It’s Mothering Sunday this month in the UK. I get so confused: in Malta it’s in May. The first year we moved here I sent my cards really early and our mums were so surprised. I have a reputation of sending greeting cards a month before someone’s birthday, but this broke all records! Lately people have been messaging me saying that I have not been writing about sweet things for the past few posts. That’s very true, reason being that I have not been baking much this past month or so. I will rectify this now, although the following recipe goes back quite a while.
These are difficult times for almost everyone, so instead of spending all your precious pennies I’m sure that a little bit of baking would go a long way instead. How about some cute fairy cakes with pink icing and loads of sprinkles for the special lady, maybe wrapped up in a pink box? Or perhaps the following chocolate lovelies…They are so simple to make. One thing to pay attention to has to do with convection oven. These tend to be too powerful for baking small cakes, so preheat the oven 10 to 20 degrees C lower. If you have a fan oven then preheat it to 160ºC here. This recipe is for 12 muffins and takes about 35 minutes or so. Happy Baking!
- 150g unsalted butter, softened
- 150g golden caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 175g self-raising flour
- 25g good quality cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC (for convection ovens see my note above). Line or grease a muffin tin for 12 cakes.
- In a large bowl mix in the butter, golden caster sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Place a sieve over the same bowl and in it tip the flour and cocoa powder. Sift the two ingredients into the liquids.
- Using a whisk beat everything together well but not too much. Some lumps in the mixture is fine. It will turn out better!
- Divide the mixture in the tins and bake for 15 minutes, or till a knife comes out clean. Keep an eye on them as they can burn easily!
- Take them out of the tins after 5 minutes on a wire rack and let them cool.
If you want to make some buttercream to make them tastier, try mixing 150g unsalted butter, 300g icing sugar and 2 tablespoons milk in a bowl. Make sure you spread this on the muffins after they are completely cool, otherwise the buttercream will simply melt. Not nice. Happy Mothering Sunday to all you lovely mums!
I think that comfort food does not necessarily mean fatty food. Fish cakes are packed with good energy without the heaviness of any meat. Not that I don’t like meat patties once in a while, but these are a great alternative, and can be eaten in summer and also during the dreary winter months. I love them and hope you do too. This recipe makes around 14 100g cakes. However you can make them as small as you like for parties and picnics. Here’s what you need:
- 750g potatoes (cooked, mashed with 15g butter and cooled)
- 550g white fish (I used pollock)
- 200g breadcrumbs
- ¼ teaspoon chilli powder
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 egg for binding
- Place some flour in a small bowl. Mix all the ingredients well in a large bowl.
- Flour your hands to avoid extra stickiness and using a ½ cup measure if you have one (or measure 100g per patty) spoon the measured mixture into your hands to form one fish cake. Then dip this into the flour to coat.
- Pat each cake to remove the excess flour, place on a plate or flat dish and repeat until all the mixture is used up. Cover the fish cakes with cling film and place in the fridge for around 30 minutes to help them cool and firm up. This will help them remain whole in the frying pan and in the oven after that.
- At this stage you can preheat the oven to 170ºC. Place about a tablespoon of oil and a small knob of butter into a shallow pan and fry the cooled fish cakes on both sides, giving them around 5 to 6 minutes per side. Put them into a lined baking dish and finish them in the oven for 15 minutes, or until they turn golden brown on top.
Serve with a green salad and some Halloumi cheese, but my favourite way to eat this is in between some fresh wholemeal bread with a light spread of mayo!
I won’t post a recipe today but I thought that my readers might like to take a look at this: They Draw & Cook. I’ve been meaning to mention it in one of my posts for a long time and today’s the perfect day. There are so many words to describe TDAC – fun, colourful and creative are only a few. What’s fun about this is that it combines art with cooking, two of my favourite things and finding recipes in this format rather than simply flicking though a book is different and interesting. Not that I don’t love recipe books – I really really do, but sometimes change is good. It’s ideal for when it’s rainy and gloomy outside; it’s a great pick-me-up! You can also try some of their recipes and upload your photo, and throw in a review – why not? Featured right now is an illustration by Marjorie Mayes. So beautiful.
Ok. So at this point I signed off and was going to leave it at that. But I just had to come back and say it. Check this out: Richard III + the Guildford Shakespeare Company. Pure talent, plenty of passion and wonderful people. There are only a few days left till the final show, so go and support them if you can. I don’t know how to write about theatre so I’ll leave it at that but they are truly an inspirational bunch. A perfect recipe. If they are reading this I do have one question though: how on earth did you get that blood flowing effect on the steps in front of the throne during the dream sequence? They were perfectly clean after that! It was quite something!