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Being unemployed for a while and finally heading into work on Monday, I have been occupying myself with my move to Edinburgh (finally living with the boy!) and playing around with baking things. I’m not an adept baker by any means but I have been craving some cream-cheese filled buns for a while and thought I’ll give it a try. I also have a giant jar of Nutella sooo… the cream cheese became a nutella experiment. 🙂 Anyways, here’s the result of my baking attempt.

 

I got the recipe for the dough from Xawash.com for Honeycomb Bread and altered it a bit. I know I wanted the buns to be fluffy and not hard which was why I used that particular recipe.

Ingredients:

For the dough:
150ml of lukewarm/room temperature milk
2 tsp dry instant yeast
1 tsp of sugar (for the wet ingredients)
3 tbsp of sugar (for the dry ingredients)
2 cups of plain/all purpose flour
1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of baking powder
3 tbsp of melted butter

For the filling:
(adjust to your liking, I was eyeing the portions)
1 part Nutella
2 parts cream cheese
1 tsp of vanilla extract (approx) [Optional]

Recipe:

1. With the 150ml of milk, add the yeast and then 1 tsp of sugar. Stir it slightly and leave it for about 10 min for the yeast to activate. It shouldn’t be grainy after.
2. In a mixing bowl, add in 2 cups of flour, the salt, 3 tbsp of sugar, and the baking powder. Mix it the dry ingredients thoroughly.
3. Make sure that the yeast has settled in the milk and activated. Add the melted butter into the flour mixture. Then, add the milk mixture in as well.
4. Mix them together then knead the dough for a few minutes.
5. Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the mixing bowl. Cover this with either a cloth or cling film and leave it to rise for about an hour.

6. Mix the cream cheese, Nutella, and vanilla extract (optional) together. Leave this in the fridge to chill.
7. Once the dough has risen, punch it in the middle to release the gas. The dough should be soft and elastic.
8. Separate the dough into balls to the size you want. Then, flatten it to make it a disc.
9. Put the cream cheese Nutella mixture into the middle (I piped it rather than use a spoon since it was easier and gave me more control) and pull the edges of the dough together, pinching it in the middle to form balls.

10. I used egg wash on the top of my buns so that it’ll have a crusty shell but brushing milk over the top would also work to give it a bit of colour.
11. Bake at about 200 degree celsius for about 10-15min. Depending on the size of your buns, it might take longer.

They don’t like very pretty (I should’ve brushed them with milk instead of egg wash) but sure tastes pretty good! I’ve never baked anything bread-y before so I’m quite happy with my first try.

 

~JGM

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Tenerife Birthday!

This is a bit late since I am already back in Ireland after the trip but I figured a late post is better than no post.

At the end of November, Les and I took a much needed vacation to the sunny coasts of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. It was a bit cooler than we expected, especially when the sun wasn’t out. For the three weeks we were there, it was cloudy and raining for about two weeks of it.

When the sun did come out, the place was amazing. And on top of that, I haven’t had so much GOOD FOOD in my life!!! Coming back to Ireland, I found out that I have gained about 5 pounds during the three weeks there. The jeans are fitting a bit tight now and it’s dangerous seeing as how the Christmas season is here.

We were staying out in Los Christianos so it was a bit more relaxed and chilled out (there were a lot of older people there) as opposed to Las Americas where there seems to be a younger crowd.

Crazy sand castle

In any case, while we were there, I celebrated my 26th birthday! Whoooooo! Seeing as how I haven’t had sushi or Japanese food in a while, we decided to head up to a recommended restaurant for a more Japanese inspired menu. The place we ended up in was the Oriental Monkey in Las Americas.

The ambiance is pretty amazing. It is part of four other restaurants/bars that are under the same chain.

Sangria!

We started off with some sangrias (so incredibly traditional!) because I was having a terrible craving for it. The menu is small but a lot of the stuff on it sounds pretty amazing. It is on the more pricey end compared to most other places in Tenerife but it was still a good experience.

While we were waiting for our food, the chef gave us a complimentary aperitif that was really interesting.

It was a variety of different fried cereal chips and two olive-infused jellies. The olive jellies were really intensely olive-y. Les didn’t like them very much but I loved it. It was like eating two olives at once but with no pits! The cereal chips were also lovely. They were very light and crispy. We then ordered the duck spring rolls to share.

It was DELICIOUS. It wasn’t super heavy despite the size and the sauce it came with was a orangey-citrus type plum sauce that has a bit of chillies mixed in to give it an added spicy kick. It was the perfect starter.

Les ordered the duck fried rice main course while I stuck to sushi.

The fried rice dish was amazing and actually quite a surprisingly filling meal. It came with a marinated duck breast that rested on a bed of fried rice that has been cooked with eggs, shallots, mushrooms and Chinese style BBQ pork.
I got the spicy tuna maki and a crunchy salmon-type roll (I can’t remember what it was actually). The spicy tuna was raw while the other one was cooked. It was pretty good and fixed my craving for some sushi for a while. The tuna was pretty fresh and has a good amount of kick in it. The crunchy roll came with a sweet sort of marinade sauce that went well together.

After our dinner, we took a long walk by the ocean back to Los Christianos where our apartment was. Seeing as how it was my birthday, we dropped into one of the local cafes that were still open to pick up a slice of cake! You can’t have a birthday without birthday cake!

It’s a bit sad 🙂 but it does the job!

~JGM

Sh-ligo Ho! Part 2

Continuing from the previous post, the weekend continued in the county of Sligo on the second day. Since the weather was so horrible (it was the same weekend as all those storms that swept across the UK), we spent most of it inside by going to a few pubs in town, eating at a really good tapas place in the Italian quarter and going to a movie.

The next day however, was a bit more productive as the weather had cleared up a little bit. It started off with a quick stopover at the Donkey Sanctuary since I’ve never seen a donkey before.

Donkey!

Donkey!

This little (big!) guy was standing in the middle of the road. We didn’t want to startle the thing and have it either charge us or get hurt running off so we backed up and left.

That began our journey up to one of the many megalithic tombs that littered across the Sligo county. The one we trekked up to was the Carrowkeel megalithic tombs. The terrain itself was muddy and in some parts, boggy. I managed to slip on my ass on the way down but thankfully, didn’t get mud everywhere.

The view from up there was amazing.

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On the drive up

What was amazing about the tombs was that the stones that they were used to built with stones that weren’t native to the area. This meant that they had to be carried up by hand. Even more amazing is that the tombs pre-dates the pyramids! There are three that are within easy walking distances in the area that we were in. One was caved in on the inside and blocked. Another had a slab in front of it that made it really hard to shimmy in between the rocks to get inside. The third though, had a small space that was open and a person on their hands and knees could crawl inside and comfortably stand up.

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After much convincing, I too got down and slowly crawled through. The inside held three small chambers where the bodies would have been left. All three were also tall enough that a person could comfortably stand up and not hit their heads. Of course, I got creeped out pretty quickly and crawled out with the help of my smartphone lighting the way.

All in all, the trip to Sligo was eye-opening. The landscape is completely different from what I have been used to in Waterford. It very much reminds me of a flatter version of the Scottish highland landscape. Soon after exploring the tombs and drinking in the scenery, the rain started to come down and we made it back to the car before it became lashing rain. That ended our quick soujourn north and a few hours after, we found ourselves back on the M9 back to Waterford.

The view from the top

The view from the top

 

~JGM