Archive for November, 2010

French Apple Tart

This is great recipe for using up those apples that are in abundance this time of year. You can use either eating apples or as I did cookers in this recipe & added extra sugar on top.

Its something a little different from the traditional apple tart, it has a cake/dough  mixture underneath & apples sliced on top of the base.

French Apple Tart


6oz Self Raising Flour

3 tbsp sugar

grated lemon or orange zest

5 oz margarine

2 egg yolks

1/2 tbsp milk or water

1 lb eating apples ( can use pears or plums either)


Rub butter into dry ingredients, to resemble breadcrumbs

Make well in centre, break in egg yolks and zest of orange

Add 1 tbsp milk, mix with fork

Spoon into dish & flatten, chill for 15mins.

Core & slice apples. Fan apples over the cake mix

Spinkle with sugar, Bake in pre-heated oven at 180C, until pale golden brown & fruit soft.

Cook for approx 35 -40min.

Serve warm with cream or custard & large cup of tea!

(PS. I picked up the cute Tea towel in Cath Kidston in Kildare Village for €4 bargain)

Happy Baking,

Vick xx

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From an early age I helped my Nana  make yeast rolls & bread in her wonderful almond coloured Aga in East Cork, we would arrive on a Saturday morning & begin making bread process, the perfect environment for proving process with the warmth of the Aga, then in the afternoon we would enjoy a freshly baked hot yeast roll with butter… and of course we were always told that eating hot bread would hurt our tummies, but we didn’t care, it was heavenly! If we were really lucky she would make doughnuts with us, it was such a treat. While my other Gran made fantastic White Soda Bread & Brown Bread.

Last week after watching River Cottage Everyday on Channel 4 where he mastered Bread. I felt completely inspired to skip off to relive my child memories of wonderful smells of fresh bread & the excitement that some flour, yeast & water could make a wonderful end result of bread. I love Hugh Frearnley-Whittingstall enthusiasm & passion for food, whether it be using up old crusts of bread & making pesto, to utilising free food that surrounds us in making Dandelion Marmalade. Last weeks episode was absolute inspiration and to anyone who missed it I would highly recommend it. He went to visit & tutor a group of ladies who started a bread club, which is a super idea. He mastered the techniques of Yeast, Sourdough, Pizza, Focaccia & Soda Bread. My highlight was the pizza oven they built… I want myself one of them!

So I’ve decided that my project over the next few weeks will be to discover & master some of the techniques of bread making from irish soda bread, to yeast & sourdough. I started with White Yeast Bread which while it is time-consuming it is so rewarding to have fresh wholesome bread to enjoy.

White Yeast Bread

Yeast is an organism that will grow in the right conditions given warmth, food (flour) & moisture (water), it then releases carbon dioxide & produces bubbles making bread rise. It is these bubbles that you have to knock out of the dough once risen & then leave to prove again before cooking the yeast bread. The first proving process will take about 2 hours for the yeast to grown in a warm environment, either a warm air-ing cupboard, kitchen or even leaving bowl standing in warm water! Yeast can be purchased in 3 forms, fresh (Superquinn often sell- this can be kept in the freezer & then taken out & used as soon as it is defrosted), dried & fast acting yeast which are much more accessible. The above is my result of white yeast bread, while i’m very happy with the texture there aren’t many air holes, however I think the crust was slightly over-cooked. Can’t wait to try my next Breads…

A few books which have fantastic recipes & hints on bread making are the wonderful Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course, which is an encyclopedia of information of raising agents, flour guides & variety of recipes from Scones to Corn Bread & Moroccan Bread. And of course also Tim Allen’s The Ballymaloe Bread Book. While Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall River Cottage Everyday is also a wonderful guide to bread, from Sour-dough, Flatbreads to Focaccia.

Happy Bread Making , Vick x

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When I met Nigella…

So finally I got to meet the domestic goddess – Nigella Lawson. She was in Dublin over the weekend  to launch her new book Kitchen, which I previously reviewed. With appearances on Late Late Show Friday night & book signing in Dubray Books on Grafton St. Saturday.

I was super excited Sat morning heading into town early to meet Nigella, after queuing for what felt like an eternity Nigella finally arrived into Dubray from a side door. However she was very low-key not talking to all the adoring fans waiting in line, she posed with all of her books then sat down to start signing. I was under-whelmed after meeting Nigella.

I’ve been a big fan of hers for a long time with practically all of her books & love her tv show, even though some think she can be a bit promiscuous with food. Nigella didn’t pose for photos with anyone, (except the odd few babies). This was the best photo I got with her unfortunately. But did get my book signed by the oriniginal Domestic Goddess

Vick xx

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