantastic when eaten straight out of the oven or after being reheated in the microwave.

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When we were camping I had my slice with a warm baked banana, done on our portable hob/grill set, and at home I had it with a blob of natural yogurt. Both were delicious and balanced out the richness of the chocolate to perfection. This was such a handy loaf as it was really robust and handled the traveling really well, wrapped up in a bit of tin foil. It was the perfect camping treat and I will definitely be making on a regular basis!

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Banana Bread with Chocolate Crumble Layers (1 substantial loaf)

For the Chocolate Crumble:

55g butter, melted

1/2 cup plain flour

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup coarse brown sugar/granulated sugar

2tbsp good quality cocoa powder

50g/1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

For the Banana Bread Batter:

2 cups plain flour

1tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

85g/6tbsp butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1/3 cup fat free natural yogurt

3 small very ripe bananas, mashed

1tsp vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to 180°c/350°f and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment.
  • To make the crumble, mix the flour, two sugars, cocoa powder and chocolate chips in a small bowl and then pour in the melted butter while mixing with a fork and breaking up the clusters. Set aside.
  • For the batter, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • In another large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until creamy, about 30sec, then add the sugar and beat for 3-4mins or until pale and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time until incorporated then add the yogurt, mashed bananas and vanilla. Mix again.
  • Fold in the flour mixture with a large metal spoon, half at a time until it is all mix through.
  • Spoon half the batter into the tin then scatter half the crumble over. Layer the second half of the batter on and finish with the last of the chocolate crumble on top.
  • Bake in the oven for 50-60mins until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Let cool in the tin then slice thickly and serve with a hot cup of tea.

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Perfect, Moist Cornbread

2 Jul

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My family lived in America for a long time and we moved over when I was only three, so there are a lot of things that they remember that I don’t. One of these things is cornbread. My mom is always going on about how good it is and I had no clue until now. I sort of jumped in at the deep end because I decided to make it myself without ever having it before so I didn’t really know what to expect but it turned out amazing.

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My mom  said it was even better then the ones she remembered and I will definitely be making mom in the future. It is really handy because it is a quick bread and doesn’t need all that time consuming kneading and rising. It is a really beautiful golden yellow color and the top browns really fantastically.

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It is lovely and moist thanks to the yogurt and contains no fat except from the eggs. I had this with a big bowl of steaming hot soup and it was delicious although I know it is traditionally eaten with chilli, which I really must try! These would also be great in a sweet version with some honey and fruit on top. If you don’t want to make it into squares you could make them in a big muffin tin.

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Perfect, Moist Cornbread (Makes about 9-12 squares)

1 cup spelt flour

1 cup polenta/cornmeal

1/2tsp salt

1tsp baking soda

1 cup low fat natural yogurt

1/4 cup runny honey

2 eggs, lightly beaten

  • Preheat the oven to 190°c/375°f and grease and line a 8 x 8 inch square tin with baking parchment.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, polenta, salt and baking soda.
  • Make a well in the center and add the yogurt, honey and eggs and fold in gently but thoroughly making sure to scrap all around the bowl to make sure all the flour is folded in.
  • Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 20-25mins until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Let cool fully in the tin then transfer to a board and cut into squares.
  • If not using these all at once, make sure to keep them wrapped up in tin foil or even just a tea towel to prevent them drying out.

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Hot Cross Buns

30 Mar

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These are definitely a must have around the easter holidays. It just wouldn’t be right without tucking into one… or a few hot out of the oven! This is a pretty standard recipe for hot cross buns. I figured it didn’t need any messing around with. The only unusual thing about this recipe is the chopped apple but it adds lovely moistness to the dough and who doesn’t love biting into a soft, hot piece of cinnamony apple? 🙂 In the original recipe, it said to glaze with apricot jam but of course did I check if we had apricot jam before I started? No! So when these came out of the oven, I was in a “mild panic”! I rooted around the fridge and pulled out the only thing that even slightly resembled what I needed, lime marmalade. I brushed it on, quite hastily I must add, in fear of my buns getting too cold. It turned out to be a fantastic mistake and one I would highly recommend everyone else to make too. The lime went so well with the spicy, zesty buns.

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Hot Cross Buns

300ml milk

500g strong white flour

70g caster sugar

1/2tsp salt

7g sachet fast action dried yeast

1tsp cinnamon

50g butter

1 egg, lightly beaten

zest of 1 orange

80g mixed dried fruit

1 small apple, cored and diced

sunflower oil, for greasing

For the Cross:

80g plain flour

For Glazing:

3tbsp apricot jam/lime marmalade

  • In a small saucepan, bring the milk to the boil then remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
  • Meanwhile, put the flour, sugar, salt, yeast and cinnamon in a large bowl. Rub in the butter using your fingertips then stir in the beaten egg and orange zest.
  • Slowly add the tepid milk until it forms a oft, sticky dough. Add the mixed dried fruit and diced apple and tip it out onto the counter.
  • Knead the dough for around 5mins until it becomes a smooth, elastic dough.
  • Oil a large bowl lightly and place the dough in. Cover loosely with cling film and leave to rise for around 1hr or until it has roughly doubled in size.
  • Grease and line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces and roll into smooth balls in your hands or on a floured surface.
  • Place them on your baking sheet in lines, fairly close together. They should be about 1 1/2cm apart.
  • Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise again for 1hr.
  • Preheat the oven to 210°c/410°f. For the cross mix the flour with about 5tbsp water or enough to make a thick paste.
  • Spoon it into a piping bag and pipe crosses over your buns. It’s easiest if you do one big line over each row of buns.
  • Bake in the oven for 20-25mins until golden. As soon as they come out of the oven, brush the apricot jam/lime marmalade over the top of them, generously.
  • Leave to cool or just tuck in if you really can’t resist! 😀

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