It’s not that I need an excuse to bake, especially if there’s a cake and/or chocolate involved, but the radio was so full of International Women’s Day blather today – George Hook was particularly enjoying himself with his list of “top ten females” on Newstalk! – that I just had to make something to distract myself.
Sometimes, in this house, baking is not just for the bigger members of the family and, along with the Flapjacks and Shortbread, there’s even a tin marked with Little Missy’s name. It’s currently filled with these twice-baked Banana Spelt Biscotti, which I love because they are easily made, contain no sugar and it’s up to you about the kind of flour you use. These, along with LM’s favourite rice cakes, are perfect afternoon snacks – and easily portable – but she is quite happy to munch on them at any stage, and especially loves a small smear of marmite on the biscotti when we’re at home.
Sweet treats for the one you love: Chocolate Caramel ShortbreadNever mind flowers and forget about going out for dinner, with Valentine’s Day tomorrow, get baking for your sweetheart with this Chocolate Caramel Shortbread. This recipe makes plenty to devour and share but it’s so good that your biggest problem will be not eating the entire thing today.
Christmas is the time for long, leisurely brunches with family and friends. Make it easy with dishes that you can prepare in advance and whip into the oven just before your guests arrive. Caroline Hennessy, writing for EveryMonday.ie, gives you a few easy ideas that won’t have you losing your Christmas cheer. Click here for recipes for the Christmas Muffins (pictured on the right), Potato, Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Frittata and Buttermilk Pancakes with Cranberry Orange Sauce.
Cookery demonstrations + cakes + ovens + me = narrow escapes! On Wednesday night I was demonstrating some recipes in the community centre at Knockcarron, a really lovely renovated primary school in Co Limerick, when oven issues arose once again.
When the weather gets tough, it’s time to get baking. Just made Carmel Somers’ Banana and Chocolate Cake from her Eat Good Things Every Day cookbook and it’s a winner.
The suspense was growing. There is an element of hope in cooking an upsidedown cake at the best of time but cooking one for a demonstration in front of 35 members of the Glenroe Ladies’ Club was, perhaps, asking for trouble. Throw in anirregularly used gas oven – I live in a world of electricity, rarely cooking on gas – and a demonstrator who, while distracted, managed to turn the oven off instead of up (ahem) and you’re adding a whole new layer of problems to the mix!
When I was small we grew rhubarb in the back garden. Whatever variety it was – we had sourced the crown from some friend or relative so there were no labels – it grew gigantic stems, as thick as a baby’s wrist, topped by enormous leaves that we thought looked like child-sized umbrellas. I was never a fan: it was so stringy that it had to be peeled before cooking and I was always extremely dubious about any fruit or vegetable that did such a good job of shining the inside of the saucepan in which it was cooked.