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Daily Archives: August 26, 2013

Buttermilk Muffins

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I was an invalid last week, and co-incidentally Quirky Niece 3 was also ailing. So I wanted to cook a healthy, light muffin as a restorative for both of us. I used a recent post from the always inventive Le Pirate as inspiration.

http://lepiratelife.com/2013/07/02/apple-date-and-hazelnut-buttermilk-muffins/

The buttermilk gave a lovely tangy taste, and the unrefined coconut sugar imparted a caramel flavour as well as being little more guilt free! You could substitute oil for butter, too.

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Ingredients
1 Granny Smith apple or similar tart apple (pears or cooked quinces would also be great!)
130 gms self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
40 gms almond meal
50 gms dark brown sugar (I used coconut sugar in this recipe)
40 gms melted butter
1 egg, beaten
3/4 -1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1/4 cup chopped almonds
Cinnamon sugar for sprinkling

Method
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C fan forced or 170 degrees C non fan forced. Line a 6 cup muffin pan with muffin papers or grease muffin pan.
Mix flour, baking powder, bi-carb soda, almond meal and dark brown sugar in a large bowl.
Combine melted butter, egg, buttermilk and vanilla paste in another bowl.
Stir the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix.
Fold in the chopped apple and chopped almonds.
Fill the 6 muffin pan cups. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar while still warm.

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Preserved Cumquats: Cumquats in Sugar Syrup

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I have had a bumper crop of cumquats this winter from one little tree – best ever! So I have had to be inventive with ways to use all the wonderful fruit – hence there a few cumquat recipes recently posted on this blog.

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I made a few jars of cumquat marmalade early in the season, and then the tree delivered a second fruiting. I rather fancied having some candied cumquats at hand, and began to consult my preserving books for recipes. True candied cumquats seem to be whole fruit that has been cooked in a sugar syrup several times over a number of days. A rather lengthy process.

However I found a couple of recipes that simply involve cooking the cut fruit once in a sugar syrup, letting the fruit soak in the syrup for a couple of hours, then draining the fruit and reducing the liquid to a sticky preserving consistency. Much simpler, but Cumquats in Sugar Syrup is a better description than Candied Cumquats for this method.

Ingredients
1 kg cumquats
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 vanilla bean (optional)

Method
Cut the cumquats in half, leaving very small fruit whole.
Place sugar and water in a large saucepan and dissolve sugar over a medium heat. Bring the syrup to a boil, and place cut cumquats in the saucepan.
For a vanilla infused syrup, add the vanilla bean, cut in half longways, scraping the seeds into the syrup. Simmer the fruit until it is tender, about 20 minutes.
The fruit will have softened but will still have some resistance when cut with a knife.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave the fruit to cool in the syrup for at least 2 hours.

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Strain the fruit from the syrup into a bowl, and return the syrup to the saucepan. Boil gently for 5-10 minutes until the liquid has reduced slightly and is thick and “syrupy”!
Place the fruit in sterilised jars, including part of the vanilla pod for extra flavour. Pour the hot syrup over the fruit. Seal the jars and store with your other preserves, then once opened, store in the refrigerator.
The fruit is both sweet and slightly bitter and can be used as a dessert over ice-cream, or with cream, or in steamed puddings, or baked into tarts and cakes. eg Blueberry and Cumquat Cake with Sugared Pecans:
https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/07/14/blueberry-and-cumquat-cake-with-sugared-pecans/
The cumquats are also great as a sweet/ sour relish with ham, chicken or even fish.

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