During the three months that I spent at Ballymaloe Cookery School, I saw Kenwood mixers – the workhorses of the kitchen – put up a lot of punishment. Mixing cakes from morning to night? Not...
When I lived in New Zealand I fell in love with Kiwi-style Hot Cross Buns. That is, HCBs with chocolate chips which, far from being an aberration as I thought at first, are Very...
After our Doodle Bread adventures last weekend, I went on a bit of a bread making buzz. Normally we make our bread in the machine – it’s quick, efficient, makes great bread and, secondhand, it only cost me €10 – but I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the kneading side of things so it was time to dig out my Ballymaloe sourdough starter.
This baking event was a long time in the planning. Little Missy and I had been sent a Doodle Bread kit to try out before Christmas and, after watching the super-speedy how to video online, we were dying to try it out. The cold weather, however, combined with a non-centrally heated cottage meant ridiculously slow bread rising times. This is why we normally use the bread machine. But, with the recent arrival of warmer days, we decided to get stuck in.
Although I made mince pies for the Christmas Cookalong, that was the night I realised why I don’t normally make them. As I fiddled with the pastry and Little Missy stuck her hands, once again, under my rolling pin – difficult to avoid when she’s standing on her wee stool directly in front of me so she can “help” with the stars – I kept thinking that there have to be easier ways to make things with Christmas mincemeat.
Shortbread, salted caramel, roasted hazelnuts and dark chocolate, with a little dusting of sea salt – how could you possibly resist these? I don’t make them very often but they’re a great Christmas gift, just perfect for layering in a little tin, wrapping up safe and sending to someone special.