Easy Pantry Recipes

I struggled for what to write here as anything I first attempted sounded flippant and vapid, making light of the situation and circumstances that each and every one of us are living through at the moment. What I wanted to do was…well to do “something“. I firmly believe in the calming and therapeutic powers of being in the kitchen. At the best of times baking for me offers a respite from daily chores and frantic everyday life, a place to get my headspace and mentally “breathe”.

My baking activity has definitely had an upsurge of late. In the uncertain circumstances of the world today I find there is a calming certainty in knowing that if I mix a certain bundle of ingredients together a known result will be achieved. Focusing on the task at hand helps to redirect my attention and anxiety away from the unnerving headlines and statistics we’re being bombarded with- a calm in the eye of the storm, no matter how briefly. I guess that’s what I’m trying to do here-  pass on these moments of calm to you in some small way. 

The recipes here offer little moments of indulgence and respite with minimal ingredients and skill needed. Hopefully most of the ingredients called for are already staples in your pantry or, failing that, will prove easy to get hold of. I hope you enjoy taking some time out and baking them.

Stay safe out there folks, see you on the other side.

You can find some further information on mental health considerations during COVID-19 Outbreak here

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Shown here served with crème anglaise

Chocolate Soufflé

Serves 4

Ingredients

• 2 cups chocolate hazelnut spread (I use Nutella – surprise!)

• 5 eggs

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C).
  2. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and place into two separate bowls
  3. Mix the chocolate hazelnut spread into the bowl with the egg yolks
  4. In the second bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form
  5. Fold 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate/egg yolk mixture until fully incorporated. Add the remaining egg whites to the mixture and fold gently, but thoroughly, until the mixture is smooth
  6. Pour the mixture into the greased ramekins and bake for 15-17 minutes until risen
  7. Serve immediately
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Shown here served with crème anglaise


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Shown here served w/ Blueberry, Rosemary & Juniper berry conserve

Soda Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk*

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F
  2. Line a tray with baking parchment and dust lightly with flour. Set aside until needed
  3. In a large bowl combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Whisk to combine and break down lumps. Make a well in the centre
  4. Pour in most of the buttermilk
  5. Using one hand stir the flour into the liquid from the outside of the bowl, turning the bowl as you do. Continue until the mixture comes together in a soft dough that is not too wet or sticky (you may need the remainder of the buttermilk here)
  6. Turn the dough out into a lightly floured surface and knead lightly for a few seconds. Don’t over-knead here- you just want to do it enough so that it holds it shape. Don’t do it to the extent that you would with standard bread dough!
  7. Using your hands, lightly floured, pat the dough into a round shape about 2 inches thick. Transfer to the floured baking sheet
  8. With a knife (I use a bench scraper) score a cross into the top of the loaf, so that it goes almost all the way through the thickness and over the sides of the loaf
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 15mins then reduce the heat to 400°F and continue baking for an additional 20mins until cooked. The baked loaf will be deep golden in color and sound hollow when the bottom of it is tapped
  10. Remove and cool on a wire rack
  11. This type of loaf will cool with a hard, crispy crust. If a softer crust is desired wrap a clean kitchen towel around the hot loaf and allow it to cool

*If you don’t have buttermilk to hand you can make your own by combining 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon squeezed lemon juice or distilled white vinegar in a jug. Stir to combine and leave to sit for 15 mins. After 15 mins the liquid will have thickened slightly and small curds can be seen. Use in the recipe as required. Any remaining milk can be stored in the fridge.

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White Bread Bloomer

  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons quick action yeast
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 Olive oil
  • 1 1/4cups warm water

Method

  1. Lightly oil a large bowl and set aside for the dough later
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the flour, salt (to one side), yeast (to opposite side) and brown sugar
  3. Add in olive oil and 250ml warm water and mix on low setting to combine the ingredients. Add in remaining water, if needed, to achieve a soft, slightly sticky dough. Continue to knead in the machine for a total of 7 minutes. Proceed to Step 4.(If you’re mixing the traditional way, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and shaping you hand into a “claw shape”, with fingers slightly spaced, mix by hand until all the ingredients come together in a ball. Tip out onto a lightly oiled surface and continue to knead for 10 mins until the dough is soft and slightly sticky)
  4. Tip the dough from the mixer bowl into the prepared oiled bowl, cover with lightly oiled cling-wrap and set aside to proof for at least 45 minutes, or until doubled in size
  5. Once the dough has finished proofing, tip out onto a lightly oiled surface. Punch down the dough to knock bar the air and reduce it in size
  6. You can either leave it as one large load or divide into two for 2 smaller standard sized loafs
  7. Once the dough has been knocked back use oiled hands to shape into an oval shape and transfer to a large flour dusted baking sheet
  8. Cover with oiled cling wrap, set aside and leave to double inside for apx 30-40mins
  9. Whilst the dough is having it second proof, preheat your oven to 425°F
  10. Once the dough has proofed and risen, bake in the preheated oven for 15mins, after which reduce the temperature to 390°F and bake for further 10-15mins until deep golden in color and the base of the loaves sound hollow when tapped
  11. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on a rack
  12. Baked loaves can easily be frozen and saved for later. Wrap in cling wrap, place in plastic bag, seal and place in freezer. Defrost for a few hours when needed

PB & J Oat Bars

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons salted butter, plus extra for the tin
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 8 tablespoons grape jelly (or favourite fruit flavour)
  • 1/2cup light brown soft sugar, packed
  • 2 cups rolled oats

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F . Butter and line the base and sides of a 9” square cake tin with baking parchment
  2. Set aside 3 tablespoons each of the peanut butter and jam in separate bowls for later. Combine the remaining peanut butter, jam, butter and sugar into a pan over a medium heat and stir until everything has melted together. Quickly stir in the rolled oats, then leave to cool for 5 mins
  3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and gently press down with a small measuring cup
  4. Dot over the reserved peanut butter and jam, then bake for 20-25 mins or until golden brown. Leave to cool completely in the tin, then turn out onto a board and cut into bars (2 x6)
  5. Bars are best kept refrigerated in a sealed container for 2-3 days


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Easy Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degree
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (with paddle attachment) oe using an electric hand-mixer beat the butter and icing sugar together well.
  3. Slowly add in the flour (I use 1/4 cup increments) until it has all been added in. Once it all in, crank up the speed on you machine and whip it for 6 minutes. The mixture will become light and exceptionally fluffy
  4. Using a small cookie scoop (size about 1- 1/2 tablespoon) scoop the dough out onto the prepared  baking sheets
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes until bottoms of the cookies are browned.
  6. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes on the trays. Transfer to a rack to cool complely
  7. Baked cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week 

In the photographs shown I put a cherry on top of each prior to baking. The pre-baked cookies can be left plain or topped with whatever you like from your pantry such as chocolate chunks; nuts; candy pieces…whatever you have to hand in your pantry.

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Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes 18-20

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter
  • 1 Egg

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree. Line 2 cookie sheets with baking parchment
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a hand-held electric mixer, mix the ingredients together until well blended
  3. Using a small cookie scoop (about 1-1/2 tablespoon size) scoop doughballs on to ungreased cookie sheet
  4. Using a fork press down in one direction and then press again from the other side to form a criss-cross pattern on top
  5. Bake for 12 minutes
  6. Allow them cool on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely
  7. Baked cookies will keep for 3-4 days at room temperature in a sealed container

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Homemade Butter

I posted the recipe for this a couple of years ago. It such an easy thing to do but a lot of people think of it as a daunting task. You can find the recipe/method here

Soured Cream Coffee Cake w/ Walnut & Oat Streusel and Smoked Maple Glaze

I used to find coffee cakes confusing. Well at least I did when I first moved to Canada. To me a “coffee cake” was exactly that- a cake with coffee IN it. Possibly a symptom of a childhood growing up heavily influenced by Mary Berry, Delia Smith and Darina Allen, a coffee cake came in one format alone – Coffee and Walnut cake. Reminiscent of weekend baking with my mother and lazy Sunday afternoon teas, it smacked of luxury and thrillingly contained that most adult of ingredients – Coffee! Or more precise that stalwart ’80s cupboard staple “Champ Coffee essence”. Thick, syrupy it was bottled black magic to a kid with a blossoming interest in baking.

Fast-forward 30 or so years and imagine my confusion reading recipes for coffee cake and wondering where the heck that smoldering caffeine hit was? Yes, yes I know- hindsight now makes me see how short-sighted and literal I was. Lateral thinking was called for. A simple mistake in my defense I’ll plead. Almost as simple as the recipe for this cake here. Soured cream gives a moist crumb hiding a streak (and topping!) of oaty, cinnamon goodness and finished with a drizzle of smokey maple sweetness. This really perfect accompaniment to your caffeine rush no matter what the tine of day. 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup soured cream
  • 2 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Streusel topping

  • 1/2 cup All Purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small chunks
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats

Drizzle

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons smoked maple syrup (if you can’t get smoked maple syrup, traditional maple syrup will do just fine)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 10” tube (angel food) pan
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (with paddle attachment) cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. This may take up to 10mins.
  3. While the butter and sugar cream together, make the streusel. In a bowl combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and butter pieces. Rub the mixture together with your fingertips until a pea-sized sand texture is achieved and a crumble is formed. Mix in the toasted walnuts and set aside until needed later
  4. To the creamed butter/sugar add the eggs one at a time, ensuring each is fully incorporated before moving onto the next
  5. When all the eggs have been mixed in, add the vanilla and soured cream and mix until just incorprated
  6. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Whisk well the break down any lumps
  7. On low speed add the flour mixture to your wet mixture gradually, I usually do it 1/4 cup at a time, waiting for each to be fully incorporated before adding the next
  8. Continue adding the flour until it is all used and just combined into the mixture. Lightly fold using a spatula to make sure the batter is completely mixed
  9. Spoon half the batter into the prepared pan and spread/level with a knife spatula. Sprinkle on 1 cup of the streusel mixture evenly.
  10. Spoon the remainder of the batter on top and spread evenly. Finish with a final layer of the remaining streusel mixture on top
  11. Bake in preheated even for 50- 60mins, until a cake tester comes out clean
  12. Let cool on a wire rack for 30mins. After this carefully remove the cake from the baking tin, streusel-side up, and set aside to cool further
  13. While the cake cools, in a jug combine the icing sugar and maple syrup. Stir until a smooth pourable is achieved. If the mixture is still a bit stiff add a few drops of milk to make it runny. Drizzle the glaze over to top of the cake to your desired amount  and leave to fully cool before slicing and serving
  14.  This coffee cake will keep at it’s best in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Avoid storing the cake in the refrigerator as this will dry it out.

St. Patrick’s Day Recipe Bundle

This bunch of recipes started as an idea where I wanted to do something drawing inspiration from my childhood in Ireland to my current life here in Toronto. It also helped that St. Patrick’s Day was impending so that provided a nice motivational kick. I’ve included three (or should it be four?) recipes here as frankly I couldn’t decide which to include for a single recipe post. However, I do think it works quite nicely to chart the influences on my passion for baking. I shall try to keep the background blurb short as I have to admit not being a fan of rambling anecdotes myself on recipe posts (“Seriously Janice- get to the recipe already! No one actually cares about your traumatic experience with bangs and how it rekindled your childhood love of popovers…)

In the meantime have a great St. Patrick’s Day. Eat (plenty); Drink (responsibly) and Be merry (it goes without saying).

Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhaoibhe!

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Traditional Plain Soda Bread w/ Blueberry, Rosemary & Juniper berry conserve

This is where I began. Well, I mean my love of baking. Soda bread was the first recipe that my mom showed me how to make in the kitchen. The bread is simplicity itself with  little or no baking skill required. The conserve recipe is my substitute for the sticky jam jars of childhood. If you asked me to sum up childhood memories of baking it would be of freshly cut warm plain soda bread, slathered in butter and jam. And now I pass it on to you to make your own memories.

Plain soda bread

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk*

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Method

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F
  2. Line a tray with baking parchment and dust lightly with flour. Set aside until needed
  3. In a large bowl combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Whisk to combine and break down lumps. Make a well in the centre
  4. Pour in most of the buttermilk
  5. Using one hand stir the flour into the liquid from the outside of the bowl, turning the bowl as you do. Continue until the mixture comes together in a soft dough that is not too wet or sticky (you may need the remainder of the buttermilk here)
  6. Turn the dough out into a lightly floured surface and knead lightly for a few seconds. Don’t overknead here- you just want to do it enough so that it holds it shape. Don’t do it to the extent that you would with standard bread dough!
  7. Using your hands, lightly floured, pat the dough into a round shape about 2 inches thick. Transfer to the floured baking sheet
  8. With a knife (I use a bench scraper) score a cross into the top of the loaf, so that it goes almost all the way through the thickness and over the sides of the loaf
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 15mins then reduce the heat to 400°F and continue baking for an additional 20mins until cooked. The baked loaf will be deep golden in color and sound hollow when the bottom of it is tapped
  10. Remove and cool on a wire rack
  11. This type of loaf will cool with a hard, crispy crust. If a softer crust is desired wrap a clean kitchen towel around the hot loaf and allow it to cool

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*If you don’t have buttermilk to hand you can make your own by combining 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon squeezed lemon juice or distilled white vinegar in a jug. Stir to combine and leave to sit for 15 mins. After 15 mins the liquid will have thickened slightly and small curds can be seen. Use in the recipe as required. Any remaining milk can be stored in the fridge.

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Blueberry, rosemary & juniper berry conserve

Ingredients

  • 4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoons dried juniper berries, lightly crushed
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Sprig of fresh rosemary (6 inch length apx)

Method

  1. In large pot combine the blueberries, juniper berries, sugar, lemon juice and water
  2. Stir over a medium heat until the mixture becomes loose and the berries start releasing liquid
  3. When the berries have soften and you see more liquid add in the spring of rosemary, ensuring it is submerged in the liquid
  4. Continue over a medium, stirring occasionally, for 30mins until the fruit has broken down and slightly thickened
  5. Remove from heat, transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature and infuse
  6. When cool place in a sterilised jar. Serve with traditional soda bread

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Báirín Breac (Irish Barmbrack)

As a kid I hated dried fruit. Hated it with that primal fervour only a child can manifest when presented with something they don’t like. Not only was barmbrack out- also Christmas cake, fruit cookies and anything else harbouring any sign of a shrivelled morsel. Interesting then that as an adult I can have a hankering out of the blue for something with dried fruit. Perhaps making up for lost time? Whilst more traditional to see it at Halloween, barmbrack for me is synonymous with my roots in Motherland Hibernia. Here I’ve made some additions and substitutions- mead in addition to the traditional tea steeping fluid to give a little extra indulgence; Red Fife flour to add an extra layer of nuttiness to the loaf; and cranberries as, even after all these years, candied peel still abhors me. 

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cup black tea, freshly made
  • 1/4 cup mead
  • 3/4 cup dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 cup All Purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup Red Fife flour (or substitute wholewheat)
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg, beaten

To finish

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

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Method

  1. Put the raisins, sultanas and cranberries in a large heatproof bowl, pour over the tea and mead. Stir to combine ensuring all the fruit is wet. Leave to soak overnight, or minimum 6 hours, stirring occasionally 
  2. Heat the oven to 350°F and grease 4.5″ x 8.5″ loaf tin pan and line with baking parchment
  3. In a second bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, spices and salt, making sure you break up any lumps in the sugar, then stir in the fruit mixture (including liquid), beaten egg and vanilla extract. Mix well to combine
  4. Tip the loaf mix into the tin, smooth the top and bake for 80 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. (If the top looks to be going too dark or burning on top towards the end, cover loosely with foil)
  5. Take out of the oven, leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out on to a baking rack
  6. Whilst the loaf is cooling make the sugar syrup.
  7. In a small saucepan combine the sugar and water. Heat the sugar and water over a high heat until the sugar has been dissolved. Bring to a boil and continue stirring over a high heat for 1 minute
  8. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before applying to the loaf
  9. When the loaf has been turned out on to the rack, liberally brush the top and sides with the cooled syrup
  10. Allow to cool fully to room temperature before slicing and serving
  11. Serve slathered in fresh butter and with a hot cup of tea for the quintessential Irish experience.
  12. Store the baked loaf wrapped in wax paper, or baking parchment, in an airtight container. The taste and texture of the remaining loaf will improve over time becoming more “fudge” like.img_3501

 

Irish Cream Nanaimo Bars

While the previous recipes had their roots firmly planted in childhood memories and influences, this is a blatant (and heady) nod to the influences of my current home. Numerous Canadian baked goods have won me over – butter tarts; beaver tails; Pouding Chomeur but the Nanaimo bar truly hits my sweet Achilles heel. And how do you make something that perfect better? Why by adding booze of course! More specifically Irish Cream. Take your pick of the ones available out there but my preference is for the stalwart that is Baileys. Not that I’ve made trays of liqueur riddled sweet bars in order to research. Of course not!

Makes 24

Ingredients

Bottom Layer

  • 1/2 cup of salted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups of graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces, chopped and toasted

Middle Layer

  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 2 -3 tablespoons of Irish Cream liqueur, I use Baileys
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch

Top Layer

  • 3/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2 separate tablespoons of butter

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x9inch baking pan with parchment paper
  2. For the bottom layer, in a medium bowl, combined the sugar and melted butter. Stir until the sugar is nearly dissolved. Add in the graham crumbs, shredded coconut, cocoa, chopped chocolate and walnut pieces. Combine well. Add in the beaten egg and again mix well to combine
  3. Press the mixture into the lined baking pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, remove and set aside to cool (I usually cool mine in the fridge as i make the middle layer)
  4. Whilst the bottom layer is cooling prepare the middle layer
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer (paddle attachment fitted) combine the icing sugar, softened butter, cornstarch and liqueur. Beat on slow until all ingredients are combined and then increase the speed to high for a few minutes until the mixture is whipped and fluffy. Spread the whipped mixture evenly over the cooled bottom layer. Place in the fridge to cool while you make the top layer
  6. Combine the semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of butter in one heatproof bowl and the white chocolate chips and the other tablespoon of butter in another heatproof bowl. Melt both bowls of chocolate, one at a time, set over a pan of hot water. Spoon dollops of each melted chocolate over the cooled middle layer and using a knife spatula or spoon swirl together to evenly coat the top of the mixture
  7. Place in the fridge and chill for minimum 2 hours before slicing (4x 6) and serving.
  8. Keep the bars refrigerated for up to 3 days in a closed container, or frozen for up to 3 months


Chicken Paprikash w/ Hot Buttered Spaetzle

With this recipe I should point out that I am neither German nor Hungarian in heritage. I am in fact Irish…and a massive lover of food (If you’ve ever seen me you’d be able to tell trust me!) Aside from baking, this love particularly includes comfort food.  You know the type of food- dishes crafted from seemingly humble ingredients and resulting in that sublime feeling of snug…content…”Hygge” to use the Nordic phrase.

This dish was one that on my first attempt I tentatively made my way through. Most of the recipes I researched commented that care needs to be taken with the paprika, if it’s dry cooked too long it can scorch giving the dish an underlying acrid taste. Next, care had to be taken when adding the soured cream/ cream mixture. If you dump it straight into the pan with the paprika mixture there’s a very high chance of it splitting and curdling the sauce, flecking it with gloopy, white nodules. Whilst it’s still edible it is no where on par with the velvety smooth, ochre sauce that you get by taking that little additional step of tempering the cold cream mixture with a few tablespoons of the hot paprika sauce.

Now, after making it a number of times, I can navigate the recipe with that intrinsic muscle memory that is so synonymous with cooking or baking comfort food dishes. It’s very easy to see why this dish has stood the test of time.

As well as the chicken paprikash I’ve included a recipe for spaetzle. For me the two go together like every cliched pairing you could think of. Spaetzle (“Little Sparrows) are toothy little dumplings of German origin. I first had these in a Bavarian restaurant in Vermont having ordered them not knowing what to expect. When they arrived I was prepared for something like pasta from the visual. I was more than pleasantly surprised upon first bite at how chewy they were, with an addictive density smothered in rich butter. A beautiful love affair was born!

Try these out- you won’t be disappointed!

Ingredients

Serves 4*

*for this dish I usually serve 1-2 drumsticks and 2 thigh pieces per person.

  • 8 drumstick portions of chicken
  • 8 thigh potions of chicken
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika (at a push you can use standard paprika but the Hungarian variety gives a much better flavour)
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup soured cream
  • 1/4 cup heavy/ whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Flat leaf parsley, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. In a jug, stir to combine the soured cream and heavy/whipping cream. Add the flour and stir until fully incorporated. Set aside until needed later
  3. In a large pan over a medium heat, brown the chicken drumsticks and thighs until golden brown. Remove and place in a casserole dish or Dutch oven. Place in the preheated oven until needed near the end of the recipe
  4. In the same pan as the chicken was cooked, add the onion sauté until softened, then add 1/2 cup of chicken stock and stir to deglaze the pan of chicken fronds
  5. Add the chopped garlic and thyme leaves and sauté with the onions for a few minutes until the garlic is lightly browned
  6. Off the heat stir in the paprika and stir to coat the pan contents
  7. Return the pan to the stove, add the chopped tomatoes and chicken broth. Cook over a medium heat until bubbling. Check and adjust seasoning to taste
  8. Whilst the paprika mixture cooks, to the jug of soured cream/cream mixture add 2-3 tablespoons of the hot paprika mixture and stir well to combine. Add the contents of the jug to the main pan of the paprika mixture and stir for a few minutes to fully incorporate and thicken. The paprika sauce should now be thick and bright orange in color
  9. Remove dish of chicken pieces from the oven and pour over the paprika sauce, covering and coating all the chicken pieces
  10. Return the dish of chicken pieces and sauce to the oven and continue to bake for a further 10mins. After this time check the chicken to be fully cooked (should be an internal temperature of 165degrees F)
  11. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the chopped flat leave parsley and serve. Chicken paprikash goes particularly well with a side helping of hot buttered spaetzle (and I just happen to include it below!)

Hot Buttered Spaetzle

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk

Method

  1. In a jug, whisk together the eggs and milk. Set aside
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg and parsley. Whisk to combine and make a well in the centre
  3. Pour in the egg/milk mixture and stir well until combined. The mixture will be quite thick and stretchy
  4. Cover and set the spaetzli batter aside for at least an hour at room temperature. (I usually prepare mine in the morning if I’m cooking them in the evening- a lengthy sitting of 3-4 hours. This helps the dough to develop both taste and texture)
  5. *This next bit depends entirely on what method you use to make you spaetzle. There are a number of gadgets that can be used for making spaetzle. These range from a sapetzle “press” (similar to a potato ricer) to a spaetzle “slider” (looks like a mandolin) but the method I use is with a spaetzle “lid and scraper”.
  6. Place large dollops of the reared batter on the lid and use the scraper to push the batter through. Admittedly this make take some more skill and dexterity but it’s what I’m used to. The main thing here is to use a method that you’re comfortable with.

    Spaetzle lid and scraper

  7.  Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil over high heat. Whilst this reaches boiling fill another large boil with cold water & ice and leave in close proximity.
  8. *Make the spaetzle according to your device method. With all the methods exercise immense caution as you’re working in close proximity to the boiling water
  9. (Lid and scraper method) Place the spaetzle lid over the pot of boiling water. Take a ladle full of batter and drop it onto the lid.
  10. Force the batter through the device. The batter will form droplets and drip in to the salted boiling water below and let them cook for 1 to 2 minutes until floating on the surface. Continue until all the batter is squeezed through the lid.  Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the large bowl of iced water
  11. Repeat until you have used up all the spaetzle batter
  12. In a large pan, head 5-6 tablespoons of butter until sizzling over a medium heat
  13. Drain the spaetzle of all water, add to the butter and toss to coat
  14. Continue to stir and toss over a medium heat until they start to get flecked with golden brown flecks
  15. Serve hot with chicken paprikash

• The spaetzli may be cooked a few hours in advance to the point where they are placed in the iced water. If you want to store them remove them from iced water, shake dry and place in a covered container in the refrigerator. I have made mine the day before, stored in the fridge and then cooked the evening of the following day. Still perfection!

Brazilian bakes & candies

Think of Brazil and no doubt the usual plethora of images will spring to mind- sundrenched beaches, feather-bedecked soca dancers and copious churrascaria. What doesn’t come to mind is a wealth, and often unexplored world, of baking. From breads to cakes to sweet treats there’s no shortage of tasty culinary treats to try.

So you may be asking yourself how does a Irish native, now resident in Canada, come to be waxing lyrical on all bakes Brazilian? I recently made the acquaintance of a native Brazilian via the wonders of a social media. A mutual bond over adoption matters, cultural appreciation (makes a change to hear those two words together huh?) and adventures in food was formed, and here we are! Insight from someone who grew up in a culture always trumps even the best research you can do. There is something satisfying about knowing that this is how “it” actually is, in everyday life, rather than some interpretation of “it” from the vaults of some Lonely Planet-esque archives.

The recipes here are essentially in two parts- bakes and sweets. The Pao de Queijo (Brazilian Cheesebread) is definitely worth trying out. Served warm from the oven they are an ideal breakfast morsel, or even snack through the day. Freezer-friendly and gluten-free they are also a handy reserve should any gluten intolerant friends swing by. The Pudim de Queijo and Bolo de Fuba Cremoso share a common theme in that they are both prepared making use of a tall blender. Apparently this is a common feature in Brazilian baking as stand mixers are not that common. For the Pudim de Queijo think creme caramel and Catalan flan. To be honest though to hold it in comparison is to do the Pudim injustice. The addition of the cheese to the flan mixture rescues it from the overpowering (and somewhat cloying) sweetness to which it’s European counterparts often fall prey. Cheese also a feature in the recipe for Bolo de Fuba Cremoso. When baked the combination of cheese, cornmeal and coconut result in veritable kitchen alchemy that allows for a crispy topping, smooth interlayer and deliciously crumbly base. Believe me, once you try a slice of this alongside a strong coffee, breakfast will never be the same again!

The Dochinos de Leite Moca here are all variations on a theme of Brazilian candies. Made using boiled sweetened condensed milk they are sure to prove popular not only with the little ones in your life but all the grown-ups. The final sweets will usually keep for a week in a container in the refrigerator. These dainty mouthfuls of scrumptuous sweetness look  (and taste) like they required hours of kitchen toil instead of the mere minutes needed in reality. The longest part is the cooling time! I cannot emphasis how much these candies are worth the minimal effort.


Pao de Queijo (8)

Pao de queijo

Makes approximately 40

Ingredients

  • 500g cassava starch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 400g grated cheese (150g Gruyère; 150g mozzarella; 100g sharp red cheddar such as Red Leicester)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line 2 cookie baking trays with baking parchment
  2. In a bowl mix the Gruyère and mozzarella cheeses, Set aside until needed
  3. Combine the water & oil in a pan and bring to boil over heat
  4. Place cassava starch in a bowl of a stand mixer
  5. With the mixer running, carefully pour over boiling liquid in stages and mix to combine
  6. Leave to cool, until you can touch the side of the bowl
  7. With the mixer running, add in eggs one at a time
  8. Add in the Gruyère/ mozzarella cheese mix in thirds and mix until combine.
  9. Remove the dough from the bowl and fold/lightly knead in the sharp cheddar.
  10. Roll dough into 3cm wide sausage shape
  11. Cut into smaller 1 inch pieces and roll into balls using wet hands
  12. Place the dough balls on lined baking trays, spacing about 2 inches between
  13. Bake at 400F for 20mins until puffed and lightly golden

– The baked rolls/ puffs are best eaten straight away, after cooling slightly.

*Once the dough had been shaped into balls, they can be frozen in a bag or under cling wrap and baked from frozen. Bake in a 400F preheated oven for 30 mins until puffed and lightly golden

Pao de Queijo (1)


Pudim de Queijo (3)

Pudim de queijo

Makes 1, serves 12

Ingredients

Caramel

  • 1 cup fine sugar
  • 1 cup of water

Pudding

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can (300ml) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can whole  milk (use the same can as sweetened condensed milk to measure)
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In a pan over a medium heat combine the water and fine sugar.
  3. Increase heat and bring to the boil, without stirring, for about 10mins. The liquid should thicken and turn a deep amber color
  4. When the liquid has turned deep amber, remove from heat and pour into an 8inch circular baking pan
  5. In a blender mix the condescended milk and milk for 2 mins
  6. Add in eggs and mix to blend again for 2 mins
  7. Add the Parmesan cheese and mix for a further 2 mins
  8. Pour into prepared caramel pan and place the filled baking pan in deep roasting tray large enough to take the pan
  9. Cover the filled pan with aluminium foil, and fill the roasting tray with water to at least 3/4 level with the pan
  10. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 50 mins
  11. After the aluminium foil from the pan and continue to bake for a further 10 mins
  12. Remove the baked pudding from the oven and the roasting tray. Leave to completely
  13. Turn the cooked pudding out by placing a large plate on top of the pudding and quickly inverting. It may requirement a gentle shake for it to come out
  14. Keep the turned out pudding refrigerated until serving

Pudim de Queijo (6)


Bolo de Fuma Cremoso (3)

Bolo de fubá cremoso

Makes 1 , serves 12

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups fine sugar
  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. In a large bowl add the fine sugar, cornmeal, flour, shredded coconut and mix to combine
  3. In a large blender combine the eggs, milk, melted butter, and baking powder, Parmesan cheese and mix until well combined
  4. Pour the liquid mixture in to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir/whisk gently to combine well
  5. Pour to cake batter (which will be quite running into a 9inch spring-form cake pan
  6. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 mins until the top of the cake is golden brown and the sides pull away from the pan
  7. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely in the pan before removing the pan collar
  8. This cake goes particularly well with a strong, early morning coffee

Bolo de Fuma Cremoso (1)


Dochinos (2)

Dochinos de Leite Moca

Each recipe makes between 15-20

This little sweet bites were traditionally served at children’s parties, are astoundingly easy to make and even better to eat!

Brigadeiro

Ingredients

  • 300ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 egg yolk

To finish

  • A selection of chocolate sprinkles, rainbow sprinkles to finish

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and loosens from the pan. (It will take between 8-10 mins)
  2. Pour the hot mixture into a heat-proof bowl and leave to cool to room temperature
  3. When the mixture has cooled , grease your hands with oil and shape a teaspoon of the mixture into a round ball shape in your hands
  4. Roll the ball of mixture in sprinkles of your choice to coat and place on a lined baking sheet
  5. When all the brigadeiro have been rolled transfer the baking sheet to the fridge and allow the to chill and firm for at least 2 hours

 

Beijinho

Ingredients

  • 300ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 1egg yolk

To finish

  • 100g unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Whole cloves (optional)

Method

  1. Combine the milk and egg yolk in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and loosens from the pan. (It will take between 8-10 mins)
  2. Pour the hot mixture into a heat-proof bowl and leave to cool to room temperature
  3. When the mixture has cooled , grease your hands with oil and shape a teaspoon of the mixture into a round ball shape in your hands
  4. Roll the ball of mixture in the shredded coconut to coat and place on a lined baking sheet. Stud each beijinho with a whole clove
  5. When all the beijinho have been rolled, transfer the baking sheet to the fridge and allow the to chill and firm for at least 2 hours

 

Cajuzinho

Ingredients

  • 300ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 30g unsweetened shredded coconut

To finish

  • Fine sugar
  • Roasted peanut halves

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and loosens from the pan. (It will take between 8-10 mins)
  2. Pour the hot mixture into a heat-proof bowl and leave to cool to room temperature
  3. When the mixture has cooled , grease your hands with oil and shape a teaspoon of the mixture into a “horn” shape in your hands
  4. Roll the cajuzinho in fine sugar  to coat, stud the larger end with a peanut half and place on a lined baking sheet
  5. When all the cajuzinho have been rolled,  transfer the baking sheet to the fridge and allow the to chill and firm for at least 2 hours

Dochinos (5)