Tag Archives: dried cranberries

Christmas muffins

Christmas-Muffins-(6398)This year, Christmas has completely drained me. My energy is almost all gone. So please forgive me for today’s easy recipe. I must admit that I only own one Christmas recipe book, and frankly I don’t aim to buy any more. (Again, Christmas books I mean…just in case you’re wondering…) You really don’t need to, especially if you’re all for the traditional lunch. Christmas food tends to be repetitive and for lack of a better word, somewhat boring. At least to me it is. I’m not a big fan of turkey, even though that’s what we ate this time round. Brussels sprouts, well, are what they are, chestnuts or no chestnuts. For me, the highlight of the meal are the roast potatoes, made the American way seasoned with salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic, no faffing about with the fluffing in a colander and the roasting in goose fat. The simpler the prep the better.

While I don’t enjoy the savoury stuff, I do look forward to the sweet treats, and I get to indulge a little bit, as we all do. Nigella’s Christmas Morning Muffins recipe from Nigella Christmas has been a lifesaver during these hectic times. I made 2 batches, many of which I gave out to friends, and they have been a hit. The cinnamon covered dried cranberries I bought have added some extra flavour, but they can also be made with raisins or sultanas (or indeed a mixture of both). Though methinks they taste best with the dried cranberries. There’s no butter in this recipe. The oil and milk make them nice and moist. Any milk will do. Here’s the recipe.

  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 clementines, zested and juiced
  • around 125ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 75ml vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 175g cinnamon dusted dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas mark 6, and line a muffin tin with paper muffin cases.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and the clementine zests. Lightly mix.

In a measuring jug, just to make things easier for you, squeeze the juice from the clementines and pour in the milk until you reach the 200ml mark. Pour in the oil and beat lightly.

Pour the contents of the jug onto the dry ingredients and stir until you have a few lumps in the mixture. Remember, when making muffins, a lumpy mixture is what you want. Fold in the dried cranberries.

Pour the liquid into the muffin cases, and bake for around 20 minutes. Leave them to cool and cover them with some icing.

Enjoy and a Happy New Year to all!

Rob x

(Recipe adapted from Nigella Christmas, Chatto & Windus, 2008.)

Christmas Meals (2): Festive Couscous

Ginger-Glazed-Ham-(5193)

I love couscous, mostly because it’s very versatile and you can prepare it at a moment’s notice. This festive version is a breeze. Serves 6.

  • 125g couscous
  • 150ml hot chicken stock* (you can use stock from the ham recipe above)
  • a handful or two of dried cranberries (or raisins)
  • a handful or two of toasted flaked almonds

Place the couscous, hot chicken stock and dried cranberries (or raisins) into a bowl and cover with cling film. (Please note that you can use vegetable stock for this, and for the ham in the previous recipe.)*

In the meantime put some flaked almonds in a shallow pan on the hob and toast them. Don’t add any oil here. The almonds will release theirs and become nice and golden. Keep an eye on them as they can easily burn.

When the couscous has absorbed all the stock, fluff it up with a fork, add the toasted almonds, fluff it up some more and taste it for seasoning. Serve it with turkey, chicken, ham or alone if you like. So easy.

Happy Christmas!

Rob x