Tag Archives: Baking and Confections

A Sprinkling of Fairy Dust

A little over a month ago I left a comment on Cake in the Country’s blog, and shortly after I received an email from the “Appliances Online Fairy Hobmother“. Despite the girly-sounding name, it’s a wonderful bloke called David who is behind the invention of this supernatural being, whose purpose is to travel the blogosphere sprinkling round fairy dust and Amazon vouchers wherever she goes.

IRC-fairies
Image via Wikipedia

I was lucky enough to be offered an Amazon voucher to spend as I liked and I had several items on my wishlist just waiting for such an opportunity. George also had a lot of items on his wishlist, so there was much debating as to who could get what. Happily, my work came through with another voucher as a little thank you, so I was able to treat both of us!

Ever since George spent some time working in Eden in Temple Bar, he’s been hankering after their cookbook so that he could replicate the dishes at home more accurately, so that was an easy choice for both of us. Next up was baking supplies – I’ve been trying to bake more often, and to do decent batches of stuff so that it will last for more than a couple of days. Space is at a premium in the kitchen, so a set of stackable cooling racks seemed like a great idea, and it was joined by a set of springform tins, so that I can finally make Grannymar’s Infamous Chocolate Cake.

It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to make jelly shots for any parties we throw, and ever since I discovered Jelly Shot Test Kitchen Blog, my ideas have been getting more ambitious! A set of silicone jelly moulds will ensure that the next jellies I make will be a little more adventurous than basic jelly shots.

Our final choice was a joint one and an easy decision to make. We’ve both been lusting after a gorgeous book by Niki Segnit, called “The Flavour Thesaurus” for a long time now. It’s an incredibly useful book that details what flavours and ingredients go best together, which means that if you suddenly find yourself with excess of an ingredient you can find classic or less well known matches for it without having to experiment yourself.

Now it’s your turn! Tell us what you would choose if the Fairy Hobmother granted your wish. Is there a cookbook you’ve been meaning to buy for ages, a piece of equipment that your kitchen is sorely lacking or even something that you’ve wanted to treat yourself to for a while?

Leave a comment below telling us what you’d wish for and it might come true! The Fairy Hobmother will be inspecting all wishes left here before midnight (GMT) on Sunday 14th August, and it could be your wish that gets granted! [Open to residents of Ireland & UK only]

Food related stuff I’ve spotted on the Intertubes V

Looking for songs about food can take you to interesting places, so remember kids eat your vegetables! 😉

Possibly the best design ever for a pizza oven

For a gadget geek like me I have to say this is quite possibly the coolest kitchen gadget ever I wonder if I could get one for a product test. LOL

Now it’s only really since starting in college that I’ve become interested in baking but it’s amazing just how far you can take a cake.

And once again I’m going to leave the last word to our crazy friends in the USA and their love of the state fair has brought us some truly horrendous “food stuffs” in 2010. Check out the top ten here.

Your help needed!

Chef Factor is now in full swing and the public voting has begun, please pop over to my entry here and give me your vote. Also, please feel free to “recommend” to your friends and family that they too support me with a vote. Thanks!

George’s awesome week of awesome III

This is the final part of the saga (for now) you can find the beginning here and the middle here if you want the full story :)

Your Awesome

Friday’s cookery practical class is all about pastry. No, not four hours of making pastry, but four hours of Pastry chef-ing that’s desserts to most folk or as I like to call it the demon class that will make me even fatter :)

Still my newly acquired knife skills were given a workout as we went though some training on chopping fruit and we also made some absolutely fantastic scones, of course there was more to it than simply the practical aspect. We also covered knife skills, general handling procedures, the uniform and why it is what it is and also hygiene practices, amongst a host of other things that I won’t bore you with.

All in all it’s been one of the busiest, most exciting, scary, thrilling and rewarding weeks of my professional life while simultaneously making me feel like a teenager and an old fogey all at the same time. It means I now have commitments to a path that I’m hoping will lead me into Culinary Arts in 2011 year as well as other commitments outside of college and I can see a very full and busy schedule ahead of me for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately, I don’t see how I can fit everything I have to do into the time that is available. So something has to give. No this is not the bit where I say I’m giving up on this blog, but it is the bit where I say that I may not be posting as regularly in future due to other commitments.

Elly has already said that she intends to post more and I can see there being some crossover between what I’m studying and this blog so hopefully I will be able to adapt some of my college work where suitable to the blog format.

But enough of that, I feel the need to take a little time out here to thank a few people for helping me get this far. So, in no particular order…

Thank you to Kieran and Thea from Murphy’s Ice-cream. Thanks for not giving me a job (it truly was the best thing you could have done for me ;)) and reminding me of what confidence and a bit of neck can do for you when you really want something.

Thank you Ciaran in Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud for giving me a try in a kitchen I had no place being in (with my lack of skills) and giving me the chance to see what life in a fine dining kitchen is all about.

A huge thanks to John in CPLN Area Local Employment Service for being the only person I encountered in “the system” who seemed genuinely to care about the people he worked with, doing everything he could to reduce the live register by one, being so hell bent on getting me started in a new career and for helping me find and investigate all the options that were open to me. Our country needs more people like him.

My family and friends, you have all given so much of yourselves to help me over the last year I just don’t know where to begin in thanking you all, just know that I love and appreciate all of you for it and I will be looking for ways that I can return the favour.

And finally I want to thank Elly, my wife, my lover, my best friend, my reason to get up in the morning and my reason to go to bed at night, without your help and support I would never have had the belief in myself to even attempt this and I know that with you, I’m a better person than I ever could be without.

Wow, that sounds like the sycophantic ramblings of some overrated starlet receiving an Oscar but you know I’ve won a bigger prize than an Oscar… Opportunity, it doesn’t come knocking too often and when it does, it take hard work and determination to maximise it. A lot of people have helped me to get to where I am right now and I will do everything in my power to honour their efforts by giving this my all.

Food related stuff I’ve spotted on the Intertubes III

A new burger joint where the customers really do set the menu, what a fantastic idea and if your idea sells well you could be eating for free. It’s a far cry from this place…

An interesting article talking about food miles. I still think that it’s better to buy as much locally grown produce before resorting to food that has travelled half the world. Freshness trumps all in my opinion.

Chocolate and booze, what a classic mix, now available in this ice-cream recipe, thanks to Kieran Murphy for sharing the link.

Is it too early to be talking about what I want for Christmas? Meh, I don’t think it matters anyway as I don’t think even Santa would spring for these cookbooks for me. Check out the price tag before you say you’ll buy them for me 😉

Recipe: Nyomtastic Scones

Nyomtastic Scones
Nyomtastic Scones

Ingredients;

625g Tipo 00 Flour
1 rounded tsp baking soda
2 rounded tsp cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt (if using salted butter use 1/2 a teaspoon)
100g chilled butter cubed
1 egg beaten
300ml milk
25g castor sugar


Hard to believe it’s nearly 3 weeks since I wrote this post about Roma’s excellent Tipo 00 flour, time sure is flying. Why do I mention it here? Well, Will made a comment that pasta flour makes great scones. As I had been meaning to have a blast at making some scones, this was a great excuse to try something a little different.

I started with Rhyleysgranny’s Scone recipe and after a little playing around with the ingredients I came up with this.

Pre heat your oven to 200C.

Take all your dry ingredients and sieve them into a large bowl. Next add the butter and work this in with your hands until you have what looks like breadcrumbs.

Next add about half the beaten egg and the milk and continue to mix this together until you have a moist dough. Then on a well floured surface pat or roll the dough out until it’s about 2cm thick and cut with a circular cutter. Place these on a greased and floured baking tray, don’t be afraid to roll up the off cuts and make a few out of that as well. Then place them in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until they have risen and turned golden on top.

Remove from the oven to a cooling rack and as soon as you can hold them without burning your fingers serve with butter and Jam – preferably home made and strawberry. If you can stop at just one you’re doing well! :)