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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lazy Autumn No-roll Pastry

its amazing how after a one week holiday you can come back to cork and its already autumn, where'd our summer go? no one really knows! it doesn't really matter cause now we can look forward to warming autumnal recipes to keep us cozy. im looking forward to homey favourites like: pies, crumbles and spice cakes, with an emphasis on apples, pears, and dried fruits. in the cafe they'll be more stews and - the old faithful - bangers and mash, with roasted garlic and parsnip mash. not sounding too bad at all, is it?

5 ingredients: flour, sugar, ground almonds, butter, and vanilla

down at the bakery the cool lazy autumn is a having an affect. we are scaling back production and looking ahead to thanksgiving and christmas. i know - i said it, christmas! 3 months away. our christmas cakes are curing for our customers home celebrations - as we speak. theres talk of starting a new christmas pudding! we have hamper ideas with cakes mixes, jams and chutneys. as well as our bestsellers: poppyseed dressing, honey granola, and jams.
melt butter, and stir in to dry ingredients

another affect the weather has is our over-all energy levels..... they're low. especially after a non stop summer. so this No-roll Pastry recipe is perfect for banging out the goods with little effort, and little compromise on taste and texture. we used to use this recipe in the 'old days' when the cafe was in its infancy here in the village. and bringing it back reminds us how far we've come and how much we've learned on the way: after all those blood sweat and tears - we're doing, alright!
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Sunday, September 16, 2012


The last few months at the bakery and cafe have been very productive.  At the begining of the year I made a few goals for the business and things that i would like to see happen this year.  One of those was making and selling our own jam's, chutney's, pickles and dressings.   Last year we started bottling the poppy seed salad dressing that we use in the cafe.  And it sold well, but the problem was our consistency in keeping it stocked. So, this year once we have started producing for retail we have been keeping to shelves full!
Once I had got the bottles for the dressing I invested in 100 jars for strawberry jam.  The jam wasn't cheap to make since fresh Irish berries are more expensive than the frozen or imported berries, but I thought I would give it a shot and see if it would sell...If it didn't then I would have Christmas sorted!
And....much to my surprise.... The jam has been selling like hotcakes... :)
So jamming has been going on in the bakery for the past few month, desperately making as much as possible before the berries run out, and we get sick of it!

When I lived in Seattle, after my first daughter was born, I had a group of girlfriend that loved to can.  I had grown up with my grandmother canning and helped her when she needed a hand.  I never had much interest in what she was doing until the dead of winter and she would pull out a quart of gorgeous peaches that we had bought from the peach farmers in the summer, and had thoughtfully preserved for the dreary cold winter.
So, every summer when the first of the strawberries would surface, my canning girls and I would make a trip up to Remmlinger Farms to invest in flats of berries to make jam with.  They helped me fine tune my canning skills.  Some of the things you should remember when you are making jam is:
Have everything organized before you start.  Have your jars cleaned and sterilized, you sugar ready and your berries/fruit cleaned and ready to go.
When you fill your jars be sure to clean the rim of the jar with a clean tea towel  before you put the lids on to insure a good seal, any sugar or jam on the rim can lead to a poor seal, which will lead to moldy jam, and all of your hard work will be down the drain.
I was told that once you fill your jars, do not move them until the next day.  As they cool the seal will form, and any movement can lead to the jars not sealing until they have cooled down.

This is a basic recipe that I used for our jams:

12 cups mashed fresh berries
8 cups jamming sugar
you can put a tablespoon of butter to reduce foam, or just scrape off foam as it appears when boiling.

Put the fruit and 1/2 of the sugar in large pot, make sure the pot is large enough, so that you dont get burned when the fruit starts to boil.  
Bring the fruit and sugar to a rolling boil, stirring all of the time.  When the fruit come to a continuous boil while you are stirring, boil for one minute.  
After the minute, add the rest of the sugar.  Bring to boil, when the fruit come to continuous boil while stirring, boil for 3 min.
You can do a 'set test', by taking a blob of jam on a dish and put in the fridge to cool, when you rub your finger through the jam and it wrinkles or looks like it has set, your jam is done. 
Fill your jars to within 1/4 inch from the top
Put jars to cool on wooden counter top or on a tea towel.  Let cool fully before moving

Happy Jammin!

Cleaned and sterilized jars, waiting for jam

Jam coming to rolling boil

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Upside Down Cake

hi all, shannen and i have decided to take turns posting (weekly) from here on, the whole blogging business has been a bit overwhelming, for us. on top of running the bakery, cafe and deli?! so this is the plan and hopefully it works out and we can keep you updated regularly with recipes, on goings, and any breaking news we may have!

last week we were up to our eye balls with cake orders, the cafe and bakery have been full for lunch and we found ourselves running low on retail cakes . we had to think fast... upside down cake has to be one of the most delicious quick cakes. the fruit layer bakes up into the top cake layer while in the oven, and once turned over on to a serving plate all the juices sink in and make a mouth wateringly moist tea cake. we used fruit we had on hand, nectarines and irish blueberries. this recipe is one i use in baking workshops, i've adapted it from one of David Lebovitz's recipes, and it works a treat.

historically, upside down cake is traditionally baked with tinned pineapple rounds and garnished with glace cherries. i love these flavours and the nostalgia behind them. but today we have more modern tastes and swap out the tinned for the fresh stuff, or mix it up with berries and stone fruits. pears are another favourite in the bakery, mixed with a bit of fresh rosemary. pear and rosemary? its amazing.

note on recipe: this recipe was taken out of a mini cookbook i self printed at home called: 'Simple Baking: base recipes for scones, muffins, custard tarts and upside down cakes.' i've use it in my easy baking workshops. the recipe was originally adapted from a recipe by David Lebovitz, see link above. if you're not reading his blog, you should! ive added a bit of maize meal and swapped the milk for buttermilk. use any fruit you have.
Upside Down Cake       

One 10-inch skillet cake

Fruit layer

3 tablespoons (45g) salted butter
3/4 cup packed (135g) muscovado sugar
Fruit: sliced stone fruits and berries, sliced pears, sliced apples, or fresh pineapple slices



8 tablespoons (115g) salted butter
3/4 cup (150g) caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups (175g) flour

¼ cup (35g) fine maize meal (polenta)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk


Fruit Layer

o    Melt butter and muscovado sugar in 10inch skillet till bubbly.

o    Arrange fruit neatly in double thick layer on caramel sauce


o    Sift together flour, maize meal and baking powder, set aside

o    Beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy, 2-3min by hand

o    Add vanilla and mix in one egg at a time till incorporated

o    Add half of reserved dry ingredients and fold in by hand, alternating with half of milk, then remaining dry ingredients and buttemilk
o    Pour batter over fruit and caramel and bake at 150C if using a fan oven, 170C otherwise for 45min to one hour. Till a tester inserted in cake comes out clean.
o    Cool 10-20 min, and place serving plate on top of skillet, and carefully flip upside down. Watch out for any hot caramel!  if any fruit sticks to pan carefully rearrange on top of cake.
     Serve warm with whipped cream
Flavour Ideas:
Pineapple Upside Down
Use fresh pineapple or canned, don’t forget some glace/maraschino cherries if you have them!
Blackberry Plum
Scatter a handful of blackberries in caramel then place halved plums face down on top
Pear Rosemary
Use fresh pears. Slice ½ inch thick, then scatter ½ tsp rosemary tips around pan, fan pears on top. Also add 1 tsp chopped rosemary to batter