Monday, 30 November 2015

Choc Chunk, Zucchini and Poppy Seed Muffins

I kinda travelled through a wormhole to get this post out.  You see, most days my blog posts reflect what I've/we've eaten that day, but I made these muffins a while ago and the photos have been sitting in my, ahem... filing system, forgotten and Lost in Space.  I stumbled across them while I was doing some filing and decided Maureen, John, Don, Judy, Penny, Will, Dr. Smith and The Robot shouldn't be the only ones to enjoy these (inter)stellar morels.

Choc Chunk, Zucchini and Poppy Seed Muffins
Makes 12

180g grape seed oil
50g coconut sugar
150g golden caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine Pink Himalaya salt
Zest of one orange
3 eggs
90g wholemeal flour
100g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/12 teaspoons ground cinnamon
260g coarsely grated zucchini
140g walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
100g dark chocolate chunks
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Demerara sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 180C.  Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper liners.  Set aside.

Put the oil, coconut sugar, golden caster sugar, salt, orange zest and eggs into a bowl and whisk to combine.  Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, stir the wholemeal flour, plain flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon together.  Add the oil mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Gently stir in the zucchini, walnuts, chocolate chunks and poppy seeds.

Divide the batter evenly among the paper liners and sprinkle the tops with Demerara sugar.  Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until the muffins are brown and spring back when lightly touched in the middle.

Leave to cool slightly on a wire rack.  Delicious on their own or split and smeared with softened cream cheese.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015


If you're looking for the fluffiest, most tender-crumbed naan to mop up your curry sauce with, look no further.  There's naan better than these.  Sorry!

slightly adapted from here
Makes 12

450g baker's flour, plus extra for dusting and adjusting for stickiness
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt 
150ml lukewarm water
150ml lukewarm whole milk
3 teaspoons dried yeast
1/12 teaspoons caster sugar
150ml plain biodynamic yoghurt
60g unsalted butter melted

Put the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.  Set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl, place the water, milk, yeast and sugar and whisk to combine.  Set aside for 10 minutes until foamy.  Add the yoghurt and butter and whisk to incorporate.  

Pour the yeast mixture into the dry mixture and mix with your hands until it comes together.  It will be a fairly wet dough.  It will come together as you handle it, but add a little more flour if it is too sticky.  Scrape the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes.  I used a bench scraper to spread the dough out and scrape it back together because mine was too sticky to knead at this point.  (Remember, the wetter the better.) Scrape the dough back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Leave the dough to double in size in a warm spot for 30 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and cut it into 12 even portions.  If the dough is still too wet to handle, add a little more flour until it is manageable.  Stretch and press each portion out with your hands until it is a  a rough teardrop shape and about 5mm thick.

Heat a dry frying pan (I used a cast iron skillet) over high heat and get it screaming hot.  Fry each portion, one at a time,  for 2 minutes on each side, or until puffed and pleasingly blistered and scorched in places.  As you take them off the heat, pop them into a clean tea towel to keep them warm and let them steam a bit.  If you wish to cook them beforehand, you can wrap them in a layer of baking paper and then a layer of foil and pop them in a warm oven.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Chocolate Ripple Meringues with Glazed Strawberries

Got kids off to school.

Ate meringue and drank coffee for breakfast.

Tried to the mimic Drakes Hotline Bling dance moves whilst clearing the breakfast dishes.

Smashed my morning run.

Had coffee with friends.

Made two trips to the store. (Didn't get half of what I needed on the first trip).

Lunched on hummus and avocado on toasted sourdough. Apple for "lussert"

Set up and shot some photos of CAKE.

Closed my eyes, gritted my teeth and tackled my laundry. (Does it ever end?)

Made Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs for dinner.

Made a Mocha Hazelnut Marble Cake with Mocha Mascarpone Ganache. (Recipe coming soon.)

Collapsed in a heap on the sofa.

That's my day in a nutshell.

Chocolate Ripple Meringues with Glazed Strawberries
slightly adapted from here
Makes 6

For the Meringues:
1/2 lemon, for cleaning the bowl you'll whip your egg whites in
4 egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

For the Glazed Strawberries:
1/3 cup strawberry jam
1/4 cup water
250g fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

Vanilla Cream:
300ml thickened cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar,sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the Meringues:
Take the cut side of the lemon and rub the inside of the bowl to your electric mixer. This cleans the bowl of any residual grease. Discard the lemon.

Place the egg whites into the bowl and usinf the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until firm peaks form. While the mixer is still running, add the sugar one tablespoonful at a time. Once all the sugar is incorporated, mix at high speed for 10 minutes. The meringue should be thick and glossy.

Keep the mixer going and add the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla. Mix until thoroughly combined. Remove the bowl, sift the cocoa powder over the mixture and, using a large metal spoon, gently fold the cocoa powder into the meringue until you have ripple of chocolate through the white meringue. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 140C.  Dollop a teaspoon of meringue mixture onto the corners of a large baking sheet and stick a large piece of baking paper onto it (this will stop the paper from moving around when you spoon the meringues on). Spoon the meringue mixture into six large rounds, making a small indent in the middle of each with the back of the spoon.
Put the tray into the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 120C. Bake for 1 1/4 hours.   Turn the oven off and allow the meringues to cool in the oven for a few hours. 

Make the Glaze:
place the jam and water into a small saucepan over low heat and stir until the jam is warm and syrupy.  Remove from the heat and stir through half the strawberries, retaining some for topping the meringues.  Set aside.  

Make the Vanilla Cream:
Put all the ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip until soft peaks form.  Set aside.

To Serve:
Fill the indent on the top of each meringue with the vanilla cream.  Spoon the glazed strawberries on top, letting the syrup run over the vanilla cream and down the sides of the meringue.  Top with extra slices of fresh strawberries.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Buttermilk Scones with Maple Blueberry Compote and Whipped Cream

When my youngest son was little, he used to call blueberries, bluebuddies.  Of course, he grew out of it, but whenever he says blueberries, I still hear "bluebuddies".  I guess I'll never grow out of it.

Buttermilk Scones with Maple Blueberry Compote and Whipped Cream
Makes 12

For the Scones:
450g plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
50g icing sugar
Pinch fine sea salt
125g cold unsalted butter, diced
150ml buttermilk, plus extra for brushing

For the Compote:
1 cup fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons maple syrup

To Serve:
300ml thickened cream, whipped to soft peaks

Make the Scones:
Preheat the oven to 220C.  Line a large baking sheet with baking paper,  Set aside.

Put the flour, baking powder, icing sugar, salt and butter into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment,  Mix on medium-low speed until the you have a course meal, some of the butter will still be in pea-size pieces.  Add enough of the buttermilk to bring the dough together into a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Press it out until it is 2cm thick.  Use a 6cm round cutter to cut the scones out, gathering up remaining dough and gently pressing it out again to cut more scones.

Put the scones onto the prepared baking sheet and brush them with buttermilk.  Bake for about 15 minutes, or until they have risen and are golden brown.

Make the Compote:
Put the blueberries and maple syurp into a small pan over medium heat.  Bring to boil and cook until the blueberries start to burst.  Remove from heat and leave to cool.

To Serve:
Split the scones in half, dollop with whipped cream and top with compote... along side a pot of hot tea.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Croissant, Chocolate and Hazelnut Breakfast Pudding

My breakfast is usually pretty virtuous: porridge, muesli, granola, eggs, smoothies, toasted sourdough with avo.  But sometimes I like to push the boat out - a boat made of croissants and chocolate floating on a lake of cream.

Croissant, Chocolate and Hazelnut Breakfast Pudding
slightly adapted from here
Serves 8 - 10

4 large eggs
120g caster sugar
200ml thickened cream, plus extra to serve
600ml milk
Finely grated zest of one orange
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large croissants, split in half
150g Nutella
300g fresh ricotta

Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced.

Spread half of croissant halves with Nutella and the other half of the halves with ricotta.  Sandwich them so that you have Nutella and ricotta sandwiches.  Put the croissants in a baking dish in one, snug layer.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, cream, milk, orange zest and vanilla seeds and extract together to combine.  Pour over the croissants and put the vanilla bean on top.  Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until slightly puffed and golden.

Serve with extra cream.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Roasted Heirloom Tomato and Red Pepper Salad

A delicious super summery salad to kick off the weekend... because a girl can't live on cake alone.

Roasted Heirloom Tomato and Red Pepper Salad
slightly adapted from here
Serves 4

2 large heirloom tomatoes
2 red peppers
1 salad onion
1 whole head of garlic
1/2 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/2 cup parsley leave, shredded
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Place the tomatoes, peppers, onion and garlic on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil, rubbing them all over to coat them thoroughly.  Roast for 40 minutes, or until blackened.  Once soft and scorched, put the peppers into a bowl, cover them with plastic wrap and leave for at least 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel the peppers and tomatoes and roughly chop. Chop the onion and squeeze the garlic out of its skin. Put all the vegetables into a serving bowl.  Add the shredded parsley leaves.

Add the 1/2 cup of olive oil and the vinegar to the vegetables. Add the cumin, smoked paprika and some salt and pepper to taste. Toss and serve at room temperature.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Post-Workout Fruit and Nut Loaf - Gluten Free

When I'm still eating thick slices of this six hours after I left the gym, it still counts as post-workout, right?

Post-Workout Fruit and Nut Loaf - Gluten Free
slightly adapted from here

For the Loaf:
Olive oil, for greasing
250g ground almonds
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into small dice
100g dried apricots
100g prunes, pitted
50g pecans
4 eggs
2 tablespoons honey (or to taste, this is not meant to be a really sweet loaf)
50ml - 75ml water

To Serve: (optional)
Your favourite nut butter

Make the Loaf:
Preheat the oven to 170C.  Grease and line a 23 cm x 13 cm loaf pan with baking paper.  Grease the paper well too.  Set aside.

Put the ground almonds, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk to combine and break up any lumps.  Add the chopped apple, dried fruit and pecans.  Stir to coat the fruit and nuts in the dry ingredients, this will stop the fruit from sinking to the bottom of your loaf.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and honey together and stir them into the dry ingredients.  Add enough water to make a soft, creamy batter (between 50ml - 75ml depending on conditions and the hydration of your ground almonds and fruit).

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 - 45 minutes.  Leave to cool to room temperature into the pan on a wire rack before slicing.

To Serve:
You can totally eat this as is, but I like to cut thick slices, toast them to golden perfection and slather with cinnamon spiced almond butter and drizzle with obscene amounts of  gloriously sticky honey.  (Also extremely good with a thick coating of chocolate and hazelnut spread, or smothered in Danish butter, or apricot jam. options!)