Sometimes life can reward you in unexpected ways.

I have been going to and using the Moat Theatre in Naas, Co. Kildare since I was a teenager. Recently, when the cafe in the theatre became available for new management, I debated the option. I hummed and hawed but eventually decided that it wasn’t the right thing for me. Really what I wanted was to bake for a cafe. I was delighted when I realised a school friend, Amy had taken on the challenge. I was excited for the creativity and imagination she would bring to the venture. Amy asked me if I would be interested in baking for the newly named Duck and Cup Cafe, and it seemed like perfect serendipity.

Coffee Bundt Launch

Continue reading

Biscuits PolaroidThese lemon and sesame seed biscuits were born of good intention and circumstances. I had planned a visit to some friends who are working tirelessly (and harder than I think I ever will) to renovate a new home. I had planned something along the chocolate line but my intentions were not strong enough to bear a walk in the rain to the shops, so I decided to be creative with what I had in stock.

I had a lemon and all the basics of baking (flour, butter, sugar and eggs). I am sure that some philosophical baker must, at some point, pondered how that this is all you need for greatness (in baking terms at least). I couldn`t resist the addition of some sesame seeds.(Maybe I amn`t philosophical enough) I had black sesame ice cream on a trip to Vancouver last year and it`s brilliance has influenced my cooking every since. Sesame has the ability to work perfectly in sweet and savoury dishes. Hence lemon and sesame seed biscuits were born.

Continue reading

There are few pleasures greater in life than getting a lovely crunchy biscuit on the side of your coffee. (Ok, there may be a few greater pleasures!). We commonly call them biscotti, but they are also known as cantuccini. I believe that the latter means coffee bread while the former refers to biscuits that would have traditionally been baked twice.

I know that some people don’t enjoy this type of biscuit, citing it as too hard but I think dipped in coffee, that the nuts and crunch are really delicious. I chose chopped hazelnuts and walnuts for this recipe because I quite like to have little bits of nut distributed throughout the biscuit, as well as the lovely whole chunks of walnut.
Continue reading

I was in Vancouver over the summertime and while I was there, I saw a hilarious greeting card. It read ’A birthday cake without wheat is rarely a treat’. My mother avoids lactose while my sister can’t eat gluten. My father needs a chocolate free diet. One by one all these things are manageable, but when combined, it requires some baking research and planning. I am grateful they can all eat eggs and nuts.

post6-1

Cookies are a pretty straight forward option for gluten free or dairy free baking. They don’t need to rise so the missing gluten isn’t that important. I really like the flavour and texture that coconut oil lends. Plus it is that bit healthier than butter! (I am trying to find a bright side of a family who reject my dairy and wheat filled baked goodness!). With the growing numbers of people who have dietary restrictions, every baker needs a few recipes like this under their belt!

Continue reading

Almond and Raspberry Jammie DodgersSo I really like biscuits. I am a fan of cookies too, don’t get me wrong, but I love biscuits.

Jammie Dodgers are the type of biscuits I remember growing up. My plan is to bake my way through all the classics; Custard Creams, ToffeePops, Bourbon, Jaffa Cakes, they all await me! However, I started with a buttery, crumbly, fruity treat!

Continue reading

I am, unsurprisingly, a fan of the Great British Bake Off. Watching the contestants make custard tarts a few weeks back coupled with a need for redemption for my poor custard quality on the Great Irish Bake Off

, made me lust after a nice custard tart. These are lovely tarts with a flaky case and the cinnamony vanilla sweetness of the custard. They probably aren’t true to ‘Pasteis de nata’ but are tasty nonetheless.

Portuguese Custard tarts

Continue reading

Foraging basket filled with crab apples, haws and elderberries.The story of this blog post began quite a while ago with Tom (of The Great Irish Bake Off fame) saying he would like to make some elderberry wine. Him being the city boy that he is, and me being the farm girl that I am, we agreed it would be a great idea if he came down to my family home in Wicklow to pick some berries. Somewhere along the way this happily escalated, and resulted in a foraging trip for the Bake Off contestants that could make it, led by Biddy White Lennon (one of our esteemed judges). We happily trampled our way around the farm, Molly the sheepdog and Harney family in tow, and collected many fruits of the season. It was a really fun day, and naturally we had many delicious baked things after our gathering work. This is a significant advantage of having friends who bake really really well. I wanted to try to make a few different things this year, so embarked on using my haws for brandy and elderberries for balsamic vinegar. The blackberries had a few uses including a lemon and blackberry cordial and a buttermilk, blackberry and coffee pound cake. Here is the first of a few recipes. Continue reading