I can’t believe that it’s September already, and I’ve not written anything on C&T since the start of August. There were quite a number of reasons for this – one of which is that frankly I haven’t been trying new recipes or doing any baking. (I feel an updated Coffee Date post is on the horizon…)
Although this blog is practically here to profess my love for the kitchen, our summer months here in the Med are too much, as in there’s way too much heat and humidity in the air already. My adding to it in the house is no help at all. So I’m taking a break.
However this won’t last long now – I know I have to get back into the swing of things very soon, so this simple salad is a good way to start.
Continue reading Halloumi, Plum tomato, Mixed Greens and Baby Spinach Salad, and a Mustard Dressing
WordPress is acting up, but to make up for the lack of recipes last week, I have an additional post for you for this week. Also I’ve been receiving some requests these days in the run-up to the holidays. This is the first for this season. For me, this recipe is an oldie but a goodie, as they say. And it’s comforting. December has officially started – I say officially because culturally Christmas begins way to early. One of my neighbours has had her tree up for more than three weeks. That’s crazy if you ask me. I don’t think I’ll have mine up till next week, together with the traditional Bambin (Baby Jesus) and/or Presepju (Crib). And some things are still in boxes anyway. I’m learning slowly is the less I have the happier I am. I’m still working on that.
Continue reading Braised Lamb with Aromatic Spices
I don’t usually post more than one recipe in a week but today I have some time to myself and I feel there’s no time like the present. I still have loads of sorting out and unpacking stuff to do (and I did some of that this morning) but I definitely prefer sitting down and writing something useful here. Well, I’m letting you be the judge of whether I do come up with useful things or not. I love being here though so why not?
Continue reading Moroccan Inspired Rice
I don’t know about you but I find that weekend mornings are great for a more relaxed breakfast. One of my very favourite breakfast treats is pancakes, absolutely winning hands down. That said, sometimes I dread doing the prep, even though there’s nothing complicated about it. So when I wake up with a pancake crave but don’t want the extra work I make French toast. There’s still some whisking involved but it’s much easier on the nerves I think! Nothing is more peaceful than waking up a little early and pottering around in the kitchen doing minimal work while everyone is still fast asleep.
Continue reading Cinnamony French Toast
I cannot tell you how easy this is to make. I will not even call it a recipe, because frankly it’s not. One morning I needed some cheering up. It was raining
of course and I, like everyone else on this little island, was having a bad day. The rain would not stop. The town centre was completely flooded. After a while I stopped reading the papers; I just couldn’t take any more bad news. Thankfully, fingers crossed, the rain has now stopped and Spring is almost here. You can imagine the joy!
Continue reading A simple breakfast: Crumpets with Yoghurt and Blueberries
This is such a simple side dish which can be prepared in minutes, when you’re in a hurry or you need just one more thing for supper. J really likes it and although it’s not one of my favourites I can honestly say that I do need to eat veggies more often!
You just need to have at hand some carrots, usually one or two per person, a knob of butter (around 25g) and two tablespoons of honey. All you need to do is to wash and peel and chop the carrots. To avoid chopping you can even use baby carrots. (Fresh please – not from the tin.) Drop the butter in a very hot pan and tip the carrots in. Stir well and cook for around 10 minutes, depending on how al dente or not you like your vegetables to be. Finally add the honey and leave to bubble for another 5 minutes.
If you like you can season with salt and pepper but since this is meant to show off the sweetness of the carrots I wouldn’t suggest using too much. A quick and easy recipe – just what you need when you have guests at home…
A note for those who don’t like honey – you can also use some dark brown sugar in it’s place. Around 2 tablespoons will do.
I had not baked something sweet in a little while and decided that yesterday was the time to bake muffins. Now let it be known that muffins are the bane of my life at the moment. They never were, but since I’ve moved house I can never ever get them right. I’ve lost my touch. Lately I’ve been sharing my bakes with my lovely neighbour. (It’s the least I can do to thank her for taking the time to take care of all the building’s needs and for letting me vent when something is wrong!) But I didn’t give her any this time because frankly they’re not presentable, though they do taste good. Mind you, they look great actually, but they are not so nice to look at from the inside. Never judge a book by its cover. Before I continue I want to say that generally I try a recipe more than once before I write about it, but this time I just had to make an exception.
I was so disappointed that I took the time to discuss the result with J. He’s great at these things because he’s very calm and rational about these sorts of things. So while I was whining and going on a never-ending rant about how much of a failure I was (well..it’s a little bit over the top but I’m taking some poetic license on this), J took his time, cut one muffin in half, has a little taste and said: “One – you could cut the apples into smaller dice; two – you could even dry them in the oven for a bit; three – you could bake them for a little longer on a lesser temperature. You’ll get the hang of it, don’t worry…and if I were you I would try to make another batch tomorrow.” And that’s how from this point on I’ll think of this process as something of a post-mortem examination. Definitely seemed like it yesterday.
When I put that out on Twitter, one of my followers gave me the following idea: topping them with ice cream and chocolate and blame it all on the melting gooeyness of the ice cream. Tell you what – I was really tempted to do that! Another thing – I’m not blaming it on the recipe; I just want to try it again. One thing I will do though is to adjust it a little bit and take on board J’s suggestions. In case you’re wondering this recipe comes from Nigella Kitchen (page 130). I wanted to give them a go because they are a wonderful breakfast idea, not for everyday but they would be great for having friends or family over for brunch. I will edit in the photo later, but till then here’s the recipe for you, with some variations, for you to try should you want to. I will definitely do that this afternoon. This makes 12 muffins.
For the mixture:
- 2 eating apples (I used Pink Lady, but you can use anything you like)
- 250g plain flour (I used wholemeal which could have affected the texture)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 125g light brown sugar
- 125ml honey
- 60ml runny yoghurt (not Greek)
- 125ml vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 35g unblanched almonds, chopped
For sprinkling on top:
- 35g unblanched almonds, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC/392ºF/Gas mark 6 and line the muffin tin with paper cases or some wax paper cut into squares for a more professional look.
- Peel the apples and cut them into small dice. Place them to one side till they are needed.
- Measure the flour in a large bowl and add the baking powder and the cinnamon
- (1 teaspoon), and the 35g of chopped almonds.
- In a medium mixing bowl whisk the brown sugar (125g), honey, yoghurt, oil and eggs, until combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to just combine the two. Add the chopped apples and fold them in gently. Do not over mix as you’ll end up with a very dense muffin.
- Using an ice cream scoop if you have one, divide the batter into the 12 cases.
- To make the topping, mix the ingredients together with your hands and sprinkle some on top of each muffin. Then bake for 20 minutes (what the original recipe suggests) till the muffins rise and turn golden.
I will tell you how my second attempt at these goes…wish me luck.