Saturday, January 26, 2013

Recipe: Salted Dulce de Leche Hot Chocolate

Dulce de leche or candy milk originates from Argentina and is made by slowly boiling condensed milk for a few hours resulting in a sticky, sweet, toffee-like sauce. Candy milk is delicious in ice-cream, cookies, caramel squares and cakes always resulting in a few generous tablespoons left over for this extra indulgent hot chocolate. Dulce de leche is so easy to make at home and will keep in your larder for a few months. 

When making dulce de leche, use a can of sweetened condensed milk. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and once the water has boiled place the unlabeled can of condensed milk into the pot, turn down the heat and simmer for up to 3 hours or 4 hours for an extra thick sauce. Ensure you are keeping an eye on the pot at regular intervals topping up with water regularly, otherwise the pan will dry out and you will be left with a rather messy kitchen!

Serves 4

Shopping List:

- 450ml Whole Organic Milk
- 200g Valrhona or Lily O' Brien's Milk Chocolate
- 4 Tbsp Dulce de Leche
- Pinch of Sea Salt
- 75ml Softly whipped cream for serving.
- Ground hazelnuts and chocolate shavings to decorate


1. Place the milk over a gentle heat and bring to shivery stage but ensure you do not boil. 

2. Remove the milk from the heat, place the chocolate over the milk, sprinkle with a pinch of sea-salt and stir gently with a wooden spoon until the chocolate has melted into the milk.

3. Transfer the pan back on the heat, add the dulce de leche and whisk rapidly with a plastic whisk to form a foamy consistency. As the hot chocolate becomes hotter, the texture becomes foamier and soaks up the dulce de leche.

4. Pour the hot chocolate into warmed mugs, top with some cream, a drizzle of dulce-de-leche and a sprinkle of freshly ground roasted hazelnuts with a dusting of coca powder.

If you like this recipe, you may like Dermie's Double Chocolate Sea Salt Brownies

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Fancy a chat about this recipe? Email Dermie.
Photography: Jakub Walutek
Styling by Dermie

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Dermie's Weekly Best Buy: The Apple Farm Juices

The Apple Farm is located in county Tipperary, where Irish apples have been grown in this area for hundreds of years, and is run by apple farmer Con Traas. Twelve different varieties of apples are grown in this orchard, with Karmine Sonnaville and Bramley Seedlings used in their award winning apple juice. These apples are handpicked before being matured for a number of weeks then hand pressed to release the natural juice and flavours from each apple. 

Con is adamant not to use any filtration in the process, instead opting for a natural overnight resting before being very carefully pasteurisated. This method of juicing allows a fuller and longer juice life while keeping all the benefits of each hand picked apple. The Apple Farm juice has a distinctive cloudy appearance with a cleansing fresh flavour unlike any other apple juice in the Irish marketplace. 

The Apple Farm has a number of seasonal juices and fruits including pears, plums, sweet cherries, strawberries and raspberries producing mixed juices from other fruits all grown on the farm.

If you wish to stock The Apple Farm produce you can contact Con by e-mail or telephone (052) 744 1459. The Apple Farm juices are stocked throughout Ireland, the USA, and online store here.

(Dermie wishes to thank Good Food Ireland for their images and some of the content above).

Monday, January 14, 2013

Recipe: Seville Orange Caraway Cake

Seville is a picturesque Mediterranean area nested in the southern region of Spain famous for tapas and home to the thick skinned Seville orange. Seville oranges have a sharp tart like taste which are high in pectin levels allowing a better set ideal for use in marmalade. If you have some left over following your marmalade making then this Seville Orange Caraway Cake is perfect on a relaxing Sunday afternoon. The caraway seeds in this recipe work very well with the Seville orange topping giving it a light, sharp, citrus finish.

Serves 6-8

Shopping List:

- 225g Odlums Cream Flour
- ½  Tsp Baking Powder
- 150g Irish Country butter (plus extra for greasing)
- 150g Caster Sugar
- 3 Large Organic Eggs
- 2-4 Tbsp Organic Milk
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Tbsp Caraway seeds
- ¼ Tsp Freshly ground nutmeg

Seville Syrup:

- 2 Seville Oranges
- 75g Caster Sugar
- ½ Cinnamon Stick


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Grease a 7 inch / 18cm round cake tin (you may also use a 1kg loaf tin).

2. Sieve the flour and baking powder together in a wide bowl.

3. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add in the vanilla, nutmeg and beat in the eggs one at a time. Add 1Tsp of flour with each egg addition to prevent the mixture from curdling.

4. When the eggs are mixed in well, gently fold in the remaining flour with the caraway seeds. The mixture should not be too heavy - it should drop off your spoon easily. Add 1 tbsp of milk to loosen the consistency of the mixture and a further one or two more tbsp milk if you feel it is desired.

5. Pour the cake mixture into your cake tin while cleaning down the sides of your bowl with a spatchula.

6. Bake for 50- 55 minutes (the cake is done when a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean). The top of the cake should be a nice golden brown colour.

7. During the final 5 minutes of baking make the Seville syrup. Place the juice of two Seville oranges, caster sugar and cinnamon stick into a heavy bottomed saucepan over a gentle heat until all the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is warm.

8. Take the cake out of the oven. Using a cocktail stick make a number of holes on top of the cake then pour the syrup over the cake and allow it soak into the top of the cake.

9. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then carefully remove the cake from the tin and allow it to cook further on a wire rack. This cake will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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Photography: Jakub Walutek
Fancy a chat about this recipe? Email Dermie.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Best Buy: Arbutus Artisan Bread

If we look at our daily routine; on average we enjoy two slices of toast for breakfast, enjoy another two slices of bread in our lunchtime sandwich and perhaps even two more slices for tea. It is fair to say that bread makes up a significant proportion of our daily diet. Yet, when most people take a trip to the supermarket they reach for the family favourite white industrial sliced pan - which is filled with unnecessary additives and preservatives.

In recent times, there has been a welcomed trend in the nations movement towards real bread - baked the traditional time honoured way in bakeries not using any artificial additives or preservatives. Artisan bakers instead use fresh yeast or natural starter cultures, long natural fermentation usually involving an over-night rising and quality flours to bake each and every handcrafted loaf.

The rise in artisan bakeries across the country is growing at a steady pace, while in Cork leading artisan baker Declan Ryan of Arbutus Bakery is at the forefront of this real bread movement. Every weekend at Midleton Farmers' Market, Declan sets up stall and is met with a long queue of customers eagerly waiting to buy Arbutus legendary loaves. Arbutus Bread stock a range of breads including; Irish soda breads, white yeast breads, sourdough, and spelt yeast breads to name but a few.

Declan uses flours including; organic French flour and traditional stone-ground Irish flours with no chemical improvers or additives. Arbutus bread has recently moved into supplying multiples including; SuperValu in Grange and can be found every Thursday at Mahon Point Farmers' Market. A full list of stockists can be found here.

Declan is one of many talented, hard working and passionate artisan bakers in Ireland. Other artisan bakers include; Arun-Bakery, Blazing Salads, Bretzel Bakery, Paris Bakery, Firehouse Bakery, Diva Bakery Kinsale.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Recipe: Jerusalem Artichoke Soup & Crispy Chorizo

Jerusalem artichokes are one of my favourite vegetables and one which I only discovered during my time in Ballymaloe. During a cold winter's day, it was a soup which really brought this vegetable to life and since then I've been making my own version of Jerusalem artichoke soup for friends and family and it's an absolute winner.

Image Source: BBC Recipes

Commonly referred to as 'fartichokes', yes you've read it right, they've earned their nickname because... well I think you might have guessed why. In the cold months of late November and right through until mid-to-late February these tasty little vegetables are in season but are tricky enough to find as you won't pick them up in the bigger supermarkets. When picking up some veggies in the local greengrocer, I usually keep an eye out to see if they're stocked but they can always be found in Cork's English Market or local organic stores.

Jerusalem artichokes have a distinctive appearance similar to ginger only smaller, fatter and bumpier (and taste absolutely nothing at all like ginger in case you're wondering). Apart from making a delicious soup, Jerusalem Artichokes are delicious roasted and pair well with pheasant too.

Serves 6

Shopping List:

- 50g Butter
- 1 Shallot (sliced)
- 2 Leeks (white part only, thinly sliced save the green part for vegetable stock)
- 2 Garlic Cloves (sliced)
- 2 Sprigs Thyme (destalked) 
- 150ml Riesling White Wine (optional)
- 1kg Jerusalem artichokes
- 1 - 1.2L Homemade Chicken Stock (or Vegetable Stock)
- 150ml Cream
- Salt & Black Pepper


- 200g Gubbeen Chorizo


1. Sweat the shallots, garlic and thyme in butter with some seasoning over a gentle heat until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the leaks, sweat for a few minutes before adding in the wine if using allowing it to reduce down.

2. Add in the Jerusalem artichokes, pour in the chicken stock, season and allow to cook over a gentle heat until the artichokes are soft. Add in the cream and puree the soup with a hand blender. Adjust for seasoning if necessary.

3. Place a pan on a gentle heat with a drizzle of olive oil, fry your sliced chorizo in the pan for 2 minutes, turning once. Dry the chorizo and serve with the soup and a generous dollop of Crème Fraîche.

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Note: Scrub your artichokes well before giving them a quick wash. When peeling them have a bowl of water with the juice of a lemon in it to prevent the Jerusalem Artichokes from turning brown.