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Posts Tagged ‘goal 190’

dsc00134There’s nothing special about these muffins. In fact, they’re as bog standard as muffins can get. They happen to be, however, my partner’s absolute favourite muffins for breakfast (or tea, or after supper, or whenever really). So I suppose they deserve their place in my kitchen journal!

Bog standard chocolate muffins (from Susan Reimer’s ‘Muffins: Fast & fantastic’

Ingredients:

  • 255 gr. plain flour (if using self-raising flour, omit the baking powder, but don’t adjust the bicarb of soda)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarb of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 110-170 gr. caster sugar (I don’t use much sugar, because my partner really likes his desserts not-too-sweet)
  • 3-5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (e.g. Green & Black’s which is fantastic)
  • 1 egg
  • 240-260 ml (8-9 fluid oz) milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 90 ml (3 fl oz) vegetable oil or 85 gr. (3 oz) butter, melted (I use vegetable oil, & they turn out fine)
  • Plain chocolate chips, coconut or chopped nuts for topping (optional)

Method:

  • Prepare muffin tins. Preheat oven to 190-200 degrees (gas mark 5-6)
  • In a large bowl, sift together baking powder, flour, bicarb of soda, salt, sugar & cocoa powder
  • In another bowl, beat egg with a fork. Stir in milk & vanilla, followed by oil / melted butter
  • Pour all the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Stir until just combined & no dry flour is visible. Batter will be lumpy (that’s normal)
  • Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle tops with chocolate chips or whatever else you’re using. Bake for 20-25 mins, until the tops spring back when pressed gently.

Variations (the book provides lots of variations, but these are the ones that appeal to me):

  • You can try adding 85-110 gr. chopped glace cherries or black cherries to the batter, to create chocolate cherry muffins.
  • You can also try adding 60 gr. ground or chopped hazelnuts to the dry ingredients to create chocolate hazelnut muffins (or indeed you can add other nuts: macadamias, brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans)
  • Chocolate mocha muffins are also nice, especially for breakfast. Prepare 240-260 ml (8-9 fl oz) strong black coffee (I would do this using espresso powder). Cool completely & use in place of the milk
  • I once tried making chocolate orange muffins, adding 1 teaspoon or so of finely grated orange rind to the wet ingredients.
  • And finally, you can make the classic double chocolate muffins by adding 85 gr. plain chocolate chips to the dry ingredients.

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I was thinking the other day about what desserts- or other foods- would make a good gift. I can’t think of anything better to be given as a gift than a homemade something or other. So here’s what I made a few days ago to give as a gift to a good friend- also as part of my goal 190, which has to do with trying out different muffin recipes.

The recipe is from Nigella Lawson’s ‘How to be a domestic goddess’, and she describes these as ‘baby bundts’, not muffins- and actually makes them in mini-bundt pans. Since I don’t own mini-bundt pans, I made them in a regular muffin tin. These taste absolutely stunning, full of lemony freshness & yoghurty tanginess. I’ve made them many times in the past- always with great success-, and so I thought it was a good opportunity to post about them here.

Baby bundts (aka lemon & yoghurt muffins, from Nigella Lawson’s ‘How to be a domestic goddess’)

Ingredients:

* 1⁄2 cup (125 ml) plain yoghurt, preferably bio
* 75 gr. butter, melted
* 2 large eggs
* Zest of 1 lemon
* 150 gr. plain flour
* 1⁄2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
* Pinch of salt
* 7 tablespoons (125 gr.) caster sugar

For icing:

* 1 1/3 cups (200 gr.) icing sugar
* Juice of 1 lemon

Method:

* Preheat the oven to 170 degrees (gas mark 3) and butter or oil a mini-Bundt tin (or muffin tin, like I did) with at least six moulds
* In a measuring cup, mix the yogurt, melted butter, eggs and lemon zest
* Put the flour, bicarb of soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl
* Mix the wet ingredients into the bowl, folding everything in well, then fill the mini-Bundt molds with the mixture; bake for 25 to 30 minutes
* Cool a bit before turning them out, otherwise they’ll break, but don’t let them cool completely in the pan either, as they will stick. Cool completely on a rack, flat sides down
* To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add enough lemon juice to make an icing thick enough to top the cakes and drizzle down the sides
* Makes 6 cakes.

Variations: Virtually any citrus can be substituted for the lemon. Lime comes to mind, and you can combine lemon and orange, half of each for the cakes and the icing respectively.

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Cooking in advance

In preparation for the imminent birth of our baby, I’ve started a rather manic round of cooking-in-advance so that we have food for that first chaotic month of the baby’s life. I’m trying to not go overboard, because there’s the tendency to cook as if a war is about to break out. But one thing I want to make a lot of is muffins: they make for a great, easy breakfast (or snack) & they can be frozen successfully, one by one. They also defrost relatively quickly. I would love it if any of you have suggestions about food that is good when reheated/defrosted, that I could add to my cooking-in-advance list.

These muffins are extremely easy to make, & they’re good to eat, although a bit too sweet for my taste. I would probably reduce the amount of sugar next time I make them.

Chocolate chip muffins (from Nigella Lawson’s ‘Feast’)

Ingredients:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Half-teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 2 tablespoons best quality cocoa
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 150g chocolate chips (plus more for sprinkling later)
  • 250ml milk
  • 90ml vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Fill a 12-bun muffin tray with paper cases (I used my 6-bun muffin pan, so ended up with 6 large muffins rather than 12 small ones)
  • Weigh out the dry ingredients into a large bowl
  • Pour all the liquid ingredients into a measuring jug
  • Mix both together – it will be a runny batter – then spoon into waiting muffin cases
  • Sprinkle more chocolate chips on top then cook for 20 minutes or until the muffins are risen and springy.

Here are a few more chocolate muffin recipes:

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A few days ago my friend T. asked me to make blueberry muffins for her. So I thought I’d try Nigella Lawson’s recipe from her Domestic Goddess book. If you haven’t already bought this book, I recommend you do so- it’s full of delicious and doable recipes for all sorts of desserts- from simple muffins (like these) to more complex tarts, cheesecakes & trifles, as well as straightforward recipes for good, simple bread-baking. Most of the things I’ve tried from this book turn out well, & an added bonus is Nigella’s well-known style of enthusiastically talking you through the recipes step by step, making for wonderful comfort-reading.

I’m submitting this recipe for the ‘Berrylicious’ event runnings at Nutriferia. The round-up in a few days should be interesting- desserts containing any kind of berries… the best thing for these warm summer days.

Blueberry muffins

Ingredients:

  • 75 gr. unsalted butter, melted (I did this in the microwave: careful that you don’t burn it!)
  • 200 gr. (1 1/3 cups) plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 75 gr. (1/4 cup) caster sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
  • pinch salt
  • 200 ml buttermilk — (or 1/2 cup plain yogurt and 100 ml semi-skimmed milk)
  • 1 large egg
  • 200 gr. blueberries
  • a bit of orange zest (optional) (I didn’t use this)

Method:

  • Melt the butter, and set it aside to cool for a little
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius (gas mark 6)
  • Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl
  • In a measuring cup beat together the buttermilk, (or yogurt and milk), egg, and melted butter
  • Using a wooded spoon and a light hand, pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix gently to combine
  • Don’t worry about lumps; the important thing with muffins is that the mixture isn’t overworked
  • Fold in the blueberries, again keeping mixing to a minimum
  • You could also add orange zest at this point if you wanted
  • Spoon into the muffin tin & bake for 20 minutes, by which time the muffins should be risen and golden and firm on top
  • Eat warm or cooled as you like (they’re great for breakfast, which is how we had them… perhaps with a bit of jam, or simply as they are with a tall glass of cold milk).

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If I were asked what’s my one favourite ingredient ever, I would say, without a doubt, lemon. (And greek yoghurt, as a close second). Being Greek, these choices are not really surprising… Both lemon and yoghurt are considered very basic ingredients in Greek cooking. At home, we use lemon in almost everything: meat dishes, poultry, soups… and personally, I happen to prefer desserts that are based on lemon than those based on chocolate.

These muffins are my submission to the ‘Sugar high Friday’ event, hosted by Tartelette, an event originally created by Jennifer at Domestic Goddess. (By the way this is the first time ever that I participate in a blog event. Gulp!)

Baking the muffins is also part of goal 190- which according to my ‘food list’ of things to do in 1001 days, stipulates baking a different muffin recipe every 2 weeks, and recording the results. I’m very happy with this recipe, and I’ll definitely be making it again, perhaps changing it slightly. The muffins turned out very light, tender and tangy- and most of all, really delicious. Their texture was wonderful too- slightly moist (but not heavy), with a thin, crusty, perfectly rounded top. The recipe is an adaptation of the ‘lemon muffins’ in the muffin book by Susan Reimer.

Lemon, raisin and yoghurt muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain flour (255 gr)
  • 3 tsps baking powder (15 ml)
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda (omit this if you choose not to use yoghurt)
  • a pinch of salt (according to Reimer, 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/3 cup sugar (I used vanilla sugar). Reimer’s recipe asks for 85-110 gr. sugar, so go according to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk, plus 1-2 tbsps if you’re adding raisins
  • 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt (I used full-fat, but I expect the muffins would still be good with low-fat. You can also skip the yoghurt & just use 1 cup milk)
  • freshly grated lemon rind. I used the rind of 2 small lemons
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (90 ml) (You can also use 85 gr. butter if you prefer)
  • about 85 gr. raisins or sultanas (I just used 2-3 handfuls, so add these according to your taste)
  • optional syrup: juice from 2 small lemons & 4 tbsps sugar

Method:

  • Prepare muffin tins & preheat oven to 190-200 degrees celcius (gas mark 5-6)
  • In a large bowl, mix up flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt & sugar. You can sift if you want, but I wasn’t bothered!
  • In another bowl, beat up the egg with a fork
  • Stir in the milk & yoghurt mixture, followed by the lemon rind & oil/butter
  • Pour all liquid ingredients into the dry mixture
  • Add the raisins/sultanas & the extra milk (omit the milk if you choose not to add raisins)
  • Stir until combined, making sure no flour is visible
  • Bake for 20-25′
  • When they’re browned & their tops spring back when pressed gently, take out of the oven. If you want, add a little lemon syrup (made with heating up the lemon juice with the sugar just until the sugar dissolves). Again, go according to taste when using the sugar for the syrup, and indeed when adding the syrup onto the muffins.

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