Archive for the ‘365’ Category

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Olive Oil Muffin

May 1, 2010


The latest in my delving into Giada’s Kitchen – New Italian Favourites I am going a bit “gung-ho” at the moment.

Only problem….well it speaks for itself, I’m not really sure what happened with the picture! I could have sworn that it was all good. But apparently not so good hey – which is a shame because it’s got a nice flavour.

It was an Olive Oil Muffin. Which is interesting because I expected there to be more of an underlying flavour of the olive oil, however, the overpowering flavour was that of the citrus zests and the almonds. There was only a very subtle aftertaste of olive oil, which just hit the back of your palette as you swallowed.

The muffin itself was basically a bit cake like in consistency and it was deliciously moist and delicate. I loved it! I think I could have eaten the entire batch to myself. It didn’t go down so well with everyone, my SIL wasn’t a fan it’s hard to tell with MIL & FIL who will eat things they don’t like just to be polite. The Husband? Well he said that he’d prefer it if I made a small change.

That change is that I would make to the whole thing would be I would definitely use the slivered almonds that the original recipe called for. The whole ones were a bit too much – but I went with what was on hand because I was having people over and wanted to try something from the book to do it. So it was a quick case of toasting whole ones and making do!

Olive Oil Muffins


1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
2t baking powder
½ t salt
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2t grated orange zest
2t grated lemon zest
2T balsamic vinegar
2T whole milk
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup almonds, toasted

Preheat the oven to 180C
In a medium bowl, stir the flour, baking powder and salt. Use a mixer to beat the sugar, eggs and zests until pale and fluffy. Beat in the vinegar and milk then gradually beat in the oil. Add the flour mix and stir by hand until just blended.
Add the almonds, then stir until just combined.
Fill the the muffin tin almost to the top. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes.
Transfer to a rack and cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then take out and cool for another 5 minutes. Then serve warm.

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Orange Breakfast Muffins

February 10, 2010


So after a horrendous day at work today, I headed straight to the kitchen instead of to the gym like I originally planned. Perhaps the endorphins would have been better then a muffin but I couldn’t face it.

So I opened up my Flavour of the Month Nigella Bites and made these. I adapted them a little bit and added some frozen cranberries simply because I love them.

Orange Cranberry Breakfast Muffins


6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups self-rising flour
2 tablespoons ground almonds
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup sugar
1T pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
1/2 cup frozen cranberry
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Melt the butter and set aside. Combine the flour, ground almonds, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and orange zest in a large bowl. Measure the orange juice and milk into a pitcher and whisk in the egg and then the cooled, melted butter. Now pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing with a fork as you go. The batter will be lumpy but that’s as it should be: you want everything to be no more than barely combined. The whole point of muffin mixture is that it must never be overworked.

Spoon out the mixture equally into the muffin cups and cook for 20 minutes. Remove, in their paper baking cups, to a wire rack and let cool slightly (but not completely) before devouring.

And, I did devour them, I must admit. I had 2 in quick succession, how terrible is that? The gym really would’ve been better!

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Peaches & Blueberries

January 20, 2010


It was family dinner night last night, and due to a number of reasons I chose a very simple dessert for my offering.

As mentioned on numerous other occasions, my knee injury does limit me. I’m improving slowly and I’m getting to be able to spend more time in the kitchen again (thank goodness) so I’m on my way. But, also considering that I have less than 1 calendar month until I go on a 6 week holiday I was not and am not keen on creating baked goods that are likely to leave leftovers behind which I will end up needing to freeze and divvy out slowly over a period of time. Because, let’s face it, I don’t have the time! I could leave it in the freezer whilst I’m away but 6 weeks is a long time, and my grandmother will be house sitting and she has a lot of things that need freezing. So, I did not want to stock up my freezer with things she can’t eat and that my grandfather shouldn’t! And finally, because we’d had a family Christmas on the weekend due to my BIL, SIL and Little E being back from the UK, I’d forgotten that it was Tuesday, I felt actually like it was the end of the week! I was thrown!

So, in light of these things I went with Nigella’s Peaches and Blueberries! Which she actually calls a “suggestion” not a recipe, I guess it is really. Because one doesn’t do more than slice up some peaches, sprinkle them with simple blueberries and add a few drops of orange flower water. There is a suggestion to sprinkle these with Demerara sugar and cook for 20 or so minutes in the oven but that seemed unnecessary in light of the Brisbane weather.

I did add some sliced mango to the side of the dish (not photographed) to cater to my BIL who’s been missing out on mango’s whilst away, and because apparently we’re in a “glut” (despite the fact that this is not really reflected in mango pricing…at least not in any of my local fruit stores!) and he doesn’t really get them at home, as my SIL does not enjoy mangoes. Having said that, Little E tried a mango for the first time and said “yum” and asked for more, which she couldn’t eat because she got full but still, maybe that means mango will feature more at their house in the future?

Also, I halved the recipe.

Peaches & Blueberries


3 Peaches, sliced
2 punnets blueberries
1 t orangeflower water

Flavour of the Month Nigella Bites

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Cornbread (on-the-cob)

January 13, 2010


So i thought I’d start a little early with my Flavour of the Month I was not going to start until next week, but I needed to do something for dinner that was really easy but not just meat and vegies. That is boring!!!! This recipe seemed perfect for it because you threw it in bowl, mixed it together and you’re good.

So from there I pounced on Nigella Bites simply because it was one of the cookbooks I got over Christmas/Birthday/Anniversary Celebrations. And it was the one I thought most appropriate. The others were very much bread/carb focused which in small amounts if fine, but after over indulgence during the above celebrations I really could not have those things with a 6 week holiday where Ill end up eating whatever I am sure.

So anyway, Nigella suggests these with stews, black bean soup, fried eggs and bacon or just for breakfast. I served them on this occasion for the Husband with sweet and sour pork.

Cornbread (on-the-cob)


175g cornmeal (or polenta)
125g plain flour
45g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
1T baking bowder
250ml milk
1 egg
3T olive oil
Preheat the oven to 200C
Grease the moulds – if no corn on the cob moulds, grease a square tin, or a bun muffin tin.
Mix the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. In a measuring jug beat together the milk, egg and oil. Then pour the wet into the dry stirring until just combined. Pour into the moulds and cook for about 20/25 minutes. When ready the cornbread should be just pulling away from the sides.

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*sigh*

January 13, 2010

I am feeling slightly kitchen deprived. I have had the 365 day challenge to occupy me somewhat but not enough. Now that I have “diagnosis” and a plan of attack to not treat my knee as though it is injured perhaps I can start up again? but on the flip side I’ve got 36 days until I head overseas and one should really be food conscious before going away because of the extra weight one will gain whilst away! Especially in light of the fact that I intend to tick off as many of these as possible!

To pass some time right now, when I should be at the gym and yet aren’t due to said injury I thought I’d do a meme entry – why not hey?

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Obviously this is only based on limited knowledge/experience/understanding of what it would actually be like, but the Scottish Highlands ideally, but Scotland in general would be great for me. Some people find cold/wet/snowy weather miserable. Me? not at all, I thrive on it, the longer it lasts the happier and more content I feel. It’s refreshing to me, having said that I do live in Sunny Queensland, and experience a lot of sunshine – much to my chagrin but this is where I live, and I wouldn’t move really, I like being near the Clan, I’d miss them, and if my mother would just hurry up and move over, all would be good in the world!

Which cuisine (don’t say “desserts”!) fascinates you the most and why?
I’m fascinated by them all for different reasons, mostly to do with the interesting and bold ways flavours and textures are mixed together in different cuisines in ways that I as a person influenced heavily by her British Grandmother would think was right/normal/would work. I love seeing and trying different ways people work with different foods.

Celebrity chefs – a godsend or completely overrated?
Ahhh well, I guess it depends on what you hope to get from them. A revival in people cooking again? then a godsend, a plethora of people who just want to dine out in these peoples restaurants then overrated!

Dinner of a life-time… what would it be?
Simple – Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding with all the trimmings and Apple Pie and Custard for dessert. It’s a simple dish, and one that I always love to eat. ALWAYS! it would be my deathrow meal! I food don’t get me wrong, and if anyone asked I’d say Italian food is my “go to” comfort food, but this dish would and always is the perfect thing at the end of a day!

Apart from dessert, what do you take the most enjoyment out in life?
Honestly? I’d love to say just baking/cooking (since this is a blog about that) as it is something I love an enjoy and I use it extensively to make myself feel better, and to show people that I care about them. I’d also like to just say the Husband, and the wonderful pure love I feel from him each day, the way he can calm me down in a storm of emotions simply by being him and his stable self. But, I also love the work I do (at the moment anyway, perhaps I’ll burn out one day and stop) I am a social worker, and I do it because I love it, not because of any monetary benefit, not because of any recognition, but purely because I like to help people! At a basic level that is what it boils down too, whatever way it is that I’m helping them, small or large, if it helps that person in their space then I feel that warm fuzzy feeling and so I guess perhaps I don’t do it just for them? because I do get something out of it yes? but these 3 things are what keep me going, each day, what give me a purpose and a direction.

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Two birds with One stone

January 3, 2010


I think that I will have to delay announcing my Flavour of the Month for a bit, what with my injury and also the fact that in approx. 6 weeks I will be going away for 6 weeks, so I thought if I heal up for 2 weeks, I can have a “month” until I go. Sound like a plan?

I made this dessert for family dinner for 2 reasons, the first is due to the Husband requesting (repeatedly) this dessert and the second because I needed to adapt it to dairy free goodness for my grandmother.

The texture was lovely, if a little different then what I’m used too with Creme Caramel. But it was good and the coconut added a lovely taste combination with the caramel. Overall I’m rather happy with this concoction. I was able to utilise this for a challenge the Husband & I have decided to do, the challenge o taking a photo a day for a year – I didn’t do great photos with this, but that knee issue means that after being on it for awhile, I want off it!

Coconut Creme Caramel


¾ cup sugar
½ cup water
400mL Light & Creamy Coconut Cream
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
3 eggs
1 egg whites

preheat oven to 180°C.
Combine sugar and water in pan, stir until sugar is dissolved, bring to boil, continue boiling without stirring until mixture turns golden brown. Remove from heat, pour caramel into 6 x ¾ cup capacity ovenproof dishes, rotate dishes individually to coat base and sides.
Beat together remaining ingredients, pour custard into dishes. Place dishes in baking pan with hot water coming halfway up sides of dishes.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes until just set. Remove dishes from pan, cool, refrigerate 2 hours. Turn out on serving dishes to serve.