Eat Easy with Yvonne Connolly and her Red Velvet Cake recipe!
Birthdays come and go each year and how you celebrate is entirely up to you. But only one thing remains constant – cake! For all things organic, it’s time to think out of the box and choose fresh farm produce to suit your family’s needs.
February brought me to Glasgow to see my boyfriend who is filming there. I’ve enjoyed visiting this fabulous city many times over the years and have noticed, particularly on my last trip, how the food culture has come on in leaps and bounds. If you manage to get there, make your way to Hutchesons for amazing steak in a breathtakingly beautiful room; Guy’s, for the best traditional Scottish dishes and great service; and Rogano’s, which is famous for old school atmosphere, cocktails and cosy booths. With high end and high street shopping on Buchanan Street and Princes Square, a thriving theatre and arts scene, plus an eclectic choice of bars and clubs, Glasgow really is an ideal location for a city break.
To get in touch with any questions, I’m on…
FROM FARM TO YOUR DOOR
Demand for organic food is at an all-time high and more accessible than ever.
Green Earth Organics is a family-run organic farm, set up by Kenneth Keavey and his wife Jenny over 10 years ago. They grow and harvest fresh organic vegetables and deliver to every county in Ireland. They also supply produce from other organic farms and organic suppliers and have a web shop with over 200+ certified organic products including eggs, butter, cheese, rice, pasta, nuts and seeds, kefir, sauerkraut and dark chocolate. Customers can order online what they want from their own shopping list or they can sign up for an automatic delivery of fruit and veg which will be delivered to their door every week or fortnight. www.greenearthorganics.ie.
Coupon: Green Earth Organics is kindly offering all RSVP readers free local delivery on their first web order over €30. Just insert the coupon code “RSVPoffer” when you order online and they will deliver to your door with compliments.
GAME DAY GRUB
With Ireland playing Wales and England in the Six Nations this month, we will be glued to the telly. On match days, I’ll be doing burgers and beers. For a healthy option, I’ll be making one of my favourite hummus dips served with raw carrot, celery and pepper crudités. This dip is delicious, simple and so quick.
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp freshly chopped parsley, for garnish only
a good squeeze fresh lemon juice
Mix in a blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle some paprika and chopped parsley to garnish.
RED VELVET CAKE
Red Velvet Cake is my children’s favourites of late, it is one of the hardest working recipes in our house: I made it for my daughter Missy’s 16th birthday in February and will be making it for my son Jack’s 18th birthday mid-March. My daughter Ali, 11, also made it by herself for her school cake sale on Valentine’s Day – it’s that easy! If you’re going to break Lent for Mother’s Day on March 26th, you might as well go all out!
INGREDIENTS FOR THE CAKE
– 120g unsalted butter or soft margarine
– 300g caster sugar
– 2 large free range eggs, beaten
– 60g cocoa powder
– 2tsp vanilla extract
– Red food colouring
– 250mls buttermilk
– 300g plain flour, sifted
– 2tsp red wine vinegar
– 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
FOR THE FROSTING
– 600g icing sugar, sifted
– 1tsp vanilla extract
– 500g cream cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas mark 3. Grease and flour three 20cm/8in sandwich tins (round, square or heart shaped)
2. Beat the butter and caster sugar in a mixer (or with an electric hand whisk) until really pale and fluffy. Slowly add the egg, bit by bit, beating wildly as you go to avoid the mixture from curdling.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa, vanilla extract and some red food colouring until you have a thick, dark paste. Then add 1 tablespoon of water at a time and mix well until the mixture just starts to run a bit (but it should still be pretty thick). Add this to the buttery egg mixture and beat well until it is all incorporated. Add half the buttermilk and give it a good beat, then add half the flour and beat again. Repeat this process with the remaining buttermilk and flour. Finally add the vinegar and the bicarbonate of soda and beat away for another 1–2 minutes.
4. Divide the mixture between the three tins and bake for about 20 minutes or until a skewer comes away cleanly. Cool the cakes on a wire rack. (Optional…Using a spatula I scrape the remaining mixture to make a cupcake. This can be removed from the oven 5 minutes earlier than the cake. When cooled, crumble up and sprinkle over the top layer of frosting to decorate).
5. To make the frosting, beat together the icing sugar, vanilla and cream cheese until fluffy and spreadable. You may need to add a bit more sugar if it is all too runny, or maybe a drop or two of milk if it is too thick. Do taste as you go, though, and make sure you’ve got enough vanilla in there.
6. Sandwich the cakes together with a thin layer of frosting and then spread the remains over the top and sides of the cake.