Monday, 28 December 2009

Christmas Morning Muffins

I made these orange and cranberry muffins on Christmas morning - it's the fourth year in a row I've cooked them on Christmas Day, so I suppose it's becoming a sort of tradition! They are a Nigella recipe, from 'Feast', I think.

Of all the muffins I make, these are my favourite - they contain butter and are have a crunchy topping, so they are a little more luxurious than the others - but they also seem to have a better texture on the inside.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Squeeze orange juice into a measuring jug, then add milk until it reaches 150 ml.

Add melted butter and egg, then beat to combine.

Add wet to dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Lightly fold in cranberries and fill muffin cases.

Top with cinnamon and sugar mixture then cook for 15 - 20 mins at 200 C. Nice spread with butter.

200 g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb
75 g demarara sugar
grating of nutmeg
juice of 1 small orange (about 100 ml)
50 ml milk (approx)
60 g unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
75 g - 150 g dried cranberries (I use a handful)
Topping: 2 tsp demarara mixed with 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Strawberry and Cream Cake

My choice of birthday cake this time, and as it's summer, I thought it would be nice to have some summer fruit.

I'd never made this cake before - it's from Tessa Kiros' book 'Falling Cloudberries' where it's called 'Sipi's Strawberry Cake' - and as strawberries are delicious at the moment, I thought it might be a good time of year to make it.

In one bowl put the flour, sugar and 1 tsp of baking powder. Mix in the melted butter, milk and then add the egg yolks and beat in well.

In another bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, adding the remaining 2 tsp of baking powder as they start to become frothy.

Fold the egg whites into the cake mixture.

Pour the mixture into a 22 cm springform pan, greased and floured.
I lined the base with baking paper, too.

Cook at 180 C for about 1 hour until top is golden and a skewer comes out clean.

Let it cool in pan for a while and then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
When cool, cut in half horizontally with a long bread knife. Put base of cake on a serving plate.

This is where you can start filling and decorating the cake. The recipe said to wash and hull the strawberries, leaving a few with leaves if you like for the top.

Dice half the strawberries and put in a bowl with a tsp of lemon juice and a tbsp of the icing sugar. The other half you can use to decorate the top of the cake.

Whip up the cream into soft peaks with the rest of the icing sugar. Mix the chopped strawberries into a third of the cream and spread over the bottom of the cake (I put a layer of cream then the strawberries), then add the top of the cake and spread over the rest of the cream. Decorate with the remaining strawberries. And blueberries as they are very pretty and delicious!

Add candles, have everyone sing 'Happy Birthday' loudly, and then don't get to blow any candles out yourself because your children are so keen on helping. It's what it's all about.

This was a really lovely cake - a lot of that had to do with the fruit being so perfect, but the sponge was substantial and tasty - not a flimsy Victoria Sponge-type thing.

I only added 300 ml of cream to my cake and I thought it was plenty - Tessa Kiros uses 750 ml.

220 g plain flour
180 g sugar
3 tsp baking powder
180 g butter, melted
185 g milk, warm
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract

to decorate:
800 g strawberries (I used about 600 g)
1 tsp lemon juice
4 tbsp icing sugar
750 ml thick/double cream (I used a 300 ml tub)

Best eaten immediately but leftovers will keep well in refrigerator overnight.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Banana Oat Bars

I saw this recipe in a magazine - in an ad for soymilk - although I used normal cows' milk instead.

I thought it looked interesting because it contains no added oil/butter which would make it a pretty low-fat snack if it worked out.

Stir together flours, oats, sugar, sultanas, baking powder and cinnamon (if using - I left this out) in a large bowl.

In another bowl, beat together banana, milk, egg and egg white.

Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and fold to combine.

Put mixture in a lined 20 x 30 cm pan (I used a 27 x 18 cm) ...

... and cook at 180 cm for 30 - 40 mins until golden on top and until skewer comes out clean.
Cut into pieces when cool.

This worked out really well, even though I managed to overcook it slightly and it was a bit more dry than it should have been.

I really enjoyed it - the texture is hard to describe but it was sort of like a chewy sponge; the taste was quite a lot like an old fashioned bread pudding (not the hot bread and butter pudding) and the banana flavour was very mild.

I enjoyed it even more knowing that it contained no oil or butter. I'll be making this again.

110 g (2/3 cup) plain wholemeal flour
100 g (2/3 cup) plain flour
90 g (1 cup) rolled oats
70 g (1/3 cup) brown sugar
90 g (1/2 cup) sultanas
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 ripe bananas, mashed
60 ml (1/4 cup) milk
1 egg
1 egg white

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Coconut Ice

I made this coconut ice for the cake stall at my younger sons' school. I've never made it before because I know it is very rich and a full recipe is way too much for our family! But cutting it up and sharing it sounds like a better idea.

Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl (or use 'icing mixture' and don't bother sifting, which is what I did), add desiccated coconut and stir the two together.

Add the condensed milk and egg white and stir together with a spoon, and then your hands, until it forms a soft dough.

The finished dough

Divide into two halves and knead in a couple of drops of food colouring to one half.

Press one half into a lined baking tin (20 x 20 cm or rectangular tin of similar size), then press the other half over the top.

I used my hands to spread out the dough, and then evened it out with the back of a metal spoon.

I wasn't sure the two layers would stick together so I brushed a little water over the first layer just in case.

Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours until firm.

Cut into pieces with a sharp knife. It apparently will keep for a week in the refrigerator, although mine was all sold the next day, and our 'sample pot' only lasted a few minutes before being gobbled up.

840 g (5 1/4 cups) icing sugar, sifted
200 g (2 1/2 cups) desiccated coconut
395 g can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg white, beaten lightly
pink food colouring (I used red)

Recipe from AWW