Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lemon-Raspberry Muffins

Raspberries are one of those fruits that turns into mush when baked. So, these muffins are actually very good for young tots and the elderly. It's wonderfully light and soft. In our household, there aren't any young tots. So, it's difficult to con them into getting their coloured fruits via these muffins. My tweens got Chocolate Butterscotch Muffins instead, for breakkie this morning. The "elderly" on the other hand (the MOTH and I) savoured our fruity breakfast muffins. I just made a cup of tea and am having my third!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

It's Good Friday morning and I felt like having freshly-baked Blueberry Muffins for breakfast, so out came the mixing bowl. These muffins are my perennial favourites. They're very light and with those fat blueberries in them.....yum. Least we're getting our purple food group quota met today ;-). I spooned them into mini muffin cups this time for a "mouthful of bursting berries". Honestly, they're more pleasurable to eat in this size plus, I got some really cute polka dot muffins cups in pink and green. Was dying to use them... very Easter-ly themed. Maybe I'll bake a batch of the Lemon Raspberry later in the day??

Monday, April 18, 2011

Small Mushroom Tarts

I'm eating this as I type. What a great lunch! These little pies are scrumptious. In the book, the small tomato and muhroom pies share the same polenta pastry for their base. Just like the Johnnycakes, polenta (or maize meal) adds some grit to the crust but not too much for the young ones to notice. I chose to do the mushroom version instead of using tomatoes and olives because the latter isn't popular with under-18s. I used fresh shiitake and white button mushrooms for the base filling that was sauteed with butter and garlic. Followed by a layer of parmesan. I'd definitely shave a bit more the cheese next time. Topped it with sauteed Portobello mushrooms and a squeeze of lemon. Didn't add the créme fraiche because I was bringing it to school for the kids' quick lunch before Taekwondo. The cream will turn sour in our weather. I'll double the recipe next time if the MOTH's home for lunch.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cinder Toffee

Since the Spanish Macaroons didn't go down well with the children (that's okay because now there's more for me!), I thought I'd do something more down their alley - Cinder Toffee. I've seen this done on telly but nothing prepared me for the real thing than actually doing it. Nigella did give very precise instructions in the recipe and excellent descriptions on the "special effects" coming from this honeycomb but I still let out a couple of "whoa!"s and "oohhh"s... Do use the recommended size of pot and tin because by using anything less, you're in for a big mess. When the caramel's ready, get your kids in to watch you ceremoniously whisk in the bicarb. There's a happy song somewhere when you see the caramel foam all the way up to the rim of the pot. It does turn into a sudsy and opaque golden cloud. If you don't want to encourage the kids to bounce off the wall, halve the recipe.

Spanish Macaroons

We're out of Parisien Macarons in the fridge and the kids are feeling the loss... so yours truly thought, what a great idea to try out these Spanish Macaroons. It is a WHOLE lot more easier to make than the macarons. Ingredients are the same just a hundred times less fiddly to prepare. Completely done within 30 minutes. Results are as promised - sweet with tender chewiness. It's nice to be able to chew on the ground almonds with a hint of orange and cinnamon. I like it but the kids...well, let's just say they were very polite about it and gently suggested that I do the French macarons the next round.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I don't know who Johnny is but I think he may be a Mexican. This is basically griddle cakes with cornmeal added to the batter. More cornmeal than flour. So, the results are gritty pancakes. No complaints about them because it's a good way to get grains into the kids' diet. But I'd highly recommend them as a savoury breakfast option instead of matching them with maple syrup or chocolate sauce as you would with regular pancakes. It's great with streaky bacon and scrambled eggs. The Johnnycakes must be eaten hot off the pan, get them a bit more brown and crispy at the sides. I had a couple at room temperature with syrup...yukks. So I went back to the stove and made a few hot ones. Slap a chunk of butter and raspberries ....very good. Had to be the raspberries' tartness with the salted butter, strong flavours - excelente!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lily's Scones

Nice and crusty on the outside yet soft in the inside BUT we all agreed that my usual scones are better than these. Lily's scones are just too dense. They're very filling and too floury-smelling. Scones are known to be a "force to reckon with" if you bake. There's always the issue of over-handling etc. But I'm pretty sure I handled it as little as I could and it did rise beautifully with satisfying results. Maybe it'll be better with dried fruits in them and cut smaller instead of using the 6.5cm cutter as suggested. No one asked for seconds...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Boxing Day Egg-and-Bacon Pie

Another keeper this one! The pastry is buttery yet, crispy at the same time compared to the usual shortcrust I make for pies. The kids loved it for lunch on Friday and instead of using panchetta and spring onions as the recipe suggested, I used Spanish bacon, turkey ham cubes and a mix of brown and white mushrooms. Great flavour and I also added extra eggs on top of the 2 suggested. They held the filling better. We'll definitely have this again.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Snickers & Peanut Butter Muffins

Made these disgustingly sweet-sounding muffins for tea yesterday (with leftovers for breakfasts this morning) and guess what? They're not that sweet after all! At the thought of 3 full-size bars of Snickers and half a cup of peanut butter in these 15 muffins, I pretty much resigned that this was going to be tooth-achingly sweet and rich to the last morsel... But it was a delightful treat. You can smell the peanut butter, taste the caramel chocolate and just a right amount of nutty crunch without loosing the fact that it's a muffin. Absolutely great for breakfast more than tea...at least for me.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Espresso Cupcakes

I've made these Espresso Cupcakes a couple of times and strongly recommend them. I had an order for a baby shower and I decided to make these for the ladies. They were to be covered in fondant for the theme so I didn't make the dark chocolate icing to go with them. If you're going to bake them, don't fill the cups two thirds as you would with other cupcake recipes. Leave it at half filled because they rise quite a bit. That's why they're absolutely light and fluffy. A nice contrast for something with such intense flavour.