Sue’s jaffa muffins

EAT ME. please.

I have a very real first world problem. I think this is even worse than when my air conditioner went onto turbo and made my apartment so cold I had to put on a jumper, during a heat wave. At the moment, get this, I have too many baked goods and not enough friends to eat them because I’m temporarily living abroad. I know!

In Melbourne it was easy, bake stuff, stuff disappeared. Bake stuff, stuff disappeared. People came over for wine, after two bottles of sem sauv they left merrily with a doggie bag of biscuits for work the next day. Sometimes I’d give stuff to the neighbours. Or, I’d mail them to Perth in lieu of buying people real gifts. Er, I mean, out of love.

Believe me, I’m doing my best. I eat a lot and love to eat. But I also like variety and cook to wind down. I need some hungry friends. The girls at work are happily taking some, but they’re skinny I tells you, skinny, and not eating enough.

This AWESOME muffin recipe is pinched from Sue, who lived next door to us when I was a kid. After school I’d go over and tell her about my day at primary school and play with her toddler. She’d often have these muffins fresh out of the oven. And I bet she was grateful I ate them. After all, food is best shared.

And yea, they taste just like jaffa lollies.

Ingredients
2 oranges: grate the rind from one orange, then squeeze them to make 1/2 cup of orange juice
125 grams butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups plain flour
90 grams dark chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190 C. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with patty cases and spray with cooking oil.
  2. Grate orange rind and squeeze the juice or the orange to make your 1/2 cup. Mix together butter, eggs, sugar, orange rind and orange juice.
  3. Add baking powder and baking soda, mix with a fork to get all the lumps out, you’ll see the rising agents working.
  4. Fold in flour and chocolate chips and mix until just combined.
  5. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and they bounce back to touch. Makes 12

Healthy? Until more of my baked goods disappear everything is calorie-free. Yes, I have the power. (update: they got eaten. 276 calories a muffin.)

Gluten free: No, and I’ve tried adapting it. No luck, they’re just not right.

Storage:They freeze well, otherwise best eaten within a couple of days. Store in airtight container.

Little aerodynamic movie missiles aka jaffas.

Moroccan lentil soup with corn bread

Tonight I am very grateful that I have leftover soup in my freezer. It’s raining and I may be feeling slightly worse for wear after some red wine last night. I would even opt for take-out if it didn’t require me to find a) an umbrella, b) my purse.

My lovely vegetarian friend Megan recently made this Moroccan lentil soup – a recipe we’re both fond of – and it’s also happens to be what’s in my freezer. As my defrosting soup isn’t that photogenic, here’s one she prepared earlier (thanks Megs!):

Megan has pretty bowls

Preparation time: 20 minutes of cooking, then let it cook for an hour and a half.
Servings: 6

Ingredients
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoon fresh ginger
6 cups water
1 cup red lentils
1 can chick peas, drained
1 can cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
1 can diced tomatoes
½ cup diced carrots
½ cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil

Method
In large pot sauté the onions, garlic and ginger in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes.

Add everything else (ten out of ten on the lazy scale!). Bring to a boil for a few minutes then simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or longer, until the lentils are soft.

Serve and enjoy!

Megan says: It was YUM! I added a lot more spice than the recipe said, as well as five cloves of garlic instead of two to keep the idiots from Twilight away. I used a can of borlotti beans instead of chick peas, as I didn’t have any. It all worked awesomely – thanks! I even have enough to feed me, the neighbour & Next Week Megan. I think Next Week Megan will be happy.

Healthy? About 230 calories per serve.

Gluten free: Yep!

Storage: Will last in the fridge for a couple of days and freezes well.

and now for….

Cornbread muffins

You can view cornbread muffins as a separate post to print out here – http://clevermuffin.com/2011/05/15/cornbreadmuffins.

This recipe is awesome as it uses natural yogurt instead of butter, making cornbread on the side a smashingly healthy choice. Yet, they still taste buttery, it’s a baking mystery I tells you!


Ingredients
½ cup flour
½ cup of cornmeal (also known as polenta – found in with the polish food in UK supermarkets and with the pasta in Australian)
1 tablespoon sugar (more or less to taste)
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup plain fat-free yogurt
1 egg
¼ whole kernel corn, drained

Method
Preheat oven to 180 C. In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients. Then put everything else in and give it a good stir. Pour in to a sprayed square tray or fill eight muffin cups to about ½ full, as I have.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes, best served warm.  When I defrost them to have with leftovers, I often pop them back in to the oven to give them that crustiness again.

Healthy? 80 calories a serve/muffin.

Gluten free: Switch out the flour for your GF flour alternative and these taste exactly the same.

Do: add an optional ¼ cup jalapenos and/or olives – it’s great if you are making it to go with chilli con carne, not so much with Moroccan lentil soup, too many flavours.

Storage: Store in an airtight container or they freeze well. Putting them back in the oven for 10 minutes when serving with leftovers is extra nice.

Soup recipe modified from http://www.allrecipes.com

Ginger nuts

These are the best dunking biscuits in the world. This recipe makes them just like the ones you get from the packet. But fresher. And it makes your whole kitchen smells like ginger bread men.

This is the required number of ginger nuts for a tea party of one.

Ingredients
60 grams butter, softened
1 ½ cups caster sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup treacle (maple syrup works well too)
1/3 cup golden syrup
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ginger

Method
1. Preheat oven to 200 C. Combine the butter and caster sugar.
2. Mix in the egg, treacle and golden syrup.
3. Add the flour, baking soda and ginger and mix well.
4. Place neatly heaped teaspoons of the mixture on a tray lined with baking paper. I tend to roll them in to balls. Leave plenty of room for them to expand.
5. Press down the balls a bit with the back of floured wooden spoon.

Bake for 12 minutes or until well browned. Leave to cool on a rack. Makes about 40.

Healthy? About 80 calories a cookie.

Gluten free? No. I haven’t tried to adapt this one, not sure if they’d bind.

Storage? In an airtight container. If not airtight the moisture makes them soften and go chewy.

Do: Try these with red wine. It’s amazingly good. If you only take one thing away from this blog, you must try that.

Chocolate caramel slice

A word of warning, this is the second time I’ve tried to write this up. The first time I started, got very hungry, left for the kitchen and never came back. This time I’ve come armed with tea, cookies and jam on toast to help me through (for, surprise, surprise there is no chocolate caramel slice left in the house).

To get yours to look like the picture, double the amount of chocolate topping outlined below. It was an accident as I was originally halving the recipe, but it turned out to be a fabulous mistake. I also used leftover easter eggs chocolate, which worked really well.

Ingredients: Base
1 cup flour
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
115 grams butter, melted

Ingredients: Filling
1/3 cup golden syrup
115 grams butter, melted
2 x 400g cans sweetened condensed milk

Ingredients: Chocolate Topping (I doubled this)
170 grams dark chocolate
3 teaspoons olive oil

Method: Base
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (350F).
2. Place the flour, coconut, sugar, and butter in a bowl and mix. It should be crumbly, but sticking together.
3. Press the mixture into a rectangular 20x30cm (ish) baking tin that has been lined with baking paper. I also sprayed the baking paper with olive oil spray for good measure. Press the mixture in really well to give yourself a good base for cutting later.
4. Bake for around 15-18 minutes (until browned).

Method: Caramel Filling
1. Place the golden syrup, butter and condensed milk in a saucepan over low heat and stir for 7 minutes, or until it has thickened slightly.
2. Pour over the cooked base.
3. Bake for 20 minutes (check after 15), or until the caramel is golden. The caramel can bubble up a little with the cooking, but it will settle upon cooling and will be covered with chocolate.
4. Refrigerate until the slice is cold – about two to three hours.

Method: Topping
1. Place the chocolate and oil in a saucepan over low heat and stir until melted.
2. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
3. Spread over the slice.
4. Refrigerate until firm.
5. Cut with a heated knife.

Cut in to 2cm squares, this makes 36.

Don’t: Melt the butter in the microwave on a high heat. It exploded everywhere and then you have to put more in your jug to make up for the stuff all over the microwave. Not to mention clean the microwave.

And really don’t: stick your finger in the hot caramel. Not that I’d know….

Healthy? Really? Do you really have to ask if? I’ll tell you what, I will write it very small, and then you don’t have to read it unless you magnify the page, for ignorance is bliss. Like this slice. Calorie count: 150  a slice (which really isn’t that bad anyway).

Gluten free? The base is not. The GF recipes I have seen just substitute the flour with GF flour, but I haven’t tried it. With all the butter and sugar, I think it would be fine and bind well enough. Or, you could do something like:

GF alternate for base
Ingredients
170 grams digestive type GF biscuits from the supermarket, crushed
60 grams butter, melted

Method
Combine the digestive biscuits and butter together. Press firmly into the base of the tin. No need to cook it for this method. Then just add the caramel sauce on top and keep going as above.

Storage: In an airtight container.

Source: Modified from Donna Hay “Modern Classics book 2: Cookies, Biscuits + Slices, Small Cakes, Desserts, Hot Puddings, Pies + Tarts” pp. 16-17.

Fruit and nut flapjacks (granola bars)

Would you like a granola bar with that flapjack?

I love granola bars. I ate a bucket load when I first moved to London because Starbucks has awesome granola bars and free wifi. Handy for the hungry, unemployed traveller.

Then, once I was employed I went to a local café and asked for a granola bar and was looked at like I had two heads. Turns out that there is a lot of international debacle about what is a flapjack and what is a granola bar.


Call them what you like, they’re awesome oaty-fruity-nutty goodness. I’ve eaten a lot, but I like Starbucks ones the best. I tried to recreate them – there is a Starbucks recipe on line, don’t be fooled, it’s NOTHING like the in-store version – and after three tries I’ve come up with this recipe.

Ingredients
70 grams butter
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
300 grams honey/golden syrup or 150 grams of each. You can add more for extra moistness
1/2 cup oat bran (not the cereal, this is found with the oats in the supermarket)
2 cups of oats
50 grams sunflower seeds (1/4 cup)
50 grams pumpkin seeds (1/4 cup)
90 grams almonds (about 1 cup, or mix it up with half-half hazelnuts and almonds)
200 grams dried fruit (I used glazed apricots, coconut, dates, sultanas)
Dash of cinnamon and ginger
2 spoonful of peanut butter

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C and grease a 18cm square tin.
  2. Melt butter, vanilla essence and honey/syrup in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer over a low heat.
  3. Mix everything else together in a large bowl.
  4. Pour hot butter mix into bowl, stir well.
  5. Spoon into prepared tin and bake for around 20 minutes, until golden on top.
  6. Once pulled out of the over, flatten mix with rolling pin to pack the mixture tightly, if not packed well enough it won’t stick together. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then cut up while still warm.

The flattening of the mix with the rolling pin/tin/bottle (I found a cider bottle worked well) is key here. There are two ways to make flapjacks, I’ve tried both and find the below method (which doesn’t get baked) produces a slightly chewer, firmer bar. But the above is more like Starbucks and my preference. Take your pick and let me know.

A handy rolling pin, and a reward for baking done!

Alternate method
Same recipe. Preheat oven to 180. Mix together oats, oat bran, seeds and nuts. Mix ingredients thoroughly and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Toast this mixture in the oven for approximately 8 minutes tossing the mixture every 2 minutes so it doesn’t burn.

Meanwhile melt butter, vanilla essence and honey/syrup in a saucepan, simmer on low heat. When the oat mixture is done toasting, place in bowl and add hot butter mixture. Mix and transfer to a baking tray. Then, place wax paper or baking paper over the mixture and press down to pack the mixture down tightly. If not pressed down tightly enough it won’t stick together. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then cut up. Leave in pan to cool completely.

Healthy? Cut into about 20 or 24 squares you’re looking at about 180 calories a square. But it’s dependent on what fruit and nut you use.

Gluten free? Yep. Just use the GF oats. If you can’t find GF oatbran, substituting normal oats, or quick oats will work fine.

Storage: In an airtight container. No eggs means it’ll last for ages.

Don’t: Just add more fruit and nut because it’s yummy. Been there, done that, had it all fall apart on me.

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