Wednesday, 16 August 2017

BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

My one year old Olympia tried a blueberry muffin the other day and she absolutely loved it so I decided I should bake some. I haven't made any since I was about 15 and so searched online for an quick and easy recipe. I feel I am cooking all the time at the moment. I like to cook in batches and then freeze it for Olympia but she seems to get through it all so quickly....a little piglet like her mummy!!

This recipe is from Inspired Taste website.

Ingredients for 10 muffins:

195g plain flour
150g granulated sugar
A pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
80ml vegetable oil
1 large egg
80ml-120ml milk (dairy or non dairy)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200g fresh blueberries


Preheat the oven to 200 C.

Line a muffin tray with 10 muffin / cupcake paper cups. Fill the remaining two cup holes with a couple of tablespoons of water to help the muffins bake evenly.


Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. I just used a handheld whisk.



Pour the oil into a measuring jug, crack in the egg and then add enough milk to reach the 240ml line. I added about 120ml. Next pour in the vanilla extract and whisk to combine.



Add the milk mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and use a fork to combine. Do not over mix - you want the batter to be quite thick and "scoopable". If the batter is too dry, add a little bit of milk whereas if it is too runny, add a little flour. I had absolutely no idea whether my batter was the correct consistency, but I just went for it. Finally fold in the blueberries.





Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and bake for 15-20 minutes. I did 20 minutes. To check if the muffins are cooked, the tops need to dry, not wet and if you insert a toothpick, it comes out with crumbs not wet batter. Mine didn't come out with crumbs but it wasn't wet either so I took that as a sign they were cooked.

Transfer to a cooling rack and then tuck in.




I gave one of these to my baby Olympia to do the taste test....and I am proud to say they passed with flying colours. She devoured it in a matter of minutes. I loved how many blueberries were in each muffin (so they are not too naughty). They will only last a few days at room temperature before going stale but they can be frozen. A great snack for the baby (and me)!!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

ITALIAN SEARED BEEF

I have many Jamie Oliver books although I will admit I am not crazy about his recipes. They generally taste very good however I find he always needs so many ingredients and they aren't written in a very straightforward way.....not like my beloved Fay Ripley!! Anyway - good news - in the Sunday Times last week, Jamie shared a few recipes that only need 5 ingredients - heaven for me. Plus they are quick ones too, this one took about 15 minutes. I did alter it slightly as my husband thought it looked a little "light"!

Ingredients for 2 people:

2 tbsp pine nuts
400g rump steak
2 heaped tbsp green pesto
90g rocket
40g Parmesan


Put a large non stick frying pan on a high heat, toasting the pine nuts as it heats up, tossing regularly and removing when golden. This is quite a quick process so watch the pine nuts carefully.


Cut the fat off the rump and chop it finely. Place it in the pan to render and crisp up.





Meanwhile place some cling or greaseproof paper over the steak on a chopping board and bash with a rolling pin or mallet until the steak is about 1cm thick. This tenderises the meat as well. Season generously.



Scoop the fat out of the pan and place to one side. In the same pan, sear the steak for 1-2 minutes on each side (depending on how you like your steak cooked) but ideally you want it golden on the outside but still blushing in the middle. I did Pascal's for a couple of minutes as he likes his steak as rare as possible (still mooing in fact) whereas I prefer mine a little more cooked. Once ready, remove to a board/plate and cut into strips.



Spread the pesto between two plates, add the rocket and steak, and finally scatter over the Parmesan, pine nuts and crispy fat (if you like). Drizzle with some olive oil and serve.




This was a beautiful dish, so simple yet so flavoursome. Individually all the ingredients are strong flavours, yet they mesh so well together. Whilst it felt like a proper supper, it didn't sit heavily in your tummy due to the lack of carbs. Perfect for my husband as he needs to increase the protein intake and cut the carbs which isn't easy when you are a pasta fiend!!

Monday, 7 August 2017

RAREBIT CAULIFLOWER STEAKS

My husband needs to eat less sugar and less carbs....basically his two favourite things. Whilst I believe I am healthy and in pretty good shape, I could do with a little more "clean living" however I love comfort eating, covering everything in cheese and I am addicted to milky coffee with sweetener. 

Anyway the sun was shining yesterday so we decided to barbecue some beef to up our protein intake and then as a side I made these rarebit cauliflower steaks. This is a recipe from Olive magazine although I omitted the beer (!) and it took about 25 minutes.

Ingredients for 2 people:

1 large cauliflower
25g butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
100g grated mature cheddar
1 tsp wholegrain or Dijon mustard
1 small egg yolk
A couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce (optional)



Preheat the oven to 200C / fan 180C / gas mark 6.

Chop the cauliflower in two down the middle and then cut a thick slice from each half to make 2 steaks. You will have some cauliflower left over - we ate this dipped in hummus.



Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Season the cauliflower steaks and then fry on each side until golden. This took about 8 minutes.





Lift the steaks onto a baking tray and roast in the oven for 10 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife. Next time I will cut the stalks off the the cauliflower steaks as they are pretty tough.



Meanwhile put the cheese, mustard, egg yolk and Worcestershire sauce (if using) into a bowl and mash together. Season once again. Spoon the cheese mix over the cauliflower steaks when they are ready and grill for 4-5 minutes or until golden and bubbling.








These were really good and could be a meal in itself. I love welsh rarebit, it is something we had at weekends for lunch during my childhood and using cauliflower here is certainly a healthier version. I reckon my daughter Arabella would also be a fan. A great alternative side dish.