I’m really excited to share my Japanese inspired Barmbrack. Barmbrack is a traditional Irish fruit cake that is the centre of Halloween here in Ireland. The name comes from the Irish words “báirín breac” which translate as “speckled bread”. The recipe is full of flavour with mixed spices and dried fruit. The Japanese “kaki” fruit adds a lovely moisture to the cake also. Traditionally the dried fruit is soaked in tea overnight however in busy households like mine I need to be able to make the cake at the last minute so I’ve removed that step.
Traditionally a ring is placed inside the cake which signifies a wedding in the near future. As a child I remember the excitement around the table to see who would find the ring in their slice of cake!
225g self-raising flour
150g brown sugar
150g kaki (peeled and grated)
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of bread soda
Kaki (peeled and sliced), to decorate top
Ring, optional if you want to add a little Irish mystic!
- Preheat the oven to 170˚C/327°/Gas Mark 3
- Place all ingredients (apart from the kaki slices for decorating) in a large bowl and mix well together.
- Grease a loaf tin and pour the mixture into it.
- Optional, if you want to add a little Irish mystic wrap a ring in greaseproof paper and add to the middle of the batter.
- Place the kaki slices on top to decorate.
- Put in the oven for up to 1 hour or until it’s baked. To check if it’s baked through insert a skewer or knife in the middle and if it comes out clean it’s ready.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before placing on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled wrap in grease proof paper and tin foil to keep fresh.
- Serve in slices with a fresh cup of tea or coffee.
I remember collecting buckets of persimmon fruit (also called sharon fruit) with the elementary school children behind the local school where I worked in Japan. It reminded me of how we pick apples here in Ireland. In the past few years I was delighted to see this beautifully coloured fruit in my local supermarket. It is best eaten ripe otherwise it will be hard and bitter. To check if it’s ripe just press on the skin and it should be soft to touch. A really ripe persimmon can be eaten by slicing the top off the fruit and scooping out the flesh with a spoon. The persimmon and white chocolate cream in this recipe are a marriage made in heaven!
puff pastry, shop bought and pre-rolled (320g puff pastry makes 9 servings)
5 persimmon fruit (about half a persimmon fruit per serving),
brown sugar to dust
100g good quality white chocolate
250ml fresh cream, whipped
icing sugar to serve
1 Unwrap the pastry and roll out on a chopping board. Using a sharp knife cut the pastry into rectangular pieces large enough to serve one person for dessert. For 320g of puff pastry I divided the pastry into nine servings.
2 Peel the persimmon fruit, cut in half and then into thick slices.
3 Place four or five pieces along the centre of the pastry. Dust with brown sugar.
4 Bake at 200°C in a fan oven for 10–15 minutes until the pastry is slightly browned and crisp.
5 Break the white chocolate into small squares and place in a glass bowl over a saucepan of boiling water on a medium heat. Allow the chocolate to slowly melt while stirring.
6 Once completely melted set aside for a few minutes to let cool a little, then add to the whipped cream and mix well together.
7 Serve the persimmon tart with a spoonful of white chocolate cream and dust with icing sugar.
4 eggs, at room temperature
100g caster sugar
100g plain flour
1 tablespoon ingredient matcha powder
250ml whipped cream for filling
icing sugar for dusting
You’ll need swiss roll tin (10” x 15” or 13” x 9”)
1 Preheat a fan oven to 180ºC.
2 Whisk the eggs and caster sugar in an electric mixer for about 10 minutes until nice and fluffy.
3 Sieve the flour and matcha together a few times to make sure the matcha powder is completely mixed into the flour.
4 Using a large spoon gently fold the sieved flour into the egg and sugar mix.
5 Carefully line a baking tin with greaseproof paper and lightly grease with butter.
6 Pour the batter into the baking tin, using a spatula to gently even it out.
7 Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until a skewer/sharp knife inserted comes out clean.
8 Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes in the baking tin.
9 Turn the cake over onto a clean tea towel, then carefully peel off the greaseproof paper.
10 Roll the cake in the tea towel and allow to cool (this will avoid it breaking later).
11 Unfold the cake when it is cool and spread the whipped cream evenly on the cake.
12 Roll again and dust with icing sugar. Put in the fridge until ready to eat.
Sake is an integral part of Japanese cuisine in the same way as wine is to French cuisine. It’s traditionally drunk from small cups called ‘choko’ and can be served either hot or cold. It’s a popular option for cocktails and has a lower alcohol content than vodka. Asian speciality stores now stock a decent selection of sake, including sparkling sake.
Makes 2 cocktails
30ml lime juice
90ml cranberry juice
mint leaves to garnish
1 Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then add all the liquid ingredients and mix well together until well chilled.
2 Serve in a cocktail/martini glass and garnish with mint leaves.
This is one of my favourite summer recipes, it’s quick and easy to make at home. You don’t need an ice-cream maker for this recipe and it takes about five minutes to make. So give it a try and I’m sure you’ll be experimenting with different flavoured ice creams once you see first-hand the rewards of making your own.
2 tablespoons ingredient matcha powder, mixed with about 4 tablespoons water
500ml double cream
300ml condensed milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 Using a fork or a small whisk, mix the matcha powder and water together until all lumps are dissolved. Set aside.
2 Whip the cream until soft peaks form.
3 Stir in the condensed milk, lemon juice and matcha mix using a large spoon. Mix well together.
4 Transfer the ice cream into an airtight container and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.
This is a great way to start your day with the power of matcha (green powder tea) which slowly releases caffeine compared to coffee. I’ve also included a tip and photo to show you how this can be packed and eaten on the go using an old jam jar. You can get small bags of mixed nuts & seeds in most supermarkets for this recipe. Enjoy!
Few handfuls of your favourite mixed nuts (almonds, pinenuts etc) & seeds (e.g. pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds etc)
2 heaped tablespoons of coconut oil
2 heaped tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon matcha
1 kaki (persimmon/ sharon) fruit, peeled and thinly sliced (replace with seasonal fruit depending on the time of year).
I prefer to use fresh fruit than dried fruit as I think it’s a healthier option. However if you’d like to add dried fruit you can simply add it when the granola is removed from the oven and cooled.
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Place the oats in a large flat pyrex dish.
3. Toss in the nuts and mix well together.
4. Over a low to medium heat melt the coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan.
5. Once melted stir well and pour evenly over the oats and nuts.
6. Use a large spoon to completely cover the oats and nuts in the coconut oil and honey.
7. Place in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes (during this time stir a few times).
8. Remove from the oven and once cool, add the matcha powder and mix well.
9. Add a few large spoonfuls of the granola to a cereal bowl and serve with natural yoghurt and sliced kaki fruit.
10. Store the remaining granola in an airtight container.
This is a healthy on the go breakfast option to bring to work.