A sneaky way to add more veggies into your treats, we love this easy recipe! There are plenty of easy substitutions to make these brownies more virtuous; instead of butter we use Irish rapeseed oil but of course melted coconut oil can be used. Coconut sugar can be used instead of caster sugar but the granules don’t perforate the batter as well as regular sugar does – this will result in a denser, drier mix, but can be resolved by adding a small amount of extra oil or using a mix of regular caster sugar (or other sweetener) and coconut sugar. To make these gluten free, swap the flour and baking powder for good-quality all purpose gluten free versions.
- 500g cooked beetroots, vacuum packed
- 100ml rapeseed oil (or coconut oil, melted)
- 250g of 70% good quality dark chocolate
- 3 large eggs
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
- 140g plain flour
- 75g cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 50g pecans, roughly chopped
For the icing:
- 100g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp beetroot juice
- Heat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line a 20 x 30cm cake tin with baking parchment.
- Remove the beetroot from the packaging but be careful not to spill the juice – it stains quickly! Save this for the icing later.
- Chop 1/3 of the beetroots into small cubes and set aside. Blitz the remainder in a blender or food processor to a puree, then stir in the oil.
- Melt the chocolate slowly in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and leave to cool slightly. Use an electric whisk to beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl until pale, fluffy and tripled in size. Carefully fold the eggs into the beetroot mixture, followed by the melted chocolate. Sift and then fold in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder, then add the pecans and diced beetroot cubes.
- Pour into your prepared tin and bake for 20-25 mins. The brownies should still be slightly gooey in the middle. Allow to cool.
- Stir in 1-2 tbsp reserved beetroot juice with the sieved icing sugar to get a runny icing – dilute with water if you need but go slowly, teaspoon by teaspoon.
- Take the brownies from the tin, drizzle with the icing and cut into squares.
While they may have begun as a way of using up rich foods, like eggs, milk & sugar, before Lent, pancakes are a pretty delicious thing capable of transforming your breakfast, lunch or, indeed, dinner.
Sweet or savoury, we hope your Pancake Tuesday is flippin’ filled with delights! Here’s one of our favourite recipes that’s just a little bit different.
Serves 4 (or just 2 if greedy)
125g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cardamom
2 large eggs, separated
1 blood orange, zested
1 tbsp blood orange juice
50g butter melted
1 tbsp caster sugar
icing sugar, to dust
1. Combine the flour, baking powder, cardamom and a pinch of salt in a large bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, add the buttermilk, egg yolks, orange zest, juice and butter. Whisking to prevent any lumps, pour the wet ingredients into the dry to form the batter.
3. In a third clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then add the caster sugar, whisking to combine, and then fold this into the batter mixture.
4. Butter your frying pan and place on a medium-high heat. Spooning 1tbsp of the batter onto the pan in batches of 4/5, allow to cook and until bubbles form and then turn, cooking for a further minute (or until golden).
5. Dust with icing sugar and serve hot. Enjoy!
A special treat that’s suitable for anyone avoiding gluten, this is deliciously indulgent! We made it as a birthday cake for our Events Manager Angi and it didn’t last long in our kitchen…
For the gateau:
330g brown sugar
330g softened butter
6 eggs, separated into bowls
330g grated dark chocolate
330g ground almonds
For the ganache:
250g dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a 9-inch spring form cake tin with baking parchment.
- Beat the butter and sugar together until fully combined. Gently fold in the egg yolks, once fully combined fold in the ground almonds. Once this mixture is fully combined fold in the grated chocolate. Whip up the egg whites in a clean dry bowl until they hold stiff peaks, then fold into the rest of the mixture.
- Pour into the lined cake tin and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
- Cool on a rack. Only when it’s cool should you take it out of the tin and onto a wire rack for icing or your serving platter.
- Once fully cooled, prepare your ganache for icing: bring the cream to a boil in a pot, once it has begun to boil remove and pour over the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Drizzle over the cooled cake.
- You can pipe your message on in white chocolate like we did or sprinkle toasted flaked almonds over the top.
We’ve always thought that wellbeing is the combination of a happy body, mind and belly so what better way to positively begin a new year than cooking up a recipe that does just that! This dish is warming and comforting, but nourishing and you can feel good about eating a bowl of this. Couscous, quinoa or brown rice are excellent accompaniments.
- oil for frying
- 2 onions, peeled & chopped
- 1 red chilli, seeded and finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 450g diced lamb
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 3 cardamom pods, bashed
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 400ml chicken stock
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained & rinsed
- Fist-sized bunch each of mint & coriander, roughly chopped
- Seeds from ½ a pomegranate (tips on how to get the seeds out here!)
- ½ a cucumber, seeded and sliced
- Heat 1 tsp oil in a deep pot, and saute the onions for 5 minutes until soft.
- Add the chilli and garlic and allow to cook for a minute, then add the lamb and cook for 5 minutes until browned.
- Stir in the spices, fry for a minute, then add the stock, tomato purée and molasses/honey. Cover with a lid and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the chickpeas, season to taste and cook for another 30 minutes until the lamb is tender.
- Scatter the mint, coriander and half of the pomegranate arils over the lamb and serve with the remaining pomegranate tossed with the cucumber in a separate dish.
Pumpkin pie is perfect for this time of year and shows off how versatile pumpkin can be when in season! Smaller pumpkins have a much better flavour for making the purée than the larger ones we carve for decorations, but if you can’t find any of the small varieties butternut squash is a great substitute.
- 750g/1lb 10oz pumpkin (or butternut squash) peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
- 350g sweet shortcrust pastry
- Plain flour, for dusting
- 140g light muscovado sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp fresh nutmeg, grated
- 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 25g melted butter
- 175ml milk
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Place the chunks of pumpkin on a roasting tray with 1 tbsp oil and roast for 30 minutes, or until tender. Remove and let cool.
Grease your 22cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Roll out your pastry on a lightly floured surface, then gently place into the tin, leaving an overhang of pastry. Line the pastry with baking parchment and baking beans, baking for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and paper, cooking for a further 10 minutes until the base is pale golden and biscuit-like. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Increase oven temperature to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7.
Push the cooled pumpkin through a sieve into a large bowl to form a smooth purée. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, salt, nutmeg and half the cinnamon. Mix in the beaten eggs, melted butter and milk, then add to the pumpkin purée and stir to combine.
Trim the overhang from the tart edges neatly before pouring the filling into the tart shell and cooking for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4 and then continue to bake for 35-40 mins until the filling has just set.
Leave to cool, then remove the pie from the tin. Mix the remaining cinnamon with the icing sugar and dust over the pie. Serve chilled with freshly whipped cream – you can sweeten the cream with 1 tsp of maple syrup if you like!
A firm favourite amongst both staff and clients is our version of tarte au citron. It’s the perfect way to round off a meal by tingling your taste buds and cleansing your palate!
You will need a 25cm (10”) round loose bottomed tart tin, greased and floured
For the pastry:
- 250g plain flour
- 20g icing sugar
- 150g unsalted butter at fridge temperature, diced in cubes
- 2 egg yolks and 1 white
For the filling:
- 3 unwaxed organic lemons – both zest and juice needed
- 6 eggs
- 250g caster sugar
- 150ml double cream
To make the pastry pulse the flour and icing sugar together in a food processor (or sift into a bowl). Add the butter and pulse (or mix with your fingertips) until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Next add the egg yolks and pulse (or mix) until a soft dough forms, adding 1 tbsp of cold water or more if necessary. [Be careful here – you can always add more but you can’t take it back out!]
Remove the dough from the processor and form into a disc. Wrap in clingfilm and let it rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.
After resting, roll the pastry out onto a flat surface dusted lightly with flour. Line your prepared tin with the pastry and gently prick the base with a fork – this releases any trapped air which could cause bubbles to form underneath. Trim off the excess and chill in the fridge again for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C and place a baking sheet inside. Remove the pastry from the fridge and line it with greaseproof paper, filling with baking beans, uncooked rice or dried beans (save these to use for another time, but never cook them afterwards to eat!).
Place the tart tin on the baking tray in the preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges have started to colour. Carefully remove the beans and paper, baking for another 3-4 minutes. Brush the pastry with the egg white and place back in the oven for a further 2 minutes – this seals the bottom to ensure the filling does not leak! Remove the pastry from the oven, turning the heat down to 120°C.
To make the filling, grate the zest from the lemons avoiding the bitter white pith. Once this has been done, squeeze enough lemons so that there is between 150-175ml of juice.
In a separate bowl, gently mix the eggs and sugar together – you want to just mix them, not froth them up. Stir in the lemon juice and cream then pass it through a sieve to remove pips or any fibrous extras. Stir in the zest.
The easiest way to fill the pastry case is to place the pastry tin back on the baking sheet in the oven and pull it out slightly, then pour the filling in and slide the tart back in very gently.
Bake for 40-50 minutes until just set. Garnish with edible flowers, seasonal berries and a dusting of icing sugar.
As soon as we see those delicate white starry flowers we know a seasonal treat is on the way! Whipping wild garlic (also known as ramson) up into pesto is one of the easiest ways to enjoy it.
- 2 bunches of wild garlic, washed
- 2 small bunches of parsley, washed
- 120g toasted pine nuts, toasted
- 120g Parmesan cheese (Pecorino Romano also works well)
- 300ml olive oil
- 2 dashes of lemon juice
- black pepper
Place all ingredients except the oil into a food processor and blitz for a minute or two. Then slowly pour in the olive oil until it is all mixed through.
Pour into sterilised jars, top with an extra drizzle of oil to create a seal. They will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks – if you can manage to keep them that long!
We love to drizzle this over pasta, use as a spread for crostini and bruschetta, serve with roast vegetables, or rub over a chicken before it goes in the oven for roasting. You can also freeze it in ice cube trays and keep it until needed.
Top Tip: We put parsley in ours as sometimes the taste of wild garlic can be quite overpowering. This way we keep the green colour and get all the flavour!
With Easter and St. Patrick’s Day being so close together this year, we thought it would be very appropriate to combine our chocolate fix with some classic Irish stout! This deliciously fudgy cake is popular with our wedding couples… as well as everyone else who tastes it! The stout flavour is subtle here – the sugar counteracts any bitterness. Head Chef Phil tells us it will last for a couple of days in an airtight container, but we can’t imagine that anyone could keep it around for long!
250g unsalted butter
80g cocoa powder
400g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
280g plain flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
For the frosting:
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature or softened
300g icing sugar
125g cream cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F)/gas mark 3, then line the base of a 23cm (9″) springform tin with baking parchment.
2. Pour the stout into a saucepan, add the butter and gently heat until it has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the cocoa powder and sugar into the warm liquid. Mix together the eggs, vanilla essence and buttermilk by hand in a jug or bowl, and then add this to the mixture in the pan.
3. Sift together the remaining dry ingredients for the cake into a large bowl. With a hand-held electric whisk, pour the contents of the pan into the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides and mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are combined.
4. Pour the batter into the lined cake tin and bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when lightly pressed and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool, and then transfer from the tin onto a wire rack.
5. Ensure the cake is cold to touch before frosting it, otherwise the frosting will melt. Mix the butter and icing sugar together until there are no large lumps of butter left and it is fully combined with the sugar. Add the cream cheese and mix well, beating until the frosting is light and fluffy.
6. Place the cooled cake on to a cake stand and spread generously with the cream cheese frosting. Decorate with Mini Eggs and chocolate curls for Easter!
The days are shorter. The air is crisp! It’s perfect timing for us to share with you one of our favourite winter recipes. Our venison pie is very popular with our clients this time of year.
Lucy Hunters Venison Pie
Flossie’s Blackberry Autumnal Mousse