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Dublin: 16 °C Sunday 22 September, 2019

'These brownies are the ultimate crowd-pleaser': 5 must-try dishes from a Dublin foodie

Including home-made croissants, the perfect guacamole and more.

Image: Sinead Warren

EACH WEEK, WE ask a home cook about the dishes they’ve been whipping up of late. The kind of food you don’t need a recipe for, from quick snacks to empty-the-fridge dinners.

This week, Sinead Warren (@5inead) shared the five dishes that she can’t stop making. 

“I’d love to say that I can’t remember a time when food wasn’t a huge part of my life but, up until I was about 20, I was a really picky eater and, worse still, I was afraid to try different foods,” says Sinead.

Nowadays, there’s nothing I won’t eat.

“I find cooking to be hugely cathartic and a great stress reliever so, I spend a lot of my weekend reading cookbooks, testing recipes and getting food prepped for the week ahead.”

From gooey chocolate brownies to a recreation of a dish from Rome, below are five of Sinead’s favourite things to make… 

1. Must-have sourdough: Last year, I started baking my own bread at home. This was partly in an effort to be more financially and environmentally conscious but, also because the science behind creating the perfect loaf of bread really appealed to me and I wanted to see what I could achieve. I started out with simple yeast breads before moving on to making sourdough. I made my own sourdough starter and then set about finding a recipe and method that works best for the ingredients I have and the climate I bake in.

Every Friday evening I make enough dough for two loaves of sourdough and bake it on Saturday afternoon. This lasts us for the whole week. Very little work is required – about one hour total effort – but it does require you to develop patience while the dough ferments!

Processed with VSCO with e7 preset Source: Sinead Warren

2. Simple croissants: About once a month I make croissants which I’m aware sounds very high level but, in truth, only requires the ability to follow a recipe, wield a rolling pin and have a lot of, you guessed it, patience! I follow an amazing young chef on YouTube called Joshua Weissman and his video on croissants makes the entire pastry world seem much more approachable.

Once I got comfortable making standard croissants, I began experimenting with fillings. You can easily make a quick almond paste to fill each croissant by mixing almond extract, icing sugar, ground almonds and egg white. The dough freezes really well so, I usually make double and freeze after the final proof. The scent of fresh croissants and coffee on a Sunday morning is unrivalled!

Processed with VSCO with c8 preset Source: Sinead Warren

3. Custom guacamole: Even the people I know who hate avocado like guacamole. It just seems to be one of those universally palatable things and, if you invite me to a barbecue, I’m likely to turn up with a big bowl along with bread and wine (the Holy Trinity). This recipe is very much customisable to personal tastes. My husband and I prefer a lot of onion, coriander and lime whereas when I make it for a larger group I add way less onion and coriander for a milder flavour. The only thing I won’t compromise on is tomatoes. Tomatoes have no place in guacamole. That’s what salsa is for.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset Source: Sinead Warren

4. Unbeatable brownies: These brownies are the ultimate crowd pleaser. The secret to the perfect brownie is using high quality chocolate and figuring out the exact time your oven takes to achieve a perfectly crisp outer shell that gives way to a layered trifecta of cake-fudge-cake. The more these brownies cool, the fudgier the centre becomes. They keep for 4-5 days in an airtight box but, honestly, they never hang around that long!

Processed with VSCO with c8 preset Source: Sinead Warren

5. Cacio e Pepe: Literally meaning cheese and pepper, Cacio e Pepe is a dish that I first had in Rome years ago and that subsequently found its way into my weekly repertoire. As with many of the best pasta dishes, it requires few ingredients for maximum taste and takes no more than 15 minutes to make. As there are only a handful of components, I try to buy decent quality fresh pasta and pecorino cheese. Even the most apprehensive chef can’t go too far wrong with this – just make sure not to burn the peppercorns! The recipe is in my highlights on Instagram

Processed with VSCO with  preset Source: Sinead Warren

More: ‘I always try to get creative with leftovers’: 5 flavour-packed dishes from an Italian foodie in Dublin

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