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Mixed Berry Muffins

31 Jan

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You know those moments when you feel like baking (or, let’s be honest, eating) something sweet, but you REALLY can’t be bothered making (and cleaning up) a mess? A one bowl wonder is the way to go.

I like these muffins because they are quick, easy and a “one bowl wonder”. They freeze well too and can be brought back to warm-and-tasty-life in a microwave without problems. So they are great to bake when you are just in the mood to do so, and then freeze for later on, say for when people are popping over and there is nothing in the house to offer them.

These muffins work great with whatever berries you have handy. I used blueberries and raspberries this time because that’s what was in the freezer. I add frozen berries to my regular shop for these moments.

This recipe is from Australian Woman’s Weekly: BAKE

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Summer Fruit Blendies!

23 Dec

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It’s hot here. Like, I mean it is really hot. Summer has arrived and for me that means it’s Fruit Blendies (smoothie) time. The “Boost Juice” places that are around are so yum, there is no denying that – but do you know why? Its called sugar, people. 🙂 The one thing my dentist really tells me to avoid is those places. Sigh and sadface, Mr Dentist. But never fear, and alternative is here! Have a go at these two blendies. Less sugar than those places, and full on delicious anyway.

In both cases add all ingredients to a blender. Blend. Pour. Drink. Enjoy.

Recipe 1 – What you need:
1 mango
1/2 banana
1/2 lime (juice of)
Handful of berries (whatever you have)
2 mint leaves (I use more, but I like mint)
Handful of ice
1 cup of milk (can leave this out if you would rather dairy free.)

or/

Recipe 2 (Dairy Free) – What you need:
1/2 banana
1 orange (juice of)
2 strawberries
2 mint leaves
6 blueberries
Handful of watermelon chunks (remove seeds)
1/2 slice of pineapple or wedge of rock melon
Handful of ice

Yummo! Obviously these blendies can be made year round, but summer fruits actually being in season at the moment is too good an opportunity to miss! 🙂

There are heaps of idea for these drinks out there. If you have a tried and tested one, share it with us in the comments below. 🙂

Mocha Madness Cupcakes

12 Dec

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I have made these a few times now, and they are always popular. They are a chocolate/coffee flavoured cupcake with coffee flavoured buttercream.  Now, I don’t drink coffee, but I really love these. They are delightfully delicious, without being rich or heavy. They really are one of those things you bite into and think, “WWWWwwhhhattt?!” Yeah, you should try them. 🙂

The recipe is from a book called Love Bakery. Here it is direct from the source. If you click on the picture it should open up big enough to read. If not, please do let me know.

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Here is another option for the “love” as they say in this particular book, or the decorations, as the rest of us say. In the top photo the chocolate shavings were created by running a knife along the flat back of a block of chocolate. These ones below were made with a vegetable  peeler along the side of the block. In both cases I dusted the cupcakes with cocoa powder (through a fine sieve) first.

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Fabulous Fruit

9 Oct

I find it heaps easier to remember to eat fruit if it’s cut up and looking ridiculously stunning.

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Sure, I could present it in a beautiful white bowl, with some natural yogurt and honey in the background (YUM btw), but that’s not what this blog is about. It is about me, at 6am, making my lunch for work and thinking, “Gosh, that is just too easy (and delicious!) not to share!” That’s all.

What’s in it?

  • An orange (segmented)
  • A handful of blueberries
  • Half a punnet of strawberries (halved with their greens removed)
  • A few mint leaves from the garden thrown in at the last minute.

Just you try NOT (healthily) snacking on that all day, I dare ya! 🙂

Seasonal Note: While different varieties of oranges are available throughout the year (Navel in the warmer months and Valencia in the cooler), in Australia blueberries and strawberries are only in season in Summer. That’s December, January, February. Just something for us all to keep in mind. 😉

Apple Streusel Muffins

7 Oct

These are one of my favourite muffins, and they look and taste fancy, without a lot of work.

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Some notes on this recipe:

  • I have made these with tinned apple, and it was fine, but I have always used fresh green apples since, and you can really tell the difference. If I have them in the house, I use fresh.
  • I also often substitute some of the apple weight for berries (apples and fresh blueberries has been our latest fav combo).
  • Usually there is more streusel mix than you can use. I freeze the rest for next time. There is always a next time with these. 🙂

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I don’t claim to be making these recipes up. Simply enjoying the fruits (pun intended) of the labours of people who actually know what they are doing.

This is one from The Australian Woman’s Weekly Cookbooks: BAKE.

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Seasonal Note: In Australia apples are in season in Autumn. That’s March, April, May, while blueberries are in season in Summer. That’s December, January, February. Just something for us all to keep in mind. 😉

Museli should be toasted – got that?

7 Oct

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My fav way to start the day (or finish the day, or spend the day) is in the sun, with a pot of tea and a bowl of this – my homemade toasted muesli. I like it with natural yoghurt, honey and fruit. It’s really filling and really good for you. I have tried really hard to like the soggy so called “trendy” bircher muesli that circulates in cafes, but I just can’t enjoy it. I like my muesli to go *crunch munch munch crunch mmmmm* True story.

This one sorta actually kind of IS my recipe. It is a combination of various other toasted muesli and “granola” recipes that I have read, and it’s also inspired by a Low GI muesli recipe that a friend gave me. Over the years it really has become a “whatever is in the cupboard becomes that week’s muesli” situation.

What’s in it?

You can use a combination of any of the below. The apple juice and the oats are kind of the backbone though. Obviously if you add ALL the fruit options it is much sweeter than just one or two of them. Each to their own though, you might really like dried fruit.

  • 3 cups of rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of oat bran (I have also used “bran” cereal plenty of times too)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon of ground ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (100 grams each) of any of the following nuts: hazelnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 cup (each) of any of the following seeds: flax seed (or linseed), pumpkin seeds, sunflower kernels, sesame seeds, pepitas
  • 1/2 cup of apple juice
  • 1 cup (each) of any of the following dried fruits: apple, cranberries, mulberries, sultanas… any fruit you want really. 🙂

Mix all the dry ingredients, except the fruit, together in a bowl. Spread out over a baking tray. Pour the juice over the entire tray and stir through. Bake for 40 mins at 160 degrees. Every 10 minutes take the tray out and stir through to get rid of the lumps. Don’t let it burn. There is no saving it once it tastes like burnt grossness.

You can add the fruit in at the very end while the muesli is cooling, or you can add it in for the last “10 minute baking block” if you prefer them a little toasted.

Serve with natural yoghurt, honey and fresh (or thawed, frozen) fruit. You could use milk instead of the yogurt, if that is your sort of thing.

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Better Banana Bread than you can buy

7 Oct

One of the things I love about Banana Bread is that we, as a society, have come to a socially constructed agreement that we will all ignore the obvious fact that essentially it is cake. It is CAKE, people! 🙂 We shall ignore it, and continue to uphold the delicious assumption that Banana “Bread” is the ok-breakfast-afternoon-anytime cake, for which we SHALL NOT BE JUDGED too heavily for enjoying. 🙂 Enjoy.

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This is how I used to make banana bread:

1. Buy bananas
2. Leave them in my fruit bowl until they are no longer recognizable as bananas
3. Feel sad and/or guilty about it for a day or so, regretfully throw out the bananas, while pouting sadly at them
4. Go to the shops and buy banana bread. (It’s not as nice as your homemade woulda been, Sam, but at least it actually exists. Unlike your planned banana bread, Sam, that never happened because you are a wasteful fool, SAM!)

Funnily enough, this wasn’t working for me. I finally learned to listen to the “Mums” around me who were convinced that you could freeze blackened bananas (at step 2 or even 3 above), and they were of course right. Thanks Mums of the world! How do you guys know this stuff? 🙂

SO – this is how I NOW make banana bread, and like, *flicks hair* omg, it is so much better than store bought bread. 🙂

Banana Bread is one of my favourite “pretend healthy” things to make. One by one, I freeze the poor neglected fruit bowl rejected bananas until I have 4 ugly horrible gooey black (delicious) ‘nanas frozen and ready to go for when the cooking mood strikes.

Here is the recipe I use. It is from the October 2009 edition of Australian Good Food Magazine. I always skip the nuts (personal preference), but NOT the lemon. Trust me, the lemon MAKES this recipe. It says use four bananas, but I find three works better. Four (“normal” sized) bananas tends to make the mixture too wet, and its hard to get it to cook just right.

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Tip: There is no escaping the fact that it is really, really icky peeling thawed, frozen, blackened bananas. It’s just so gross. I try to go to my happy place while doing it. If you are grossed out too, I find it helps, if while peeling off their skin – you smile and think to yourself, “It is just a banana. Just a banana. Come on, harden up!” I don’t know why, but it helps me, anyway.

Seasonal Note: In Australia bananas are pretty much in season all year. So that’s good news for homemade, sustainable banana bread. 🙂

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