Eunice Power - Outside Catering Company, Waterford, Ireland.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sticky toffee pudding

Its sticky toffee time of the year again. I can think of no greater dessert to offer comfort on a cold winter's night. I usually double up on the sauce and have it at hand for pouring over ice cream or rice pudding.
  • 200g of dried dates, stones removes
  • A large mug of tea
  • 1 teaspoon of bread soda
  • 175g self raising flour
  • A good pinch of mixed spice 
  • 75g of walnuts - roughly chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 85g soft butter
  • 140g Demerara sugar
  • 2 table spoons of treacle
  • 100mls milk
Toffee sauce
  • 175g Muscovada sugar
  • A pinch of cinnamon (optional)
  • 55g butter
  • 1 tablespoon treacle
  • 225 ml of cream
Preheat the oven to 170c

Butter and dust lightly with flour a 20cm (8cm) round tin.

Simmer the dates with bread soda and tea until they become soft and mushy - about 15 to 20 minutes. (The bread soda helps to breakdown the dates)

Using a food mixer or electric hand mixer , mix the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and creamy, add in the eggs and treacle, turn the mixer down low (to avoid flour flying everywhere) and  add the flour and mixed spice , then add the walnuts, dates and stir in the milk.
Once the mixture is combined pour into the prepared tin. Bake in the pre heated oven for 40-45 minutes, check that the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer; the cake is cooked when the skewer comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before turning out.

While the cake is cooking make the sauce, melt the butter with the cinnamon in a saucepan over a low heat, add the sugar and treacle and the cream. Bring to the boil and simmer, stirring constantly for two or three minutes until the sauce is caramel in colour.

I usually make the pudding a few hours in advance, but it can be made a day or two in advance, in fact it freezes beautifully. I place the cake in an oven proof dish and cover with the sauce and reheat in the oven at 160c for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Thomas Baldwins vanilla flavoured Ice cream is available at Country store.


Full of flavour beef stew for a cold winters day

This stew is packed with good things, and finished with cinnamon and chocolate. It's a one pot dinner with the potatoes added just before the end. The stew feeds 5 to 6, if you want to feed a big gang, double up on the ingredients. It is best made the day before you intend to eat it, as the flavours will develop and become more pronounced over night. When you reheat it, do so very gently as you don't wasn't the potatoes to break up as you re heat it.
  • 1 kg of  stewing beef
  • 2-3  tablespoons of flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 125g smoked bacon diced
  • 250ml of dry sherry
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • A handful of herbs, parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 500mls beef stock
  • 500g Potatoes, peeled and cut in half or quarters
  • 25g Dark chocolate
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Olive oil for frying
Preheat the oven to 150C
  1. Start off heating some oil in a heavy based saucepan, while the oil is heating  toss the beef pieces in some seasoned flour, shake off excess flour.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the bacon and cook until the fat runs and the bacon is golden, scoop out of the pot and set aside. 
  3. Next fry off the beef pieces in the oil, do this in batches so that it will brown rather than sweat. Once browned, scoop out of the pot and add to the pancetta. 
  4. When all the beef is browned add the sherry to the pan, bring to the boil and allow to bubble for a minute or two - then add the onions, garlic, bacon and beef and herbs to the pot, cover with stock. Bring to simmering point , put on the lid and transfer to the oven, allow to stew for 2 hours.
  5. After two hours, add the potatoes, cinnamon and chocolate. Add more stock if needed and return to the oven for a further 40 minutes until the potatoes are tender. 
  6. To serve, remove the cinnamon stick and herbs and serve in bowls. 


Monday, November 7, 2011

Apple Crumble

This such a simple dish, a great family favoutite. We had Hungarian visitors staying with us last week and this was one of their favourite Irish desserts!

Crumble Topping
  • 75g plain wholemeal flour
  • 75g soft brown (muscovado) sugar
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 25g sliced almonds
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 800g cooking apples
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 75g caster sugar
To make the crumble topping add the flour ,sugar and almonds into a bowl, stir, then work in the butter, using your fingertips, to make a very crumbly mixture.

Quarter the apples, then peel, core and cut into chunks. Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the apples, with the sugar, and cook, stirring, over a high heat for 3-5 minutes until golden brown and tender. Transfer to a baking dish

Spoon over the crumble topping and bake at 180˚C for 25 minutes until the topping is golden brown. Serve warm with custard, cream or ice cream.


Autumn Potato Pie

On one of the really wet days this week, I wanted to make a really comforting lunch but didn't particularly want to leave the house so I made do with what was in the fridge. From some very basic ingredients, I made the following dish. My family were delighted with the result - "That was a unreal Mam", high praise indeed!
  • 1 kg potatoes peeled and thinly sliced (I used roosters)
  • 2 medium onions peeled and thinly sliced 
  • 1 parsnip peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large cooking apple peeled and sliced
  • 150g streaky bacon diced
  • 200g black pudding diced
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 40g butter
  • Olive Oil for frying
Set oven at 160˚C

Firstly, make the stock. Add stock cubes to a over a litre of water in a saucepan. Add a few sprigs of thyme. I had some cider in the fridge as well and I added a few glugs of this. I let this simmer for about 20 minutes on a low heat.

In a frying pan caramelize the onions by adding a little olive oil, when the pan is hot add the onions until they take on a nice golden colour. Remove from pan and set aside. Next add the bacon to the pan and cook until golden but not crispy. Remove from pan and set aside. Next add the black pudding to the pan and again fry until the white specks of pin head oatmeal in the pudding are golden.

I mixed the sliced potatoes and parsnip together in a bowl and seasoned with milled salt and black pepper. Lightly butter an oven dish large enough for 6 - 8 portions and put a layer of potato and parsnip on the bottom. Spread half the onion, bacon, black pudding over the potatoes, along with half the sliced cooking apple. Put another layer of potato and parsnip on top and then repeat with another layer of the onion, bacon, black pudding and apple. Place another layer of potato and parsnip on top.

Pour the hot stock over the ingredients in the dish until the potatoes are just barely covered with stock and put a few knobs of butter on top. Bake in the over for 50 minutes until the dish is cooked through. The potatoes on top will be crispy and golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

We ate it straight away, but I imagine it would be lovely if you let it go cold, cover with tinfoil and reheat, allowing the flavours to develop a little.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

White soda bread

I am going back to basics this week, with warming mushroom soup and white soda bread - honestly I couldn't ask for more. There is nothing like butter melting into warm white bread and tucking into a bowl of delicious soup. I leave some of the mushrooms intact and add them at the end giving the soup a bit more texture.

If you have never made bread before and you are a little nervous at the thought of it - be not afraid! My 11 year old son can make this with his eyes closed. I got a little tip from a customer at Country store a few weeks ago, she told me to replace some of the buttermilk with a little cream, I tried it and havn't looked back since. As the saying goes - 'You learn something new every day'.
  • 450g plain white flour
  • 1 level teaspoon salt
  • 1 level teaspoon bread soda (must be sieved)
  • 2 level teaspoons Bextartar (must be sieved)
  • 400ml buttermilk (substitute 50ml cream if you like)
Preheat the oven to 220˚C/475F/gas 9.

So it's as simple as this. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, add in the liquid and mix until a dough is formed. Turn out on a floured surface and shape into a round, about 4cm deep. Place on a floured baking tray and bake for 30 minutes until cooked, it should sound hollow when tapped underneath. Turn onto a wire cooling tray to cool. Enjoy!


Mushroom Soup

I am going back to basics this week, with warming mushroom soup and white soda bread - honestly I couldn't ask for more. There is nothing like butter melting into warm white bread and tucking into a bowl of delicious soup. I leave some of the mushrooms intact and add them at the end giving the soup a bit more texture.

Serves 6:
  • 25g butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • I large potato, peeled and diced
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • 250g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 75ml (3 fl oz) single cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To Garnish:
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Melt half the butter and cook the onion and garlic gently for 5 minutes in a covered saucepan, without colouring. Add the diced potato and cook gently for 1 minute, stirring. Gradually add the stock, stirring all the time.  Add half the mushrooms and parsley. Cover, bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 20-25 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Cool a little, then purée in a liquidiser.

In the remaining butter, sauté the remaining mushrooms for 5 minutes until they begin to brown, then add to the puréed soup.  Simmer gently for 3 minutes. Stir in the cream and taste for seasoning. Serve garnished with chopped fresh parsley.