After Firehouse

Everyone has been very philosophical about the last 3 months of my life and the very dramatic events that changed the course of my work career. I appreciate the support and words of wisdom that have been offered to me not only from old colleages, friends but local people in my community.

Three months ago I had a business partner, a struggling but good cafe & bakery and a new night time restaurant. I made a decision to take two employees on a market research trip to Firehouse bakery. We needed to brainstorm on how to improve our business and get some fresh ideas from this hip bakery in Delgany Co. Wicklow. We had only 3 days previously decided to pull the plug on our nighttime restaurant venture. We were going to focus on the daytime business which had been overshadowed by the restaurant for the last year.


Firehouse Bakery, Delgany Co. Wicklow
https://thefirehouse.ie

We left the bakery inspired and ready to start putting our ideas into action. Never did I imagine that, as we went back to work the next day that our ideas would offend but be the end of my business relationship with my then partner. But it did….

Now I think of time divided into two intervals Before Firehouse and After Firehouse.

Ironically Firehouse Bakery is where I first went for a breakfast meeting with my now ex Business partner when we decided to become partners 18 months earlier. I also attended their baking class on Heir Island, Cork a few years ago with my long suffering husband. It is such an amazing day out. I highly recommend it for baking enthusiasts.

Well I am here now and this blog is about AFTER FIREHOUSE!

One small Before Firehouse fact. I had applied and been accepted to a DIT (TU Dublin) Baking Degree course in 2018 but had decided to defer because in the interim of accepting my place and starting, I went into partnership and I would not be able to commit to the degree course. A week before Firehouse I received an offer to take up my deferred place for 2019/2020. I had decided I was not going to accept as I was too busy with the business. The deadline to decline/accept the offer was 24 hours after Firehouse. This is an example of the universe conspiring for you. Thank you Paolo Coehlo !

Now three months later I just finished my 3rd week of TU Dublin (formally DIT ) as a Baking and Pastry Arts Mature student. I am well mature -48 years old mature.

The most difficult part to date of the return to my education, other than that the average age is 30 years younger than me, has to be the commute. I was quite spoilt . I lived 5 minutes away from my job for the last 3 years. I live 35 km from Dublin so I am navigating public transportation again . I suffer from motion sickness so the bus is my least favorite option but at times my only option. I live a 15 minutes drive from the nearest train station which is my preferred form of transportation but I was unfortunate during my first week of college, while parked at the train station someone stole my catalytic converter. This is apparently a thing that happens frequently but until it happened to me I was oblivious to this kind of vehicle vandalism for scrap metal. Fucking bastards.

I am back to baking basics in college and that is always a good place to be when you’ve lost your way a bit. I’m still trying to work out what next but reminding myself to stay grounded in what I am doing now and not worry too much about my culinary future.

I have a bit of baking “karma” bestowed on me recently. The first three weeks in our “Morning goods” baking class has involved SCONES! Dreaded scones. During my before firehouse days, we made just under 200 scones a week , originally by hand then progressed to making them in a small spiral mixer and hand cut them out. Poor Zoë ( my before firehouse workwife now my baking friend ) usually was landed with the shit scone job but sometimes I would help or make them. Making scones is not that exciting nor are they to eat! Sorry to all the scone lovers out there.

So there I am 48 years old , ex- business owner, at the bottom of the food chain of Culinary School and making scones. I’m sure there is a moral( and point) to this story? Despite my moaning about the commute and baking scones, I am loving the experience of being in Culinary School. Baking is what I am meant to be doing in one form or another. I’ve dabbled in other professions but when I decided I wanted to bake in 2014 everything made sense. I am not the best baker. I am still learning everyday. I still screw up on a regular basis. My cakes often look like one of my kids made them . Cake decorating is not my strong point nor probably will never be but they taste damn good and that’s what counts!

Finally I’d like to include this savory scone recipe as an offering to the baking gods for all my hateful scone comments . Enjoy !

Cheese and Jalapeño Scone Recipe

Ingredients

  • 175g plain flour
  • 175g strong flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bread soda
  • 50g butter, at room temperature
  • 25g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 20 g parmesan, grated
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 large egg 70g
  • 260g Buttermilk
  • 3-4 jalapeño (a mix of red and green works well), diced
  • 4 pieces of sun dried tomato, diced

Method

  1. Pre heat your oven to 220 C *Reduce to 210 when loading oven with scones
  2. Place some grease proof paper on a large baking tray.
  3. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, chilli powder, paprika and pepper together
  4. Add the butter, then rub it in with your finger tips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  5. Add the cheese, chillis and sun dried tomato
  6. In a small jug, beat the egg and then add the milk
  7. Slowly tip the milk into your flour mix and stir well until it forms a dough.
  8. Lightly knead the dough to make sure it’s all combined.
  9. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough so that its about 2 to 2.5cm thick. Careful not to add too much flour
  10. Using a round cutter, cut out your scones, combining any left overs and re rolling. Only this once as if they are over handled they lose there lovely fluffy texture.
  11. Place the scones on your tray, brush with egg wash.
  12. *Bake for 12-15 minutes
  13. Remove from the oven, place on a wire rack and leave to cool

Coming Soon/ Proximamente

Proximamente

We have been working on this project since early January 2018 but we are getting close to opening our doors at night to serve traditional home style Tex- Mex on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at our premises @ http://www.anteaquecafe.ie in Clane Co. Kildare.

We will be opening our doors soon and can’t wait to welcome you to the same cosy decor with a Latin twist.

Here’s a sneak preview of some of the authentic Tex-Mex Cuisine you will find on offer here in San Pasqual Tex- Mex Grill

Made to order Occasion Cakes and Desserts

Birthday / Occasion Cakes- €25

Our cakes are 8 inches (serves 10-12) with two layers and iced on top and sides with buttercream. Additional sizes available on request.

Cake Flavours available

  • Vanilla
  • Raspberry Ripple
  • Mocha
  • Coffee
  • Lemon
  • Chocolate & Salted Caramel
  • Red Velvet
  • Carrot & Walnut
  • Apple & Walnut
  • Chocolate Biscuit Cake €35

Buttercream flavours available: Vanilla, Chocolate, Coffee, Lemon, Salted Caramel, Cream Cheese

All the above flavours can be made into Cupcakes. Box of 12 €20

 Desserts

Lemon Meringue Pie- €25 (9 inches)

Fresh Fruit Pavlova- €30 (9 inches)

Baked Cheesecake (Vanilla, Salted Caramel. Coffee, Irish Cream, Lemon, Seasonal Fruit, Chocolate €30 (9 Inches)

Bakewell Traybake €15.00 (serves 9)

Gluten Friendly Lemon traybake €20 (serves 8)

Chocolate Brownies €15 (10 portions) €30 (20 portions)

Chocolate Biscuit cake traybake €20 (9 portions)

Chocolate Chip cookies €10 (12 cookies)

Birthday / Occasion Cakes- €25

Our cakes are 8 inches (serves 10-12) with two layers and iced on top and sides with buttercream. Additional sizes available on request.

Cake Flavours available

  • Vanilla
  • Raspberry Ripple
  • Mocha
  • Coffee
  • Lemon
  • Chocolate & Salted Caramel
  • Red Velvet
  • Carrot & Walnut
  • Apple & Walnut
  • Chocolate Biscuit Cake €35

Buttercream flavours available: Vanilla, Chocolate, Coffee, Lemon, Salted Caramel, Cream Cheese

All the above flavours can be made into Cupcakes. Box of 12 €20

 Desserts

Lemon Meringue Pie- €25 (9 inches)

Fresh Fruit Pavlova- €30 (9 inches)

Baked Cheesecake (Vanilla, Salted Caramel. Coffee, Irish Cream, Lemon, Seasonal Fruit, Chocolate €30 (9 Inches)

Bakewell Traybake €15.00 (serves 9)

Gluten Friendly Lemon traybake €20 (serves 8)

Chocolate Brownies €15 (10 portions) €30 (20 portions)

Chocolate Biscuit cake traybake €20 (9 portions)

Chocolate Chip cookies €10 (12 cookies)

Macarons & Macaron towers

Macaron towers are a fun, beautiful alternative or complement to a celebration cake. They are customizable with a variety of sizes, flavours and colour combinations. Choose between 4-10 tiers which hold anything from 35-200 macarons.

The full tower stand is made of transparent plastic and includes 10 tiers and 200 macarons. Full stands are available to hire. A deposit of €50 is required. This will be refunded once the stand is returned undamaged within four days.

The mini stands are 4 tiers and include 35 macarons and a plastic cover so that you can travel with the macarons already on the stand.

Flavours available: Salted Caramel, Lemon, Raspberry, Coconut, Pistachio, Coffee, Mocha, Chocolate, Mango, Liquorice, Lavender, Choc- Mint, Cotton Candy, Blueberry, Vanilla, Orange-Choc.

Macaron Pricing

Box of 8 €10

Box of 12 €15

Box of 18 €20

Mini Macaron Tower 35 macarons €60 includes carry case

36 – 100 €1.10 each
101+     €1.00 each

Ordering –You can order in shop, or on the phone 045 982659

Please allow 48 hours for all special orders with the exception of Macaron order* (which require 72 hours  to one week’s notice depending on size of order) Deposits are required for orders over €30.

Macarons & Macaron towers

Macaron towers are a fun, beautiful alternative or complement to a celebration cake. They are customizable with a variety of sizes, flavours and colour combinations. Choose between 4-10 tiers which hold anything from 35-200 macarons.

The full tower stand is made of transparent plastic and includes 10 tiers and 200 macarons. Full stands are available to hire. A deposit of €50 is required. This will be refunded once the stand is returned undamaged within four days.

The mini stands are 4 tiers and include 35 macarons and a plastic cover so that you can travel with the macarons already on the stand.

Flavours available: Salted Caramel, Lemon, Raspberry, Coconut, Pistachio, Coffee, Mocha, Chocolate, Mango, Liquorice, Lavender, Choc- Mint, Cotton Candy, Blueberry, Vanilla, Orange-Choc.

Macaron Pricing

Box of 8 €10

Box of 12 €15

Box of 18 €20

Mini Macaron Tower 35 macarons €60 includes carry case

36 – 100 €1.10 each
101+     €1.00 each

Ordering –You can order in shop, or on the phone 045 982659

Please allow 48 hours for all special orders with the exception of Macaron order* (which requires 72 hours  up to one week’s notice depending on size of order) Deposits are required for orders over €30.

Thanksgiving Baking Workshop

IMG_7091

We are hosting a Thanksgiving Themed baking workshop on

Wednesday November 22nd 6:30-9:30 pm.

€45 per person

Learn to bake authentic tasting pumpkin and pecan pie. We will also be making a s’mores no bake pie to impress your American friends and family.

  • You will be able to take home all goods produced at our workshop along with recipes and technical notes.
  • All ingredients, equipment and recipes are provided .
  •  We offer a low student to tutor ratio, providing ample opportunity to develop your baking skills and practice new techniques.
  • Gain hands – on experience, improve your baking confidence, make delicious baked goods, have fun and meet new people.Whether you are interested in developing your baking skills or just need a bit of extra inspiration, we have the workshop for you!

BOOKING:  Fee includes all materials and use of equipment and much more including notes and technical handouts on ingredients.  To book simply ring or email us to secure your place. Book early to avoid disappointment.

San Pasqual Sweets and Pastries can be found at The AnTea-Que Coffee shop in Clane, County Kildare.  To book ring 0873259801 or email info@sanpasqual .ie

Baking workshops

IMG_1919

We had another successful two days of baking workshops where our students learned how to make macarons both with French and Italian meringue and we finished up today with a unicorn cupcake class.

 

Macaron workshop

During our macaron workshop students were able to try two different techniques to make the ever finicky macaron. Although we use the Italian method for macarons that we supply to customers we wanted to show them also how to make them the way most home bakers would be achieving these popular French treats. The French method uses equipment that most of our students would have already in a domestic kitchen so it’s important that our students would be able to reproduce the recipes at home. We had a go at the Italian method which involves cooking the meringue with a hot sugar syrup. It involves more baking skill and some specialty equipment but we wanted to show them the difference in the shell consistency and challenge their baking skills.

We filled our macarons with 5 different flavoured buttercreams and also chocolate ganache.

It was a busy day and everyone went home with a box filled with macarons. We run this workshop several times a year dates usually confirmed 4 weeks in advance.

Unicorn cupcake workshop

Our second day was filled with bright rainbow coloured buttercream. Zoe Conroy who joined San Pasqual in March, taught our students how to create super fun unicorn cupcakes. All the students baked their own cupcakes and then made gold dusted horns and tiny ears both made of fondant . They then made the most vivid multi coloured buttercream and assembled their mythical creations that tasted as good as they looked.

This will definitely  be a repeat class as everyone was super impressed with their unicorn cupcakes and were delighted to take home a dozen cupcakes to delight family and friends.

Zoe makes special occasion cakes for our San Pasqual customers at The Anteaque Coffee Shop and also has her own home based cake business where she can be contacted directly for  your special occassion cake enquiries.

https://www.facebook.com/zoeconroycakes/

Follow us on Facebook for up to date class info.

https://www.facebook.com/sanpasqual2016/

 

 

Bread school at Firehouse Bakery, Heir Island, West Cork

heirfeast1

When I get a few days off from my own small bakery I still enjoy baking but prefer to do it with  the most amazing backdrops. West Cork has some of the most stunning views Ireland has to offer. When the weather cooperates nothing compares to baking bread on Heir Island.

heirislandscenic

About a year ago I decided to put my name on a waiting list for the Firebakery’s Bread School . It is ran by Patrick Ryan and his partner Laura Moore.They also have a place in Delgany, Co Wicklow.  If you want more info on their fantastic business and passion for real bread baking here’s a link to their website.

http://www.thefirehouse.ie/about-the-bakery.html

I finally received a message last November to say that 2017 class dates had been released and would I like to book a date. Of course I jumped at this and decided that this would make a lovely birthday present for myself but convinced my husband that this would make a great gift from him. Naturally he loved the idea of not having to worry about what to get me in 4 months time. I am quite certain he was losing sleep worrying about my fast approaching birthday. He was fairly reluctant to join me as he has no interest in baking but decided it was a good opportunity to meet up with some work/ friend colleagues. We drove up the night before the class and met with his lovely business associate who showed us some of the area . He collected us at our Hotel and drove us to Lough Hyne where he went for a  swim around Castle island. It was about 9 degrees outside and it was about 2.5 km swim around the island. My husband and I were just wimpy spectators. What a cool man. After his swim he took us for a drink at Bushes Bar and a bite to eat at Jacob’s Bar both in Baltimore Island. The fish and chips were beautiful. No batter in sight just grilled with butter and seasoning. Pity I was feeling under the weather as I would have lingered longer but we also had an early start to catch the ferry to Heir Island for our full day of bread baking.

heir1

We drove to Cunnamore Pier for the ferry to Heir Island. It would have been a beautiful scenic drive had I not fibbed to my husband and told him the ferry was half an hour earlier than it actually was, so it was like a scene from The Dukes of Hazard. Needless to say my plan backfired for getting me there in plenty of time in order to not becoming stressed by our habitual tardiness.

Once you arrive to the island you are driven up to the house which at different times of the year doubles as a sailing school. We were greeted by Laura and were then showed the wood burning clay oven by Patrick Ryan… head chef and baker of Firehouse Bakery. Many of the breads that will be made on the day are baked outside here in this oven.

foccocciaheir

From there you start making  “the king of breads” sourdough loaf. Your sourdough starter has been made for you but everything else is made by you. Once you’ve made your sourdough it goes for it’s first proof and you begin on your next bread, a yeast bread. Each student chooses a different variation of a yeast bread so we made 7 different breads. I picked a courgette, cherry tomato, red onion and feta focaccia. My husband made a potato & rosemary flowerpot bread, which was baked in those inexpensive terracotta pots. I was fairly certain that his wouldn’t turn out as he struggled with a mess of wet dough trying to get his bread to come together. Much to my amazement his bread turned out beautifully baked. We then moved on to different Irish soda breads. I made a honey, walnut, blue cheese, soda. Some of the other varieties we turned out on the day included; thyme,mustard and cheese soda bread, apple and cider soda, Guinness,treacle,oats,walnuts soda and last but not least, traditional buttermilk soda.

heirsodas

flowerpotbreadbreadheir

We took a short break and we then knocked back our sourdough loaves and shaped them to fit our proving baskets. We also gave them a second prove and then did the same to our yeast breads. We selected new recipes and everyone began making some desserts. This was the only let down for me. I felt this made the end of day feel quite rushed and it was a lot to take in, there was also not as much direction in this portion of the class. I would have preferred to discuss the bread making a bit more at this stage than try and squeeze in a dessert. I was probably just disgruntled because I ended up with making chocolate chip cookies, which I make almost every week. It was still great fun and they gave us the recipes for everything everyone made so I can’t complain too much. During the preparation of  the dessert section we also nipped outside to have our sourdoughs put in the oven. We all personalized our with individual scoring  on top of the loaf. I wasn’t very original as I just put my initial on mine.

Finally we sat down to eat our breads and a light lunch made by Laura. We were running a bit late so it was a bit rushed hence why I would have preferred the dessert section scrapped. We then divided up all the breads and headed for the ferry. We blew a tire on the way to the ferry which was terrible luck for them but weirdly added to the whole day.

This class has to be added to any baker’s bucket list as it is up there on mine and didn’t fail to surpass my expectations.

baquettesheir

Out of all the recipes we learned, the one I will be certain to recreate is  semi- sourdough baquette and the honey, walnut , blue cheese soda bread.

I’m still unconvinced if I will be making more sourdough as the commitment to maintain and feed the starter is one I just can not fathom in my current situation.  My husband is still a non-convert to baking but I think one baker in the family is enough for the moment. It has definitely converted him into buying more artisan bread for the family even if not made by us.