Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wholemeal Irish Brown Bread

Ok, so my thesis is OFICIALLY DONE! I no longer have to spend hours obsessing over statistics or whether my headings look just right :D. Now onto my next essay...*head/desk* :P.
At any rate, now that it's handed in and out of my mind I can go back to baking more regularly :D So this morning I decided I'd make Buttermilk Wholemeal Bread because we had no proper brown bread in the house! The nice thing about Irish wholemeal bread is that it requires NO KNEADING!!! The result is a dense textured loaf full of fibre and homey goodness, perfect for soup and salmon and lashings of butter and jam :)

We normally buy freshly baked wholemeal bread from a little market near where we live but this week through a combination of being super busy and them leaving the market earlier than usual we missed out. So I decided I'd try my hand at it and adapt a really basic (and kind of crappy) wholemeal buttermilk bread recipe that I already had in my recipe box.

Unfortunately I had to leave before it was cool enough to eat but according to the text I just received it was a winner and my mum wants me to make more next week. the loaf came out a little on the flat side because the only loaf tin I had available was a silicone tin and whatever about their pro of being non stick, I personally think they're pretty rubbish as far as keeping the shape goes... But anyway, I'll use the metal one next time and then compare results :)

The bread has honey and buttermilk in it. I omitted the salt because I find that buttermilk can be quite salty, but feel free to put it in if you think the honey will make the bread too sweet. According to my tasters the lack of salt wasn't a problem and the honey was balanced so it really depends on your own personal tastes.

Wholemeal Irish Buttermilk Bread

(Makes 1 large loaf)

450g wholemeal flour
150g plain flour
1 egg
550mls buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp salt
2tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 220 C
Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl
Add the egg to the buttermilk and beat together
Add 3/4 of the wet ingredients to the dry and mix, adding more liquid bit by bit until it is all incorporated
Add honey and mix well
Turn the wet, sticky dough out into the loaf tin and bake for 55mins-1 hour, covering with baking paper to prevent over browning of the crust if necessary

If you have them sprinkle some jumbo oatflakes over the top before baking :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Chemistry of Cooking

Woke up this morning to find my room lit with wonderful sunshine (I forgot to close my blind last night). I made myself a cup of tea, switched on the laptop and have spent the last few hours watching the world go by. Granted there's not much to watch on campus at the weekends but it's peaceful and the birds are singing :) This is also the first morning where I haven't had to scramble to type up more of my thesis so I intend to take full advantage of the sunshine while I wait for my proof-readers to send me emails with all the fixing-up work I have to do before the final submission this Friday :P

While doing my usual morning browse through the internet I happened upon this; The Chemistry of Cooking. I know it's not related to Psychology but it was just so interesting and related to food (!!!) that I felt I had to post it up :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentines Day Muffins (with lemon-cinnamon cream cheese glaze)

Ok, so I'm not a huge fan of the whole Valentine's Day thing. I mean, this was to be the first year I ever celebrated it with anyone but from previous years I had decided it was a really fake holiday; the sentiment is lovely and I totally agree with the idea but it's way to commercialised and just seems like a money spinner to be honest. Luckily for me, Ethan feels pretty much the same so we decided to go simple and have home-cooked food and curl up with a movie. 

I spent the day baking, making truffles (recipe to follow at some stage) and being the campus Valentines Day Fairy (I basically went and handed out my home made truffles, except the ones I was saving for himself of course). was presented with a really lovely meal of maple and mustard glazed salmon with various trimmings, which was really yummy (I shall be stealing the idea for my own recipe collection!) and then we basically spent the evening chatting and totally forgot to watch any sort of movie until we realised it was 11:45 and way too late to start watching anything :P (We're really good time-keepers, I swear).

In keeping with the whole Valentines is too commercial I decided I'd give Ethan something home made. He had mentioned wanting to try apple and raspberry muffins when we first started going out (almost a year ago :D), so I decided I'd give them a bang (I also wanted to try out my new measuring spoons and red polka dot muffin cases). I used an Apple Muffin recipe from a book I picked up called 1001 Cupcakes, Cookies and Other Tempting Treats and tweaked it a bit (as I always do). A problem I've found with some apple muffins I've tried is that they don't taste apple-y enough (yes, it IS a word! :P). But apparently, althought the raspberries were the stronger flavour, the 
apple still came through :D! 
The whole time these muffins were baking my 
whole kitchen was perfumed with the summery, 
heady scent of raspberries! It was wonderful :D!

I just decided to make up the glaze last minute because about a month ago I have made an orange version for my Mum to go on the Carrot cake cup-cakes I baked for her. She hates the frosting but likes the sweetness so I figured a glaze would provide enough sweetness without being too overpowering. For these muffins, I knew ornage wouldn't work so I thought lemon might be a good substitute and as it turns out I made the right call...phew! :D

Apple and Raspberry Muffins

(Makes 15)
  • 280g plain flour
  • 1tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100-115g light brown sugar (depends on the sweetness of your apples)
  • 2 dessert apples (I used Pink Ladies)
  • 2 eggs
  • 200mls milk
  • 100g butter (melted and cooled)
  • 130g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F
Line a muffin tray with paper cases
Sieve together flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl and stir in the sugar
Peel and grate the apples and add to the flour mixture
Beat the eggs lightly in another bowl and beat in the milk and butter
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix gently until just combined, don't overmix or the muffins won't rise properly
Fold in raspberries gently, being careful not to crush them
Spoon the mixture into the paper cases, 1 1/2-2tbsp in each

Bake for 25-30 mins, until well risen, golden brown and firm to the touch. When inverted and tapped they should make a hollow sound!

Cool in the tin for 5 mins then cool completely on a wire rack

The raspberries make these muffins super moist so they may take longer than 30 mins; mine took pretty much exactly that amount of time. Just keep a watchful eye on them!

Because I used sweet dessert apples I only used 100g of sugar but if you're using a tart apple such as Granny Smith I recommend using the full amount.

Lemon-Cinnamon Cream Cheese Glaze
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 7-10 heaped tbsp icing sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Combine all ingredients and add more cheese/lemon juice/ sugar until your glaze reaches a consistency where it will drip slowly off the back of a metal spoon.

These muffins were a big hit (with and without the glaze), and I'll definitely be making them again :D I hope all of you had a fantastic day, full of love and affection :)

Kate xxx

Monday, February 7, 2011

World Nutella Day and a suitable recipe

After a long thesis related absense I'm back and from the abyss of late night statistics sessions and results analysing I bring a recipe featuring the world famous hazelnut-chocolate spread we all know and love (I hope)! Ok so a few of my friends are having birthdays this week so it's gonna be all go on the baking front for me (not that I'm complaining in the slightest :D :D :D

First off I decided to do muffins for Tara :) The only question is what type? After a good long think and a bit of a food porn session I found out that it was recently World Nutella Day. I decided I just HAD to make something and found several recipes for self frosting nutella cupcakes. Sometimes I think frosting detracts from the cupcake itself and I know many people who hate the stuff and end up scraping it off so these were perfect :D! I'm using a slightly modified version of my own fairy cake (yellow cake) recipe to which I added some of the chocolatey yumminess :)

I hope you enjoy these, Tara sure did :)

Self-Frosting Nutella Muffins

(Makes 12)
  • 140g butter (at room temp)
  • 110g white caster sugar/130g granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence (I omitted this for this recipe but feel free to add it)
  • 2 eggs
  • 50ml milk
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 12 tsps Nutella
Preheat oven to 160 C/325 F
Line/grease a 12 hole muffin tin
Cream butter and sugar until creamy and light
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition
Stir in vanilla essence
Sift in flour and baking powder and mix until combined
Add milk until the mixture is the right consistency (It should stay on a spoon easily but slowly fall off when the spoon is turned over)
Put 1 tbsp of the mix into each hole in the tray, distributing any remaining mix into the 12 holes
Put 1 tsp of Nutella on top of the mixture and swirl in using a toothpick/fork (I found the fork better at first but it's messy no matter what you use)
Bake for 22mins, until well risen and a toothpick comes out clean (maybe with some Nutella on it, depending on where you stick the toothpick)
Cool on a wire rack (or not) and enjoy :)