This is the first recipe for the month of December, the end of a very eventful and busy year…and it’s cold. Well, not as cold as parts of continental Europe – it was a balmy 18°C today on this little island – but the temperature does go down a bit as soon as the sun goes down. This, to me, means snuggling on the sofa, cosy throws, candles, Christmas lights (something of an obsession of mine), binge-watching episodes of The Crown, roasts, baking and bowls of soup with warm, crusty herb bread.
Continue reading Roasted Pumpkin and Carrot Soup
Spring has truly arrived on this little island. The Sun was out beautifully this morning and it was a lovely day. Temperatures are so mild during the day, but we still need to keep the jackets out for the evenings. It’s the perfect weather. Not too warm, not too cold.
During the past few days I’ve been feeling as if I had a nasty fall packaged with a good blow on the head, leaving me with a headache and some bumps, lumps and scratches. Said fall could have been a result of a serious lack of concentration. My mind could have been somewhere else. It could have happened…
Continue reading Vegetable Soup, or a variation on Minestra
This pasta recipe has practically written itself. I think this has been one of my busiest weeks so far, and one of the most productive, though not in terms of work. I’m really behind on my writing course work, so unfortunately I have to try to remedy that all day tomorrow. I won’t be able to finish everything but I have allotted the whole morning to that. Tough. But now we have aircon units in the office so at least I can continue working even through the afternoon heat. *Pumping fists in the air*
It’s been a fab Friday so far though. There’s a lovely cool breeze around. I spent my morning, taking a mountain of glass jars and bottles to the recycling bins down the road, then I caught up with an old friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in ages, spent more than two hours talking about everything under the sun over a nice meal, squeezed in a little veggie shop while comparing notes on various recipes,
I also bought a new lime coloured dress…Shh and returned home right after lunchtime. Life is good.
Continue reading Butternut squash Lasagne (#PastaFriday)
It’s still reasonably cold in the Med and I’m still nursing a very bad cold. My neighbour’s kid is having a ball running amuck right above my head, most probably sitting on a desk chair and sprinting across the corridor. Either that or playing boċċi. Who knows? Can’t imagine the grief he’s giving his mum, but I can definitely picture the grief he’s giving me!
So just when my head starts to ache I decide to post two recipes on C&T. Simple stuff but they are just the things I want to eat when I’m inside with quite some time to spend in the kitchen. There will be plenty of chances in the future for chips. That’s exactly what’s keeping me going! *Checking my forehead for fever*
Continue reading Two Simple Recipes: Vegetable Soup and Garlic and Chilli Kale
Back to baking. This is the first recipe I tried from Baking Made Easy. It’s also one of the reasons I bought this book. Now if you read one of my previous entries you will know the story behind this, so I won’t bore you again with it. What I will say is that recipes on television almost always look better and/or easier than in real life, and this was one of those instances. However I must say that with some little tweaks here and there these muffins will be some of the best you’ve ever tried. I really really like them. They are also the first sweet and savoury muffins I ever tasted or made. I think this is also one of the rare occasions where I used self-raising and wholemeal flours, but you will see more of these in future posts.
The usual note before we start: Lorraine’s recipe calls for pumpkin. Now I guess this will be ideal for my Maltese friends because you can find pumpkin all year round in Malta. (Please correct me if I’m wrong.) In the UK it’s only in season in October/November, so I made these muffins with butternut squash instead.
I also would suggest to roast the pumpkin or butternut cubes on a baking tray, whichever one you choose. Please do not boil or steam them because you will end up with soggy muffins (I was about to write “soggy mess” there for a minute.) You want to dehydrate them first. Take my word for it: I really wished I did that for my first batch!
This batter will yield around 12 muffins. Do not worry if they will not rise while baking – they are not being temperamental, they are meant to be somewhat flat. You can substitute the bicarbonate of soda with more baking powder if you like. Ms. Pascale uses fresh rosemary. I had to use the dried version.
- 180g self-raising flour
- 130g wholemeal flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tablespoons dried rosemary, finely chopped
- 240g pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into 0.5cm cubes and dry-roasted
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 100ml plain yoghurt
- 275 ml milk
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 60ml vegetable oil
- 2-3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6, and insert 12 paper cases into your muffin tin. You could also cut squares of baking paper and push them into each hole. The finished product will look like you bought them from a pastry shop.
- In a large bowl sift both flours, the baking powder and bicarb, and stir in the rosemary.
- In another bowl put 160g of the pumpkin/butternut cubes, eggs, yoghurt, milk, honey and vegetable oil and stir until well combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and use a large spoon to mix: not more than 12 mixes. It’s important not to over-mix as you will end up with a dense muffin at the end. Leave the mixture to stand for 5-10 minutes.
- Then pour the mixture into the individual muffin cases. Now sprinkle the remaining pumpkin or butternut cubes and the pumpkin seeds onto the batter. Bake for 25 minutes at which point always insert a skewer at the centre of the muffins to check if they are cooked.
These muffins taste great at any time of the day!