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  • Blue cheese and caramelised onion sliders coming up on tomorrow's #mittkök at 8.30am on TV4 in Sweden! Recipe on the blog... :)
  • Best day of the year so far! Stunning in Howth! Just finished the cliff walk! Have a great weekend guys! :) #howth #ireland
  • Gur Cake for Sean O'Rourke on Radio One! Will be on to chat about Theodora Fitzgibbon's The Pleasures of the table- out now...
  • The perfect Easter Sunday chocolate cake coming up in my youtube channel today! Subscribe over here: http://www.youtube.com/donalskehan
  • Making Gur Cake this evening from Theodora Fitzgibbon for interview with Sean O'Rourke tomorrow morning on RTE Radio One...
  • Throwback Thursday! At the Meteor Music Awards 2009 with Industry! @michelemcgrath @morgandeane #tbt
  • Best part of today was trying to teach Max how to ride a scooter!!! He was loving it! :) #scootscoot
  • Got to see what the ladies have to go through to look extra pretty at the hands of my buddy the amazingly talented make up artist @makeupfairypro today! :)
  • Had a #nobakebaking filled day today filming a video for the launch of Sharon Hearne Smith's new cookbook out in June! Check out this crepe cake! :)
  • The new issue of my Irish food magazine @feastjournal is now out. Download our free app on iTunes or print copies available in Easons.
  • Our apple tree blossoms about to burst! :)
  • Playing ball with Max this evening! #maxthedog
  • Buffalo chicken from our youtube video shoot yesterday! Who's hungry? :)
  • Making beetroot hummus for the Irish Independent Weekend magazine this morning! My Easter Sunday recipes coming this weekend! :)
  • Morning run on the beach! Loving the weather! :) #howth #ireland
  • Forgot to share this shot from earlier- seagulls having a field day when fisherman turned his back to deliver fish to Nicky's Plaice on Howth pier this morning!
  • Incredible day today! Great sunrise and great sunset- Max having a ball! :)
  • Chocolate Hazelnut cake coming to my youtube channel this week! Isn't that right @m_dillon99! :)
  • CHOCOLATE!!!
  • Singapore noodles for lunch! :)
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Salted Peanut Caramel Mud Pie

Salted Caramel Torte

This recipe is rich, sweet and darkly delicious! If you like your sweet treats gooey and chocolatey, then this is the bake for you. A rich chocolate pudding oozing with a layer of salted caramel and a crunchy topping of peanut brittle – what more could you ask for?  This recipe comes from my book HomeCooked.

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Griddled Fruits, Honey and Thyme Cake

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A cake is a romance of flavours and when the colours match the rainbow, then its’ a cake to be proud of… Kate Packwood and her Wild Flour Bakery have become famous for showstoppers just like this one, which was the cover of our Summer/Autumn issue of Feast last year.

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Homecooked Bakery: Orange Polenta Cake

Orange-Polenta-Cake_2 Time for another installment of Homecooked Bakery and this week's recipe is a beauty! If you have not tried baking with polenta yet, give this cake a go. It's so moist and fragrant because it's doused with a honey and rosewater syrup and the polenta gives the cake a really great texture. Then the whole cake is decorated with vibrant green pistachios and orange zest. It's incredibly easy to make and it's the one I have pulled out again and again!

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Orange Polenta Cake With Honey & Rosewater Syrup

Orange-Polenta-Cake_2

This fragrant and moist cake is not only visually beautiful, it also has the most delicious spiced sweet orange and honey flavour. The cake can be made gluten-free as long as you use a gluten-free baking powder. 

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Semlor (Swedish Cream Buns)

Semlor or cream buns are incredibly popular in Swedish bakeries. Traditionally they are eaten on pancake Tuesday know as fettisdag or Fat Tuesday in Sweden. During winter taking a break for "Fika" the Swedish word for taking a break from the day to enjoy some coffee, tea and something sweet would normally include one of these cream and almond paste filled sweet buns.   Makes about 18 buns 700g plain flour 140g caster sugar A pinch of salt 2 teaspoons of freshly ground cardamom 350ml milk 2 x 7g sachets of dried yeast 150g salted butter, softened 1 large free range egg   Almond paste: 250g of skinless, blanched almonds 225g caster sugar A few tablespoons of milk A little icing sugar to dust 750ml double cream, whipped   Melt the butter in a large saucepan and pour the milk in, heat until lukewarm. Mix in the yeast.   In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and the cardamom. Make a well in the dry ingredients and mix in the wet ones along with the egg. Bring a dough together and knead on a clean floured work surface for 4 minutes. Place back in the bowl and cling film and a tea towel and leave to prove in a warm, dark place for 45-60 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.   Preheat the oven to 190°C. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface, divide the dough into 18 pieces (80g each) and roll each into a ball. Put the buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the buns with a little beaten egg or milk and bake in the centre of the oven for about 10 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire wrack.   Prepare the almond paste by blitzing the almonds and caster sugar in a food processor. Then add a few drops of milk until you have thick smooth paste. Place in the fridge to firm up and become solid.   Cut a triangle out of the top of each bun and scoop out some of the insides, to make a small hole for the filling. Save the breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl.   Grate the almond paste into the breadcrumbs and bring together a creamy paste using a few tablespoons of milk. Fill the buns with tablespoons of the filling and then pipe whipped cream on top. Place the the tops back on, dust the buns with icing sugar and serve.

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Earl Grey Profiteroles with Dark Chocolate & Tonka Glaze and Honeyed Figs

These are a classic choux pastry dessert that are rescued from 80s campness by the addition of an elegant Earl Grey tea crème pâtissière and a decadent bitter dark chocolate glaze infused with tonka beans. Served with honey glazed fresh figs these make for a glorious dessert. Recipe by Kate Packwood.   Makes approx. 17 profileroles For the Earl Grey tea crème pâtissière: 500ml milk (single estate if possible) 3 Earl Grey tea bags or 3 heaped teaspoons of loose leaves 30g unsalted Irish butter 6 organic egg yolks (at room temperature) 100g caster sugar 40g cornflour 40ml organic cream   For the profiteroles: 100g plain flour 75g unsalted Irish butter 175ml water Pinch of salt 3 large organic eggs   For the dark chocolate & tonka glaze: 200g dark chocolate (min.70%) 100ml double cream 40g unsalted butter tonka bean   To decorate: 8 figs (miniature figs work best, but any small figs will do) 2 tbsp Irish honey, ideally Burren wildflower honey Dried cornflowers (Steenbergs)   For the crème pâtissière, heat the milk and butter in a medium pan until they reach boiling point, remove from the heat and add the Earl Grey tea; leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Use a tea strainer to strain the infused milk, discard the leaves or bags, put the milk back into the cleaned pan and bring back up to the boil.   Meanwhile, put the yolks, sugar and cornflour into a heatproof bowl and whisk for a minute or two until light and moussy. Slowly pour the hot milk onto the egg mixture while continuing to whisk until it is fully incorporated and there are no lumps.   Tip the mixture back into the pan and stir constantly on a medium heat until it thickens. It will continue to thicken as it cools, so when you feel the mixture change and give resistance remove from the heat and pour into a large shallow bowl. Put a piece of cling film directly on the top of the crème, to stop it forming a skin. Leave it to cool before putting it in the fridge.   For the profiteroles, sieve the flour and set aside. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line two baking trays with parchment paper. Put the butter, water and salt into a medium pan, melt together slowly and then raise the heat and bring to the boil. Immediately remove from the heat and add the flour, beating furiously with a wooden spoon until it forms a smooth and heavy dough.   Put the pan back on a low heat for 30 seconds to a minute beating to cook out the flour. Put the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle and leave to cool slightly. Beat the eggs together in a jug and add a bit at a time to the warm dough, beating thoroughly after each addition until fully incorporated before adding the next. Make sure the dough doesn’t become too wet; you may not need all the eggs. The mixture should be of the consistency that can be piped and hold its shape.   Put the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large round piping nozzle. Pipe 3cm diameter balls spaced 5cm apart onto the parchment lined baking tray. Use a clean finger dipped in the remaining beaten egg to smooth them and then put them into the preheated oven.   Bake for 15 minutes at 200°C, then turn the oven down to 180°C and rapidly open and close the oven door to let out the steam. Bake for a further 15-20 minutes at the reduced temperature until golden and risen. Remove from the oven and using a sharp knife make a hole in each profiterole to let out the steam from the centre. Put back in the oven for a further 5 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack.   For the dark chocolate glaze, heat the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Meanwhile, finely grind the tonka bean (these are very potent so you will only need about half a bean) and add to the melting chocolate. When it is fully melted, slowly pour in the cream and keep stirring until they incorporate, then add the butter in small lumps, stirring until it is a shiny, dark glaze that is viscous not runny.   To assemble, put the cream in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk to soft peaks. Add the set crème patissiere and whisk until smooth. Put in a piping bag fitted with a medium round nozzle and generously pipe the crème into each profiterole. Spread a spoonful of the chocolate tonka glaze on to the top of each and then sprinkle with some dried cornflowers.   Score the figs with a deep cross and squeeze the bottom to open it up; arrange artfully around the profiteroles. Cut some figs into quarters and dot about. Warm the honey in a small pan until it becomes runny and use a pastry brush to drizzle over the figs.

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Pear, Vanilla and Smoke Cakes

The smokiness of these cakes is achieved using lapsang souchong tea, which is a fully fermented black tea smoked over pine wood fires. This smoky flavoured tea is used to infuse the cream to make the caramel and also to make the sweet smoky syrup with which you soak the sponge layer of the cake. The smokiness is balanced by the aromatic freshness of the pear, and the nutty dark chocolate pulls these contrasting flavours together. The base is rich and fudgy, the sponge is extremely moist and the topping is sticky and crunchy. Recipe by Kate Packwood.   Makes 8 individual cakes For the chocolate bases: 155g dark chocolate (70%) – break in to small pieces 115g unsalted Irish butter 150g caster sugar 55g light brown muscadova sugar 3 large organic eggs 1 tsp fairtrade vanilla extract 80g plain organic flour 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (Valrhona is best) tsp salt (ideally smoked sea salt), finely ground80g walnuts (coarsely chopped) For the smoky syrup: 250ml boiling water 4 tsp Lapsang souchong tea (I use Solaris organic) 80g caster sugar For the smoky caramel: 100ml organic cream 4 tsp Lapsang Souchong tea 115g caster sugar 4 tbsp cold water 115g unsalted Irish butter For the sponge layer: 150g unsalted Irish butter 130g caster sugar 2 large organic eggs 1 vanilla pod 140g organic Greek yoghurt 220g plain flour ¾ tsp baking powder tsp bicarbonate of soda 150g (approximately 1 large) ripe conference pear   For the topping: 180g walnuts (toasted in the oven at 170°C for 5 minutes, then cut into large chunks)   For the chocolate bases, melt the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir intermittently with a spatula to melt and incorporate. When it is fully melted, turn off the heat but leave the bowl in the pan. Add the two kinds of sugar and use a whisk to incorporate them. When fully mixed in, remove the bowl from the pan and set aside for the mixture to cool slightly.   While it is cooling, preheat the oven to 175°C and grease a brownie pan (13” x 7.5”) with melted butter and line the bottom and short ends with a long strip of parchment. Break the eggs into a jug, add the vanilla extract and beat together. Sieve the flour, cocoa and salt together and set aside.   The chocolate mixture should now be slightly cooled, gently whisk in by hand the beaten eggs in two additions, ensuring the first is fully incorporated before adding the second addition. Next use a spatula to fold in the flour/salt/cocoa until just incorporated - do not over-mix.   Pour about half of the mixture into the prepared pan and use the spatula to spread it in a thin, even layer. Sprinkle the coarsely chopped walnuts all over the chocolate layer and then cover with the remaining mixture. Make sure it is as even as possible.   Pop into the middle shelf of the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Cool in the pan on a wire rack and then carefully remove it from the pan when completely cooled. Use a 6.5cm diameter mousse ring to cut out 8 circles and set them aside. These will form the bases of the cakes. Cut the remaining off-cuts of chocolate base into chunks and store in an airtight jar for snacks. Stored in this way, they will hold for up to 10 days.   For the smoke-infused cream (for the caramel), in a small pan bring 100ml of organic cream just to the boil then remove from the heat. Add 4 teaspoons of the lapsang souchong tea leaves, stir and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Use a tea strainer to strain the cream into a jug and set aside until you are making the caramel.   For the smoky syrup (for the sponges), pour 250ml of boiling water over 4 teaspoons of lapsang souchong tea leaves and let infuse for 30 minutes, then use a tea strainer or fine sieve to strain the tea into a small pan and stir in 80g caster sugar. Stir slowly over low heat until the sugar has fully dissolved and then bring to the boil and remove from the heat. Set aside.   For the sponge layer, preheat the oven to 170°C and use melted butter to grease 8 mousse rings (6.5cm diameter) and space them out on a baking tray lined with parchment. Sieve the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together and set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter and then add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Split the vanilla pod and scrape out all the seeds with a teaspoon and add to a small jug. Break in the eggs and beat together with a fork, then gradually add to the butter and sugar beating constantly until incorporated.   Add a third of the flour mix and beat until incorporated, then add a third of the yogurt. Keep alternating the flour and yoghurt they are both fully mixed in. Peel and dice the pear into approximately 0.75cm chunks and fold into the batter mix with a spatula before filling the mousse rings three quarters full. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through. Check they are cooked by piercing the middle of each cake with a toothpick, which should come out clean. Slide the parchment - with the cakes in their rings – onto a wire rack to cool.   When the cakes are cool enough to handle, use a long-bladed, sharp knife to slice off the top of each cake using the top of the ring as your guide. This gives a flat top for the nuts and caramel, but also open the ‘pores’ of the cake so that it will better absorb the smoky syrup. Carefully loosen each cake from its ring and from the parchment underneath, but leave them sitting in the rings. Move them, still on the parchment, into a dish with sides to catch the excess syrup when you pour it into the cakes. Deeply pierce the cakes with a toothpick and then carefully spoon the smoky syrup over each cake. Leave to soak up the syrup while you make the caramel.   For the smoky caramel, put the 4 tbsp of water into a medium large, heavy-bottomed pan and then pour on the caster sugar. Stir together over low heat to dissolve the sugar and then turn up the heat to medium and leave - without stirring - to caramelize to a dark, nutty amber colour. Meanwhile, reheat the infused cream in a small pan and then remove from the heat as it reaches boiling point.   When the sugar has reached the correct colour, turn your extractor fan on high and using a long wooden spoon stir the cream into the caramel. It will hiss and bubble up furiously so stand back until it settles down, but continue stirring throughout so that it doesn’t form lumps. When it stops hissing, add the butter, small lump by small lump, stirring in each then adding the next, until it is all incorporated. Pour the smoky caramel into a bowl to cool slightly. It will thicken as it cools.   To assemble the cakes, lay out the chocolate bases and spread each with a little of the smoky caramel. Line up the moist sponge cake on top, using the mousse rings as a guide if needs be. Next, generously spoon and gently spread more smoky caramel on top of each cake and then add the toasted walnuts, drizzling them with more caramel and brushing them with a little remaining smoky syrup.

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Raspberry, Pistachio and Rose Cake

The sponge layers of this cake are very light as they don’t contain fat or raising agents, the rise is achieved purely by the whipping of air into the eggs. This is a very quick and simple cake to make and its merit is directly proportional to the quality of ingredients you use to make it. Ensure you use the freshest possible organic eggs, duck eggs if you can get them. Recipe by Kate Packwood. Serves 6-8 For the sponge: 6 large organic eggs 180g caster sugar 180g plain organic flour (sieved)   

For the filling:
 500ml organic cream (preferably Irish single-estate, such as Mossfield) 1 to 2tbsp good quality rose water (to taste) 4 heaped tbsp. raspberry jam 2 punnets of raspberries 75g shelled pistachios Dried rose petals (I use Steenberg’s organic) Preheat the oven to 170°C. Break 6 eggs into a very clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk the eggs gently to break them up, then add the caster sugar and whisk on medium high speed until the ‘thick ribbon’ stage is reached. This means the mixture will be light, have increased substantially in volume and be of a moussy consistency. When you lift the whisk the mixture should fall slowly in thick ribbons. While the eggs are whisking, grease three (22cm diameter) cake tins and line the bottom with a disk of parchment paper. When the thick ribbon stage is reached, add the sieved flour and fold in very gently to fully incorporate without knocking the air out of the mixture. Very carefully apportion the mixture between the three cake tins and pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes, turning two thirds of the way through the cooking time. You will know when they are ready as they should be golden brown and coming away slightly from the edges of the tins.
 Remove from the oven and cool in their tins for 10 minutes before carefully turning out and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack. Whisk the cream in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Be careful not to over-whisk it, you want it to be in soft peaks and full of volume. When the correct volume has been reached, add the rose water little by little to your taste.
 Chop the pistachios so that you have a good mix of larger chunks and nut dust. When the sponge is completely cooled, remove the parchment disks from the undersides and place the first sponge on the stand on which you plan to serve it. Spread the sponge with a thin layer of raspberry jam and then generously spoon on about a third of the rose water cream. Arrange raspberries across the cream remembering to evenly arrange them around the very outer edge, as these will show when you sandwich the layers together. Sprinkle a third of the chopped pistachios, again remembering that the ones on the very edge will show. Place the second layer of sponge on top and repeat with the jam, cream, raspberries and pistachios, then add the final layer of sponge. Don’t add jam to this layer, but add the cream being more careful as all of this layer will show. Arrange the raspberries and pistachios artfully and then sprinkle over the dried rose petals.

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Swedish Apple and Almond Cake

Where we stay in Sweden the gardens are filled with apple trees heavy with fruit every Autumn. Although I love the summer in Sweden, the Autumn is quite unique and equally special. This apple and almond cake is a wonderful way to celebrate the seasons fruit and is heavily spiced with comforting cinnamon and cardamom.   Serves 6-8 110g butter plus extra for greasing 150g soft light brown sugar 2 large free range eggs 210g plain flour, sifted 1tbsp baking powder pinch of salt 1 tsp ground cinnamon 2 tsp ground cardamom 300g peeled, cored and sliced cooking apple (Shouldn't be more than one large one) 50g flaked almonds 3 tbsp apple or apricot jam   Preheat the oven to 180°C, grease and line a 20cm cake tin with a removable base.   With an electric hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale.   Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until they are incorporated.   Fold through the flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom and cinnamon until you have a thick cake batter.   Stir through the apple and pour the batter into the cake tin.   The batter will be thick, so use a spatula to spread across the base of the tin.   Spread the almonds of top of the cake and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes. Cover with tin foil if the almonds brown too much.   Remove from the oven and leave to cool.   As the cake is cooling, heat the jam in a saucepan until runny and brush over top of the cake.    

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Rich Frosted Chocolate Brownies

This brownie recipe makes wonderfully dense and fudgey chocolate brownies which are delicious all by themselves, but with addition of a chocolate cream cheese frosting, they are taken to a whole new level!   Makes 24 brownies 225g good-quality dark chocolate 225g butter 300g caster sugar 3 large eggs, beaten 1 tsp vanilla extract 100g plain flour 1tsp baking powder   Frosting: 100g butter, softened 450g cream cheese 320g icing sugar, sifted 50g cocoa, sifted   Preheat oven to 180°C, line a 22 x 30cm baking tin with baking parchment.   Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir contantly until melted and smooth.   With a hand-held electric mixer, whisk the sugar and eggs together for 2-3 minutes until pale and fluffy. Slowly add the melted chocolate and butter then add the vanilla extract and continue to whisk until thickened.   Lastly, sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in gently.   Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the middle shelf of the oven for 25 minutes until the top is firm and the cake has come away slightly from the sides of the tin.   While the brownie is cooling, prepare the frosting by placing the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 4 minutes or until pale and creamy.   Add the icing sugar and cocoa and fold through with a spatula until thick and spreadable. Spread the brownie with the frosting and cut into squares. You’d be welcome at anyone’s house with these!    

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Triple Chocolate Muffins

These muffins are simple to prepare and easy to adapt. Try other variations using ingredients like fruit or nuts. The muffins can also easily be frozen once cooked.   Makes 12 muffins 100g butter, melted 200nl buttermilk 2 large free-range eggs 150g caster sugar 250g self-raising flour 100g white chocolate, roughly chopped 100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped 3tbsp good quality cocoa powder   Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a muffin tray with paper cases.   In a bowl, whisk together the butter, buttermilk, orange zest and set aside.   In a standalone mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy.   Add in the butter mixture and whisk until combined.   Gently fold in the flour and cocoa powder until just combined. Now, stir through the white and dark chocolate until combined.  Be sure not to over mix the batter.   Spoon the mixture into the papercases and place in the oven to cook for 15-20 minutes until brown on top.   Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before transferring to a wire wrack to cool further.  

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