November 26, 2012

Chestnut Chocolate Biscuit Cake // White Chocolate + Chestnut Drizzle

Chocolate biscuit cake and I go way back. We're good buddies. I loved making it when I was younger. I  loved that I could make it all on my own and make it well. As a kid, it was such an awesome feeling to have 'mastered' a dessert. Ha, mastered! Sounds so serious!

Even now I still love chocolate biscuit cake. It is the best companion to a cup of tea or coffee. Oh, it goes really well with an ice cold glass of milk too. Its completely foolproof. Once you've got biscuits, butter, chocolate, a type of dried fruit and nut you are good to go. 

What's not to love about chocolate biscuit cake? It can be made at the last minute with whatever's in your house. Don't have nibbed almonds or raisins like I used? Never mind-use dried apricots/cranberries/pineapple or hazelnuts/walnuts/peanuts. You could add marshmallows too-there would be absolutely nothing wrong with that! Customise it to how your family will like it!

It can be as plain as you like or as extravagant as you wish. Since, its the holidays I added sweetened chestnut purée to mine. 'Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping on your nose, Yuletide carols being sung by the choir...'. It's not Christmas yet!! Doesn't mean we can't be preparing some recipes for December!


Holly, x

In a bowl melt together the butter, chocolate, golden syrup and sweetened chestnut purée.

This is the sweetened chestnut purée I use-it comes in a 250g tin and can be bought at Fallon & Byrne.

In another bowl break up the biscuits and add the raisins and nibbed almonds.

Once the chocolate is melted pour it over the biscuits and...


...mix well.

Pour into a bread tin and allow to set in the fridge.

Recipe, 1 bread tin

100g Butter
275g Dark Chocolate, or Milk
2 Tablespoons Golden Syrup
1 250g Tin Sweetened Chestnut Purée
75g Raisins, or any dried fruit
75 Nibbed Almonds, or any nut
250g Digestive Biscuits

Line a bread tin with a layer of cling film.
In a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the butter, chocolate, golden syrup and 200g chestnut purée-make sure the bowl doesn't touch the  water.
Lightly toast the almonds in a dry pan until golden.
In a bowl break up the biscuits and mix with the almonds and raisins.
When the chocolate is melted pour over the biscuits and mix well.
Pour into the lined bread tin and hit the tin against the worktop to remove any air bubbles.
Allow to set for 1-2 hours or overnight.


50g White Chocolate
50g Sweetened Chestnut Purée

Once the biscuit cake is set, remove the cling film and place on a plate.
Melt together the white chocolate and chestnut purée and drizzle over the top of the cake.
Allow to set for 10 minutes before cutting. 

November 19, 2012

Cointreau Spiked Bread + Butter Pudding

Hey there, how have you been? What's new in your life? Tell me all. Feels like we haven't had a chat in ages. Recently, everything just feels like its go-go-go. College, work, college, work. Mad hectic. Life gets a bit stressful in the lead to up Christmas-just one big balancing act. Trying to do the things you should already have done and get cracking on the things you need to be doing! 

Why do we do this to ourselves? Does it matter that I don't have any mincemeat made for mince pies yet? Never mind an actual Christmas pudding or that I still haven't shredded the gigantic pile of papers on my desk. What's that great, philosophical saying?,'take a chill pill'. Wanna know how I chill? I cook-surprise! Honestly, on a day off I'll gladly spend it in the kitchen cooking away listening to music.

I'm getting a start on some Christmas recipes. You may love me or hate for this because we're still in November, but, its happening! Don't fight it. 

I remember making bread and butter pudding a lot when I was smaller. My Great-Aunt used to collect me from primary school. We'd come home do some homework and make some pud'! I had it for the first time, in a veeeerrryy long time, over the weekend. It was good-brought back a lot of memories. I love eating things that conjure up memories.  

I made this bread and butter pudding with stale brioche-feel free to use stale slice pan/croissants/panettone. For a Christmas feel, I added some dried cranberries and a generous amount of Cointreau-the delicious orange liquor.  If kids are going to be eating this, you can leave out the Cointreau and use orange juice instead.

It's warming, sweet, custardy and in my opinion-the only way to use up stale bread!!


The addition of dried cranberries makes this bread and butter pudding nice and Christmassy!

An immense (adult) orange flavour comes from Cointreau-an orange liquor.

Pour 50ml of Cointreau over the fruit (or 60ml it really doesn't matter!!)  Allow the fruit to steep while you get on with everything else.

 Take your stale brioche/bread/croissants and butter them. I cut mine into triangle shapes to make the pudding look pretty-not necessary! 

Place a layer of brioche in the bottom of a dish, buttered side down...

...sprinkle over the soaked fruit and continue layering with the bread. Drizzle over the Cointreau the fruit was soaking in-waste not want not!

For the custard: whisk together cream, milk, Cointreau, sugar and eggs...

...until well combined, pale and velvety smooth.

Pour over half the custard, allow to sit for 1 minute so the stale brioche absorbs it

Pour over the remaining custard, pushing the bread down with your hands and allow to sit for 10 minutes before baking at 180°C.

Recipe, serves 8-10

350ml Cream
350ml Milk
175g Granulated Sugar
4 Eggs
8-14 Slices of Stale Brioche/Panettone Style Bread, Slice Pan or Croissants
100g Sultanas
100g Dried Cranberries
50ml+100ml Cointreau/Orange Juice
Butter, for buttering bread

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Place the sultanas and dried cranberries in a bowl-pour over 50ml of Cointreau  and set aside. 
Butter the bread with some butter and set aside. 
For the custard: in a bowl whisk together the cream, milk, sugar, Cointreau  and eggs until well combined.
In a dish-layer up the buttered bread, sultanas and dried cranberries, drizzling over the Cointreau  the fruit was soaked in. 
Pour half the custard over the bread and allow to sit for 1 minute-use your hands and push the bread down so that if soaks up all the custard.
Pour over the remaining custard-allow to sit for 10 minutes, pushing the bread down once or twice so that it absorbs all the custard. 
Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour.
Remove and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. 

*As the pudding cooks keep an eye on the bread-if it is colouring to quickly, push the bread below the custard so that it no longer is sticking up.

November 13, 2012

Peanut Butter Caramel+Chocolate Ganache Pie {OMG}

I was thinking the other day that I haven't made something with chocolate in ages. There has been a serious lack of chocolate on the blog and I apologise for this, profusely. What have I been doing? How have I let the use of chocolate in my life fall by the wayside? I'm utterly disappointed in myself. 

To rectify the lack of chocolate I made the mother of all chocolate desserts. Ludicrous, luscious, outrageous, decadent-all the words used to describe chocolate desserts spring to mind. This is a honking pie-big, fudgy, creamy and leaps and bounds better than a rice cake! 

So, I took my inspiration from a chocolate ganache filled pie. I wanted something a little extra-if I was going to go into the insane dessert category, I wanted to make sure that I represented and did a fabulous job! Peanut butter. Peanut butter and chocolate are great friends-let's add peanut butter in the way of a caramel layer. This is how my mind works when I'm trying to 'create' something!  I didn't feel like baking per se so I chose a no-bake cookie crust. Chocolate cookie crust obviously!

I'm going to tell you now-if you suffer from guilt, maybe you should sit this one out. By all means enjoy the pictures but steer clear of the pie! 

I will leave you with these few words of wisdom from a plaque my friend's Mam bought me-'did you notice, there's no recipes for leftover chocolate?'.


Holly x

Bash the chocolate cookies...

...mix with melted butter...

...push evenly into the base of a cake tin.

For the peanut butter caramel, place the condensed milk, butter, brown sugar and peanut butter into a pot...

...bring to the boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes until thickened.

Pour on top of the cookie crust and allow to set.

For the ganache, place the chocolates in a bowl...

...and pour over heated cream and dissolved sugar.

Stir and finally whisk in the butter to make it fudgy and SUPER glossy!

Pour on top of the set peanut butter caramel and allow to set again!

Recipe, 1 x 8 inch round x 2 inch deep tin 

Cookie Base

200g Chocolate Cookies
50g Unsalted Butter, melted

In a bowl bash the biscuits until fine.
Pour over the melted butter and stir.
Press evenly into the base of a cake tin.
Place in fridge for 10 minutes.

Peanut Butter Caramel

1 x 397g Condensed Milk
50g Light Brown Sugar
50g Unsalted Butter
100g Crunchy Peanut Butter

Place all ingredients into a pot.
Bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring constantly for 5-10 minutes until thickened.
Pour on top of the cookie crust.
Place in the fridge and allow to set for 30-40 minutes.

Chocolate Ganache

250g Double Cream
2 Tablespoon Caster Sugar
300g Dark Chocolate Chips-55%
50g White Chocolate Chips
25g Unsalted Butter, softened and diced

Place the cream and sugar into a small pot.
Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer gently for 2 minutes to dissolve the sugar.
*Do not allow to cream to reduce!!*
Place the chocolates in a bowl and pour over the hot cream.
Stir with a spatula until the chocolate has melted.
Finally, whisk in the diced butter until melted and glossy.
Pour the chocolate ganache on top of the set peanut butter caramel.
Place in the fridge and allow to set for 1-1 1/2 hours.

November 08, 2012

Sautéed Cabbage with Pancetta + Butter Beans

Cabbage. It conjures up a lot of negative vibes for being colourless, water logged,  soggy, mushy and having a strong odour. Please, take these ideas and put em in a box. Get rid of said box and come back to me. 

I'm all for the smelly vegetables-cauliflower, brussel sprouts and cabbage. If you cook  them properly, other than just plunging them into water and boiling the goodness out of them, you can do so much with them. 

I used a York cabbage for this side dish. York cabbage is bright green in colour-bright green, and so it should be when you are finished cooking with it! We don't want any greeny-brown looking cabbage! It should be vibrant! 

If you like cabbage and have never sautéed it-YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS! I like giving my ingredients a new lease of life! People will say that they don't like cabbage, but let me tell you-with this dish they will be converted! Crispy pancetta and onions, tender shreds of cabbage, meaty broad beans all mixed with a white wine and sour cream sauce will have the fussiest of  vegetable eaters asking for seconds!

Free feel to add some rosemary if you're serving this with lamb, thyme if serving with chicken or sage if serving with pork!

Holly x

Fry the pancetta until crispy and sauté the onion until golden...this smells ridicoulsy good!

Deglaze the pan with white wine scrapeing all the crispy from the bottom-they're the flavour!

Add the shredded cabbage and...

 ...cook until wilted and tender.

Remove from the heat and stir through some chopped parsley and sour cream.

Before serving make sure to generously grate over with parmesan!

Recipe, serves 6 as a side dish

I Medium White Onion
1 Large York/Savoy Cabbage
200g Diced Pancetta
1 400g Tin Butterbeans
50ml White Wine
3 Tablespoon Sour Cream
Handful Chopped Parsley
Parmesan-to serve

In a pan with a little oil-cook the diced pancetta until crisp.
In the meantime-half the onion and cut into half moons.
Cut the cabbage in half, remove the stalk and shred.
Add the onion to the bacon and sauté until softened and slightly golden. 
Add the wine and scrape up all the bits stuck the the bottom of the pan. Allow the alcohol to reduce by half.
Add in the cabbage and cook for 3-7 minutes until tender-stirring occasionally.
Drain the butterbeans and stir into the cabbage until warmed through.
Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream and chopped parsley.
Grate over some parmesan before serving.