Friday, January 30, 2009

Vanilla cake with Fresh Strawberry and buttercream filling topped with Whipped Cream Icing

So on a whim I whipped up a little cake to try out a recipe I have for whipped cream icing. I'm no fan of plan whipped cake just spurted on to a cake, so I wanted to experiment with something nice.
I made a quickie round cake with fresh strawberry and buttercream filling, and my vanilla cake altered a bit. Then, I topped it with a small bit of whipped cream icing. Oh boy-- was it yummy! I'm fattening up my family. Each cake is better than the last.

I took a stroll through Superquinn today, and it must be cake day as they were whipping up about 20 cakes at once. I watched them saw through what looked like pretty dry sponge cake. Bleh. I'm glad they are one of just a handful of competitors out there in Waterford. I priced a cake off them just to get any idea, and trust me, I'd rather pay an extra and get one of my cakes than walk off with one of theirs!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Birthday Cake for Cormac's Mom

I learned a few lessons doing this cake for Breda's birthday, one of them is that marshmallow fondant doesn't keep well in the fridge. It got too dry. Perhaps if I had heated it a bit and then worked it I wouldn't have had the cracking that I did.
My first attempt at fondant roses went well, I think. I did a good job of covering the areas that cracked as well. Cormac thought the cake looked great-- I have to agree. Next few cakes I'll do will be simpler. Maybe just cream or buttercream.

note: the rose of the top right got knocked over off its buttercream anchor and I didn't notice until after I took the picture. Bah! I also need to improve on my photo skills. I try all the settings on my camera that I think will work, and it doesn't.

Click on any of the pictures to see a larger image:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Oatmeal Pecan Pancakes

I've just realized I've been feature in the Blog Digest at the Irish Independent

...which is pretty neat. So if you are visiting me from there, welcome! Feel free to ask me for conversions for some of these recipes-- I realize most of my recipes are in cups and not by weight.

Update: I will be going into business selling cakes. We checked out the farmers markets and I think to shell out the money for a table, covering, insurance, etc it's going to rip me a new one. I'd rather spend that money on cool gear for cake decorating and truly make a profit. Plus, there is nothing fun about baking zillions of cookies and just breaking even on expenses. So, if you are in the Waterford/Cork/Kilkenny area and need a cake for a special event (no weddings, yet, I'm not ready to tackle the bridezilla cartel quite yet! too much pressure), get in contact with me. After playing with the various combinations Candi + cake can create, I've decided to leave my sweet name out of it and stick with Boho Kitchen (creations)!

Anyhow, on to the food!
I knew last night that I wanted a hearty little breakfast this morning. We're out of bread (you'll recall I discussed this phenomena in our house before), and I'm totally egged out.
Pancakes it is! I'm able to convince myself these pancakes are healthy... because... there are nuts, and, er, oatmeal.

Problem: My stovetop isn't great. As a result my pancakes don't always come out golden and beautiful. So I'll leave you with the recipe and you'll have to trust me there are as delicious (more delicious) as they sound. I've got left over batter SO I might snap a good shot of these babies later this week.

Oatmeal Pecan Pancakes
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (plain flour)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 cup pecans
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 LARGE eggs (if your eggs are medium sized, you need 3-- most recipes are like this and I notice a lot of people make the mistake of not adding an extra egg to baked goods when they are using medium eggs)

Throw your oats and pecans (and flour, baking powder and soda, salt if you don't have a sifter) into a food processor.
Mix your buttermilk, vanilla and oil and add to the dry ingredients. Then mix in your eggs just until its blended. Try not to over mix it.

Scoop onto a hot griddle, flip when the top bubbles, eat with butter and syrup-- yum!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I recently tried my hand at making choux pastry. I didn't have any cream, so I later smeared chocolate on top (which wasn't pretty so I didn't take pictures). However, these babies are purty.

I robbed this recipe from Chocolate & Zucchini:

Moist Pink Vanilla Cake with Buttercream Filling Covered in Marshmallow Fondant

So, I mostly started this blog because I'm thinking about selling my cookies and cakes. I've had a lot of rave responses to my very American style cookies and cakes here in Ireland, so I though, why not set up a market stall in a few places. I'm still looking into the specifics.
However, I have a cake order for the first week in February for a Christening, so I'm trying to decide between buttercream icing and a marshmallow fondant. I had never made marshmallow fondant before, so naturally I had to practice. It was about 8pm, Jane running around while Cormac watched her and I rolled out the icing to put on my cake, so I didn't get too creative. I was bringing this to a little La Leche League meeting, so I put three L's and some boobs nursing a baby on it for funsies. Fondant is fun, you can really play with it. I'm looking forward to having more time to make something that looks amazing.

Yeah, there is a little wetness shining on the cake. It looks a little blah, I know.
Dear God, though, this cake tastes amazing.

Try the Magnolia bakery vanilla cake, as mine is an adaptation of that.

Marshmallow fondant is pretty easy:

Melt about 16 ounces of marshmallow in the microwave on low heat with a few tablespoons of water. Just stop the microwave every once in a while and give it a stir. When its pretty much melted take it out and stir until its all melted. Slowly sift in about 2 lbs of icing sugar. The instructions were to grease you hands with crisco-- I don't have it here so I didn't do that. It was fine. You just want to knead it for ages, like bread dough. Once its smooth and not sticky, stick it in the fridge until you are ready to use it. Do not, DO NOT, put a cake into the fridge after you've rolled out and laid fondant over it. Bad idea.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Roast Veg and Apple-basted Ham

Some nights Cormac arm wrestles me to cook dinner. Sometimes, I let him. Tonight was a delicious little roast. We found the ham we picked up at Lidl was a little meh, however. I basted a ham for New Years from the butcher (it was a smoked joint) and it turned out much, much nicer. So, lesson learned. If you are going to eat pork (which I do infrequently anyways, outside of nice sausages from our butcher in the village), make sure you get a decent cut.

The roast veg are an idea stolen from my good friend, Angelica. At dinner recently she served up the same sort of roast veg. Here we have carrots, sweet potato, white potato, and red pepper. Toss in generous amounts of olive oil, sea salt and pepper, a bit of garlic, thyme and rosemary. Just put this in a very hot oven for about an hour, keep tossing them around so they won't stick (honestly if they start to stick you aren't using enough oil). Delicious. We're going to start making this healthy sidedish more often. It's handy if you are like us and find yourself pathetically staring at one potato, one sweet potato, one carrot and half a pepper in your pantry!

I'll post the ham glaze later when I've got my recipe notebook in front of me.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Quick dinner or sandwich rolls

I often hear the sound of the bread box opening and shutting, and Cormac's voice from the kitchen complaining there is no bread. We very rarely buy bread, and usually Cormac makes a family soda bread each week. However, some times, come lunch, we are all out of bread.
Cormac has an aversion to carbless meals, and will say to me somedays "can we get some sort of bread product please?!?". So, I went in search of a quicky bread recipe I could whip up in an hour's time. These are slightly sweet and fluffy and very satisfying. Next time I will make smaller rolls and smear on the butter and jam, yum!

1 cup water
2 tbsp softened butter
1 egg (room temperature)
3 1/4 cup bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tsp yeast

Mix in order (you could toss this in you bread machine on the dough setting and let it rise). I let this rise in my oven (warm) for 30 minutes (longer is probably better). I only tore the dough into 4 long rolls since I wanted to make sandwiches-- but this recipe would make awesome dinner rolls, maybe 8-10 round rolls. Let them rise again for 20 minutes or so.

375F 8-10 minutes

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ham and Potato Quiche

Another delicious comfort food-- and easy to make! Another recipe born of necessity. What's in the fridge? Left over ham, eggs... any veg... potatoes, spinach... excellent!

Something you will notice is a lack of onions in recipes that scream "onions!". I have a strong distaste for onions. That said, I acknowledge which dishes should have/need them. This is probably one of those.

Ham and Potato Quiche

1 cup chopped ham
8-10 sliced baby new potatoes (3-4 diced regular sized potatoes)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
optional: handful of spinach, and an onion

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp thyme (fresh is best)
4 eggs
salt and pepper


1 cup butter
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup plain flour
pinch of salt
-- add milk until forms a non-sticky dough. About a cup maybe? Probably less.

1. Make up crust and line a greased pie pan/quiche pan
2. whip cream, milk, eggs and seasonings
3. add in ham, potatoes, cheese and veg
4. pour into crust
5. bake 30-40 minutes at 180C/350F


My first baguette attempt. I've done this several times since. They are delicious, but each time they get closer to the sort of baguette Cormac and I consumed a zillion of during our time in Paris. It just takes patience and more important, time, which I have little of!

This is the rough recipe. I'll admit, I have a bad habit of writing down my recipes in short hand.

First make the "sponge". This is the nice bit that makes all those air pockets in the middle of the bread. You simply fold this into the rest of the dough later.

280g flour (roughly 2 1/5 cups)
280g water
5g yeast

mix, let rise for 2 hours. After 1 hour, reach in and mix it up a bit. Don't start the dough until the sponge has been able to rise.

720g flour (roughly 5 1/2 cups)
370g water (1 1/2 cup water)
5g yeast
20g salt (1 tbsp)

If you have a mixer, yay! You want to mix up the dough, add in the sponge (after the sponge has been allowed to rise). 1st speed in your mixer for 3 minutes, then 7 minutes on the 2nd speed. You can just knead it by hand, but that will suck.

Let rise 45 minutes in a warm place. It's always chilly here, so I warm my over a bit and stick it in there.

Split into two loaves, slice a few diagonal slices with a knife-- let rise another 30 minutes in a warm place.


Mexican Cottage Pie

I have to explain that a lot of these pictures were snapped quickly before I knew I was really going to start this blog, so I didn't do a whole lot presentation-wise. I promise I will try my best to improve the picture quality!
On to the Mexican Cottage Pie. It is a layer of 1/3 any cornbread recipe, ground beef mixture, topped with a mash of white and sweet potato:

I have the bad habit of making things on a whim, with what is in the cupboard.

I can guess what was in this. Let me introduce you to a staple in my kitchen. It's such a staple, that I bring back several boxes of this every trip I make to the states. Blame my Puerto Rican best friend who introduced me to this in college.

Cook up your lbs of ground beef, with one packet of this (or some other stock cube seasoning-- don't mind that its chicken).

Few pinches of (to taste, just keep sampling it until it tastes good to you)
white pepper
chili powder
half tube of tomato paste
2 cloves of garlic, I put them throw a garlic press, you can finely chop
shake of Worcester sauce (another staple)
1 red pepper
mix in a rough cup of shredded cheddar cheese and 1/2-1 cup peas.

I actually cooked a 1/3 recipe of cornbread in the bottom of this pan before I added the hamburger meat. Any all recipe will do. You can skip this step, but it makes the pie oh-so-nice. You can make half of a jiffy cornbread mix if you'd like.

Spread the ground beef into a 9x9 or other pan (or on top of your cornbread). Press it down nice and tight.

The top is a mash of both white and sweet potatoes (2 white, on 1 sweet). Steam and mash, spread across the top. Sprinkle some cheddar on top.

Bake 20-30 minutes at 350F

Spoon out and consume, comfort food!

Pecan and Brandied Fig Pie


Just absolutely delicious. Holiday pie? Done. Make this pie!

Pie Filling

3/4 cup finely chopped dried figs (about 5 ounces)
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons water
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
3 large eggs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups pecan halves, toasted
Pie crust


1 cup chilled whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon brandy

For filling:

Stir figs, brandy, and water in heavy small saucepan over low heat until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes; cool. Mix brown sugar, corn syrup, and next 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Stir in pecans, then fig mixture.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter deep-dish glass pie dish. Fold edge of dough over, forming double edge, and crimp decoratively, pressing to top edge of dish. Pierce all over with fork. Freeze crust 15 minutes.

Line crust with foil; fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until sides are set, about 12 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Bake until crust is pale golden, pressing with back of fork if crust bubbles, about 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Spoon filling into warm crust. Bake until filling is puffed at edges and set in center, about 40 minutes. Let stand until cool, at least 1 hour. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

For cream:

Beat cream, sugar, and brandy in medium bowl. Whisk until peaks form. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover; chill.) Serve pie with cream.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I came across this recipe when I messed up another recipe. After some other personal tweaking, its my go-to cookie recipe. Not only are they delicious, with a subtle crunch on the outside and perfect chewiness in the center, but they look darn pretty.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
3½ cups flour (add up to an extra cup towards the end, more flour, the thicker they will be without compromising taste).
3 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

225g (1 cup) melted butter
1½ cups caster sugar
1½ cup light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F.
Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Set apart.
In a large bowl or mixer, mix the butter and sugars, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and mix well.

Slowly add in the flour mixture.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Form balls (¼ cup approx.) of dough and press them slightly between you hands. Place on the lined baking sheet (I put 6-9 cookies on one baking sheet). I use a large cookie scoop.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges are very lightly colored.
Cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack. I found they were best after completely cooling, but who can wait that long!

Chocolate Stout Cake

The sinfulness that is Nigella's chocolate cake recipe. I've yet to find a chocolate cake to come close to this recipe in richness. It's so moist! I'm not usually too much of a cake gal, but this cake makes a believer out of me. I would normally do a cream cheese icing with this cake (to resemble a pint of Guinness), however, I'm practicing smoothing my icing so I did a chocolate buttercream.

Chocolate Stout Cake:
butter for pan
1 c. Guinness
6 tbs. unsalted butter
3/4 cup good quality cocoa (cheap cocoa, cheap cocoa taste)
2 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
2 c. all-purpose flour
2.5 tsp. baking soda

Heat oven to 350. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

In a large saucepan over medium-low, combine Guinness, butter, and cocoa. Stir and cook very gently until butter and chocolate melt and the mixture is fairly smooth; remove from heat. Whisk in the sugar.

In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk this mixture into the Guinness mixture. Add the flour and baking soda and mix again until smooth.

Pour the batter into buttered pan and bake 45 min to an hour, until risen and firm. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely in pan.

Thank Nigella! Adapted from Feast.

Blackberry Jam

Apple Turnovers

Chicken Pot Pie

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Kitchen, Old Red

I should introduce you to my babies.

First, is Red. Red is a 5 qt. Artisan KitchenAid Mixer. I got Red off Amazon for $165. How did I catch this incredible deal? I have no idea. She was worth checking as baggage to bring back from my parents (did I mention free shipping?) to Ireland.

This is my other baby, Jane. Jane is nearly 18 months now. Is she anything but gorgeous?

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