Easy Buttercream Icing

23 11 2010

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but I was recently discussing the merits of making your own icing over those of buying those awful tubs of Betty Crocker pre-made icing that you can buy in supermarkets.

The discussion ended with me setting out to prove not only that it is easy to make your own icing but that the end result tastes better to.

I know that a lot of people like to use margarine in or shortening when making buttercream but I flat-out refuse to, the taste is completely different and the heavy greasy taste that it leaves in the mouth is just vile.


250g unsalted butter

600g icing sugar

2 tablespoons of milk

vanilla extract


In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and approximately 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Once the vanilla extract is incorporated into the butter you can start to mix in the sugar adding roughly 1/4 at a time, ensure that the sugar is well beaten in before adding the next batch

Once you have incorporated all of the icing sugar into the butter you will need to add the milk and beat until you have a light and fluffy texture, keep beating until there are no lumps and the icing doesn’t feel gritty.¬† At this point you can add more vanilla essence if you wish

You can add more or less any flavour that you want to your icing in place of the vanilla and you can also colour it anyway you wish. If you decide to use liquid food colouring then remember that a little goes a long way!

Home baked flat bread

20 09 2010

This past week I have been desperate to eat Pita Gyros like I used to be able to get back home; unfortunately here in Ireland there aren’t many outlets catering to a man with a craving for good Greek food.

So of course I made my own.

I could have used shop bought flat breads or stuffed the gyros into those little cardboard pockets that you can buy from everywhere these days but I wanted something a little fresher and tastier so here we are my take on homemade flat bread:

makes roughly 10 flat breads

500 grams white flour

300 ml lukewarm water

2 tablespoons of olive oil (I used extra virgin but any would do)

2 teaspoons of salt

Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt, at this point give it a very quick mix together with your hand in order to make sure the salt is distributed throughout the flour.

mix the olive oil in with your warm water, slowly pour the oil and water mixture into your dry ingredients whilst mixing with your hands (there is no point using a spoon as you want to be able to feel the dough)

Mix the ingredients together until there you have a slightly sticking dough formed, flour a clean work surface and knead the dough until it is smooth and slightly elastic – about 5 minutes or so.

Pop your dough onto the counter top, cover with the up turned mixing bowl and leave for at least 15 minutes or until you are ready to cook and eat the bread.

Once you are ready to cook the bread take the dough and roll it into a nice fat sausage shape. Divide your sausage into equal chunks – with the measures used here it works out to about 10

roll your chunks of dough into little balls and then roll flat using a floured rolling pin, you should end up with a nice thin bread about 2/3 mm thick.

Dust a little flour onto each piece of bread to stop them sticking and stack them up ready to cook.

Take a large non stick frying pan/skillet and put it onto a high heat until it is smoking. Once you have reached this point place your flat bread into the pan without any sort of liquid.

You will need to cook the bread until the edges start to lift and you start to see nice brown spots on the side that is touching the pan. Once this side is cooked flip the bread and cook the reverse side for about 30/40 seconds. In total you will probably be cooking each piece of flat bread for about 3 minutes.

Keep the flatbreads warm whilst you are cooking by wrapping them in a tea-towel or popping them in the oven at a low heat.

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