Friday, 26 February 2010

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins (another version)

This is a slightly different version of blueberry and buttermilk muffins. The other ones I made contained demarara sugar and butter, while these have white sugar and oil.

Put flour and sugar in a bowl, and in a large jug put oil, buttermilk, egg and vanilla.

Add the buttermilk mixture and blueberries to the flour and sugar, and stir until combined.

Because of the white sugar, the mixture is very pale - I normally use brown or demarara sugar, so I was surprised at how white it was.

Spoon into muffin trays and cook at 200 C for around 20 minutes. My little muffins took 15 mins.
The cooked muffins have a golden, crispy top and are very light and fluffy inside. I'm used to the more solid, substantial and sticky muffins, so to me these are a bit like the 'white bread' version - not as tasty - more like a light cupcake.

But very popular with everyone else, and they come out of the muffin papers very cleanly with no residue, which is unusual for a muffin!

2½ cups (375g) self-raising flour
¾ cup (165g) caster sugar
1 egg, beaten lightly
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup (160ml) vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
¾ cup (180ml) buttermilk
100 g blueberries

Based on this recipe.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Mango and Sugar Plums

I had to take photos of this mango and the sugar plums and put them on here, because they're so beautiful!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins

I love muffins made with buttermilk - it seems to give them a slightly sour tang (as in cheesecake rather than off milk!) which goes especially well with blueberries.

The recipe started as a loaf, but now I use it for muffins instead, as it's more practical for school lunches.

Put flour, baking powder, bicarb, nutmeg and sugar in a large bowl. In a jug put egg, buttermilk and have melted butter ready.

(I don't put the butter in with the other wet ingredients to keep it warm and fully melted.)

Add buttermilk/egg and melted butter to the flour mixture, and stir in gently. When almost combined, add blueberries and continue to stir until everything is just combined.

Spoon into muffin pans and cook at 190 C for 15-20 minutes (my smaller ones took 15 mins, and the bigger ones took 20 mins).

I had about 4 tablespoons of mixture left over and didn't have room for another muffin pan in the oven, so I oiled my mini quiche dish and made a little muffin cake instead. I sprinkled some extra demarara on the top and we shared a mini cake for dessert.

2 cups (300 g ) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb of soda
small grating of nutmeg
1 cup (220 g) demarara sugar
1 punnet (175 g) blueberries
1 egg, lightly beaten
60 g butter, melted
1 cup (250 ml) buttermilk

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Minced Beef Wellington

I made this for dinner last night, and as it wasn't a spectacular success, I wasn't sure whether to blog about it. But I decided to add it anyway, if only to remind myself how it turned out.

When I say it wasn't a success, it wasn't that no one liked it, because it was eaten and enjoyed. But I wasn't sure the time and effort it took was worth the result. Although as I discovered the next day, it tastes much nicer when it's cold.

(This recipe is from Jamie Oliver's book Ministry of Food.)

Firstly fry all the chopped vegetables in a large frying pan, in a little olive oil. Add a generous handful of frozen peas - or sweetcorn, which is what I used. Put them in a large bowl and allow to cool.

Add minced beef, egg, salt and pepper; and I also added a couple of shakes of Worcestershire sauce because I couldn't see how this wasn't going to turn out to be very bland otherwise!

Roll out the pastry to the size of a small tea towel (according to JO) or if you've got the ready-rolled pastry, defrost 4 or so slices.

Shape meat mixture into a sausage shape - or if you've got the square pastry, it's going to be several sausage shapes. Put the 'sausage' at one end and roll it all up. (If you have a tea towel-shaped bit of pastry, place it along the long edge.)

Roll it up completely...

...and then seal the ends. I used egg along the edges, but in the end I decided I would have been better with no 'glue' as the pastry was quite gummy already and the egg was making things more slippery.

I ended up making some little pasties aswell.

Put them on a baking tray, brush with egg and cook at 180 C for an hour. In the photos in the book, there are no slits cut in the top to let out steam, but I thought it was better to have them.

The cooked pies aren't very pretty! There was quite a lot of leaking out of the holes. But they got eaten up, with tomato sauce, and were quite filling.

I suppose my problem with this is that the filling was a little bland (I know I didn't follow the recipe exactly but I don't think that would have made a lot of difference) but then I'm not a big fan of meat pie in any form - I find they often have an unappetising 'steamy' flavour - so maybe that's why it didn't appeal to me much.

Part of one of the long 'wellingtons' was left over, and I kept it in the fridge overnight. We ate it at lunch time, and it was actually *much* nicer cold. So I would suggest this would make a good lunch dish or picnic food, cooked the day before.

1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 potato, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
2 large flat mushrooms, finely chopped (I left this out)
2 cloves garlic, minced/grated - I chopped mine finely
4 sprigs rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped (I used one sprig)

a big handful frozen peas (I used frozen corn)
1 large egg, beaten
500g good quality minced beef
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g puff pastry, or 4 or 5 sheets of ready-rolled

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Cypriot Orange Cake

I saw this orange cake on Anna's blog and decided that today - a cool and rainy Saturday - is the perfect day to try it out.

I actually got my eldest son to do most of the work, while I was making dinner - it's one of those cakes where you just mix everything together and put it in a cake pan.

Put the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar) in a big bowl, and in a jug combine eggs, oil, vanilla extract and orange zest and juice. Mix it all together gently.

Pour mixture into an oiled bundt tin or a 23 cm round tin.

Cook for one hour (mine took 50 mins) at 180 C. Leave to cool in pan and then remove onto a cake rack.

As Anna says, it's light and fragrant - orangey and tangy and not too sweet, and very easy to make.

3 cups self-raising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
3 tsp baking powder
zest and juice of 2 oranges
4 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla essence

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Berry Sorbet

This was going to be Nectarine Sorbet, as I had some overripe nectarines that needed using - but when I went to cut them up I realized I'd waited too long and they had lost most of their taste. In the freezer I had some frozen mixed berries, so I used them instead.

Put 225 g sugar in a saucepan and add 150 ml water. Heat gently until sugar has dissolved.

When sugar has dissolved, increase heat and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool. (I forgot to boil the sugar and it worked out fine - although it took ages to freeze, so maybe this was why.)

Puree or blend about 450 g fruit and then seive to remove any seeds. Stir fruit into the cooled sugar.

I heated frozen mixed berries in a pan, mashed them up and then pushed them through a seive.

Make in an ice cream maker. I stood my sugar/fruit mixture in the freezer for a couple of hours to make sure it was totally cold, and then churned it in the ice cream maker. It wouldn't freeze convincingly, but after a night in the freezer it was perfect - not too soft, not too hard.

Delicious! A beautiful colour and intensely flavoured.

225 g granulated sugar
150 ml water
450 g fruit