It’s been birthday season in my family-my Dad’s birthday was earlier this month; my Mom’s birthday was exactly a week prior to his(Halloween); and my brother’s was exactly a week prior to hers. It’s great being around family after these last couple of years abroad. Dinner is our household (about 12 adults and 6 grandchildren!) is a time to: catch up, reminisce, gossip, celebrate; it’s loud; chaotic…BUT I really wouldn’t have it ANY other way! And there’s no shortage of food or wine…ever!
I’m really looking forward to cooking Thanksgiving dinner this month. I’ll be in charge of the main bird itself, as well as the stuffing, the gravy, and the pumpkin pie…but I also have two little recipes up my sleeve for the Day. Last Christmas I cooked the turkey and a few good sides, so I’m not feeling too nervous about cooking the turkey…it’s just deciding what flavors I want to include…
While I brainstorm new recipes, here’s a look at some of the cakes I’ve been making in the San Francisco/family home test kitchen: (Who needs/wants a cake in San Francisco??)
I am back in San Francisco (for a little while) after living in Ireland for the good part of just about three years! I hummed and hah-ed about moving home, but now that I’m here I am so happy I packed up and moved back! I’m excited to try all the cafes and restaurants I’ve been craving as well as reading about-pretty spoiled for choice here in SF. I am also just so happy to spend time with family and friends.
Rocky Road is a pretty popular treat in Ireland. I had the duty of making about four slabs daily at a bakery I worked in– up to triple that amount during the holiday season! When it’s made with dark chocolate, it’s really dreamy.
Below I am sharing a cleaner alternative to the traditional Rocky Road: it’s sugar free and vegan friendly. There’s also no baking/ melting chocolate involved with this recipe, all you need is a trusty food processor or blender.
Carmel’s Saintly Rocky Road
Small handful of almonds
Half a cup of your choice of nut butter
Teaspoon of vanilla extract
A couple of drops of water
2 heaped tablespoons cacao powder
Soak the dates and almonds in a bowl of warm water for about a half hour. Then blitz all ingredients together, but NOT until it’s completely smooth. The dates act as the marshmallows, and the almonds act as the hard m&m candies or malt balls typical used. Line a bread tin with parchment paper and press mixture into it. Before pressing it into the bread tin, or casserole dish, you can fold in dried fruits or even more nuts if you fancy. Freeze for about two hours, or even better, overnight.
Keep in the freezer for a more firm texture! If left in the fridge it gets more soft fudge, which would actually be a great sauce for ice cream when warmed up!
Keeps for about a week in Tupperware.
Easy and guilt free treat!
This Lemon Bundt is a total crowd pleaser! It’s a big hit with kids, as you can call a Bundt a Castle Cake due to the shape.
I dressed the cake with the perfect Lemon Drizzle, raspberries and wild mint. There’s mint that grows in the field behind my parent’s house in West Cork-it’s such a perfect topping for summer desserts. Crystalizing the mint leaves adds an extra special touch to the cake. It’s an easy project-a little bit messy, but a beautiful result!
I ended up using zest and juice from TWO lemons, to really deliver that punch of flavor. And major bonus with this recipe, it’s made in one bowl!
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup mixed berries: strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries
Garnish: berries, mint, and Lemon Drizzle (see below for recipe!)
Preheat oven to 130C. Grease and flour a bundt tin. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Then the vanilla. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Don’t over-mix though! Pour HALF of batter into tin, and scatter berries. Top with the rest of the batter, and bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until skewer comes out clean.
Take the cake out of oven, and let rest in tin for about 5 minutes. Then remove and let cool. While it’s cooling, make the Drizzle.
Lemon Drizzle Icing:
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Simply whisk the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl, until a smooth consistency!
To Crystalize Mint Leaves:
Wash mint leaves, and pat dry. Beat one egg white in a bowl until foamy; pour half a cup of caster or granulated sugar on a plate. Dip the leaves in the egg white, then the sugar. Set to the side for at least two hours.
Here’s a peak at my FIRST recipe eBook! A handful of my blog’s most popular recipes, as well as two exclusive recipes just for the eBook, and some of my favorite pantry essentials!
I wanted to keep the cover clean looking and keep it fairly short. So the theme is quick and easy, and for the most part, it showcases more ‘Saintly’ than ‘Sinful’.
I’m just tweaking the layout and it’ll be ready for purchase!
It’ll be available August 21–keep your eyes out for more updates/news!
One of my goals is to have my own cookbook. I’ve just started a baby/junior cookbook…well a RECIPE EBOOK! AAHHH! I’m a little scared, excited!
It will be available for your Kindle come August!
I’m really excited, and have been working on it quietly the last while.
More details to follow in the coming weeks, so if you aren’t already subscribed, GO DO IT NOW…and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
This is my proudest culinary moment And most special. This past spring I made my brother’s wedding cake. It was my first wedding cake, and I am pretty happy with the result!
The silver and white pearls are edible, the second tier has a marbled effect to it, and the flowers were picked that morning.
The wedding was an absolutely fantastic time-couldn’t be happier for you two!
If you haven’t tried tahini, you should, just don’t take a big tablespoon and plop it on your porridge! I learned that the pretty hard way as it’s quite bitter on it’s own, but mixed into a cake batter or some bread dough, it takes desserts and other sweet recipes to another level. I also use it in stir fries, but I love experimenting with contrasting and unexpected flavors.
Bananas usually don’t last very long with me. I’m sure I eat two a day. But I had a real hankering for banana bread, and have way too many jars of tahini. This came out nicely, and it will for sure be a regular thing I make! It’s quick and easy. It’s a twist on the classic banana bread!
Here’s what you’ll need:
4 very rip bananas
About 1/4 cup veggie oil
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour (I used gluten free)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 155C. Oil or butter a bread loaf tin. In a bowl, sieve the flour, then add the baking powder, sugar and cinnamon. In a larger mixing bowl, mash the bananas. Add the veggie oil, yogurt eggs and vanilla and whisk well. Then add the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into the tin. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until skewer comes out clean. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then pop it out of the tin. Slather with almond butter and enjoy with a cup of coffee!
That’s a mouthful! One of my favorite fruits has always been the strawberry. And here in Ireland, we are spoiled when it comes to strawberry season, as it really is like candy! I like to experiment with fruits and veg when they’re in season. Even though still on crutches, I’m not letting that hold me back, but have been sticking with easy baking. So down below is a super yummy, really easy loaf cake. It’s packed with one of my favorite spices, cinnamon, and shows off those gorgeous strawberries! Pairs really well with your morning coffee/tea or as an after dinner dessert.
Strawberry cinnamon swirl loaf cake:
Grease and flour a loaf tin. Preheat oven to 165C.
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons butter softened
3/4 greek yogurt cup greek yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
approximately 1 cup of strawberries(about half a cup whole, but you’ll slice the strawberries)
In a mixing bowl, soften the butter with your mixer until pale. Add the sugar and beat until combined. Then add the eggs
ONE AT A TIME. Then add the vanilla extract and Greek yogurt. Now you’ll sift in the flour and baking powder. Add in the
cinnamon. Then fold in the strawberries. Pour batter into tin, and with a knife, trace the figure ‘8’ back and forth(this creates
the swirl!) Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Yumo!
I made it in two cake tins, but I think it’s form would hold better in a bundt tin.
Carmel’s chocolate stout cake:
2 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup white sugar
1/2 brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup veggie oil
2 cups(1 tall can) your choice of stout
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Grease and flour tin. Sieve flour, cocoa, sugars and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk to make sure everything is mixed thoroughly. Make a well in center. Add wet ingredients. Stir from middle out, until no lumps. Pour in tin(s). Bake for 35-40 min, or until toothpick comes out clean, at about 145c (not totally sure what that is in farenheit, but just watch the cake!). Let cool, frost with a whiskey buttercream/cream cheese frosting.
2 tablespoons your choice Whiskey
With an electric mixer mix softened butter and cream cheese with vanilla and whiskey until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar one cup, Then add the additional tablespoons as needed until the consistency is thick, smooth, and to your liking.
Let me know if you guys end up baking this! And pass on and enjoy!