Religieuse on Like Mam Used to Bake

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I made these last week with the intention of using them for a Mother’s Day post. I thought they would make a nice afternoon tea treat for all of the lovely mammies out there. But then when it came to it I just couldn’t bring myself to type it up. I didn’t quite feel like celebrating mammies when I don’t have my own here with me. Selfish I know. My heart grew increasingly heavy with each passing day last week, and it wasn’t until Thursday arrived that I realised why. Mother’s Day doesn’t normally affect me in the same way that birthdays and anniversaries do, but this year it seemed to taunt me. Shops, TV ads and social media were in Mother’s Day overdrive, and the reality of the day for me was to my mind being rubbed in my face.

This week, with the day behind me, I have cast aside my selfish behaviour and felt able to sit down and blog. Religieuse are little morsels of Choux pastry nunny deliciousness. A Choux bun, filled with cream, dipped in chocolate and topped with a smaller Choux bun. Just in case the one is not enough like. I recently received some Áine Hand Made Chocolate and decided to try their Dark Zesty Lime bar for the topping. I had a sneaky little taste of it before I melted it down and love how the silky smoothness of the chocolate is punctuated with nuggets of crystallised lime zest. To further accentuate the lime flavour I added some lime zest to the Chantilly cream filling. I used the Choux pastry recipe from my book for these but increased the quantities slightly. These were a big hit here, so much so that the police have opened a file on the case of the missing nun *glances sideways at Mr. LMUTB*. Enjoy!

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Religieuse

Makes 6

For the pastry:

75g Unsalted Butter

175ml Water

100g Plain Flour

3 Large Eggs, beaten

For the filling:

250ml cream

2tbsp icing sugar

1tsp vanilla extract

zest of 1 lime, optional

For the chocolate topping:

100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

25g unsalted butter

2tbsp icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper on the reverse of which you have drawn 6 circles 5cm in diameter, and 6 that are 3.5cm in diameter.

Melt the butter with the water in a saucepan set over a medium heat.

Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and then beat in the flour.

Return the saucepan to a low heat and continue to beat the mixture until it leaves the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Add the eggs a little at a time beating continuously until well combined.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large plain nozzle. Pipe into each of the circles on the parchment paper. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, reduce the heat or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and poke a small hole in the top of the larger buns, turn the smaller buns over and poke a small hole in the bottom of each, leave them upside down on the baking sheet. This will allow steam to escape from inside the buns so that they can crisp up. Return to the oven for 3 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the Chantilly cream add all of the ingredients to a bowl and whip just until it holds peaks. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small plain or star-shaped nozzle. Once the buns have cooled fill with the cream through the hole that you made in each one earlier. Reserve some of the cream to pipe the ‘collar’ onto the assembled religieuse.

To make the chocolate topping melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not make contact with the water. Once melted remove the bowl from the pot and mix in the icing sugar. Spoon 1 teaspoon of the chocolate on top of each bun. Then sit one small bun on top of each large bun, pressing down gently to secure. Once the chocolate has set pipe a ‘collar’ around each nun.

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Irish Café Bombón on Like Mam Used to Bake

Irish Café Bombón on Like Mam Used to Bake 017

I’m not a big coffee drinker, not at home. On a recent trip to Madrid though I consumed more coffee in two days than I would normally in two months. One of the things I look forward to most when visiting there is café con leche, and if I’m feeling extra naughty café bombón.

Yesterday I drank A LOT of coffee. Far more than I imagine is medically safe to do so. And whiskey. All in the name of blogging. You see producing a food blog post might seem like a cinch. You cook/bake something, throw it onto a plate, take a quick picture and then cobble a few sentences together. Et voila. Not quite how it works in reality though.

You cook/bake something, and if you’re anything like me create a monster mess in the kitchen. You then have to clean said monster mess because your kitchen is so small that if you don’t you won’t have room to take a photo. Then you set up the photo roughly and take a quick snap to see if you’re happy with things. Then, if you’re an Irish food blogger, you probably say a prayer to holy God in heaven that the light will hold for the next half an hour and that a big bold grey cloud won’t come and reduce you to tears because you then have to readjust your camera settings. That doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when you just pretend you know what you’re doing with the camera having to adjust it every two minutes because the cloud is here, then it’s gone, back again, gone…well that’s enough to test the patience of a saint.

Time to take the picture, sure you’re on the pig’s back now, right? Well now, that all depends on what you’re taking a picture of. A plate of cookies? Grand job. They’ll happily sit there and won’t move a muscle until you’re done. You can move them this way, and that way. No bother. You can take all of the time in the world. A hot drink involving layers of condensed milk, hot coffee and lovely pillows of whipped cream? Yeah, good luck with that one. Attempting to take the picture before the cream starts to mingle with the hot coffee, and then the coffee starts to bleed down into the condensed milk is almost impossible. And that my dear friends is why I drank my own body weight in deliciously sweet boozy coffee yesterday afternoon.

As you can see from the pictures I gave up in the end and just went with the best that I could capture. And we’re all going to ignore the fact that this morning I thought to myself “why did you not just use cold coffee?”, right? Anyhoo, below is a guide more so than a recipe, I suggest you adjust the quantities to suit your own tastes. I like equal quantities of coffee and condensed milk but you might like more of one over the other. For the photographs I used equal quantities of each layer as that gave the best visual result but I suggest using less cream when making them yourself. Enjoy!

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Irish Café Bombón

Whiskey

Freshly brewed coffee

Condensed milk

Whipped cream

Cocoa powder

Note: If you have condensed milk leftover pop it into a clean jar, it will keep in the fridge for a number of weeks.

For each coffee that you are making add 30ml of whiskey to the bottom of the glass.

Pour over some freshly brewed coffee so that the glass is a little over 1/3 full.

Now add some condensed milk and watch as it magically sinks to the bottom, don’t fill the glass completely as you want to leave a little room for some whipped cream.

Top with whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder. Serve with the distinct layers still visible before stirring to drink.

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International Women’s Day 2014 on Like Mam Used to Bake

Be kind…

To you. There are plenty willing to be unkind, don’t join ranks with them.

Stop beating yourself up…

You made a mistake? A big one? Sevorial? Yeah, shit happens. Don’t waste the mistake by simply dwelling on it, see if you can learn something from it to help you in the future.

Let it go…

LET IT GOOOOOOOO…oh sorry, I broke into song there, couldn’t help myself. But seriously, if you’re stressing about something you have absolutely no control over, just let it go, the stressing will do nothing for you. Except maybe give you wrinkles. You’re stressing over that now aren’t you?

Believe…

In you. I know, I know. You can’t do it. And you don’t believe me when I say that you can. But you can. Honest to God.

Celebrate…

You. The women in your life who inspire you. The women who have left your life but continue to inspire you. Sure we’re a grand bunch altogether.

Be brave…

You’re right, yeah, it could all go horribly wrong. People will laugh and say you were a fool to do it. The shame like. But…it could all work out great, people will be delighted for you, you’ll be delighted for you. Either way the world won’t end. Do it.

Admire…

Other women. I know, that bitch is swanning around rubbing your face in her {insert appropriate jealous inducing fancy pants thing here}. Is she really though? Or was she just brave? Did she just take that chance and it paid off? Probably. So really you’ve got to admire her for that. You can be jealous for a little while first though, gwan, it’s ok.

Strive…

To be better. To do things. To achieve things. Some big. Some small. You won’t get all of them. That’s ok. But sure if you strive for nothing well then you’ll get nothing.

God I’m fierce wise telling you all what to do, amn’t I. I’m telling myself really. Sometimes I’m so busy telling others how wonderful they are I lose sight of myself. Not that I think I’m wonderful. But I’m not so bad. If only I’d allow myself to believe it.

And you’re all not so bad either. Honest to God, I wouldn’t lie to you. Don’t forget to tell yourself.

Be kind…

To you.

You’re a little smasher.

Salted Nutella Buttercream on Like Mam Used to Bake

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A few weeks ago I was asked to make a birthday cake for Mr. LMUTB’s nephew’s 18th birthday. The brief was chocolate. Oh, and he doesn’t like fresh cream. I wanted to make the celebration cake from my book {Like Mam Used to Bake} but thought I had better adjust the icing recipe given the fresh cream aversion. Gigantic jars of Nutella were on special in my local supermarket for Pancake Tuesday so I thought I’d use that for the icing and save the rest for pancakes. I would like to state for the record that I did not eat any of the excess Nutella straight from the jar with a spoon. Not one little bit.

Anyhoo, in place of white chocolate and cream in the original recipe I used plain chocolate and Nutella. I also added some salt to cut through the sweetness. Depending on your personal taste you can add 1/8 or 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt. This recipe will yield enough icing to fill the centre and cover an 8″ sandwich cake. I baked two 8″ rounds of this brownie recipe for the cake. Enjoy!

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Salted Nutella Buttercream

100g plain chocolate, broken up

100g Nutella

1/8tsp sea salt (or 1/4 if you prefer)

125g unsalted butter, softened and cubed

250g icing sugar

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water, do not allow the base of the bowl to come into contact with the water. Remove the bowl from the heat and add the Nutella and salt, stirring to combine. Set aside to cool a little.

Beat the butter and icing sugar using an electric hand whisk/standalone mixer until light and fluffy, two or three minutes should do it. Add the chocolate mixture and continue to beat for five to seven minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure you mix the buttercream evenly. Decorate the cake as you wish.

Like Mam Used to Bake is currently on special offer in Dubray Books, it can be purchased for €9.99 for the month of March.

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Chocolate Chip Pancakes on Like Mam Used to Bake

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I bought some chocolate chips last week to make banana and chocolate chip scones. But then I didn’t get around to it. Plus I somehow managed to not write the post that I had intended to on Thursday to give you your cakey fix for the weekend. I wasn’t going to post a pancake recipe today as the poor aul interwebz is falling down under the weight of them. But I was feeling guilty about last weeks lack of post. And I had those abandoned chocolate chips lying around thinking they would never fulfill their life’s purpose. Course I also wanted to stuff my face with delicious fluffy pancakes. And I thought to myself what would be better than delicious fluffy pancakes just oozing melting chocolate. I reckon you’ll be hard pushed to find anything better today. I gorged myself to the point of almost passing out they were that good.

I used this pancake recipe here, just before I cooked the pancakes I stirred 75g of dark chocolate chips through the batter. As the chocolate chips melt during cooking they are a little messier than regular pancakes to flip, but they are so delicious that you won’t mind a little mess in the pan. I topped mine with some Nutella and whipped cream, I figured I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.

Not your thing? You might also like these:

Blueberry Pancake Cakes

Panless Pancakes

Oat Pancakes

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Valentine Date Ideas on Like Mam Used to Bake

valentine-7

Image via Sweetly Scrapped

So I’m totally going to contradict myself with this blog post. Firstly, I hate Valentine’s Day. After New Year’s Eve it is probably my least favourite ‘holiday’ of the year. Measuring love by how big and overpriced a bunch of roses you buy/receive doesn’t really scream romance. BUT, on the other hand I do like that there is a whole day each year dedicated to telling the one that you love that you…well…love them.

We are all busy people, rushing around day-to-day, mostly passing the one that we love like ships in the night. When we find a couple of hours together it is very often spent in a fug of exhaustion. Totes romantic, right? So having one day a year to refocus our romantic notions and to remind the one that we love that we…well…love them, even if we don’t make grand gestures to that effect everyday, is not such a bad thing.

We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in the commercial sense here in LMUTB HQ, there are no flowers or heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. And we never ever go out for dinner on the night, being seated at 8:30 only to be told the table is needed at 9:00 is not exactly conducive to a good night out. Instead we stay home and cook for each other, or save our night out for a week or two later. If you’re of the same opinion as me I have compiled a list of alternative dates, for the romantic in you.

1. Movie Night

An obvious one I know, we don’t go to the cinema often but always enjoy it when we do. And if you don’t fancy the cinema, make some popcorn, pull the curtains and get cosy on the sofa.

2. Cook a nice meal for each other.

Restaurants will be super busy on the 14th, and some will squeeze in extra sittings so it can feel like you are on a conveyor belt of customers. Add to this the fact that some restaurants will offer a limited set menu to make things easier for the kitchen, and dinner for two suddenly feels like a joyless money drain. Cooking a meal for each other and sitting down to enjoy it in the peace and quiet of your own candlelit dining room suddenly seems much more attractive, right? And no queuing in the cold and rain for a taxi home.

3. Lunch instead of dinner.

So you’ve both had a busy week, and neither of you are thrilled at the idea of cooking that romantic dinner, go out for lunch instead.

4. A mini break, in your home town.

Like restaurants many hotels will see a surge in demand over Valentine’s weekend. Save that weekend away for another time and enjoy a mini break in your own town. Make a list of sights to visit and break up the day with a leisurely lunch. Enjoy the fun of being a tourist without the jet lag.

5. Relive a favourite holiday.

I have done this a few times, just not on Valentine’s, yet. Recreate a meal from a restaurant you ate in while away, dress the table with some items that represent the city and hang some signs with the names of famous landmarks. A few photographs dotted around and the music you listened to on that holiday will help to transport you there for one night only.

6. Spa Day.

Have you ever booked a couples spa treatment? We’ve booked a few on various holidays and I have to be honest, I don’t find them the least bit romantic. THEY ARE HILARIOUS. Or maybe that’s just us? We always end up in a fit of giggles, usually covered in some form of mud mask.  You can’t beat a good laugh so maybe a spa day is what you need. And they are easy peasy to do at home too, a few candles, some fluffy towels, a bit of whale music, a face mask and the job’s oxo.

7. Go for a walk.

A stroll in the fresh air without distractions so that you can talk, or just plod along in companionable silence can be really soothing. Focusing on the beauty of nature around you can help you to forget your stresses and strains, reminding you of the important things in life, like the person walking beside you. Don’t worry, I almost made myself sick with the corniness of that sentiment, but yiz get the idea.

8. A picnic.

You’ll have worked up an appetite with all of that walking so why not pack a picnic to enjoy too. It’s a bit chilly out though so don’t forget to pack a flask of hot chocolate.

9. Do something that the other person likes.

No yiz durty durtbirds, not that. They like football (or any sport) but you don’t? Buy tickets for a match and go together. They like to do ‘outdoorsy’ things but you hate the thought of it? Go do something outdoorsy together. They like wandering around art galleries but you’d rather watch paint dry? Spend a few hours looking at the pretty pictures with them, you will essentially be looking at dry paint so it’s kinda win win.

10. Have an early night.

Wah?! Sure there’s nothing on that aul telly anyway…

So there you have it, a few ideas for romancing the one you love that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, or your sanity. And remember folks, love is for life, not just for Valentine’s Day.

Toblerone Tray Bake on Like Mam Used to Bake

Toblerone Tray Bake on Like Mam Used to Bake 012

In January, as my mam would have put it, I went on gur. This was a term used to describe when a person decided to, or had to, do without. Now while I wasn’t exactly ‘on gur’ in the traditional sense, I decided that after the excesses of Christmas I would eat slightly more modestly in January. The main changes that I made were to eat mostly veggie and to retire my mixing bowl for the month. We’ll say nothing about the 5 days mid month of mammoth piggery. But sure holiday calories don’t count.

By the end of it I will admit that I was screaming out for some cake though. Chocolate cake to be precise. Mr. LMUTB was away with work last week and arrived home armed with 3 large Toblerones. While I would happily sit and munch my way through them Sr. Assumpta stylee I though it would be slightly more respectable to use some of them for baking. This tray bake is similar to my flourless brownies.

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Toblerone Tray Bake

150g unsalted butter, cubed

150g Toblerone

150g dark brown sugar

3 large eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

150g ground almonds

50g cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, I used a 29cm x 18.5cm but you could also use a 10″ square one.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not come into contact with the water. Once melted remove the bowl from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

While the chocolate mixture is cooling add the sugar to a large mixing bowl followed by the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix together with an electric mixer on a low-speed for around three minutes until smooth and creamy and slightly paler in colour.

Add the chocolate mixture to the sugar mixture and gently fold through.

Sieve the ground almonds and the cocoa powder into the chocolate mixture to ensure that you do not end up with powdery lumps in the baked cake. Gently fold this through before pouring into the prepared tin.

Place into the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool before cutting into squares.

4.  Add the chocolate mixture to the sugar mixture and gently fold through.

5.  Sieve the ground almonds and the cocoa powder into the chocolate mixture to ensure that you do not end up with powdery lumps in the baked cake.  Gently fold this through before pouring into the prepared tin.

6.  Place into the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes.  It should still have a slight wobble in the centre or a clean skewer inserted into the centre should come out slightly smeared in gooey brownie deliciousness.  Place on a wire rack and allow to cool.  Cut into squares as big or as small as your belly desires and serve while still warm or completely cooled, it’s completely up to your brownie eating preference.

- See more at: http://www.likemamusedtobake.com/2011/09/14/chocolate-brownies-irish-food-pix-bord-bia-on-like-mam-used-to-bake/#sthash.DTMuvRE1.dpuf

While the chocolate mixture is cooling add the sugar to a large mixing bowl followed by the eggs.  Mix together with an electric mixer on a low-speed for around three minutes until smooth and creamy and slightly paler in colour.

4.  Add the chocolate mixture to the sugar mixture and gently fold through.

5.  Sieve the ground almonds and the cocoa powder into the chocolate mixture to ensure that you do not end up with powdery lumps in the baked cake.  Gently fold this through before pouring into the prepared tin.

6.  Place into the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes.  It should still have a slight wobble in the centre or a clean skewer inserted into the centre should come out slightly smeared in gooey brownie deliciousness.  Place on a wire rack and allow to cool.  Cut into squares as big or as small as your belly desires and serve while still warm or completely cooled, it’s completely up to your brownie eating preference.

- See more at: http://www.likemamusedtobake.com/2011/09/14/chocolate-brownies-irish-food-pix-bord-bia-on-like-mam-used-to-bake/#sthash.DTMuvRE1.dpuf

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