Barmbrack is a traditional Irish fruit cake, which I used to get in my school lunchbox around Halloween every year. Traditionally, a ring is baked into the cake, and there would be great excitement every year as to who would get the slice with the ring in it. I always like to think it was Barmbrack that inspired the writers of Father Ted to come up with the episode where Mrs. Doyle bakes a jumper into a cake! This recipe makes a really beautiful, moist loaf, packed with flavour from the mixed spice and dried fruit, which has sat overnight in cold tea and whiskey to soak up all the goodness.
From: Kitchen Hero: HomeCooked
Anyone who has ever travelled to Thailand will remember the wonderful balance of flavours from sweet to salty and spicy to smoky. I like to think this salad captures all of these. There are so many wonderful textures and flavours from the roasted nuts, fresh crunchiness from the vegetables and then super sweet heat from the chilli and ginger dressing. This makes a really exciting midweek dinner.
Chocolate and chilli might sound like an odd combination but sweet and spicy do work together. I first tried the combination in hot chocolate. It’s a subtle heat that you can taste, but instead of dominating the dessert it’s an interesting extra note that adds to the flavour of the chocolate. However, do feel free to leave the chilli out if you prefer. These puds have an oozing liquid chocolate interior and can be made in advance and placed in the fridge until you are ready to bake them.
At one of my recent cookery demonstrations I got a great tip to make an all-in-one white sauce, which simplifies the process here. There are two things that are key to this method: the milk must be cold when you start, and remember to keep whisking vigorously until the sauce thickens. If you want to take this simple recipe one step further, add some fried smoked streaky bacon bits. This is a great dish for a leftovers lunchbox the next day.