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.
I get asked this question quite a lot, especially after posting the recipe for shortcrust pastry. I have one quick solution for you. Roll out the remaining pastry into a sheet and cut it into thick strips. Shallow-fry them in a little bit of vegetable oil and when they puff up and turn golden brown remove them from the pan. (Don’t be absent-minded here as they will burn easily. Happened to me countless times!) Place on some kitchen paper, sprinkle them with a bit of sugar (white or brown or whatever you choose) and a splodge of honey or golden syrup. They are yummy. Great for a pick-me-up or whenever you need some cheering up! Short but sweet.
I’ve been MIA these past couple of weeks. J has been on leave and it’s nice to take a break from the computer screen sometimes. What I’m finding difficult is to get into non-holiday mode again, if you know what I mean. Now who wants to stay inside when the Sun’s shining? Not me! So keeping in mind the holidays, a birthday celebration and of course a certain Royal Wedding, here’s my little gift to you.
This is a sweet little recipe from James Tanner and his recently published book James Tanner Takes 5. It’s one of my favourite books, firstly because it’s got photos for every recipe. I’m just a home cook so you can forgive me for saying that. I also love it because the pages are not glossy, so you can see the pages clearly in artificial light. I hate it when I’m flipping through a recipe book late in the evening and have to adjust the angle of the page because I’m blinded by the reflection of light in my eyes! So for me this is a winner. So please chefs, less gloss, more umph!
This is hardly a recipe; it’s assembly takes seconds but it’s really tasty – if cheese is your thing. It makes great party food and it’s an ideal snack for sharing. To avoid double dipping (I hate that) give everyone a teaspoon and a small ramekin if serving at the table. All you need are four ingredients. How neat is that!
- 250g camembert (in it’s wooden box)
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
- Preheat your oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Remove any wax packaging from around the cheese and also the wooden lid. Replace the wax paper with a square piece of kitchen foil big enough to loosely wrap the cheese in. Place the camembert inside the foil and again in the box.
- On the surface of the cheese score a few lines with a sharp knife and insert the slices of garlic. Sprinkle with thyme and pour over the maple syrup or honey. Scrunch the foil to cover the cheese (remember: not to tight). Place the lot into a baking dish and bake for around 15 minutes until the cheese is soft and spreadable on the inside.
Serve this with some baguettes. Easy!